Aside from the occasional technology splurge, the monthly expenses of running an online business based off of digital products is really low! I basically pay for website hosting, my domain name, cloud space, and occasional outsourcing and other one time fees. I’ll go into detail below, so keep reading.
When I started VideoSchoolOnline.com, I started with nothing. I used the equipment I had to create my first online course. This equipment included a MacBook Pro laptop that was handed down to me by my good friend Sam Shimizu-Jones. I had some video equipment like the Canon 7D DSLR, Zoom H4N, and Sennheiser wireles microphones. When I was lazy, I just used the laptop’s webcam and internal microphone. Obviously, the quality of those first few courses weren’t as good as they are now. But I didn’t want to pay any start-up costs. I didn’t know if I would be successful at all teaching online. So I waited until my first $1,000 month to purchase a newer webcam – the Logitech C920. Then I waited even longer to purchase a better microphone – the Blue Snowball. I also purchased ScreenFlow for Mac to speed up my screencasting & editing process. All in all, these three products helped me create better products for less than $200.
I’m constantly tempted to shell out for a new microphone or camera. But I always think – will this tool help me grow my business? Usually the answer is no. Sometimes it’s yes – like when I purchased a backdrop to improve the quality of my videos (watch video here). It’s good to let yourself re-invest in your own business. I just don’t believe in purchasing all the bells and whistles when my current set-up does a job that’s 99% as good.
So when it comes to purchasing new equipment, always ask yourself it is a necessary cost. An example of this is – do I need a microphone to record high quality audio. The answer is probably yes (though the iPhone’s microphone is pretty darn good if you want to rig that up as a boom mic every time you shoot a video). Do I need a brand new DSLR camera when my old one shoots great HD video? Probably not.
Here are my current expenses:
- Website Hosting (BlueHost) – $3.95/month
- Cloud Storage (Google Drive) – $1.99/month for 10 TB
- Domain names (BlueHost) ~ $45/year
- Outsourcing (Elance) ~ $1000/year for things like transcriptions, book editing, other secret projects
- Software – Adobe Creative Cloud- $20/month teacher/student rate
Here are typical expenses where I use a free option:
- Email marketing (MailPoet)
- Video hosting (YouTube, Vimeo)
- Online Teaching Platform (Udemy, Skillshare, Skillfeed)
- Opt-In Plugin (Magic Action Box)
That’s about it! You can see that my total monthly expenses are just about $30 per month. That is not a bad amount to start a business. You can also see that I opt for free versions of tools when I can. The biggest example is for building an email list. With VideoSchoolOnline.com, which you might be a subscriber to, I have about 1500 people in my list. Many people pay big money ($100/month or more!) to build an email list with things like Aweber or MailChimp. I’ve never had issues with MailPoet, and actually really love how easy it is to build, send, and track emails sent right within WordPress.
For hosting my online courses – I post on sites like Udemy, Skillshare, and Skillfeed. Of course there is kind of an ‘expense’ with these because they take a cut of my revenue. But it’s not a typical expense because it’s not up front. They only take a cut when I make a sale.
What do you think?
Am I crazy for trying to keep my expenses so low? Or am I smart? Do you have any other money saving strategies for people trying to launch their own businesses?
COUPON SECTION for the Freelance Kickstart: Launch a Successful Freelance Career course (normally $199):
Thanks for checking out VideoSchoolOnline.com, I really appreciate it. If you have any comments or thoughts, let us know in the comments below!