How To Start an Online Business For $100 or Less!

If you’re here, the chances are you have a business idea or a desire to start a business, but you may not have a huge budget to start with.  Starting a business is an amazing aspiration, and I want to help you achieve your goal, and show you how to start a business for $100 or less!   There are so many factors that need to be considered when calculating start up business funding.  I want to break those down, so you can use the budget you have ($100), maximize the return on your investment, and reinvest more into your business.

how to start a business for 100 or lessMy Background

I’ve been on a tight budget before, so I know how it is.  I was a single mom for four years, and I can remember times where I had something I wanted to do, but didn’t have the resources to do it.

When I was at these crossroads where I wanted to do something, whether start a business or make sure my needs were met, I would do research just like you are.  If I were you, I’d be looking for “how to start a business for $100 or less” just as you have!  I’ve found that doing a little research can give ideas when you think you’re stuck.

Without Further Ado, Let’s Get Started on How To Start A Business For $100 or Less…

Kudos to you for reaching out and looking for ideas when you may not have a streamlined answer.  Starting a business with any amount of money can have it’s challenges, but as I wrote in my article on Bootstrapping and Start up Business Funding, while bootstrapping can have its challenges, the liberty and financial confidence you can feel when you learn how take $100 and turn it into hundreds, then thousands, then millions is amazing!

I’d love to help boost your creativity and get your wheels turning towards that financial confidence by showing you how to start a business for $100 or less!  The first step for how to start a business for $100 or less is…

1. Choose a Startup Business Model With Low Startup Overhead

Some businesses require a ton of overhead to start.  Businesses that require lots of inventory like physical retail stores or manufacturing businesses may be outside of your budget.

Instead, you could start a business online!   I guarantee you the e-commerce version of the retail store costs much less, or a service business that runs from your website can have quick income opportunities and huge returns on your $100 investment.

I’ve written articles like 25+ Side Hustles You Can Start or 25 Best Home Based Businesses for Stay Home Moms to help get your creative wheels turning towards a profitable business.   While, my article may be targeted for stay home moms, it could be just as relevant for giving you ideas.

Even more, if you’re currently working a job, you may have a schedule that works very similar to the stay home mom whose only work time is during her children’s sleep or when she has limited childcare.  Check either of those articles out!

Spoiler Alert: I talk about mystery shopping, freelancing, and other high ROI side hustles just to give you a few hints…

how to start a business for $100 or less

2. Get the Training You Need

Education is one of the highest expenses you should take when starting out with a small budget.  No…I don’t mean University education

I simply mean education (reading, video courses, mentorship, coaching, etc.) where you are getting fresh ideas that help you execute your business more effectively and efficiently.   Right now, your budget is $100, but in the longrun, there’s no specific price range for this level of education.

We’re going to keep the education below $100 for now, but expect to invest further in this in the future.   You can find free opportunities for an invaluable education, but you can’t expect every opportunity to be free.

Sometimes, you may have to pay hundreds or even thousands to access the ideas you need to take your business to the next level.   Whether you need additional training in sales, money and finance, idea evaluation, or whichever you feel is your “stuck point”.

You’ll need ideas for how you can stretch what you have: your skills will have to increase, your connections will have to be more valuable, and you’ll need an idea pick-me-up very frequently when you’re starting out.

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You’ll find connections (possibly in your classrooms) that can help propel you to the next level when you begin educating yourself.  You can take courses on places like Udemy (sometimes as low as $10 or even FREE), and Wealthy Affiliate (starting for free) that can give more value than university courses.

Don’t underestimate the power of knowledge!  One idea can save you so much time and money.  Take the time to get the education you need.  Shop around for materials that can enhance your knowledge base within your budget.

I’ve found great resources on Udemy and also in places like the thrift store!   I’d say you should invest at least 20% in education = $20.00   I’d recommend Wealthy Affiliate premium version (you’ll see why a little later), so we can come in under $20.00.

how to start a business for $100 or less

3. Take Time To Brainstorm your Business Concept and Business Name

You want to have your business concept well thought out.  In my article on Making a Business Plan that Works, I mentioned how you should not worry too much about doing the “academic business plan” as much as you should set goals mapping out your expectations for the business, and steps for how you will achieve the goals.

When considering your business concept, it’s good to be clear about what problem your business will solve, how to find people with that problem, how you will reach those people (what marketing channels), how many people you will need to reach to achieve your sales goals, and how much you will charge them.  Be conservative with your goals and let your increased confidence increase the scale of the goals–otherwise you can get discouraged.

In addition to your business concept, you want to think about your business name.  Make it catchy, and make it something memorable to your target audience.   Brainstorming about your business name and your business concept is FREE, so you’re doing good so far with your budget.  You’re at a whopping $20.00!

