Starting and running your own business can be an expensive affair, but there are also some ways in which you can save money while starting or growing your company. One way that seems to attract many entrepreneurs is launching their venture on a shoestring budget. This approach has its pros and cons. It can work well if done right, but this article aims to find out what kind of budget one should have when they want to create their own brand.
Let’s get started!
The first question we need to answer before thinking about how to start our own brand is- How much money will I spend on creating my brand? There are several factors that affect the amount you may end up spending on your project. The main ones include:
1) Type of product/service - If you're selling physical products like t-shirts or books then you'll definitely need more equipment than someone who's building software applications. Similarly, if you plan to offer services then you'll probably need additional employees (e.g., customer support staff). In both cases, these expenses add up quickly as you grow bigger.
2) Your marketing strategy - You might not realize it now, but choosing the wrong business model could put a big dent in your marketing costs. For example, most people don't know that Facebook Ads are free—you just pay for clicks and impressions within those ads. So if you choose Facebook advertising as your primary source of traffic generation, you won't incur any extra costs once you cross certain threshold. On the other hand, if you opt for paying customers instead of using social media channels, you'll still have to consider all kinds of promotional activities such as email campaigns, website development, etc. All those things take time and effort, so make sure you plan accordingly.
3) Branding & Design - This part is crucial because branding refers to everything from logo design, color schemes, font style, tone, voiceover script, copywriting, packaging, signage, posters, brochures, advertisements, presentation decks, letterheads, invoices, etc. And even though a lot of them are relatively inexpensive, they come with a price tag nonetheless. That said, let me assure you that having a unique identity goes a long way. But you shouldn't think about hiring a professional graphic designer unless you really need one. Instead, focus on learning how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, Figma, Sketch, Adobe InDesign, or whatever tools best suit your needs. A good designer would help you communicate better through visuals, improve employee morale, increase sales numbers, boost SEO rankings, and promote your online presence among others.
4) Website Hosting Fees - These fees vary depending on where exactly you host your site. Most hosting companies charge anywhere between $10-$100 per month. Some of them require you to sign contracts too, so read carefully before committing anything. Also, keep in mind that domain registration usually comes at no extra cost since most registries allow users to register domains themselves without needing approval from anyone else.
6) Software Licensing - Whether you develop proprietary software or open-source software, licensing tends to eat up a considerable chunk of your startup capital. Not only do you have to buy licenses for each type of device your program runs on, but you also have to purchase separate licenses for different versions of Windows, macOS, iOS, Android devices, Linux operating systems, web servers, database management systems, cloud storage providers, browsers, antivirus programs, game engines, IDEs, compilers, editors, etc. Each license adds up quite fast, especially considering you're supposed to maintain compatibility across platforms.
7) Shipping Costs - Yes, shipping isn't cheap either. To avoid breaking the bank, try to ship as few items as possible. Make bulk orders whenever you can. Ship packages via FedEx, USPS, or DHL Express. Use international couriers whenever possible. Check out eBay's Global Trade Manager tool to estimate prices, import taxes, local duties, customs charges, and delivery times based on information collected from thousands of sellers globally. Pay special attention to global trade policies and regulations. They differ significantly from country to country.
8) Outsourced Labor - Many freelancers prefer working remotely, which means you wouldn't necessarily see any immediate results after investing hundreds or thousands of dollars in outsourced labor. While outsourcing can be beneficial, it can also become costly. First, check out the market rate for similar tasks. Then compare estimated workload against actual output to determine fair compensation.
9) Equipment lease payments - Leasing office space is another common expense associated with setting up shop. You can expect to pay somewhere between $500-$1500 annually per square foot, depending on location requirements. Although leasing commercial offices can seem pricey, it can actually reduce monthly overhead costs later on. After all, why shell out for rent when you can simply ask tenants to cover their share?
Now that you know what it takes to set up a successful enterprise, you can proceed to step two...
Once you've decided to pursue entrepreneurship, the next step is deciding on a vision. Creating a brand requires defining goals and objectives, developing strategies, establishing KPIs, identifying obstacles, and anticipating risks. Here are some useful tips that can guide you along the path:
Start small - Before embarking upon a new journey, figure out whether you want to expand gradually or go full throttle straight away. Start slow and scale up when needed. Once you gain traction, reinvest profits back into growth.
