No money? No worries. You can still start a highly profitable business.
Look, there’s TONS of different types of businesses you can start.
But there are some that REQUIRE money to get rolling and some that, well…don’t.
I’m going to show you what it takes to start a business with no money, no capital and no credit so that you can GET yourself some money (without spending any) that you can use to fund your lifestyle, invest into future businesses and even buy outrageous amounts of guacamole with.
There are 3 VERY important things you need to know if you want to start a business without a pocketful of cash, and these 3 things will make or break you so listen up.
I’m going to go over them in order and even show you some business models at the end you can begin with that don’t require capital but DEFINITELY require these 3 things, so it’s critical that you know what they are.
Ready to roll? I am. So let’s begin.
1 – YOU NEED A HIGH-INCOME SKILLSET
There’s no way around this.
If you’re getting into the game of business, you’re going to need skills. Some might even say “Mad Skills” as Napoleon Dynamite eluded to in the movie, although we’re not going to tell you to go learn computer hacking or learning how to throw ninja stars.
Actually, not that I’ve mentioned those two, they actually sound a lot more exciting than what I teach so I might just throw all this away and dive into THOSE industries.
Anyway, you’re going to need a skill because a skill can be traded for money.
And if you try to navigate the dark and violent waters of business WITHOUT skills, you’re going to get eaten by the sharks that have already been swimming there.
The cool thing about skills is that if people know you can deliver, they don’t really care about anything else.
You could have purple skin, have dropped out of college because of a meth addiction and live in your mom’s basement and if you have skills…people will hire for those skills.
Just make sure you don’t have a shit personality because that will make the whole “Getting Hired” thing much harder.
I have lots of skills now (Napoleon Dynamite voice) but I started off with ONE: graphic design.
When I was a kid, I always loved to draw stuff and make comics and whatnot and one day I discovered the almighty PHOTOSHOP.
My friend Sam who lived down the street from me called me up in a frenzy and said something to the effect of “DUDE! You’ve got to get down to my house RIGHT NOW! I just found the coolest thing EVER!”
So like all good teenagers, I threw my homework down, grabbed my skateboard and booked it to my friend’s house.
Little did I know my life would be changed FOREVER after that.
He showed me the “Liquify” tool in Adobe Photoshop, where you essentially load up a photo in the app and then can click and drag your mouse all around it to turn it into a trippy-looking tye-dye mess.
I was looking at it like how you look at the first girl you see naked: eyes wide and jaw on the floor.
The funny thing was I thought that was ALL that Photoshop DID.
I rushed home and immediately secured a copy of Adobe Photoshop by some less-than-legal means since it was a few hundred bucks and I was rocking that teenager savings account of approximately $0.
Long story short, I discovered that Photoshop did a LOT more than just blur trees into cool tye-dye images.
I figured out I could create all sorts of graphics in it…and it wasn’t too much longer until I figured out that graphics were HIGHLY in demand.
In fact, there were zillions of dollars being spent on them all the time.
A totally real number that can help you afford all the champagne and mini-giraffes you could ask for.
I found a site called “99 Designs” where a business owner would say they needed a logo, offer a hundred bucks or a few hundred bucks for the design and then a bunch of graphic designers would fight over it like dogs and cats until a winner was chosen and the owner of the contest paid the winner.
The first logo I ever did on the site was for a little real estate company in Tallahassee Florida.
I got paid $100 for the logo when I was just 15 years old and it was my first professional gig.
I would go on to win dozens of contests on the site before discovering Facebook where I could reach out to entrepreneurs with ONLINE businesses DIRECTLY and work for them without worrying about any other designers winning the prize money after putting in lots of hard work.
I learned that owners of ONLINE businesses usually needed more designs than owners of OFFLINE businesses because they were always launching something, so I quickly learned how to sell to business owners over Facebook messenger and have since pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars from just 1-on-1 conversations I had on Facebook messenger selling all kinds of things from services to digital products over the years.
That was where another skill had to be born: Selling.
But there was ALSO the skill of getting people to message me in the first place: Copywriting.
My posts I made that were selling my services had to be good.
But I couldn’t JUST be selling in my posts, I had to learn ANOTHER skill: Providing Value.
My point is, as you grow, you’re going to have to develop more skills just to stay in the game. That’s just the way it is.
If you try to just stick to one, you’re dead in the water.
The best entrepreneurs have a LOT…even if they’re not willing to admit it.
So you can definitely start a business without money but you’re going to need a SKILL you can sell…and the “Selling It” part is a skill in itself so you’ll really need to kick off with that too.
