How To Start a Business With No Money: 5 Easy Steps

Woman hand shop owner get an order from selling plants, tree online, hand using smart phone to make money from home stock photo
Doucefleur / iStock.com

You have thought about it over and over in meetings that could have been an email. The idea of starting your own business doesn’t have to remain a fantasy. People start businesses every day, and — with the right plan — you can do it too, with no startup money.

In former years, if you didn’t have a massive budget to start a business, it seemed like an impossibility. Now, with social media, crowdfunding and other far-outreaching connections, the world may be smaller, but the possibilities are bigger. So how do you start a business with no money?

5 Steps To Start Your Own Business on a Budget

Harness your entrepreneurial energy by honing in on your idea for your business and turning it into a reality. There are many paths to success, but if you take these steps, you can start your business without going into a massive amount of debt.

  1. Vet your free business idea
  2. Create a business plan
  3. Network within related communities
  4. Launch a website and social media 
  5. Crowdsource for funding
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1. Vet Your Business Idea 

By shopping your business idea around to friends, family and former colleagues, you use them as a sounding board to figure out what ideas are landing. Your trusted circle will tell you the truth and help you edit all of your pitch ideas into a fine-tuned final product. You only get a lot of answers by asking a lot of questions.

This is also a good way to tap into free resources. Mentors, people in related fields and free public resources are a great way to build a foundation on which your business can grow. There is a reservoir of information available if you just know where to look.

  • Local libraries: Not only can a trip to the local library grant you access to any business book you could hope for, but also free internet access to seek out quality business advice from numerous resources.
  • Small Business Administration: The Small Business Administration works with many nonprofit partners filled with volunteer mentors. For example, Score.org is a free platform where you can decide on a business model and see how you can grow it affordably. 

2. Create a Business Plan

Choosing your business name and brand is an important step, as it is the identity of your company. Make sure it is something easily recognizable and understandable and that it will translate to client collaboration. 

Questions To Ask Yourself

When outlining your business plan, it helps to ask yourself questions you then have to answer. The answers will quickly become the outline for your mission statement.

  • Why do you feel driven to start this business?
  • What values influence your business?
  • What do you want your client experience to be?
  • What is your brand strategy?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • What is your social media strategy and presence?
  • What are your financial goals?
Make Your Money Work Better for You

Other Branding Considerations

Your branding is everything your clients or customers will hear, see and feel about your business, so having intention in every detail goes a long way.

  • Logo and design
  • Typography and font
  • Color scheme and other visual elements
  • Content and message

3. Network Within Related Communities 

Just because you are building your own business doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Whether it is seeking out mentors or other experts in the field, you would be surprised how many people will say yes to a coffee meeting. It never hurts to reach out to someone from whom you can learn.

Be active in pursuing like-minded communities, as community wins over competition any day. There are many free places to find your people.

  • Trade shows or events where potential investors will be present
  • Facebook groups
  • Social media platforms
  • Community events

4. Launch a Website and Social Media 

Having a space where prospective customers can reach you is essential to growing a new business. Many sites help you design your website from a template and some are available at no or low cost — though you will have to pay for your domain name. You can also start accounts for free on all major social media platforms. Once you have established your brand and company name make sure to secure everything you need via the web.

  • Domain name: Your domain name is your brand’s web address and it needs to be easily found when people search for it. For example, a preferable choice would be Yourbrand.com, so make sure to see what is available for your domain name and secure it as soon as you choose your brand name.
  • Social media handles: Secure your brand name on all necessary social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Snapchat.
Make Your Money Work Better for You

Sell Your Services

Once you have your website and socials all up and running, you can immediately start making money if your company is service or product based. Here are a few example areas where you can start right away.

  • Cleaning services
  • Dog walking or pet sitting
  • Freelance writing
  • Handmade goods
  • Handyman services
  • Personal shopper

5. Crowdsource for Funding

Once you are ready to start your business, you may get to the point where you need a slight cash infusion to get rolling. Outside and alternative funding is a great way to boost your budget, for as much as it takes a village to raise a child, it can also take one to start a business. Don’t forget — you are surrounded by sources where you can ask for support.

  • Friends and family
  • Grants
  • Accelerators 
  • Crowdfunding

Final Take

With today’s technological advances and wide-reaching global connectedness, starting your own small business is more of a possibility than ever before. Once you have a firm grasp on what you want your business and brand to be, there is nothing to stop you from achieving your goals, not even money.

FAQ

Starting your own business can be an intimidating prospect, so here are the answers to a few common questions to help you along.
  • What is the easiest business to start with no money?
    • Starting any small business takes work, but the easiest to start with no money are typically service-based companies where you can immediately sell your goods or services, like pet sitting, copywriting or selling handmade goods.
  • How do I start my own business with no money?
    • Having no money to start a business is not the obstacle it used to be, here are some steps you can take to get started:
    • 1. Vet your free business idea
    • 2. Create a business plan
    • 3. Network within related communities
    • 4. Launch a website and social media
    • 5. Crowdsource for funding
  • What's the cheapest and easiest business to start?
    • Starting any small business takes some startup and effort, but the easiest to begin with no money are typically service-based companies where you can immediately sell your goods or services. Some examples are cleaning or handyman services or personal shopping.

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About the Author

Caitlyn Moorhead has written content for a variety of businesses and publications. After graduating from Central Michigan University cum laude, she moved to New York City where she wrote columns, articles and plays for several years before relocating to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2020.
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