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Low Cost Home Business: Internet Business Startup On A Tight Budget

Low Cost Home BusinessHow do you start an online business if you don’t have much money? This is a very common question. It is a question that springs up when folks are not making as much money as they need or they are just downright unhappy with their current employment (or unemployment) situation. With the U.S. unemployment rate the highest it’s been in decades, online business is one area that is still cranking along undaunted. Because of this, many people with limited budgets want to get started online.

I’m here to tell you that it can be done. An online business is probably the least expensive business you can start. Before continuing with this article, I recommend you read our main article on starting an online business. It will show you the full list of steps to take if you had few budget constraints. Even doing the full list, you would be up and running for a few hundred dollars.

However, if that’s out of the question on your current budget, that’s no problem. There are a few things you can do to reduce startup costs even further. Anything that we leave out from the master list can be done later, when you are making money online.

Define Your Business And Name It

The first step, as always, is to decide what you want your online business to do. Do you want to be an affiliate, sell info-products, sell your own physical product out of your garage, be an eBay power seller? Then you need to pick a name for your business that suits it. See our full article on Naming Your Business for more details and tips. So far, your cost is $0!

Once you select a name for your business, buying the domain name is the next step. Do your name brainstorming and domain availability search at the same time. Many good domain names are taken – you don’t want to commit to a business name if someone else already owns that domain. Our free DomainView™ tool is a great way to quickly and easily check domain name availability in real-time while you type. Visit NameCheap, our preferred domain registrar, to register your business domain. They have the best prices (lower than GoDaddy) and offer WhoisGuard as a free service to protect your personal information.
Domain Cost: $9.69 per year. (probably less since NameCheap almost always has a discount code available!)

Business Address And Phone

The next thing on the list is an address and phone. Ideally, you would want to have a dedicated phone for your business. If you have a cellular family plan, adding a phone with one of the major carriers will cost an additional $9.99/mo, which is not bad. You would choose whatever phone they had for free after rebates (you won’t be needing a iPhone or Blackberry just yet). However, if that extra cost is more than what’s in your budget, you can use your home phone. Make sure you have a clear and professional voicemail or answering machine message – nothing with background noise. Something along the lines of “Hello, you have reached … please leave a detailed message and your contact information and we will get back to you shortly,” will do. It may seem odd to have that formal a message on your home phone, but it’s for a worthy cause!

As for your address, hold off on getting a P.O. Box and use your home address instead. You won’t be publishing your address on your website. You will be using it so you can receive payments and set up any necessary accounts. Once you start making money with your online business, you can decide whether you want to keep your business address the same as your home address. Cost: $0.

Web Hosting

The next step is to secure web hosting. You have probably seen hosts advertising prices like $3.45/mo or $5.95/mo. What they don’t tell you is that those prices only apply when you sign up for 2 years or more. That means you pay for 2+ years worth of hosting up front. That is a great deal (assuming it’s a quality host, of course) if you are established. But if you are just starting out with a shoestring budget, that just ends up being too much money. You can sign up monthly with these other providers, but the cost will be much higher – more than double that great advertised rate in some cases. In addition, if you go monthly with these others, many will charge you a $15.00 – $30.00 “set-up” fee. Forget it! For what you get, paying monthly for these other hosts is just not worth it.

For shared hosting, the best web host is Hostgator (Visit Hostgator, Hostgator Review) at $9.95/mo. Hostgator has excellent customer support, all the features and free scripts you need to get started and very generous storage and bandwidth limits. Also, as your business grows, Hostgator will help you expand to larger plans with ease. Cost: $9.95 per month.

Note: For an online business that’s just starting out, a shared hosting account is all you need. Don’t let other sites that want to sell you web hosting try to convince you that something expensive, like a dedicated server, is necessary. When you grow to need one, you will know it – and you will be able and happy to spend the money on it!

If you want to know more about hosting, check out our 101-point side-by-side comparison chart of the top web hosts in business today and thorough web hosting reviews for each of them. If you are in a hurry or the technical end of Internet business is new for you, you can try our free HostSelector™ tool. You simply fill out a fast and easy multiple choice questionnaire and HostSelector™ shows you the best host to meet your needs based on your answers.

Email Address And Instant Messaging Handle

You need to have an email address and instant messaging handle (IM screen name). If you already have an AOL, Yahoo, or MSN email account, then your email name is your handle. Make sure your handle is professional! If it’s not, make one that is – preferably the same as your business name. The best part is that all of these IM accounts are free.

Your email account should be something like firstname.lastname@businessname.com. Since by this step you have the domain and hosting (the email is part of your hosting), this costs nothing extra. Cost $0.

Training

The last thing you have to spend money on is training. It’s risky to start a business without any training, so this step is important. It seems obvious, but many think they can just put up a site and make money. An online business is a business, not a get rich quick scheme. To drive the point home, you wouldn’t try to install a new electrical socket in your house without first looking up how to do it, right? If you didn’t, you might get a shock or burn your house down. Sure, you might get it right too, but wouldn’t your chances be better if you looked at a manual?

There are many trainings out there. Make sure the one you pick has a 60-day no hassle money back guarantee. Make sure the one you pick clearly states on the sales page what exactly you will be learning. Sales copywriters make a living convincing customers like us to buy things. Many sales pages tell you the product will do wonders for you, has done wonders for them or how groundbreaking/secret/underground/fantastic/etc. this product is. Try to look past that and remember that you need to know what you are getting so you can learn, not just be dazzled. Many newbie online business people fall into this trap. Don’t be one of them! You should expect to spend between $37.00 and $77.00 on a good Internet marketing course. That may seem like a lot, but if you focus and put it to use, it will pay for itself hundreds of times over. Cost: $77.00.

If you need help deciding which training is the right one for you, Visit our blog. We post reviews and comments on Internet marketing courses so you can get the straight story and make a fact-based decision.

Recap – Total It All Up

Item Cost
Define Your Business $0
Name Your Business $0
Domain Registration $9.69
Business Address $0
Business Phone Number $0
Web Hosting $9.95
Email Address $0
Instant Messaging Account $0
Training Course $77.00
Total Startup Cost: $96.64

You can start an online business with a very good chance of being successful for less than a hundred bucks!
No kidding, no sales pitch, that’s just what it costs to get your start in a multi-billion dollar industry. Why do you think home-based online businesses are so popular to try?

A Few Tips…

… to avoid the pitfalls that besiege many beginners:

  • Pick a business you are passionate about. If it’s not something you like, you won’t want to give it 100%. It could be flowers, monster trucks, sci-fi books, basset hounds, needlepoint, gardening, or whatever you want – as long as it’s a subject that interests you!
  • Reinvest your initial profits back into the business at least for the first few months. That way you can cover the costs of getting your online business incorporated, getting a tax ID, a dedicated business phone, a business bank account, a P.O. Box (if you want one), more training materials, software, etc.
  • Stay Organized! Keep a spreadsheet or ledger of your expenses, advertising, income, affiliate sites, and any other business record. Develop a filing system on your computer to keep your documents organized as well.
  • Come up with a plan and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by all of the Internet marketing buzz. Keep to your plan, learn that thing and do it well. Set a success goal and focus on it. Once you reach it and can sustain it, then you can look at your next project.
  • Don’t be afraid to try, to make a mistake or to fail. These are our greatest learning tools. Use them and profit from them. Remember, most successful people fail often and learn every time. That’s what makes their successes so huge.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done, even if it’s a little voice of doubt in your head.

Here’s to your success!

 

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