Get feedback - Talk to friends, family members, colleagues, and strangers alike. Find out what they think about your idea. Get honest opinions and suggestions. Ask them to test prototypes or beta releases, and give them opportunities to review upcoming ideas and concepts.
Be consistent - Build awareness and trust amongst potential clients. Keep updating followers with fresh content regularly. Send press release announcements and publish regular blog posts. Create engaging YouTube videos and post daily Instagram stories. Encourage fans to leave comments and engage with your audience on social media.
Stay present - Be mindful of current events. Stay tuned in to trends and developments in your industry. Identify competitors' weaknesses and capitalize on them. Try to anticipate changes in technology and consumer behavior and adjust accordingly.
Keep track of progress - Set milestones, measure metrics, and evaluate ROI. Monitor analytics and report problems, challenges, and issues to stakeholders immediately.
Set aside funds - Money is tight early on, so allocate enough funding for research and development. Even if you don't manage to earn profit for a couple of months, remember to set aside enough revenue to endure lean periods until your product starts bringing in cash flow.
Have patience - Building a brand isn't easy. Businesses often fail due to poor planning, inadequate marketing expertise, ineffective communication methods, lack of brand awareness, insufficient funding, bad timing, competition saturation, etc. Give yourself ample time to succeed. Work smart rather than trying to force something that wasn't meant to happen.
Focus on essentials - Focus on core elements that differentiate you from rivals. Craft your message around a distinctive value proposition. Define target audiences and establish clear call-to-actions. Remember that "lesser-is-more."
Don't compromise quality - Never sacrifice quality for affordability. Always prioritize quality over quantity. Deliver top-notch customer experiences, regardless of size.
Avoid risk aversion - Risk tolerance varies from person to person. No matter how confident you feel, taking unnecessary risks can lead to failure. Think twice before expanding rapidly. Do research beforehand and draw mockups of scenarios where you failed. Learn from mistakes, analyze data, seek assistance, and modify plans accordingly.
Know your limits - Know when to say goodbye. Stop wasting precious resources on unprofitable endeavors. Prioritize the areas that bring in the highest return on investments.
Understand legalities - Understand copyright laws, trademarks, patents, copyrights, intellectual property rights, etc. Take advantage of free publicity and public relations. Avoid infringing on third parties' interests.
Learn from failures - Successful businesses didn't just fall from heaven. Sometimes they stumble upon unexpected pitfalls and difficulties. Pick up valuable lessons from past blunders and turn them into future success stories.
So you've decided that you want to create a new business, but how do you go about doing this without breaking the bank? The first step in creating any successful venture is having the right information and resources at hand. When you're starting out as an entrepreneur, these things can be hard to come by. It's not just because there aren't enough books or courses available -- even if they were plentiful, many of them are wrong! But what happens when someone gives you incorrect information? How can you tell which sources are legitimate and trustworthy?
It all comes down to one simple question...what budget to launch a brand? If you don't know where to begin setting aside funds for your startup costs then you'll likely end up wasting money (and time) figuring everything out yourself. Instead, let me help you with some useful tips for defining the investment necessary for the creation of a brand. This will ensure your success from day 1.
Before we get into discussing specific budgets, lets take a look at why it matters so much in the first place. A lot has been said about "business expenses" over the past few years, but most people still have no idea what those expenses actually mean. In fact, according to Forbes, entrepreneurs spent $1.7 billion dollars more than they made last year alone! That means that every dollar you invest must serve a purpose. And while big corporations seem to understand this concept quite well, small businesses tend to focus their attention on growth rather than profits. They often overlook the importance of spending wisely until it's too late. The problem lies within the lack of transparency regarding exactly how each company spends its money. Without knowing where to turn, it becomes nearly impossible to determine whether or not a certain expense is worth pursuing in the first place.
When looking at potential investments, make sure to consider both short-term and long-term goals. For example, you may decide to use part of your allocated marketing fund to purchase advertising space on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. However, if your goal is simply to gain exposure for your products, you may find yourself paying way too much compared to other options. On the other side of the spectrum, investing heavily in branding materials like logo design, packaging, etc., could prove beneficial if your target market prefers high quality items.
