Many people dream of being their own boss and starting a business of their own. But a lack of funds can prevent the dream becoming reality. Starting a business with no money seems like a daunting prospect, but it is possible.
There are many no cost or low cost ways to get yourself set up and earning self employed cash.
Our guide gives some great cheap business ideas, as well as tips on making sure you’ll be profitable, and free marketing ideas.
Can You Start a Business With No Money?
The best way to start a small business with no money is to make use of your own skills and sell your services.
Service based businesses are great opportunities. They don’t require a large outlay on stock, or taking the plunge and renting premises. This removes a lot of your business start up costs.
Keep those costs low by working from home, or with opportunities that let you make use of your own car or existing resources such as gardening tools or DIY equipment.
No Money Business Ideas
The first thing you need to do is get your thinking cap on and have a brainstorming session. Many successful businesses are started by entrepreneurs following personal passions and interests.
If you want to start a business but don’t have any ideas, grab a notepad and start listing things that might help you spot your very own gap in the market.
You should be asking “what can I do?” For example, take a look at:-
- Your skills and interests.
- Previous job roles.
- Existing resources like cars or tools.
- Any qualifications or courses you’ve gained in the past.
If you need a bit of inspiration, here’s a few businesses that can be started with no money (or very little).
8 Ideas for Service Based Businesses
It doesn’t have to be rocket science, there’s a good demand for services that don’t need a lot of qualifications or courses.
- Cleaning & Housekeeping – There’s plenty of demand for cleaning and housekeeping services. If you love to make things sparkle, this could be for you. In some areas, there are also opportunities to provide housekeeping services for holiday lets needing changeovers.
- Gardening & Maintenance – If your DIY and gardening skills are on point, then you could care for other people’s homes and gardens. Offering to do the small jobs other people struggle to find time for can be a solid way to start your business.
- Dog Walking Business – If you love dogs and spending time in the outdoors, a dog walking business can monetise your interest in canine chums. You are likely to need transport and insurance for this idea.
- Social Media Management – Use your social engagement skills to offer services managing the socials of local businesses.
- Content Writing – Content writing for blogs is big business. If you have solid writing skills, you can sell your services on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
- Make and Sell Food from Home – Love to cook? It’s possible to register your home kitchen as a food business. You can even offer takeaway via services such as Uber Eats.
- Start a Cake Making Business – Similarly to cooking meals, there’s a lot of demand for delicious home baked goods. You can sell on social media, or do markets. Birthday & celebration cakes are popular too.
- Join the Gig Economy – if you have a car, you can take on work from Deliveroo or become an Uber driver.
Make a Business Plan
It’s important to understand from the outset how you’ll make money, and if your business will be profitable. To do this, you’ll need to understand your ongoing costs before you get started.
This will let you strike a balance between keeping your pricing competitive, and making sure your new business is profitable.
Common Business Expenses to Consider
Although you can start a business with little to no money, there are ongoing expenses to consider. These will need to be considered before you get started.
Common business expenses you should try to work out:-
- Car or van fuel.
- Any consumables you’ll need to service your business. For example, a cleaner would need to buy cleaning materials.
- Additional electricity and heating costs if your business is home based.
- Public liability or other insurance.
Deciding How Much to Charge
Many new businesses make the mistake of trying to undercut or price match the competition when they start out. This can be a one way road to failure.
It is normal for a business to take a while to make a profit, but you need to bake in your profits from the start. Make sure you understand your own expenses before setting your rates.
Understand Your Market
If you find you can’t compete on price alone, try to find another way to make your business stand out.
- Identify a service that similar businesses do not offer, which there is local demand for. You can research this amongst family and friends, or by asking questions on local social media groups. Ask potential customers what they might want.
- Look at ways to make your customer service stand out. Offer extras and personal touches that others don’t. Customer loyalty is a huge driver of profitability for businesses everywhere.
Free Marketing Ideas for Your Business
Marketing a business you’ve started with no money, also means you have no cash to spend on advertising. So how can you get the word out on your new start up without any budget?
- Facebook – Set up your own Facebook page and promote your services. Hit all the local pages in your area and advertise your services.
- Leaflets – If you have a computer and printer you can make up some flyers and deliver them to households. Online services such as Canva have great and free to use templates that will create a professional image.
- Supermarket & Community Notice Boards – There are still plenty of people who take an interest in notice boards. This could be particularly effective if many of your potential clients are elderly people who may not be online.
- Word of Mouth – Think about who you know that might know of someone who needs your services. Ask them to recommend you. Also make sure you give your friends and family some leaflets and ask them to pass them on to anyone they know that might need the services of your new business.
- Add your business to Google Business – If you don’t have a website, you can use your Facebook page to register and start generating free business leads. This can also be a place for customers to leave reviews, recommending your skills to others. Remember to ask happy customers to leave a good review to help support your new business.
You can start a dropshipping business without any outlay. You only pay for the product after you have sold it. However, in most cases you’ll need a website to sell your products. This can be done easily through services such as Shopify. It is not free, but offers a free trial, and minimal monthly pricing when you start trading.
Business set up is relatively easy. Every business has different requirements, but the basics are to register as self employed with HMRC, or set up a limited company. Then you’ll need an appropriate bank account, and possibly public liability insurance. You may also have to register with your local council if you’re selling food.