Today's economy isn't doing anyone any favors, and if you're one of the unfortunate folks to have been served a layoff notice, you might be facing a long haul when it comes to searching for another job. Is now the right moment to put your long-lingering business idea into practice? While times may be tight for many larger enterprises, in many cases smaller, more-nimble companies are better able to withstand market uncertainty and weather downturns.
The best way to stick it to The Man? Start working for yourself by founding your own company. Working for yourself has some serious and obvious advantages over job hunting. Not only do you determine your own hours and decide where you set up your office, but you keep all the profits too.
Starting your own business doesn't have to mean spending thousands of dollars on setup costs before you ever open your doors. Don't get suckered into spending loads of money on services that you don't need or that have far cheaper alternatives. Seriously: With $100, you can obtain everything you require to start just about any business online, with only minimal need to get up from your desk. Here's how to do it.
Find an Affordable Web Host
The Web site for your new business has to reside somewhere. How do you pick a Web host that won't leave you high and dry?
Most hosting plans for small companies offer similar features: basically unlimited storage space, support for common databases and publishing systems, and anywhere from a few gigabytes to 2 terabytes of data transfer per month. Expect to pay between $5 and $15 a month for the service, with a one- or two-year up-front contract.
How to pick one from the dozens out there? Look for reviews from recent users, with a particular focus on how quickly the host resolves problems and how often the service goes down. If you expect sudden, big influxes of traffic due to promotions or Digg -like flooding, you'll want to ensure that the host can handle it. Ask about these issues if the company doesn't have written policies.
If your business is blog-centric, you can get started for free with a hosted service such as one from WordPress . You can always move to your own Web host later when you outgrow it or are ready for more.
Get Logos and Design Work
Numerous Web sites, such as Logo Ease and LogoMaker , will design a free logo for you based on options you set via a Web interface. The quality varies, but generally you can get the logo for free for online use. The services make money if you want to download the logo in EPS format, which is more suitable for printing on T-shirts and coffee mugs. A Web search for "free logo" will turn up dozens of additional alternatives.