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How to Start a Business with No Money

If you want to know how to start a business with no money, the first thing you need to do is to think long and hard about your own business idea.

Like any average person, the first thing that you’re going to think about how to start a business with no money is:

That’s impossible. 

So, if by the end of this article you can learn how to:

  • Create an alternative business plan to find free resources
  • Source a reliable external cash flow solution for startup capital
  • Create a minimum viable product to present to angel investors
  • Build online communities around your own business ideas
  • Start thinking like a real business entrepreneur and keep costs low

You would have to admit that you are a lot closer to knowing just how to start a business with no money.

Benefits of starting your own business

Sure, starting a business with no money will be tough, but the path to business success has never been easy. 

The fact is that with the arrival of so many new digital business tools on the market today, it is actually easier than ever to start a small business.

So, why take the risk?

Even if you have nothing more to lose than your time, what kind of opportunities are open to you as an entrepreneur, and why is now the perfect time to take the next step?

  • Interest rates are lower than ever. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates to practically zero until at least 2023. Meaning that loans are cheaper, and small business loans are more affordable resources for new entrepreneurs.
  • Services are cheap right now. You can’t build a business without resources. Still, luckily, there is a free digital service out there for everything from email marketing to graphic design that will help your company get started.
  • The world of work is changing. Millions of people are working from home, and that dramatic shift has opened up new business opportunities for companies and investors. Now is the time to become your own boss.

All over the world, people are ready to invest, and crucially, ready to invest in something new. So, even if you don’t have the money yet, there are plenty of opportunities to make some.

Benefits of starting an online business

Online businesses are the best friend of any budding business owner or potential entrepreneur looking to turn their great idea into a fully-fledged side hustle because online business ventures require much less startup capital.

As a would-be business owner looking to know how to start a business with no money, the good news is that your business model could be as simple as an internet connection and a website if you’re thinking about selling digital products or starting a service business.

The online business model is much lower risk than trying to start a brick-and-mortar business and allows your business venture to operate as a minimum product (MVP).

An MVP approach is a great business strategy for anyone looking to understand how to start a business with no money because it allows you to start generating income without needing to spend money.

The MVP is the minimum version that small businesses require to get started. Normally, you’ll need at least a computer, a social media presence, and a basic website so that you can get found by your first clients and other small business owners and get your first sale.

Black notebook with writing on the cover

Assess your business idea

Every business needs a business plan. If you are trying to understand how to start a business with no money, your business model needs to be airtight.

Identifying the best way forward is a case of assessing the market and narrowing your business operations down to essential needs only.

Without any money immediately available, you should build your idea around the following:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge 
  • Experience 
  • Resources

The first step for your new company will be pooling people, opinions, partners, and ideas, rather than trying to find funding for products and services.

Don’t start your venture by trying to plug a gap in the market. Kickstart your idea by bringing everything that you have into one place before you move forward.

Grow your savings

Without the security of external funds, businesses looking to secure a reliable cash flow will need to save up some money first.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do it:

  • Invest in stocks. Playing the stock market can be an excellent way to make money on the side, but it can also be hazardous. Most investors have the capital to make high-risk bets, but you might consider a low-risk investment such as an index fund if you’re just starting out.
  • Monetize your real estate. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should remortgage your house. It might be an idea to rent it out if possible to secure some steady income.
  • Set a goal. Try to set yourself a savings goal for your venture. One idea would be to save up six months’ worth of savings into ready cash that you can invest in your company.

Ask friends and family for funding

Asking friends and family for money for a business idea is not asking for a handout.

If you have a solid plan and a terrific product, plenty of people will be ready to help, knowing that their trust will be repaid down the line.

When asking friends for funds, you should consider:

  • Strategy. Are you going to ask a handful of people for a large amount of cash or ask for a smaller amount from many contributors?
  • Investment type. Will you be exchanging capital for a stake in your company? Perhaps you will pay dividends in the long run. You might even be able to trade funds for access to your company’s products or services.

Join startup incubators and accelerators 

Startup accelerators support early-stage businesses through mentorship and funding.

Startups join accelerators for a fixed time period along with a number of other new businesses to share resources and facilitate intense learning by doing.

There are some serious business benefits to joining a startup accelerator that include:

  • Support. As an entrepreneur, your best asset is your network of others you can rely on in business. Outside of securing capital, making networks with other entrepreneurs is one of the most valuable parts of the startup incubator process.  
  • Increased visibility. Finding funding from investors is much easier if you put your business in the spotlight. Startup incubators are regularly scouted by investors looking for their next project.
  • Access to knowledge. You might know your product and your business niche, but anyone will tell you that the only way to be successful in business is to understand things on a broader scale. Access to mentors in accelerator programs can be a great place to start.
  • New customers. Customers are the lifeblood of any business but finding more of them is a common problem for new businesses. Share your experience with others and learn from the way that other entrepreneurs work. 

Consider crowdfunding 

Crowdfunding works by encouraging lots of individuals and organizations to invest or donate to your business in return for a potential benefit down the line.

If you have a product or service that you think people will believe in, then it might be worth setting up a campaign on crowdfunding platforms like KickstarterGoFundMe, or Indiegogo.

