Starting a home based business in these tough economic times brings out the 'scavenger hunter' in all of us. Well at least it does in me, the queen barginista! I'm always looking for the ultimate bargain or freebie. Speaking of free, or like my cousin likes to eloquently put it: Free.99, There are so many ways to get your business out there...free of charge.
Many of you have probably heard of Vistaprint, the company that prints free business cards and you just pay the shipping. Well business cards are not the only product they offer. They also offer free banners, yard signs, brochures, t-shirts, note pads, and many, many other personalized items. I've been a customer for more than 3 years and I'm very satisfied with their service! Now keep in mind some of these services are not free on a daily basis like some of their standard products, but they will send you emails on a weekly basis listing everything that is either free that week or on sale. Talk about saving big time on advertising!
Next we have none other than YouTube. If you have a video camera and a decent editing program, which most computers come with nowadays, then you are good to go! Don't have a video camera? No worries, you can still create a video composed of still shots. I created my first YouTube 'commercial' with photos of some of my work. Next I added sound effects and background music and viola! Oh did I mention, you can set up a YouTube account for free?! But of course you already knew that! There are many soapers who have taken this route to advertise their business as well as demonstrate to their customers how the products offered are made.
And last but not least, you need a place to showcase your items for sale right after all of that lovely advertising! Well there are many venues online where you could sell your products but I'm just going to touch on the free sites. Two sites that are pretty popular among the handmade community: Artfire.com and Bigcartel.com. They both offer free as well as minimum cost plans to open an online store. Of course the free options are limited but it's a good start for new businesses that may not have the financial means to launch a big ol' fancy website!
I consider anything free as a stepping stone to a successful business!
P.S. USPS, FedEx, and UPS all ofer free shipping supplies!