6 Creative Ways to Start a Business With No Money in 2022

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When starting a business, finding a good idea is half the battle. The other half is funding it. 

Even if you have a successful business idea but no money to start it, you can still become an entrepreneur. There are numerous ways to launch a business without any funding. Most of the time, all you require is an entrepreneurial attitude, which includes perseverance, diligence, inventiveness, and a willingness to try new things.

This guide shares how to bootstrap your own business with minimal cash. The goal? To start making money you can later reinvest into growth. 

How to start a business with no money

  1. Find a free business idea
  2. Write a business plan
  3. Choose a business name
  4. Launch a website
  5. Validate ideas with preorders
  6. Source funding to grow 

From validating your idea to making your first dollar, here’s the blueprint to starting a business with no money. 

1. Find a free business idea

The creation of a concept is the first step in launching a business. Here are six innovative company concepts that you may launch without any money if you’re unsure of what that might be.

Sell your services

Selling your services is the fastest way to launch a business without any capital. Being better than the typical person at something allows you to create a business that benefits them, even if you haven’t fully mastered it. Start by focusing on the skills you possess that set you apart from the majority of individuals. Publish the skill set as a service, like:

  • Freelance writing
  • Virtual assistant
  • Social media marketing 
  • Handyman services

Start with what you already have, such as your experience, knowledge, talents, and resources you possess, as you don’t yet have the necessary funding. When you have nothing, these are the investments you should make. Owner of the Japanese Green Tea Co., Kei Nishida

If you don’t have a particularly strong set of abilities, don’t discount starting a service firm. Your time is valuable, which is why busy people frequently pay hourly fees to others to complete jobs they don’t want to (or don’t have time to) complete. This includes positions such as:

  • Cleaning
  • House or pet sitting
  • Dog walking
  • Personal shopping
  • Car washing

Because they worry about making minimum wage, many business owners disregard these small business ideas. However, service-based enterprises can be quite successful. Some independent authors reach six figures in income within the first two years of operation. One window cleaner even reached the $250,000 milestone in less than a year.


For entrepreneurs wishing to launch a small business with no money, dropshipping is a common business concept. Simply set up an online store and select USers or AliExpress as your dropshipping vendor. Your e-commerce platform will send the order details to your provider after a purchase is made. Picking, packing, and shipping the order to your buyer is their responsibility.

I chose to learn how to dropship because I didn’t really have any extra money while pursuing my master’s degree. Since Wish wasn’t mentioned as much as dropshipping into Amazon or your own store, I chose to do it there. Fighthaus’s creator, Zaid Shahatit

Dropshipping’s biggest feature is that you can get started on a very small budget. Vendors will only charge you for merchandise when you sell it rather than purchasing it in advance and keeping it in a pricey warehouse. Shopify’s starter package lets you get going for just $5 per month.

Print on demand

According to estimates, the global market for customised goods is approximately $38 billion. Profit from that chance by starting a print-on-demand company, even if you lack the funds up front to invest in inventory.

Private labelling merchandise (such t-shirts, caps, or tote bags) and selling it on a per-order basis is known as print on demand. Suppliers such as Printful will print your designs on stock, mail it to the consumer, and bill you for their services when you’ve received payment from the customer.

We began by offering a print-on-demand service, which required no initial operating investment. We were essentially just a website to test the concept with at first. —Katheriin Liibert, co-founder of the hashtag #muhoov
Similar to dropshipping, there aren’t many expenses involved in launching a business of this nature because you only have to pay for goods when a consumer orders it. If you want to start a firm with nothing, the print-on-demand approach is a good choice because there are no storage expenses to worry about.

Sell handcrafted goods

Prefer a small business startup strategy that is more hands-on? By selling homemade items through your online store or marketplaces like Etsy, you may turn your pastime into a side business. This may consist of:

  • Artwork
  • Crafts 
  • Jewellery
  • Skin care 
  • Woodworking projects

“We began in a garage, obtaining mixing jars from various sources and purchasing powders from websites. Our initial sample was delivered by hand along with a funnel and powder in Ziploc bags. Carl Starkey, the man who started AWESOME Sauce

One businesswoman who used this strategy when launching a company on the cheap is Katrina Bell. Since candles “do not have a high learning curve, do not require any government control and regulation, and can simply be created in larger and larger batches,” Katrina, who is now the owner of The Copper Bell, decided to sell them.

