How to start an online business for $100

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

Set Up a Switchboard

If you're expecting a lot of incoming phone calls, an answering service might be worth the investment: You'll seem more professional to customers, and you won't be roused from bed at the crack of dawn by callers who don't understand what time zones are.


You can have a live answering service (similar to the one your doctor uses) for $20 a month--or less, if you have minimal incoming calls. Another option is to do it virtually: For about $10 a month, you can get an 800-number-based system such as RingCentral that answers calls with an automated greeting, routing calls to you (or other employees or contractors) or to voice mail depending on button presses.

If phone calls aren't a big deal, consider a second landline or a dedicated cell phone that you can use for business: Adding a line to either is easy, and with a cell phone you can even share minutes under a family plan.

For a Little More: Get a Virtual Office

The world doesn't need to know you're working in your basement, so many business owners turn to a P.O. box for the official address of their company. A bare P.O. box, however, doesn't seem all that professional, and you can't receive UPS or FedEx shipments there.

Another option is a virtual mailbox service, such as that of Regus. With a virtual mailbox, you get a physical mailing address and someone who will sign for packages from other carriers. The catch is that people sending you mail still have to put a PMB code on the envelope, though it's less conspicuous than with a regular post office box. You pick up the mail once a week, or the service forwards it to you at cost. The plans cost $100 to $150 per month.

You can step up from there to a more serious arrangement: A virtual office setup gets you not just mail service but a live receptionist who answers the phone however you like, plus access to a physical space with offices, conference rooms, and even videoconferencing facilities. Fees can range from $250 to $325 a month.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Christopher Null

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?