There’s Always A Way If You’re Smart
One of the constant themes of this blog is that you can pretty much do anything online business-wise if you’re willing to look beyond what you get out of those dumb marketing blog posts and guru sites, and if you’re willing to put time into learning and hard work into your daily routine.
Every so often, I come across businesses and people working for free.
You all know my attitude for this – don’t work for free. Ever. Don’t be stupid.
We won’t repeat the arguments.
Let’s look at it from the flip side of the coin though.
How To Start Internet Stuff Without A Budget
When I started doing internet business stuff, my first project was a dropship store. This was way before there was Shopify and Alibaba didn’t exist or anything.
My budget was about £30 to get the whole thing up and running.
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Oh, and there wasn’t anything like WooCommerce.
I had this weird OpenCart style thing that you couldn’t edit without coding.
Most companies didn’t even know what dropshipping was.
So what did I do?
I didn’t go to the internet and say, “Someone design me a website! I’ll pay you in exposure!”or “Hey everyone! Someone needs to make a dropship directory!”
What I did was learned how to edit HTML and actually rang companies up and explained to them what dropshipping was and asked if they’d do it.
Some said no, some said yes and there we go.
Years later, I do the freelance writing thing. I earn $3.50 per article to start with.
At that point, I didn’t spend any money on it. I didn’t even use Microsoft Word. I delivered everything as an .rtf file. Literally nobody complained.
Someone said, “Hey… can you write social media posts?”
I couldn’t, but I said “sure” and I made $40 for writing Tweets but it took me hours because I sat and wrote the things and rewrote them.
Hey Jamie! Can You Handle Our Email Marketing?
I hadn’t written emails before. So I said “Yes” and I learned while I went.
Your Own Business… There’s A Way
I’m not one of these people who say, “If you’re poor, it’s your fault!” because that’s inherently solipsistic.
Bad things happen to people and sometimes you draw the short straw.
That said there’s almost always a way to get what you want if you’re willing to think outside the box… and it’s not a case of asking for free stuff.
So you want a business but you can’t pay anyone?
If you need graphic design, you can get free Photoshop alternatives.
Want to start a podcast? Get a $20 headset and use Audacity and upload to YouTube and syndicate from there.
Can’t afford $10 for a domain and $3 a month for hosting? Go seek out some of the coupon deals they offer on web hosting.
Can’t afford the latest bit of automation software? Do it manually.
The Key Is Skill And Patience
Learning new skills has never been cheaper or easier. If you can’t find a skill that makes money then I really don’t know what to tell you.
Do some crafts. Sell on Etsy.
Go on Fiverr. See what people are doing for money.
Fix old cars. Buy and sell old books. Whatever.
You can build a library for pennies and you can watch an unlimited amount of YouTube videos that’ll teach you everything.
Just today I watched a guy replacing the speedometer on his 30 year old Volkswagen and some girl teaching you how to do Riverdance.
There aren’t any excuses for this.
Patience is important because you’re unsurprisingly not going to be a millionaire overnight. You’re not going to build a massive audience in a day unless you do something really cringeworthy and go viral.
But you learn one skill, you make money and then you repeat the process until you charge a lot of money for your accrued experience.
None Of This Is Impossible
I’m sympathetic to people who are starting with very little and can’t afford to build a million dollar business out of the gate.
But the answer to that isn’t asking for people to work for free, stealing other people’s work or otherwise scamming people out of money. In the long run, this is the worst approach you can take.
Not only because you’ll get a bad reputation and possibly legal repercussions, but in a more general sense do it yourself.
First you learn the skills and you intrinsically become more valuable. More stuff works for you. More people work with you.
You can get started for absolutely nothing. Find something you’re good at and copy this method in this way:
- Get started with a free Mailchimp account (I think it’s free up until 2,000 subscribers)
- Write stuff on Twitter every day that’s relevant to the market you’re targeting
- Connect with other people in the niche and add relevant knowledge to their thoughts in a discussion format
- Set up a sign up page for your email
- Send emails out to people every day
- Every so often, recommend products to them based on their needs
This won’t make you a millionaire, but it will give you traction and hopefully a little money.
As you go, learn skills and set things up with a bootstrapped financial approach.
Once you have $50, you can set up a website. Learn everything about it. Then do the next thing. Write all your thoughts into a book. Sell that.
This method is foolproof and a great foundation. Do this and you won’t have to beg for free work again.