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How To Set Up A Service-Based Business For Less Than $100

Setting up a service-based business online may seem daunting.

But it doesn't need to be.

To reduce that feeling of overwhelm, let's start with 2 general rules to keep in mind.

THEN, we'll walk through 7 tactical steps to make it all happen...


*DISCLAIMER: While this is a tactical guide, it's not exhaustive.

You may need to Google/YouTube search some of the individual 'how to's.

This is just meant to be an overall roadmap of the process.


Rule #1: Don't spend money unless absolutely necessary.

A HUGE part of starting a business is the 'testing' phase.

LOTS of new entrepreneurs get caught in the 'paid tools' trap and suffer for it financially.

Don't do that. It's not necessary.

As my mentor often says, "the name of the game is to stay in the game until you win the game."

With that in mind, you'll want to make sure to test your idea is a profitable one before you start forking over money for:

  • A website

  • Landing pages

  • Graphic design services

  • An email service provider

  • An attorney to set up your LLC

Why do I want you to NOT spend money at first?

Because, even time-tested business ideas can wind up being unprofitable in the online business arena.

How do I know that?

I spent my first 4 years learning that the hard way.

Here's a link to the 5 reasons my first business failed: https://www.bradlong.co/blog/5-step-niche-formula


Rule #2: DIY should be your default (at first).

This is directly related to rule #1.

Most new solopreneurs just want to 'get it going' but are baffled about the process of launching something online.

It can be tempting to just 'pay somebody' to alleviate this pain.

And the truth is, you're going to pay for the setup either way.

  1. Time: If you don't have the money to pay someone to help you, then you're going to have to spend some time researching the 'how-to's' of the steps we're going to cover today.

  2. Money: If you DO have the money and want to hire someone to help you with all of this, then by all means.

That said, here are a couple of benchmarks to keep in mind.

Sometimes fast is better than free (i.e. paying someone).

And free is normally not fast (requires your sweat equity).

My guidance is to take the time to DIY all of this at first.



Assuming that you already have a business idea and you've run it through at least some basic 'niche validation tests', here are the tactical steps to launching it online.


Step 1: Set up an online presence.

You don't (necessarily) need a website and you don't need to spend a bunch of money on tools in this phase.

I would recommend a free Facebook page or something similar (free) while you're in this testing mode.

A free FB page will allow you to set up a presence with an explanation of your services.


Step 2: Set up a scheduling tool.

I would recommend Calendly or something similar for this.

Calendly a free version that allows your clients to schedule time with you.

Just create an account at Calendly and connect it with your online calendar (i.e. Yahoo, Gmail, MS Outlook, etc.)

Lots of free Google/YouTube resources that will walk through the step-by-step.


Step 3: Set up a way to get paid.

For this you can use:
  • Actual Cash
  • Stripe (although it seems Stripe is requiring some sort of website presence at the time of this writing, so you may want to go with one of the other options).

You just need a basic way to start accepting payments for your offers.


Step 4: Create a profile pic

  • Snap a selfie on your smartphone.

  • Head over to https://pfpmaker.com/ and upload your selfie to pfpmaker.

  • Choose a background.

  • Download your finished pic.

  • Upload your finished pic to FB.


Step 5: Create a logo and banner image for your Facebook page using Canva.

Head over to Canva.com and set up a free account.


Step 6: Set up a business bank account.

For this you're going to need a few things.

I recommend setting up an LLC entity so that you can begin to separate your business and personal assets (not legal advice),

(Btw, I recommend DIY-ing this instead of paying an attorney.)


Step 7: Set up a 'beta offer'.

A beta offer is just a way for you to test your idea on some real people AND to collect some feedback and testimonials.

I walk through the exact 'beta offer' process in this post/video.


BONUS: Setting up a website.

This is absolutely not necessary, BUT if you insist you need one, here's what I would do.

  1. Head over to namecheap.com and purchase a custom url (i.e. bradlong.co, etc.)

  2. Go to Card.co and pick one of their free templates.

  3. If you want/need help with all of this, I would recommend hiring a vetted contractor from a resource like Fiverr or Upwork.

  4. Here's a 'Carrd' specific search on Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/search/gigs?query=carrd

  5. Ask if the the designer includes the 'connecting your url to the website' part. (If this is daunting for you, you may want to offer to pay a little more for the service.)


When you're ready to take your business to the next-level, go ahead and watch this next: https://www.bradlong.co/blog/start-an-online-business

And I'll leave links to some fantastic free resources in the video description below.


Next Steps:


Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. If you're wanting forward momentum in your business, I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:

➡️ The ADAPTIVE. Solopreneur - Course Bundle: Productize your knowledge with my niche validation, content, marketing, audience attraction and traffic growth system. Everything you need to start, grow and scale a profitable solopreneur business.

2. Register for my next free in-depth workshop on how to start, grow and scale an online business from a side-hustle to six-figures and beyond: Register here.

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