A few years ago, I decided to finally turn my dream of being an entrepreneur into reality. I say finally because I’d wanted to start my business but had been procrastinating for a good 2 – 3 years by that point.
In fact, I’d originally taken my previous job with the intention of learning everything I could so that I could start my business. Guess what held me back – COMFORT. The worst thing you could feel at a job because it opens the door to it’s evil cousin CAREER STAGNATION.
One of the biggest excuses I used as a crutch was the fact that I didn’t think I had enough money for a start up business. I’d tried to save money over the years, but something always came up… including my atrocious relationship with money at the time.
I finally decided enough was enough and I was going to start my business on a shoestring budget… and by that, I mean peanuts.
I was shocked at how little starting my business actually cost
Since I started working from my good old kitchen table, I was able to start with about $1,200. No, I didn’t forget the extra zero. Here’s what I did what that money:
- Registered my business name
- Opened a bank account and got a business credit card (I can’t stress how important it is not to combine personal and business banking)
- Registered a domain name and got my website hosted (you can get this for about $7 a month)
- Got my logo and business cards designed
- Business cards printed
- Got a designated phone line for my business
- Developed my own website using a template
- Created my own marketing materials
- Hired a lawyer to draw up a contract that could be used between my clients and I
- I already had a laptop and printer
- Got a virtual office (this is where most of my money went)
The virtual office was fantastic! I got most of the perks of working in an office without having to worry about the overhead cost of a leasing office space.
I had my calls answered by a receptionist, who then transferred them to my designated work line at home. I also got my mail forwarded to their address, which saved me from having to use a P.O Box. A virtual office basically gives your clients the impression that you’re working from an office, which is important in some industries.
I’ll admit that the first few months were hard
You need to have a few months expenses set aside if you want to start a business full-time, otherwise you’ll want to pull your hair out. Be prepared not to see much in the form of money for a few months. If I could go back, I would have been smarter and saved about 6 – 8 months of living expenses.
Start small and grow slowly but steadily
The key to starting a business with little money is to start small with very little overhead. Working from home would be the ideal option to keep overhead low. Part of the reason people feel like they need a lot more money to get started is because they have a vision of where their business could grow a few years down the road. It will still get there, but you’ll have to start small in the beginning.
Planning is important
Before you do anything, it’s very important to plan first. Write a business plan and try to forecast a year or two down the road. A forecast is not set in stone, things can change, but it’s a good idea to have an idea of how you plan to grow your business.
Whether you’re starting a side business while keeping your day job or starting your business full-time, you don’t have to break the bank or break your back to get started. The key is to start!