Buying and selling websites is big business. When websites sell for $50K and within a year, sell again for $110K, when attached to a profitable website, it makes you pay attention to the wonderful world of passive online income.
The problem is, the income doesn’t become passive until you put work and usually money into the mix. This article is from Tim over at Flippa.com a website where investors buy and sell internet property almost every second of every day.
Picture this: after thinking about buying a website for a while you’ve finally taken the plunge and bought respectable website maybe with some passive income but heaps of potential. So now you need to start running your newly acquired online business, and the best news is you only need a small budget to do this. Starting or relaunching an online business – any business – is a daunting, intimidating, borderline terrifying prospect. But declare you’re launching a new brand without a budget? Don’t be surprised if all you hear is “That’s crazy.”
And yet the idea is not actually crazy. It’s more than just possible to make your dreams a reality without a spending penny. Many have blazed the trail before you. There are heaps of free online tools and resources to support you in the journey. You may need to spend a bit more time in the planning stages to ensure you don’t waste your golden opportunity, but if you’ve got the hours to dedicate, you don’t necessarily need the cash. Looking for pointers on how to launch a successful brand with zero equity? Here are the essential steps:
1. Fully Define and Document Your Business Idea
If you’re going at this without some dollars to back you, it’s critical that you have a thorough understanding of the business you’re launching, and all the resources, tools, and assistance you’re going to need. Some company ideas need only you (consulting), others need tangible goods (online store), and others require additional people (marketing firm). If you are in need of any materials to support your launch, those need to be procured. You may have what you need already, if not, appeal to friends and family for donations of goods where appropriate. Start small. You can always grow and upgrade, but just make sure you start with exactly what you need, and nothing less.
2. Create a Financial Plan
Financial schemas are important to any new startup; they are doubly crucial for those launched without a budget. You need to start generating income within moments of your launch, for obvious reasons, and that will likely require some crafty advanced planning. If you’re looking to contract for clients, for example, consider offering a discount for early payment.
3. Draft a (Free) Marketing Plan
Just like it’s more than possible to launch a business without money in the bank, you can market your company on the same non-existent budget. Utilize bulletin boards and community forums revolving around your industry, and use social media wisely to reach your online audience. Start a newsletter, services like MailChimp are free for small email lists, if these services are daunting, consider Merge by MailChimp which is a Google Docs plug-in. If you’re launching a local business, hand out fliers or have a launch party alerting your area to your arrival. Remember to make sure your social media presence is strong, accurate, and thorough.
4. Network Like a Pro
Entrepreneurs commonly work together to cross-promote, so find other professionals in your industry to join forces with. Search to see if your area has Meetup groups or related gatherings of industry experts looking to assist in helping everyone grow and succeed. Find charities to donate your services too, in return for advertising and promotion. Locate the folks that have similar agendas, and you can help each other create a win-win.
5. Collaboration and Cross-Promotion
In the same spirit as idea #4, find folks in your industry that offer complimentary services, and consider a temporary (or even permanent) partnership. For example, if you’re launching an online design business, find a developer with his/her own company that can refer you business from clients looking for your skillset. You, of course, will need to promise the same, but this is a great way for each company to find new clients and broaden their overall skill sets.
6. Become a Bona Fide Expert in Your Field
If you’re going at it without any money to spend, your expertise needs to speak volumes. In tandem, you’ll need every opportunity to prove your abilities tenfold. Launch a blog (and commit to very regular posts), integrate related social media campaigns, and even consider publishing articles on other sites professing your know-how. The more your audience learns of your intelligence and expertise, the more your client base will grow. Your newsletter will tie in with this.
7. Leverage Your Biggest Fans
Once you start receiving any positive feedback, make sure you showcase these testimonials for all to see. Actual customer experiences are often the single most important factor to scoring new business. Likewise, find the folks online that love to write about your industry. If you sell cosmetics, reach out to beauty bloggers, give them free samples of your goods, and ask them to write a review about your brand. Get others talking about you; without this word of mouth, your business will remain stagnant.
It should be obvious now that it doesn’t take a gigantic bank loan to launch a successful online business venture. What you do need is a fantastic idea, tremendous commitment and passion, and a boatload of time to devote to your endeavor. By planning your launch meticulously and leveraging free marketing channels, you stand a very real chance of making a splash. The best news: every penny you raise from day one is all yours, with no interest payments and no investors demanding creative control. So if you’re set on launching your company without a budget, take heart: it’s possible.
Now you just need to buy that website!