We compiled SmartBiz reviews from our own website and from around the web and determined that it generally has positive ratings. Positive SmartBiz reviews noted the simple process for applying for an SBA loan and appreciated the help received from SmartBiz staff. The few negative SmartBiz reviews were from borrowers who did not receive approval for funding.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a website dedicated to covering that topic and anything else interesting you want to talk about. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. And blog hosting can cost less than $12 per month.
There are several loan programs aimed at helping first-time entrepreneurs set up their business. The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates the loan programs offered by the U.S. government. To qualify for the loan, your business must meet some criteria such as your business must operate in the United States, your business must qualify as a small business according to SBA guidelines, you must operate for profit and you should have a good credit score.
Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.
Although OnDeck offers a large easy business loan up to $500,000 without a prepayment penalty, you do not benefit from early repayment like you would with Fundbox and Kabbage. OnDeck’s term loan repayment frequency is weekly or daily and lacks a monthly option. For less frequent payments, consider a line of credit from Kabbage, which offers monthly payments.
National Funding calculates the total amount you owe at origination and bases your repayment on your daily credit card settlements. This means you have no control over the speed with which you repay the loan. It’s important to understand that a $10,000 loan will have a daily interest cost between $8.22 and $41.10, which can have a large negative impact on cash flow.
If you have some revenue coming in but need an extra boost to get to the million-dollar mark, make sure to consider every possible way that your company can differentiate itself. Do you have a letter of commitment from a notable investor? Do you have some revenue or a contract to get some revenue? Do you have valuable intellectual property with the potential to generate revenue? Differentiators like these can make the difference between getting funded and being overlooked by investors and lenders.
If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, but faster and cheaper), you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.
Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
6. IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow you Twitter following. Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.