One way or another, you're going to have to spend money to build your business. Depending on the type of business you're starting, or revamping, it is possible to spend little to nothing.
The average person doesn't have $20,000 in their back pocket to get going, as something like that may be required if you need a storefront. Or, if you're like me, you may not want to take out a business loan (I have waaaay too many student loans to go that route).
But there is good news! There are many freebie and low cost resources out there to get you jumpstarted. Some of them are perfect for long term use, however, others may only be good only until you can do better.
These resources are tried and true- I know this because I've used each of these one time or another. I would never recommend something that I know was unreliable. What's the point of that?
No need to give out your personal phone mumber anymore. Google has procided a way to get a legitimate telepuone mumber than can ring to your cell phone. If you don't have any activity on your Google Voice account in about 3 years, they will send you a notification of deactivation. Visit Google.com/voice
Blogger or Wordpress
Don't have the money to pay for a website every month? Build a free Blogger or Wordpress site. These sites are made for blogging, but can customize it to where it doesn't look like a blog (I've done it before). If you need to accept payments, incorporate Paypal.
It's important to note that Blogger (powered by Google) no longer has an iPhone App (I noticed this in October 2016). I'm not sure if there's still an Android App, though.
Big Cartel is the cheapest, most simple e-commerce web host out there. The free version allows up to 5 products. The paid plan starts at $10/mo, and allows up to 25 products, and allows for very basic customization (unless you can dabble with CSS).
Need to send faxes? This service allows you to do that for free online. There are a few catches: you don't get a dedicated fax number, you can't receive faxes, and there's a Faxzero water mark on the cover page.
Ok, so this one isn't free, but it's still essential to junpstarting your business. Most small business start out as a sole proprietorship- which means you're running the business by yourself, and assume all responsibility and liability. It's important to get a business license if you aren't using your own name for your business, like Jane Doe Designs. DBA means "doing business as", and says that you are doing business as XYZ Company. It also takes your name off the market in your industry within your county. So if someone else comes up with the same business name as yours within the same industry, they'll see that the name is already taken. And vice versa when you register your business name- you'll be able to see if the name is already taken.
PayPal is the staple in accepting payments. You now have the option of setting up a business or personal account. If you set up a business account, you'll need to provide your Tax ID (or EIN). Transferring funds from your PayPal account to your bank account now takes only a day. Just a year ago, it was still taking 3-5 days. PayPal also offers a debit card for your PayPal account, so obtaining your money is pretty easy.
Having an email list for newsletter, etc is strongly recommended across the board. Mail Chimp is one of the main vendors for this. I've been using them for nearly 5 years now, and they've really improved things. The service is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails, which is plenty for an entrepreneur just starting out. There's even a reliable mobile app that comes in handy.
Skype is the forerunner in video calls. This service is great if yiur business requires something like that. As far as I know, Skype is totally free unless you want to do international calling.
Make your documents or photos available to you from anywhere by uploading them to Google Drive. This eliminates the need and risk of carrying a flash drive that could easily get lost. I'm an expert at losing flash drives, so Ive become accustomed to uploading files to Google Drive.
Doodle is a handy tool for coordinating meetings or events. This is done by creating a poll based on the responses provided by your recipients. Doodle has an app for iPhone and Android.
Save space on your computer and eliminate clutter by using Dropbox to store files. When there are a lot of large files on a computer, it sucks up space and causes your computer to run slow. Dropbox comes in handy especially when you're working with programs that tend to produce very large files, such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, Revit, etc.
Say goodbye to the days of trying to manage all your social media accounts separately: HootSuite makes it easy to manage all of them by scheduling and sharing posts to multiple accounts at once.