I’m pretty sure that up in the clouds there lies a ‘Dream Bank’ that has way too many deposits in it, from years of people’s dreams being left untouched.
It’s time we started drawing down on those reserves and turning them into profit and happiness for others.
Starting your creative project or business idea does not have to be an expensive task.
In this post, I’m going to ensure that you not only start something special, but that you do it on a budget that fits your creative endeavor, and that you actually deliver it to the world.
As Mark’s interview with Chris Guillebeau, author of the The $100 Startup, suggested – instead of asking your bank for a loan or venture capitalists for investment, see what you can achieve with a minimal budget and innovative ways of helping people.
So let’s take a look at 7 creative ways to use $100 or less to start your creative venture:
Image by Redwall via BigStock
1. Create your online storefront
If you think setting up a website and ecommerce shop is too complicated or expensive, then think again. These days you can buy a domain for under $10 through NameCheap, hosting for under $4 per month with Hostgator, install WordPress for free, then add a custom WordPress theme for around $50 from Themeforest, and have a logo and banner designed for just $5 on Fiverr.com.
There really are no excuses not to create your online portal for finding new customers and having them find you too.
2. Create a story worth spreading
If you hadn’t noticed, video has become THE marketing medium of choice, and social media has helped us to make it easier to share and access videos across the web.
Everyone loves a great story, something they can buy into. The thing is it’s not actually about you, or your story specifically, it’s about whether people can relate to what you’re doing and see themselves doing the same. Video is the perfect method for convincing them of that.
You just need your laptop’s built-in camera or your smartphone to record yourself speaking from the heart, and then use Fiverr.com to find someone willing to edit it and make it look great. Upload it to YouTube and post it on your website and ask people to share it – then ask again. 🙂
3. Invest in yourself
Often the last place you think of putting your hard-earned money into… is YOU. Yet it’s probably the most valuable action you could take. I worked with Mark early on in my business to make sure I was actually making progress much more quickly than I could have alone.
I would spend that money with a consultant, a coach, someone who can help me get 100% clear about WHY I am going starting a new business, and WHAT I want out of it. More importantly I would ask that person to make sure the business I want to start is really aligned with the lifestyle I am aiming for.
4. Kickstart yourself
Unless you’ve been hibernating in a cave writing your book or painting your masterpiece, then you will likely have noticed the phenomenon called Crowdfunding. This is a new way to raise money for your creative endeavours that really works.
You can put that video you’ve made to good use when you start a Kickstarter campaign to ask people to fund your next project. I wrote a whole article on what makes a great crowdfunding campaign and success stories of people who did it.
The crowdfunding platforms are free to use and just require you to upload your compelling video story, and think creatively about how to reward those people who believe in you. Often this doesn’t require much – for example you can send them an original print of your artwork, you can give them a copy of your digital book, or that new product they’ve helped you to produce.
5. Help others
As Chris Guillebeau told Mark:
All of the businesses I looked at were very much focused on helping people. They had found a way to create happiness in the lives of their customers, either through adding something positive or removing something negative.
It’s surprising how many people don’t do this. Help people and they will want to help you.
If I can use myself as an example… I wanted to take my $100 that Chris gave me and all 1,000 attendees at his recent World Domination Summit, to help hundreds of others start their dream project. I asked over 100 change makers to contribute their words of wisdom to my project and in just 3 weeks, I had more than 100 responses (videos, audios and written nuggets of brilliance). Mark is one of those change makers.
With their support I was able to launch my $100 Change program – and movement – and they’re still continuing to help me now by spreading the word.
6. Go back to school
Not necessarily literally, but use that $100 to invest in an online program to learn that skill you’ve always wanted to hone. Or go to night school, a community course, or the local library, and take the time to improve yourself.
It will only translate itself into a return on your investment down the track. If you become a better copywriter, you can write better copy and get more referrals and then raise your prices. If you learn watercolour, you can add this to your painting repertoire and cater to a different audience with your work.
7. Buy an expert
For the cost of a few coffees you can get thousands of dollars worth of advice from experts and mentors who’ve been there and succeeded. Tara Gentile, another change maker in $100 Change, gave this great advice on how she’d spend $100:
I would take 15-20 other business owners out to coffee. I think it might just be the best investment of $100 you can make.
When I started my business, I had been sitting at home for 6 months getting to know a new baby. I sat at home for the next 4 months writing and raising that baby. I missed out on an opportunity to expose myself to fresh perspectives, enlightening experience, and just plain old fun.
Of course, I wouldn’t trade time with my daughter for anything. But, starting again, I would make an investment in getting out of the house and in touch with amazing people.
Everyone feels the same fear, doubt and lack of motivation as you do when it comes to launching your project. The ones who succeed are the ones who push through that to actually ship.
Here’s an inspirational quote from Seth Godin, one of my favourite leaders in creating change and shipping stuff that matters.
What can you create with $100?
If you were given $100 to spend creatively, what would you do with it?
About the Author: Natalie Sisson is a Suitcase Entrepreneur who shows you how to build a business you love from anywhere, using online tools, social media and outsourcing. She’s on a mission to ensure you create freedom in business and adventure in life.
Her brilliant initiative $100 Change is designed to get you to start your dream project or business today. You can learn from 100 changemakers over 100 days for $100, and then have the opportunity to have your money given back to you ten times over with a scholarship to get you to launch. It’s an entrepreneurial movement.