How to start an online business for $100

Is now the right moment to put your long-lingering business idea into practice?

Today's economy isn't doing anyone any favors, and if you're one of the unfortunate folks to have been served a layoff notice, you might be facing a long haul when it comes to searching for another job. Is now the right moment to put your long-lingering business idea into practice? While times may be tight for many larger enterprises, in many cases smaller, more-nimble companies are better able to withstand market uncertainty and weather downturns.

The best way to stick it to The Man? Start working for yourself by founding your own company. Working for yourself has some serious and obvious advantages over job hunting. Not only do you determine your own hours and decide where you set up your office, but you keep all the profits too.

Starting your own business doesn't have to mean spending thousands of dollars on setup costs before you ever open your doors. Don't get suckered into spending loads of money on services that you don't need or that have far cheaper alternatives. Seriously: With $100, you can obtain everything you require to start just about any business online, with only minimal need to get up from your desk. Here's how to do it.

Find an Affordable Web Host

The Web site for your new business has to reside somewhere. How do you pick a Web host that won't leave you high and dry?

Most hosting plans for small companies offer similar features: basically unlimited storage space, support for common databases and publishing systems, and anywhere from a few gigabytes to 2 terabytes of data transfer per month. Expect to pay between $US5 and $15 a month for the service, with a one- or two-year up-front contract.

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How to pick one from the dozens out there? Look for reviews from recent users, with a particular focus on how quickly the host resolves problems and how often the service goes down. If you expect sudden, big influxes of traffic due to promotions or Digg-like flooding, you'll want to ensure that the host can handle it. Ask about these issues if the company doesn't have written policies.

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Christopher Null

PC World (US online)

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