Growing Your Business on a Budget
You’re just starting your business and don’t have the budget to spend money on educational resources, templates, or stock photography? Hey – I’ve been there and I know the struggle! Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to grow your business! Here are a few ways over the last couple of years that I’ve used to grow my business when money was a little tight:
Sign up for Newsletters
Find a few big business owners who resonate with you and your brand and sign up for their newsletter. Frequently, they’ll send newsletters with quick tips and tricks, business advice, discounts on their educational resources (workshops, conferences, etc.), or even freebies! I have gotten tons of free stock images and Photoshop templates from newsletter subscriptions over the years, and they have changed my business! Some of the newsletters I subscribe to for awesome freebies are SC Stockshop, Twigyposts, Hello You Designs, Kate Max Stock, Restored 316 Designs, and Bittersweet Design Boutique.
Join Free Webinars
If you haven’t had any experience with webinars, typically the person giving the webinar is trying to sell you on something at the end. This is a GOOD thing, and it’s always a win-win for you. The speaker will usually talk for 30-45 minutes about a topic. They’ll give you advice and tips on that topic, which is FREE education! Grab a notebook and jot everything down! If they have slides, screenshot them to refer back to later! I can’t tell you how many webinars I’ve attended where the talk by itself was really valuable. I have a whole notebook full of webinar notes on all kinds of business education (Instagram courses, marketing, editing courses, etc.).
At the end, they will probably try to sell you something that relates to what they’ve been talking about. If you aren’t interested or can’t afford it, it’s completely fine. If you are interested and you do have the money to invest in it, they will offer you a discount for being in the webinar. Sometimes, they even offer a free seat to whatever they’re selling to a webinar attendee, so it can be valuable to stay all the way to the end.
Brand with Etsy
We all start somewhere! If you’re not able to afford a custom brand, especially when you’re starting out, that is completely understandable! I didn’t actually spend money on an official brand until a few months ago (at the end of my 2nd year in business)! I saved for it for a long time. Getting a good custom brand done will run you at least $1000 (a logo by itself might be around $350), so when you have a tight budget, check out Etsy! While you do run the risk of having a generic design that is also used by other people, you will be able to have a professional look to your business.
I’d recommend looking up “Branding Kit” on Etsy. It will start you off with a couple of logos, colors, and sometimes more. You can find a branding kit for $10-$60 depending on what you want to get, which is pretty good! Once you’ve saved up enough for that rebrand, then go for it!
Also — based off of personal experience — don’t pay for a custom logo or branding package from Etsy. Find a business who specifically markets themselves for this! When I was just starting, I spent $250 for a custom Etsy logo, and I was incredibly disappointed with it. For real though…it was pretty awful. I didn’t even end up using it and it was a total waste of money. Get a pre-made one you like, and spend the big bucks later!
Wait for End of Season Sales
This one is HUGE! I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved just because I waited for seasonal sales. A lot of businesses do smaller sales throughout the year, but usually in the spring and fall they do HUGE sales. This is another reason that joining newsletters are great. If you’re on a tight budget, just wait for the sales and see what’s available when you shop there. You’ll notice trends throughout the year for the various businesses you follow! Take advantage of sales when you can.
Attend the Turn it Up Conference
This conference is all online and the best thing about it is that it’s completely free! So you can attend it while relaxing at home in your pajamas and not spend a dime! While the Turn it Up Conference is geared more towards photographers, it has a ton of educational talks that can apply to more than just photography businesses! They usually have talks about branding, Instagram, running your business, getting your name out there, marketing, and so much more! You have access to each talk for a whole day, so you can watch them after work or after the kids go to bed. This educational resource is amazing, so if you haven’t heard of it, check it out!
Katelyn James’ Educational Store
Katelyn James’ education store has been one of my favorite educational resources, especially when I was on a tight budget! She currently has 12 mini guides that you can purchase for just $12.99 each (or $99 for all of them)! That is an incredible deal! These mini guides are full of tips and tricks. Some of them include topics such as shooting in harsh light, shooting details, posing, and so much more. She also has 6 freebies available in her shop, and they are AWESOME! She has a sample timeline, second shooter checklist, a posing guide, and a few other goodies that you can get FOR FREE! This one is a must visit — you have to check it out!