How to Start a Profitable Online Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less

How to start an online business for $50, in 3 months or less. Want to start freelancing, coaching, or selling infoproducts online? This is your guide.

This post is for your eyes only if you are currently trying to start an online business (a profitable one) from scratch . . . and you want to do it in three months or less . . . oh, and you only want to spend about $50.

Whereas this post (originally published in April of 2015) used to link to a podcast episode on this topic, I decided to completely revamp the post. Why? I think the first chapter of my newest book (which you can find out more about at the bottom of this post) might inspire you and help you to create an amazing online business this year. Ready?

Let’s only assume 3 things as you start your business:

  1. You have access to a computer and the Internet a few times per week.
  2. You have access to a smart phone (yours or a friend’s) that can take pictures and connect with social media.
  3. You either have your closest friends’ and family’s email addresses, or you’re connected with them on Facebook, or through some other electronic means. As in: You can get in contact with your people—whether that be 10 people or 1000, for me, it was more like 10 when I first started. Or, if you’re not connected with friends and family, you’re okay with building a presence online and engaging with strangers (who will totally become your friends, don’t worry).

Now, let’s get into the first chapter.

Chapter 1 of Build Your Freedom Business for $50 in 3 Months or Less: How to Start Coaching, Freelancing, or Selling Information Products Online

“What have I gotten myself into?” you may be asking. A lot of things. But the main one is discovering a new system for starting a business you love. Really, a way of thinking and moving through the very involved, and intricate, and amazing world of creating a profitable online brand or empire.

After years of creating various businesses, years of creating websites for clients and personal projects, and most recently, years of creating and running online businesses full time, I can without doubt tell you I’ve failed a lot.

Wait, what?

Yes. I’ve failed miserably, I’ve failed publicly, and I’ve failed my way to success. Let me explain. Because I believe the lessons learned can help you create your own business online with less stress, fewer headaches, fewer sleepless nights, fewer mistakes, and less time. It will still be a lot of work, but man will it be worth it.

Let’s explore.

The Internet created a whole new world of possibility and completely changed the way we (1) get information, (2) make purchasing decisions, and (3) operate businesses . . . among other things.

The online space as it is today makes it possible for people like my friend Erika, a mother of three adorable kids, to make a living online training people how to provide better customer service. The Internet allows my friend Mike to provide coaching for mind, body, and emotional health. It allowed my friend Kelsey to create and sell planning templates to busy women for a full-time income until she decided to also show people how to design their own (which gave her another full-time income). My friend Ivan sells design and brand strategy work online. My friend Aislinn markets and sells her freelance writing skills online for a living. And I could go on . . .

I have friends doing everything from teaching yoga, and selling interior design or architecture services, to creating fabric patterns and selling cookbooks online. I myself write and publish books on business and marketing, plus create courses on starting and running a business, getting better at conversations as an introvert, and using yoga and movement to increase your flexibility, durability, and range of motion as an athlete or gym rat.

How is it possible to make and sell the types of products and services all of these people are creating? How can you really create significant extra income each month or perhaps even work for yourself full time online?

There is more than just one way to accomplish this goal, and in this book, you and I are going to explore the “system” I’ve used to create a full-time income online in the following ways: through freelancing, through online coaching, through self-published books, and through online courses.

Please be mentally prepared that this process is not easy and will require consistency from you, and that the “system” I’m showing you is a solid framework that you can modify and mold to fit you.


Here’s an overview of the system that we will dive into deeply within this book:

Step 1: Start with PASSION.

As cliché as it sounds, I think that the passion you feel for a hobby, a cause, a people group, a certain subject, or a specific skill will be a key driver of creating something meaningful and awesome.

In this book, we will get into a questionnaire to help you discover some of your true passions plus a list of 1001+ niche topics to help you pinpoint what interests you, what you want to talk about and create content on, and what you love.

As an example, for the purposes of this overview, let’s take a woman named Frankie who is a yoga + fitness instructor, a woman named Ingrid who is passionate about the uniqueness and strength of introverts, and a man named Paul who has transformed his health and body by becoming vegan and eating an amazing plant-based diet.

Meet Frankie, Ingrid, and Paul. Your friendly avatars will help us process all this epic information on starting an online business coming at you.

