You may have heard the expression that you need money to make money. While this is true in some cases, the good news is that you can start a business with no money now with an internet connection and free time. We will look at how to start a business without money, how to find business funding and share a few low-cost business opportunities worth pursuing.
How to start a business with no money
You can start a business without money and generate income using free tools. Here are the steps involved if you want to start a business without money.
1. Choose your products or services
To start a business, you have to figure out what kind of product or service you will offer. How do you decide on which products or services to offer?
- Look into different revenue models. Will you join an established platform like Amazon, Airbnb, Upwork, or Etsy? Will you create your product offering through a blog or social media?
- Assess your skills. What skills do you possess that could help you bring in money? You have to be self-aware enough to know what you can offer.
Before starting a business with no money, you have to figure out what kind of product or service you could offer.
2. Perform market research
Once you have a rough idea of what kind of business you want to get into, it’s time to begin the market research so that you don’t spend your limited time and energy working on a business that doesn’t lead to much money.
How do you perform market research?
- Look into the current market and determine what the competition is like. The goal is to establish what the marketplace demand is like right now.
- Collect feedback from your target audience and potential customers. You’re going to want to figure out where your target market spends its time online so you can gain insights into your future client base.
- Look through market insights. You can track Google Trends or use a platform like Answerthepublic to see what people are searching for. You can also look through hashtags on Instagram or perform a YouTube search to see what’s trending.
- Look for competitors with successful businesses. You want to ensure that others are doing this so there’s a proof of concept. If you see a market gap or offer something unique, then this would be the ideal way to start a business with no money.
3. Build a business plan
Before starting this business, you need a plan so you're not fumbling in the dark. The good news is that helpful online tutorials have detailed every business idea, and you’re not alone if you’re just starting.
What should your business plan include?
- Company mission and overview. You can start by writing out your business model, the products or services you’ll offer, and your plan for creating consistent cash flow.
- Market research. You can try to collect data to ensure that money can be made.
- Market strategy. You may want to look into ways to differentiate yourself in the market so that customers will want to work with you.
- Financial plan. You need a plan for bringing in money and potential future funding options. Will you bootstrap the business or tap into your home equity at some point?
Even though you can start a business with no money, it’s important to think about the cash flow so that this venture starts bringing in money for you.
4. Launch a website or other e-commerce platform
Once you’ve figured out the financial details, it’s time to launch the business.
Here are important considerations:
- How will you build your brand’s presence? You may have to spend a few dollars on a business logo and think of a unique name to help you stand out.
- How will you get your product in the right of the right people? Will you start your website? Will you open a shop on an established platform like Etsy or Shopify? Will you rely on social media to grow this business organically?
5. Fund your business if you have some startup costs
The goal is to start a business with no money, but knowing you have options is important if you require some financial assistance.
- Exploring crowdfunding platforms to raise initial capital. There are options like Kickstarter and SeedInvest, where you can have regular people invest in your business to help you get off the ground.
- Using assets that you own. You can also find creative ways to get some funding for your small business. For example, you could tap into your home’s equity to get some cash. You could be sitting on business funding without even realizing it. The best part of using your home’s equity is that you don’t have to worry about dealing with investors.
Businesses that you can start for free right now
It’s important to tap into free or low-cost income ideas if you’re looking to start a business with no money. In this section, we’re going to look at business ideas that will create cash flow without any startup costs
Start a blog
Blogging is still a viable business model in 2023, and you could turn any of your unique passions into a business. There are many ways to monetize a blog, from offering advertising space to selling your own products. You could also use your blog as a landing page or portfolio for any kind of service-related business that you plan on starting.
Offer freelance services to generate income and build your brand
You can try out a platform like Freelancer.com or Upwork to offer your freelancing services. You get paid per job, and the pay range will depend on the service you offer and your experience level. This is the best way to start without any startup costs since you start making money immediately as a freelancer.
Tap into the gig economy
You can start a business without any money by tapping into gig economy platforms for project-based work. Examples here include:
- Walking dogs or pet siting services on Rover.
- Offering handyman services on TaskRabbit.
- Becoming a virtual assistant.
- Offering a service on Fiverr.
The goal is to make money so that you can fund your business. You could also end up with a service-based business by offering your services on an established platform if your target market is already there. For example, you may realize there’s demand for a local dog walking business or handyman services in your community.
Sell digital products
If you don’t want to offer a service, you can build your digital assets (eBooks, online courses, worksheets, and so on). You can sell digital products on marketplaces like Amazon or Gumroad. You could also use your blog or freelancing jobs as promotional material.
Sell handmade goods
You can sell handmade items online if you want to tap into your creative side. With platforms like Etsy and Facebook Marketplace gaining popularity, you can list your items for sale here. If you have the talent to design furniture, create bracelets, or make digital printables, you can start your own Etsy shop.
Social media or social media management
You can start a business without money by getting into social media. You can try to grow your own brand on a platform like Instagram or YouTube. You could also offer services (copywriting, editing, photography, and so on) to established social media brands. You can monetize your social media platforms with advertising, your own products, and brand sponsorships. You can also tie in social media with a blog or any service-related business that you pursue.
Many entrepreneurs looking for how to start a business without money will turn to dropshipping because you can create an online store without worrying about startup costs since you may only need an internet connection. You can choose a dropshipping supplier (like AliExpress) to handle your orders as you focus on promoting your shop.
How to take your business to the next level
What if you want to grow this business to the next level? While we looked at how you can start a business with no money, the reality is that you will have to invest some funds into this venture if you want to take it to the next level. Here’s how you can grow your business and level up.
Bootstrapping your business
The good news is that you can still start a business without money which leads to income that could be used towards funding the next step. Here are the best ways to do this:
- You can bootstrap and focus on minimizing your expenses as you grow your business. This means that you start small and grow accordingly. Embrace a DIY approach for tasks you can handle yourself until you have the funds to hire staff or to outsource certain tasks.
- Use freelancing as a stepping stone to launch your full-fledged business. You can build your portfolio and turn this service into a full-time business.
Grow your business with creative funding
As mentioned earlier in this article, you can grow your business by accessing your own equity. Here are a few additional creative funding methods for your business:
- Shopify Capital. You can borrow a decent amount from lenders like Shopify Capital to help you grow to the next level.
- Small business grants. Applying for grants, contests, and competitions for business funding will always be a viable option.
- Small Business Administration. There are various funding options available depending on your business from the SBA.
The goal is to explore all of your options here so that you have the necessary funding when you’re ready to grow your business.
The good news is that there are many ways to start a business without money. If you apply the advice in this article, you can create a new income stream for yourself. If you’re ever stuck on funding, you don’t have to worry about using a credit card or contacting friends and family because you can use your home equity to access cash. It’s easier than ever to start a profitable business without any money.