Start a Business with No Money: Do You Want it Bad Enough?

how to start a business with no money down

You don’t need money to start a business!

Want to improve your finances by adding more income to the mix?

Start a business.

Want to start a business of your own, but think you need a lot of money or small business funding to kick things off? BS! Sure there are some types of businesses where full ownership will be limited if you can’t come up with your own capital to fund things (e.g. a franchise).

But don’t think for a second that you have to possess a lot of cash to get a business up and running. In fact, some of the best business can be started with little or no money what so ever. You just need to choose the right kind of business, or be willing to start slow and grow it.

Don’t take my word for it: listen to any episode of the Part-Time Money podcast. Most of these businesses were started with little or no money.

Business Ideas that Require No Money

Many service industry businesses can be started with nothing. For instance, you could start a dog walking business. All you need is time and your two feet. Start a lawn mowing or house cleaning business. Tell your clients you have to use their tools and products.

Start a moving company. Tell your first client that you need them to rent a moving truck. Start a food service business. Tell your first client they need to provide the funds for the first trip to the grocery store. Sure you’re not going to attract every customer with this approach. But you don’t want every customer. You want just one! …for now.

I have to plug online businesses here as well because that’s what I have. There are some minor costs to starting an online business: domain and hosting. But most online business software is open source (i.e. free) these days, so as long as you have a computer and Internet connection, you can start to build your online business.

I will plug freelancing as well. Freelancers don’t even need a domain or hosting. Just hustle. Open up a PayPal account, start hitting up the freelance job boards and get to work building your freelance business. Don’t limit yourself to just your own time and skill though. Make plans to own a freelancing business where you use your connections to start hiring freelancers of your own.

Invest in the Business Once You Have Cash

Obviously a lawn mowing business would fair better in the long run if you had your own equipment, so use some of the money you initially earned from those first jobs to buy equipment. The same goes with any business. Borrow until you can buy. Then buy more when you need to expand.

As PT Money grew, I started spending money on marketing, improved hosting, and freelancers to make this a better business. Truthfully, I probably waited too long to start reinvesting in this business. Don’t be like me. Take more chances early on and reinvest in your business. Especially if you’re still hanging on to that full-time job.

Additionally, there are legal considerations to running a business. Some businesses need insurance, legal services, etc. As soon as you can afford it, get insurance to protect you and your customers.

How to Market Your Business with No Money

Forget business cards, classified ads, and the telephone book for now. Who still reads that stuff anyway? Market your business for free online. Use craigslist.org, set up a Facebook page, email all of your friends and family to help get the word out. All you need is one initial client and you’ll get the ball rolling. Do a kick-ace job with that first client and they’ll send you more business.

Get 1 Customer -> Do a Great Job -> Ask them to Refer You -> Do a Great Job Again -> Repeat

There are people in this world who would love to help you get started with your business. People love the upstart entrepreneur. Just put yourself out there, tell people what you need to get started, and then overwhelm them with your service and skill. Once you have some cash rolling in, use it to legitimize your business and grow your business into something that can sustain you.

Did you start your small business with little or no money down? How did you do it?

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Last Edited: May 6, 2013 @ 2:23 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.