Business Finance For Beginners
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Business Finance For Beginners
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When starting a business, finding a good idea is half the battle. The other half is financing it.
A great business idea with zero capital does not mean that your entrepreneurial journey is over. There are many ways to start a business with no money. In most cases, all you need is an entrepreneurial mindset: patience, hard work, creativity and a willingness to test new things.
This guide is about how to start your own business with a minimal amount of money. The goal? If you want to start making money, later you can reinvest it in growth.
From validating your idea to making your first dollar, here’s a plan to start a business with no money.
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The first stage of starting a business is the development of an idea. If you’re not sure what that might be, here are six creative business ideas you can start with no money.
The easiest way to start a business without money is to sell your services. Even if they haven’t mastered a certain area, if you’re better than the average person at something, you can start a business that helps them. So, start by looking at the things you know how to do better than most people. Package this skill set into a service such as:
Since you don’t have capital yet, start with the things you have, such as your experience, knowledge, skills and resources that you have. These are the best investments to have when you only have $0. Kei Nishida, owner of the Japanese Green Tea Co.
Don’t rule out a service company if you don’t have a particularly strong skill set. Your time is valuable; busy people often pay an hourly rate to have someone else do tasks they don’t want (or don’t have time for). This includes jobs such as:
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Many entrepreneurs write off these small business ideas for fear of making minimum wage. But service businesses can be profitable. Some freelance writers earn six figures a year within two years of running their business. One window cleaner even hit the $250,000 mark in 12 months.
Dropshipping is a popular business model for entrepreneurs who want to start a small business with no money. Simply create an online store and choose a dropshipping provider such as DSers or AliExpress. Once the order is placed, your e-commerce platform passes the order information to your supplier. Their job is to pick, pack and ship the order to your customer.
As a master’s student, I didn’t have much disposable income, so I decided to learn how to ship. I decided to dropship on Wish because I didn’t talk as much about dropshipping to your store or to Amazon. Zaid Shahatit, founder of Fighthaus
The best part about dropshipping is that you can start with a small budget. Instead of buying inventory before it’s sold and storing those items in an expensive warehouse, sellers only charge you for the inventory when you sell it. Start with a 3-day free trial and then $5 a month with a starter plan.
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The global market for personalized products is estimated at $38 billion. Take advantage of this opportunity with a print-on-demand company, even if you don’t have the cash upfront to invest in inventory.
Print on demand is the process of private labeling products (such as bags, t-shirts or hats) and selling them to order. Providers like Printful will print your designs on inventory, ship them to the client, and bill you for their services after receiving payment from the client.
We started our print-on-demand service, starting our initial operating investment at $0. Basically we were just a website to start – to validate the idea. Katheriin Liibert, co-founder of #muhoov
Similar to dropshipping, there are minimal costs involved in setting up this type of business, as you only pay for the stock when the customer orders it. There are no storage costs to deal with using a print-on-demand model, which makes it a good option if you’re looking to start a business with $0.
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Prefer a more hands-on approach to starting a small business? Turn your hobby into a side hustle by selling handmade items through your online store or marketplaces like Etsy. This may include:
We started in a garage, buying powders on websites and getting mixing jars from wherever we could. Our first sample was hand delivered with powder in Ziploc bags and a funnel. Carl Starkey, founder of AWSM Sauce
Katrina Bell is one of the entrepreneurs who took this approach when she started a business with no money. Katrina, who now owns The Copper Bell, chose to sell candles because “they don’t have a steep learning curve, they don’t need government oversight and regulation, and they can be produced easily in larger and larger batches.”
What originally started as a fun run eventually turned into Katrina’s full-time job after she was laid off at the start of the pandemic. “Right after that, I decided to really push my business online and after a few months of full-time work, I was enjoying enormous growth,” she says. “Autumn 2020 saw a real increase in sales and I’m now running the business from a commercial production space rather than just at home.”
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Bonus: If you want to make extra money when you’re just starting out, package your handmade items in a subscription box. The consistent income you will generate from repeat orders can be reinvested in the production of new inventory, giving you start-up capital without external funding.
Most of our profits have been reinvested in inventory and advertising. We are trying to grow strong so that we don’t have to depend on external investment. Francois Mathieu, co-founder of Hojicha Co.
Digital products are something you can create and sell with just an internet connection, making them a great way to start an online business with no money.
Start by identifying an area in which you have more knowledge than the average person. Then do some research online to see what problems people are dealing with in space. Package your solution in a digital product such as:
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The beauty of digital products is that they are scalable. Create them once and sell them many times using the Digital Downloads app. It is no wonder that many entrepreneurs are using digital products as a way to generate passive income.
The word “influencer” has taken on a life of its own in the last decade. More people are making money through social media than ever before. All you need is patience, social media savvy, and interesting content to share—three things you can do for free.
Start by building your social media presence on a popular platform like Instagram or TikTok. But don’t get into the hard sell just yet. Followers can be monetized when they know, like and trust what you have to say.
Entrepreneurs have used this route to raise money for a product-based business. For example, YouTuber Emma Chamberlain started posting videos on YouTube back in 2017. She launched her first direct business, Chamberlain Coffee, to capitalize on her audience just two years later.
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A business plan is a plan for the development of your business. Your content depends on the low-cost business model you’ve chosen. But it generally includes:
Do you need help writing yours? Here’s a free business plan template with examples to help you get started.
The next stage in starting a business is choosing a name. It must be attractive, recognizable and most importantly, it must not have already been registered. Use this free business name generator for inspiration if you’re stuck.
Remember: the name you choose will serve you throughout the life of your business. Make sure it’s one you love—and can see scaling with you—to avoid headaches down the road.
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The process of starting a business from scratch has been free up to this point. While it is possible to go the $0 route, the smartest investment is an online store. Your website is a virtual home for your new business that you can use to educate potential customers about the products or services you sell.
If you’re on a tight budget, starter plans are just $5/month after a 3-day free trial. That’s a small price to pay for a sleek and professional website to help you make your first sale.
Starting a business from scratch is trial and error. Some ideas will be a hit; others will not be as popular as you first thought. Reduce risk by testing your ideas with pre-orders.
Pre-ordering works by getting money for products you haven’t made yet. It provides money upfront to invest in production, creates excitement and creates a sense of exclusivity. People go for the chance to try something new in front of a crowd.
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Remi Martins is one of the entrepreneurs who took this approach. After conception