I just launched a new greeting card company for less than $100 called, “DEEsigns By Me.” This article explains why and how I did it and offers tips to help you do the same.
Ready. Set. Go.
The $100 Start Up
I read a book a while in my Entrepreneurship business class called The $100 Start Up, written by Chris Guillebeau. SPOILER ALERT! This book is a “how to” for creating a startup company for $100 or less.
At the time, I thought this was ridiculous. “Yeah right…it cost $100 just to file for an LLC in Ohio.” I’m here as an unpaid ambassador to claim truth! DEEsigns By Me is living proof that the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.
Listed in The $100 Startup are a half dozen successful cheap startup companies. The people who started these companies are not special; they are common folk like you and me. Many were simply unsatisfied with their current job and created a company doing something they loved. Once their “hobby” began gaining momentum, they took a risk, quit their job, and focused 100 percent on their passion while earning an honest wage.
Tip 1: Figure Out Your Passion and Do That
A Brief Synopsis of My Past Failed Attempts At Business
I opened up my first business–The Exercise Cure, an online fitness and nutrition company–in 2016. Although I quickly closed shop in 2018, I learned a lot about the basics of starting a business like building the structures and systems, writing a business plan, financial budgeting, and website development. The problem was, once it was built, I had no passion to run the operations. Online coaching was not for me.
Overall, this venture taught me two important things:
- It’s easier to run a business using my passions as my driving force.
- Selling my product / service is not my strength.
Enter Delta Performance
I took a leap of faith when I sat down with two other women who share my values and are just as passionate about strengthening the lives of anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, sex, religion, political views, race, or sexual orientation. Three months later, we took a huge risk, quit our jobs as personal trainers, and started our own fitness, sports performance, and nutrition coaching venture together. Our first year in business was fantastic. I grew more in this one year and had more opportunity for learning than my previous 15 years of work combined.
Here’s what I learned the most: I love what I do, my active listening skills could use some work, and I am still terrible at selling.
Tip 2: Focus on Strengths. Outsource Weaknesses
I know where my strengths lie, and sales is not one of them; however, it is a necessary part to being able to successfully run a business. For me, it is a vicious mind screw. When someone asks me how my business is doing, I feel like a pompous ass when I say “Great! We have profited every single month since being in business.” For those who know me know I already struggle with humility. Talking highly about my business does not help this matter. Further, when I think about asking for a referral, I feel inauthentic.
Luckily, I have two other business partners who help me with this task. One took on the marketing side of the business, and the other does community outreach. Having a team to outsource areas of weakness and help build strengths is a must. My team compliments my skills and challenges me every day to become greater.
This year’s challenge is to overcome my greatest fear: rejection.
Tip 3: Face Your Biggest Fear
Underneath my confidence, cute smile, sarcastic remarks, and tough exterior is a fearful, timid, uncertain introvert. My biggest fear: rejection. I’d rather take a pen to my eyes than open myself up and risk being shut down, which, in my mind, translates to “I’m not good enough.”
Through experience I have learned the more I face my fears, the less fearful I become. This instance is no different. To overcome my walled fear of rejection, I must blow open a hole and gallop through.
To rip open this wall, I came up with the following solution:
- Create a start up company doing something I love, so I can easily talk about it.
- Find a problem that needs solved, and solve it. Treat it as a hobby initially, so I’m not “selling” anything.
- Do something that doesn’t interfere with my current company because I don’t want to piss off my business partners.
Tip 4: Take Action
Introducing my $100 Start Up Company
I spent an evening brainstorming all the possible ways I could use my passions to earn a little extra income and help me learn how to find customers and sell a great product to them. After weeks of digging, I created DEEsigns By Me, a punny greeting card company.
I love drawing, laughing, and helping others connect. This company helps me do all three. I have been hand drawing cute and funny cards for my loved ones for years; why not mass produce this to reach more people?
Well, here it is.
Total Start Up Cost: $50
I invested just over $50 to purchase the initial supply, some time, and some creativity. I sell my cards on the low risk Etsy Shop platform, which cost $0.20 cents to list a product for four months plus a small percentage of every product sold.
How can you start a business for $100 or less?
Listen. I’m not a guru, nor am I a genius. I commit myself, I work hard, and I stay true to my values and beliefs. I’m just a common folk like you, so if I can do it, you can too.
There are a few pre-requisites to starting your business:
- Discover your “Why.” Why do you want to start a business?
- Figure out your passions and do that.
- Focus on areas you are strong in. Find mentors to help you on weaknesses or outsource your weaknesses to someone else.
- Take action now. Do not wait another minute to live a life of freedom.
A Few Closing Statements
- Follow my blog for more blogs in the near future about my $100 start up business venture.
- Find my business on instagram and facebook @deesignsbyme
- Comment below with any thoughts, questions, or future blogs you may want to see.