Are you thinking about starting your own business?
It’s a good idea. There’s nothing quite like the freedom of working for yourself, and using your creativity to grow a business you can be proud of. The truth is, most of us would love to reclaim our time, retire younger, and bring in a higher income! If you like to dream, to aspire, and to seek abundant living, you almost owe this to yourself.
Wait a minute though, what’s the hang up? Obviously it’s not quite that simple. There’s a lot of work, determination, and even a bit of risk that has to go into building a business. Otherwise, everyone would do it.
Young Retiree is all about teaching people how to build businesses, residual income, and achieve greater freedom, and one of the biggest questions people have when starting out is this: What Is The Cheapest Way To Start A Business?
It’s one of the most reasonable concerns I can possibly think of, and I’ll try my best to explain my discoveries here.
The Cost of Doing Business (And Why I Use The Internet)
Expenses. It’s possibly one of the most daunting words an aspiring business owner can have pop into their heads. And the cousin of “expenses” is an even scarier monster called “debt”.
The traditional idea we have of owning a business is the good old brick-and-mortar business. It’s often a battle just to break even with a business like that, let alone make profit! In many cases you could even find yourself picking up increasing debt.
Think, for just a minute, about all of the things that could eat into the bottom line for a normal business.
– You usually have to buy inventory (easily $100’s or even $1,000’s of dollars monthly)
– Pay for a store or property (easily $1,000+/month)
– Internet bill, electric bill, heating bill, water bill – all the utilities (several hundred dollars)
– Property and casualty insurance (over $100/month)
– eventually paying an employee(s) (easily $1,000’s every month)
And I haven’t even started on the costs of accounting/bookkeeping, legal protection, advertising, toilet paper, etc. etc. etc.
Starting a physical business is extremely expensive. It may take years of blood, sweat, and tears before a business even begins to see profits.
Now hold up – don’t let this discourage you yet! OF COURSE starting a business is hard work. Honestly, it will also take some upfront investment, no matter which way you slice it. The old saying “it takes money to make money” isn’t unrealistic.
But there IS a cheaper way to start a lucrative business. This is why I turned to the internet.
Dreaming Big (The Opportunities Online)
I hope you have a pen, some paper, and a good cup of coffee, because these are some opportunities online that can make building a lucrative business extremely feasible… even on a tighter budget.
It’s been clear for quite a few years now that online business, in almost every industry, has become totally essential for the success of a business. Those who miss the wave tend to sink (R.I.P Toys R’ Us)
When I was studying to get my degree in Integrated Marketing, we always came back to this point. If you want to build a successful brand, the internet is where you need to go (and if you’re interested in the importance of branding check out my post on it RIGHT HERE).
So what is the cheapest way to start a business online?
1. Affiliate Marketing
Annual cost of starting business: less than $400
Income Potential: relative to effort and drive. Easily $50,000/year and beyond
Skills Needed: Ability/willingness to learn. writing about your interests
Affiliate marketing is basically a fancy term for making money from a blog. You can read about 5 simple steps on how to make money from a blog.
Sound pretty abstract? It did to me too, at least at first. After a month of doing in-depth research on how it all worked, this is what I discovered.
There is a program that will help build you a sweet looking website, teach you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, and provide everything that you need to make the business successful. As a matter of fact, there are a BUNCH of programs out there that will do this, but I eventually discovered one that covered ALL the bases, AND was affordable.
It’s called Wealthy Affiliate, and I’ll admit that I actually found it by accident. So I have to say I’m pretty thankful.
You can read a more detailed review of my experience with Wealthy Affiliate HERE.
I’ll break it down. Think of something that you’re really interested in, and how you might help people with something related to it. It could be a guide that you write. Or maybe you’ll post reviews about products. Top 10 Lists. You name it, you can center a blog around it.
There are 3.75 billion people using the internet. Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how to get your blog posts onto the first page of Google, and get people interested.
Then you can get paid by companies to recommend products through your blog. Sound strange? I know fellow bloggers in Wealthy Affiliate making well over $150,000/year doing this, and some who are making more than that monthly!
