Starting out in business requires the ability to invest your funds wisely unless you are privileged to have unlimited resources. If you plan to sell your product(s) online, the first two of the following are mandatory and the last is a good idea:
- a merchant account
- a shopping cart
- an affiliate program
As your business grows, you may certainly need the higher cost, more complex services offered to fill the needs listed above. However, there are ways to be frugal and still implement an e-commerce program that works!
Don’t Throw Away Your Money On Fees Unless You’re Selling Product!
- Merchant Accounts established with financial institutions through service providers have minimum monthly fees regardless of whether you sell anything or not.Why would you want to give money away unless you’re selling product to cover those costs?I know that we all want to be positive about our success possibilities; however, success rarely explodes onto the scene the moment you open your doors. It takes time. It takes time to connect with your target market. It takes time for you to benefit from the trial and error process of sales and marketing.So why not try a risk-free system first?
If you’re on a shoestring budget, it makes sense to only pay fees if you’re getting paid first. That’s why services such as PayPal  and 2Checkout  are so popular with solopreneurs.
With the Merchant Service called Website Payments Standards at PayPal, there are no monthly fees to maintain an account, no setup fees, no gateway fees, and no fees for multiple eBay and merchant tools. Up to $3000/month in sales, you pay a 2.9% commission on each transaction plus $0.30 charge per transaction. Above $3000, the commission decreases to 2.5% up to $10,000/month and to 2.2% after that.
With 2CheckOut you pay a 5.5% commission on each transaction plus a $0.45 charge per transaction. In addition, you do pay a one-time set-up fee of $49.
- Shopping Cart Services can be very costly depending on how carried away you get. 1ShoppingCart and InfusionSoft are designed to combine the shopping cart and email marketing aspects of your ecommerce as well as other services. Once you have established a monthly income that will pay for their monthly fees and other monthly expenses connected to selling your product(s) online, you will certainly want to indulge in these more sophisticated services.I discovered Mal’s eCommerce  site as a frugal alternative quite by accident. The cart that costs you nothing, is so easy to use, and does all the things a solopreneur needs to have a functional online store. Plus, the free cart works beautifully with PayPal. 2Checkout is only available with the Premium account at Mal’s eCommerce. The good news is that the Premium account is only $8 per month – more than 4 times less than other shopping cart services!
- Affiliate Programs can cost big bucks depending on whether you invest in software or services.Why not experience having an affiliate program that doesn’t cost you anything for as long as you want? This way you get a chance to experiment with your marketing efforts without money flowing out the door. Again, Mal’s eCommerce  is the place to go. Not only can you get a no-cost shopping cart, you can also setup a no-cost affiliate program service.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or not, it only makes sense to spend your money wisely.
- So, get a payment processing service that only costs when you sell your product which eliminates money flowing out without money flowing in.
- Get a no-cost shopping cart that comes with an affiliate program service.
Then when you’ve gotten your feet on the ground financially and through trial and error have laid out your business path, you can move on to the more sophisticated systems.
About the Author:
Dannye Williamsen is owner of MindSlap! Solutions  and is known as The Solopreneur’s Coach. Visit her site for no-cost articles and resources in The FAST System. To take your business to the next level, sign up for the 12-week Intensive eCourse called The Success Model for the Solopreneur.