The 300+ young entrepreneurs that we work with each year almost unanimously have two very important things in common:
TONS of passion for their business idea :)
NOT A TON of $$ to get started :(
No problem - thanks to the plethora of resources now available to entrepreneurs of all ages, there has never been a better time to break into business without breaking the bank. In fact, even when we work with entrepreneurs who do have cash to spend, we always suggest testing the business idea at the lowest reasonable cost. In all likelihood, the entrepreneur will learn and adjust. Best not to invest all of your startup capital before you figure out the changes you’ll need to make.
Here are our Favorite 3 Free Resources for Young Entrepreneurs:
Canva (Logo + Graphic Design): Graphic designers typically charge $50-100/hour for their services, and a high-quality branding project can easily run into the thousands. Lucky for our young entrepreneurs, Canva is an amazing tool to design a first logo, flyer, and social media content at no cost. Canva provides a ton of free templates as well as a comprehensive “design school” to help you get started. Promise that you will get so absorbed that you’ll realize three hours have passed and you’ve designed a whole brand kit. Score.
Weebly or Big Cartel (Starter Website): Looking to get a website launched quickly and at no cost? Look no further than Weebly or Big Cartel. Note that with either, you will need to use a branded URL (eg, www.bestshopever.bigcartel.com) unless you are ready to sign up for a paid plan. How to choose?
If you plan to sell products directly from your website, go with Big Cartel. Important: navigate to the pricing page and then scroll down to find the “secret” Gold Plan option which allows you to sell up to 5 products without signing up for a monthly plan.
If you plan to use your website simply to promote your business, go with Weebly since it’s a little more user-friendly to get up and running.
Google Primer App (Bite-sized Business Lessons): A fun app to browse through, containing bite-sized (5 min or less) lessons on topics such as pricing and creating effective promotional videos. Learn something new while riding the bus to school.
BONUS: Looking for some inspiration but don’t want to wait for next week’s Shark Tank episode? Check out the How I Built This podcast from NPR. Our favorite episodes include SoulCycle, Door Dash, Canva (yup), and Bonobos. Hear the stories of the ups and downs of great entrepreneurs who have gone before.
Monica Lage is the Founder and Executive Director of Break Into Business, an Atlanta-based organization that coaches young people to launch real businesses. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Monica left the corporate world in 2013 to pursue her passion for inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Learn more at breakintobusiness.com.