How To Launch Your Online Business On A Budget

Are you in the process of starting a small business but wondering where you will come up with the money required to get it off the ground? 

Many small business owners in your position would immediately turn to their credit card or try to borrow money from a friend or family member. 

As a small business owner myself, I would highly discourage either of those options. 

There are plenty of opportunities to start your business off on the right foot without debt, and keep you in the profit margin from the get-go. 

This process is called bootstrapping. Sounds kind of fun doesn’t it?

So what exactly does it mean to bootstrap your business costs? defines bootstrap as “Building a business out of very little or virtually nothing”. 

I’d like to take that definition a bit further by also adding that it means starting a business on the foundation of nothing but hard work, determination, creativity, and the talent God gave you! 

If your Grandma started a business this is how she would have done it.

She would not have gone into debt by relying on credit cards or bank loans. She would have utilized the resources she had.

You’re probably thinking that is all fine and dandy but what if I don’t currently have any resources to pull from? 

You just want to know how do I start a business without money? No problem! 

You just need to think outside the box and be creative in the process. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Barter Your Goods Or Services

Are you great at graphic design but not so hot at writing? 

Find another entrepreneur who you could get to write your website copy in exchange for you designing their marketing materials. 

Maybe you are an entrepreneur with an amazing product to sell. Trade that product to someone who could design your website.

Bartering websites such as BarterQuest as well as Facebook Groups make it easy to exchange business services with others. 

If you would like to barter with someone local check your local you can also check Craigslist and Freecycle listings, as well as local Business Meetup groups.

These websites make it easy to connect with someone in your local area.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

A lot of people make the mistake of quitting their day job before their small business gets off the ground. 

Yes, it is a lot more difficult to work full time and tend to your business; however, the benefit of having a steady income stream to support you while you grow your business is invaluable. 

While you are continuing to work your day job, set aside a portion of your paycheck and designate it for your business costs. 

Have it automatically transferred into a business bank account and you will not even miss it.

If you are concerned there will not be enough hours in the day to work a full-time job and manage your startup, try a few of these ideas to create more work time in your schedule.

  • Get up early and work on your business before heading off to work
  • Take your full lunch break and sneak in some work time while you eat
  • Say no to happy hours and social events and work in the evenings and weekends

Build Your Own Website

It has never been easier to get an online presence. 

Just a few years ago you would have needed to hire a web designer and spend thousands to create a website. 

With inexpensive domain hosting options such as Bluehost and all in one website hosting platforms such as New Zenler you can have a website up and running by the end of the business day. 

The amazing part is you don’t have to have an ounce of coding knowledge! 

I built my entire website, course programs, and online shop using a New Zenler

It has an amazing website builder function that allows you to customize your site in minutes. 

If you can attach a photo to an email or post something on Facebook you can build a website. It is that easy! 

And did I mention it’s free?!  

If you would like a little more guidance you can check out my DIY course Website In A Week which will help you create a client-attracting website in less than 7 days. 

Design Your Own Marketing Materials

If you pay a graphic designer to create a logo, branding, etc. it would cost you hundreds of dollars. 

Save that money for your printing costs and create your own branding. 

Canva is an amazing design program (that also happens to be free!) and has hundreds of templates to design everything from logos to brochures, web graphics to social media icons. 

You can select their templates and customize the colors and layout to suit your business style. 

Canva offers a wide range of illustrations and stock photography to enhance your designs or you can download royalty-free images from sites such as Creative Market, Pixabay, and PicJumbo. Each of these sites has great images to use when you are starting out. 

You can also check out Ivory Mix which is an online stock photography website. She has a free option that includes over 500+ images to choose from.  

Get A Side Hustle

All you need is a few extra hours a week to devote to bringing in some extra cash. 

Think about the talents you can offer others. 

Are you good at writing and could sell content through a private label rights company? 

Are you a whiz at social media and could manage other people’s accounts? 

Maybe you love the outdoors and could spend some time walking your neighbor’s dogs while they are at work.

Use cash back sites on purchases you make online. 

Sites such as Fetch, and Rakuten will give you cash back or gift cards for your online purchases and while these websites will not make you a ton of extra money every little bit helps and the savings can really add up over time.

Another idea, and one of my favorite ways to make extra cash, is to join a focus group panel. 

Large companies pay marketing firms to conduct focus group discussions on new products before they hit the market. 

These studies are sometimes difficult to qualify for, however, they pay really well. 

You can expect to make between $100-$300 for just a few hours of your time. 

Sign up for multiple companies to increase your chances of qualifying. 

Focus Scope, Adler Weiner, and Sago  are a few I have worked with in the past.

If you do a Google search for focus groups and your city name, you will find a list of companies in your area.

Another company I used to work with is called UserTesting

Much like a focus group, companies will hire UserTesting to review their websites. 

Testing usually takes about a half hour and payment averages around $10 per website. 

I really enjoyed working with them and would average about $40/week reviewing websites.  This could have been a lot more lucrative, however, I did not dedicate much of my time to it.

Sell Your Junk!

Everyone has a pile of unused items sitting around their house collecting dust. 

Clean out your house and earn some extra cash in the process. 

Sell unwanted clothing on ThredUp, sell old DVD’s or CD’s on Amazon, take your unused gold jewelry to a pawn shop, and sell your furniture on Craigslist. 

Another idea is to just have a good old-fashioned yard sale. Get rid of a lot of items and bring in a few hundred dollars in one weekend!


Be Smart About Spending

While none of these ideas are going to create a large windfall of cash, the idea is to give you a little bit of seed money to get started with. 

Startup expenses such as printing business cards, paying for your website hosting and domain name, and purchasing office supplies and equipment can all set you back when you are first starting your business.

Understanding that it sometimes takes years before you can draw an income from your business will help you to grow slowly and make wise decisions with your money. 

Many large successful companies started off like this (think Amazon, Dave Ramsey Solutions, Facebook) and have grown into multi-billion dollar conglomerates today. 

The key is to build a solid foundation and reinvest in your company.

Looking for additional support for your business and an amazing community of female business owners? Join my free Facebook group Female Entrepreneur Success Club!


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