$1,000 Start-Ups – 2020 Launch Update

Where We Started

In April 2020, Leah Ward-Lee, serial entrepreneur and author of $1,000 Start-Ups, and Tony Lee, business owner and author of The Bartender’s Guide to Financial Freedom, were looking for a way to help during the Covid-19 epidemic. They decided to offer Zoom courses and up to a $1,000 business start-up funding to anyone in the local area who successfully completed the course work.

In less than a week, they shared the information with their friends and with the Steering Committee of Breaking the Barriers – Cracking the Codes and scheduled two information sessions.

The Businesses That are Involved

There are twelve businesses participating in the program

  1. A retired educator who was already in the process of launching a business as a Doula. A doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports another individual through a significant health-related experience, such as childbirth.
  2. A high school senior who is launching a business as a personal trainer.
  3. A social worker who has three children at home, is a certified herbalist and who has developed and is launching a product line.
  4. A mechanical engineer who has studied renewable energy is launching a business installing residential home energy packages.
  5. A young mother is launching a product line of CBD edibles and intends to open a cafe in Colorado.
  6. A retired psychiatric nurse has written and plans to self-publish a book about how to get help for your loved ones.
  7. A young man with fashion sense is launching a business as a model that will lead to a product line.
  8. A father with a young daughter has already launched a commercial cleaning business but has joined the class to network and develop a growth path.
  9. A substitute teacher and mom with two children is a gourmet food producer and is launching a product line that will lead to a food truck.
  10. An experienced entrepreneur is launching a business that will fund the establishment of a local shop that sells both her products and those that are locally produced.
  11. A graphic designer with a web design business is launching a pet portrait business.
  12. An author who works in the service industry and is an owner of a handyman business.

What Has the Class Been Doing?

In the Entrepreneurship Class we’ve:

  1. Developed a Brief Business Description and a Professional Bio
  2. Conducted a Competitive Analysis
  3. Learned about Marketing Tools
  4. Began Developing Our Marketing Plans

In the Financial Management Class we’ve:

  1. Developed an Understanding of How Much We’re Spending Each Month
  2. Set a Goal to Reduce that Spending by 10%
  3. Started Tracking our Progress against our Spending Goal
  4. Developed a Contingency Plan that Included a “Side Hussle” to Increasing Savings and Reduce Debt

What’s Coming Up in June for the $1,000 Start-Ups 2020 Launch

In the Entrepreneurship Class we’ll be:

  • Completing Our Marketing Plans and Learning to Build a Facebook Business Page
  • Learning About Registering Our Businesses and Applying for Licenses
  • Designing Our Prototypes
  • Preparing for Our In-House Prototype Fair

In the Financial Management Class we’ll be:

  • Learning to Tame the Paper Tiger
  • Managing and Prioritizing our “To Do” Lists
  • Establishing a Weekly Business Meeting
  • Raising Our Credit Scores

Follow the $1,000 Start-Ups 2020 Launch

If you’d like to receive updates and information on what the class is doing and how they’re progressing please Join our Email List

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based on Amelia Island, Florida and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.

Conduct A Competitive Analysis

Why Every Start-Up Should Conduct a Competitive Analysis

When you’re launching a low-cost business start-up it’s tough not to be overwhelmed by the number of steps required just to get your product to market. Taking the time to conduct a competitive analysis can seem like a waste of time.  

However, you have the advantage of seeing what is working for your competition. Very often you can leverage what they’ve already learned to actually save yourself time. In some cases, studying your competition can help you figure out how to increase the market demand for the product or service.

How To Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Start by identifying the top competitors in your marketspace. Do a simple online search using Google, yellowpages.com, or yelp.com.  Pick five who are successful and review their:

  • Products and Services
  • Physical Location
  • Marketing Approach
  • Prices
  • Customer Experience

For each of your competitors, develop a strategy for how you’ll co-exist in the marketplace. For example your competition has:

  • Both a bricks and mortar location and a huge online presence and you have a small EMAIL list of friends and family. Your mitigation advantage is you don’t have that overhead so you can produce your product less expensively.
  • A mature product set and you have one or two products or services. Focus on marketing those products to a niche market they’re not targeting or improving your services using the feedback of your initial customer base.
  • Can afford to advertise. Offer your initial customers a discount on their next purchase.

Keep YOUR Competitive Advantage

You’re the “New Kid in Town”. It’s important to remember you’re launching a new business and need a successful launch.  Limiting your launch to a manageable set of customers or clients ensures you can successfully deliver your product and have experience with your complete business cycle. It may feel like an extra step, but it mitigates the risk of not being able to deliver your product successfully.

Leah Ward-Lee is a management consultant and business writer based on Amelia Island, Florida and the author $1,000 Start-Ups.


Fernandina Beach Residents Tony Lee and Leah Ward-Lee are offering their courses FREE on Zoom.

If you follow the curriculum and complete both courses, your business start-up will be funded up to $1,000.

Tony, who has been in the service industry for twenty years, wrote The Bartender’s Guide to Financial Freedom: How to Quit Being Broke to teach anyone who works, but is not salaried, how to manage their money and get out of their own way. 

Leah, a business consultant and serial entrepreneur wrote $1,000 Start-Ups:  60 Businesses for Micro-Entrepreneurs … and How to Start Them.

Kindle Editions of each book are available online FREE to members of Kindle Unlimited for less than $5.00 starting April 11th, 2020 for a limited time.

To sign up for the information session on April 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM click this link:


Expect Your Business to Be Successful

One of the most important personal practices you can develop is to expect that your business will be successful.  Believing you’ll succeed changes your approach to everything you do whether you’re starting a new business or growing an existing one.

Expecting Success Affects How You See Yourself and How Others See You

When you expect your business to be successful you focus your thoughts on your business, rather than spending needless mindshare worrying.

Confidence about your future success causes you to present yourself more energetically and more positively.  This draws people to you, resulting in more opportunities to talk to potential customers or clients.

Continue reading “Expect Your Business to Be Successful”

Hitting A Home Run

I was catching up on the scores in the baseball division finals during the evening news one night and struck by the parallels between major league baseball players and successful business owners. 

Major league players, like business owners, spend innumerable hours honing skills before they get their first “at bat”.   But it doesn’t stop there.  Both require a conscious effort to improve their skills.    

Put another way, if you’re going to play in the big leagues you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game.    


Continue reading “Hitting A Home Run”