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How to start an online business on a budget

No products and on a budget? No problem!

We get asked all the time “How can I make money online without spending much?” It’s a tough, open ended question that has too many variables to count, but there are a few ways to create a fully functional, online store in a matter of days, with hardly any financial investment. Intrigued? Keep reading…

Where to start:

To us, Shopify is the best place to go to start an ecommerce business (ecommerce means you’ll be taking payment through the website), so much so that we have joined their partner program. The reason Shopify is a great place to start, is practically anyone can figure out how to get a Shopify store up and running. If you do have any issues, they have a 24/7 support team that can help you if you get stuck. After your free trial, it’s just $29/mo to have a fully functional online store.

Decide what you’re going to sell:

Obviously, you’ll need to decide what you want to sell. If it’s a service you can provide like Piano lessons or consulting, great! You’re all set with inventory, because YOU are your inventory! If you’d rather sell a product and don’t have any ideas, head over the the Shopify App Store and search “Dropshipping” or if you have some designs you’d like to sell on T-shirts, Mugs, Flip Flops and almost anything else, search for “Print On Demand.” Printful is the app we recommend if you’d like to use a print on demand company. Remember, if you’re using a dropshipping or print on demand company, you’ll still have to deal with customers who don’t get their packages on time, aren’t satisfied with the quality, etc. That being said, it’s still a great place to start if you’re new to the online world.

Now, you’re ready to choose the name of your company and signup for Shopify. Once you’ve signed up and are logged into to your dashboard, use the following checklist and you’ll be up and running in no time:

  1. If selling a service, click on “Products” and add the Title, Description and Price for each service you will be offering.
  2. If you’re going to try dropshipping or print on demand, click on “Apps.” Do your research by reading reviews and googling questions about each one before installing the one you think will be best for you.
  3. Click on “Themes” and install the them that you like best. We recommend “Debut” as it has the most customizable sections and is the most intuitive to use.
  4. Click “Customize Theme” and use the sections to design the home page of your website. Add pictures legally from pixabay.com or pexels.com to make your website beautiful. Note: Only the home page is designed here, pages and products are designed by clicking on them respectively from your dashboard.
  5. Be sure to add your products to your home page! This is one big mistake we see new businesses make. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to find your products and you’ll see much higher conversion rates (a conversion is someone who visits your store and actually buys something)
    Add a contact us page by clicking on “pages” and then selecting “contact page” in the settings. This adds a form that allows you to collect messages from interested visitors.
  6. Click on “Domains” and buy a domain name for $14/year. You can do all of this from within shopify, but we usually recommend godaddy.com so you can easily switch website platforms without transferring your domain name away from Shopify if you ever need to in the future. Make the new domain name your default so all traffic forwards there and you’re done!

That’s it! You’re now ready to start selling. Keep in mind, outside of your product, marketing and sales are the most important aspect of any business, so make sure you have an idea of how you’ll get your website in front of people who may want to buy your products or services.

If you need any help with the design or setup of your Shopify account, we have Shopify experts on our team, and we’ll provide affordable, ongoing support for your store, or design the entire store from scratch. Call us at 805-979-3009 if you’d like to learn more or if you have any questions.

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