Cutting Costs

Barter, Interns, DIY: Small Business Cost Savings

Being resourceful and leveraging small business cost savings are necessary skills for successful entrepreneurship.  Since most of us start off with little capital that means we have to DIY a lot and learn as we go. Without thousands of dollars to invest in things like logo and branding, website creation, paid marketing, etc. you have to figure out how to get things done.

Here’s a few options for getting things done without spending tons of money:


When I opened my gym, I didn’t have money to pay for a logo and branding, but I knew I needed both.  What I did have was a member of my gym who was a talented graphic designer and good friend.  She was willing to create a logo and branding for my business in exchange for a free membership for life.  This barter agreement worked out great and was a win-win for both of us.  

Bartering as a small business cost savings approach can be a great way to get things done as long as you keep a few things in mind.

One, you need to map out the details of the agreement and ensure you are both on the same page with the exchange of products or services.  

Two, when bartering you likely aren’t the priority on the professional’s list of clients and projects. That means you’ll need to be patient and clear on expectations with turnaround. 

Lastly, make sure you vet the professional, they can provide you with the quality of work you are looking for, and they value what you bring to the table.


A few years into owning my gym, I launched an apparel line and wanted a separate website for it.  One of my member’s daughters was getting into website design and she offered to build me a site for free.  She was doing great work, but unfortunately the project took too long and I ended up going in a different direction to complete the project.

Using interns can be amazing or it can be a “get what you pay for” experience.  Just like hiring any professional, be sure to vet their work. Even though interns typically work for free that doesn’t mean you have to settle for subpar deliverables. If you interview them and ask to see a portfolio (if relevant) you can increase the chances you will be happy with the end results. Also remember studnet interns typically have a lot on their plate with school, jobs and their internship so turnaround might be slow.


As a business owner, I spent most of my time outside of operating my business learning how to do all the things.  I learned bookkeeping, website building, content creation, marketing and more.  I invested countless hours teaching myself how to do the things I couldn’t afford to pay for in the beginning. While it was a lot of work, it gave me tons of knowledge, confidence and know-how.  

Years later my hard work paid off, cash flow was coming in, and I had the budget to pay a graphic designer to do a rebrand. Since I had taught myself so much I was able to really get the most out of hiring someone for this high level work. Being able to speak the language,  knowing exactly what I needed and how to implement what they created got more than my money’s worth. 


When you launch your business and are in the startup phase without a lot of capital, there is going to be a lot you need to do yourself. From bookkeeping to creating a website, you have to be resourceful and learn how to do it all.  While it can be overwhelming, I promise the time spent educating yourself will be worth it. When you’ve not only upped your skills, but gained a great understanding of all areas of business your business will soar.

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