When I started my business, I was caught up in what I *thought* I needed vs. what I could actually do without.

For example, I thought I needed an office/art studio space. And yes, while that may have been nice to have, it wasn’t in the budget. And so I made do with a corner in my closet and a corner in my basement and a corner in my living room. Guess what? It worked out just fine and it saved me thousands of dollars in rent.

Some day I will graduate to have a real office and studio space, but I know right now is not the time for that. Surprisingly – I’m thankful I didn’t get the office space in the beginning because it would have just added to a lot of stress and pressure on me to pay the expense.

So, right now – think about what you *think* you need money for. Now brainstorm alternatives.

  • Office/Storage Space: Could you clear a corner in your house somewhere?
  • Marketing: There are a number of free ways to promote your company.
  • Product Development: {AKA Craft Supplies}: What could you make with things from your stash to help you raise start up capitol? Alternatively, are there any items in your stash you could sell to raise some funds?
  • Website: Could you start with a free blog/website or sell your items online on a third party site until it’s in the budget to launch a proper website? Heck yes you can!


It takes almost any business at least 3-6 months to see some activity, so you are going to need savings/income to survive on for that first 6 months. This is the hardest, most painful truth about starting any type of business – you probably can’t afford to quit the day job just yet. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to hustle!

  • List items for sale on Facebook Flea Market Groups + Craigslist. Sell everything in your house that is not absolutely essential – yes this may mean the furniture and possibly even your rarely used kitchen accessories!
  • Get your personal budget in order:Track your spending and see where you can spend less.
  • Save money on everything in every way you can: Use coupons, apply for a tax ID number and buy wholesale, reduce your utility bills, cancel the cable {though do keep the internet!} and eat nothing but Ramen noodles for a few months {Caution: while affordable I am pretty sure Ramen Noodles are not a good source of all the essential daily vitamins and minerals – you may not want to heed all of this advice!}
  • Offer to Do Odd Jobs: Help a neighbor with their garden, Babysit, get a side gig delivering pizzas – whatever you have to do to pay to the bills!


You may need money now. It’s okay. If you’ve carefully thought of every way to come up with savings and alternatives to spend money, then you may want to learn how to apply for a small business loan.

  • Be sure to only borrow as much as you absolutely need
  • Don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay each month


There are so many great ways to trade people for products and services. This is a great option when two people are just starting a business – you can help each other out!


There are tons of free and low cost services you can use when just starting your business. You can always upgrade to the more expensive better services and products later at any time.


Learning to do things on your own can help you start out small and simply. Maybe you learn how to create your own website, or you build your own branding using free graphic design apps. While these things are best left to professionals – at the same time if you have no money the DIY approach can help you get much farther than taking absolutely no action at all.


Most businesses do not need much money to start. Sure, it’s nice to have money to invest in yourself and your company. But if you think about starting your business in small steps and sticking to the philosophy of “Do what you can with what you have” – you will be able to follow that dream and find success!

Any wisdom on how to start a business with no money that you’d like to share? Your thoughts, questions, and comments are always welcome below!

Why I’ll Never Have The Most Followers

Go to the profile of Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve been thinking a lot about my content lately, and really my YouTube daily views specifically. The vlog concept I have around documenting the next 20 to 30 years of my professional career, and how fun it is that my grandkids will look back at it when I’m 60.

I’ll be like, “Man, I used to have hair. Cool.” Just all those fun little things. But there is something a little bit more interesting going on that I’m truly fascinated by, which is the pressure I put on my community to watch what I’m doing, not what I’m saying, the comments that happen every single day, which is one of two things.

The first being “I’m out of here, Gary. Thank you for all that you do, I got it.” Or, “First time checking in in four months because I’ve been doing, thank you so much. Oh by the way, forgot how good your content is. Maybe I’ll mix it back in.”

It has really led to an interesting question for me that somebody asked last weekend in the south of France when I was on business. They were like, “You should be so much bigger. Your numbers should be so much bigger.”

I stared at him and I said, “Look, do you really care about your numbers, or do you care about the impact?”

Influencers, do you care about having a million followers, or would you rather sell a million dollars worth or product? — Tweet This!

Or get a million dollars worth of sponsorship? One of the things I’m really trying to achieve with my legacy is having the biggest impact, the biggest brand, not just the most amount of subscribers. To me, the ironic thing is if I’m doing my job well, my numbers can’t grow that big. My views won’t grow to be that big. My engagements cannot grow bigger, because really I’m just helping people win.

I, unlike so many other people, actually want to provide value. — Tweet This!