Frankie identifies her passion as helping people get fit.

Ingrid identifies her passion as helping introverts embrace + use their personality traits and succeed in life.

Paul identifies his passion as the power of veganism to transform your internal health and your body.


Step 2: After identifying your passion, identify your PEOPLE.

Part one. When you have a specific topic/niche in mind, it’s time to start imagining the basic details and habits of the type of person who will be interested in your topic or who needs help with what you provide content on.

Paul might assume that women (and a few men), between the ages of 24 and 50, who have had digestion issues or who are having a hard time losing weight or staying energetic throughout their day might be in need of his information.

Frankie might start to realize she really wants to work with martial artists and other athletes in need of strength and agility. She might then assume most of her clients or audience will be between the ages of 20 – 40, and she might also assume that many of her clients will be men.

Ingrid might realize that most of the people she’s ever talked to about extreme introversion are women, between the ages of 25 – 50 who are tired of being made to feel like their personalities are weird or bad.

Part two. Once you have the basic details of your people in mind, you can head to the Internet (and to in-person events, hangouts, or organizations) to actually find these people and engage with them. In fact, you may already be involved in groups either online or in real life that hold your ideal audience members.

Part of creating a successful online business is narrowing down and/or deeply understanding your audience--the people you want to help.

Ingrid might find a Facebook group or another type of online community for introverts and join it. She might also start reading the comments on top blogs about being an introvert.

Paul might find a Facebook group for people trying to lose weight or struggling with digestion issues (there are groups online for all types of needs, people, and interests).

Frankie might connect with people in her gym or people who regularly comment on a popular MMA Instagram account or a men’s health magazine’s Instagram account.

Part three. After you’ve engaged with your people a bit, it’s time to learn more specifically how to help them. This may include working with them pro bono, providing free content to them, or even creating some low-priced services or products to test the waters.

Paul might offer to coach one of the women in an “Overcome IBS” group online through a plant-based diet for 30 days. He might also create some free meal plans and share them with his friends on Facebook.

Frankie may decide to offer a few free sessions to a martial artist at her gym who she has seen lifting in such a way that will slow his progress towards becoming more quick and agile. She might also decide to do a “10 Days of Basics” series, where she covers some foundational lifts, exercises, and principles for people who want more speed and agility—then she might share her videos or pictures with an online group she is a part of and invite people to ask any questions they may have.

Ingrid may start asking questions in the “Introvert Power” Facebook group she found about what people’s biggest struggles are or where they feel most misunderstood. She might then create and share several new blog posts that address the topics the other women have brought up.

How to Really Use Asana to Organize Your Clients and Projects

How to use Asana as a freelancer

Yes, my friend. I have a treat for you today. A serious expert (in the form of trial and error and success at getting organized and making her projects flow well) is giving us the behind-the-scenes, no skimpiness version of how to really use Asana (a tool the whole byRegina.com team uses) to manage your clients and projects. She’s even taking us through specific actions we’ll want to take in Asana and giving us some screen examples. Check it out.


Nesha WooleryHi, I’m Nesha! I design brands and websites for lady entrepreneurs + teach other brand & web designers how to build profitable and sustainable businesses.

Let’s jump into organizing your clients and projects.

Have you ever tried to manage your projects through emails? You end up with hundreds of emails between you and the client, making it impossible to find the feedback they sent you last week or the attachment they sent you the week before.

To make matters even worse, your client seems to think it’s best to start a new thread instead of hitting reply on your emails, so your conversations are now broken into dozens of threads.

If that doesn’t sound familiar, how about this: have you ever gone to start a project and then realized your client hasn’t completed their pre-project homework or handed over the files you need? It halts the project right in its tracks and adds days (sometimes weeks!!) on to your deadline.

If you’re a freelance designer, photographer, writer or any kind of service-based business owner, you’ve experienced this before. It kiiiinda makes you want to pull your hair out with frustration.

When this kind of project disorganization happens, I’m guessing some of these thoughts fly through your head:

Why is my client always starting new threads even though I’ve told her not to?!

Why do my clients NEVER remember to hand in their files on time?

How come my clients NEVER remember to make their payments on time?

