There are a couple different options to start a business if you have no money. The best option is to offer services that don’t require any additional costs for you to provide. What skills, software, or tools do you already have that allow you to offer a service for free? For example, if you already own a dog, maybe you can start an at-home pet sitting business. Or if you already possess design-related skills, maybe you can make graphics for a small business’ social media posts.
There are plenty of compelling reasons to want the flexibility that working from home—and starting your own home-based business—can offer. If a change in lifestyle is what you’re after, then you’ll want to take a close look at your skills and interests to figure out which fields fit you best. Whether it’s an online home based business or something more traditional, you’ll likely find something that resonates with you.
Another option to start a business with no money is by running a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding allows you to presell products before making them. For example, if you wanted to start an at-home bakery, but need to raise $3,000 for equipment, you could presell baked goods on a platform, like Kickstarter, to raise funds. Before starting a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to have a network of potential customers who are interested in buying your products.
Since your home business is new, you need to market it to let potential customers know it exists. Additionally, your marketing efforts should help customers understand how your product or service is different from or better than your competitors. Speak directly to your potential customers’ pain points to win them over and convince them to do business with you.
Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida. Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.
A friend in Boston made a living doing this. He had lived in the Netherlands and was fluent in Dutch. He contacted companies who sent people to the Netherlands to work and live, and offered to provide not just his language expertise but important information on Dutch culture and living in the country. It worked. If you’re from or have lived in another country, consider channeling not just your language but your cultural expertise into a new career.
Your host is where your website lives — it stores all of your website files and displays them to visitors around the world. Your host has a big impact on your website’s security and speed — a great place to start is the WordPress.com eCommerce hosting plan, which includes everything you need for an online store. For other options and price points, take a look at our full list of recommended hosting solutions.
Instagram isn’t the only platform that can make you money. YouTube is becoming a full-time video blogger platform. One of the fastest, most efficient ways to grow an audience is to create a YouTube channel and make engaging videos that provide value to your audience. You can create craft or cooking tutorials, conduct interviews, or use whiteboards videos to teach lessons about a topic.
In my experience, one of the greatest challenges people face is deciding why they are starting a business, what they hope to accomplish and what they really want to do. Starting a business, particularly from home, sounds glamorous and free but, in reality, it can put a strain on home life if not done right. People I talk to often need help decision-making which is an essential quality in running a business.
The research and thinking that you do as you work through the business plan will help you refine your business idea and plan for how you will successfully launch yourself into your market without costly real-world trial and error. If your business plan shows you that your idea isn't viable, don't be afraid to shelve it, choose another home-based business idea, and go through the process again.
Figure out if you need additional insurance. Visit with your local insurance agent to determine if you are in need of any special insurance for your home based business. When you start a home based business, you immediately start exposing yourself, your family and your home to variety of risks and you want to make sure you are covered before it is too late.
Assess your financing needs. While starting a business from home can be more affordable than starting a traditional business, you will still need money to get started. As you form your home business idea, think about how much money you will need to buy inventory, buy your production equipment, or cover any other initial costs. If you don't have a lot in savings, you can also get a business loan to get started, but this would mean qualifying for and then subsequently being responsible for a loan, which can be difficult for a new business. Consider your financing options carefully as you set up your home business.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important.
A great way to test your business idea without spending a lot of money is to run a crowdfunding campaign. This is preselling a product before you’re ready to deliver it so you can raise money to create it. Crowdfunding is a great way to determine if there is a market for your product. Typically, a crowdfunding platform charges a 5% fee of the total amount raised plus a 3% transaction fee.