There are also plenty of companies that offer packages designed specifically to meet different needs based on price range and size. These services include Branding By Design, LogoBlast, Branded HQ, and others. Take advantage of these opportunities whenever possible, especially since they provide valuable insight on what type of designs best suit your business model.
In addition to considering budget allocation, keep in mind that you shouldn't necessarily limit yourself to only one option. Many startups run successfully using multiple methods to achieve similar results. You might choose to allocate half of your budget towards branding, while another portion goes toward product development. Or perhaps you would prefer to put additional funding towards hiring employees who specialize in various areas related to growing your brand. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid spreading your budget equally amongst several unrelated categories. Your financial stability relies on making smart decisions that promote overall profitability, after all!
Now that you know why having a clear picture of your budget is important, here are four common questions to ask before deciding on a plan:
A great deal depends largely upon the scope of work involved in launching your brand. An entire website redesign requires significantly less effort than designing a single piece of branded merchandise. Also, remember that you won't pay for every aspect of building your brand. Any good designer or creative agency will give you free consultation prior to project inception, allowing you to discuss details as needed.
But once you narrow down your choices and select a firm, it's important to realize that pricing varies depending on factors ranging from experience level to location. Some agencies charge per hour, while others base prices off hourly wages. Of course, the latter method allows clients to receive better value for their money, however, it takes away the flexibility required during projects involving complex deadlines. Before signing any contract, always request references and samples from previous customers so you can see how rates compare across different firms.
If you already know the approximate length of your project, you can estimate the amount of total fees directly from the quote provided by your chosen vendor. Otherwise, contact them for a detailed breakdown of estimated labor hours and material costs associated with working together.
Keep in mind that the quoted fee doesn't cover hidden charges such as taxes, overhead costs, and shipping/handling fees. Be sure to add 20% onto the final bill to account for unexpected changes and delays, along with any applicable tax liabilities.
As mentioned earlier, the costs of developing a strong online presence vary greatly between individuals and companies. While some large brands require hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a fully functional site, smaller entities can accomplish almost the same thing through WordPress plugins and custom domains. To stay competitive, it's essential to weigh your options carefully. Remember, there are numerous web developers offering affordable solutions for virtually anyone willing to learn HTML code. Do your research beforehand to discover which path suits your unique situation. Don't forget to factor in maintenance costs as well if you opt to host your website on your own server.
While it seems obvious that launching a physical product involves greater upfront costs, this isn't necessarily true when dealing with digital goods. After all, producing a video game and selling copies online is far easier and cheaper than manufacturing actual discs. Still, the production process itself typically accounts for around 10--15 percent of the overall budget, leaving room for significant savings.
Of course, there are exceptions. Creating a mobile app with backend support usually requires a higher percentage of initial capital. Most software engineers will need to sign non-disclosure agreements and undergo background checks before beginning development. In contrast, frontend designers don't physically handle finished product. Their responsibilities involve coordinating with coders and ensuring smooth integration throughout the process. Once finalized, a typical UI/UX designer receives approximately 50 cents per completed task. Therefore, the average salary for a freelance UX designer hovers somewhere below $25/hour.
This brings us back full circle to our original discussion on estimating your startup costs. Always calculate your budgetary requirements twice: once for product creation and again for supporting infrastructure. Make sure to leave extra cash on hand to accommodate unforeseen circumstances.
Once you've determined your exact budget, it's time to think about whom to approach next. There are countless ways to pick a reputable contractor to carry out your job, including referrals, personal connections, and search engines. Keep in mind that you can never truly trust someone unless they've proven themselves in the industry. Ask trusted friends, family members, and colleagues for recommendations. Don't hesitate to reach out to professional contacts via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or other networking sites.
With so many freelancing websites popping up nowadays, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to sort through all the possibilities. Consider using specialized tools to streamline the selection process. Popular ones include Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, Guru, People Per Hour, Amazon Mechanical Turk, and 99 Designs. All of these sites allow users to post jobs requesting assistance with anything from graphic design to programming. Clients can bid accordingly, and contractors can submit bids for projects of varying difficulty levels.
