Wouldn’t it be great to know how to start a business with low investment? Many aspiring entrepreneurs want to do this but don’t know how. We are part of an economy that is overloaded with information. This creates inconsistent and confusing messages for many. The most obvious benefit to starting with low investment means there is less to pay at the beginning. However, this will always be compromised with increased time and to get results.
If you want to start a business with low investment, your best chance is starting a service based business. Many entrepreneurs I study closely started with a service in some capacity. This is about offering skills to someone and helping them solve a problem. The next step is finding a way to get paid, and a way to find your clients and make sales. Once you have these core aspects in place you can get fancy with everything else.
Focus on providing services
Providing a service is the cheapest way you can get started with any low investment business. This is because you rarely need many expensive tools to get started. Most service-based businesses require a phone, laptop, internet, a way to get paid, some documents and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong there are services that do rely on specialised tools, but this article is aimed at people who are looking to get started. This article is going to show you the steps required to succeed in starting a business with low investment. I will create a resources section in this post to highlight the cost of things.
Think about your skills
- Skills and problems you can solve
- Likes and Dislikes
- Qualifications, Certifications and Training
- Interests and Problems you want to solve
Once you have done this list you’ll be able to decide what you want to focus on based on capability, confidence and likeability. Please note, you must focus on a problem to solve, where the other credentials should support your ability to solve that problem. For example, you want to help people lose weight, and you have skills in project management. You also have a deep interest in nutrition and how it can benefit people. You have transferable skills that can be used here. Also, feel free to also ask your friends and family and see what they come up with.
Find the niche
Now you know what your core strengths are, you need to find a market that needs these strengths. Look for a niche that you want to be a part of. This is usually answered in the previous exercise. The biggest niches are:
Check out “niche ideas + Keyword” on Google to give you a head start. You can also brainstorm some niche ideas and begin searching for what people are doing in those markets already. The best way to define a niche is to segment an industry a couple of times and do the same with its audience. For example:
- Industry: Wealth → Make money online → Creating and Publishing Online Courses
- Audience: Entrepreneurs → Digital Marketers → Course Creators → Health Experts Course Creators
It would be a great idea to see what competitors are doing in your space. The quickest way to do this is via YouTube and Facebook Pages. Check YouTube for the gurus in your space and understand their funnel. Discover what they are teaching based on their video content. Also, understand what they want people to opt-in to. Find out what products and services they have on offer. You can also check Facebook pages and check Info and Ads. There you can see the Ads they are running and what lead magnets they are offering. Finally, Amazon is a great platform for checking out books in your niche. Check out the table of contents in books, as well as the reviews left on their pages. This will give you insights into what can be improved. The aim here is not to create products yet, it’s to understand their model. If you can, also learn about your competitor’s hero journey i.e. how they got to where they are now. Their story will be useful for your learning.
To be educated is to be enlightened. This means you need to fill yourself with information to become valuable. As an aspiring service-based business owner you need to know your stuff. Get as much knowledge and information you can to stand out as an expert. Eventually, you will expel this information through teaching, speaking, writing, and consulting/coaching. Read as many books as you can on a topic. Watch as many YouTube videos as you can on a topic. Listen to the right podcasts and get information and knowledge. Go to workshops and seminars to get educated. All of this will help.
Practice your skills
Next, you want to brush up your skills. Now you have all the knowledge it’s time to put it into practice. Find people you can coach for free in exchange for feedback and a testimonial. Practice coaching with a loved one to understand the process, or talk about the process with them. Maybe you need to get a short course completed, or qualification. The aim is not to waste time here. If you don’t need to get a qualification, then don’t. The benefits of qualifications are assurance and confidence. However, depending on what you are doing, it is not necessarily essential. I would check any governing bodies and information online to confirm this for your industry.
Create a Paypal account
Every business needs a way to get paid. Now you don’t necessarily need a Paypal account, you can manually create or use software to send invoices to people, but Paypal just makes the process easier. This just means they will charge you 3.4% + 20p per transaction, so factor that into your fees. For example, if you charge £50 per hour maybe you want to charge £51.90 instead. It’s your call, and it’s your business. Check your market’s prices if you are unsure. If you have completely no experience £50 – £200 is always a great place to start for service-based businesses. You can also use Stripe which is lower fees, but a little more complicated to use.
Develop a website and email list
Create a self-hosted WordPress website as your name or niche keyword. Add an about page, services and contact page to your website. You also want to add a blog section, testimonials and legal pages to it at some point. In addition, you want to add pop-up forms or opt-in bars to your website to encourage sign-ups. You need to integrate your autoresponder software to your WordPress site via a plugin (Mailmunch) or scripts embedded on your website from your autoresponder site. Sign-up for a MailChimp account which is free for the first 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. You want to build your email list so that you are in front of your customers regularly, providing free value, opportunities for them to buy your services. Email is the best way to do this. Make sure you develop an irresistible lead magnet and that you are GDPR compliant.
Create your framework
Educating yourself meant that you started to formulate an idea of your framework. Write out in a logical and chronological order your programme or service structure. This basically the blueprint to helping you solve your customer’s biggest problems. This same framework in the future can be used to create books, videos, content, courses and high-ticket programmes. But for now, you are using it for your service based business.
Get your documents, legals, forms and tools in place
As you have your framework, and you have practiced conducting your sessions, you’ll realise there are things you need. This may include:
- Coaching/Consulting agreements
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Terms of Service
- Pre-Coaching Questionnaire
- Client Testimonial form
- Private Email
- Phone number
When it comes to the legal, there are templates you can purchase. However, I am not a legal person so always seek professional legal advice.
