Starting A Business With No Money
People expect to pay a lot of money to start a business. That’s how it’s been done in the past, done now, and will be done in the future. Does that mean you can’t start a business with no money?
Well, let’s have a look and change it up a bit.
1. Understand Nothing is Free:
Even when you get access to sites like Facebook, analytics, etc., you don’t pay a fee, but have you ever considered that you become the product? With Facebook, having billions of users makes the company valuable. With free analytic programs, the data from your site becomes the product.
2. You’re Still Investing Something:
You need some money to start a business. Let’s be realistic. If you apply for a grant, send out a proposal, or talk to a partner, you still have to spend pocket money for the small things, such as printing and sending out a proposal, meeting with people, having internet access, etc. So starting a business with no money refers to starting a business with pocket cash.
3. Time is Money:
Even though some businesses that are very low cost still require a small investment. Let’s say you set up an online blog to create content and display ads. You’re using a free WordPress account. Even though you haven’t put any money towards your business, you will be spending time.
Time is worth money. When you go to work, you may be paid hourly. Let’s say you spend three hours a day creating content for your blog. You’re not paying any money, but if you had a part-time job, you could be losing 3 hours of pay every day. Multiply that by five days a week and 50 weeks, and you could be looking at over $10,000.
With that said, starting a business with no money means starting a business without spending any large amounts of cash.
The big question is, how do I get free money to start a business? There are methods to get grants, and I have a section that will give you an overview of where to look.
The other question is can you start a business with no money? Yes, you would need to get into a business that requires very little startup funds. Or you could get a grant, or you could use your skills to become a partner.
Let’s look at these ideas next.
Business Offers Without An investment
Highly skilled people can become partners! One way to get into a small business without investing any money of your own is to partner with a business that needs your expertise. Instead of working as an employee, you become a partner in the company.
For example, if you’re a programmer, you find a business opportunity where you can become a partner because of your skills. From the company’s point of view, they need someone trustworthy, and by offering a share in the company, they won’t have to worry about losing you to another employer.
Another example is, let’s say, you are an excellent salesperson. You may be able to bring in millions of dollars of new accounts. Someone with a skill like that would be welcome as a partner in many firms.
Below are some no-money-down business opportunities that allow you to start your business with little to no money. If you think about it one of the best ways to start a small business with no money is to think of a service you can provide and make a business out of it.
Let’s have a brief look at each of these.
As a freelancer, you can get started with very little, especially if you are using your computer and already have internet access. Using a site like Upwork allows you to start right away. Sign up for an account and start bidding on projects that interest you. I would first learn the system to get a solid foundation and then look for ways to build your reputation, to get people to accept your bid.
Freelancing is one excellent way to start a business with little or no money. It also allows you to start part-time. Another benefit is you can pick and choose your projects and clients.
Some of the popular freelancing categories include:
2. SEO Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is a service that is in high demand. It’s a low or no-cost business to establish.
It’s the type of business where your clients always need your service because of the changes in algorithms, and your clients need to have their sites updated and in compliance to rank well.
When you offer a great service to your clients, they become lifetime clients paying you a hefty monthly fee.
To be successful as an SEO consultant or running a business providing Search engine optimization services, you have to be an expert in SEO and keep up with the constant fluctuation and changes in the industry.
3. Social Media Management:
You can start a social media management business with zero or little costs.
Suppose you have a good understanding of social media channels and how they operate, then there is an opportunity to start a business managing social media accounts for clients.
Many business people don’t have the time, know-how, or desire to participate in social media. Hiring a professional company to manage its online presence is something many business owners do, which could be an opportunity for you.
You could create packages or specialize in certain sites, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
One of the key strategies is understanding the voice of your clients before taking over their online presence. When you set your strategies using their tone of business, you’ll do well.
For example, suppose you are managing social media for an ice cream business. In that case, you have the opportunity to focus on fun posts as opposed to managing an account for a law firm where your posts need to have a professional tone.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing allows you to promote other people’s products and services and get a percentage of each sale. I find this type of business attractive, especially for people who don’t want to deal with products, services, or customers. You only deal with referrals and make your money on commissions.
Some of the issues you may run into are, the competition can be high in a certain market, and everyone promotes the high commission products. Another disadvantage is that you work hard to get a sale. Once you do, the customers now belong to the site where you referred them.
As an affiliate marketer, your two main concerns are finding the right products to promote and the next is building a target audience. You could create a content blog and add affiliate links to your articles. Or, you could use your blog to capture email subscribers and market to your list.
Dropshipping allows you to purchase and ship products to your customers without the need to handle any of the products. You don’t need to keep stock; you don’t need to physically pack and ship the products. You focus on making sales, and your supplier will handle the rest. You give them the details, and the product shows that it shipped from you, not your supplier.
There is a lot of competition in the dropshipping industry, and you will be selling a lot of the products that other people are selling.
You can make your eCommerce site unique through the collection of products you offer as well as the information and recommendations you offer. You don’t just want a list of products that all other sites have.
6. YouTube Channel
Another business to consider is creating a YouTube channel. This type of business is something that takes time to build. You depend on people subscribing to your channel.
You don’t get a large overnight following unless you are a celebrity or have a large following on another site and ask your followers to subscribe to your youtube channel.
When you have thousands of followers, you can recommend products as an affiliate marketer. You can provide educational material or entertain your viewers and get paid for ads displayed on your videos.
