I'm not joking. Not a single dime. How do I know? Because that is what I did. I have been in business for 2 years now with Urban Consulting & Complianceology launched this month. But, I did not have any expenses with Urban Consulting until February 2019. Not a single one. And, yes I did have clients the whole time. I could actually cut a few things out for Urban Consulting, tbh and my expenses for that business are about $80.
How in the world did I do this? Well, I have always made the most in our home and when I was jobless and just starting out I did NOT have the money to invest in a single thing. So, I had to find a way to start a business with $0, and I did. They say you have to invest money to make money, and at some point you do, but you can certainly go a long time without. All of the platforms nowadays have really good free versions - I assume it's b/c once you see how great the free version is you'll eventually want to upgrade as you grow.
So, how did I accomplish this? Free versions of everything and I still use free versions for a lot of things, for both Urban Consulting and Complianceology. It may not work for every line of business, but this is what I did.
I have yet to invest in running ads in any way. I am going to soon, but I just joined FB groups and Upwork and connected with people. I started business FB so people had a place to go to get further information on me and my business.
I unintentionally started out on Upwork. I had signed up with them a year prior and did not a single thing with my profile. I randomly had a massive tech company reach out to me to screen candidates and select their salaries. In the beginning, that is where I got most of my clients. I still have a profile on Upwork but I have not signed on in over 5 months. Since they have changed their fee structure and charge $.30 cents or $.80 cents to send clients proposals. So you really need to be stratigic on what clients you reach out to so you're not wasting money.
This is self explanatory, but it costs $0 to create a business FB page. Everyone needs a business FB page.
I didn't have a website until fall 2018. For Urban Consulting, I could honestly get away with not having a website or at least have the free version. 99% of my clients for Urban are from FB or referrals, I might have had 2 directly from my website.
This is the accounting and payment processing application I use. It is free to use them and I prefer it over QB. I actually hate QB!! It has every single accounting item you need, P&L, breaks down what you are actually taking home and how much you pay for other things like processing fees, subscriptions, etc. Now, the payment processing portion is not free. You will never find a free version of that. It is 2.9% each payment, which is inline with all other payment processors. But, the fee is taken when the client makes the payment, so you really never see the money anyway. Side note - we will talk about when, where and how you can pass those fees onto your customer.
I used the free version up until February of 2019, when I hired my VA. The free version is just as good as the paid version. If you are still a one-person show, there is no reason you should pay for a project management application.
As I'm writing this I realize I can actually go back to the free version of this. The only reason I signed up for the paid version was so that I could save my brand colors and fonts. Now that everything is in there - I don't use any other paid features. If you downgrade, it still keeps your colors & fonts for you. So, the free version is just as good as the paid version. If you do want to be able to save your brand colors & fonts, you technically could sign up and add them and then cancel your subscription. Be sure to check out my post on how to edit on Canva.
Google Drive $0
Again, this is self explanatory on what it does. You can also use this with your clients. You can create a shared drive and invite your clients to that drive and give them different levels of access. I use this with Poosh and it works great.
I did use my personal email for a long time and never had a client say something. Yes, it appears less professional, but if you need to do it, do it.
You can find anything and everything on YouTube to learn about marketing, engagement, networking, basic social media skills, how to use Canva and sooooo much more.
Creative Market is kind of like Etsy for businesses. They have fonts, templates, 3D things (IDK what - I haven't used that yet), graphics, etc. But, if you sign up for their newsletter, every 2 weeks they have 6 different fonts you can download for free. Most of the fonts I still use are the free ones I've downloaded from them. But, they have fonts from $1 on up. I have now bought 2 or 3 $1 and $5 fonts and am considering a font for $25, but it's similar to a font I use now, that's why I haven't pulled the trigger yet.
These 7 applications were all I used for my business until this year. And I can eliminate Canva which is $14/month and I can downgrade Urban's website from the premium version which is $14 as well - which I am actually going to do this weekend.
If you are now paying for certain things, take a moment to reevaluate them and see if you still need them or if you can downgrade to a free version. So, YES YOU CAN start a business with $0. Don't let the worry of money stop you from starting your dreams! To date, ALL of my expenses for both businesses are under $150. Well, aside from my part-time VA. She is my biggest expense. Lol, she is well worth it. There is soooo much I would not have been able to provide without her in the terms of time. VAs are lifesavers. You don't have to sign one on retainer either. You can contract with them for small projects or 2-5 hours a month, etc.
So tell me, how do you keep your business expenses low? And, what could you cut right now?
Next week I'll break down what I do pay for and how much. See you then!