In fact, what I’d recommend is getting some kind of skill you can sell like graphic design, SEO, funnel building, running paid ads, etc. and then also building the skills of selling and copywriting so you can ALWAYS sell that skill to others.
When you scale too fast and things start to break, the cool thing is you can start using those skills for your OWN assets (running ads for affiliate offers, building your own SEO sites, etc.) and you’ll be good to go on not needing to rely on clients for every dollar that comes into your bank account.
While you’re at it, study productivity and time management. I consider those VITAL skills that will make or break you on the other ones, but they’re often very ignored by most entrepreneurs…which is why it’s no surprise that most entrepreneurs fail in an epic manner before they create even a shred of success for themselves.
2 – YOU NEED A NETWORK TO SELL THOSE SKILLS TO
So you’re good at something…big deal.
At least…not if you don’t have anyone around to SELL that something to.
When you have a skill you’re going to need to get in front of people who NEED that skill and are willing to part from their hard-earned cash in order to get it.
I’d love to tell you to run paid advertising, and you should, but if you’re this deep into a post about how to start a business with no money then you probably don’t have an extra $10K lying around to start advertising with so let’s focus on some free traffic-generation strategies to get your first customers in the door.
I started by entering a BIG marketplace where there was already a lot of traffic flowing and that was the “99 Designs” website I told you about.
That site is still around today and it has TONS of businesses hitting it looking for WORK and even more designers hitting it looking to DO the work.
It has it’s pros and it’s cons.
The big pro for me was that the work was RIGHT THERE.
I could enter a contest for free and if I beat everyone, I got paid.
The con was that I was ALWAYS competing with a bunch of other people to get my bread, which is the nature of the beast for contest-oriented sites like that one.
EVERYTHING changed for me when I started actually using Facebook for business instead of posting my highly controversial drinking photos as most do.
I realized that EVERYONE was on Facebook, and that meant business owners.
The only problem was…my profile looked terrible and I wasn’t connected to ANY of them.
I was only connected to other teenagers my age who also had no pot to piss in, so they certainly weren’t going to be throwing fistfuls of money in my direction anytime soon.
I had to change something, and that meant changing my image, changing the types of people I connected with and also changing the kinds of posts I was creating on there.
I changed the picture of me drinking shirtless (classy, right?) to one where I actually looked like a decent member of society.
I started to delete all the embarrassing pictures of myself I had polluting the profile before eventually just nuking it completely and starting a new one from scratch.
I’m not saying that’s the move you have to make but if you have too much damage to undo…might as well.
With the new profile I uploaded only the photos of me that showed me in a positive, sometimes professional light and I began my journey of building up my Facebook profile from scratch.
When you find a few online entrepreneurs on Facebook, you can find ALL of them.
I simply started adding a few and sending them some messages about how I liked their free YouTube videos they were putting out or enjoyed whatever digital product I bought from them.
Entrepreneurs face a lot of stress every day so getting compliments is something they look forward to and it can paint you as someone who they like hearing from and separate you from the masses that they don’t want contacting them with stupid comments and requests.
I realized also that entrepreneurs, myself included are very much in the “What’s In It For Me?” club, which changed the kind of content I created from RANDOM content to content with a PURPOSE…content with VALUE.
The value is what hooks them in.
You wouldn’t still be here reading this if you didn’t find this post valuable.
And if I did enough non-valuable posts in a row…you’d be gone forever…off to find ANOTHER entrepreneur who could deliver the goods.
Don’t hate that this is how the game is played.
So I learned to play it well.
After all, I had a big mission of starting a business without any money in hand, so I knew I was going to have to do something to stand out.
So I began to share value. I shared what books I was reading that were helping me.
If I watched a solid video on YouTube about personal development or business and it gave me some kind of benefit…I shared the resource and how I benefited from it out to my Facebook audience.
Whenever I came up with solutions to problems or felt like I had something to share that would help others, I posted that kind of stuff too.
And in between ALL of it…I made sales pitches.
In fact, I learned that I didn’t have to make posts that were either JUST value posts or JUST sales posts, but that I could actually add a call to action at the end of my value posts and then also make posts that were JUST the call to action and they would balance each other out.
So in the pitch part, I’d talk about how important graphic design was for businesses.
I’d show them how their competitors had designs that were making them all this money and how if they didn’t have designs that were BETTER than the competition…they’d lose marketshare to them.
I showed examples of the designs I was creating and the portfolio I was producing and after a while a funny thing started to happen…
I started getting messages from entrepreneurs asking if I could do XYZ design for them.
“Hey I like your portfolio. I need my website designed. Can you do it for me?”
No design contest to enter.
