Vanessa McBee
Steps to Starting a Business on a Budget

If I could take the biggest curse word out of an entrepreneurs mouth, it would be:

“I need money to do …..”

Most of the time, you don’t. Most of the time, people who have money don’t know what to do with it. Most of the time, people have spent endless amounts of time trying to gather dollar bills without a strategy.

Plus, why would a person do for you what they would be willing to do for themselves? Money is generated through the energy the person earning it invests. If you are not willing to invest your own energy, why would a person invest their money into you? You are better equipped to be invested in when you can establish a track record on your own. Most people want to see that you can at least turn tiny circles that can be duplicated. These tiny circles can be turned into big ones with access to more money. If you’re not doing anything on your own, don’t expect anyone to do anything for you.

Businesses are formed through strategy. So even on a budget, great companies have been born. Subway, HP, Dell, Starbucks were all started with less than $5,000. I would venture to say that there are many ways to start a side hustle that will allow you to stash away the startup capital you may need. The whole point is you can be in business for less than you think by simply following these five steps:

You are a Business. More often than not, people run to their state’s Division of Corporations and register their business as soon as they come up with an idea. There is one secret forgotten level of business operation. You. You were born a business. Your social security number is your registration. It is the same as the employee identification number (EIN) of a company. Don’t waste time and money trying to register your business with the state before you activate it. Make sure you test, plan for and research the business that you are about to start before you register it.

Do before Make. It is way cheaper to do something than to try to create something to sell. Even if you buy wholesale from a company, it requires startup capital to be able to begin. You can go outside right now, wash a car, receive $15, and you have now conducted business. There is no startup investment necessary.

Think of quick things that you can do with your body (services you can provide) that can put you into business this afternoon. Five that I can quickly think of are:

  1. Lawn service
  2. Childcare
  3. Social media posting
  4. Trash removal
  5. Cleaning service

Divide your Money. As soon as you start your business, go open a second bank account and put the money there. If you cut two lawns and make $50 for the day, place the money into a separate bank account than the primary one that you use. Do not touch that money for the next 90 days except to reinvest into the type of work you are doing.

Make sure that the same account that you use to put in the money is the same account that you use to get the money from. Get an ATM card for that account and only spend the money needed to run your business on that card. That will separate your records and determine a distinction for your financials.

Report your Money. So you’re hustling hard, huh? I know that it feels good to be able to pay those little bills and do those little things that you couldn’t do before. But underreporting your income is a double-edged sword. A lot of people try to keep their income at a minimum so that they can keep a lower tax bracket, qualify for different programs, or keep it away from certain people knowing about it.

Underreporting your income will do real damage in the long run. First of all, if they ever catch you doing it, (which may be soon be possible through digital technology), the IRS will make it a painful experience. Second, not understanding how to put the income to work in your favor is like eating a seed and expecting a tree. It’s fine for you to use the money for your day-to-day benefits, but if you report it, you can increase your verified income, giving you access to expansion privileges like higher credit lines, larger loan amounts, financial stability, small business capital, and lower interest rates. The increase that you are experiencing can bring you exponential benefits if you make sure you report it and take care of every obligation connected to it.

Consistency is Key. It’s not about doing it right. It’s not about doing it wrong. It’s not about doing it easy. It’s not about making it hard. It’s not about the money you invest in it.

It’s about the passion you have for it. It’s about the benefit it creates for other people. It’s about your personal accomplishment. It’s about starting and finishing. It’s about the amount of time you invest in it. It’s about continuing when you want to quit. Entrepreneurs persevere. You will never ever accomplish anything unless you do it consistently.

Consistency does not necessarily mean every day. You may do it once a week, once a month, once a quarter, or once a year. But you have to do it repetitively for people to understand, believe in, and trust your capability. Do not be shocked and appalled if people do not invest more than you invest in your own greatness. Consistency is the key; performance is the result.

Wrap-up. The whole point is that you can start a real business on a budget and be successful. Remember these points, and you will be well on your way. You are a business, and it is always cheaper to do something than to make something. By separating and reporting your money, you give it the power to multiply. Always remember that consistency is the key, so just keep at it!

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