Wondering how to start an online boutique with no money? You have come to the right place. Starting any business venture with no startup capital is a daunting task. I have been there and I know that it is possible. When I started my first online business, I was laid off from my work and had just $20 in my bank account. I used that $20 and turned it into a $4.5 million dollar e-commerce store. The journey was wild with ups and downs. However, I learned a lot of new things every day and today I am going to give you the exact advice and suggestions, you’ll need in order to start an online boutique with no money at all.
Starting An Online Boutique With No Money
Prior to starting an online boutique with no money, you need to have a firm grasp of how online businesses work. In any e-commerce business, there are three key positions involved. One of them is a supplier, the other one is your business and lastly the customer. The first step is finding the right supplier who is reliable and can be trusted. This sounds like an easy task but it isn’t. The next step is finding the customer. Between these two steps, lies your business and multiple other knots and bolts that run your business. Alongside, Whether you are starting an activewear business, a denim line, a leggings business, or a clothing line as a teenager, you will need a few integral things to operate online. I have listed them below with paid and free alternatives for each of them.
1. Name and Logo :
This is completely free and really simple. Make sure you decide on a brandable name for your business. It must be short and easy to remember. If you are having difficulties brainstorming a brand name for your business, try Shopify’s Free Business Name Generator Tool.
If you have a bit of extra cash to spend on branding your business, I would suggest using Looka. This online tool gives you everything you need to launch your brand and look great from day one. The best part is their artificial intelligence technology. It does all the heavy graphic design lifting but gives you creative control.
2. Creating an online store :
Creating an online store has become really simple, thanks to Shopify. The thing is the most basic plan Shopify offers will cost you around $29 a month. If you have money, it is one of the best tools you can invest in for your online business. It is worth every cent of $29. The problem, however, is that you have no money to start your online boutique and we have to find an alternative.
Well! Now let me tell you a piece of good news. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial without even needing a credit card. This makes it a great opportunity for individuals who want to start an online boutique with no money. All you need is an email account and you can start your free trial for 14 days. But is 14 days enough to start your online boutique – the answer is no.
You have to make the most out of your free trial. Therefore, you need to have a strategy in place before you make any decisions. The 14 days offered by the Shopify trial is a crucial period for your business because you want to make at least 2 sales from the trial. These 2 sales should be enough to generate $29 so that you can pay and have 1 more full month of Shopify store. I am going to tell you the exact strategy I used to scale my online light-decor business with no money using Shopify’s 14-day free trial.
You will need two email accounts for this. First, you need to get a 14-day trial using your secondary email. Use those 14 days to play around with Shopify and understand how it works. Once you get comfortable with the Shopify dashboard, design an online store for your boutique using a variety of free themes offered by Shopify.
Finally, when you have your online store ready, create a marketing plan and get ready for the launch of your live online store. All these will have already taken 9-10 days of your free 14-day trial. That’s where your main or primary email comes into play. Get another 14-day trial using your primary email and since you know exactly how to design your store, it should take less than an hour to get your brand new store up and ready. Start marketing your online boutique and try to generate a few sales in order to cover up Shopify’s $29/mo plan.
Start Shopify 14-day free trial from today!
3. Domain name :
Unfortunately, there is no alternative way to get a domain name for free. If you have money to start an online boutique, I would recommend getting one from Namecheap. You can find a domain starting at just $0.88 through the tool below.
I know that you want to start an online boutique with no money. If you can’t get your domain name, don’t worry Shopify offers a free subdomain for your business. For example, if your online store name is Lisa Collections. Your subdomain will be lisacollections.myshopify.com.
Having a sub-domain doesn’t look professional for your online boutique business. Therefore, I would suggest getting one from Namecheap and connecting it to your Shopify store as soon as you start generating revenue.
4. Sourcing the products with no money :
You want to start an online boutique with no money but how would you source your products without paying for them? The answer is pretty simple and lies in one of the most famous e-commerce business models currently. If you do not have money for inventory, the best way for you to run your online boutique business is by following the dropshipping business model.
Dropshipping is more like an order fulfillment strategy where you don’t actively hold any inventory. Instead, when an order comes through your online boutique store, you direct that order to your supplier. Who, in turn, fulfills the order on your behalf. For example, if a product costs $10 for you, you list it as $15 in your online store and if there is an order, you make $5 by just being a middle man. This makes this business model perfect for anyone wanting to start an online boutique with little to no money. Once you start generating revenue from your online boutique, you can look into buying in bulk or wholesale to hold your own inventory.
Shopify is one the best platforms to run your dropshipping-based online store. Furthermore, It offers different apps in its Appstore. Shopify apps can help you customize the look and functionality of your online store. Oberlo is one of the apps offered by Shopify. It is a dropshipping app that lets you source products for your online boutique from AliExpress suppliers. With Oberlo, you can import products to your Shopify store from AliExpress, edit the product descriptions, and place orders individually or in bulk. The best thing about Oberlo is that it is completely free to join and integrates seamlessly with Shopify.
5. Newsletters :
I have always been a big fan of email marketing. A lot of people say to me that email marketing is dead and I show them the screenshots of my online store making $7k last month, just through newsletters. The best thing about it is that it is completely free to start. Sign up for a free account at Mailchimp, and start collecting emails of potential customers from today.
You can also connect your Mailchimp account directly to your Shopify store and start your list-building process. There are different strategies to collect emails from your website traffic. The best one is offering the visitors a discount coupon if they sign up for your newsletter, through a pop-up box.
6. Social media :
You need to get social if you want to start an online boutique with no money. Since paid advertisements will not work in your case, social media is your best friend. Make sure you create your business page on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Post content regularly and try to engage with your audience. This is a great way to build a trust and following for your online boutique business.
Marketing An Online Boutique With No Money
The marketing approach for your online boutique will be limited due to little or no startup funds. You can still try organic marketing using social media and posting your products in clothing forums and communities. Make sure your primary focus is on social media though because social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are a great place for reaching your customers organically. Furthermore, you can also use it as a means to keep your current customers updated, or as a tool for attracting new customers.
Scaling An Online Boutique With No Money
Generating revenue from an online boutique is not that difficult. You will eventually make money, even by starting an online boutique without any investments. However, the main concern is re-investing in your business. Make sure you follow the 80-20 principle, where you invest 80% of your profits back into the business and take away only 20%.
Once you start generating revenue from your online boutique, the first thing is getting a Shopify Paid plan. After that, you must buy a domain and invest the profits into digital marketing and Influencer marketing programs. Alongside, you can also start an affiliate marketing program, where you give your customers an incentive to recommend you to their friends and family rewards each successful referral.
You should also consider registering the business as an LLC, once it is generating upwards of $1k a month. Registering will help to identify your business as a legal entity and it also is required to open business bank accounts, apply for business loans or get business credit cards.