Being your own boss, working on your own terms, calling the shots- if you are like most Americans, then entrepreneurship is probably your goal.
But as lucrative as it sounds, it can be incredibly difficult.
How difficult? Only 10 percent of startups succeed.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs are always on edge and encounter more day-to-day stress. Basically, when you are responsible for everything, every mishap affects you personally.
How to become an entrepreneur with no money? Check out the below 17 tips to become an entrepreneur with no money:
- Don’t quit your day job
- Stick to your area of expertise
- Do everything on your own
- Provide a service
- Create a website
- Spread word about your business
- Seek assistance
- Trade off
- Connect with a mastermind group
- Invent and license something
- Partner with another entrepreneur
- Look for a co-founder with money
- Get paid upfront
- Credit line
- Advertise for free
- Avoid pyramid schemes!
However, most people end up shelving their entrepreneurship dream because they cannot raise the money to fund it. However, this shouldn’t be the case. There are multiple ways to source for funds, so money shouldn’t be an excuse.
How to Become an Entrepreneur with No Money
If you are bent on starting a business but don’t have the money, here’s how to become an entrepreneur with no money:
1. Don’t quit your day job
Starting a business is a risky venture. Starting one without any money is even riskier. Don’t put your family’s financial well-being in jeopardy. The longer you stay at your job, the less pressure you’ll experience.
Before you launch your business, you shouldn’t be quick to walk away from a constant paycheck. It’s true you might be motivated to work harder, but you also want to be paying your bills even as you grow your business.
Once the business is established and is generating revenue, you can think of how you will transition from your job.
2. Stick to your area of expertise
Leverage your passion and experiences. Instead of venturing into a niche that is not in your comfort zone, stick to an area that you know.
Establish your business on your knowledge and skills. It’s possible to pick up new skills, but it might take time. If you want your business to grow quickly, you want to focus on what you can do at the moment and not years later.
Furthermore, picking up new skills might demand more time plus additional expenses. You might have to buy courses, pay consultants, get licenses, etc.
Setting up a business in your field will give you the confidence you need as an entrepreneur.
Also. check out, How much money do I need to quit my job and start a business?
3. Do everything on your own
Becoming an entrepreneur with no money entails learning to do things that you’d otherwise delegate to employees or an outside company. It might be exhausting to wear all the hats, but you just don’t have the money to hire help.
Doing all the work by yourself will pump every dollar back into your startup. It might be tough, but it’s a sure way to grow a cash reserve when you want to become an entrepreneur with no money.
4. Provide a service
A good example of a business that allows you to hit the ground running without money is a service business. All it demands from you is the determination to go knocking on doors making sales.
Even if your ultimate goal is owning a product business, running a service business will help you reach there. Leverage the service business to bankroll your dream business.
5. Create a website
If you offer any kind of service, having a digital presence will bring you more clients and make you seem professional. Websites can be created with minimal skills and little to no cost.
There are thousands of impressive website templates to be found online for free that can power your business website in a matter of hours.
It’s crucial that you get a professional domain name for the website, that is, the name of your business or your name.
If you can’t come up with a domain name, you can use a domain name generator to come up with ideas and then register the domain.
6. Spread word about your business
Becoming an entrepreneur with no money means you’ll have to put in the effort to make your business known. Don’t keep your business to yourself. Tell everyone who matters about it. Call your friends. Tell it to your family members. Make it public,
Marketing your business to people will come in handy in several ways. One, it will motivate you to keep at it. Two, it will bring in your first customers. The people in your circle might be the bridge to some valuable introductions.
Check out, Top 10 most successful businesses to start.
7. Seek assistance
If you want to become an entrepreneur with no money but don’t know how to go about, fret not. It’s time to ask for help. No way are you going to make it alone.
In fact, if you are starting a business without money, you’ll require all hands on deck.
For this reason, reach out to other business owners in your area. Chances are, they launched their businesses with limited or no funds. When you ask for assistance, you benefit in the following ways:
- Some of these people might be entrepreneurs who could advise you on some areas about launching a business with no money.
- You might find a co-founder. When you start a business with a knowledgeable co-founder, you are more likely to succeed.
- A family member, coworker, or friend might teach you important skills that you don’t have
- You might get free office space
You may also like, How Does Google Support Entrepreneurship in the USA?
8. Trade off
If you are to become an entrepreneur with no money, bartering will greatly benefit you. Trade-off your own skills for services, products, equipment, or office space that you need but can’t pay for. Additionally, trading off is great for networking.
9. Connect with a mastermind group
Starting or joining a mastermind group can help save money in the long term. It gives you the opportunity to learn from others. And instead of spending money on consultants or experts, you interact and get valuable information from other entrepreneurs.
Although most mastermind groups require money, you can start one for free. Look for entrepreneurs who are at a similar level in business. If you’re just starting out, don’t go looking for business veterans.
When in your beginning stages, reach out to others who are interested in starting businesses and those that have been at it for at least two years. That way, your membership will be diversified and will be interesting for each person.
It’s an added advantage if you’re from the same location, but you can also build virtual mastermind groups and connect through Zoom or Skype. Here are some of the benefits of mastermind groups:
- You get and give support from people with the same goals and ambitions. The life of an entrepreneur can be quite lonely. Get support from others.
- You learn from people that had similar business challenges to yours.