Why do I constantly have to remind my clients to send me their feedback on the work I’ve done?

Spot the common thought here? We like to blame our project disorganization on our client’s forgetfulness. But the reality is this: WE should be the ones making sure our clients remember to send us feedback on time or hand in files on time. WE should be the ones making sure our clients make their payments on time. WE should be the ones organizing the project management; we should’t rely on our clients to handle it.

So how can you finally get these problems solved? By using a project management tool.

A project management tool is a private space online where you and your clients can organize everything that needs to get done in your projects. You can communicate, create to-do lists, attach files, set deadlines, set reminders and tons more.

Each time you take on a new client, you simply create a new project in your PM tool of choice, name the project and invite your client! Then you can both discuss things in one neat, organized spaced.

10 Morning Writing Activities for Entrepreneurs

Morning Writing Activities for Entrepreneurs
So basically, I instituted a practice a while back that completely altered the amount and quality of work I was able to get done. It’s a practice I’ve recently picked back up here in Mexico, where I live now . . . and it is doing wonders for my productivity, mental clarity, sanity, and content. Wonders.

I want to share this magical, mystical practice.

In a short blog post. And if you know me, that like . . . never happens. So let’s hop straight into this cool method/thing.

It’s called making content creation the first thing you do in the morning. Before Twitter, before getting fully ready for the day, before investing time in your day job, before all of it.

And yes, I do understand that you have a crazy, busy life. I promise I really do get it. But it’s just like working out. We all know we need to do it, but if we never prioritize it and try to leave it as the last thing we do for the day, it never gets done.

So, even if you just wake up 30 minutes earlier, or alter your routine to fit in an extra 15 minutes or so in the morning for yourself, I hope you can find a way to make this work.

Prioritizing content in the morning means that:

  • You haven’t been influenced by any outside sources yet that day. Your mind is fresh. It’s more focused on who you really are . . . it hasn’t had time to take on the other personalities and crazy thoughts that hop in our heads each day as emotional creatives.
  • You’re less likely to create content that’s an accidental copy of something you’ve seen. Especially if you follow the #1 rule of this practice: Don’t consume any content at all, other than your own, before you get started for the day.
  • Your emails and responsibilities haven’t taken over yet.
  • You will feel more productive that day to have gotten in an early win.
  • Your quality of life will likely increase if you’re able to create more amazing content and feel better about your progress toward your goals.

Here are the 10 most epic suggestions ever (#humblebrag) of what you can create or do during your morning time:

1. Write a letter to yourself.
And by “letter,” I of course mean “email to the future.” You can use a tool like FutureMe.org if you’re like me . . . in denial about the validity of journaling each day.

FutureMe.org even has an app. You can open it up (or use the desktop version) and write yourself a quick note that will be delivered at some time in the future that you get to specify (1 month, 1 year, 5 years, etc.).

What happened yesterday? What milestones have you met in your business? What are you hoping to launch or do in the near future? Why does it matter? Who is important in your life right now and why?

Remind yourself to be patient, mindful, forgiving, and kind to yourself and others.

No lie. Every single email from the past me to the future me has made me cry. Has made me stop in my tracks. Has refocused me. Has delighted me. Has reminded me of what’s important.

2. Create an outline for an epic piece of content.
Whether you want to outline an epic article, blog post, or guide using this resource planning post as a guide, or you want to start planning how to change one of your blog posts into a book, or you want to start planning your first workshop . . . take 15 – 45 minutes in the morning to create a detailed outline of your content.

3. Draft an email to your email list.
When your mind is more raw, real, and fresh, take the time to draft an email to your list. Something real, something that includes a story, something that communicates your heart and passion for what you do.

If the email isn’t complete by the time you finish writing that morning, keep it in a special Google Doc in the cloud (or a folder somewhere that makes sense for you) so that you can write more when you feel like it or come pull from this doc when you have a thought that relates and can complete your email.

4. Write part of a book.
Legit. This is the only way I was able to write and publish my first book when I had other full-time responsibilities. It was the hardest, most rewarding thing ever. EVER.

5. Write out one activity you’re going to do that day for yourself on top of your daily goals or in your day planner.
Is it working out and building toward your summer six pack? Is it getting a pedicure? Is it going out with a girl you have a crush on? Is it going to bed early enough to read two chapters of your current book?

