Have you ever wanted to start your own store but were unable to raise funds? Did you think you couldn’t do it because you had no money? Do you want to know how to create a £16 business start-up? You can do it with mental illness, as most of it is automatic once it is up and running.
OK then let’s get the party started.
Grab Yourself a Cuppa
First things first, have you got a spare £16? If so, read on. What I’m about to explain to you is exactly how I set up my stationery shop. But I’m using a cheaper host to keep the costs down for you.
Choose Your Business
What is it you want to sell? Anything and everything or just organic clothing, maybe you just want to focus on tech or vitamins. Narrow down what it is you want to do. Spend a bit of time on it, don’t worry I’ll wait, oh and make sure it interests you.
Imagine a Domain Name
What do you want it to be called? Because this is really important, don’t just pluck the first thing that comes into your head, you’ve got to live with that name. Write a list of at least twenty, the chances are three-quarters of them will be owned by someone already. There’s a heck of a lot of websites out there. Ideally, you want a .com if you want to sell everywhere, but if you are just interested in your country, just go for a country domain, like co.uk.
Leave your list and go and do something else for a couple of hours, come back to it later and cross off the ones that annoy you.
While you were away did you think of any more? Write them down, then disappear again. Continue until you have twenty names you really like. Put them in order of preference, now let’s go searching.
Buying a Domain Name
It just so happens I know several domains and hosting providers who offer the services we need. We want a WordPress hosting solution and we want one where they chuck in a free SSL. They can be expensive, believe me, I paid £150 for one once, never again, it haunts me to this day.
Do you know how to use WordPress?
No, watch a few videos on how to use it. If yes, let’s carry on.
Domain Name Search
Welcome to the frustrating part. You might get lucky with your first choice but, unless you’ve made up a word, the chances are someone might have blagged that name already. Go through your list ticking the ones available to you. If you have gone through your list and nothing is there, then use the name suggestions which pop up. Also, try turning a c into a k or an e into a 3, use God’s gift and be creative.
I suggest you visit one of the hosting providers I’ve listed further down. You can easily search for your domain from their site. I get a few pence if you do choose to use them for your hosting. Even though I’d still recommend them regardless of the pennies. That’s how I do things honest and above board.
You’ve Chosen Your Domain
OK, the site I am going to suggest to you is where I purchased the domain name and a web hosting package today for the grand total of £15.98. It was done and dusted this morning before breakfast (at the time of writing that is). If you are reading this fifteen years from now we probably host the internet in our minds and our domain is our actual brain ID. Just for clarification the date now is 28/01/2021 and the time is 08:45.
Choose Your Hosting Provider
Now, the first two hosting providers listed, I have domains on and hosting plans with them, so I trust them. Which means I’m happy to give you the links, knowing full well they are above board. The third I used many years ago meaning they have history and are well thought of:
- [AF] eUK Host is cheap as chips. I managed to get 2p change out of my £16.00. I bought a domain name for a year with basic WordPress hosting, on a monthly rolling contract.
- [AF] Webhosting UK, I have 7 domains and 1 premium hosting with this one. I bought the hosting on a yearly plan a few months back as it worked out cheaper.
- 123 Reg, is another cheap one. It will take you over budget, although you can get it for under £20. You can get a domain of 1 year and hosting for 1 month.
Now you know what your domain name is going to be. We need to get you hosted. But before you do that check your basket in case any of your domain name searches have been added to it, get rid of them for now.
Get Your Money Ready
Let’s do this. Simply add the hosting to your basket, you want WordPress hosting for £3.33. Choose the one which says you get a free SSL certificate with it. You will need this for your shop to be secure for payments and such. If the price is different to mine, I chose the WordPress Starter package. The next step is to register a new domain name and add to basket. Take a deep breath you’ve got to spend a little in order to get a lot.
Buy that basket now!
While You’re Waiting to Start Your Own Store
Your domain is bought, your hosting is paid for. You now need products. Earlier you decided on what you wanted to sell, we’ll go and find those products right now.
Let’s go and research.
Here is a list of companies where you can get clothes for nothing, you don’t need to bulk order. No need to promise to sell them, all you need to do is sign up with your email address. When they ask for your website address, you can put in your brand new domain name and feel proud.
- CJ Dropshipping – is a marketplace and sells virtually everything you can think of and more.
- Printful – you design your own slogans and images for t-shirts and hoodies.
There are more to choose from but really and truthfully I’d rather not overwhelm you. As you’ve had a busy day and you have a lot of work ahead. Both of the sites above I use and the latter one is easier to use than the first. CJ has a humongous amount of products though and is good for everything. It all depends on what you want to do. You can use both like me.
[AF] Practice Makes Perfect
Printful is for those who have an artistic eye, CJ is for those who just want to add the stock and sell it.
Should you choose to use Printful you will want to get practising on the site. Use their sample images or you can upload your own. I suggest trying Unsplash to get free images. If you want to be more artsy use Canva. I also use an online programme to remove the backgrounds on images for free. It is called Make PNG Transparent. These are all the things I use as I’m a cheapskate.
I’ll leave you for a few hours to play about for a bit and you can work out how both systems can be used. The dropshippers do have how-to videos and CJ’s also has an annoying pop-up chat thing if you get stuck.
If you have watched videos about WordPress you are ready for action. I’ve listed what you need to do. There is no spending any more money unless you feel like it.
- Change your theme to a shop one.
- Head to plugins and add Woocommerce.
- Plugins again and add Stripe payment system the one with a five-star rating
- Click on customisation and make your site look fancy.
- Go to plugins again and add Printful, activate it and follow instructions.
- Woocommerce next and settings chose advanced, then Rest Api, leave the window open and open a tab to go to CJ’s.
- Next, go to integrations on CJ and click Woocommerce.
- Go back to your website and add a key call it CJ. Copy your keys and paste into CJ.
- Both platforms should now be connected to your website.
- Now you can add clothing or tech and it will go through to your store.
- Have fun.
If for some reason there is no connection read through the tutorials and the blogs on both sites to work out the reason. If not contact them, they are quite quick in responding, less than two days I’ve found.
Activate Stripe and join up, hand over your direct debit details. Make sure it is a current account as you might not get paid. Run a test connection, you should be ready to take orders.
Round of Applause
For you and me. You are now a business owner my friend and all it cost you was £15.98.
Leave a comment below if you found this article helpful. Or if I need to expand further on something. Even if you think, it can’t possibly work, I will just tell you – I did it and it does. I’m living proof, you can do stuff for next to nothing.
Be well and enjoy it x