Another popular choice among entrepreneurs are crowdfunding campaigns. Indiegogo hosts dozens of active campaigns focused on promoting businesses, ideas, inventions, charities, art, music, games, and movies. Kickstarter serves a similar function but focuses primarily on raising monetary support for creative endeavors. Launchrock provides access to investors interested in early stage ventures, while AngelList connects budding entrepreneurs with angel investors.
Lastly, don't underestimate the power of word of mouth. Letting your network know about your plans can lead to incredible benefits later on. Word travels fast in today's world, and everyone wants to hear about something exciting happening in their community. Share news articles featuring your latest developments, videos, photos, and testimonials wherever appropriate. If you're unsure of where to start, check out these awesome crowdfunding portals for finding backers.
You've decided that you want to be more than just an average Joe on Instagram, and now you're ready to take the next step towards becoming an influencer in the world's biggest social network... but how will you afford all those new clothes without selling off your soul or breaking the bank? Well, if you have no idea where to begin with this process then read on as we talk about what costs are associated with launching your very first personal brand—and whether you can even afford to make such a big commitment.
I mean, think about it. How many times has someone asked you "how did you get started?" You probably thought it would never happen to you. Now imagine having people asking you "so, tell me about yourself!" because they genuinely find you interesting enough to follow and engage with. That dream may sound far-fetched at best, but there are plenty of ways for anyone who wants to become an internet celebrity to go about doing so successfully.
But before we delve into the nuts and bolts of creating your own online empire (or following hundreds of others), let’s discuss one thing that often confuses aspiring creators — what exactly is “branding” anyway? If you know nothing about it, don't worry! We'll explain everything from the ground up.
So, what is branding? In short, it's essentially making sure that every interaction between you and other users feels authentic and genuine. It means paying attention to details like tone and voice, appearance, content, location, timing, etc., while also ensuring consistency across platforms. Essentially, it allows followers to see themselves represented by you. And yes, it takes work. But luckily, there are some things you can do right out of the gate to help save on money—but only if you really want to stand apart from everyone else.
To figure out how much it might actually cost to launch your own brand, I spoke to two experts. First, I had questions regarding both financial and time commitments required for building a successful career in the biz. To which I received answers courtesy of marketing expert and author of The Brand Bible, Dr. Nicole McCullough.
Next, I reached out to branding strategist, writer, entrepreneur, and founder of the digital agency, The Creative Agency, Jen Gilmore. She shared her thoughts on how to navigate the tricky waters of starting a business without going broke.
Now that we understand the basics, here are five tips to keep in mind when determining how much it could actually cost to start a brand.
The bottom line is that it depends entirely on what kind of brand you decide to build and how much capital you bring to the table.
For example, while most entrepreneurs spend years developing their product/service, getting feedback from customers, and refining their offerings until they hit perfection, brands need not necessarily undergo such extensive processes. So, if you prefer to skip over these steps, expect to pay significantly less compared to traditional businesses.
A good rule of thumb is to set aside around 5 percent–10% of your total capital for upfront investments in advertising, marketing, and promotions. For instance, this amount should cover any expenses related to hiring freelancers, graphic designers, copywriters, photographers, videographers, editors, public relations firms, event planners, and more.
In addition, consider investing in tools like Hootsuite, Slideshare, Canva, Fiverr, Crowdfire, and Buffer. Allowing yourself access to free apps and services helps you manage multiple accounts, post updates, schedule posts, track analytics, and measure results. They also offer valuable analytical insights, helping you stay organized and better connect with fans.
On top of that, you should allocate another 10 percent for ongoing monthly expenditures. This includes hosting fees, website design, domain name registration, web development, software subscriptions, IT support, maintenance, upgrades, security, taxes, insurance, shipping, printing, credit card processing, and ecommerce fees.
Lastly, remember that you must factor in additional costs depending on your particular situation. Things like legal fees, payroll, employee benefits, travel, office space rent, utilities, loans, lease payments, food, entertainment, inventory, and miscellaneous items may end up eating away at your profits.
