It’s Q&A Saturday and another reader would like to find out how to start their ideal business with little capital. Do you see a recurring theme here?
I must be slow because I’m just now seeing that everyone wants to start THEIR particular business but the overarching theme is NO ONE wants to spend a whole lot of money doing it.
I got you.
Today I’m going to attempt to help everyone start their dream business for free. Because let’s be honest. That’s what you want.
Before I begin, depending on where you live, the rules and regulations for business creation are quite different. In some places, you can run a business without a license but in other places, you need a license and/or registration before you can start working. I’m not a lawyer. So, be wise and do your due diligence in advance of getting started.
So today, I’m sharing 9 ridiculously simple ways to start a business for free.
1. Figure Out Your Business
This should go without saying, but I’m going to mention it just to make sure we’re all on the same page. After all, it’s always better to start at the beginning. So, make sure you know what business you’re starting. If you’re a widget maker, awesome. If you’re a writer, cool. Just make sure you’re clear about the epic business you’re creating.
2. Know Thy Customer
You may not have a single customer, and no one may even know you’re starting a business, but you need to know exactly who your customer is and more importantly, who they’re not.
Your business is mind blowing. You’re going to offer a brilliant service or product that will seriously help a lot of people. As you get started though, you need to have an extremely targeted market of potential customers.
If you’re a make-up artist, maybe your audience could be moms, middle aged women, young women just starting to wear makeup and their moms, or older women looking to spice up their look. If you’re a writer, figure out WHAT you want to write and then WHO will want that content. Then write for those customers.
3. Create ONE offering.
Whether you’re a make-up artist, a writer, a cook, a graphic designer, a photographer, or an ice cream maker, you need to sell ONE thing. To be successful, the ONE thing you offer must respond to a spoken (or unspoken) need your potential customer has. If your product/service does not solve your customer’s problems, they won’t buy it and you won’t make any money.
So, create one product or design one service offering you think your ideal customer will absolutely love.
For example, if you’re a make-up artist, you could create the most ALLURING eye makeover for women who want to conceal the dark circles under their eyes OR you could be the absolute BEST contour artist for women who want to highlight a certain area of their body.
If you’re a photographer, you could take the most amazing and precious pictures of children or as a graphic designer, you could specialize in creating clever online logos.
There are a TON of people out there with online businesses, but there’s only one you. Take your time and craft the most epic offer out there, and become known for that ONE service. Once people know who you are and see how talented you are, you can sell anything you want after that.
4. Show off your skills
You could be the best [fill in the blank] that’s ever walked this earth, but if no one knows you can do this thing, it’s a disserve to yourself and to those who need what you have to offer.
So, show it off. You can start a Facebook Page, a YouTube Channel, a Twitter Account, etc for free. If you’re a make-up artist or a hair stylist, grab a cousin, a friend, or a neighbor and a video camera and show off a new hair, make-up technique, blog post, cool graphic design, or accounting technique. Then post it online and share it with all of your friends.
Hopefully, a few of your friends think, “that’s AWESOME!” and they share it with their friends. Then just keep doing that.
5. Build An Audience
If you’re trying to do this business thing on the cheap, you need to at LEAST start a Facebook Page, a YouTube Channel, Pinterest Account, or an Instagram Account. Then start building an audience. Get Likes, get Follows, Subscribers. These are your people. You need people.
6. Create Your First Paid Product
Ok, so you’re wowing people on social media with your amazing skills. They’re liking what you’re doing. Now you need to invite some of these folks to PAY you to actually do something for them.
So, take the same amazing free offer that you’ve been promoting and create a much cooler more detailed paid service that folks will love and want!
7. Figure out how you want to get paid
If you don’t have a website and you’re offering a product or a service online, you need to figure out how to get paid and what personal information you need to collect to ensure payment. Paypal is pretty great. You can send invoices from Paypal and receive payments without a website for online and in person products and services. And when you’re just starting out, it’s great.
8. Write out the terms of this first paid product.
So whether or not you have a website, you need to be able to outline the terms and conditions of the product or service you’re offering. Sometimes, a contract is helpful, but usually, you can just outline what your clients/customers can expect in an email to them.
9. Plan to Invest
Ok, so if you start a business this way, you can’t (well, it’s not wise) to run a business this way forever. You need a website, business cards, accounting and reporting tools, and professional development.
As you start to make money, look at your business and determine where and how you want to reinvest in your business growth. Make a list of what you want and need, and start looking for estimates for these products or services.
Depending on the legal requirements where you live for business creation, you can start a small business for free or with very limited initial investment. However, at some point in the short term, you need to plan to invest in yourself and your business.
Pick an audience. Be clear about what you do. Know what they want and how you can solve a problem they have. Build an audience. Then, create a paid product or service to solve their problem and start making money.