How to Start Your Online Business for Less Than $50

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When you see all of the different software, apps, websites that entrepreneurs use in their business, mentally, you begin to add it all up in your head and your first thought is "I can't afford that." 

It doesn't take hundreds of dollars to start an online business. I'm going to walk you through the bare minimum of investments you need to make to get your online business up and running, looking professional, and running smoothly. 

Hosting Platform

Wordpress

Wordpress can be an awesome option for a hosting platform. There is only one thing: It's a huge learning curve. Wordpress is based on coding. Your entire website is based on the codes Wordpress has assembled and the custom codes you insert. Designing a Wordpress website is almost entirely only possible by a professional. 

In other words, Wordpress is for those who are very tech savvy. If you have trouble understanding and manipulating codes, plugins, etc. Wordpress may be more of a headache than a helping aid to you. 

Free / $2.99 per month, billed yearly

Squarespace

All of my boss besties over in my Facebook group know that I'm a huge Squarespace fan. You just can not beat the quality and ease of use. 

Not only are the plugins already "plugged in," but the templates are also clean and aesthetically pleasing - which eliminates the expense of hiring a graphic designer (until you're able to afford it) while still having your website look super professional! In my personal experience, their customer service is impeccable as well.

Personal plan $12 per month / Business plan $18 per month

*I personally believe that the personal plan works perfectly for bloggers, entrepreneurs, creatives. Should you need more space is the only time I would recommend the business plan.*

In conclusion:

Setting up your hosting platform will cost you anywhere between $2.99 - $18 per month. 

Custom Domain

You may think that your businessname.wordpress.com looks professional, but it doesn't. Whenever you are doing anything in your business, think about the businesses that you interact with everyday.

Does Walmart have a website of Walmart.wordpress.com? Does Forever 21 have a website of Forever21.squarespace.com? Then ask yourself: If these businesses DID have a website like that, how much would you actually trust them?

Having a custom domain for your business not only makes you look more professional, but it also makes it easy to find you. You may hear a lot of people in the creative online space say "When it's easy to find you, it's easy to pay you." They are telling you the TRUTH. 

If a person wants to work with you, pay you, sign up for your email list, etc. they need to have a place to go. You need to have a consistent, reliable place containing all your information, content, etc. This also makes it easier on you - it's easier for you to refer someone to yourbusiness.com instead of yourbusiness.squarespace.com

Squarespace - $20 per year

Wordpress - $18 per year

Google Domains* - $12 per year

Name Cheap - As low as $0.88 per year

In conclusion:

Buying your domain name can be anywhere between $0.88 - $20 per year. Considering this would be a yearly price, once you purchase a year, you don't need to worry about that expense until a year later. 

Custom email  

This is another criteria that a lot of creatives think isn't important. Again, you will never receive an email from Target, Forever 21, Walmart, or Best Buy labeled theirbusiness@gmail.com. You will always receive an email using something along the lines of hello@theirbusiness.com. 

Why?

1. Why promote Google, Yahoo, etc. when you have the potential to promote yourself? 

When someone sees your email, you are indefinitely promoting your email server. This is the same as using Google or Amazon Ads on your website. Sure, you might get a few cents or dollars when someone clicks the ad, but you are getting paid to have them leave YOUR site and go to the site of another business.

You aren't converting them into clients. You aren't getting them on your email list. You are sending them somewhere OTHER than working with you. 

2. Builds trust with your audience 

Any spamming account can create a Gmail account in 10.2 seconds. You become more respected and trusted as a business, when someone sees that you put in the extra work to not only create a business email, but pay for one.

People take you serious when money is involved. Whether they are hiring you, you are paying them, they're buying from you, or whatever the case may be. 

Also, a lot of email servers such as Mailchimp and Convertkit are requiring that you have a custom email in order to use the service. Custom emails also help your emails to end up the Primary folder of your audience instead of the Promotions - which no one checks, let's be honest. 

Gsuite (Google for Work)* - $5 per month

In conclusion: 

Your email will cost you a total of $5 per month.