Accounting

Use wave instead of Quickbooks for accounting.

Wave = FREE | Quickbooks = $20+/month

You probably heard of Quickbooks it’s a popular program I used to use to keep track of everything. It’s great however the monthly fee adds up. If you have a small business that expense can sometimes be annoying to add on top of every other monthly fee. To go the cheaper route business owners would use excel but that takes way too long. I found a program similar called wave, it’s almost identical to QuickBooks but completely free. Their website is waveapps.com and they also have a mobile app.

Upload your receipts to the app and keep track of your expenses to write off when tax season comes up. (Marketing, Fees/Subscriptions for your business, Shipping expenses)

Shipping

Ship through oversized letter mail if your package is under 1 inch thick.

Oversized letter mail = $2 | Parcel = $15

You can buy oversized stamps they come up to $2 each. Shipping in Canada gets expensive, so if your product is under 1inch thick you can save loads by sending it via letter mail. I used to sell lash sets, if I send each out as a parcel it would cost $15 each time to ship so I was saving $13 by sending it as oversized letter mail instead.

Pros: Faster than sending as a regular package, and a fraction of the price.

Cons: Can get lost in the mail, No tracking. (Out of all the packages I’ve ever sent only one got lost.)

Small Business Card – Canada Post

To save some money on shipping you can get a free small business card from Canada Post. It will save you a dollar or two on each shipment, which adds up.

Shipping to the US

If you’re shipping the US I recommend using: DYK or Chitchats it’s cheaper than Canada Post. Chit chats is around $7 for a shirt, and $15 for a hoodie, you can purchase the labels on their website. Canada Post would be around the $20+ range. DYK is even cheaper but the process is different. They give you a US address to use so you buy an USPS shipping label from your “US address” then drop it off at the DYK post. There you will pay an additional $1-2 for them to bring it over to the states USPS post.

Brand Packaging

If you have an online shop branding is really important for scaling your business. However, you don’t want to drop a bunch of money at the start for custom packaging. In case it doesn’t work out, or you decide to rebrand.

Here are some budget friendly ideas to cut costs down:

Trend Alert: Eco friendly packaging is going to be huge in 2022 so it might be time to look into that!

Poly mailers:

  • $$$ [Option One] If you want it professionally printed use Alibaba or another wholesaler, make sure to keep shipping costs in mind.
  • $$ [Option Two] Get a cute color/patterned mailer which don’t cost a lot. With that buy a custom stamp with your brand information/logo on it for $20 off Etsy or Amazon, and ink that can go on plastic.
  • $ [Option Three] Use paper mailers + custom stamp + regular ink.

Thank you cards:

  • You can buy a business thank you card template off Etsy for under $5 then print it at home. Use either use thick paper or photo paper for the best results.
  • You can also hand write a thank you note, customers love when there is a personal touch.

Tags

  • You can buy custom tags from any printing company or AliExpress/Baba.
  • You can also use a circuit or take glossy photo paper print out your tags then cut them out yourself with a cutting tool. I like to attach my tags with a eco friendly cotton twine. ($2 for 100pack wholesale)

Tissue Paper / Filler

  • Some get it custom printed or you can use a custom stamp and stamp the tissue paper yourself!
  • You can fill your box up with shredded paper (inexpensive) some cute heart/star confetti you can make it yourself from a lever puncher.

Marketing

Canva has a free subscription that can be used for all your marketing needs. They have a bunch of free templates you can use including business cards, social media posts, ads, YouTube thumbnail’s and the list goes on. There are also free stock photos along with graphics to customize your design.

There are so many amazing resources out there that you don’t need to spend thousands on marketing any more.

Creating an account and posting on these platforms can be equivalent to another company spending loads of money on ads.

  • Pinterest (High Visibility)
  • Tik Tok (Potential Your Videos Can Go Viral)
  • Instagram (Create An Instagram Shop Through Facebook)
  • Facebook Page (Not As Popular But A Great Way To Connect With Customers)
  • Facebook Group (This Is Gold – You Will Build A Loyal Customer Base By Doing This)

Ads

For the last 3 moths i’ve been testing out different ad platforms and here’s what I found: (Based off of the sales of digital products)

Pinterest had the highest conversion rate, 30% of my entire views on Etsy came from Pinterest (that’s higher then any other blog post or social media). On average every $100 spent converted to $1,000 revenue.

My product was featured on BuzzFeed and Daily Mail while that did drive some traffic my newsletter drove more. Sometimes those sites will feature your product because they have an affiliate link to them, so for free advertising make sure your product is very visible with affiliate links. (+ it’s good for backlinks to rank you higher on Google).

Facebook Ads are good just takes a little bit to find the right audience and it’s a good idea to create a website with a pixel on it to help speed up the process. Your budget will have to be larger.

Google Ads is good for a service based business. For me it was the most expensive with the lowest conversion but i’m selling products not a service so this was expected.

Email Newsletters / Landing Pages are the biggest way to get leads/orders/a loyal customer base. I will talk about it in the next paragraph.

Newsletters/Landing Pages

I use Sender.net and Mailchimp. On Sender you can have up to 2500 contacts on the free plan and with Mailchimp you can have 2000 contacts. Thats more than enough to start out with.

I underestimated the power of having an email list until I started using it. To get a list you can offer something digital for free in exchange for their email. Make sure it related to your niche. Examples:

  • 7 Day Meal Plan.
  • Daily Planner.
  • Printable.
  • Discount Code.