First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! There are a lot of people who have great ideas for businesses, but not too many of them take it to the next level. Your reading this means you're ready to stop thinking and start doing, so Yay you!
Second of all, it isn't as scary as you think. When I first started Wonder Curl, I was unemployed with very little money in the bank. I did a lot of research to find out how I can get my business started as cheaply as possible. It's been 8 years since I started and there have been so many great services that are now offered that I didn't have. This makes starting a business even easier.
Let me give you my background into business, Wonder Curl. In case you didn't know, I have a haircare line for curly hair that I literally started in the kitchen...my sister's kitchen to be exact. I had just been fired from a job that I hated and felt that since I had all this time on my hands, this was a great time for me to start a business.
I had very little money and just an idea...to create the perfect hair gel for curly hair. I wanted it to make your hair look and feel great. I spent months working on the formula for my Get Set Hair Jelly. Once I finally got it right, I knew I had to sell it.
I researched the different website options. Etsy wasn't around back then, and I didn't want to go the Ebay route. I was looking for a way to sell online and not pay any fees. I discovered eCrater.com and started my account with them. eCrater is free for listing and you use PayPal for payments. Free usually means limited, but I had one product and no money, so this was good enough for me.
I then had to think about how I was going to promote my one product. I started posting onto Facebook, I didn't have a business page yet, and would write to blogs. My 'big break' came when I was featured in a popular blog. At the same time, I had reduced the price of my Get Set Hair Jelly to only $1 intro price for a 2oz jar. This paid off and I got a bunch of orders.
After that, I've been plugging away and reinvesting my dollars into growing my brand. If you're ready to get started on your business, check out my 4 tips below.
1. Write it all down. It's easy to think of ideas, but until you write them down onto paper (I'm old school), it might not ever come to fruition. And when I say write it 'all' down, I mean just that. Everything you can think of to run your business. Whether it's a service or a good, you want to have some sort of plan written down.
This is something I do every year. Even though I am a solopreneur, I can come back to my plan to make sure I'm still on track.
2. Get your domain name and site. No matter what type of business you're in, as you meet new people, they will all ask you about your website. This is your electronic business card.
You don't have to go out and spend tons of money on a graphic artist or a website company unless you can. I have been writing and maintaining my own site. Partly because I'm a control freak and I don't think anyone else can do better, but also because I have heard horror stories from other business owners who spent thousands of dollars on a site that they didn't like.
With services like Weebly (which I use for this site), Wix, Shopify and more, you can get a site up and running for free or a nominal cost. You can also use Wordpress, but I found Wordpress to be a bit more involved and had to employ an expert to keep it running smoothly.
3. Social Media is your friend. I've had some folks tell me they're not of Facebook because they don't want people in their business. Fair enough, but you definitely want your business on Facebook (see what I did there)!
If you're one of those people who want to stay private, that's fine. You can create a personal Facebook page and keep it unlisted so that you won't be found. But you want your business to have a Facebook page. There is a wealth of information you can get for free through the analytics for free.
Depending on your business, you might also want to look at Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube and Google+. There's also Snapchat, but honestly, I'm not very familiar with that. I like to stick to what I know and work with those. Be sure to choose a name that you can keep consistent across all your platforms.
4. Invest your time, not just money. If you're just getting started, most likely, you'll be the person doing everything. You've invested your time into reading this post (thank you very much) and there are tons of other resources you can use that will give you valuable insight into how to run a profitable business. I'll list some of my goto sites below. *some are affiliate links*
Hubspot - they sell a marketing service, but they also give you guides, ebooks and more to help keep you up-to-date on the latest in the inbound marketing industry.
Neil Patel - SEO expert with a blog to help you to drive traffic to your site.
Mailchimp.com - you can get started for free, but the real fun happens when you get the paid subscription
Appsumo - great place for lifetime deals at online services, but be wise and discerning to what you buy, you don't need everything they're selling.
Youtube - there's a video for everything
Pinterest - they've done a great job of curating information (not just pretty pictures). If I'm creating a landing page, I do a search on Pinterest for inspiration as well as other creatives I am interested in.
This is just a beginner's post to get you from point A to point B. I'll be writing more on marketing your business in later posts, so stay tuned and good luck with your business!
Scarlett is a business owner and lover of pretty things. She started this blog to share some of her witticisms and favorite things.