- When I decided to start my bridesmaid-for-hire business, I wanted to save $2,500 to get it going.
- I needed the cash for things like a website, business cards, and advertising.
- While working full-time, I took on side gigs and saved aggressively to gather the cash I needed.
- Visit Personal Finance Insider for more stories.
When I finally decided to become an entrepreneur, I was determined to start my own business without tapping into my savings account. I wanted to minimize risk and try out my business idea with as little cash as possible. Since my business was service-based — I’m a professional bridesmaid for hire — and I didn’t need to shell out any money to design and store a product, I knew I could start this business for a very low amount.
I determined how much capital I needed by analyzing all my initial costs (website, logo, marketing materials, advertising, etc.) and decided that I would need a total of $2,500 to get my business up and running and take on a few clients. Once I had money coming in, I could optimize and grow the business.
I decided to come up with $2,500 without touching my emergency fund or dipping too much into my personal finances. Here’s how I was able to do that in less than a few months.
I took on freelance and side hustle work
I had a full-time job at the time and was making a good salary, but I didn’t want to use a lot of that money toward my new business costs. I was already stretching that salary to afford my rent in New York City and my strategically organized budget. So instead, I decided to take on a few freelance and side hustle projects for other people, temporarily. I wanted to make around $750 from this work, so I spent two months working on small projects to make that happen.
This allowed me to hold onto my salary and use it for my personal costs and financial goals while also bringing in a little bit of money on the side to put directly toward starting my business.
I edited my personal budget
I was very conscious about not letting my new business venture make a dent in my personal finances or savings account. I had just stopped making a ton of money mistakes, and I wanted to maintain the new, good habits I had put into place. That’s why I decided to add a line item to my budget that was for monthly savings for my business.
I decided to save $200 a month (for three months) and put that money toward starting my business.
This meant I had to edit my personal budget. I found different areas to cut back my spending so that I could spend $200 less a month on personal items. I lowered my food budget, beauty budget (hair and nails), and fun activity budget (weekend trips or happy hours with friends) each by around $25 to $75.
I put aside a chunk of my yearly bonus
I had the idea of starting my own business floating in my head for a couple of months before I had my annual review at my full-time job. When that moment came and I found out I was getting a $3,000 bonus for the year, I secretly celebrated in my head. I decided to take a chunk of that cash (around $1,000) and use it to help me start my business. I used the rest for my personal finance essentials (paying bills, rent, and adding to my savings account) and my future goals (retirement and emergency fund).
Soon after I got that bonus, I ended up getting laid off from that job. Looking back, it makes me happy that I took a piece of my bonus and used it to help set something up for myself that I could then lean on after getting laid off from my job. I used to spend my entire bonus on something fleeting, like a vacation or a new wardrobe, but that year I used it on something that ended up allowing me to start my own business and earn money from that business soon after.
I tapped into passive interest gains
One final way I saved up the cash to start my business was by collecting interest on my high-yield savings account and using some of it (around $150) to help me meet my set goal of $2,500.
I spent a couple of years working hard to increase how much I had in my savings account and it felt like a good reward to not have to deplete that account too much to start my new venture and instead tap into the passive income I was making on that account. While the money I took wasn’t a lot, it helped with some of the lower-cost setup items (like business cards and smaller promotional items for networking events).
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.