How to start a business with no money in 6 steps

By Bazal Razzaq

Chief Editor

Updated: July 31, 2023

Editorial Note: We earn a commission if you use the services recommended on this page. Commissions do not affect our opinions or recommendations.

Member Managed vs Manager Managed LLC

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? Can’t really blame you! There are so many perks to being your own boss, being the master of your own creation. In fact, a report by states that roughly 2 in 5 Americans plan on starting their own venture. Despite such startling statistics, almost 63% don’t go through with it due to a lack of funding and resources.

In all fairness, that’s a reasonable thing to worry about. Initiating a business costs money and a really large sum, at that. But the good news is you can not just start your own trade but also expand and promote it conveniently. 

When starting a company, coming up with a good idea is half the battle. The other half is financing it. Well, all businesses need some capital to get off the ground. But that really isn’t the norm. One can start a successful business with nothing but a great idea and immense drive. All you have to do is show up, be consistent, and be well-prepared for literally anything that could go wrong.

Still confused? Don’t worry. We’re here to ease your confusion. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to success.

#1 If you can't invest money, invest time

If there’s anything else besides money needed to jump-start your business, it is TIME. The old proverb “Time is money” stands true to date, and rightly so. You need time to build a company from the ground tip. You need time to come up with an idea, transform it into a business, get it on a website, and expand it into a multi-million dollar organization. 

Another reason to invest time, as explained by Nightwatch founder Aljaž Fajmut is “… you will face setbacks and delays just like all tech companies do. And you need to be prepared for them. If you don’t have a lot of cash, at least have enough time to save yourself when something goes wrong.” What he says for tech companies stands true for all the trades around the world. Time really is key.

#2 Come up with a unique idea

A business isn’t built on stones and walls but on ideas. Successful, enviable companies start with passion and a fantastic idea. And when you intend on starting a groundbreaking business, your idea needs to be innovative, unique, and something that feels missing from the market.

It’s also critical to also evaluate your idea. Each time you think your idea has enough substance, answer these questions yourself:

  1. Does your idea in the form of a service or product solve a problem many potential customers have?


  2. Is that solution cost-effective and reliable?


  3. Is the same solution worth people’s money and time?


  4. How can you add more value to your product or service?


  5. And lastly, how is your idea different from your competitors? Do you have any advantages over them?

If you notice a loophole or a demand that could make a process or service much easier, that’s an idea. Testing your idea with your friends and family first ensures it has legs. After all, if you eventually fund your business, validating your business idea amongst your trusted circle is essential. 

Fahim Sheikh, owner of SaaS company Trellis, says, “Sometimes, we think we have a great idea, but when we explain it or pitch it to others, we often realize that the concept may be a tough sell.”

We second that, while you have nothing to lose and only wisdom to gain with a failed enterprise, it’s just fine to skip this step and drive straight to victory with an unconventional but useful idea.

#3 Prepare a business plan

A comprehensive business plan is essential to your business’s growth and success. It acts as a blueprint for how you’ll expand your business. You can create a plan that suits your budget. A low-cost business plan generally includes the following: 

  1. Business Description: A complete and detailed enterprise outline, including everything from your business model to the legal structure.

  2. Your products and services: This is the centerpiece of your project, and you’ll earn a profit selling one of those. Discuss what you’re offering and why people will buy it.

  3. Complete Market research: This will include the demographics of the market you’re targeting. What are your competitors doing, and how will you compete with them? 

  4. Financial goals: Create a proper financial plan that covers how your business will make and spend money. It will contain your monetary aims, expectations, and expenses.

  5. Marketing and promotion strategies: Decide how you wish to promote your brand and make it accessible to a large section of people, for instance, your presence on social media, online and offline advertisements, flyers, and email campaigns.

  6.  Logistics: How will your products and services reach your clients? Will you depend on third-party delivery services, drop shipping, or independent agents? Complete information on your delivery service and logistics will be included in this section.

#4 Consider starting a service business

Initiating a business based in the service industry is not just profitable but also requires knowledge and experience. As a capable individual, you are a product of your personal wisdom and circumstances. Use that awareness and experience as an income-generating asset and save money that would otherwise be spent on manufacturing and supplies.

You can sell your services in plentiful ways, for instance:

  1. If you can write quickly on any topic, consider creating client content.

  2. If you’re passionate about social media, you can start by offering community management services or working on blogs.

  3. You can start an accounting firm with a degree in accounting and finance.

  4. If you know how to code and can develop websites and software, take it up as a business opportunity.

  5. If you love capturing moments and people, open a photography business.

Likewise, there are innumerable options to choose from if you’re equipped. Event Planning, Virtual Assistant Services, Video Editing, Online Tutoring, and many more are some examples of the same.

