It’s tempting to want to put all your time and effort into launching and starting an online boutique business from Day 1. But jumping in with both feet is far riskier than working the business on the side while you hang onto the income and security of your day job.
Having a full-time job might make the process longer, but it will also give you the financial support and stability you need to be successful in the long run.
Starting Your Online Boutique Business
You’ll need starter capital to pay for initial business expenses. These can include filing your LLC or other business entity, getting any necessary permits, buying your initial inventory and putting something away for marketing every month.
You can start an online boutique with as little as $3,500—and some elbow grease. You can decide whether you want to save up the full amount or if you want to dedicate a portion of every paycheck to your business. But make sure to keep the funds in a separate bank account that is only for those business-related expenses. It will save you a lot of headaches when tax time comes around and you need to easily gather records of your transactions.
To get started, you’ll want to read these helpful blog posts:
- How to Start Your Online Boutique
- Choosing a Name
- Identifying Your Target Customer
- Creating a Business Plan
- How to Purchase Clothes for Your Boutique.
Stay Lean But Know When to Invest
It takes money to make money.
And that’s an added benefit to starting your business while you still have a steady paycheck coming in. Take any extra money you have and invest it in your boutique business.
You can also supplement your savings by building business credit. Having additional funding helps you move quicker, take advantage of opportunities and be able to spend more in marketing to get your boutique out there.
Financing Your Online Boutique
How much does it cost to start an online boutique? It depends on your goals. Some people want a lifestyle business. It will pay some bills and let’s them go on vacation for a few weeks every year. While others might want a 50,000 square foot warehouse and 30 employees. Your goals will determine how much you will need to invest to start an online boutique.
I usually recommend around $3,500 in starter capital. That covers business formation, any licenses and permits, basic operational expenses, buying your initial inventory and marketing. If you have a clear plan then that can help you make real progress.
The Benefits of Using Business Credit To Start Your Online Boutique
Business owners have been leveraging business credit for decades. Because it takes money to start a business.
Business credit lets you start your business the right way. And you won’t have the stress of penny pinching through a launch. Or delaying because you’re trying to stretch your checks from work.
And the best part: it’s completely separate from your personal credit profile or credit score. Banks and other institutions are always looking for ways to lend money and financing new businesses is one of their objectives. And you can be eligible for thousands of dollars when you understand how to properly establish a business credit profile and leverage the funds you’ll have access to.
Learn how to get financing to launch and grow your online boutique with Business Credit 101.
Whether you save money or use business credit, you want to ensure you’re making sound investments in your online boutique with the money that you will use to launch and grow your business.
A good investment gets your business moving faster— anything such as generating more revenue or getting good legal or business counsel sets the stage for your boutique to be viable and support you and your dreams!
Good investments: Anything that helps you get your idea to market quickly & grow your customer base
- my group coaching program Online Boutique Success® is the step-by-step guide to confidently launching an online boutique and finding raving customers in just 3 months! Learn more about OBS here.
- Buying a domain name
- Creating a website, by the way, my group coaching program Online Boutique Success® shows you step-by-step how to create a professional website in just a few days (including everything from creating pages, customizing a theme, creating beautiful graphics, making discounts, adding a blog, setting up shipping, fulfilling orders and more! Click here to join the coaching program.
- Hiring a virtual team to help with tedious tasks
- Marketing that brings in interested customers (using paid ads or influencer marketing and building an email list)
Unnecessary investments: Most things that you can defer, redirect or completely avoid
- Overhead like rent (ship packages out of your house), travel (avoid the tradeshows by finding trustworthy wholesale vendors for your boutique using my curated vendor lists )
- Branding & Expensive logos (I show a super simple method in Online Boutique Success®)
- Accountants (your numbers are simple when you start so use Quickbooks or even Google Sheets/ Microsoft Excel. Just make sure you’re keeping track of everything going in and out of your business bank account!)
Using your time wisely during this period in your life will be the best thing you can do for yourself. Spending 40+ hours/week at your day job leaves less time to devote to your business.
You may have to wake up early, work during your lunch break or even use your vacation days. It might also help to cut out TV.
Write out a schedule of your weekly commitments. Then decide what you can delegate, or remove to give yourself more time.
Self Care as a Boutique Owner & Full Time Employee
With that being said, it’s still important to avoid burning out. In addition to your job & business responsibilities you may have a partner and children that need your attention. I recommend setting goals for both your business and your personal life and STICKING TO THEM!
Set small and realistic objectives for your business: send out 5 influencer pitches this week, spend one hour everyday on marketing my business, create my Business Pinterest account today.
Do the same for your personal goals: spend 30 minutes reading a book for leisure, spend 15 minutes journaling, have a family picnic this Saturday. It’s integral to hold yourself accountable, while still feeling accomplished along the way.
Hire some help
Once you start growing your boutique, you’ll need to start outsourcing some help in order to make the best use of your time. You can hire a virtual assistant to help with any of the following:
- Customer Service: Answering emails and phone calls from customers.
- Social Media Management: Curating content, replying to comments, and other community management tasks.
- Research: Looking for a list of bloggers/influencers to reach out to or creating graphics you can use in a piece of content.
- Store Management: Order fulfillment, inventory management, running sales for you (you can find VAs that have experience specifically with the eCommerce platform you choose to use).
Quit at the Right Time
Leaving a job is never an easy decision. But the first step is to have a clear picture of your lifestyle costs.
I suggest reviewing your monthly expenses and making cuts to things that are unnecessary during this building phase (cable, ordering food daily vs cooking & meal planning).
Then take some time to estimate how long it will take to be profitable. You can only pay yourself a livable salary is the business is making enough profit. That way, you’ll be able to reinvest in business growth and get paid.
When you have a number in mind, you’ll know what business goals you need to meet consistently before quitting.
I recommend giving yourself 6-12 months to plan your exit. That will give you time to save up as much as possible and also pay off any urgent debts you might have.
You should also consider important costs like having emergency savings and health insurance coverage.
You want to maintain or improve your quality of life.