start a low budget business

How to Start a Business with a low budget, little technology access, hardly any time, and no college education

Many times I’m asked, what kind of business can I start if I don’t have the money, skills, or the technology?

The quick answer: Any kind you want.

Many of the folks that I interact with in my daily life on and offline would love to have their own thing and make an income with it. However, for one reason or another, they simply haven’t gotten there yet.

They usually have one to four major obstacles that are getting in their way:

  • Limited Education (might not have gone to college)
  • Limited Access to Technology (they *might* have a laptop)
  • Limited Funding (might be on welfare)
  • Limited Time (they need to make money with the time they spend on what they’re doing)

My goal with this post is to take you through some key points and see if we can come out the end having figured out a solution to these issues while allowing you to properly utilize your skill set. Just a heads up, in this case, we’re going to be utilizing the idea of setting up a car repair shop as the primary example.

College Graduate vs No College

One thing I’ve noticed is there is a pattern when it comes to those who graduated college vs those who haven’t.

Those that have completed college, tend to see more obstacles all at once which makes them less likely to even get started. They believe they don’t have the necessary skills to do precisely what they want to do, so that’s the point? Or, if they’re like me when I first started, they realize the time investment it’s going to take to learn all of these new skills and simply believe they’ll run out of runway before they get off the ground. Just like so many other things, smart people tend to overthink themselves from actually moving forward.

On the other hand, those that haven’t gone to college actually tend to get started, but then soon realize that they don’t have the skills or the funding to follow through on their idea or take it to another level.

I mean, I know several guys who are good with cars. Most of them have been “work at home” repair guys in the past, but realized that it was too much of a hassle to keep going for a prolonged period of time. I’m guessing because the reason they got busy is because word of their good work and super low prices got out and everyone wanted to take advantage of it! Not a bad deal if you didn’t have money coming in before you got started, but after awhile, it just gets old or difficult to keep up.

So, inevitably they want to scale it up a bit. But how do you do that?

They have no extra money to hire anyone. And they don’t have time to learn to shoot and edit video to start a YouTube channel documenting what they’ve done.

So what choice do they have other than continuing to do things they’ve always done?

Both of these examples illustrate people that in the end have maxed out their time. If they had more time, they’d probably use even more of it to do the work themselves.

This isn’t a great solution.

So let’s figure out a solution that takes care of all of these issues at once.

Getting Started

In my FREE eBook, The 6 Cornerstones of a Successful Online Business, one of the things that I discuss is that it’s very important to have a Why.

Based on your background, your Why will differ quite a bit from the next person’s. I mean, it’s true that you might be interested in having the same result, but the reason you’re doing it is going to be your own because everyone has different backgrounds.

So first, you need to find out what your Why is and learn to hold onto it because it’s what will get you through the tough times. 

After you’ve found your Why, the next step is figuring out what you’ve enjoyed doing in the past the most in your past jobs and positions.

Whatever answers this question, that’s what you’re going to want to build your business off of.

Perhaps you like working with people, perhaps you actually do like working on cars. Maybe it’s both, it’s up to you to figure out what industry you want to work in.

Building the Foundation

Once you’ve determined the industry you want to work in, now it’s up to you to think about the type of business you’d like to ideally run. Would you like to have others working for you on a big online platform? Would you like to run a mechanic shop? Own several and just rake in the money? It really depends on what you see for yourself. Each goal is going to have a different approach. To build a proper foundation, you need to know what the finished product looks like.

 

Skill Inventory Check

At this point, if you’ve already read the 6 Cornerstones, you’re probably wondering where this is going because it seems pretty similar. Well, it is. That’s why I made the resource. It’s the general building blocks of a successful online business.

However, this post is more about the freelancing model. One big benefit of using this model is that it helps people earn income quickly.

So that said, this is the part that things start to change a bit.

If you’re wanting to do something online or that you have a fairly long runway, know that getting the 6 Cornerstones will help. But if you’re wanting to do something in the real world or need results yesterday, this hopefully will fill in some gaps.

So let’s stick with the mechanic example. As a mechanic you realize that you’d probably like having a shop, and you’re probably going to like having several guys working for you.

The first thing I’d do is make sure you have some procedures in place in how to do jobs. Luckily with mechanics, those procedures are fairly easy to get ahold of. If they’re not online, then I know that they’re in books in the part stores that have everything down to changing a headlight.

Now, here’s the thing. It’s not going to be up to you to be doing the jobs, What you need to find is someone that can actually do the jobs in the back while you’re out getting new customers. Or, if you REALLY want to be in the back working on things, you’re going to have to find someone that is good at getting the customers in.

You can’t do both in the end, and while I know at the beginning you might have time to do both, you should be more concerned about getting your shop started.