Prioritize something, even if it’s small, that replenishes you or gives you a moment of peace in a long day.

6. Create a blog post.
Take one of the outlines you created on a separate morning and fill it in with your epic morning mind.

7. Write a video script.
Whether you are creating a video tutorial that you’ll have to narrate, or you want to create a cool new video series with quick tips and solid information, your video probably needs some sort of a script . . . even if it’s only bullet points for you to follow as you talk.

Having your script pre-written will make it THAT much more likely that you actually get those video ideas you’ve planned out done.

8. Write part of your course materials or part of your sales page.
Most of the time, you can’t build a quality course in a day. So, instead, break up its creation over as many mornings/days as you need to.

If you already have a course or another product you sell, write or tweak your sales page or a cool bonus that you can use to generate interest in your product.

9. Re-assess and write down your top 3 work goals and top 3 life goals (plus their “why”—the reason they matter) as they occur to you that morning.
I know. I know. You are already super clear on all your goals, ever. But, just in case you want to constantly audit and check yourself (so you don’t get sucked in to an online cult), write down what’s important to you as of that moment. Make sure all of your goals have a real reason/purpose that you can identify, and then verify that your immediate goals (of the day/week/month) line up with your purpose statements.

10. Write some fiction.
Yeah. Give your mind something creative to work on outside of your business. Something you don’t have to monetize. (So, if you’re a professional fiction writer, you’re going to want to do something outside of your normal work. Something that doesn’t have pressure associated with it. A poem? An article? Some travel tips? Whatever pops in your head.)


Pssssst. You can totally create content other than written content in the mornings. Sometimes I simply:

  • design a graphic
  • record a screen tutorial
  • record an audio file
  • continue my morning project from the day before
  • etc. {translation: get creative with your “Morning Milestones”}

If you’re not already doing this with your mornings, I really do think you will enjoy it, because no matter how crazy your day gets afterward, you will have gotten some business and personal growth stuff done.

10 Epic Writing Activities for Entrepreneurs

I hope you enjoyed these quick ideas for what you can do in the morning to feel + be epic and productive.

I re-started doing this because as lovely as it is to have a coworking office (when I’m in Austin or when I’m here in México), if I show up there first thing in the morning, the convo, or the structure of the facility, or my general responsibilities take over . . . and then I get frustrated with myself for not accomplishing as much as I wanted to.

I’m probably not the only one, right? Tell me. What do you do in the mornings? How do you achieve the level of productivity you’re shooting for?

Design Lingo All Solopreneurs Should Know (and a quick workbook for your next professionally designed project)

DesignLingoBlogImage

Hey you . . . my best friend in life has an amazing guest post and guide for you. Meet Brittany Mays. The epic designer behind most of my recent workbooks and course materials. Here we go . . .


Brittany MaysHave you ever been to a restaurant where the menu was in another language? You may have understood a few words that English “borrowed” over the years, but even those words could have morphed in meaning.

(Get to the point, Britt)

Sorry, I’m just pointing out that communication isn’t always the easiest thing. Sometimes you try to explain your thoughts or vision to someone and it just doesn’t come out right. Often, the barrier comes with an ignorance towards the jargon of that particular topic.

Specifically I’m talking about design. In the past few years, as I have gained more and more clients, my processes have developed to help people better communicate with me.

In this post, you will not only find definitions that can really help you out, but also questions to help break down your upcoming project for yourself and your designer. Plus a communication sheet you can fill out and email to your potential designer that covers all of your project details. I’m just trying to help you get the party started and get your life together, but more on that in a bit.

What every designer fears

Every Halloween I get invited to a haunted house. Every year, I re-explain that I don’t do haunted houses, but people don’t get it. I avoid being scared if at all possible, but sometimes, as a designer, my worst fears materialize in the form of phrases that my clients write in emails and say over the phone. OK, I’m being a bit dramatic, but seriously. Want to know some of most the feared phrases by your designer (graphic, web, etc.)? Well, here they are:

“I will know it when I see it.”

“This is exactly what I asked for, but it’s not what I want.”

“Can we get rid of all the white? I want it to pop.”