- You get different perspectives.
- Your network grows immensely. The group’s network eventually becomes your network.
- You can seek for assistance with problems that you might face
- Fellow group members keep you accountable
10. Invent and license something
If you are good at inventing, you could license a patent to a company. In licensing deals, you receive a percentage of sales. The best avenue to license your inventions is to find manufacturers. This is known as licensing your patent rights.
Start off by making a list of manufacturers. Look for those that make products in your target area. Don’t settle for a few manufacturers. Identify over 20 manufacturers.
How do you find them?
You can find them through online research, networking, looking at product packaging, and attending trade shows. Also, libraries are wonderful resources to find manufacturers.
Once you have a comprehensive list, reach out to them with a short message outlining your invention. Provide sufficient information to spike interest, but don’t bog them down with data. LinkedIn is a great platform to find the right contact persons.
Before you get into negotiations, consult with a licensing attorney. Eventually, the licensing agreement will have details on upfront payments, percentages, infringement issues, and exclusivity clauses. You might lose a great deal by going into an agreement without legal help.
11. Partner with another entrepreneur
There are many businesses that are established by solopreneurs who are later overwhelmed. Some entrepreneurs might want you to buy your stake of the business partnership, but you can get into some partnerships with little or no money.
You can also find a business whose owner is going on retirement. You can also partner with an entrepreneur who is either overwhelmed or is burned out.
12. Look for a co-founder with money
Many lucrative businesses were established by two or more founders. With two founders, you improve your chances of success.
Look for people in your circle who are looking for a co-founder. Partner with somebody you trust. It is no different from getting married. Some of the avenues to find potential cofounders include:
- Family, friends, and colleagues
- Classmates from high school and college
- Former coworkers
- Business meetups
- Networking events for local startups
- Former business partners
- Partnering with a customer
13. Get paid upfront
When you become an entrepreneur with no money, it’s important that you get paid fast. Getting paid upfront will help with cash flow. Late and slow payment will hurt your enterprise greatly.
Here’s how to get paid quickly:
- Request for at least 50 percent payment upfront
- Offer incentives for early payments
- If the clients are local, meet them in person
- Email invoices weekly
- Request your customers to make payments via electronic bank transfer or credit card
- Cut ties with chronic late payers.
- Establish automatic payment
You may like, How to Overcome Entrepreneurship Failure (8 Ways)
14. Credit line
Most businesses are usually bankrolled by lines of credit. You might result in a credit card to aid you with cash flow. The rule of thumb is that it is not a substitute for revenue.
Use it only as a short-term measure, not as a substitute for generating enough money to meet your bills.
At a time when only 2 percent of business plans are approved by VCs and investors, crowdfunding is a good alternative for entrepreneurs.
Crowdfunding demands a lot of dedication and effort, but is a good option, particularly for consumer product businesses. What makes crowdfunding appealing is that you get access to capital without surrendering equity.
Here are some quick benefits of crowdfunding to businesses:
- It is free.
- It lowers your financial risk.
- You acquire capital fast.
- Allows you to pre-sell.
- Is easier than angel investment.
- Crowdfunding doubles up as a marketing tool
- Your investors can give valuable information on improving your product.
- It grows a loyal following.
- It offers free PR
Some popular crowdfunding sites include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, GoGetFunding, and FundRazr.
16. Advertise for free
To get more customers through your door, you should be willing to put in the effort. There are a number of ways that you can market your business for no money. However, for free advertising, you have to exchange with sweat equity.
Here are some free advertising options:
- Write guest blog posts for established blogs. You will get a backlick to your own site.
- Set up a Google MyBusiness account.
- List your business in free directories affiliated to your niche.
- Offer a free evaluation or introductory free consultation.
- Hold an event. Find sponsors to meet your costs.
- Set up a Facebook Fan Page.
- Join forums where your clients frequent.
- Network and get free word-of-mouth marketing.
- Ask for referrals from your family, friends, and people in your circle.
- Promote your business through social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Build an email list.
- Write an eBook and leverage it as a promotional gift item.
- Educate yourself on SEO and use it to bring traffic to your site.
- Post ads on Craigslist.
17. Avoid pyramid schemes!
There are numerous “get-rich-quick schemes” both on the internet and offline. They offer you everything you want to hear. Quick and easy cash without breaking a sweat.
Well, this doesn’t exist. You can become an entrepreneur with no money but no way are you going to pass on hard work, patience, and strategic thinking.
Don’t buy into ideas of overnight success. These are usually myths. Believing in these stories will most likely hurt your chances of success. Know that most businesses take years of hard work before they take off.
You may like:
- 10 Difference Between an Entrepreneur and an Intrapreneur
- Top 10 Trends and opportunities in technology entrepreneurship
- Founder vs co founder
Capital should not be a hindrance to your entrepreneurship dream. As you have seen, it is possible to become an entrepreneur with no money. It is possible to set up a service business with no capital and manage to make money. There are also ways to get funding without having to trade equity.
Bijay is an entrepreneur and start-up founder having more than 14 years of IT industry experience. He is the co-founder of TSInfo Technologies, a SharePoint development company.
A dedicated professional and very passionate about public speaking and also wrote thousands of technical blogs in various technologies. He also wrote a lots of blogs on entrepreneurship, investment, startup, business, manage money tips, etc.