If the year 2020 taught us anything, it’s that getting a job at a reputable company and working your way up is a thing of the past.
When millions of people who thought they were “safe” lost their jobs last year, many of them decided it was time to start their businesses.
However, determining how to start a business with no money can be difficult. Some side hustle businesses can be started with virtually no money, and the majority of them do not necessitate the acquisition of licenses or the establishment of physical locations.
You don’t need a game-changing idea, a fancy degree, or a slew of investors knocking on your door.
Hopefully, this article will guide you on how to start a business with no money.
How much money do you need to start a business?
The average cost of starting a micro business is $3,000, according to the US Small Business Administration. However, this is a difficult subject to discuss.
Finally, the cost of starting a business can range from $0 to millions of dollars, depending entirely on the industry you want to operate in, the idea you have, your knowledge and experience in the field, and so on.
The only real cost of starting a business that can be calculated is the cost of forming an LLC, C-Corporation, or whatever legal form you choose.
This will be determined by the city and country in which you establish your business.
Categories of cost in starting a business
When analyzing how much it cost to start a business, there are different types of costs that exist. We will divide them into three categories:
Essential vs. Optional costs:
Essential costs are necessary for the survival, growth, and development of the company. Optional purchases, in contrast, are those made only if there’s a surplus of revenues. They generally involve experiments and risky decisions that may not bring any return on the investment.
Fixed vs. variable costs:
Rent, employee’s wages, and insurances are 3 examples of fixed costs, those that you’ll have to pay even if your business’s doors are closed. Materials, transaction fees, and bonuses are variable costs, those that depend on how many goods and services your business produces every month.
As the business grows, fixed costs begin to represent a smaller part of the business’s revenues, while variable costs increase.
One-time vs. ongoing costs:
One-time payments can be significant at the beginning as you’ll need to form the business, acquire machinery, prepare the working space. Ongoing costs are those that need to be paid regularly – they generally increase as time goes on.
Below, we will discuss on how to start a business without any money.
How to start a business with no money
Conducting market research
This is the first step in determining how to start a business with no money. Entrepreneurs do not need to be concerned about small business costs, at least not at this stage of their business.
It is critical to conduct a thorough analysis of the market and its audience to map out the competition and develop what makes the business unique.
I recommend soliciting feedback as soon as possible. This feedback can be obtained in a variety of ways, ranging from offline surveys to video calls with your target buyers.
You may want to experiment to find out what’s the fastest and cheapest way to get this feedback while keeping it high-quality and relevant to your business.
Coming with a Great Idea
To start a business without money, you must first come up with a great idea. You must know exactly what your idea is and how much money you will require to get things started.
Don’t take out a large loan if you don’t need it. That is why the first step is research.
Your concept must be refined; it must be specific and clear.
That is, put it through its paces and solicit feedback. We briefly discussed feedback; the main idea is to determine how practical your theoretical product or service is.
Planning in Detail
A typical business plan is all about the structure or framework of your vision.
Define your vision and set goals to guide your overall growth. What will it look like in six months, three years, and beyond? What kind of resources, manpower, and capital are you going to need at different stages? What makes you different than your competitors? How are you going to build brand loyalty for customers to come back again and again?
A business plan has to do with the general road map and goals. A business strategy is how to achieve those goals.
If you don’t plan, it will be very easy to lose focus of your original vision. Your business plan is what will draw co-founders, employees, and brand advocates to you.
A business plan is also a great thing to get feedback on.
While it’s true that you can make it with $0 (or almost $0), you will be many steps ahead if you have some funding to invest in the product.
Free tools and solutions to almost any kind of problem you may face, exist. But you will need to spend hours to get it. What you can’t afford to buy with money, will cost you a lot of time.
That’s why you should consider some funding methods which will be discussed later on.
The building part (coding the product, connecting with providers, setting up the office space, etc) of starting a business with no money is the hardest one if you haven’t been able to secure any funding.
If you have the abilities, knowledge, and experience doing these things, that shouldn’t be too hard, depending on the existing setup costs of your idea.
However, if you don’t have these characteristics, finding a co-founder that can take care of these tasks can be a great way to solve the issue, especially if they aren’t things that need to be done just one time.
This is a way to start a business without any money.
The product has been completed, and it is now time to launch it. Launch the product even if it isn’t perfect. You must avoid “paralysis by analysis,” a syndrome that causes entrepreneurs to feel obligated to keep improving the product and adding new features, thereby delaying its launch. There will be enough time to fine-tune and improve your product.
Spend some time getting ready for your launch. Determine your target customer’s location and devise a strategy for promoting your business there without spamming.
It is important to note that the launch is not everything. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t make a lot of sales during the first week. What you want is user feedback.
Get to know your first users and turn them into true fans of your product; they will then handle word-of-mouth marketing for you.
If you have a great product but poor marketing, you are not going to get very far. It takes both to be successful.
Social Media Marketing is one of the cheapest and best ways to get the word out. I say cheap and not free because sometimes you’re better off putting in a few dollars for an ad. Ads on most social media platforms are underpriced, so get it while it’s hot.
