How to start a business with just $1,000

Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

When you think about starting a business, the first two questions that come to mind are “how much is this going to cost and how do I get that much capital?”

The dynamics of financing a business have changed dramatically over time. Where you once relied on bank loans and savings, you now have many options to get your business off the ground.

However, let’s take a step back. You should be asking, “What’s the minimum amount of capital I need to get this up and running?” For those first few steps, $1,000 can go far and fast. It’s all about what I call “resource capital,” a mix of time, money, and effort.

Related: How to start a business online

The price does not always correspond to the value

As a disclaimer: It’s my fault for thinking I had to have the best of the best when I started our business. We have always chosen the most expensive external partners for operational needs. A hefty price tag could at least give us peace of mind that we’re getting exactly what we paid for, right? We’ve found that just because a company spends a lot of time and money building its reputation doesn’t mean it delivers. We had to learn that it’s not always bad to go the cheaper route.

Related: 10 ways to finance your small business

Build your business

Building a business is like building a house. You have to think it up, create a design, and get all the necessary permits from the city. That’s where all the fun stuff comes from, like designing, building, and scaling.

Starting the same way, we need to think about our business and $1,000 in very similar steps:

The permits

– Business Records: ($50 – $150 depending on location)

Every state has a website or process for incorporating a company, usually found on the Secretary of State’s website. California, for example, allows you to choose your name, pay your fee, receive your EIN, and then your business is official. Depending on the company structure, this can be more complex. Still, many people make the mistake of using online services to register companies, when in reality it is easier than many would like to believe.

The blueprints

– Your website or landing page: (Free – $150/month)

There are a variety of platforms that you can choose for this. I recommend not spending a lot of time building an entire website. Instead, create a simple landing page that provides an engaging overview of your business. Think of this as the digital billboard to use when explaining to others what you are building.

Don’t hire an expensive web designer to create it on your first try. There is a 100 percent chance that will change.

– Website Domain & Email: ($12 – $60)

Always buy the domain if you can, or an offshoot of it (e.g. “.co” or “.io”. Nobody will take a business seriously if it doesn’t have a proper domain name. This is sometimes just like GoDaddy and Google domains.

Next, create your new email address with your new domain name – your first name and company name will do. If you want a more generic support email, use “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” instead. In many cases, website platforms have packages that include the domain and the email. Benefit from these cost savings right from the start.

The drafts

Your early branding is crucial in getting people to take you seriously. To successfully build a brand, your business needs to look like it.

Creative (Logo, Branding): ($100-$350)

If you’re not creative and need help with things like logos and branding, there are resources like 99Designs, Fiverr, and even Etsy where you can hire brand specialists to help. Being consistent in how you present your brand from the start is incredibly important and helps align with the brand and its mission, and it’s an exciting and fun win to celebrate right away.

Lays the foundation

– SAAS Tools: (Free – $100)

Now that you’re ready to build your “house,” it’s time to choose your tools. There are thousands of options for SAAS products depending on what you do. The most important thing to remember here is to only use what you need and always First select the free trial version. These companies are designed to hook you for free and prepare you to pay as they scale. If you have to pay for their service, I recommend spending $100 or less on it.

Find your contractual partner

– Virtual Assistant: ($300-$500)

If you’re starting out alone, or even with a partner, you’ll be shocked to find out what $10 a day can do. When it comes to virtual assistants, you can get almost anything you need with that money. The goal is to make sure you get someone of high quality who understands your work style and brand. Not only will this lead you to learn how to delegate and build a team, but it will also free up at least four hours of work a day.

When starting a business, one of the most important issues is the number of menial tasks that need to be done. Having someone to take care of it is crucial. If you need someone who’s project-based rather than part-time or full-time, I recommend looking into places like Fiverr rather than Upwork, which typically caters to more experienced US-based contractors.

Going back to that metric, $1,000 is more than enough cash to get you started. It’s also enough money for your startup to at least appear like a legitimate business, which is half the battle.

Related: 3 alternatives to venture capital funding for startups


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