Have you ever wondered about how to start a business with no money?
You may hear amazing rags to riches stories- and if you have the drive and commitment, your small business will make money and go far.
It may sound difficult or even impossible when your bank account doesn’t look promising, but I promise it’s totally feasible to start a business with no funds!
Starting a business takes a lot of time and effort, but it doesn’t always require a boatload of cash.
I know how hard it is to get the money, and how hard it is to grow a business in general.
We can help you flesh out your small business ideas and financial situation, and give you some advice on making your idea into a successful reality.
Here are 4 steps to start your business with no money that you need to consider- and keep reading to find out how to get money for your business and what businesses you could start!
Creating Your Business
It’s completely possible to find low-cost business ideas that will make you a profit this year!
Your business could be becoming a freelancer, creating products for people, or many other options.
But where do you start in creating your business?
1. What’s Your Idea?
Most people think that the first step of starting a business with no money is brainstorming, but there’s a bit more to it than that.
The first thing you need to do is research your product or service idea to find out if there’s already something like it on the market or in production.
If there isn’t, then you can come up with solutions for how you’ll make your product better than anything else on the market.
Develop and research ideas very carefully- you need to narrow it down to a single business idea, one that hopefully has a low cost for a startup as well as a great opportunity for cash flow.
Some companies have a variety of products and services, but you can’t do it all at the beginning, so you have to start at square one- you can’t spread yourself too thin right at the beginning!
2. Business Plan
A business plan will help you run your business effectively as well as open doors for future investors.
Questions to ask yourself when creating your business plan:
- What product or service am I selling?
- What should I charge for my product or service?
- Who will be my target clients/customers?
- What benefits come from my products or services?
- How do I make my business appealing and stand out from the competition?
- Will I create an online business to reduce costs or sell in person?
This stage is about research and resources, to find out how to take your idea and make it real in every sense of the word.
From the idea to money to running a business- it’s all part of your plan.
3. Figure Out Your Finances
Well, now you have your idea and a business to start, what comes next?
The first thing you should do is take a look at your budget- or maybe even start a budget today!
You’ll want to look at how much money you spend on necessities and regular bills, how much you have in investments, how much debt you have (credit cards, car loans, etc.), how much money you make from work, and so much more.
Now budgeting can take time you may not have, so you can use free online budgeting tools like Mint and Empower (formerly Personal Capital) to get your budget under control and start your business off strong.
Once you know what your monthly budget looks like, then you can start throwing in your business plans on top.
Estimating company costs can be difficult, but plenty of ideas have low startup costs, like online businesses or businesses where you work from home.
You’ll have to include costs of office supplies, your salary, insurance, equipment, and a mix of other fixed and variable costs that come with running a company. We suggest getting a business credit card to keep all of your expenses in one place.
You should also think about how long it will take to make any profits from your business- this may take a while, and it’s not good to start up a business if you want profits immediately.
4. Save Up
You should take into consideration how much capital you have to invest- how much cash do you have on hand right now?
If your budget is looking too tight, you’ll need help funding your business, but first things first- you should be stocking up your savings anywho!
According to Dave Ramsey, you should have a little nest egg in your savings, so this is a good chance to save up money for yourself as well as your business.
Once you have some cash on the side, even just $1,000, you may feel more ready to get your business underway.
Finding Free Stuff
Find free money opportunities, for yourself and for your new business!
One of the best ways to start a business when you have low funds is to look for free money and resources.
You can apply for grants to get free funding, try to win free gifts cards at craft stores or anywhere you can get supplies, or even just open a new bank account for your business to earn some money that way.
There are plenty of free resources for your business, and we recommend you start with the Small Business Association (SBA), whose website has funding information and local assistance.
The SBA even has business guides for every part of your business- from the plan to the launch, how to manage it, and finally to grow it even further.
Friends And Family
You never know who might be interested in helping you with a new business!
Plenty of people find funding close to home with friends and family, and no matter how small the investment, every bit counts.
Even $100 from your grandma can help you get business cards or even get you some of the supplies you need for your new product or service.
You can bring up your idea to people close to you, and see if they would be willing to help out in some way.
You probably hope for funding, but friends and family can also offer help in other ways, like free labor, business supplies, and never forget word-of-mouth advertising.
Some entrepreneurs think of finding investors as this wild idea like they’re taking their business model and promoting themselves on Shark Tank.
You could totally do that, but in this case, we’re talking about finding regular old angel investors, or people looking to help a business when it’s still in its infancy stage.