Content marketing is all about giving; it’s all about providing value. It’s not the same as an advertisement. Content is a way to show what you know, what you can do, and to help people get to know you so they want to do business with you.
SEO, which refers to search engine optimization, is another free strategy that’s related to content marketing. Did you find this article on Google? It’s because we have worked its SEO so that it appears between the first results.
Lastly, cold outreach is a free strategy that if done correctly and with caution (avoid being spamming), can lead to some big clients and great connections.
Ways to get capital for a business
Fools, Friends, and Family (3Fs)
Every year, between 35-40% of startups receive startup capital from the 3Fs. The reason why “fools” is included is because of the risk behind investing in seed startups and the lack of investing knowledge from this group of people.
The benefits of this kind of funding are that your friends and family members won’t require a specific credit score or extensive collateral to secure their investment and that they can be more flexible in terms of interest rates and delay to pay back.
Having said that, they can end up terribly. If your startup shuts down and you’re not able to pay the 3Fs their money back, that will end up many relationships.
There are many ways to get startup money if you don’t have it lying in your bank. One way is to get a loan. If you are super confident in your idea, this could work.
If you feel that you can earn your loan money back in a certain amount of time, this could be a brilliant idea. You just have to be 100% sure, because if things go wrong, you will be in a very sticky situation!
There are plenty of ways to get loans so do some research as to what is the best option for you. There are some businesses, such as lending clubs, that might be better than your typical bank.
Grants & Local Funding
Startups are generally supported by the federal, state, or local governments through financial awards or zero-interest loans, particularly for beneficial projects.
It’s a long and paper-heavy process to get one of these grants, and it’s very competitive. Grants, on the other hand, usually come with a lot of oversight over how the money is spent.
The power of the internet is real. Many people are in financially difficult positions, who get financial help from the public.
Crowdfunding is a legitimate way to get startup funds for your business, so don’t be afraid to advertise your crowdfunding campaign on social media and any other chance you get.
Some crowdfunding campaigns work based on donations. People are looking every day for a cause to donate to, they like helping others. Give them a cause to believe in.
Some notable websites for this are Kickstarter, CrowdFunder, and IndieGogo.
Bootstrapping is the most basic way to launch a business. It is the process of starting a business on your own without the assistance of venture capitalists, angel investors, or large long-term loans. Bootstrapping is entirely self-financed.
It helps to keep costs low. The less money you borrow, the lower your interest costs, and the fewer promises you must make.
To be successful with bootstrapping, you must first determine what you need to buy versus rent or loan, what you can outsource for less money, and what you can get for free that will simply get the job done.
This is another way to start a business without any money.
Benefits of starting your own business
- Flexibility in Schedule
- Getting to Learn New Things
- Creating Wealth for Self
- Excellent learning experience.
- Flexible Schedule
- Greater potential profit
Business Ideas to Start with no Money
Great, now that you have all the tools and knowledge to start a startup and make it throughout all the business stages without spending much money, it’s time to begin creating.
Here are some ideas for you if you feel a little bit lost on where to start.
This is quite popular. It only takes time and skill; of course, a computer and possibly an internet connection are required, but if you’re reading this, I’m not too concerned about that.
If you have the time and talent, freelance writing is a good way to supplement your income. There are already a plethora of platforms available for finding freelance writing work.
I recommend that you look up reviews for them first. The job must be worth the pay.
This is one of the business ideas to start without any money.
This is also becoming more popular. Again, there is no cost to begin, but there is a fairly steep learning curve. It is a fast-paced, complex field that is constantly changing.
Social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing; choose the platform with which you are most comfortable and learn everything you can about it. Jump in once you know more than the average bear.
If you can, get an internship, find a mentor, and do whatever it takes to learn the ropes.
You put your reputation and potential future business prospects at risk if you run a service business in which you have no experience.
Building a website is fairly easy if you use templates. Most businesses have created a website by this point, but not all. Drive to strip malls on the weekend and approach each business.
Walk-in and offer to create a website, online review profiles, and social media profiles for any business that doesn’t have these.
It will also allow you to network with experienced business owners.
This is one of the business ideas to start without any money.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money by referring people to a product you recommend. A website, social media marketing, and other methods can be used to promote the products.
One of the simplest ways to earn money online is because it only requires a mobile phone with an internet connection.
Digital Marketing Business.
App Development Business.
The vast majority of rich people are entrepreneurs. There’s a very limited amount of jobs that can get you rich, but everyone can start a business. Not many businesses succeed, but in capitalism owning equity of successful companies is what creates and drives wealth.
There are 4 main types of business organization: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company, or LLC.
Social media manager or content manager.
Web designer or developer.
Buy products in bulk and sell them online.
Sell homemade products.
Start a dropshipping store.
Start a print-on-demand business.
Offer online services.
Teach online classes.
Grow an audience you can monetize.
Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing.
Home healthcare services.
Amusement and recreation services.
Retirement and assisted living facilities.
The internet has democratized a lot of the business world, reducing the costs of starting a business to $0 or almost $0.
Someone who can code can easily purchase a domain and hosting for less than $30 and build a site that makes thousands per month.
Hopefully, this will help you in starting a business without money.