After getting fired at the beginning of the epidemic, Katrina’s fun side business gradually evolved into her full-time employment. After that, she says, “I made the decision to truly push my business online with Shopify and, after a few months of full-time labour, achieved significant growth.” The business is now run out of a professional production area rather than merely my home because “sales really took off in fall 2020.”

Bonus:When you’re first starting out, package your handcrafted goods into a subscription box to earn extra money. Recurring revenue from repeat customers can be invested in the creation of new goods, providing you with startup money without the need for outside financing.

  • “The majority of our profits have been put back into inventory and marketing. We’re attempting to expand at a healthy rate to avoid needing outside capital. Hojicha Co. co-founder Francois Mathieu

Further reading:

  • The Business of DIY: 16 Things to Make and Sell Online
  • Etsy Alternatives: 9 Online Marketplaces and Website Builders for Makers
  • How This Direct-to-Consumer Brand Disrupted the Handcrafted Footwear Industry

Sell digital products

Digital items are a great method to launch an online business without any money because you can make and sell them with just an internet connection.

Find a topic where you are an expert compared to the typical person to start. Then, conduct some web research to discover the issues locals are facing. Create a digital product out of your solution, such as:

  • Ebooks
  • Online courses 
  • Worksheets or templates

The appeal of digital goods is their scalability. With the help of the Digital Downloads app on Shopify, you may create them once and sell them numerous times. It makes sense that so many business owners use digital items to generate passive revenue.

Become a social media influencer

Over the past ten years, the term “influencer” has gained a life of its own. More people than ever before are earning money through social media. The only things needed are perseverance, social media know-how, and compelling information to share—all three of which can be done for nothing.

Begin by developing your social media presence on a well-known website, such Instagram or TikTok. But hold off on making a hard pitch just yet. When people know, like, and trust what you have to say, followers may be made profitable.

That leads to opportunities later down the line to make money through:

  • Affiliate marketing. Promote products from your favourite brands and earn a percentage commission when your followers buy it. 
  • Blogging. Sell advertising space, post sponsored content, and promote digital products through your blog.
  • Selling merchandise. Add your brand name, logo, or catchphrase to merchandise. Loyal followers will pay to wear it. 

This method has been employed by business owners to raise capital for product-based enterprises. For instance, YouTuber Emma Chamberlain began uploading videos to the platform back in 2017. Just two years later, she founded Chamberlain Coffee, her first direct-to-consumer business, to capitalise on her fanbase.

2. Write a business plan

The strategy for how you’ll expand your business is laid out in a business plan. The low-cost company model you’ve chosen will determine what’s in yours. However, in general, it contains:

  • Company description. An overview of the company you’re about to start, including the business model and legal structure. 
  • Market research.Include demographic information shared by your target market. Will you, for instance, sell to consumers directly or through wholesalers? How does this product compare to its rivals?
  • Products and service. You’ll make money by selling one of these. Explain what the product or service is and why people will buy it.
  • Marketing strategy.Describe your plan for promoting your company to your target audience, whether it be through email marketing, social media, or other channels.
  • Logistics and operations plan.How do you plan to get your good or service into the hands of the people who will pay for it? This might be dropshipping vendors, outside logistics providers, or even your own label printing.
  • Financial plan.Describe your plans for earning (and spending) money. Include a balance sheet, cash flow estimates, a list of your costs and expenses, and your financial needs.

Need help writing yours? Here’s a free business plan template, complete with examples, to help you get started.

Wondering how to structure your business? See our guides on:

  • LLCs
  • C corps
  • S Corps
  • B Corps
  • Sole proprietor

3. Choose a business name

Choosing a name is the next step in launching a business. This must be memorable, easily remembered, and most essential, unclaimed. If you’re stuck, use our free business name generator to find some inspiration.

Keep in mind that the name you select will represent your company for its whole existence. To prevent future problems, choose someone you love and who can scale with you.
Once you’ve located yours, protect internet properties that correspond to the company name, such as:

  • The domain name, such as BRAND.com
  • Social media handles, such as facebook.com/BRAND

4. Launch a website 

Up until now, the procedure for launching a brand-new firm has been free. While it is feasible to stay on the path of spending nothing, opening an internet store is the best investment you can make. Your website serves as the online headquarters for your new company, and you may use it to inform visitors about the goods and services you offer.