“I don’t know if that [clearly relevant image] represents [the easily represented concept].”

“Could you make the design look exactly like this.” [As we are looking at another design which would qualify as copyright infringement.]

“We need more images of people [doing extremely specific things that are hard to find].”

“I really need a logo instead of JUST a font.”

“I don’t really like any of it, but I don’t really have any feedback for you.”

In addition to the lingo I will share with you later in the post, I have a few other suggestions that will help you communicate with your designer.

Design software isn’t magic

Don’t get me wrong, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator can do some amazing things. (By the way, if you hire a professional designer, these are the programs he/she would likely use.)

I bring this up because often clients have a false sense of what these programs can accomplish. For instance, if a woman took a picture with her back to the camera, I can’t spin her around to show her face. Or if you give me a .JPG file that another designer created for you, I can’t alter it without simply designing on top of it because it has been flattened (one of those fancy words down below).

Good Practice: If you have something you need done, simply ask, but keep in mind that it may not be possible depending on what you are providing so you aren’t disappointed.

Find examples and inspiration

One of the best ways to help your designer create something for you that you love is to provide examples and inspiration. This can be done in a number of ways like filling a Word, Pages or Google document with images or creating a Pinterest board that you can share with your designer (remember that you can make the board private).

When gathering inspiration, consider finding items in the following categories:

  • general style/direction
  • colors
  • patterns/textures
  • photography style
  • icons
  • fonts

Please, please, please do not expect your designer to copy anything you show him/her exactly. However, gathering inspiration and making it your own is exactly what needs to happen, and providing these things will help that happen.

If you only have $X to invest in your business, what should you spend it on?

What to spend your money on each month as you invest in your business.
We’re going to play a game I’m sure you’re more than familiar with . . . I’m talking about none other than the $10 • $20 • $30 • $40 • $50 to $60 • $75 • $100 Game of course.

Not only is the name of this game super short and easy to say, the game is also pretty simple. Basically, we answer the question >> if I only have $10 or $20 or $30 (and so on) to invest in my business each month, what are the best places to invest it?

Some friends and I played this game on Periscope the other day, and a super smart lady named Donna suggested that I put this material on the web elsewhere so that more of us creatives could benefit from our discussion. So, let’s get to the $10 • $20 • $30 • $40 • $50 to $60 • $75 • $100 Game. And don’t you dare go thinking up a more clever name for this thing. That took me like 7.5 hours to come up with.


If you have $10 to invest in your business each month, try:


Hosting ($5 – $8)

At $10/month, it’s time to own a custom domain name and have professional hosting. You can opt for Bluehost (if you’re going with WordPress) or the basic Squarespace plan. If you decide on WordPress, you can definitely upgrade to different hosting later, as your traffic grows, but I love what Bluehost offers for the price, and I still use them for many projects even today.

Google Apps Email ($4 – $5)

Oh, and to round out your move to a more professional online presence, not only can you own your own domain name and hosting account, but you can also get a nice, custom email address such as you@yourcoolnewdomain.com. And there’s no need to use something horribly unfunctional for your email platform if you’re used to using the highly awesome Gmail app. Just grab Google Apps for Work for $4 to $5 per month.

Your business email client will look and function just like Gmail, so you’ll have access to extra “Labs” that allow you to enable things like “Canned Responses” (so you can easily insert a pre-written script to people when you find yourself needing to respond with the same information to multiple people).

To enable Canned Responses or any other Labs, head to your settings in the top-right portion of your Gmail app when logged in, then head to Labs and scroll through the available options.

Enable Canned Responses in Gmail

Enable Canned Responses or other Labs in Gmail

Free Stuff You Can Try Out

There’s a lot you can do for free while your $10/month goes to the items above. You can be on the free MailChimp plan, the free Calendly plan (if you need to schedule calls/appointments with clients), the free Buffer plan (so you can schedule and queue social media posts), and you can also use Wave Accounting for free.

Psst. There’s something else super cool you can do for free >> join Jen Carrington and myself for our fortnightly (every two weeks) FREE online workshops meant to help you humanize and monetize your brand. We have one coming up soon–so, you know, check it out.

ScrappyHour with Jen Carrington and Regina Anaejionu

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