While crowdfunding seems like the perfect low-risk strategy to grow funds, there are always both pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It is low risk 
  • You retain your company equity
  • Successful crowdfunding validates your product idea
  • Your business can build a dedicated community before it even gets started

Cons:

  • Crowdfunding platforms can charge high fees 
  • Your campaign might fail, and the reputation of your product or service may suffer
  • It can take a long time to build revenue
  • You may have to spend a lot of money on marketing and early-stage product development

Apply for a small business loan

With interest rates at practically zero, there has never been a better time to apply for a small business loan.

Money is cheap to borrow, and governments are looking to stimulate their economies by promoting small business.

Still, to start applying for a loan, you will need to make your business into an attractive prospect for the banks. 

To do that, you will need a:

  • Good credit score
  • Rock-solid business plan
  • Business license
  • Financial plan and revenue projections

After that, you need to know what type of loan is right for you. The most common business loans are:

  • Term loan. This is the type of loan you are likely to be familiar with—a fixed-term loan at an interest rate set by the lender. You will usually need a credit score upwards of 700 to be successful.
  • SBA loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration may offer you a line of credit, but these loans have strict eligibility requirements that may be difficult to meet as a new business. 
Person with credit cards in their hand

Get a credit line

A line of credit is another form of business loan which allows your business to borrow money up to a given limit that the lender establishes.

It is more flexible than a traditional loan in that your business can borrow freely at any point. For example, to buy new machinery or to expand your business. 

You will only pay interest on the funds that you borrow, and as long as you don’t exceed the maximum limit, your business can borrow money and repay it as it wishes.

It’s a similar concept to a credit card, but where credit cards typically have higher, variable interest rates, a credit line has a fixed rate.

As such, it can be the perfect way to start growing your business without too much risk.

Apply for small business grants

All businesses require some money. After all, starting a business with no money whatsoever is unrealistic.

If you don’t have personal savings to rely on, a great way to find an extra cash flow is to look for free alternatives like government grants.

As mentioned above, the government is interested in stimulating the economy by empowering small businesses and that means that it is not just possible to borrow money at a low cost but it is possible to find many non-repayable grants to get your business off the ground.

Helpful tips for finding grants that might help you start a business include looking for local funding as opposed to national funding.

Your state or region may have grant money that could cover things such as startup costs, living expenses, and other services that are essential for new businesses that don’t have much money.

Sell your services

Instead of investing in a physical product to sell, an entrepreneur can sell their services.

Some businesses, such as consultancy, might require more advanced qualifications and experience while setting up as a dog-walker only requires that you love your four-legged friends.

A service-based company can work with little more than a website and some expertise and can be a good way to bring in revenue without a large amount of seed funding.

Women having coffee meeting

Network

Saving the best until last, the most effective way to grow is to meet possible investors and win them over.

Between LinkedIn and the conference circuit, there are more ways than ever before to meet players in your sector and find new revenue streams for minimal effort.

Even if you are not looking for funding directly, networking can help you to understand the finer points of your industry and build relationships with company leaders that will be invaluable down the line. 

While you might not find many venture capitalists willing to finance the costs of starting a business with no money on Twitter, social media platforms and social media marketing are invaluable for anyone trying to start a business with no money.

Something as simple as setting up a Facebook page with some quality content can be the difference between having just your family members attend events and turning your new ideas into a full-time job.

5 Low-Cost Business Ideas to Start in 2021

Now that you have the theory, it’s time to put it into action. If you do it right, you could even transform your side job into a real money-making enterprise.

Here are our five top tips to get you started right now:

Blogging 

There is always money to be made in content. Whether it is through affiliate marketing or advertising, the ability to engage potential customers with a quick article is big business. 

It should come as no surprise that we would recommend Zyro. You can launch a blog fast, and our professional blogging tools will help you find quality traffic and start earning money quickly.

Cleaning

Cleaning is something that everyone can do. If you want to start a business with no money, then it could be perfect. 

After all, you only need some inexpensive supplies and a website to get things started.

Dropshipping

No need to invest huge amounts of money in products; just find the right one from a trustworthy supplier and introduce it to a new market.

Youtube

In 2020, the world’s highest-earning YouTuber was just nine years old and made a cool $30 million. Proof that you don’t need much to make it big online.

Translation

Big businesses are global enterprises; if you can speak more than one language fluently, you can become a very helpful asset to a lot of people with a lot of money.

Starting a business website with Zyro

All the best businesses need a professional business website.

Online platforms for website building like Zyro are a great way to start a business website at a low cost.

Our website builder was designed to be as simple as possible to use and is specifically made to help small business owners take the next step in their online success.

The intuitive drag and drop builder means that you don’t need any coding or design skills to set up your website either – your personal experience is more than enough and the majority of Zyro websites are published in under 1 hour.

Simply select one of our 100+ designer-made website templates to get started. Whether yours is a service business, eCommerce store, a cleaning service, or anything – you can start a business website with Zyro.

Since our builder is designed for small business owners, it is also one of the most affordable builders on the market – meaning low startup costs and you won’t need much money to make use of our many tools for starting a business.

Big businesses are global enterprises; if you can speak more than one language fluently, you can become a very helpful asset to a lot of people with a lot of money.

Need help building your website?

Download your essential guide to building a modern, professional website with Zyro.

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Written by

Author avatar

Damien

Damien is a self-professed, semi-obsessed word-freak that wants nothing more than to tell small-business stories in a big way. Always scouring the market to find the right tools for the job, he is focused on finding creative ways to bring them to the people. When not writing, Damien is known to be a massive music bore, amateur radio enthusiast, and woodland wanderer.

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