If money is really tight for you, the 14-day free trial for the $5 per month Shopify Starter plans is available without requiring a credit card. That is a tiny sum to pay for a sophisticated, expert website that will aid in the closing of your first transaction.

5. Validate ideas with preorders

A new business requires a lot of trial and error. Some concepts will be well-received, while others may not be as well-liked as you initially believed. Test your ideas using preorders to reduce risk.

Pre-ordering works by taking money for items you haven’t yet produced. It provides cash upfront for you to invest into production, builds hype, and creates a sense of exclusivity. People buy into the opportunity to try something new before the crowd. 

One entrepreneur that used this strategy is Remi Martins. Remi created an Instagram page to showcase the products she wanted to sell after coming up with the idea for Natural Girl Wigs while holding down a full-time job: “This is how I got feedback that people are interested in the product and there was a market for wigs specifically made for natural-hair lovers.”

With a hairstylist who “agreed to produce it with the prospect of getting compensated if someone orders the product,” Remi decided to go the preorder way and manufacture the product. Remi then conducted an iPhone picture session and uploaded the results to the newly created Instagram account.

“The first sale arrived, followed by the second. Using orders from clients and their money to create the products is how we sold 50 items in the first 60 days of our business, according to Remi. I finally put $1,000 into the company to buy inventory and spend money on marketing.

6. Source funding to grow

If you want to establish a business but lack the capital, you’ll probably need to commit a lot of time and effort or get support from a network of people. And even if you are fortunate to commence with little money, you will eventually require investment if you want to grow.

“We decided to pool the money we had saved from our retail consulting firm over the previous eight to ten years because we were so confident in the items. We made the decision to commit fully, and we haven’t looked back since. The initial batch of items and social media marketing were developed and produced with the help of this funding. —Bindu Sharma, the company’s creator.

According to research, 29% of small firms fail because they are cash-strapped. Some business owners want starting capital—additional funds they can use to invest in goods, marketing, or recruiting their first employee—in order to survive and prosper.Options to fund your new business venture include:

Crowdfunding. With this kind of fund raising, many people contribute modest sums of money. Encourage the general public to invest in start-up companies via websites like Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, and SeedInvest. As compensation for their investment, so-called “backers” receive benefits like shares or early access to products.

  • Friends and family loans.Have you got a personal network of supporters who can back up your new business concept? Request them financial support for your startup. For a larger return (with interest) or a smaller equity investment, the majority of contributors will pitch in. 
  • Small business loans.Obtain greater sums of money from a lender, such as Shopify Capital, to use for marketing, funding for inventory, or payroll. Keep in mind that loans are only a possibility if you begin to experience success. Before being approved, you’ll probably need to provide documentation of your income, which shows that you have the means to repay the loan.
  • Capital investors.These take the shape of venture capitalists or angel investors. Both offer cash in return for an equity position in small firms. (Consider deals from Shark Tank.)
  • Small business grants. Small firms receive these big sums of money only once. Although there are severe requirements you must complete before obtaining any money, the majority don’t require repayment. The grant’s use may also be restricted by some issuers.

“In 2019, my sister and I obtained a 0% APR business credit card from Chase Bank and launched our Shopify ecommerce company, everlur. It had a $12,000 credit limit. We used that money to cover our startup expenses, such as forming an LLC, registering a domain, hosting a website, purchasing our Shopify theme, recurring fees, designing our logo, packaging, procuring raw materials, manufacturing our product, and conducting marketing. Within the first year of operation, we slowly wiped off our credit card debt. Everlur co-founder Shokuh Hatch

A beginner’s DSLR camera that was a gift to Alicia Ho when she first started her photography business, Precious Ones Photography, she “had passion and a real interest in photographing my own children with a beginner’s DSLR camera.” After that, my friends and relatives started to notice my work, so I started taking on clients and earning a little bit of money.

When Alicia finally “felt it was time to take my business to the next level,” she reached a turning point. She thus discovered a local non-profit offering loans and scholarships to budding businesspeople. The finest move for her firm was getting a $10,000 loan and being accepted into a two-year mentorship program, she claims.

Start a Business With No Money