At the same time, don’t forget to add a comfortable buffer zone to account for unexpected circumstances. After all, running a business requires cash flow management skills.
If you choose to invest solely in passive income streams, you won’t incur immediate startup costs since the majority of your efforts will come after launch. However, slow growth rates mean lower profit margins, thus requiring you to reinvest more funds into the company each month. This means higher fixed costs tied to salaries, equipment, and technology purchases.
As long as you plan ahead and maintain consistent spending habits, you shouldn’t encounter major problems once you reach profitability stage.
While there are several popular platforms designed specifically for individuals looking to establish their own presence online, there’s always a catch. Most require that you fork over thousands of dollars per year, usually through expensive paid plans. Sure, you can try using free alternatives, but unless you’re willing to shell out lots of dough, you’ll likely run into countless technical issues along the way.
Luckily, there are still options available for budding creatives seeking to break into the industry. Some of them include:
Instagram Stories: While technically accessible to non-subscribers, Facebook's platform limits its use to verified accounts. Therefore, if you haven’t yet been able to achieve verification status, you’d need to rely on third-party applications like Storybook. Unfortunately, this app isn’t cheap either. Its subscription fee starts at $9.99 per month for unlimited stories.
Unlocker: Launched back in 2015, Unlocker lets you upload high resolution images, videos, GIFs, text, stickers, overlays, and audio clips directly onto your profile page. Subscription prices range from $7-$12 per month, depending on your needs.
FameBit: Similar to Unlocker, FameBit gives users a platform to showcase original creations via direct messages to friends, family members, acquaintances, and strangers alike. There’s a small selection of stock media to download, however. Prices vary based on your selected package.
Snapchat: Snapchat offers various types of creative filters and lenses that enable you to customize your snaps. These special effects are limited to select partners, though. On top of that, you’ll need to purchase Snapcodes ($1) to unlock these features.
Vine: Although Vine recently announced that it was closing down soon, the video-sharing sensation is still worth considering. Users can share 15 second looped snippets of footage, called Vines, exclusively on Twitter. As for monetizing your channel, you can earn revenue from sponsored vines. Once approved, sponsorships typically last 12 months.
YouTube Premium: YouTube Premium is Google’s premium streaming service offering ad-free viewing experience and exclusive live events on YouTube Originals. Unlike regular YouTube ads, premium ads feature relevant titles and channels instead of irrelevant ones. When choosing a niche market, stick to categories within beauty, lifestyle, health, sports, home & garden, automotive, electronics, fashion, DIY, pets, and gaming.
Dlive: DLive launched in 2018 and currently hosts livestreaming sessions featuring celebrities, musicians, athletes, comedians, artists, scientists, politicians, news anchors, authors, activists, doctors, professors, lawyers, tech CEOs, and more. You can broadcast your videos directly to viewers' browsers or mobile devices. A basic membership costs $4.95 per month.
Livestream: Livestream provides an easy-to-use solution for anyone wanting to stream gameplay, lectures, concerts, festivals, interviews, Q&As, workshops, and more. Depending on your chosen category, there’s an option to charge a minimum of $3.33 per hour or subscribe annually for $30.50.
Facebook Live Video Creation Toolkit [Broken URL Removed]: With the toolkit, you can easily record videos straight from your desktop computer or smartphone. Afterwards, you can edit, annotate, and narrate your clip. One drawback, however, is that you’ll need to buy credits (starting at $0.20) to utilize the full functionality.
Hoopla: Hoopla allows users to host virtual parties. Since it relies heavily on user interactions, Hoopla doesn’t generate significant revenues. Instead, Hoopla generates ad sales, giving users 70 percent of the proceeds.
Streamlabs OBS Studio: Streamlabs’ powerful editing suite offers advanced customization capabilities. Additionally, it enables you to seamlessly integrate third-party graphics, animations, assets, and plugins. Pricing ranges from $299 to $799, depending on your specific requirements.
Patreon: Patreon grants subscribers the ability to financially contribute to individual creators and bands, including artists, screenwriters, podcasters, bloggers, makeup artists, and illustrators. Typically, contributions range from $5-$35 per episode, depending on your preference.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.