Here's a few helpful tips on cost-effective ways things to do when starting out:
1. Accounting - Using Google Sheets to record your financial transactions might not seem that savvy, but at a cost of around $800 per annum, using something like Xero can really drain your business funds. For my first three years in business I used Google Sheets, and yes, coding transactions manually was tedious, but to be honest I didn't have that many. Numbers and accounting are not my favourite thing at all, so any work in this area became the bane of my life.
2. Graphic Design - Oh how I would have loved to have engaged a graphic designer to make beautiful imagery, logos, brochures, memes and more for my business. But for me, that just wasn't a reality. In the early days, getting income was a top priority, so I had to learn how to do the other things myself. Using canva.com was absolutely brilliant for graphics, and I still use it today. In fact I create all of my course workbooks, memes, social media posts, business cards, ads - you name it, it gets designed in Canva. Best of all it's free! Yes, there is a paid version, but I've only just started using that one six months ago, the free one did me perfectly for a number of years.
3. Facebook Posts - Making up text only quotes for Facebook and Instagram is super-easy with Word Swag. This is an app you have on your phone making it real easy to spend a few minutes making a few posts anytime you have a bit of spare time.
4. Website Images - You need to be very careful about what images you use, both on your website and on social media. To build my websites I use Weebly which has a great library of free images you can choose from to use on your pages. Yes, you do need to search through a good few pages of images to find good ones, but they are there. And you can use Canva for website images too - just make sure you're not breaking any of their rules around use of the images (it's all on their website).
5. Google Drive - Storing all of your business documents in one place that is well organised is key to finding what you need when you need it. Google Drive is a cloud-based document storage system that comes free with a Gmail account and offers 20GB of storage with that account. Syncing your computer with Google Drive is easy and means that any documents you update on your computer are synced in real time to your cloud storage.
When I started out I really wanted to have all of the bells and whistles so to speak, but I just could not afford it, and not many start ups can.
It's also good to learn how all of these pieces of software work. As a business owner you will need to research and learn new skills, because you just won't have the income to pay others at first. But it's all good, we all started out in that place, and it's a very good training ground. Learning how to become a researcher and a learner is one of the biggest parts of being an entrepreneur.
Any questions? Post them in the comments.