Keeping Costs Down as a One-Person Business

Starting a business on a shoestring budget is an age-old tale. It is something that every entrepreneur aspires to, but many struggles to actually achieve as a result of the accumulative running costs of starting a small business. Cutting these costs down is vital in order to make your one-person business successful and not just a money drain.

With that in mind, how can your small business keep costs down and actually make a shoestring budget work for you?


One of the best things about working for yourself and by yourself is the fact that one person doesn’t need a lot of space to work.

Simply working from home can be the best way for you to save yourself the most money. Heating and electricity costs will have to be accounted for, but ultimately this means that you cut down on both renting a professional space and even travel costs. Home isn’t always the most productive place to work, but it is certainly the cheapest for your one-person business to thrive.

If you don’t have a desk or the right equipment, then you can simply buy second-hand office furniture and refurbished technology in order to kit out your own home office. There may be a slightly higher initial investment, but it will save you money in the long run.

Tools & Software

Cutting costs is vital to a small business, but it can be difficult when it comes to the tools and software you use to trade in the first place. How do you cut costs on something that provides your livelihood?

If you are a writer, for example, then needing Microsoft Office seems to be an inevitable software need. However, there are plenty of free or cheaper alternatives that work just as well. Google Docs is a good example of this, which can be paired with editing software such as Grammarly for a cheaper writing alternative.

If you are in the search of physical tools, for carpentry or another similar trade, then to save money you may need to look down the second-hand route. Places like eBay and Preloved can help you to set up your business at half the costs of buying everything brand new. With this route, however, you need to ensure that you are buying from a legitimate source.

Taxes & Insurance

Part of being a small one-person business is dealing with your finances all by yourself. It can be daunting, especially when you realise just how much of your money you need to put aside in order to pay taxes. If you work that out fully in the first place.

In order to make taxes and other finance issues as simple as possible, simply use accounting software. This can come in a range of different packages, but you are looking for one key factor: free. Wave is a good example of this, a free software which helps you with accounting, receipts and even invoicing. The free version doesn’t do payroll, but as a one-person small business, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Another financial consideration needs to be that of insurance. Without the umbrella of a big business, you can find yourself in financial hot water if a client is unhappy enough with your work or advice to escalate the issue. To avoid this there is a range of PI insurance and contractor insurance solutions for you to explore.

At the end of the day, without this protection, you could see your small business fall at its first hurdle. It’s always to better to be prepared ‘just in case’, rather than not at all.


So, hiring someone may not seem like a clever way to cut costs as a small business. But outsourcing people can, instead, be the best way to navigate these waters. For a small rate, you can easily have someone else do all of the administrative and small tasks which take up a lot of your time. Thus saving you time to tackle bigger projects or tasks that earn you more money.

Which means that although you are losing a small portion of your money to outsourcing, the added revenue from your newfound time should more than cover this. It’s a win-win for both yourself and the people you outsource to!

Overall, being a small one-person business doesn’t have to cost a bomb. With smart planning, an understanding of where your money goes, and market research you can find many more cost-effective solutions instead. All of which can see your business grow from one-person to more than you ever imagined.