7. Editing Services
Editing is a service that is in high demand and costs next to nothing to establish. If you search on Upwork and other freelancing sites, you’ll find a lot of editing projects as well as a lot of editors. From my experience, not everyone can edit effectively. I have tried many editors over the years, and they were only a couple that I could trust.
An editor has to look at the article as a whole. It’s not just about spelling and grammar. It’s about making sense of the piece and how the content flows.
If a customer is looking for spelling and grammar, they can use MS Word or Grammarly. To convey a strong message or have an article tell a story, the customer will need an experienced editor to look at the article as a whole.
When you provide this type of service, you can expect repeat customers and a lot of referrals.
There are many brick-and-mortar service-based businesses you can start with little or no money. You may already own the tools and equipment you need to get started in the following business offers without an investment. You can always start with what you have and upgrade equipment later on. Some low startup-cost service ideas include:
Look to Small Business Grants and Local Funding Opportunities
The government offers business grants to stimulate the economy. One strategy is to help small businesses grow and provide jobs. When the unemployment rate is low more spending needs to be put in place.
If your business only benefits you, there won’t be many grant opportunities. If your business has a job creation plan in place, you will find grants, and your chances of getting accepted have increased. The grants are designed to create jobs; with more jobs, people spend more, and when people spend more, tax revenues increase.
You may also find a scenario where you get a loan that can turn into a forgivable one. For example, you need to employ one or more people for a certain amount of months. If the criteria are met, your loan is forgiven or turned into a grant.
If you apply and receive a grant for a purpose that you don’t fulfill, you will be required to return the money. You can’t just take the money and use it for whatever you want. The grant money must be used according to the grant stipulations.
Local Government Grants
Local small business development centers (SBDC) are government-funded centers to help local small business owners succeed.
Search for SBDC, and the results should contain websites that support your area. For example, if you live in Oklahoma, search for SBDC Oklahoma. When you call you’re SBDC, they can help you find support specific to your business.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) could also be offering local support. Search the SBA websites for grants in your area.
You may also find out what grants are available by contacting your local economic development authority.
Call Elected Officials
Your elected officials may be able to help you with finding a grant for your business. Providing direction and finding the right solution is something they do, and they will be familiar with the process. By calling them, you can let them know you have a small business owner looking into programs to help grow your business.
Find Out About and Woo Potential Angel Investors
If you find a local angel investor, they can meet with you and review your business. A local angel investor allows you to add a personal touch and get to know them. Even if you don’t get a deal, you will gain tips and experience by talking with them.
How to Impress Investors?
You can impress investors with your planning, your success, and your ability to make money. Investors want solid investments that offer a high return on investment (ROI.)
Angel investors look for passionate business owners, that are committed and have a high level of integrity. As an investor, they have years of knowledge, and if you’re the type of person to take their advice and act upon it, then that’s one more point in your favor.
An angel investor wants to get in on deals early. Remember, an angel investor uses their own money compared to using venture capitalist who uses other people’s money.
Naturally, both angel investors and venture capitalists are accountable for making good decisions. Still, a venture capital firm usually has more money to invest and can take more risk, whereas an angel investor is working with their own money.
Now you have to keep in mind your goals, and the angel investor’s goals may differ. Your vision may not be important to them or may not make good business sense. They are approached by hundreds of people every month, and they can spot problems and risks instantly.
When you pitch your proposal to several angel investors and don’t get any positive feedback, take a step back and rethink your proposal. Better yet, encourage feedback from the angel investors that decline your deal. Ask them what their concerns are. Ask them for suggestions. If they all give you a similar story, then it’s time to update your plan and approach.
Where Do You Find Angel Investors?
There are many angel investors. You just need to find them. Are they in your area? They could be in your neighborhood. And there are online sites with databases developed to find investors. A video by Heini Zachariassen contains a lot of useful information to find and contact angel investors. What I found interesting is that Heini mentioned you could find angel investors on LinkedIn. I have included his video below. I encourage you to go through it.
What Are the 4 Types of Business Structures?
There are different business types/structures. Each has pros and cons. Some are simple, a 10-minute registration, and you’re ready to go. Others are more complex and need to be in place for large companies and offer liability protection and tax advantages. Let’s go over these briefly.
1. Sole Proprietorship:
This type of business is the simplest to set up because the business and you are one entity. So you could have a job and a business on the side. The total income of the business and your job all go towards your total personal income.
A sole proprietorship would be a good choice when you want to test the waters. The good news is when you become successful, you can easily switch it from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or corporation.
Partnerships are used when two or more people create a business. Each of the owners may contribute funding and skills.
The partnership does not pay income tax but files a profit or loss once a year, and each partner declares their profit or loss on their personal income tax. A partnership is comparable to a sole proprietorship with multiple owners.
3. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
This type of business is used when you have a partnership or you want to limit your liabilities. The type of structure is similar to a corporation with fewer corporate formalities. One of the disadvantages is you may be subject to self-employment tax.
There are different types of corporations. To keep it simple, a corporation becomes its own entity. Which means the company and the owners are separate. The owners have shares in the corporation and control operations. Therefore the personal assets of the owners are protected in case the business goes bankrupt.
If you’re planning on a small business, you can always start as a sole proprietorship and change your structure as your business expands. It won’t make sense to create a corporation if you run a neighborhood lawn-mowing business. For more on registering a business, have a look at How to Register Your Business Using These Resources
Well, there you have it, an overview of starting a business with little or no money. In summary, you can partner up with an established business, you can look for grants, or you can find investors. If none of those options appeal to you, you can get into a low/no startup cost business.
That’s the way I see it