To find angel investors, you need to find someone who is interested in the industry that you’re about to enter into. Sites like AngelList, Angel Capital Association, and Gust can connect you with investors.
You will then be able to tell them about your business, how they could help you, and how you would benefit them.
Small Business Loan
Local banks may have special programs for new businesses that can offer you lower interest rates or other incentives.
If you already have a loan at your bank or federal credit union, you should ask them what current rates they have for business loans. The more quotes you get, the better you can compare your options!
- SBA- the SBA doesn’t give loans directly to small business owners, but they have lending partners, which guarantees that you’ll find comparable fees and rates
Check out Fundera to compare the best small business loans on the market.
Small Business Grants
Aspiring entrepreneurs should also check into local government programs that offer grants to new businesses, especially those run by certain demographic groups or in areas that need jobs in the community.
For example, here are just a few of the grants you could apply for through the SBA:
- International Trade Business Grant
- Women Owned Small Business Grant
- Coastal Economic Development Program (CEDP) Grants
If you have a product or service you need funds for, the internet is where you want to be!
You can connect to millions of people, not just as buyers, but as possible investors. You can ask for donations and offer incentives for people to give you funding.
Crowdfunding is when you put your business out there on the internet and ask for monetary donations to get kick off your business.
For example, I know some people who have donated $50 for a new board game through crowdfunding on GoFundMe. When the game was produced, they got a copy of the game before it reached shelves, plus some merch like a poster and specialty cards.
9 Small Business Ideas
Working from home is an amazing business idea, and starting a business for free is even better.
Proofreaders read over finished texts, like blog articles, books, and even business documents, to make sure grammar and spelling are perfect.
They basically check that you’ve got your i’s dotted and t’s crossed! It’s as easy as that.
A proofreading business doesn’t have any startup costs because you probably already have what you need- a keen eye for detail and a computer.
Even if you have no proofreading experience, you can find proofreading jobs online easily since so many businesses need this service.
If you want to learn how to become a proofreader and get a leg up on the competition, you can take a FREE workshop like Proofread Anywhere, which will give you the tools and resources you need to get your business off the ground.
Learn How to Become a Proofreader and Start a Freelance Proofreading Business.
15,000+ Students. 7+ Years of Results.
Blogging has got to be the best business to start!
We could be a bit biased, but we are living proof that you can create a business without a lot of funds.
Blogging is as easy as setting up your own website, creating posts about what you like or are interested in, and monetizing it.
We have a lot of advice on how to run your blog, how to find the best topics for a blog, and even how to find resources and affiliates to monetize your website.
The only investment you really need is time- if you can put in the time to make a post, then you can make money!
Becoming a bookkeeper is a cinch if you know how to keep track of finances and can make reports for customers to know how they’re doing money-wise.
A bookkeeper isn’t the same as an accountant, though having a certification doesn’t hurt when you want to find clients.
You’d be taking financial documents like credit card statements, invoices, and whatever else your customers provide you, and determining how much customers owe them or how much they owe other people.
You don’t need a degree or any experience to start, though you can learn how to create an online bookkeeping business and provide financial support to customers by taking courses like Bookkeeper Launch.
You can find clients through a website like Fivver or even create your own site or Facebook page to market your business.
4. Become an Online Seller
The whole internet is your ocean! Or is it oyster?
Eh, whatever the saying is, you can run an online business or even make sales with a virtual store, which will have low startup costs to get you started.
Starting a business isn’t too difficult once you have your business idea, whether it’s products or services, and pick a platform to sell on.
You can start selling on eBay, but there are some easy alternatives to eBay you may like for more niche products:
Etsy is a website for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods, and it’s how we get many of our products.
When you open an Etsy shop, you get access to millions of potential buyers!
You’ll spend $0.20 USD for each item that sells on the site, which is the fee that they charge for listing items in their marketplace, and that isn’t as much as opening a whole store!
Did you know one of the top-selling items on Etsy is printables? Learn how to create a successful printable business from the FREE E-Printables ebook!
Shopify stores are great for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to get into selling products online.
Just like Etsy, you can open up a Shopify store in order to avoid the overhead costs of a brick-and-mortar business. They’re easy to set up and offer a lot of room for growth, which is how we got started.
The expenses of running a Shopify store will depend on how you want to run your business. If you want to sell physical products, then there are higher expenses related to how much you spend on marketing as well as how much inventory you buy.
5. Flea Market Flipping
If you are looking to start a business with little money, you should consider how you can make a profit by buying and reselling products from thrift shops.