Create a huge amount of content! Maybe set yourself a 30, 60, 90 or 120-day challenge to produce content every day consistently and then relax it down to 2-5 times per week there afterward. This is so that you can see and analyse the effects or your content, as well as have content on your website for people to check out. Content is a way to position you as an expert. Focus on developing content on your website (articles), and then gradually create this same content in the form of Video and Podcast. The easiest way to start is on YouTube, as you can rip the MP3 file from it and turn it into a podcast episode. Then you can write out the content. Before you do all this you must make sure you do adequate keyword research to target the right people.
Social Media and other platforms
Social media is a way to get your audience to know, like and trust you. But social media should be a platform you should focus on. As you have heard before you do not own these platforms, therefore they have the right to change anything. Use Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest channels to reshare your content or promote your content. You can also use these platforms to show your lifestyle and educate and empower people in your niche. This is where stories and lives will come in handy as people will get to know you better. Make sure you fill out every section on your social media profile explaining what you do, who you do it for and a call-to-action with a link to your website. This link could also be a link to book a 30-minute free consultation session with you. LinkedIn, Quora and Medium could also be platforms to redistribute parts of your content get people checking it out, with a link back to the original content.
Sign up to Affiliates
As you are providing a service in the form of coaching, mentoring or consulting you will definitely be making recommendations. With these recommendations, you can make a commission if your audience purchases it via your link. If you are recommending something make sure you have used it before. Check to see if your product, service or software has an affiliate programme they offer. If not there are also other options such as Amazon Associates, Clickbank, Offer Vault, Commission Junction etc. Don’t litter your content with affiliate links but also make sure you add them. It is also important to add a disclaimer to state that you are using affiliate links as stated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In the beginning, a lot of your clients will be friends, family or friends of friends. Capitalise on this using this as an opportunity to build yourself and get testimonials. Moreover, events, expos and networking are the best ways to meet your customers and help them on the spot. It is also a chance to hear their problems first hand, aiming to facilitate further conversation. When networking you shouldn’t be thinking about pitching or selling, focusing on having a conversation and exchanging value. Be an active listener asking effective questions. Then aim to provide a solution on the spot with your responses. Demonstrating your expertise goes a long way when you are “networking.” Make sure to exchange contact information i.e. an email or phone contact and follow up the following day. If you can schedule a 30-minute consultation with them, then do so.
Talks at events
With all this content you are providing, there will be people watching you or who find you. Some of these people will offer to let you speak at their events, radio or podcast. Take up the offer and let their audience know who you are. Make sure you have an offer or call-to-action for them, ready for them to connect with you. Events are a great way to get potential clients as they can see you in the flesh. Whatever you do, make sure you film every talk that you do and post it on YouTube sharing it on other platforms. It develops more social proof for your audience.
Guest blog for people
You can also guest blog on a high-profile website or YouTube channel relevant to your industry. Provide some high content-rich information that can help their audience overcome a key problem. Again, you want to leave a backlink to your site where they can find out more about you or book a session with you. You can find blogs that you want to write for and contact them. Follow their guidelines, and make it clear that you are aware of their work. The more personal and insightful your message, the better. Featuring on other people’s platforms whether it is an event or blog post could be a game changer for you. Put it into your daily or weekly to-do list.
As you can see most people can start a business on low investment if they follow these steps. It requires that you identify:
- Your skills
- Determine your niche
- Understand what you need to get started
- Develop PR and marketing opportunities in your market
This should be enough to get you on your way! When you start to make money, then you can invest in PPC Facebook Ads to find your audience faster. In addition tradeshows and hosting your own events to attract your clients.
Find below a list of recommendations to help you get started. Please note some of these are affiliate links where I make a commission. This helps me continue provide to provide good content for you.
- (Mac) Laptop (Required) £500 – £3,000
- Internet (Required) £10 – £35 p/m
- Phone – Samsung Galaxy S9 Note+ (Required) £600 – £1999 if Samsung or iPhone
- Phone rig/stand – £5.89
- Camera stand – £11.99
- Lapel Mic – £9.50
- Good lighting (Required) or Camera lights – £49.99
- Phone editing software – InShot, Vlogit or Quik – FREE
- Video editing software – Camtasia or Premiere Pro – £235.75 and £19.97 p/m respectively
- Screencast software – Camtasia or QuickTime – FREE
- Canva.com (Required) – FREE
- Google Drive or One Drive Account (Required)
- PayPal or Stripe Account – FREE
- PayPal Reader – £54
- Namecheap Account
- Hosting (Required) – £11.66
- Domain name (Required) – £5-£10 p/y
- Private Email (Required) – £7.46 p/y
- Positive SSL – Free for the first year
- WordPress Theme (Required) – $29 – $59
- Leadpages or Kyvio – $39 and $29 respectively
- MailChimp (Required) – FREE for the first 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent p/m
- Registered business address – Capital Office – min of £45
- Tide Bank account or Savings Account (Required) – FREE
- Business cards – 10o cards for £4.95
- Social media Accounts – FREE
- YouTube Channel – FREE
*Required items if you have the essentials i.e. laptop, phone and internet = £46.01
*Required items if you have nothing= £1,156.01 min and £5,080.01 max
*These totals do not take into action other expenses like travel, food and maintenance, however that is something you should be monitoring anyway.