A lot of people are building content that isn’t really doing that, it’s kind of appeasing or entertaining. It’s the band-aid, it’s not actually the solution. It’s almost kind of difficult for me to watch from afar because all it’s doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for the content creator. It’s never really allowing the person to graduate from watching their content and really go and do their thing. In reverse, I’m the opposite. 25% of the people that first consume a piece of content of mine hate me and want me out, because I’m so focused on the truth.

I’m trying to pressure you into doing. I want you to see it. I want you to look at the things that you don’t want to look at, which is to show you that the only excuse there is, is no excuse, right? It’s not somebody else’s fault. It’s not that they ripped off your idea, it’s not this, that, or the other thing. It’s you. The second you go there and figure that out, everything starts to change.

It’s a difficult thing to know deep down that you’re self-aware enough to say, “I’m not putting in the work. I didn’t really do the studying that I needed to do. I’m not willing to pay the price. I like to be home and sit on the couch.” Right?

Secondly, I can only get so big because 25% are out from the get. Then, another 25% after three to six months really, really, really get it and go all in.

That only leaves me with 50% of you which are just still not there yet, so you still need my crutch, or you’re just looking at me for entertainment. That’s it. You treat my content like I treat the Jets. Which is escapism, it’s a nice 20 minutes on the vlog, it’s a nice thing to have in your Instagram feed. It’s fun. It’s not a crutch, it’s not an excuse, it’s just literally entertainment. Entertainment that’s got some value whether it’s relaxation or knowledge, or advice.

At the end of the day, I’m putting this out, so that it’s here forever, so that people don’t think I’m a sellout when I’m 72. I’m going for the greatest impact, not the most subscribers on YouTube or the most followers on Instagram. As a matter of fact, in a very self-aware moment, my content will never allow me to be one of those most-followed people in the micro. In the short term, I’ve got no shot. Just curious how it looks in 2043. I’ll see all of you in 2043. I can’t wait

6 Steps to Dealing with Failure in Startup Tech Companies

Growth051314 The 3 Most Common Obstacles Holding Startup Tech Companies Back

Published on February 17th, 2015 | by Jose Vasquez

When you first start as an entrepreneur, you might think you have it all figured 

out, but failure is going to strike sooner or later, and these steps can help you 

work past that failure.

Failure is a given in the world of entrepreneurship, and even if your startup tech company’s business plan seems flawless, you’re going to have to prepare for failure at some point during your venture. It might be a big failure, like a catastrophic product failure that destroys your reputation, but it’s more likely that you’ll encounter a series of smaller failures.

These smaller failures aren’t bad. In fact, they’re learning opportunities. The only real failures in the world of startup companies come when these learning opportunities are ignored. So the next time you experience failure—big, small, or somewhere in between—follow these six steps to deal with it and move past it:

  1. Analyze the impact. First things first. Take a look at the mistake and realistically evaluate how big of an impact it’s going to make. Try to emotionally distance yourself and look at the situation objectively. What long-term goals is the mistake going to compromise?
  2. Mitigate the damage. Even if the mistake is impossible to undo, take a look and see what you can do to minimize the damage. Isolate the problem if you can, and prepare those who might be affected by it.
  3. Perform a root cause analysis. Determine where things went wrong. Was there a failure during launch? A failure during planning? Once you know where the problem started, you can understand why the problem exists.
  4. Scrutinize your original intentions. Did you think of everything when you started down this path? Of course not. Take a look at any and all failures you had at the point of your idea’s perception.
  5. Implement new procedures and processes. Put fixes and gaps in place to prevent the mistake from occurring in the future. This includes extra steps in the planning process.
  6. Set a new goal. Plan for something new. Work with your team to set new, possibly more realistic goals.

These steps aren’t foolproof, but it’s important that you learn from any failures and mistakes you make.

