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Is It Possible To Start A Business With No Money?

Gone are the days where you had to have funding, a business loan or capital to invest in starting a business. With the internet now so ingrained in how we live, work and do business it’s entirely possible to start a business with no money.

How do I know? Because it’s exactly what I did.

Almost four years ago I quit my job in London to ‘go freelance’, with no savings, a mortgage and the intense fear that I’d be destitute in three months. But despite not knowing exactly how I was going to pay the bills, or knowing much about business (other than what I’d experienced in the start up I’d been working for prior) it didn’t stop me.

Quite the opposite.

In fact what I found was the real need to make money drove me to put myself and my business out there. Whilst everyone around me was worrying about my financial stability and waiting for me to go and get another job, I was using the power of local networking and social media to grow my fledging business.

Of course, some businesses do rely on capital to get started –  especially if there’s a need to rent premises, buy stock and you have high set up costs. But many businesses these days can start with just you and your current skill set.

Here are some business ideas to help you start a business with no money:

  • Business services
    If you’ve been in the corporate world for a while and have ‘soft skills’ such as marketing, HR, accounting, that can support other businesses you’re in a strong position. With minimal overheads (usually a laptop, internet connection and a website) you can set yourself up. This is exactly how I set up as a social media trainer and copywriter – just me in my home office! The beauty of this type of business is that it’s very easy to find customers – they are advertising themselves locally and online, and often attend business networking meetings locally which you can join.
  • Handmade products
    If you’re a skilled craftsperson or artist, and love making things to a high standard, it’s very easy to set up with no money. Online marketplaces such as Etsy and Folksy allow you to create an online shop and access hundreds and thousands of potential customers very quickly and cheaply. If you’re not inclined to use a marketplace website, you might want to set up your own website – there are a range of free (or almost free) options to help you get an attractive domain name. You can also use social media to share photos and videos of your products and pick up orders.
  • Teaching, training or class instruction
    If you have a skill you can teach others, or can lead a class as a trainer, then you can easily set up a business with no money. You just need to find a premises and customers. Or, thanks to the internet, you can forego the premises altogether and teach online using webinars, video and e-teaching platforms.
  • Household services
    Similarly to business services, if you have a practical skill you can off to people in their homes such as gardening, cleaning, handyman etc, you can again set up a business on a very small budget in your local area. There’s so many cheap and free advertising opportunities to reach people in their homes, from leaflets and local magazines – to Facebook ads and social media. Start with your friends and family and pick up some testimonials and you’ll start to get word of mouth customers too

Are you considering starting a business but have been worrying about how you’ll pay the bills and whether you can do it without saving a lot of money? If so, I hope this article inspires you to consider ways of setting up and growing a business without money. I’m living proof that you can do it and I can assure you that the motivation to pay your bills will get you out there finding customers in no time.

If you’re still wary or scared (I was for a long time before I took the leap) then ask yourself this question… Is staying where you are in your current job worse than the prospect of trying to start a business and the possibility of it not working out? If so, it’s time to take the leap.

Good luck, all your fellow business owners who’ve been on the same journey are rooting for you.

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