Being active in social media groups, it's fairly common to see a solopreneur or two saying, "I can't afford a professional website."
My first thought is always - That's why you can't afford it. You likely can't afford any investment in your business, because you don't have a website!
It sounds harsh, I know, but it's true.
If you don't have a website, you're missing out.
People research almost everything these days and if you're not online where they're searching, you will be overlooked for a business that is online.
Planning a dinner at a new restaurant? Check out the website and read over the menu.
Looking for a new massage therapist? Look at their website for services and prices.
Need a landscaper? Ask neighbors for a recommendation and then? You got it, look at their website.
This is how people make buying decisions every day. Sure, a landscaper's prices probably won't be online, but we can get a feel for the business by the look of the website, hope to see photos of past work and testimonials too.
A solopreneur can't afford not to have a good website.
If you're a solopreneur without a website, your relying on word of mouth and perhaps your own networking, all activities that would be immensely more effective with a website.
Think of it like this - If you were looking for a job, how many jobs would you be considered for without a resume? A few, maybe through friends or family, but probably not the really prime jobs that people compete for. But with a good, quality resume, you're in the running for any job your qualified for. A business website plays a similar role. You may very well get some clients without a website, but the number of people who will consider going to you are extremely limited.
Get Creative to Pay for a Website
Websites can be very reasonably priced for the amount of work they do for a business, but that doesn't mean they're cheap. So what's a struggling solopreneur to do? Whatever it takes. Perhaps consider one of these options:
1. Get a temporary side job and save for a website
2. Barter services you offer in exchange for a website (More common with new designers)
3. Put it on a credit card (My very least favorite method)
4. Create your website yourself
Keep in mind that most websites are created with milestone or monthly payments. It's not a long term payment plan but it's enough to take the sting out of one large payment.
Until You Can Afford a Website
Money doesn't grow on trees. I get it. If you're working on the funds to afford a website, you can still be accessible to your potential clients. Make sure you're utilizing social media to your advantage. Go to networking events and maximize offline marketing as much as you possibly can.
Not having a website isn't the end of the world but if you're serious about your business, dig in. Do what you need to do to represent your business online. It might be a temporary sacrifice, but your business will be far better off once your site is live for the world to see.
Do you have ideas to add to the list of how to afford a website? Please share!