33+ Free or Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business Today

  1. Create an eye catching website
  2. Build a brand that focuses on customer retention
  3. Carry your creative business cards EVERYWHERE
  4. Ask family and friends to give you a shoutout on Facebook
  5. Dominate social media
  6. Use promo videos on Facebook
  7. Network with other business owners in your industry
  8. Network with local businesses that compliment your products/ services
  9. Hand out promotional material to anyone who’ll take it
  10. Ask local businesses if you can place flyers or cards inside their location
  11. Host a giveaway with a popular blogger
  12. Collaborate with other businesses on social media
  13. Volunteer with a charity and ask for a shout out (after you’ve significantly benefitted them)
  14. Run a Facebook ad
  15. Take over a corner and hand out samples of your product
  16. Pin your brand’s infographics and checklists on Pinterest
  17. Create a bangin’ blog that will get people talking
  18. Engage with your customers on social media
  19. Be transparent with all of your customers
  20. Add your business to any relevant online directories
  21. Build and use your email list to your advantage
  22. Use affiliates to promote your products
  23. Post 70% nonpromotional content on your social media and 30% promotional (People are more likely to trust you when you’re not constantly talking about yourself.)
  24. Guest post on a popular blog
  25. Submit a popular blog post of your own to Huffington Post
  26. Join Facebook groups where other entrepreneurs/ bloggers hang out
  27. Position yourself as a subject matter expert
  28. Use click bait titles (that lead to awesome content)
  29. Use social sharing buttons in emails and on site pages and blog posts
  30. Comment on popular blogs that you find on Pinterest (and be genuine!)
  31. Do a webinar and promote it on Facebook to build your list and sell products
  32. Join an online networking group
  33. Join a blogging network
  34. Create or join a mastermind group with other entrepreneurs
  35. Ask popular or midlevel bloggers to promote your product for a significant commission
  36. Hype your audience up with a launch countdown
  37. Offer incentives for those who recommend your business to their friends and colleagues

There you have it!  What marketing strategies have you used to market your business for free?  Share them below in the comments, and let’s chat!

Stop Waiting for Your Billion-Dollar Idea and Do This Instead


Billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates Photograph by Ida Mae Astute ©2016 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Eimantas Balciunas

Conventional wisdom says that if entrepreneurs want to be successful they should strive to create breakthrough tech products in new and huge markets.

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

Yes, it’s incredible when an entrepreneur develops a billion-dollar technology that changes the world and defines a new category of a business, but it’s also rare. Consider that fewer than 200 tech startups are valued at $1 billion or more right now. That’s right — just 200 out of all the startups out there have reached unicorn status. The chances of you starting one are slim. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning.

What wannabe entrepreneurs often fail to see is that you don’t have to aim to be a billion-dollar company, start a new market from scratch, or create a breakthrough product. You can start with something you already love and know well, copy the existing products out there, and focus your energy on creative marketing.

Play Video

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This approach works because it puts the odds in your favor. Rather than taking on a big product and market risk, you copy what already works in markets that are already proven. This frees up resources to focus on being the best marketing innovator in your niche.

The challenge with this approach , of course, is that large, competitive markets tend to have well-funded, well-branded competitors. Fortunately, small bootstrapp ed startups have two advantages: speed and edginess. Startups can go from decision to action in just hours. Large companies, on the other hand, are almost never early adopters because of risk-aversion and decision inertia.

Being an early adopter is powerful because there’s less noise from other marketers and more curiosity from users who want to explore. In just the last year, Facebook made a major change to its newsfeed algorithm and created bots and instant articles . Instagram released a new direct-response ad product. Snapchat went mainstream. All of these are opportunities for startups looking for creative marketing opportunities.

Time and time again, we’ve all seen strong brands emerge from creative marketing. For example, Helloflo, a feminine care product brand, went from less than
 $100,000 in revenue to more than $1 million with just two viral videos. Launched in 2014, it was acquired by SheKnowsMedia this year. DJ Khaled became a mainstream personality by being an early adopter of Snapchat. Finally, 14 months after launching, the Dollar Shave Club posted their first video to YouTube. That one video was seen over 23 million times and turned the company into a household name. This year, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion.Being an early adopter was how my company, Travel Ticker, broke into the crowded travel space almost a year ago . When we launched, we were looking for ways to help our company’s marketing go viral. We saw the YouTube videos of two of the best rooftoppers in the word, Ivan Kuznetsov and Oleg Cricket, and knew we had to work with them. So, we offered to pay for a trip for them to anywhere in the world to record their next stunt if we could put it on our You T ube channel. They ended up recording themselves climbing the Eiffel Tower and walking, flipping, jumping, and doing handstands on ledges of skyscrapers across the world. That one campaign has led to over 17 million views across all media platforms and has been an incredible investment for us.

Instead of focusing on your big billion-dollar idea, focus on doing some really smart work with the tools that are out there. The number of social media and marketing platforms is exploding, and this means that there has never been a better time to succeed as a creative marketer.

Eimantas Balciunas is the co-founder and CEO of Travel Ticker

6 Creative Ways of Marketing Your Startup on a Budget

Businessman New Bright Idea



There are endless ways to finance your ideas, but there’s nothing like marketing a startup with a modest budget. Limited funds give you an excuse to flex your creative muscle and truly share your vision with the world.

Don’t rely on the same old banner ads and Google reviews. Instead, try these seven marketing strategies to place the spotlight on your business.

