How to Start an Online Boutique for less than $100

How to Start an Online Boutique for less than $100

January 14, 2019

So you want to start an online boutique but you don't have any money for this new adventure? I've been there and I can help.  When I started my first online business, I had just been laid off and had no startup money. So, I started small and turned that business into a $19 Million dollar E-commerce store. I want to show you how you too can start an Online business today for less than $100.


There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur so if you have the work ethic and a great idea, you can start a business today. Starting an Online business today is surprisingly cheap and doable for almost anyone who has the passion to succeed online. 

How to Start an Online Business 

For less than $100 dollars you can start your journey as an entrepreneur. 
For less than $100 dollars you can start turning your passion into an online business that can start making you money. 
For less than $100 dollars you can be a small business owner. 

Here's how to start an online business for less than $100.

1. Come up with a unique business idea ($0)

The best thing about coming up with a business idea is that is completely free. I would encourage you to take a good look at what you are passionate about. I find that businesses based on the entrepreneur's passion are primed for success from the start. Look at needs that you have or problems that you want to solve. For me, I started with the idea that I needed a birthday dress for my daughter to match her birthday party theme and I couldn't find it anywhere. So, I had one made and then began selling birthday-themed outfits to other mothers. It grew from there.
how to start an online business

Ask yourself these questions:

What do people need? 

What do you have that people need? Do you have something that people need that you are willing to sell them at a reasonable price online? 

 What do you have to offer?  

What can you do or have to offer? What do you know or what are you passionate about? 

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What is your work experience?
  • What is your computer experience?
  • What wholesale sources do you already have?

Do you have specialty knowledge of something? 

Sell what you love and know about! Unlike brick and mortar stores, your customers won't get to know you unless you tell them about yourself on your website. Let your customers know what your specialty is, why you sell what you are selling and this will build trust and loyalty. 

Do you have connections with suppliers? 

If you answered no, don't worry, you have plenty of options to grow from scratch. If you answered yes, that is great but don't put all your eggs in one basket. Search for suppliers that can provide you with quality products, timely delivery, and fair wholesale prices. You can find suppliers online, at trade shows and through wholesale directories.  Once you find suppliers don't just set it and forget it. You need to continually negotiate to get the best price based on the volume that you sell (which should grow over time) and always ask for terms that will work best for your business. 

Can you make something?

Sew clothing? Make jewelry? Custom signs? People love unique items and selling them online can be a great way to make some extra income. 

What do you love?

I don't say this lightly, DO WHAT YOU LOVE! Life is too short to do anything, let alone build a business that you don't love. 

Does someone already do what you do or want to do? 

If the answer is yes, you know there is a market for what you want to do/sell. 

Are you willing to do the work? 

Building a business, even an online business, requires a TON of work! You have to be willing to do the work, put in the hours and continue to grow your business and stay on top of your game. If you don't think you are willing to make the commitment, I would suggest you stick with the 9-5 gig. 

Once you have your idea nailed down, you need to figure out what it's going to look like. You can use a Business Model Canvas to get started. It basically gives you the structure of a business plan without the overhead. 

 This worksheet will help you break down the 9 elements business including:

  • Customer segment
  • Value propositions 
  • Channels
  • Customer Relationships
  • Revenue Streams
  • Key activities
  • Key resources
  • Key partnerships
  • Cost structure

2. Validate your Business Idea ($0)

Once you've nailed down your idea, it's time to start validating it. My favorite way of doing this is taking to social media. Create social profiles for your business ($0) and play "Be the Buyer". You can post images of products you are considering selling and get feedback. Ask questions like this or that? How much would they pay for an item? Which colors do they prefer? Get to know your target market, what they like and what they are looking to pay for what you have to offer. 

3. Educate yourself ($0)

 Spend time researching your competition online and on social media. What is selling for them, what are they doing, what could you offer that would be better?

Follow entrepreneurs on social media and listen to free podcasts from some of the greatest online business owners and entrepreneurs to get advice, motivation and roadmaps to success. 

Listen and Learn: Top Ten Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on the Grow

4. Purchase your domain ($12)

I have found that $12 is about what it costs to purchase a domain name and I suggest using Godaddy to do so. 


5. Create Some Social Excitement ($0)

Social media marketing is an online business owner's best friend. Setup all your social media profiles and post consistent and engaging content. Use the 80/20 rule and post 80 percent content that your target audience will like and 20 percent product/sales related. Use free tools like Buffer to schedule your social media posts and save you time. 

social media marketing

6. Setup your website for your business ($0-$29)

Now comes the exciting part, setting up your own website. You can totally do this on your own and my suggestion would be to start by creating a Free website on Shopify.

how to build a website on shopify

You can start a Free 14-Day Trial and build your website yourself. Then once you have uploaded your products you can go live and it's only $29 a month to host and run your website. You can choose a Free theme (which will give you the look you want for your store) and use the Shopify app store to search for the add-on (many are free). 

7. Download my Free Resource Guide ($0)

295+ Free Tools and Resources to Start and Grow Your Online Boutique

8. Grow a list with email marketing ($0)

I have said it a million times but I will say it again, email marketing is not dead. You need to keep and build a list of potential customers. You can sign up for a Free email account at Mailchimp. You can connect it to your Shopify store and get your list building started. Offer a coupon in a pop up box in exchange for their email address. 

mailchimp email marketing

9. Branding ($25) 

Don't forget the importance of branding. A cohesive look across your website and social media is super important, especially when you are just starting out. You can easily get your Logo made and branding options by connecting with a designer on Fiverr. For $25 you can get a logo that you can use across all platforms that will get you started off on the right foot. 




10. Stock your store ($0)

If you are dropshipping you can start with nothing! You can use Oberlo and you won't have to ship, package or hold inventory. This will save you a lot of startup costs. Your margins are smaller but a good way to see what sells best. Then you once you get up and going you can start to manufacture your own products based on sales history and increase your margins. 

Ready to start an Online Business? Let's do the price breakdown:

Come up with a unique business idea ($0)

Validate your business idea ($0)

Educate Yourself ($0)

Purchase your domain ($12)

Create Social Excitement ($0)

Build a website ($0-$29)

Download 295+ Free Tools and Resources to Start and Grow Your Online Boutique ($0)

Grow a List with Email Marketing ($0)

Branding ($25)

Stock your Store ($0)

There you have it, a total of $66 to start your first Online Business, well under the $100 budget (so you have some extra space if you want to add more products or features to your website). 

There is no excuse, now is the time to start your first online business. Don't forget to download my 295+ Free Tools and Resources to Start and Grow Your Online Boutique to get started today! 


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