Discover how to start a business without money. And, learn how to start a business with your talent and skills.
With the world rapidly evolving towards a more flexible workforce and most millennials preferring taking on gigs and freelancing, it is time for us all to look our real potential in the eye and try to work on our dream projects.
But, starting a business can hard, especially if you lack the capital to get started.
When I first dreamt of starting my own business, I was young, in debt with no experience and no money!
I’d ask myself, ‘how can I start my own business with no money.’
Sure, it was tough, but I found a way to achieve my dream.
In this post, I’ll explain how to start a business without money. Instead, I’ll show you how to start a business with your talent, resources, and knowledge.
How to Start a Business Without Money?
When starting a business without money, there are many options: taking a business loan, look for an investor, or trading your talents with other companies.
Although money is essential for starting any business, fortunately, there are ways to start a successful business without capital.
Remember, money is merely a way to purchase various tools and resources that your business needs.
Here are seven ways you can start a business no money:
1. Start a Business With Your Talent
Using your talents can be a more natural way to start a business. That’s because you’re most likely passionate about it, and you can quickly establish authority within the niche.
Here are a few profitable talents:
- Arts and crafts
- Cooking and baking
- Painting and decorating
- Fashion stylist or makeup artist
- Graphics and website design
- Photo and video editing
The list of talents is endless.
All these businesses would not cost anything (or very little) to set up; you just need to make your availability known to the market.
To do this, you can simply advertise for such jobs on your local Craigslist or ask a friend or neighbor to post a recommendation on Yelp.
Something basic like putting up flyers in your local salon, laundry, and grocery stores can also work.
Once you start making money regularly, you can opt to get a website and spend some money on getting custom stationery, brochures, and flyers printed.
If you’re not sure what your talents are, you can ask friends and acquaintances to give their opinions on what you do best and the most willingly.
Having internal and external opinions should help you decide what you would love doing over an extended period.
If you are looking to start a business venture without money, you will need to do extensive research to ensure your chosen talent is profitable.
2. Trade Your Skill with Other Businesses
Instead of trading money, you can trade your time and talent with other startups and businesses.
This was a critical lesson I learned, which completely changed how I approached things in my early business days.
If you don’t have money, use your skills to get your tasks done.
For example, if your talent is content writing, you can trade website content with someone who can design a website and needs content written.
If your talent in graphic design, you can offer to trade your skills with an accountant or a videographer.
Making such barter trades will help you to cut down on your cash outlay. It can also lead to good referrals and word of mouth marketing of your skills!
If you don’t have such talents, don’t worry; you can easily learn a new skill online if you have a passion.
Photo and video editing, logo design, e-commerce, and web-design are skills you can self-learn online.
There are free and paid courses available on the internet that you can get enrolled in from the comfort of your home.
3. Marketing Your Business Without Money
If you are planning to start an online business, many websites work as middlemen between buyers and sellers.
This is a free way to get in front of your target audience without spending thousands on marketing.
There are tons of social media sites that allow you to set up a profile for your business for FREE!
This is a great way to start establishing your brand and start a conversation with an endless amount of potential customers.
If you’re starting a business with no money, you should drive traffic to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest profiles.
Freelancing sites like Fiverr allow writers, editors, photographers, artists, and videomakers to book gigs from businesses with varied needs.
The amount of money you can earn is dependent on a person’s drive and talent.
Since people from all over the world are members, competition can be fierce. But, if you’re confident in your abilities, it’s worth it.
This is also another platform with multiple gigs and even more applicants.
Competition is very tough. You need to have an exceptionally strong profile to get quality gigs here. But it’s free to list your services!
If you have physical products to sell, platforms like Esty, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace can be a good source of income if your product is popular.
These sites are great for getting quick exposure to keen buyers.
4. Take Advantage of Free Business Resources
Every startup business will need a website, a brand identity, and various other things.
If you’re starting your own business with no money, don’t worry, you can get a lot of these things, for free!
WordPress is the number one web building platform used by professionals and businesses. WordPress allows you to design a professional looking website or blog for free.
Of course, there are a few limitations compared to the premium product; however, it’s more than fine for a startup with little to no budget.
This is one of my favorite online resources; which allows you to design professional looking logos, flyers, and branding material for free!
5. Use the Free Trial Period Wisely
Tons of useful online software can help to kickstart your business’s growth and sales.
Many of the software come with a free trial period. If you time it correctly, you can take advantage of these trial periods to generate some income instantly.
This is a popular marketing tool that can build professional websites and sales funnels.
If your business involves selling online, ClickFunnels can supercharge your companies growth.
It also comes with excellent free training, which is handy for any startup business.
ClickFunnels offers a generous 14-day free trial. Click here to take advantage now.
A fantastic platform that allows you to build a stylish and professional e-commerce site in minutes.
Shopify comes equipped with everything you need to start your own online store and offers a 14-day free trial. Enough time to make your first few sales.
Click here to start your own e-commerce site now.
6. Get Funding For Your Business
Here are some strategies you can use to start your own business with no money.
Ask friends and family
One of the easiest ways to raise money is to raise funds from people in your circle.
If you have been a responsible and reliable person, you will probably succeed if finding friends to loan you some money.
Things could be difficult if you have been irresponsible in the past. It depends on the people around you and how they see you.
Find an investor
Instead of asking your entire friends and family circle to help you out, you could stick to approaching a single or a couple of wealthy investors to invest in your business.
Investors are always looking for new business ideas and niches to invest in.
Business investors will often come with some business experience and connections, which will be useful for any startup business.
Apply for a Small Business Loan
If you have relatively low debt, you can also approach banks for a small business loan.
