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In this post, we’re going to take a look at running an online blog-based business. Also, that applies to an online business in general that uses content to make money.
You could also create a service from it, but in either case, we’re focused on a blog and YouTube based business.
This post is focused on something that’s a little bit more content oriented. It’s for solopreneurs or entrepreneurs – online one person getting going.
Then, of course, you could build out a team with that as well. But nothing too crazy right now. We’re not doing high-level programming, but something simple to get your business going off the ground.
Keep in mind before we start
Everybody’s business is a little different. Your expenses might be different than other people’s expenses.
These are some things I want you to think about when you’re looking to start and run a business – at least an online business. I’ll give you some ideas to brainstorm over.
This is how I do it
Let’s take a look here at excel sheet from my server that I use. The most significant expense I would say for any business is the employees.
For an online business, it’s going to vary depending on how detailed you want to make it. I’m trying to make it as simple as possible for you right now. Ultimately which you’re going to need is you’re going to need a domain, and you’re going to need some website hosting.
This is direct from my sheet that I keep track of, and then I’ve added a few things. These are a must-have.
You might also need some video hosting if you host premium videos. If not, you could use YouTube if you need, like Skype or a phone number like a 1-800 number – that might be a cost.
Mailing list company as well. That could be anywhere between $20 a month like Aweber to $100-$200 a month depending on your list size. And depending on how many businesses you’re running.
These are probably a must-have.
You’ll probably need the internet, and there might be some other tools. It could be a tax professional in there.
That could add up to about $250 to $300 a month. You’re looking at about $3000 a year in cost. You could slim that down if you run your business a little bit slimmer. Something about $1,500 a year in the business.
Running a business – more significant costs
If you start getting contract labor things are different. That means other people do the work for you – let’s say they build the website.
And let’s say you need some additional software tools. You don’t have the software tools for photo and video editing. You need to get those, and that start adding in more money.
If you don’t have the camera tools, equipment tools the hardware costs associated you got to add more money.
- You ask how much?
Well, it depends on the tools.
Hardware costs – you might need $1,000 initially to get yourself going.
Pro tip: if you were smart and you want to cut costs, you could use your cell phone to record videos. That might not cost you anything because you already have it.
It comes down to you. How slim do you want to run your business? In the beginning, you should be running it very slim. Later on, you could start to expand things.
Later on, some additional tools help you in scheduling your tweets or social media comments. Well, these tools cost money.
Maybe you want to run:
- a webinar – Crowdcast.
- a podcast – Libsyn, Buzzsprout
It’s another $500 a year or so. There are also some other things as web site building tool. It could be $200 a year for something like Beaver Builder.
You could make some bookings through WooCommerce. If you have a support desk you know, that could be another $2,000 a year there as well.
Now you’re looking at $5,000 a year.
When I’m budgeting things on a per website basis, I look at can that website makes me at least $5,000. Because that’s where I’m going to break even. If it doesn’t, well then I have a problem.
The main question – Is it worth it?
The other thing you can think about is this. If I’m budgeting $5,000 a year on a website on costs, to make 3-5 times your money, it’s where it starts to become worthwhile.
Am I going to make $15,000 or $20,000 a year from that website? Especially if you can outsource a lot of stuff now, it makes sense to invest. Otherwise, it may not be worth the time involved for that kind of cost.
Not to mention the money, but the time is also involved. These things can continue to add up. There’s other software where people get into some crazy stuff and spend a lot of money at the beginning. That’s the time when they don’t need to spend a lot of money.
But they think hey I’m going to run this online business empire and they run their business to the ground. That is a common scenario because of the expenses.
Be cautious about tools
Nowadays, we have so many tools out there SaaS – software as a service. Those kinds of things can start to add up very quickly. Be very careful with that.
Here’re a couple of popular SAS tools:
- Hotjar – $29 a month/ $348 a year
- Asana – $50 a month
- Clickfunnels – $297 a month
- Acuity Scheduling – $15 a month
- Survey Monkey – $25 a month
- Buffer App – $15 a month
- 1800 Number – $20 a month
- Cloud Storage – $20 a month
- Evernote – $8 a month
- Flock – $12 a month
- Zoom – $20 a month
- GoToWebinar – $90 a month
Already we’are at $7,000. Even if you cut some of these out, you’re still at $4,000-$5,000. That’s because you’re starting to pick some new tools and exciting things that you want to use on your website.
All that’s fun and great, but when you’re first getting started, that’s a crutch. That’s very difficult. I want you to be very cautious about this part – tools for your business.
I’m not saying they don’t make your life more comfortable, or they’re helpful, but every business has different needs. And if you don’t need an 1800 number right now, then you could use the Skype system where somebody calls you direct.
We have an 1800 number, but I also use Skype as well. Sometimes to call out because it’s quicker.
Focus on your needs
Look at what your expenses are and what you need. Then think about what is it that you need and invest your money.
That’s why I have this one column over here – high importance. That means don’t cut it. If I’m in the medium area, I’m at the point where I think maybe I should cut it. I could, but could I live without it?
Pro tip: I start thinking about it. It’s a nice thing to have, but it’s not super necessary. Think that way.
Sometimes I rearrange things, and certain items will move around.
Rookie mistakes you want to avoid
The problem many blog owners get into an initial people who start their online business is they get too much into the fancy tools.
They rack up their expenses, and it costs them a lot of money. And they don’t break even. They don’t make a profit, and they have to shut down their business down and their website down.
That’s why a lot of people fail in this new industry. They don’t know what they’re doing.
Using tools – smart way
Once you already have a lot of these things set up, we could reuse them for other websites.
When you’re first starting a website, your expenses are much higher than profit.
It’s like with any business plan that you take a look. Let’s take a look at Elementor, for example.
If you look at pricing, you will get the point.
- If you have one website – $49
- If you have three websites – $99
- If you have 25-55 websites – $199
Think about this. If I have $199 that I’m spending on 20 websites or 50 websites versus one website and $49.
If you take a calculator, this is the price you get per website with an UNLIMITED plan – $4 per website.
And here on the PERSONAL plan, you’re paying $50 a website. That’s the thing with scalability. Once you have these tools, you’re able to ramp up on a package, and it cost you much less on a per website basis.
Creating a suite, a basket, a portfolio of websites a portfolio of businesses online makes more sense these days.
If you do an individual, your cost on a percentage basis is much more. Think about that.
The most realistic way to start
You’re probably going to spend about $2,000-$3,000 to get yourself situated. That’s not even including contract labor, software tools, hardware tools depending on what you need.
If you need a video camera and other people to help you out and get things going, you could budget $3,000-$5,000 easy to get yourself situated and set up.
Then you’ll be up and going and then on a per website basis it usually it’ll be cheaper.
I hope this was insightful for you. Watch your expenses and don’t get sucked into all these lovely goodies and tools.
They may make your life a little bit easier, but those monthly fees will start racking up very quickly if your business is not profitable.
Be very cautious and understand where they fall in your need pile. Is it a must-have tool or you can live without it.