How to Start a Low Investment Side Hustle
If having limited financial resources is preventing you from starting your side hustle, you need to read this article. You can begin your online business today with a small investment and from the comfort of your own home.
How? Print-on-demand and drop-shipping!
Today, we’re sharing free or cost-efficient tools to minimize the cost of running a print-on-demand drop-shipping business without sacrificing the features you want. Let’s get into it!
Select a free print-on-demand drop-shipping supplier
If you’re familiar with Slaite (and if not, welcome!), you’ll already know it is FREE to use. Designing a custom collection is simple with print-on-demand.
All you do is sign up, add your creative designs to any of our products, set your product names, descriptions and margins and finally publish to your online store. We take care of product sourcing, production and shipping directly to your customers.
Design and sample your custom products at a low cost
If you've got your own designs or can easily make them, you've won half the battle.
Slaite is free to use and the only additional cost is buying samples (which we encourage because it’s always good practice to see before you sell). Sample costs are as low as CAD$12.65 and you can also use your samples for photography (another money saving tip!).
If you’re looking to outsource your designs, it can get a bit pricier for upfront costs. However, there are online resources where you can hire a freelance designer to meet your design needs at your budget. If you need design help, check out these popular freelance sites:
Sign up with an e-commerce website
You're ready to start your online business. Right on! Using an e-commerce platform and paying for a monthly subscription is likely the most investment you’ll pay for a print-on-demand drop-shipping business in the beginning.
Shopify offers free trials so you can start setting up your online store while paying absolutely nothing.
Monthly subscriptions start at USD$29 and plans increase based on additional features. We recommend starting with this plan and scaling up as your business grows.
And, with Shopify, you can build your business website and sell your products using customizable (and free!) templates.
Download free or inexpensive Shopify apps
Shopify has over 4,000 apps in the app store. Some are free and some require payment, but we’ve found some of the best free or cost-efficient apps for online businesses to elevate the side hustle.
You don't need to download all these apps but choose the ones best suited for your business.
- Shopify Email: Email marketing is an efficient way to build loyal customers, but email service providers can be expensive, time-consuming, and confusing. Shopify Email has a free plan you can begin using today. Click here for a helpful tutorial on how to use this service.
- Plug in SEO: If you’re not an SEO expert, it can be challenging to get your store on search engine pages with relevant search terms. The app is easy to use and takes you through the process step-by-step, plus it has a free plan available.
- Product Reviews: Testimonials provide new customers valuable information when shopping for a product. Product Reviews is a free app to help gather customer testimonials, increase sales through peer credibility and improve your SEO results.
- Replay Live Session Recordings: This free tool shows you live recorded sessions of how your customers interact with your store. If something is working (or isn’t), Replay will show you these immensely valuable insights so you can evaluate and repair your site or promotional efforts. Best of all – it’s totally free for up to 5,000 sessions per month which is great for new businesses!
- Friendly Accessibility Tools: Your customers are unique and have unique needs. This app helps you improve the accessibility of your site to ensure anyone can come to your site and find what they’re looking for. Best of all? It’s free!
- Change Commerce: If you’re interested in bringing social causes and donations into your online business model, Change Commerce supports over 1.5 million non-profits. The first twenty donations are free. Afterwards, a 0.5% transaction fee on orders with donations.
Upgrade your imagery
Photo-shoots, video production and video editing along with social media graphics can become pricey and time-consuming. Adding these free tools to your arsenal will cut the cost and time for creating your branded imagery.
- Another free Shopify app: Promo.com. Engaging video content elevates your online business. This app takes imagery from your website and products to make a promotional video for your storefront – simple and free!
- Need help with creating social posts? Canva is an amazing tool where you can create and edit social posts! Of course, there is a paid version with more features, but the free subscription is still a great option while you're starting out!
- Want to elevate your product shots but don’t have the time or money for a photo-shoot? PlaceIt allows you to place your artwork onto a mock-up of various items, including shirts, sweaters, hats and masks. There are several free templates for you to choose from and you can download these images for your social channels, website or emails.
If you have any side hustling hacks we didn't cover, get in touch and send us a DM on Instagram.