How much does it cost to launch your own startup in 2018?

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Bootstrapping is a method of creating a company while using minimal financial resources. But how much exactly will you need to spend? Here’s a breakdown.

Some of the biggest companies in the world today had a humble start. Apple was founded in the garage of Steve Jobs’ parents. Facebook was just a website designed to help Harvard students stay in touch. Craig Newmark turned a mailing list into Craigslist. These success stories are encouraging if you have limited startup capital. But how much is not a lot? We decided to investigate the startup costs for any new venture.

Startup essentials

First, let’s look at the things you can’t do without.

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Lenovo Miix 630

You may already own or have access to a laptop and Wi-Fi. If not, that’s going on the bill. Something like the Lenovo Miix 630 ($799) could be a good option if you’re trying to conserve resources. This 2-in-1 convertible offers epic battery life and a touchscreen stylus — perfect for designing your logo.

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Co-working spaces

With a laptop in your bag, it’s perfectly possible to work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or even your local library. You may need to buy a coffee every so often ($0-$10 day), but you get free Wi-Fi and heating in return.

That said, these environments can be kinda distracting, so investing in some noise-canceling headphones might be a good move. These wireless cans from AO ($59.95) should do the trick.

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Block out the noise

Useful tools

When you’re just starting out, it’s possible to get a lot done without spending anything.

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Slack for communication

We use Slack for communication at Gadget Flow; the free tier will be enough for any small startup. You can also use Skype or Google Hangouts (both free) to stay in touch.

In fact, a regular Google account (free) offers some awesome tools. You can track dates in Calendar, sync files via Drive, and work on the go with Docs and Sheets. You will also want to sync your files via Dropbox (free) and schedule your social media updates with Buffer (free for two profiles).

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Carrd is great for one-page sites

We wouldn’t recommend using a free website builder, but Carrd ($19 / year) lets you create a nice single-page site. If you want to go bigger but don’t fancy self-hosting, grab yourself a WordPress.com site ($36 / year).

The boring stuff

Setting up a company is a little more complex than running a lemonade stall.

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Accounting with Freshbooks

Firstly, you need to keep proper records. Freshbooks ($15 / month) lets you handle accounting, invoicing and tax in one app. If you have staff, you might prefer to handle your accounting via Quickbooks ($12.95 / month) and combine it with Intuit’s Online Payroll platform ($24 / month + $4 / employee).

As soon as possible, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer to draft your terms of service. But in the meantime, Formswift (free) should help.

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Think about the legal stuff

If you can foresee any liability in your business, it’s worth applying for incorporation. The cost of going through this legal process varies from state to state ($100-$250). However, your choice will dictate what taxes you pay — so choose wisely.

Expand and grow

After a successful start, you will want to grow your startup. This means investing in both the business and yourself.

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Learn to code

While Google Analytics (free) will help you understand your customers, the marketing courses on Udemy ($10 upwards) will help you strategize. You could also upgrade your technical skills on Codecademy (free).

As a bonus, check out this epic list at Growth Supply for more free tools.

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All you need

What are your startup costs?

Probably less than you thought. By our calculations, you could easily get off the ground for under $1500 in your first year — and that’s assuming you need to buy a laptop.

Know of any great resources for bootstrapping founders? Share them in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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