Let me start with this. Starting a business with no money is possible. You have an idea for a business, except you don’t have any money to start it. Lack of capital is a common excuse for failing to start a business. If you have the drive to start a business, coupled with a great idea and an unbelievable drive to succeed, you can start a business with no money. You don’t need a miracle, but you need to follow certain steps to successfully start a business with no money. I recommend you read How To Make $1,000,000 With Your Own Business, Even If You Have No Money Or Experience.
You might be asking “What type of business can I start with no money?”
Here are some brands that started with almost nothing:
Starting a business is risky. Starting a business with no money is even riskier. Don’t jeopardize your family’s financial well-being. The longer you keep your job the less pressure you put on yourself. When you start your business you are not ready to walk away from a steady paycheck. It’s true that you’ll have to work harder, but you can keep paying your bills as you grow your business. Once your business starts to generate revenue, you can start thinking about transitioning out of your job.
Build on your passions and experiences. Instead of trying to start a business in a niche outside of your comfort zone stick to something you know. Build your business on your skills and knowledge. It is true that you can learn new skills, but it will take time. If you want to start a business quickly, you have to focus on what you can do now not years from now.
Learning new skills will require more time and additional expenses. You might have to take courses, get licenses, pay consultants, etc. Starting a business in a field familiar to you will give you additional confidence.
Starting a business with no money means that you have to learn to do things that you would normally delegate to an employee or an outside company. I agree that it’s exhausting to do all the work yourself, but you don’t have the budget to hire help. Doing everything yourself you will be able to put every dollar back into your business. It will be tough, but it is the only way to build up a cash reserve when you start a business with no money.
Some of the best business you can start with no money is a service business. You can start a service business with practically no money. Instead of money what you need is the ability to knock on doors and make sales. Even if you ultimately want a product business, owning a service business can help you get there. Use the service business to finance your dream business.
Here are some great product businesses that started out selling something else:
Starting a business with no money means that you have to work hard to get the word out. Don’t keep your business a secret. Tell as many people as you can. Call your friends. Explain it to your family members. Make it public. Telling people will help you in several ways. For starters, it will give you extra energy. More importantly, it might help you land some of your first customers. People in your network could make valuable introductions.
You might be thinking “I want to start my own business with no money, but I don’t know what to do.” Nobody can succeed alone. Especially, if you are starting a business with no money you will need all the help you can get. Reach out to small business owners. Many of them started their business with little or no money.
Asking for help can help you several ways:
When you start a business with no money, bartering comes in handy. Barter your own skills for office space, products, equipment, or services you need but can’t afford. Bartering is also a great networking tool.
Joining or starting a mastermind group can help you save a lot of money in the long run. It gives you an opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs. Instead of paying an expert or a consultant for advice you will interact and learn from other entrepreneurs.
Although many mastermind groups cost money you can start your own for free. Look for people who are at a similar stage in business. If you are starting out, you don’t want to build a mastermind group of business veterans. When you are starting outreach out to people who are also interested in starting a business and those who have been in business for less than two years. With that strategy, you will have enough diversity in the group to make it interesting for everyone.
It helps if you are in the same city, but you can build virtual mastermind groups and meet through Skype or Google Hangout.
Here are some of the greatest benefits of mastermind groups:
If you are an inventor, you could license your patent to a company. In licensing deals you normally get a percentage of sales. The best way to license your invention is to seek out manufacturers. Technically, it is called licensing your patent rights.
You want to start out by developing a list of manufacturers. Look for those that are already making products in your target niche. One or two manufacturers is not enough. Identify at least, 25 potential manufacturers.
You can find manufacturers by looking at product packaging, online research, networking, and visiting trade shows. Libraries have excellent resources to locate manufacturers. Thomasnet, WikiMachine, ManufacturerUSA are possible resources too.
Reach out to manufacturers with a short message about your invention. Provide enough information to trigger interest, but don’t overwhelm people with data. LinkedIn can be an excellent resource to find the appropriate contact person.
Consult with an experienced licensing attorney before you enter negotiations. Ultimately, the licensing agreement will include details about upfront payments, exclusivity clauses, percentages, and infringement issues. You could really do yourself a major disservice by entering into an agreement without professional help.
Many businesses are started by solopreneurs who quickly become overwhelmed. Most entrepreneurs would want you to buy yourself into a business partnership, but there are still ways for you to do this with little or no money.
You could find a business where the owner is about to retire. The owner of the business might want to sell the business, but the reality is that most businesses never sell.
The most common reasons businesses don’t sell are that they are:
Another option is to find a business where the entrepreneur is either too overwhelmed or simply burned out with the business.
Many successful businesses are started by two or more founders. With two founders you will also improve your chance of success.
Tell people in your network that you are looking for a co-founder. Team up with someone you trust. It’s a bit like getting married.
You can search for potential cofounders through:
When you start a business with little or no money, getting paid fast is crucial. Nothing will help your cash flow more than getting paid up front. Late payment, net 30, 60, or 90, slow payment will hurt your business.
You can get paid fast several ways:
Businesses are commonly funded by lines of credit. You might end up using a credit card to help you with your cash flow. The key with credit lines is it is no substitute for revenue. Use credit lines only as a temporary measure, not as an alternative to making enough money to pay your bills.
At a time when 98% of the business plans are rejected by VCs and accredited investors, crowdfunding offers a great alternative for entrepreneurs. Crowdfunding requires a lot of effort and dedication, but is a great option, especially for consumer product businesses. The great thing about crowdfunding is that it gives you access to capital without giving up equity.
Crowdfunding can help your business in several ways:
The most popular crowdfunding sites are:
Apply to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other government agencies for help and funding. There are business financing options for women, veterans, and minorities.
Enter business plan competitions.
If you are willing to put in the work, there are several ways you can advertise your business for free or no money. The most important part of getting free advertising is that it requires sweat equity.
Here are some of the most common free advertising options:
The above list might seem overwhelming at first, but it is doable. Take it one step at a time. Be systematic. Track and measure your results. Rinse and repeat the ones that give you the best results.
There are countless cases of “get rich quick schemes” both online and offline. They promise you everything you want to hear. Quick and easy money with little or no work. It simply doesn’t exist. You can start a business with no money, but you can’t start one without hard work, strategic thinking, and patience.
Don’t believe stories about overnight success. They are simply myths.
Nothing will hurt your chances for success more than believing in the – false – idea of overnight success. You are doing yourself a disservice believing it. Most businesses take years of development before they become successful. You can start a business with no money. Expect to spend years to build your business instead of days. Persistence is key.
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