Starting with $100 & Where It Took Me: Part 1

Author’s note: I’m writing this post/article/rambling to take a short break from studying for my final exams. At this point, I’m a bit mentally drained, but I’ve been looking to outline this experience for a while. Just to give a better timeline, this post is written retrospectively. The events that are described here actually took place about 8 months ago.

As far as I’m concerned, one good, fundamental concept has come from the Silicon Valley’s bubbling world of start-ups. That one good thing is the idea of bootstrapping. Bootstraping is a term that refers to starting a project — whether it be a business or just a proof of concept — on a shoestring budget. It’s all about not wasting capital where you don’t have to. It’s about not spending money when it isn’t necessary.

Being seventeen, it is difficult to come upon great sums of money to start a project. That specifically is what makes bootstrapping such an attractive approach for people of my age (although, for what my endeavors were, I didn’t need thousands of dollars). The concept is in no way original. I acknowledge that; the business was a way for me to make money online, not an exercise in creativity.

I opened up a hosting company on a hundred dollar budget. I’ve worked on projects with budgets of over 50 times this much; I decided to set my budget so low in order to get back to my roots. I wanted to handle everything myself. I was really happy with the outcome of this because it allowed me to keep much better tabs on my finances.

I signed up for a reseller hosting account with a special feature known as “end user support”. Just for those who are reading now, the company that provided me with this account is still in existence, but they operate at about a tenth of the alacrity that they once did. This feature meant that the company would handle technical inquiries for me. I didn’t rely solely on it (I answered tickets when necessary), but it was nice when I was away from the computer. This was critical, though, because end user support gave me someone else to take care of my clients; I didn’t have to be awake 24/7 to do it.

There was nothing special about the reseller account. It had most of the industry-standard features, and it got the job done. There were occasionally server issues, but for the most part, it worked. It was smooth sailing. The reseller account retailed for about $20 per month, and I used a coupon code that I found online to bring the price down to a recurring $15 invoice each month. I then spent the next few months marketing the business using free and paid advertisements with mixed success.

Over time, the issues on this server began to become more common and prolonged. After about three or four months since the conception of the company, I decided to go ahead and upgrade from the reseller account that I used to host my clients. Just to give perspective, at this point in time, the business was making money–at a rate of about $120 each month. I’m rather proud to say that I was able to do all this off a $15/month reseller account where I provided minimal direct support to my clients.

In the next post, I’m going to outline my decision to upgrade from the reseller account, what it brought, and how I kept myself from becoming tethered to my computer. Also, for those interested in the name of the company, I am not going to provide it. This is about my story, not about promoting my business.