Start a business for just $20

Were you the only kid in your class who had a framed photograph of Steve Jobs on your bedroom wall instead of posters of your favourite bands or sports teams? If so, this article is for you!

By Fonds de solidarité FTQ

Was your lemonade stand worthy of being featured on the six o'clock news?
Was your dream Christmas gift a retro business card holder embossed with your name?

You might have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur!

If you're wondering how to become your own boss, look no further. Below are a few tools to help you launch your start-up and become Québec's next business mogul.

01Crowdfunding – Free

If you have an ingenious idea but no budget, crowdfunding may be a good solution. On sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and their Québec equivalent, La Ruche, you can promote your project and collect donations. In return, your backers are promised a potential profit or reward.

Read on for some key crowdfunding tips:

  1. Set a realistic goal (no, you're not going to raise millions): A project with an attainable goal is more likely to attract backers.
  2. Create compelling visual aids: Quality videos and photos are your best allies.
  3. Provide multiple donation levels (six to eight): Make sure your lower levels are very affordable. Those extra $1 and $5 donations will make a difference!
  4. Don't expect money to fall from the sky: Increase your project's visibility by advertising on social networks and other relevant news media.
  5. Budget for user fees: The crowdfunding platform will keep a small percentage of all your donations.

02Domain name – about $5 to $10

A website is essential for anyone starting their own business, and you can't have a website without a domain name. Time to decide if you prefer dot-com, dot-ca, or dot-net!

Domain name prices can vary widely depending on certain criteria:

  • Popularity: Domain name registrars assess a name's popularity to determine its price. A name that's in demand or likely to become trendy will be more expensive.
  • Domain name extension: Dot-com and dot-ca are the most common domain extensions in the country. They tend to be more affordable than specialized extensions, such as dot-tv.
  • Renewal or first purchase: Some wily domain name registrars will offer a special rate for your first purchase but increase this fee when you renew your domain. Don't hesitate to shop around for a better deal.

With a bit of research, you're sure to find the right domain name and price for you. Remember, your name should be easy to remember and, above all, free of any unfortunate wordplay.

03Website – Up to $10

Once you've purchased your domain name, you can create your website for little or no cost.

Platforms like WordPress, Wix, and Joomla are easy to use and have a variety of free website templates. Even if some of their features are reserved for premium, fee-based memberships, their free templates can be used to create a professional-looking website without spending a dime.

Make sure you set a few dollars aside every month to cover web hosting fees.

04Virtual stores – Free

If you're launching a company that sells products, you might want to go virtual as opposed to opening a physical store.

Websites built on open source software, like WordPress and Joomla, give you the option of setting up your online store for free.

If you believe that your sales volume is high enough, other more specialized options, such as Shopify or Squarespace, may be more interesting for you. Keep in mind that these solutions all have a monthly membership fee.

In all cases, an online store has the significant advantage of allowing you to test out the market without spending on rent or moving expenses. Most importantly, don't forget to promote your store. Think about it this way: organizing the hottest party of the year is pointless if you don't send out invitations.

05Business cards – $15 to $20

You might think that business cards are as passé as hairspray, baggy overalls, and butterfly clips. But when they're well executed, business cards can increase a company's visibility while leaving a lasting impression on potential customers. For inspiration, check out these inventive and affordable examples.

An increasing number of business card providers allow you to create your own design directly on their website. Many customizable templates and other promotional tools are also available to make the process even easier. Isn't running your own business a blast?

If you try these tips and become an accomplished entrepreneur, let us know. We'll be sure to drink to your success!

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