4. Register Your Domain Name and Get Hosting

In my previous article called How To Set Up A Blog For Business and Sales, I explained all of the steps necessary to start a website for business, and how to make it into a lucrative business.  I’ll summarize here, but you should check those articles out for more details.

Basically, you will want to do some keyword research and choose a marketable domain.  If you choose a domain name that is already something people are searching for, it will be much easier to leverage the searches in favor of driving traffic to your business.  You can use this Jaaxy free keyword research tool here to play with some keywords and find potential domain names.

After you’ve found keywords you’d like to use to buy your domain, I recommend you start with a paid hosting plan thru SiteRubix included in the premium Wealthy Affiliate Account I told you about before in #2.  This is the best option for website hosting instead of free options because you want to begin branding and gaining familiarity with your business.

You also want people to take your business seriously and many people can identify free website options by their URLs (yourwebsite.blogspot.com, yourwebsite.wordpress.com, or yourwebsite.siterubix.com).   If you’re still concerned about your budget, and you insist on going thru with a free option, I’ve given all the directions for how to create a free website on my article Blogging for Beginners: Start a Blog for FREE

You’ll still be able to get some free training and sell services on the free site, then you can migrate it to paid hosting later (if you choose).   You can create your free domain here:

In addition to website hosting, Wealthy Affiliate provides outstanding training on how you can get traffic to your website and begin making money!  There’s also lots of community support (from like-minded internet entrepreneurs), and amazing customer service!  Here’s what you get with the Wealthy Affiliate packages:

Be Careful of the Popular Hosting Options…Popular doesn’t always mean Best!

Although there are some really popular hosting plans out there like Bluehost, Hostgator, or GoDaddy, I don’t recommend any of those because my experience with their customer service compares to dealing with the water company or another big behemoth business monopoly.  It was the worst with very time-consuming interactions, long hold times, and little to no help with technical issues!

I wouldn’t tell you how to start a business for $100 or less, then direct you to a poor experience like you could receive with some of the hosting companies out there.  If you’d like to hear my full story on this and more, read my full Wealthy Affiliate Review HERE.

If you decide to go with Wealthy Affiliate, this counts towards the training budget that we talked about earlier, so your training and hosting is packaged as one–making this $0.00 additional towards your startup business expenses!

how to start a business for $100 or less

5. Register Your Business Name and Get an EIN Number

Although many people like to start their businesses as LLC’s or S-Corps, you should probably start simple.   I mean, we are learning how to start a business for $100 or less, right?  Start as a basic sole proprietorship until you have more than $100 to invest in the business.

After you have money to reinvest, I’d recommend you incorporating with the legal business structure that best suits your business needs; however, a DBA usually costs between $25-50 depending on what state you’re in.  Usually, you can walk into your state courthouse, fill out a few papers, and walk out with a certificate allowing you to legally do business as your name of choice.

Sidenote: For veteran entrepreneurs, there are states (like Texas) that allow free incorporation.  If you’re a veteran, I’d go ahead and incorporate into the most suitable business structure if I was starting the business in a state that makes these accommodations.

After you have your DBA certificate, you can also get your EIN number from the IRS HERE.  Your EIN number is a mandatory requirement before you can open a business checking account, you’ll need it when you do your taxes, and many payment platforms (like Paypal, Stripe, Square, or others) will ask you for it when you’re registering to send or receive money.

The business name and business EIN = $25-50 So far, you’re at $45-70 with your startup business expenses!  So far so good!

6. Open A Business Bank Account

I couldn’t do you justice with teaching you how to start a business for $100 or less without getting you set up with a bank.  Now, you should take your DBA certificate, your EIN number, and some picture ID (preferably your driver’s license or state ID), and head over to your bank of choice.   Having a business bank account is going to streamline your accounting efforts.

You don’t want to mix business money and personal money too much because then it gets hard to report properly during tax time and it gets difficult to track whether you’re achieving the milestones you desire.   You want to choose a bank that is not going to charge you monthly for having an account and one that has nice business amenities.

Some banks will have training or discounted services with retailers that could help you along your business growth journey.  You should get the biggest bang for your buck when you’re choosing a bank.

Don’t take too long on this step of the process because you can always move later if you find something better.  The most important thing is to get everything in place so you can get sales rolling in!   Cost for business account = $0.00!

how to start a business for $100 or less

7. Set Up Your Shop

If you want to know how to start a business for $100 or less, you’ll have to know how you can begin selling something: a product or service.  I know many people don’t like the term “sales”, however, a business is successful by solving a problem with products or services.

