Sunday, May 10, 2015

Looking Online For My New Income Stream

A while ago, I talked about some considerations people might have for starting-up a company.

Since then and now, a few good ideas has been flouted to me by friends, along with a massive slew of horrible business ideas. It isn't easy telling your friends that their ideas are bad ones, but I do it out of friendship and concern.

One of the things that I have noticed is that I have a very biased view against anything that is brick and mortar. I've all along known that the rents in Singapore is what kills off bad businesses with absolutely no mercy. Rather than taking a small risk to own a business, I'd think most people get slaughtered and lose most of their capital.

Lady Iron Chef wrote an absolutely awesome post about the cost of opening up a cafe in Singapore a while ago. Quick answer without reading his post? About $120k to $150k minimum.

Many times I have friends telling me about a business idea, but much too often they require having a physical location and selling something. Way too much capital outlay and almost zero downside protection. My friend wanted to have a shop selling handmade jewellery. I had to smack some sense in her. There is a snowball's chance in hell that a shop in Singapore selling such low value added products would be able to cover all the costs involved - the materials, the rental, the labour. There would be no profits to speak of. It would just be paying money out of your own pocket to call yourself a business owner!

A lot of people don't understand that there is a price to pay to be a business owner. Yes, it is super cool/cute to call yourself the owner of a hipster bar (for guys) or cafe (for girls), but there is a cost to it. It is the opportunity cost of what you could have done with all your time instead. If you earn a monthly salary of $3,000 a month, the monthly cost of being a business owner is $3,000 PLUS whatever the business is losing. Only if the business can generate profits above and over $3,000 on a consistent basis, then it would be a good idea, objectively. Of course, the intangibles like flexible working hours and not having a boss to report to has a price tag to it, but that really is quite subjective.

So, instead of having a brick and mortar business, I am thinking of doing something that doesn't tie me down to monthly rentals and labour cost. Instead, I am thinking of doing something online. Online businesses have very low opportunity costs since the fixed cost running these are really low.

There are tons of resources online for the bootstrapper looking to penny pinch. This article by thesitewizard is a very good basic resource to start with to get an overview of what has to be done to launch your own website. Just register a domain, find a host, upload you web designs and boom you're done!

The total annual costs involved? A domain might be perhaps $50 annually. Hosting plans vary, but I've seen offerings from as low as $3.50 per month from Exabytes to $10 per month from Vodien. (skimped through all the other hosts... pet peeve is stock photos of ang moh people smiling on the home page) Web design should be able to be done at close to zero cost. The ceiling on this should be less than $170 annually, but I am aiming for less than $100.

In primary school I learnt the basics of how to make a web page. I'll be exploring Wix to see if it really is free and if it really is useful for webpage design. If not, I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and learn from scratch how to code a website. My goal is actually for a really simple 1 page website (probably gotta relearn HTML and CSS though) just to advertise my services, so I don't think it is going to be too hard.

I know the prices of getting a proper web design company to launch a website. Personally, I am not prepared to shell out that sort of money for something that might end up being just a passing fad that I'm not committed to.

Anyway, this is just something that I plan to do in my own free time to earn a bit of extra money from another income source. With just $100 a year to maintain, I think. But the thought of having to register as a sole proprietor and do my own accounts is a bit off-putting.

Oh well, we shall see! Everything is just in conceptualization process now, I'm not in any rush at all whatsoever. I don't think that my pie for my intended future business is going to be eaten by other people anyway, haha!

I'm still deciding between a few skills for me to learn, so that I can have something to "sell" in the future.

Any suggestions for really low-cost web hosting? It would be purely as a business landing page, like an online business card.


  1. Hi GMGH

    Yes Wix is free there, but they obviously have some limitations to what they can set. For example, I think they don't allow forms of payments to be set in their website.

    Anyway, what are you planning to sell for the online service?

    1. Hi B,

      Oh Wix sounds promising then! I plan just to use it as a platform for potential clients to get more info about whatever I plan to do, no virtual payments - yet!

      I'm not too sure... I have a few ideas in the works still. I've quite a few handyman skills, like advanced AV or basic network set-up and troubleshooting and even lockpicking (hehe). I was also thinking of going for an aircon maintenance class then charge cheap servicing to the people living in the nearby blocks, which I could do in the evenings and weekends. Potential tour guiding also, I'm checking with my friend about the licencing and how tough it is. Or maybe coding and building an online resume for graduates? That seems to be a thing these days. I would just "lease" a page and URL out to people.

      So many ideas, and most of them have low to no start up costs either, heh! I'm purposely looking at services because physical goods are so prone to price wars and obsolescence, plus cash is locked up as inventory. Of course, services can't really be scaled, but that's the nature of most services. I've seen some husband-wife teams that do really dirty (not the conventional office 8-5 type of) work, but they are pulling in some seriously good dough!

  2. I share the same sentiments as you! Rent simply doesn't make sense. Also looking online for creating a new income stream :p

    1. Hey BB,

      High five then! I'm sure you have some good idea up your sleeve. Looking forward to see what it is!

  3. Bluehost is ultimately one of the best web-hosting company with plans for any hosting requirments.


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