If you don’t have a strong skill set, don’t be threatened. You can get paid for your hourly services by doing chores busy people don’t have time or expertise to do. Pick these as jobs and later turn them into businesses. Some of them are:

  1. Dog Walking

  2. Window Cleaning, cars, and other washing services.

  3. Personal Shopping

  4. Pet or babysitting, and many more.

#5 If employed, don't quit your job

Successful businesses are products of original, out-of-the-box ideas. While it’s always cool to be passionate about a superb idea, ideas don’t put food on the table, they don’t pay your bills, and they do put clothes on your back. 

It isn’t very secure or wise to quit your job for merely a dream of owning your own business. Furthermore, your chances of succeeding as a business owner multiply if you already have a stable source of income. 

Why? Because when you’re employed, it’s much easier for you to gamble and take risks more than usual. With the perk of already having a steady income, you can take advantage of many new opportunities that come your way, like starting your own enterprise. 

Once your brand is all settled in, you can then consider leaving your day job. Depending on individual growth and circumstances, this can take six months to 3 years. A sensible option would be to keep working until you have enough cash for sustenance, any emergencies, and comfortable life stashed away. If you follow this, you’d never go broke and under the neck in debt.

possible funding sources

#6 Look for possible funding sources

Traditional entrepreneurship suggests that you should only stick to one approach and not stray away from it. But desperate times call for desperate measures. You can always depend on an outside funding network if you don’t have enough money to facilitate your business. 

Almost 29% of small businesses fail due to a shortage of cash. To avoid this, you can either sign up to get a traditional loan or you can choose one of the following alternatives:

  1. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding involves raising money from potential customers in exchange for the assurance of special treatment in the future. This could mean anything from special discounts and offers in the future to first access to your future products and services. Websites like Crowdfunding, Kickstarter, and SeedInvest provide a platform for emerging entrepreneurs to connect for financing with regular people.


  2. Accelerators and Incubators: These programs assist growing businesses with guidance, mentorship, and capital investment if and when needed. Sometimes, they provide space for office administrators. Incubators are for newly opened companies, while accelerator programs are for early-stage businesses.
  3. Grants: They are one-off amounts of money provided to budding small companies. Mostly, they don’t require repayment, but you can only get one if you meet the criteria selected. Some lenders often decide how the money can be spent.


  4. Small Business Loans: If your business is already off to a great start and has no issues generating revenue, you can apply for a loan. Remember that you may need to present a revenue slip for the same.


  5. Help from friends and family: If you have a strong support system you can rely on in the harshest of circumstances, consider asking them for monetary help to get your company up and running. Ask if they can back your new business idea in exchange for an equity stake or a spot as a silent partner. 

Here are some tips to minimize your spending when you’re stuck in a financial rut:

  1. Instead of renting an office space, try working from home. A business that’s set up remotely requires less financing than a factory setup, office, or warehouse.


  2. Freeze your spending for the time being. Hold your expenses for a set period, and try not to spend on unnecessary services and products until then.


  3. Use inexpensive or free services. You can market your business using Facebook, Instagram, and platforms like WordPress or Wix for a basic website. Services like Wrike allow you to do your accounting for free.


  4. Similarly, get cheap or free gadgets. On EquipNet, you can buy used office furniture for low prices. There are many such marketplaces available where you can access second-hand equipment for your workplace.


  5. Decipher wants from needs and only buy what you actually need for your business. Departments like manufacturing, marketing, and revenue management are non-negotiable. Hence, they’re a need.

If there’s one thing you take home from this article, let it be this: You can very well start a business with no money. Many successful entrepreneurs started small, from scratch, and then went ahead and created history. 

All you need is a passion for what you do, the drive to succeed, and enough commitment and perseverance to get you there!

Featured Best LLC Services

Northwest Registered Agent

On Northwest Registered Agent’ Website


Most Affordable
Service Time
Varies By State & Package


On IncFile’ Website


Most Comprehensive

Service Time
Varies By State & Package

Business Rocket

On Business Rocket’ Website

From $49 + State Fees
Service Time
Varies By State & Package

Frequently Asked Questions​ (FAQs)

Even if you have a business idea, the best place to start your planning is by assessing whether you have the necessary skills to launch and run a business.


When considering whether you have industry knowledge, it’s important, to be honest about your skills, talents, and abilities, as well as your strengths, limitations, and personal situation.

Since you only have to pay for goods when a customer buys, dropshipping is one of the simplest ways to launch a business without funding.

Knowing your target market will make marketing and promoting your business simpler. Younger audiences may benefit from social media, whereas B2B audiences may respond better to webinars and white papers.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top