The essential requirement for any loan approval is having a high credit score, the level of your debt to income rate, and the interest rate that you should be able to pay.
A credit score is a summary of your behavior as a borrower over time.
- Do you make your credit card payments on time?
- Do you pay your bills promptly?
- How much of your credit card limit have you used?
- How high and how low has this gone?
- Did you ever default on a loan payment or a credit card payment?
- How many of your accounts did you max out?
- Are all your older loans paid off?
All these things sum up to make your credit score. The better your performance as a borrower is, the higher the score.
Having maxed out cards will not make the bank processing your loan application excited to lend you money!
If your current debts are too high, then getting a business loan will also be slim.
If you have less debt, and your repayments take up less than 30% of your paycheck, your probability of loan approval would be high.
Crowdfunding is raising money for your business by taking your idea to the public and asking them to invest.
If your business is a unique proposition, then this might work out well for you. Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and CrowdFunder make it super easy to start a crowdfunding campaign.
For smaller amounts, you can always turn to credit card debt and use them to fund your initial expenses (a.ssuming that you can be responsible).
This is a brilliant option if you have potential customers lined up and need quick capital to cover your costs.
7. Save Money to Start a Business
Can you start your own business with no money? Absolutely! The above strategies prove that it is possible.
That being said, taking your time to save money before starting your business is an idea you shouldn’t overlook.
Some businesses do not require lots of upfront capital, and with a few months of strict saving, you can have enough to cover your startup costs.
This is a low-risk way to fund your business, and it will force you to manage your finances (something which is crucial in business)
8. Start Small and Scale Slowly
Now, that the funding and initial groundwork is done, its time to launch your business.
Ideally, regardless of what you are offering, it is better to start small.
Once things start running smoothly and get a good response, you can begin to scale things up.
This also helps to understand your weak points and address them before investing more money in your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions I get asked around how to start your own business with no money.
How do you start a business without money and no idea?
I suggest that you start a business focused on what you enjoy the most!
- Do you enjoy taking pictures of natural things?
- Do you enjoy painting and drawing?
- Did you ace that tough accounting course in college?
- Does working on spreadsheets and making sense out of information make you feel accomplished?
Each one of us is unique and has something special to offer to the world. You just have to figure out what it is and rock it for the rest of the world!
If you’re still struggling to find inspiration, check out million-dollar business ideas to start with no money.
You can use the tips listed above to start your business without money.
I want to start a business but have no money, should I wait?
If you want to start a business, waiting can be wise, but it can also lead to procrastinating.
If you have a solid idea that you know can be profitable, then you can use the strategies listed above to start your business without money.
If you’re not sure, or you’d instead save your own money, then that’s fine. However, make a plan and stick to it.
Without a plan, people often end up waiting to start a business forever.
What do I need to work on before starting your business?
Planning and Research
Once you have identified which of your unique skills you want to work on, you now have to plan on how to build the business that suits you.
It is vital to visualize your idea from the get-go and identify profitable business opportunities and turn them into revenue streams.
Does your business idea require licenses or special permits? How much would they cost you to obtain? And what spending (if any) would you have to do to be eligible for these permits?
Buying a Domain Name
You will eventually need to have a website and will need to invest in a good-quality domain name and hosting service.
Creating a Website
Once you have the domain name and hosting plans shortlisted, it is time to focus on the design, theme, and, most importantly, the content of your website.
If you are going towards a service offering, you will have to make sure that the web site aesthetics reflect your product and its quality.
Marketing your business requires a lot of research into the existing market.
You have to assess existing businesses and how they are selling.
You should also learn enough to make an entire SWOT analysis (Strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats).
Once you make this for your competitors, you can figure out where your business will fit and how to make your product or service stand out from the other companies.
While this sounds difficult to do, doing this at this stage can help you learn (from existing businesses) and reduce the chances of making mistakes.
All this information can be obtained from the business’s websites, consumer boards, and, at times, directly approaching the business owner for guidance.
Having such detailed marketing and product insight will allow you to position your product or service in a way that appeals to the market and would let you get good results.
Equipment & Office Space
Regardless of whether your business is dealing with physical goods or not, make sure that you have space sorted out for managing your business.
This could be a corner of the kitchen island while you are trying to launch your business! Or, a little home office or a rented space.
Having a space specifically for your office helps you focus on your goals better and crystallizes your thought process.
Products or Stock
Having a space to store your products and properly list them is essential to having things run smoothly and would help you manage better once things start to roll, and you are rushed for human resources, time, and energy.
Stock management sounds fancy, but can be done easily, especially if you’re selling small products.
One lady I know stored her jewelry stock in plastic bins and packaging material in garbage bags to keep her children from damaging them!
Another told me that she used her mother’s garage to store her woodwork sign samples and raw wood samples since she didn’t have space in her apartment.
I hope by now, you know how to start a business without money, start a business with your talent. And I hope you believe it’s possible.
The changing market dynamics are making it easier for everyone (including teenagers, working moms) to stay-at-home and run their businesses.
All business ventures require some focus and dedication from the business owner.
This is where most people falter and start thinking of alternatives. However, if you know your passion and have a direction or road map to follow, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals!
There has to be adequate market and product research undertaken to learn how to market to your strength and where to market successfully.
Regardless of whether you plan to launch an actual product range through drop-shipping, or are planning to offer services through any of the freelancing sites mentioned, you will need to have a good quality website designed and managed, since this gives a better image professional and also allows for you to showcase your talent and services well.
Once you have a professional online presence, you can advertise your service or good through freelancing websites or Yelp and craigslist to get business.