Starting An Online Business When You’ve Only Got A Tiny Budget – Part 1

Starting An Online Business When You’ve Only Got A Tiny Budget – Part 1

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New blog – The internet is full of what I call snake oil salesmen offering the latest greatest online money earning strategy to start your online business now! All you have to is hand them over a few pounds of your hard earned cash and they’ll sign you up to their fantastic online money earning course that’ll change your life forever and tell you how to start a fantastic online business that will make you millions! Except in truth if it was that easy to earn money online we’d all be doing it. The truth is while there are people out there who’ve made millions from starting online businesses none of them did it because they signed up to watch a few videos on a website! That doesn’t mean that they haven’t and don’t spend a huuuge amount of time reading books and watching videos about doing things like online marketing, improving Search Engine Optimisation, building websites etc. because most of them do. They’re just smart enough to read content that’s full of tried and tested methods. Like Money Mental is!

Doing your research

So if you’re looking to start an online business please don’t hand over your hard earned cash to one of these snake oil salesmen. All you’re doing is lining their pockets and emptying yours to no avail. Do instead take time to read some of the reputable blogs that are full of feedback from people who have actually been successful in setting up a business online. Not sure of where to find a reputable blog? Well I can highly recommend the Huffington post which you can access here and contains a large amount of respectable and venerable blogs on all kinds of subjects. Another site you might want to try looking at is Mashable Business which you can find by clicking here although do be careful of the misleading adverts on the left-hand side which may lead to you clicking on to a different website entirely! If you’ve got any other websites you feel are useful please do mention them in the comments section below!

There are also a lot of good books on Amazon so I’ll include some links below to ones that I or friends of mine have found useful as well. And do remember you can Amazon vouchers by completing online surveys for my recommended survey companies who you can find more out about here. So you could end up like me and use Amazon for free!

Online Business ideas: 

The first thing I want to say is that starting your own business and growing it, whether online or offline is very, very hard! One of my favourite sayings is that ‘no one did anything without hard work’ and it’s doubly true in the online world. There is a LOT of competition out there unless you have a really groundbreaking idea like the Facebook, or Snapchat or Youtube and even those companies have had massive investment from venture capitalists to get them to where they are today. So unless you’re a tech genius my advice would always be to focus your business idea on something you know about.

An example of this could be selling sporting memorabilia online like the guys at A1 sporting memorabilia have done (found out more about them here). But if you haven’t got the connections that these guys had starting out then selling sporting memorabilia on eBay through an eBay store could be a good idea just like this guy has done here. And in these days of multiple online shopping opportunities being available, you could also sell through the Facebook marketplace or Sphlock as well. Just make sure you’ve got something in place to ship goods and get paid through PayPal.

If you want to learn more about selling and buying goods on eBay you can purchase this book on Amazon. I’ve also included some tips from a buying perspective in this blog here.

However, you may not have a supply of goods ready for sale but are the creative type who can make some unique designs using freely available computer software like Gravit (which I use) or Gimp for photos (which I also use) then the opportunities exist to make money online with very little expenditure through a few different online platforms.

The one I’m going to talk about here is a website called Etsy. Etsy is a website that describes itself as Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures. The way you the reader can use it to make money is by opening a shop on Etsy and selling some of your designs as what’s known as printables. Printables are items that someone pays for and then gets sent via email or direct download to their PC so that they can print them off at home. Examples include these lovely order forms that I found here). It costs 20 cents (or about 14 pence) to list an item on Etsy and they, of course, take a commision on your sales of a few percent but they give you access to a marketplace used by millions to promote your designs on! So if you designed a printable using free software and uploaded it for a cost of 14 pence then using the average sale price of £4.50 for a printable you would only need to sell one item to be in profit!

Obviously, it’s not a simple as that. You to have designs that people want to buy and you have to be able to market them effectively which is the subject of a well-regarded book which you can purchase here if the idea of designing and selling items on Etsy appeals!

Another idea that people can and do make money from, although it requires a lot of hard work and dedication, is through something known as dropshipping. The principles behind drop shipping are very simple. Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party (i.e. the manufacturer) and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product. Basically, this means that you never have to carry any stock.

Probably the best way to make a success out of dropshipping is to identify a manufacturer that will produce goods to your own design which you can then sell at a markup. Or identify a product in a niche market that has a wide potential customer base but not many suppliers. For example a few years ago people were making a killing dropshipping nunchucks and other Karate equipment because they spotted that Karate was becoming more and more popular in the UK. There’s then a couple of different ways to get your product to market. One way is by setting up a website through a company called Shopify who can help handle a lot of the hard work around designing a secure website to accept payments through which you can then market online through Facebook and other online methods, although be prepared to spend some money to use Shopify and to advertise your business. The Shopify website has lots of good quality blogs and articles on it about dropshipping so I certainly recommend visiting the website and exploring some of their content if the idea of running a dropshipping business appeals.

Or if you’d prefer to read a book on the subject then this one has had good reviews on good reads.

Another option for dropshipping is to go through an Amazon programme called Fulfilled by Amazon. You may have noticed when ordering some items through Amazon that they have a piece of text by them which says ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’. Basically, this means that the item is being sold by a third party seller through one of Amazon’s warehouses. This means as the seller you get the full advantage of Amazon’s marketing machine and customer service which can save you a LOT of hassle in the long-term. I’ve done a bit of research into this myself as it’s something I’ve seriously considered getting into and the best blog I’ve found on the subject is one you can get to by clicking here as it explains it in far more detail and with more understanding than I could hope to convey in this short space. There’s also an excellent and very reasonably priced book on the subject which you can purchase by clicking here if this sounds like an appealing option for you.

But what if you combined business ideas? 

Running your own website like Money Mental really does help develop your skills in a lot of areas. For me it’s really upped my skills in terms of Graphic Design. You may not realise this but a lot of the imagery you see on Money Mental and on its social media accounts is created by me! Something which I’d have never considered before running my own website!

So one idea that’s been toying at the back of my mind for a while is the idea of combining those recently acquired graphics design skills with some kind of merchandise selling business. Now obviously I don’t think the Money Mental brand is anywhere near big enough yet to merchandise and so don’t expect to suddenly see people walking around the streets of the UK with Money Mental t-shirts on and drinking out of Money Mental mugs (although it would be pretty cool!).

However, I do have lots of ideas for cool logo based t-shirts and merchandising that I could sell through sites such as Ebay, Amazon or Shopify. I want to try and do this using a limited budget so that I can then blog (and vlog) about my journey doing this. So I shall be doing some research myself over the coming weeks and will be sharing my successes and failures through the Money Mental website and social media accounts (don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by clicking the links at the right of this page just above the search bar).

I aim to launch this new business in May/June time and hopefully it will be a really useful insight for others who are considering doing the same!

The end or is it?

So that is the end of it for Part 1 – some food for thought for you. However, there is a part 2 coming soon! In Part 2 I will be talking about knowing your market and promoting your business. Two vital ingredients to building a successful online business! And remember almost every online business you come across these days started small on someone’s computer with a simple idea (maybe just like the one you’ve got?) so there’s nothing to stop you becoming the next big online entrepreneur!

This post contains affiliate links.

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