Don't Sell out of a Cardboard Box!

There is a bizarre myth running through much of the Internet community: you don't need to spend any money to succeed in business online. Entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs are setting up shop across the Web with nothing but the software off a computer magazine cover disk or provided by their ISP.

Sure, the Internet is a great leveller. Little minnows can compete effectively with big fish, and all that. But why do people insist on taking this idea to its logical conclusion?

If you were to start a home-based business, and you really wanted to penny pinch, you could advertise it on the noticeboards of local shops, and stuff photocopied flyers into your neighbours' mailboxes. If the business you were planning to start was unique enough to warrant the attention, you might even be able to get your local paper to give you a writeup. Still, you could not possibly expect to spend less that $20-30 a month on paper, envelopes, telephone calls, photocopying etc. More likely, you might like to get some fancy stationery printed up, or get a sign made for you to hang on your front door telling the world that you are in business.

So if you want to go into business online, don't settle for less. To do things properly, you'll need to budget $100 to start up your site (including the $70 domain name charge), and $10-20 a month to keep it up and running. That will get you a domain name of your own, space on a virtual server somewhere, an email address and much more.

If you can't afford $10 a month, then let me be blunt: how on earth do you expect to a living from the Internet? If you are selling home-made products for instance, you still need to buy the raw materials. If you plan to make a fortune out of banner advertising on your site (unlikely, but not impossible) then again to attract advertisers you'll need a presentable site. There is no silver bullet!

Don't sell out of the equivalent of a cardboard box on the streets! Reach into your pocket and find the minimum to get yourself a virtual roof and four walls around your business... anything less will just set you up for a fall!

Edwin Hayward

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