5 ways to start a business with no money

Written by Jarka Kunova

Jarka is an Online Business Manager, Business Coach and Digital Creative supporting service based online businesses, SMEs and startups. She brings her practical, human centred and innovative approach to every project and enjoys working in an agile way. Jarka loves writing, photography and travel and she regularly volunteers with Lifeline helping combat social isolation for the elderly.
December 15, 2018

I know what you are thinking – starting a business without money is impossible! What if I told you it’s one of the biggest myths about business building. It’s also one of the main reasons why people just never give their business idea a go.

I am only listing 5 ways to start a business with no money today but of course there are so many different types of businesses that you could start. Some will start earning you money straight away, some you might have to keep building for a few weeks or months before they start generating revenue.

Why start a business?

Being in business isn’t for everyone but I am yet to meet a person who wouldn’t want to earn more money and create more freedom in their lives. You don’t have to quit your job and dive head first into your own business without having a slightest idea what it entails but you could most definitely start your research and experimentation now.

Most people I know started their business ventures as a side hustle. Even super famous and successful online entrepreneurs like Patt Flynn and Amy Porterfield built their businesses alongside of their full time jobs initially. How on earth is that feasible, you might ask? When you arrive at that winning idea or you might already have a passion or hobby that you spend a lot of time thinking about or doing, it becomes easier than you think to turn it into a business.

When I started my blog 4 years ago, I remember working on it most of my weekends and many of the evenings after I came home from work. It was fun and I felt not only exhilarated by creating something that was my own but at the same time  also challenged to learn about the online world as I was navigating blogging.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

If your idea is super grand and would require someone else to help you out or you would need to invest a lot of money upfront, try pivoting it to a so called ‘minimum viable product or service’. I usually take my coaching clients through the lean canvas model (graphic below) that helps them simplify and get started with no money and very little time invested.

Most people dream super big, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they tend to overcomplicate how the execution of their idea could take place. It’s usually at this stage where overwhelm and anxiety come in. All the more reason to yet again remember that starting small and breaking down your goals into bite size chunks is the winning approach to starting. 

What business can I start?

I am glad you asked and I will list 5 ways to start a business with no money shortly but before we jump into it, I’d like to emphasise the following:

  • I would encourage you to start a business based on your current skillset
  • Create something that won’t feel like a hard slog every day (after all, you don’t want to create another ‘job’ that you hate, right?)
  • Get your mindset into a good place. Business building isn’t easy and most people give up in their first year. You need to love the process and everything that comes with it, otherwise you won’t last the distance
  • Don’t expect millions of dollars rolling into your bank account overnight. Building a business is a long game and requires persistence

5 ways to start a business with no money


It’s one of the quickest ways to start showcasing what you know, how you think, what you care about and ultimately how you can help. It’s how my business started and I know a number of other online entrepreneurs that kicked off their business ventures by starting a blog.

You don’t need to be a superb writer, you just need to have an interest that you like writing about or showcasing. Whether that’s travel blogging, personal development or sharing your photos or art, blogging is a way of reaching an audience that will ‘vibe with you’. What I loved about my journey with blogging is the way it organically morphed into my coaching business.

I used to write about my life and what’s been unfolding for me during some difficult times. I loved sharing the learnings, how I overcame the impossible situations and it resonated with those who were experiencing something similar. It only took one person to reach out and hire me as their coach and I had a business. One of the best things about blogging is that you can do it alongside your job and earn extra income. There are a number of ways how to monetise blogging – check out a few tips here.

Virtual assistant

Online based businesses are popping up left right and centre and more and more businesses are looking for help with their online based tasks. This could be anything from general admin such as email and phone call management to customer service, sales calls and social media amongst many others.

One thing to look out for is determining what specific area you would specialise in. As the saying goes, you can’t be everything to everyone, so try not to position yourself like that but rather pick something that is aligned with your skillset and interest and package it up so it’s likely to add value to the audience you are trying to reach.

I have a wonderful VA who helps me with my Pinterest strategy and the added bonus is that we get along first and foremost as human beings. It makes working together super aligned.

Graphic design services

Anything creative that involves the use of tools like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Lightroom would be in high demand for business owners who are not natural at design and branding. If you think this comes easy to you, even if you start out in a program like Canva first (which is free), then you’ve got graphic design skills that you can sell and get paid for.

Some of my friends who work for agencies or larger corporations in a creative role would be using these tools day in, day out and often they have clients ‘on the side’ who need help with smaller or larger chunks of work such as website rebranding or social media images.

Graphic design is one of the most in demand services for businesses and no doubt if you asked around in your existing network whether someone needed help, you would find at least one person you could offer up your services to.

Website design services

It goes without saying that businesses need to have a web presence, which is more often than not a website. If you are quite tech savvy and you’ve built a website or two before, then this could very well be a viable option for you.  

There will always be business owners who can’t afford the services of well established web design businesses, which is where you could position yourself with more reasonable rates and quicker turnaround times. Creating a point of difference through your offering, such as a specific niche or a special service add on could get you through the door.

Online coaching

It’s only fitting that I wrap up my 5 ways to start a business with no money by mentioning online coaching as a viable option. It worked for me and for so many of my fellow coaches. If I look back at my corporate career, I’ve been coaching individuals and teams for decades and always loved it. I just never thought that coaching on its own can be a viable business.

It absolutely is and so needed in this world. My coaching beginnings were very humble and simple without any study or certification but as my business grew, I decided to invest into getting certified as a life coach and up-skill so my offers can diversify.

But make no mistake, I started with $0, no website or services and all that alongside of my 9-5 job. It’s for that reason I advocate starting side hustles as it’s very low risk and you can experiment freely without having any deadlines or pressures. If you are interested to read my ‘side hustle to main hustle’ story, I’ve got a free eBook for you that you can download here.

Are you going to start?

I’d love to know whether this article has sparked your curiosity about starting a business. I’d be interested to hear your business ideas in the comments. And if you’ve been thinking about building a business in 2019 and you’d need help from a coach, please get in touch. I am taking bookings for 2019 now and would love to support you. 

Until next time, 

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