How much does it cost to start an online business: Starting an online business is not cheap.
You’ll need to buy your website domain, a hosting package, design and develop your site, pay for advertising, and more.
Unless you have a rich uncle who will give you a hefty loan, you’ll probably need to cut back on your expenses to fund your new business idea.
If you love the idea of starting an online business but don’t have a lot of money to invest in it right now, read on for some cost-cutting ideas that will help get you started more cheaply.
Cutting back on personal spending may be difficult at first if it feels counter-intuitive (who doesn’t love new clothes and nice dinners out?).
However, in the long run these sacrifices will be worth it if they make it possible for you to pursue the career path of your dreams sooner rather than later.
50 Ways to Save Money to Start an Online Business
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Starting an online business can be expensive. Between buying the right equipment, purchasing software and subscriptions, and setting up your workspace, you could end up spending thousands of dollars before you begin generating any revenue. However, if your passion is selling things online, there are some ways to save money so that you can launch an e-commerce site without going bankrupt first. Fortunately, as e-commerce continues to grow as a trend, it also becomes easier to find affordable solutions for small businesses that want to get started. Here are 50 ways to save money and start an online business by cutting unnecessary costs and finding cheaper alternatives:
1. Don’t buy new equipment until you know you need it
When you’re getting started with your business, you may feel pressure to buy all the best equipment right away. However, before you spend thousands of dollars on new machines, make sure you actually need them. Try running your business model on a lower-priced computer and see how it goes. You won’t know how much traffic you’ll receive, or how many sales you’ll get, until you’re actually in business and running ads. By starting small and using equipment that’s less expensive, you can afford to make mistakes and still be able to upgrade to more powerful machines when you need to.
2. Use free software
Another way to save money when starting an online business is to use free software where possible. There are many applications that are free and can be used to run an e-commerce site. You can also use free options for hosting your site, as well as for analytics and email marketing software. By finding free alternatives, you’ll be able to save money and put it towards other things in your business, like your product and marketing budget.
3. Shop for used equipment
You’ll need certain equipment to start an online business, but when you buy new, you can end up spending thousands of dollars. You can, however, often find used equipment that’s in great condition for a much lower price. When purchasing used equipment, make sure you check it out thoroughly and inspect it for damage that might not be visible to the naked eye. You can also get insurance for used items, which may be cheaper than paying for new equipment that breaks.
4. Host your site for free
Hosting your site is one of the largest expenses you’ll have to take care of when starting an online business. You’ll need to select the best hosting option for your needs and budget, but you can often find free hosting for your website. In fact, many free services allow you to host an unlimited number of websites, making them a great option for new e-commerce businesses. However, keep in mind that free services may have slower response times and less desirable uptime than paid hosting options. If you’re looking to build a high-traffic site, hosting for free may not be the best option.
5. Outsource the tasks you aren’t good at
When you’re getting started with your online business, you’ll want to invest in skills and knowledge that will help you succeed. However, there are many things that you can outsource to specialists, such as marketing, or video editing. You can either hire these services on an ongoing basis, or you can find a one-time gig through sites like Fiverr. This can be a great way to save money, but also to focus on the areas of your business where you have the most expertise. You can then focus your budget on the areas where you have the most to contribute, like product development and customer service.
6. Find a co-founder who has the skills you don’t
If you’re trying to start an online business on your own, you may struggle to find the time to develop your product, as well as manage your ad spend. If you find someone who has skills that you don’t, like design, marketing, and product development, you can partner with them as co-founders in your business. By partnering with someone who has some of the skills you lack, you can save money on hiring full-time staff. You can also partner with someone who may be able to bring in additional revenue to the business, like someone with a large following on social media.
7. Rotate your ad spend to find your most profitable ad type
When you start advertising your products, you’ll want to determine which type of ad is most profitable. However, you may not know if one type of ad is more effective than another until you’ve been running them both for several weeks. When you first start your business and you’re testing different ad types, it may seem like you’re not making any sales at all. In this case, it’s important to continue running your ads, even if you aren’t making any money. Your sales will increase as the weeks go by, but you need to know which ad type to keep running for maximum profit.
8. Use A/B testing from the start
If you’re like most e-commerce entrepreneurs, you’ll want to invest in paid ads to drive traffic to your site. However, figuring out which ads work best can be difficult, and it can take a long time to see results. A/B testing is a great way to start saving money as soon as you start running ads. By A/B testing your ads, you’ll be able to see which one performs better. In fact, you may even discover that two different ads running at the same time have the same amount of clicks. By A/B testing, you can spend your ad budget more wisely and potentially reduce the amount of money you spend on ads by over 50%.
9. Make your product require less storage space
If you’re selling physical products, you’ll need to store your inventory somewhere before you sell it. However, storing your products in a warehouse or shipping them from overseas can be expensive. You can, however, find ways to store your inventory that require less space, or use less expensive shipping options. By reducing the amount of space your inventory takes up, or finding less expensive shipping solutions, you can save money while still selling physical products.
10. Use ad blockers to save more money
While ads are essential to e-commerce, they can also be expensive. In fact, some businesses rely on ads for most of their revenue, which can be risky. If people are using ad blockers, you may not even see the revenue from your ads. However, you can avoid this issue by not displaying ads on your site. You can also offer a paid membership, or free information in exchange for users disabling their ad blocking software. This way, you can still offer free content but also make money from the paid ads. By making your site run more smoothly, you can increase your conversion rate and decrease your bounce rate, which will lead to more sales. Plus, you’ll have happier customers, and that’s always a good thing!