I’m doing affiliate marketing RIGHT NOW by recommending Wealthy Affiliate to you. Though there are similar programs that would pay me more, I choose to only recommend Wealthy Affiliate to you because I found it was the best value for the cost. Always do this for your readers.
Buying a domain (your “.com”) costs around $10 per year. And Wealthy Affiliate, training, tools, website building, powerful website hosting, and community support, is all encompassed in $360 per year.
You could bring in over $50,000/year through this business before you would need to add any more expenses! You could do this single handed. No employees necessary. And you can do this for less than a month’s rent of a brick-and-mortar business.
For more details on how affiliate marketing is, take a look at this post.
Annual cost of starting business: less than $1,000 in the beginning, but with something like Shopify Lite you can start for just $9/month
Income Potential: relative to effort and drive. $1,000,000+ is not unrealistic
Skills Needed: Learning, branding, communication
I really want you to dream big here. Think outside of the conventional sphere of the 9-5 grind. Expand your horizons.
Working is not a bad thing. It’s actually good for mental health to be productive. But firing your boss, and reaping all the benefits of your own labor, is a reasonable goal.
I’m asking you to dream big here, because other than signing your life away to a corporation for some long-term ladder climbing, or getting really strategic with penny-stock trading, an online, physical products business may be the clearest road to a multi-million dollar income available today.
While a brick-and-mortar business that makes several million dollars a year will almost always have hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual expenses, (like paying a bunch of employees), there are ways of creating a business online that can be a one or two person show, with comparatively tiny costs.
Which means that YOU as the owner get to keep a LOT more of the profit.
Similar to how you need to think of a topic for a blog with affiliate marketing, you’ll need an idea for a great product if you want to start an online business selling physical products.
This may not be as hard as it sounds, if you know where to look. A Canadian company by the name of Shopify is the launching point that makes this so possible.
What makes Shopify such a phenomenon is that it will not only allow you to build an impeccable webstore with a few clicks of a button, but it will also set you up for marketing, allows you to process payments of any kind, and display inventory. It optimizes your content. It hosts your webstore reliably. And it will even set you up with the tools to automate shipping, bookkeeping, and almost everything else you could need.
You can read a more comprehensive description of Shopify right HERE.
And the plan to get your Shopify store started is only $29/month. So even with the costs of a few add-on tools you may eventually need, the annual cost of running your online store is still well below $500.
Once you come up with ideas for your brand, and a product to go with it, there are tons of sites like Deal Extreme, and SaleHoo, where you can get quality products for dirt-cheap wholesale prices, to sell for much higher margins. You can read about how that works in my post about branding a business.
The cost of your inventory may vary, depending on the product you’re going for, but with online sales there are even ways of pre-selling your inventory, or getting your business launch crowdfunded through donations at a place like Kickstarter.com, where 14,000,000+ backers help fund creative new projects and businesses.
This is a very simple introduction to e-commerce, but it has more lucrative potential than a physical business, with only a fraction of the costs.
So Can Starting A Business Be Affordable?
The answer to that question is decidedly, yes. Is starting a business ever going to be free? Probably not. Like most worthwhile things, there’s a level of commitment and investment required.
What are your goals? Do you want a brand new Jaguar (hey, I’m a car enthusiast, I can’t blame you)? Do you want to move home so that you spend more time with your loved ones? Do you want to spend a third of your year traveling the world?
There’s nothing stopping “ordinary people” from reaching these goals. The internet has created an opportunity where you don’t even need a big budget to get started! You just need the consistency and a good understanding of your goals.
You need motivation.
I would like to be a father in about 5 years. I want to be in the mix with my children, and with my wife. I want them to not only have financial security and provision – I want them to have a husband and father who is free to go on a picnic with them on a sunny spring afternoon, or spontaneously take a bike ride through mountain trails.
Nothing’s stopping me.
These are the cheapest ways to start a business. They’re not necessarily easy or fast ways, but they’re affordable and they’re effective.
And the residual income could have you set for retirement younger than you ever expected.
Please Ask Me Any Questions Or Share Your Thoughts! I’d Love To Hear From You
p.s. The comments only ask for your email so it can notify you when I’ve responded. I won’t spam you, I promise!