Figure out Your Initial Budget and Decide If You Need to Raise Funds

For any kind of site you want to build, and for any online business, you're going to need some money to get started. Whether that money is used to pay employees or freelance helpers, to market your site, to pay hosting costs, to buy inventory, or to cover any other costs associated with starting your online business, it's important to know how much you have at your disposal and how much you'll realistically need. Of course, the question of how much you'll need will ultimately depend on the type of site and online business you want to build—the larger and more complex, the more money you're likely to need.

I know, that's a little vague. But unfortunately, it's practically impossible for me to help you budget or tell you how much money you'll need without knowing what type of opportunity you plan to explore. For example, if you just want to make a few extra dollars selling crap from your attic on eBay, then you really don't need very much money at all. On the other hand, if you're looking to build an online career, you'll need money for employees, marketing, site development, and more. For example, as of the writing of this book, I own two online companies: MyPod Studios, which I incorporated in 2010, and Minute Media, which was incorporated in late 2012. I started each company with about $500,000, most of which was raised from outside investors. In each case, the money was used to hire people—programmers to start, followed by sales people; plus, I needed a salary (you can't neglect to pay yourself)—to pay certain freelance workers (designers and writers), and for marketing. Some companies like mine raise far more (well into the millions) to get started, and others have started with a lot less.

There are always good stories of people who started with very little and ended up making a lot on the Web because they had a good idea and worked hard to get their site noticed. Check out these stories when you get a chance:

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  • The Plenty of Fish story (http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090101/and-the-money-comes-rolling-in.html )
  • Once you determine how much money your project is going to cost, you can consider a few ways of getting the funds together. (These can actually apply to pretty much any business, whether online or off.)

    (MLA 8th Edition)