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How To Start A Business With Money or No Money (Part 1) – What’s In Your Hands?

How to start a business with money or no money

Written by Michael Santiago

April 4, 2022

Often time I have friends ask me for advice on How to start a business with money or no money after finding success with Arising Co in the Digital Marketing arena. They have a myriad of reasons for wanting to start on their journey as an entrepreneur, from wanting to have flexibility in their schedule to simply acquiring more wealth. Often their hiccup involves a state of analysis paralysis because of thinking they need to do the latest and greatest thing to be found relevant in their niche, or they simply do not have the money to start. Having little to no money to start a business is not as challenging as some may think. My wife and I started our Digital Marketing Business with no money, and we reinvested our first sale back into the business to gain even more clients.  Whether you have money or no money, the biggest piece of advice is to ask yourself, “What’s in my hands?”

What’s In Your Hands?

We are all gifted in something, it’s just that some of us haven’t applied due diligence to figure out what we’re skilled in. It comes down to providing a solution to a problem through a service that you’re skilled in. But Michael, that sounds way too simple. Let me tell you how my wife and I started our Digital Marketing business.

In 2020 during the prime time of COVID-19, I worked at a Digital Marketing agency as a Web Developer. It was a particularly niched field, but in my 5 months there, I gained valuable experience as a WordPress Developer along with increasing my knowledge and understanding of Business Operations. I was paid $20 an hour to develop WordPress websites and worked 40 hours a week. One day, I learned that a client website I was working on paid about $15,000 for their website along with some miscellaneous marketing packages. The moment I realized this, I began to take count of how long it took me to create that client’s website.

Awakening Moment

What I found was that I finished their website (including calls, emails, website edits, and additional processes) within 50 hours. If you do the math, 50 hours x $20 = $1,000. I completed a $15,000 website (the value is probably at $10,000 given that it included different packages) for just $1,000. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that the $15,000 price is warranted due to the amount of work involved in the process from the sales department, marketing department, and web department. I was employed to do that job specifically on the area of web development, so if I wanted to do this on my own, I would have to develop my skillset across Communication (Sales), Graphic Design, Marketing, and improve on Business Skills. Although I spent 50 hours, there were other employees also working on different components of the website which realistically places the value of the website much higher.

What if I went through the training to develop myself across all these areas to build an effective marketing package for a business to warrant at least a $5,000 costing website? Could I reasonably do this within a few months time? Would I have to invest in educational material to get there? After this discovery, I knew that working a 9-5 as a Website Developer and Designer was not for me. If I wanted a flexible schedule for my family while serving the people and type of organizations that I wanted to serve in a particular niche, then I knew I would have to start my own business. To start my own business, I would have to develop my skillset further. It turned out that I would have to leave a few months later due to other reasons, and then after a conversation with my wife, we chose to start our Digital Marketing business Arising Co as we possessed the initial skillset to do so. Over time we have honed our skills and expanded upon them to provide immense value to our customers all inhouse.

I knew that I had the capability of developing and designing websites as well as rightly creating content centered on SEO. My wife excelled in branding and marketing, so with our forces combined, Arising Co was birthed. All of this came about from clearly observing what was in our hands to do.

With God’s Help

Now my wife and I are Christians, and so we do believe that God gave us the favor and grace to accomplish this feat, along with providing clients for us purely by word of mouth. Deuteronomy 8:18 says: “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Quite simply, God gave us the ability and power to get wealth, and we had the faith to stand on this word when I left my web development position. Oh, did I mention that my wife was also unemployed at this time?

My Recommendation For Starting Your Business With Money or No Money

I recommend taking an assessment of what you’re good at and writing that down. Ask for feedback from those close to you. Once you have an idea of what that is, try to make an initial $1,000 with it and challenge yourself to do so in 2-3 weeks. This means telling people about your services, which also means developing your communication and sales skills. Keep working at it until you’re able to make your monthly salary from your job (or $1,000 above your expenses if you’re jobless) consecutively for 3-6 months. I recommend having a savings cushion where you can comfortably quit your job (about 3-6 months of expenses covered). Once you do this, it may be time to go full force with your business and devote your time to serving your vision.

If you have the money to invest in quality materials for your service, I would do that with caution. The primary goal is to find out if your idea is even sought after by others to warrant a purchase. If you invest heavily and find that you can’t make a sale, you’ll have wasted that money if your purchases can’t be used elsewhere!

If you don’t have the money to invest in certain materials for your service, I recommend searching for the best free options and maximizing their potential until you’re able to reinvest money made through your services back into your business. Before we began paying for Canva’s monthly subscription, we stuck to the Free Version and made the most of it. Before paying yearly for Rankmath Pro Plugin to handle SEO for our clients, we used the free version and made it work. We set a goal of getting x amount of clients taking the SEO add-on. Once enough did, we made more than enough to reinvest into our business by purchasing the product. Now, we make much more than before with the paid product.

If you’re unable to create this initial $1,000, I would ask these questions:

  1. Is my field on demand?
  2. Do I need to further develop that skill?
  3. Am I lacking in my sales pitch?
  4. Am I pricing my service too low or too high?

Sometimes, we end up choosing to embark on a field with little demand. If you find it is not, I propose setting your focus on that which is in demand and doing all you can to learn it enough that you can then monetize it. If you feel that you are not as skilled as others in your field, then it’s the perfect time to invest in books, videos, and workshops to be a cut above the rest. Need to improve on your communication and sales pitch, or overall speaking ability? Try joining Toastmasters. Toastmasters has helped improve both my leadership and communication ability. Try reading a book on pitching a sale, or even checking out YouTube videos on the subject matter to be more convincing when you present your service. Is your service priced too low where the number of hours put in is not worth the return, or is the service priced too high that no one ends up purchasing your service? Come up with decent pricing to start by comparing yourself to what others in your field are making per hour. Then, assess how many hours you may take on a given project, do the math, and you’ll land at a sweet spot to start. As you develop your skill, you can warrant a price increase over time because of the value that you bring to your customer compared to others in the field. I went from charging $75 for a digital painting to $200 after a year of improvement and still manage to make sales in that area.

It may also be that you just need to develop another idea for your business. Just keep working at it until you figure out what works.

There’s much more to dive into, and this is just part 1 of How to start your business where we dove into our story at Arising Co to provide encouragement and some practical tips to get you started. If you’re asking yourself How to start a business with money or no money, stay tuned for the next blog post!

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