  1. Share your story

Instead of just introducing yourself as an entrepreneur, develop a narrative that differentiates your company from others and sparks conversation. Does your startup support a certain cause with every sale? Say so. Did you come up with your business idea during a troubling life event? Mentioning it may inspire those around you.

  1. Don’t just sell – engage

With social media, it’s easy to engage your target demographic without looking like you’re just trying to advertise. Build brand trust by showing your support, whether of your community or your online following. Sharing someone else’s content doesn’t necessarily mean losing your audience’s attention.

  1. Carve out a niche and build credibility

Your startup’s shoestring budget can’t keep you from carving out its own niche. A blog can offer laymen the chance to understand your trade with a new perspective. A webinar or a podcast can help viewers (or listeners) feel like experts in your field. Speaking at an incubator, expo or niche event can put you in the role of the teacher and allow you to share your groundbreaking ideas with a captive audience. The small business convention you attend every year is probably in need of a few more keynoters; why don’t you try speaking instead of observing?

  1. Help people find your content

If your startup is fit for the twenty-first century, it maintains some sort of online presence. In fact, you may be satisfied with just a website, some social media pages, a blog, or even a pre-launch Web page. Just because your content is online, though, doesn’t mean it’s easily discoverable by your target audience.

With every post you publish, use keywords specific to your niche, to improve your Google rankings. You can also use these targeted keywords to power your social media-based audience acquisition.

Next, help people find your content by practicing a few SEO techniques, starting with your website. Title your pages with phrases unique to your business so they stand apart from other sites.

A tool like specializes in promoting your content online and helping your business to get discovered by a large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads, future retweets and promoted company listings were created for entrepreneurs  and marketers to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

  1. Negotiate a quid pro quo

If you’re just starting out, you may have a hard time introducing your company to the public. A great way to build a niche and generate word-of-mouth is through samples and giveaways.

Try reaching out to eager members of your target audience and offering up your product (or a sample of it) in return for a review and shares on social media.

  1. Co-sponsor an event

Every industry hosts its special events. Unless an event is owned and managed by a single company, most planners seek out sponsors to help fund the event.

This provides you with a fantastic niche marketing opportunity. Ask whether you can present there (or otherwise spotlight your company) to further engage attendees. Aside from giving you a good name, co-sponsoring a niche event allows you to meet and greet with your target demographic, as well as network and generate new leads.

4 Ways to Market Your Bootstrapped Startup Online


Happy businessman with growing share


Some marketing strategies become less effective and some more effective. As a startup with limited resources, you need to pay especially close attention to what’s current so you can get the most bang for your marketing budget. You already know that you have to setup social media accounts. But here are few other ways you may not have considered.

  1. Make an Explainer Video

Everyone knows that video production is effective for business, but many startups dismiss the idea because they believe it’s expensive. The truth is that it’s nowhere near as expensive as you think. A simple slideshow with a narrator will cost you no more than a hundred dollars to purchase the software and learn how to use it.

Yet video marketing growth can pay dividends. Studies have shown that it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics around.

  1. Get Smart About Content Marketing

You likely already know that content marketing will make up the bulk of your online marketing efforts. These content pieces are longer than the average blog and they answer specific customer queries and issues. If your target audience types in a long tail query, a piece of content will appear, and it should be your content.

Recently, sites like have made this task easier by broadcasting and promoting your content to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads, future retweets and promoted company listings were created for entrepreneurs  and marketers to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising.

  1. Focus on Existing Customers

Whenever someone mentions marketing they automatically think of trying to attract the masses. Marketing to the people who already know you can be just as effective. When you think about it, 80% of your revenue will come from just 20% of your customers.

Your most loyal customers will make up the bulk of your business. Direct your marketing campaign to those who have already bought from you through your email list and through staying in touch in order to turn them from buyers into brand ambassadors.

  1. Manage Your Online Reputation

The online reputation industry is huge. The power of word-of-mouth marketing can’t be underestimated. The reality is that people have the power.

Managing your business’ online reputation is the key. It’s about setting up Google Alerts for your company name and monitoring every mention of your brand. Not only is your aim to bury the bad apples with a cascade of positive reviews, your aim is to find out what people dislike the most about your business.

By keeping your finger on the pulse of public opinion, you can change your business to ensure that you are not sabotaging your formal marketing campaigns.


Bootstrapping with a startup is the reality for many businesses that have just got off the ground and need to spread the word. Although it would be ideal to have a significant installation of investment, this isn’t always possible.

Just because you are struggling with money in the short-term doesn’t mean that you can’t become a success through effective low-cost marketing online. There are many companies that have become launched successful brands and become household names, even while bootstrapping. Effective use of resources is the key.