How to build a startup business in a month with $100 in the pocket

Valeriya Chirkun • 4 January 2020

A month ago I set myself a 30-day challenge of making money online. The main constraints on the way of my 30-day challenge were the following:

  • Absence of previous experience in site promotion
  • Inability to work on the weekends
  • Lack of budgeting for an advertising campaign 

Additionally, I set the rule not to use my personal connections while promoting the project.

To cut a long story short, I managed to achieve my goals, my startup brought me a revenue of $450 with the initial $100 investment and taught me new marketing strategies. But before I found the idea of what to do I experienced a lot of failures.

The first failure relates to my initial idea of making short summaries of the best marketing podcasts. I’m not a big lover of podcasts. In some cases, they contain superfluous information which doesn’t bring value to the listeners. So I came up with the idea of making podcasts with useful information under my own brand. The only problem that prevented me from the instant realization of my idea was the question: Would the owners of marketing podcasts allow me to re-edit their materials and publish it under my name?

I was so excited by my idea and soon I bought the template for the website landing page spending $12 on it. By doing that, I wanted to persuade potential partners that my venture is legitimated. I created and send dozens of personalized letters to my potential partners with the proposal for collaboration, but their responses in majority contained ‘No’. It was painful, but finally, I left this idea and proceeded to look for another one.

The second idea was related to the creation of podcasts for condensed learning of financial literacy. I met some good examples of how this idea helps to reach success, but finally, I felt that it’s not what I would like to do as a part of my challenge.

Picture of mocrophone for recording of podcasts

The third and final concept was making podcasts in self-development topics, which I found on without editing content. For authors, it would give the potential growth of audience. The terms and conditions of using say that the ownership rights of the content belong to their authors. So all I needed is to contact the authors with my proposal. I wrote 50 letters to the most popular authors and 75% of them said ‘yes!’.

picture of money on the table

The next step was to find a way of monetization of my project. At that point, I didn’t have a website and it was difficult to attract sponsors for my project. But I created the offer to potential clients proposing them a 30-second advertisement at the end of the podcast. The price I offered them was $50. I found 40 bloggers specialized in finance and personal development and send them letters where I described all the advantages of working with me. I was totally disheartened when I received only 1 reply out of 40 and that was ‘NO!’. 

Then after desperation moment, I tried to use my own tactics which implies offering help before asking for sponsorship. I wrote to some of them about broken links or mistakes or sent them propositions on improvement. It wasn’t easy for me to be pushy as it's not my natural feature. My persistence awarded me with new clients. 

The overall number of deals I set was 5 and I stopped with searching for sponsors and focused on site-creation. 

I bought the theme for my site at the very beginning of my challenge and soon regretted about it. I had to make a lot of affords to customize it. I removed excessive folders and links, added a call to action in the header, changed fonts and colour schema for the text to be more readable and customized the mobile view.

At the beginning of the final week, the site was ready and it was time to create content and promote my site to potential listeners. As it was established at the beginning, I couldn’t use my personal connections to share information about my site. Moreover, I had no budget for a marketing campaign and couldn’t buy Google ads. The only way for promotion was email outreach. At the same time, I created the ranking list of the most popular financial and personal development bloggers. I published it on my site and gained several likes and retweets for the 24 hours, which was a real surprise for me!

The podcast recording was the funniest thing for me because I have a weird accent which is not easy to understand. My brother kindly helped me with it and we recorded a set of podcasts on financial and marketing topics.

To sum up, several times I was too close to give up, but finding a right concept saved the day and I earned $450 spending $100 (website hosting, domain name, website theme and podcasts hosting) and 16 full-day work.

Result: 5 Sales with $450 revenue for 30 days

Tags: Startups