How do you let people know about the solution?  You sell!   You can add the Woocommerce plugin to your website to begin selling products or services, and market them with nice aesthetics.  You can also choose to set up lead pages with Paypal buttons to sell to customers.

Whatever option you choose, now is the time to set up your shop so you can begin to offer your products and services to others.  The quicker you get this set up, the quicker you can begin solving problems for others, right?   Cost to set up your shop = $0.00!

8. Set Up Email Marketing

Email marketing software is your investment into customer retention, and sales conversions.  You can set up basic email marketing with Mailchimp.

If you don’t have a proven method for attracting customers to your website yet, you may want to start out with the free Mailchimp option, but once you start getting profit, you will want to switch to an option that has more options and makes you more money.

I recommend Convertkit as a premium email marketing software.  They have customer tag and segmenting options that can increase your email list retention rates more than 100 fold!

For our $100 budget, let’s start with $0, but maybe next month (once we have somewhat of a proven sales funnel), we can add Convertkit for $29.00/month.  What do you think?

Cost for email marketing $0-$29.00!   So far we’re at $45-$99.00 (contingent on your DBA cost, whether you start with a free or paid website, and whether you choose free or paid email marketing software)!  We’re well on our way at #8 out of 10 with learning how to start a business with $100 or less.  Not bad at all!

how to start a business for $100 or less

9. Create Social Media Accounts

Social media is one of the leading methods for driving traffic online.  I recommend choosing a social media platform you understand, and one that you can logically drive lots of traffic from.

My favorite social media platform when teaching how to start a business for $100 or less is….Drum roll please…it’s Pinterest!  My favorite is Pinterest, but to each is his own.

You want to create social media accounts with your business name.  You could do the straight business name or you could use (Your name) at (Business Name).  You choose how you want to do your branding.   Cost to set up social media accounts = $0.00!

10. Get Traffic

Now to the fun part…opening the doors for customers!  Whether you have an online business or an offline business, you will need to focus time and attention on getting relevant traffic.

I’ve personally had the most success at getting traffic thru online marketing.  I’ve done offline methods, but as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m a stay home mom with two young kids, so live networking has its challenges.   Added to the challenges of my life situation, any marketing expert will tell you that unless you’re a mega big time public speaker, television, or media personality, there is no way to drive as much traffic to your business EXCEPT thru internet marketing

If you want to know how to start a business for $100 or less, the chances are most business consultants (me included) are going to direct you to some use of the internet.   There are many articles, youtube videos, and courses online that will tell you fragments of what you need to know to drive traffic to your website, but if you’d like to know how to start a business for $100 or less and not waste loads of time, you should check out Wealthy Affiliate.

My #1 recommended training for getting traffic is Wealthy Affiliate hands down.   They teach you search engine optimization, website setup, affiliate marketing, paid advertising and so much more.  I offer lots of help to my Wealthy Affiliate referrals free of charge as they navigate their way to having a successful online business.

To begin on your internet marketing journey, set up your free Wealthy Affiliate Account HERE.  You’ll  I look forward to working with you!

Final Words on How To Start a Business for $100 or Less

There you have it, I’ve shown you how to start a business for $100 or less.  This is the bare bones setup.  Of course, you will need to keep re-investing in this business, however we’ve:

  • Chosen a business model
  • Paid for some training
  • Gotten clear on our business model
  • Registered a DBA and the EIN number
  • Gotten a website and set up products or services for sale
  • We’ve set up our social media accounts
  • Gotten traffic

This is definitely a comprehensive system for how to start a business for $100 or less.  Hopefully this helps you start your business and begin generating massive cash! If you’re interested in starting or growing your business: from idea to enterprise, check out my free e-course. It give a framework to start or grow a business. Check out the free e-course here.

Now, it your turn…

Have you learned a system for how to start a business for $100 or less? What was it? Have you started a business for $100 or less?  If so, what did you do?  Did you use the strategies I mentioned in my post?  What were your results.

4 thoughts on “How To Start an Online Business For $100 or Less!”

  1. You really caught my attention here, Tiffany. I have been thinking of starting an Online Business for some time now. What I would like to do is sell my own products on the Internet with my own Website.
    Would you know the best place I can start and what would the total costs be per month?
    Cheers, Jeff.

    1. Hello Jeff! I really appreciate your feedback!  I’m glad the article could be helpful.  I think the best place to start would be getting the domain and some internet marketing training, so you can learn about traffic generation and creating listings that get found.  We can get started on your training HERE.

  2. I love it to find articles that actually explain everything from A to Z and further. I love the suggestion to use Udemy skillshare and Wealthy Affiliate even though the last one is only for website building and affiliate marketing. But I use skillshare on a daily base and Udemy sometimes too. they are really good resources to up your skills.

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