You can buy popular or interesting items at good prices and resell them at higher prices for a profit, Flea Market Flipping has taught us a lot about it.
The key to making money is finding the right products that are in demand!
You need a keen eye and a phone with good Wi-fi- you need to look for good items and look up how much you can make by reselling them.
You may even have unused items around your own house you can sell for a profit, so why not give it a shot?
6. Cleaning Service
Starting a cleaning business can be a good idea for someone who wants quick cash flow- everybody needs help cleaning around the house, so the job potential is endless!
You can be a cleaning company of one to start, and all you need is cash to get the supplies- unless you can get free ones of course!
You can buy old equipment at thrift shops or second-hand stores for very little cash, or even borrow some items from friends or family members who may have extra.
If you don’t already have cleaning supplies, try asking friends and family members how they feel about giving away any unused cleaning supplies that they’re no longer using.
Once you have your supplies in order, look for houses around your neighborhood that are for sale, or simply knock on doors and ask if anyone needs their house cleaned!
Tutoring is a sure way to generate some cash as everyone needs resources to improve their knowledge.
You can tutor young students, college students, even people looking to pick up new skills for their jobs.
If you can cook, paint, speak Spanish, code, fix cars, or any other immeasurable skills, you can tutor people and start a company for yourself.
Tutoring is a very open-ended business idea because your potential can go anywhere!
Freelancing is a great way to start a business with little money because you’re able to do it from the comfort of your own home!
You’re able to sell your services in a variety of industries, with an endless amount of potential clients, and you don’t have to spend money on starting up besides computers, internet service, and pen and paper for you old school folks.
You can become a freelance writer and join Fiverr to find clients who own blogs, write books, create marketing ads, and plenty of other jobs! There are plenty of other job websites that you can sign up with to find freelance gigs too.
You could also offer your services as a freelance graphic designer if you’re artistic. Many people want professional-looking designs for their company logos, advertisements, or even for business cards.
There are so many options available for how you can work as a freelancer and how much money you might make.
You will need to do some research to find out how much demand there is for freelancers in your industry or skillset and how many potential clients would be willing to pay.
9. Social Media Marketing
There are lots of different ways how to make money through social media marketing.
You can raise funds, promote your business, find clients, and more through a social media presence. Plus, you can even do it for other small businesses that aren’t able to do it themselves.
There are many ways how one can start a social media marketing business:
- utilize marketing strategies
- create effective social media profiles
- run an account on a daily basis
- manage data analytics
- publish articles/posts for SEO purposes
When you can do those things, you’re ready to offer your services to a company and make some cash from a job well done!
4 Tips For Your Business
1. Keep Costs Low
This may come as a no-brainer for some of you, but in practice, it can be hard to reduce your costs in a new business.
You should look for ways to cut back on spending in your own funds, especially if you’re just starting out.
For a business, this might mean that you can’t hire many employees or how much inventory you buy at the beginning.
The key is to start small at the beginning and then grow as necessary.
2. Start Small But Dream Big
You probably have so many great ideas for a successful business, but starting too big too soon can bite you in the butt.
You don’t want to start too big, mostly because your expenses can be larger than your cash flow- you may not make enough to keep your business in the black.
Start a small business with limited services/products, just at the beginning, that way you’re more likely to break even on what you’ve spent.
3. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
It never helps you to go crazy over every little thing. There is some small stuff that doesn’t need to be planned to death.
But don’t forget about everything small either! You’ll still want to think of the cost of the little stuff like pens and paper, but don’t stress about getting it all ready.
4. Learn How To Do More
Do you want to become a proofreader, writer, or bookkeeper but don’t know how?
With whatever job you’re interested in or idea you have, there are online courses to teach you how to do it and even how to start your own business!
You can take FREE courses from Proofread Anywhere, Bookkeeper Launch, and more to fine-tune your skills and start a professional business.
Our Thoughts On How To Start A Business With No Money
This article has shown you that there are so many ways to launch your business and get the investments you need.
When it comes to creating a company of your own, you may hit a lot of roadblocks- and funding a business may very well be your first one.
Don’t let the lack of funding discourage you from getting your dreams off the ground!
Having no money to start a business can make things a bit difficult, but starting a business with no money isn’t impossible in the slightest.
Even if you don’t have money in your wallet or bank account, you still have access to hard work and great plans.
You only have to focus on creating a great business idea that doesn’t take much startup costs, like running your own blog website or freelancing. Once you have that, you’re already halfway to success!