When I started my virtual assistance business, I had a crapload of debt from a previous joint business venture that went terribly wrong. So, I didn't have a whole lot of money to invest in yet another business venture, but here are 7 crazy things I did to afford my virtual assistance business.
1. I GAVE UP HAIRCUTS
Legit, to this day, May 2017, as I write this, I haven't had my hair professionally done.
I YouTubed how to cut my own hair and while it's not the most fabulous job in the world, that's a $40 cut and style, gas, and tip, I'm saving because I needed to buy a .com website.
2. I went on 'curb alerts.'
I realize that this is illegal in several places, but where I live, this is totally okay.
Curb alerting is essentially driving around on trash day, waiting for people to put out their trash.
My husband and I would drive around for hours, in the nicer neighborhoods, and we picked up all sorts of great things.
I grabbed a bunch of working, pristine, high-end jogging strollers and sold them for $50 each.
My husband found a box filled with Melissa & Doug toys that were in perfect condition. We kept some for our own kids but flipped a good amount of those for $100.
Curb alerting was time consuming, but hey, I didn't have a lot of my own stuff to sell, so if someone doesn't want their dining table, I can fix it up and flip it.
3. I did fortune telling on hotlines
My first business venture was actually tarot card readings online.
I leveraged that skill set by doing readings on the weekends, on hotlines, to generate side income to fund the virtual assistance business.
Most of these gigs were low paying, like 50 cents a minute (which doesn't add up to much when you think about how long you have to wait for a client) but it was enough to save up for a G Suite account.
Think about a skill set that you have. It could be anything.
Maybe you're super patient and you don't mind taking on tedious tasks like copy and pasting a million things.
Maybe you were fantastic in algebra and you can tutor middle school kids (do they teach algebra in the USA anymore?)
Put your strange experiences and skill sets to use!
4. I swapped services with other self starters
Okay, so I know I need a logo, a sales page, and all that stuff, in order to make it as an entrepreneur.
The problem is that I couldn't afford any of these high-end services.
Instead, I swapped services.
My strong point was in blogging, creating systems for businesses, and setting up their automations.
So, we both won.
Their business processes ran smoothly and I got a branding board and someone to copyedit my website.
5. I took on super low paying jobs
I do tell people to value themselves and charge what they are worth.
However, I totally believe that when you are in the beginning stages of starting a business and struggling, you have to take some of the low paying jobs.
This is where you really have to hustle and work twice as hard for half the pay, but that half pay is going to be the funds that you invest for a better pay a month from now.
For me, that meant I was taking on the jobs on Upwork that were super demanding, but paid me out at least $100 that month.
While it doesn't seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, $100 definitely contributed to paying for my website, e-mail address, and Squarespace host.
6. I changed my diet
I don't spend a lot on basic luxuries to begin with so the strategy of "cutting costs to save money" that a lot of money gurus talk about, is hard for me.
One place I could cut costs from, was from my diet.
I stopped drinking alcohol, soda, and basically, anything that wasn't water.
I stuck to the very basics with food, leaving out breads, pastas, and "filler food" that didn't do much to keep me full.
It might not sound like a big deal, but when I gave up a $15 bottle of cheap vodka or a $2 box of pasta, that would pay for 1 month of Squarespace.
7. I did a lot of legwork for knowledge
Everything that you pay for online, can be found for free, somewhere.
That's the truth.
If you want it nicely packaged, all in the same place, and explained to you in a manner where you can learn it quickly, then you pay for it.
So every time I saw a course or a coach I wanted to work with, I gently reminded myself, "Just find the free version."
And that means:
- Read blog posts instead of getting private coaching
- Joining the Facebook groups of my favorite coaches (and you can join mine by clicking here!)
- Attending all the free live webinars and Facebook lives
- Doing a lot of trial-and-error
- Asking questions on Facebook and filtering out the answers that I didn't vibe with
Eventually, I did save up enough money to invest in a marketing course that helped me launch and book out my business, but in the beginning, I wasn't ready for that.
So don't ever worry that all of the "best stuff" costs money.
Let me know in the comments...
What kind of crazy things have you done to save up for your business? Let me know in the comments below!