Are you a creative person, entrepreneur, business owner, or driven individual simply trying to get an idea off the ground? Do you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed, simply from the endless possibilities and your impossibly low budget? Same.
Before I launched my business, I was stressed over all the different ideas and tips out there. It seemed like I needed to do and learn so much to be successful. Sometimes I felt like I’d never get there, especially with a small amount of money saved.
What I’ve learned, though, is two very important things:
1) That success is objective and your version of it will look different than the person next to you.
2) If you truly want to achieve your own version of personal success, you don’t need tons of money. You just need a few of the low-budget basics, the drive to work hard, and a little bit of fearlessness to begin.
Here are a few of the basics (that don’t cost a dime):
1. Register Your Biz On Google
Okay, if you’re serious about starting a business, you have to do these things: create a name, register your website domain (you can do this on WordPress – there are so many options!), register the business within your state, register your EIN (IRS.gov), and trademark your name and logo.
Those cost money, yes. But you know what doesn’t? Registering your business on Google.
By creating a profile on Google My Business, you can be found by people searching for products and services that match, especially in your local area. Your listing will have your contact information, directions to your physical address, a link to your website, and the option to share, too.
2. Boost Your SEO
There are plenty of services that charge for SEO-building, but at the basic (and yet, still valid) level, you don’t have to pay to have your page(s) optimized.
You can start by troubleshooting a lot of these issues on your own. For example, go through your pages and posts and add keywords, meta descriptions, and optimized titles. There are many user-friendly SEO tips that you can add to your website yourself. You can also use plugins (depending on your website host) to help you, like Yoast SEO for WordPress websites, for example.
You can also reduce your images so that they are optimized for better viewing and indexing (and don’t take up too much space on your site). Another basic, yet essential low budget tip is to make sure that your site is cohesive in terms of voice and style. Authenticity on your page(s) should always be at the forefront.
3. Be Dilligent
If you’re marketing on a low budget, you have to be smart about where you’re investing your time. If you’re running things as a one-man or one-woman show, it’s even more important to prioritize and be sure that you’re keeping consistent with the time that you’re using to schedule things on socials, the reach-outs you’re doing with brands, and the writing/content creation you’re using to supplement your products and services.
One of the things I’ve talked about the most on my podcast about starting a business is how important it is to really push yourself. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s not the reason you started. You have to be willing to do more to get more.
4. Use Resources
If I could tell anyone starting out a valuable tip, especially if you’re on a low budget, it’s this: take advantage of the resources you have, and the resources you can tap into.
As a writer, I realized early on that I could help people with writing…and they could help me with design, with visuals, and with other strategies my business so desperately needed in return.
I often partner with other creatives to have mutually-beneficial relationships, or to tap into their resources as they tap into mine. I also use online tools to my advantage, like Canva, which is an incredibly easy platform to navigate for creating my own marketing materials. (PS: If you upgrade, it’s only $12.95 per month, which in the grand scheme of things, is far less than hiring a designer on your team).
Using your resources and the resources of other creatives, colleagues, classmates, and family/friends is so smart. Why not scratch someone else’s back while they scratch yours? It can only help.
5. Follow Social Norms & Rules
When it comes to using social media platforms, be sure to follow the ‘unspoken rules’ in terms of etiquette and social norms.
Don’t always advertise your products and services to death. Be real and authentic. Care about, and invest in, the people that follow you. Don’t always be pushing an agenda; sometimes just being active and opening the floor to conversations can build your business more than sharing about what you offer.
6. Request Reviews & Referrals
A hugely important, and yet often overlooked marketing tactic (that doesn’t cost a dime!) is the power of reviews and referrals.
When I first started Be A Light Collective as a one-woman show, I relied heavily on my network and people I worked with to help me promote my services. And this paid off! As people shared reviews and recommended me and my services to their loved ones, I began to grow exponentially.
Never underestimate the value of someone’s word of mouth when it comes to building your business.
Featured Image Credit: TONL