How To Start A Business From Scratch In 2018 With Less Than $500

Are you thinking about starting a business? Worried that it's harder nowadays to have a successful business? Here's how I'd start a business today. #business #startabusiness #solopreneur


I’ve witnessed a looot of conversations this year with women who are just starting out in their business (in person, and on threads/comments in Facebook groups etc), and there’s something that keeps coming up that’s totally blowing my mind:


So many women coaches, creatives and solopreneurs seem to think that, overwhelmingly, it used to somehow be easier to build a profitable business or a huge, engaged community or simply to win clients back in the day.  


They seem convinced that it was somehow easier to get attention back when the internet was less busy.  


They’re totally confident it was simpler to get views on your blog, or likes on your Facebook page, or land media placements 5 years ago.  And then that it was way easier to somehow convert those views/likes/placements into paying clients.


Well: I call bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit!


In fact, I think it’s a cop-out, and nothing but a wildly limiting belief that women use to keep themselves out of the game, on the sidelines.


Has internet marketing changed over the years?  Of course.  Is it evolving right now?  Yep.


While it’s undeniable that ALL markets evolve as trends come and go, certain strategies are more successful, customer desires and expectations change over time, etc…. there remains, and will always be, a place for businesses that genuinely care about their clients, help solve important problems, and do it well.


That’s why, when it comes up, I always tell the newbies I meet:


If you’re at the beginning of your business-building journey, don’t underestimate the power of simply staying in the room, and putting in the work to bring your dreams to life.  For the record, it’ll probably take longer and be harder than you expect.  The women you look up to at the top of your field now weren’t/aren’t necessarily any less scared than you, they just decided to take action and stay in action.


I would know because… between you and me?  I feel that fear pretty damn often.


Even right now.


Was I terrified when I co-founded the management consulting firm I started?  Yep.


Was I was terrified when I started Betty Means Business?  Uhhh huh.


Recently I even had a conversation with a friend who runs a very successful training academy, where I opened up about a potential new endeavour I can’t stop thinking about… and (surprise) I’m freakin’ terrified.  I told her so.


My friend revealed a secret to me: When she was starting her academy, she had no idea what she was doing (she’d never run an academy before, never written training manuals before, never gotten courses accredited before, never filled group programs before etc).


I was gobsmacked.  She’d started from scratch, totally out of her comfort zone.


“How did you get through it?” I asked.


She shrugged.


“I just figured it out as I went and took the next step, and the next, and the next…  And you will too.”


Here’s what I know:  At the end of the day?  That’s all that really matters.


Now that I’m thinking about this new endeavour, I’ve also been thinking about, if I had to start from scratch, how I’d start Betty Means Business all over again.


What I’d invest in.

Who I’d talk to.

What I’d start with.


And today, whether you’re just starting your business or are eyeballing a new venture — I want to share my thoughts with you.


Knowing what I know now, here’s what I’d do, step by step, if I was starting my business from scratch today:


First, I’d get crystal clear on who I want to serve.


I’d set myself a target of interviewing 10 people that represent my ideal client to learn as much as possible about the problems and pain-points they are experiencing, their vision for the future, the language they use, and how I could most help them.  


I’d use this information to package up my services in the most enticing way.


I’d set myself a target – perhaps something like winning 6 paying clients in the next 60 days  – to validate my idea and services package.


Second, I’d buy the URL I want to use for my business ($11.99 from


This would only be after the interviews, in case I had a ‘cutesy’ name in mind and needed to find out if it would work, or wanted to come up with a new title for what I was offering clients (i.e. “coaching” or “consulting”).


Third, I’d set up my business bank account(s) and PayPal account, so I can take payments.


This is something too many newbies put off for too long – then all of a sudden when they find their first paying client, and they have to scramble to set everything up quickly!


I’d set up a simple system, and be ready.


Fourth, I’d hit social media with my heart in my hand.


I’d set up my business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and start posting, sharing helpful and inspiring content, and engaging with people.


After that? It would be time to grab some leads!


I’d set up a LeadPages account ($25 a month) to create a simple ‘Coming Soon’ landing page, then forward my URL to it, and include that URL in all my social media profiles pronto.


I’d also create simple landing and thank you pages to promote a totally un-fancy, crazy-effective free resource, and update the ‘Coming Soon’ page to this landing page asap.


Of course, I’d then create the incredibly helpful resource and position it as a lead magnet that solves a simple problem my ideal clients are grappling with now, so I can give it away for free in exchange for people’s email address.  


I’d use Canva (you could just use the free version, or it’s $12.95 a month for a bunch more useful features) to make it look profesh and whip up some images I could use to promote it.


I’d invest in and set up a ConvertKit account ($29 a month) to collect email addresses and integrate that bad boy with LeadPages.  


I’d also use ConvertKit to create a simple automated email sequence where I welcome every single new subscriber, introduce myself, and invite them to learn more about how we can work together.


Content marketing.


I’d put my head down and get stuck into creating as much high-quality, valuable content as possible. I’d start sharing it on my social media platforms and in relevant Facebook groups, submitting guest posts, and stockpiling content for my blog.


After that?  It’d be outreach o’clock.


I’d start reaching out to at least 10 people/blogs/podcasts/media outlets every week pitching myself for guest posts, interviews, collaborations etc.


25 Dream clients.


While I was doing that, I’d identify and list out at least 25 dream clients I’d love to work with.  I’d stick that list somewhere I could see it every day.  Then I’d do some research, put myself out there, and start building a relationship with each of them.


But above all?  I’d go and find my people.


I’d seek out my crew of business besties by either joining a mastermind or starting (at least!) one myself.  Sharing the ups and downs of business with a like-minded crew that are invested in your success makes life sweeter.


And that’s it!  Let’s be generous and give myself 3 months to complete these steps – my total cash spent over the first 3 months would be just $212.84.  Of course, this doesn’t include all the ‘sweat equity’ I’d pour into the business.


Simple, straightforward, and totally un-scary sounding, right?


But easier said than done — ha!


So I’m here to remind you:  While it might feel terrifying if you’re just getting started, or on the cusp of a big shift?  Hang in there.  Simplify.  Don’t invest money you don’t have, just get the basics squared away before you move on to the next thing.


But above all — have fun.


And for the more experienced biz-builders:  What do you think of the list above?  Did I miss anything?


I’d love to hear your insights and takes in the comments below — so we can help some newbies move forward, and start building the businesses they’ve been dreaming of!


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Kate xo
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About Kate

Through her passion-fuelled coaching, consulting and writing, Dr Kate Byrne helps women coaches and consultants intentionally engineer success so they can shine neon bright in business. She is an advocate for being all in, charging what you’re really worth and premium pricing.

Connect with Kate now at Betty Means Business, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.