Starting your own business is great in so many ways. You can work on projects you’re interested in, set your hours, and control how you grow. But money is one of the biggest obstacles that prevent a lot of people from making the jump. You might think that your dream of starting your own business is just a fantasy if you don’t have enough money saved up. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case! You can get the money you need in many different ways, from bank loans and credit cards to crowdfunding and angel investors.
The first step to starting a business is to develop an idea. If you don’t know what that could be, here are six creative business ideas you can start with no money.
Dropshipping is a popular way for people who don’t have any money to start a small business. Set up an online store and choose a dropshipping supplier like DSers or AliExpress. When a customer places an order, the information about the order will be sent to your supplier by your e-commerce platform. They pick, pack, and ship your customer’s order.
You can make and sell digital products as long as you have an internet connection. This is a great way to start an online business with no money.
Start by thinking of something you know more about than most people. Then, research online to find out what problems people in the area are having. Make a digital product out of your solution, such as:
- Online courses
- Sheets of work or plans
If you have no money, selling your services is the easiest way to start a business. Even if you haven’t mastered a particular subject, if you’re better than most people at something, you can start a business that helps others. So, look at the things you can do better than most people and start there. Offer this skill set as a service, like:
- Help around the house
- Social media marketing
- Virtual Assistant
Don’t write off a service business just because you don’t have a lot of skills. Busy people often pay someone an hourly fee to do things they don’t want to do or don’t have time to do themselves. Among those jobs are:
- Dog Walking
- House-sitting or pet care
Many small business owners don’t use these ideas because they think they’ll only make minimum wage. But businesses that offer a service can make money. Some freelance writers make six figures a year after running their business for two years. Within 12 months, one window cleaner even made $250,000.
Over the past ten years, the word “influencer” has taken on a life of its own. People are making more money than ever through social media. All you need is patience, some knowledge of social media, and exciting content to share. These are all things you can do for free.
- Affiliate marketing. When one of your followers buys a product from a brand you like, you’ll get a commission.
- Blogging. Your blog can be used to sell ad space, post sponsored content, and promote digital products.
- Selling merchandise. You can put your brand name, logo, or catchphrase on items. Those who want to wear it will pay for it.
Do you want to start a small business in a more hands-on way? You can turn a hobby into a side business by selling handmade items through your online store or on sites like Etsy. This could mean:
- Woodworking projects
A business plan is a plan for how your business will grow. Yours will be different based on the low-cost business model you choose. But in general, it has:
- Financial plan. Describe how you will make money and how you will spend it. Include your financial needs, costs, and expenses, a balance sheet, and your cash flow projections.
- Company description. A summary of the business you are about to start, including how it will make money and how the law will affect it.
- Logistics and a plan for operations. How will you get your product or service to the people who will pay for it? This could be dropshipping suppliers, third-party logistics companies, or printing labels yourself.
- Studying the market. Include information about the people who make up your target market. For example, will you sell directly to the consumer or via wholesalers? How does this stack up against similar products?
- Things to buy and services. If you sell one of these, you’ll get paid. Describe the product or service and tell people why they should buy it.
- Marketing strategy. Explain how you will promote your business to reach your target markets through social media, advertising, or email marketing.
When starting a business, the next step is to choose a name. This must be catchy and easy to remember, but most importantly, it can’t already be used.
Starting a business from nothing takes a lot of trial and error. Some of your ideas will be big hits, while others won’t be as popular as you thought they would be. Reduce risk by putting your ideas to the test through preorders.
Preordering works because you get paid for things you haven’t made yet. It gives you money up front to put toward production, builds buzz, and makes you feel special. People pay for the chance to try something new before everyone else does.
Not all businesses require money.
If you learn only one thing from this guide, let it be that you don’t need money to start a business.
Many people have started businesses from scratch and made them very successful, often without any money from outside sources and while working another job. You can go further than you think if you have a great idea, are committed, and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
You don’t need money to start a print-on-demand business. Use free online graphic design software to make a custom design, and then use a service like Printful to add it to goods. You’ll only pay for making the product when a customer orders it.
Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to start a business without money since you only pay for inventory when a customer buys it. There are no storage fees or high costs for making the products.
In the first year, the average small business owner spends $40,000. But you can start a business even if you don’t have money by using business models like dropshipping, print-on-demand, and selling digital products.