In other words, whatever you’re bad at or don’t want to do, find someone that will help fill in your weaknesses for a price point that you can afford.

Finding Help

Where are places that you can get folks who are looking to do work for cheap and not all the time? If you’re starting an online business, you can get people to help by project at Fiverr.com or at upwork.com if it’s something in depth.

As far as the mechanic shop owner goes, he’ll want to check schools or junior colleges that help mechanics get certified to work for the larger shops. They won’t be able to work all the time because they go to class, but they’ll probably need experience and they’ll probably want paid based on the project, and you can help them with both.

Of course you’ll want to find out what the market wants first, (specially in the car shop case, are you going to be specializing in domestics, imports, or both?) but in the end, you’re going to need help so start with it early based on how much work you got coming in.

 

Getting Paid

Now that we have you in charge of the “shop” and the actual mechanic (or in the online world a programmer or designer), you’ll want to make sure you’re not only covering your overhead (which in this case is charging enough to pay you and your help), but thinking about the future too.

Start off by pricing the work at something lower than most shops, but enough to pay you, your partner, and save a little per job. Eventually you’ll want to have some money to put towards that dream shop, but you want to also have enough money for taxes.

If you’re online and you’re starting a design group, the same holds true. Get enough that you and your partner are paid fairly, and have enough margin so that you can upgrade your technology, or buy better services to make your life easier so can put more enhancements in your sales funnel.

Momentum

As you and your help do more work, two things will happen.

  1. If have good quality, word will get out there on your quality, and you’ll get more customers through referrals. Also, if you’re doing your job, you’re letting more people know about your services just like your first customer.
  2. Your help might either want to go full time, or you might have to find another helper. As a full timer, your help will probably want to be paid more. If you opt to find another helper, you’ll have to put in more time as you get that new person up to speed. This choice is yours – just remember that a experience might just be worth the extra dollar, (or 20) per hour. Everyone has so much time, but there’s plenty of money out there.

Once you have this problem of momentum, this is where the real fun starts. Will you have to find another place to do your work before your dream shop? Do you bring on more part timers? It sounds basic, but it’s how the world works. Don’t over think it.

Checking our Results

Now, just in this mechanic shop example, we were able to come up with a business while dealing with all of the issues that were raised at the beginning.

  1. Limited Education – If you’re not good at something, don’t want to deal with it, OR doing it yourself prohibits your goal, you can always find someone that knows what they’re doing for a price point you can afford. You just have to think outside the box to find them.
  2. Limited Access to Technology – In the car shop sense, you’re not going to have all the greatest and best tools to get the job done. It doesn’t mean that you can’t rent equipment per job or just do the ones that you’re capable of doing at the time.

    If you’re working online, perhaps this means that the only time you’re doing business is through a library computer or via computers that are in a studio. Maybe you do have a laptop. At that point, you can start finding more clients at any time for your developer or designer.
  3. Limited Funding – Mechanic wise, if you’re starting off with $500 or $600, get tools you don’t have that are necessary to do one or two jobs that need to be done all the time. Meaning, do you have the basics for doing the jobs that a Jiffy Lube can do? Start there.

    If you’re doing a job online, use that money to buy software that you and your partner can use to do simple jobs. There’s tons of open source software suites out there. And you’d be surprised on what all is available today that is a good alternative to Photoshop. Same thing can be said about website development. Buy the license on one theme that can be changed to do practically anything you want. Enfold (the theme I use) is a great example.
  4. Limited Time – If you’re only able to spend 20 hours a week doing something, that’s all you need. That averages out to 3 hours a day. Not all of that time has to be equally distributed each day. If you can spend more time than that on a given day, then, by all means do so.

    Spend time doing something you’re good at. Again, I’d strongly recommend finding someone to help out as a helper early on or even a co-founder. It’s a much easier road and 50% of something is always better than 100% of nothing.

Obviously, this is post is heavy in the freelancer model. And that’s for a reason. The freelancer is the one entrepreneur type that can start earning an income the quickest and potentially the highest right away. Other types of business models might have higher returns later, but this is a great place if you need to change your hours into dollars.

If earning income quickly isn’t a necessity for you, then you might have other limitations that you might have to deal with. Maybe if you’re trying to be a thought leader or a teacher, you haven’t quite learned everything you need to know to have as much impact as you’d like. Or perhaps if you’re an artist, you simply haven’t mastered your craft yet.

If you’re thinking of becoming a thought leader, teacher, or mediapreneur, I highly recommend checking out the 6 Cornerstones eBook I spoke of earlier. I believe it will truly help you go the right direction when building something online for the long haul.

That said, best of luck to you as you start this journey. Would love to hear your thoughts below.

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