Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our US site. Select your regional site here:
7 Min. Read

How to Start Your Own Business With No Money | Cheap Startup Ideas

How to Start Your Own Business with No Money | Cheap Startup Ideas

To start your own business with no money, you’ll need to develop a solid business plan to help you fully understand the opportunities and challenges you face and to clarify the investment and work required to get your new business off the ground.

These topics will give you actionable advice on how to start your own business with no money:

How to Start Your Own Business with No Money

What Do I Need to Start My Own Business?

What Are the Cheapest Businesses to Start?

How to Start Your Own Business With No Money

Use this checklist to learn how to launch your own business with no money:

1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

While you’re in the planning stages of launching your own business, you’ll need to be frugal and save as much money as you can to cover your upcoming business expenses. If you have a steady job, don’t leave it to focus solely on your new business idea. Instead, stay with your day job so that you can maintain a steady source of income while you get your business off the ground. You’ll work longer and harder juggling your day job and your passion project, but it will give you financial security in the early days of your new business, when expenses are high and revenues may not be.

2. Iron Out Your Business Plan

To start your own business with no money, you’ll need more than just a good idea, you’ll also need a detailed business plan to guide your work. Your business plan should include:

  • A detailed description of the industry and your specific business
  • Insights about your target audience and a market analysis
  • A competitive analysis that evaluates your competitors in the market and how your business stands apart from them
  • A development plan
  • A financial plan

3. Evaluate Your Money Needs

Even if you have a cheap startup idea, you’ll need some money upfront to launch your business. Develop a detailed estimate of the cash you’ll need to take your business idea to market, so you’ll know how much money you’ll need to raise to start your own business.

4. Network With the Right People

Go to local networking events where you can meet people in your industry to discuss ideas and get advice on launching a new business. Networking can also help you meet people who might want to invest in your business. You can also join online communities to access helpful resources and join discussions with other new business owners.

5. Get an Expert’s Opinion

It’s helpful to find a mentor who is an expert in your field and can advise you on the market and its challenges. An expert can help fill in gaps in your own knowledge and give you feedback on your ideas. Mentorship can help you avoid making costly mistakes as you start a new business since you’ll get insights from someone who has already had the opportunity to learn from similar experiences.

6. Take Out a Small Business Loan

Once you have an idea of the costs needed to start your small business, you may want to explore small business loan opportunities to help you with your funding. Discuss your options with different banks and credit unions. The Small Business Administration also offers a loan program to qualifying business owners. To qualify for its loans, you must:

  • Operate in the U.S.
  • Have invested time or money in your business
  • Qualify as a small business according to SBA guidelines
  • Operate for profit
  • Have exhausted all other financing options

Visit the SBA site to learn more about its small business loan program.

What Do I Need to Start My Own Business?

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a new business with no money, you’ll first need to understand what it takes to launch a new business:

1. A Company Name

To get the administrative process started on launching your own business, you’ll first need to choose a company name. If you don’t have the perfect business name nailed down right from the start, don’t stress. You can choose a company name for administrative purposes and then later decide on a final business name because your business can operate under a different name than your company name.

2. A Business Plan

A detailed business plan is crucial to starting a new business. It will help you plan the operations and financial model of your company and provide an analysis of both your market and the competitive landscape. Take time developing your business plan and don’t be afraid to seek the advice of experts. A solid business plan can help you avoid wasting money on needless expenses and can help you develop strategies for financial success.

3. A Business License

You’ll need to file paperwork to register your business as an LLC, partnership, or corporation. This part of the business process will cost you some money, likely at least a few hundred dollars, depending on the specific license you need. The Small Business Administration offers a helpful guide to help you choose the type of business license you’ll need and what it will cost you. You can also consult an accountant to help you with your business license.

4. A Website and Domain Name

Your business will need to secure a domain name once you’ve finalized your business name. When you’ve purchased a domain name you’ll have to develop a website to help with marketing your business. You can use a templated theme to set up a site cheaply and easily, like those offered by Squarespace or WordPress. Or, you can hire a freelance web developer to create a custom site.

5. A Business Bank Account

It’s important that you keep your business accounting separate from your personal finances and that you keep your accounts organized. Opening a business bank account will help you keep your finances separate. Do your research before opening an account so you can get the best deal for your business. Many banks offer accounts catered to small businesses that offer low or no monthly fees.

6. Equipment

You’ll have to invest in equipment to launch your new business, but it’s possible to do this cheaply. Use a home office instead of renting a dedicated office space for your company. Use your existing computer instead of investing in new hardware. There are many ways to lower your equipment and supply expenses to cut down on launch costs for your business.

What Are the Cheapest Businesses to Start?

There are many business ideas that require very little money to start, including:

1. In-Home Services

Any business that allows you to work in the homes of your clients will save you on overhead costs since you won’t need a physical office to do your work. In-home services include tutoring, nanny work, pet-sitting, and dog walking.

2. Skilled Labor

If you have specific, in-demand skills like those of a handyman or landscaper, you can start a business with low overhead costs, since you won’t be working in an office. You will need to invest in the tools of your trade, but you’ll save money by not paying for a physical establishment for your business.

3. Business Consulting

If you have senior-level professional experience in an in-demand industry, you can transfer your existing skillset and put it to work as a consultant. Many business owners and startups are happy to pay outside professionals for their expertise and your business will require few overhead expenses.

4. Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant takes very little money: you’ll just need an internet connection, a computer, and a phone. To work as a virtual assistant you’ll need to oversee scheduling, prepare reports, and perform research for your clients.

5. Micro Entrepreneurship

Micro-entrepreneurship is an inexpensive business to launch because it takes advantage of things you already have at your disposal. You can drive your car for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or rent out rooms in your home on Airbnb.