Starting Up (Is Hard To Do): Marketing Material On The Cheap

One of the things that I find difficult about starting a business is putting together the marketing collateral. In most large companies, there are entire departments devoted to this task, but most likely it is an afterthought in your mind. You probably don’t have the time or resources to do it properly and let it sit on the backburner.

In the past month, I have personally faced this challenge. A cofounder and I have been working late nights on our product and haven’t focused as much as we should on how we would represent our company. Cost was one of the main drivers of why we put this on the backburner.  Fortunately, I have discovered several ways that you can cut down on your cost and get some quality marketing collateral.


A website that touts itself as the “world’s largest market place for small services, starting at $5.” While there is a lot of nonsense (I once paid a guy $5 to do a custom rap/beat box for a friend), Fiverr is an option to get many different types of work done for your startup.

Yes, you will most likely get what you pay for, however, I have had a certain amount of success with Fiverr and the risk is relatively low. Fiverr is a low cost, low risk option to get some basic work done. Here are some things you could use Fiverr for:

•    Logo/Web Design
•    Rudimentary SEO
•    Voiceovers
•    Business Card Design


If you have to produce marketing collateral to give away to prospective clients or to have at tradeshows, Vistaprint is the place to go. However, there are a couple of things that you should consider.

First, if you are making business cards, always go for the “premium” option. This will prevent you from having the Vistaprint logo on them. Second, order your products well in advance; you will pay a substantial surcharge if you need the materials in a rush.

Third, sign up with an account before you need to buy anything to get their weekly newsletter that gives many items away for free. Finally, if you don’t use their templates and upload a custom image, you will pay a $4.95 surcharge each time you do this. After doing this, however, you will be able to reuse the image at no additional charge.

To give you an indication of what $100 will get you (including shipping):

•    100 Rack Cards (printed front and back)
•    50 small magnets
•    Two sets of 250 premium business cards
•    6’ x 2.5’ banner and banner hangers
•    Pen with logo
•    Small poster
•    Two coffee mugs with logo
•    Sheet of stickers


This site is not simply for finding a used couch or missed connection. There are plenty of people who are willing to do work that can help you go to market with your product or service. After having a roommate who was an aspiring filmmaker, I learned that Craigslist is a great resource to find people interested in making movies.

When I had to film a short, one-minute film explaining our product, I turned to this site to find a videographer. I simply posted what the job would entail and asked for a reel from people interested in doing the work. I was amazed at the number of responses and was able to film and cut an amazing video on a shoestring budget.

I feel that Craigslist is an excellent resource for the following:

•    Videographers
•    Photographers
•    Actors

What are some places that you’ve found to help you make collateral for your startup? Be sure to leave a comment to let me know because I’m always looking for new options!

Starting Up (Is Hard to Do) is a weekly series published every Friday on the Rackspace Blog from a guy who is in the trenches of starting up a business while working a day job. Check out Garrett’s previous post that talked about why you shouldn’t keep your business idea a secret.

Garrett Heath develops content and supports customers on the Rackspace Social Media team. His previous experience includes technical project management in the cloud, content marketing and social media marketing. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation and telling stories about the people behind the tech. You can also read his work at In his free time, Garrett writes about food and local San Antonio culture at SA Flavor.


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