No hoard of other designers to compete with over the first project.
Just valuable posts and sales posts combining into a sweet spot that had clients reaching out to ME…but that was after I added THEM to my profile of course.
Oh and the way to add people is to just join a few entrepreneur groups and click that “Add Friend” button next to the names of entrepreneurs in there.
I now had the skill of graphic design and was building up the skillsets of selling, copywriting and even social media marketing so I could sell that ORIGINAL skill of graphic design.
Like I said, as you start swimming in these business waters, there’s going to be LOTS of skills you’ll need and you’ll either build them up over time or you’ll sink and get eaten by the sharks.
Remember, you don’t have to learn them ALL at once.
Start with one skill you can sell and then get the skill of selling itself down so you can MOVE that skill in the marketplace.
And as Uncle G would say “Keep Your Pipeline Full” so you always have fresh prospects coming in that you can sell to.
Without that part, you’re just another skilled person without anyone knowing and certainly without anyone paying you for it.
Learning how to actually sell the skill is just as important as having the skill itself…if not more.
3 – YOU WILL EVENTUALLY NEED MONEY…GET USED TO IT
Look…I get it. If you’re searching for something like how to start a business with no money, you might not have two dimes to rub together just starting out.
I was there too. I just showed you how to can get a skill for free and start selling that skill for free…essentially pulling money out of thin air like some kind of entrepreneurial magician.
But you have to face the cold, hard truth of the business world: eventually, you will need money…and LOTS of it.
If you think you can ALWAYS run a business without having any money…you’re nuts.
The truth is far from that.
As you grow…there will be things you need to spend money on.
Maybe it’s time for you to stop explaining your services to every single person that asks you about them and so you build a sales funnel that explains the service FOR you and saves you time.
Maybe you are tired of sending your designs or example links in every single 1-on-1 conversation you’re having with a prospect so you want to get a website built that showcases your entire portfolio so potential clients can see everything all at once.
Hell, just COLLECTING the money is going to cost money because when you send that invoice over PayPal for the first time…they’re going to take their cut too.
The business world costs money.
That doesn’t mean you can’t run a lean & mean business…but the truth is…you’ll eventually need more and more money as you go.
You’re going to want more time freedom as you go…and you can buy time freedom with money.
As you start to scale up you’ll be adding additional tools to your tool belt and paying skilled people to help you handle the work that you don’t want to do yourself.
At first you’ll be doing EVERYTHING by yourself, but as time goes on, there will be certain activities that are called “High-Leverage” activities that make a LOT of money and you actually enjoy doing them…and there will be “Minimum Wage Activities” that you don’t enjoy so much and are not directly tied bringing in that next sale…but still need to be done so the business doesn’t break.
You come into the game wearing EVERY hat yourself but you eventually start handing hats off to software and teammates if you’re SMART.
Trust me, it’s dumb to try to do everything yourself after a while.
It’s a recipe for burnout and hitting a glass ceiling you’ll never break through until you begin to let go of control of things like doing everything yourself, never spending money, etc.
In fact, just looking in front of me here I see a list of two dozen items I need to purchase for my business THIS WEEK including renewing my website hosting so my website stays up, renewing my email autoresponder service so I can send emails to my list, renewing my video hosting account so my videos play in my members area, buying a new external hard-drive since I built too many files for the current one, and on and on and on.
I no longer resent the ever-growing list of expenses in my business.
I welcome them and I increase my income to match them.
But I want you to have a clear understanding that the game will EVENTUALLY cost money, even if you can get away right now with not spending any and just selling services you deliver yourself to clients you find yourself via a free Facebook profile.
If you have the mentality that you never want to spend money ever in business, then I hope you got value from this post but it’s probably the last post of mine you should ever read so I wish you well.
But if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves now and follow that formula while you don’t have a big bag of bread to invest in your business but you’re willing to later because you’re a “Whatever It Takes” kind of person…then you and I will get along just fine and my future posts will act as the catalyst for your success.
Money is a part of the game…making it AND investing it.
If you got value from this post, share it on Facebook so you can be the one who delivers some value to YOUR audience and helps them out in the process.
Also be sure to click the banner below and register for my free online workshop about how to leverage YOUTUBE to be able to make as much money as you want to with your online business.
The cool thing about YouTube is that it’s free and you can literally make money on it without spending a dime and repeat the process over and over as many times as you’d like.
This post is already long so I can’t explain it in depth here but if you click that banner I’ll get you access to a free guide and online training workshop that explain the whole thing…and guess what…they’re both free to attend too.
See you on there my friend, and cheers to the start of your online business journey.
I hope it’s a great one.