How to Start A Business Without Money

Start Business with No Money

How to start a business with no money? (scroll below for video)

You have this wonderful idea for a business.

You get excited. You work out the details. “Oh, this is going to be it.” 

You are already deciding how to spend the profits; travel to that beautiful location, buy the awesome gadget – you even write down the percentage you’ll be giving to charity.

Then reality hits. You realize that you would need X amount of money. You don’t have it. You can hear the noise of your dreams deflating. Your plans laid to waste.

You are back to dreaming, back to waiting.

You do this often enough and this becomes a habit. Now every time an idea about a business comes, you know how it’s going to end; I have no money, I can not start. The vicious cycle of dreams remaining dreams begins.

But there is a way you can start a business with no money.

How Businesses Start

First understand how businesses start. They do not start because of money.

Just ask any banker and you will be surprised at the amount of money just lying around. That money is lying around because it is waiting for an idea.

A business starts not because the investors had oodles of cash. It starts primarily because some entrepreneur – like you – had an idea.

So a business is based on an idea. You still need to do lots and lots of work to transform that idea into a business. But the bottom line is that having money is not the deciding factor when it comes to starting a business.

Then why did you kill your ideas because of lack of money?

That is because you were being a bad entrepreneur.

Don’t be a Bad Entrepreneur

I have started numerous projects. Some required large upfront capital (large for me at least). Some did not require any money at all, only my time.

So I am dead serious when I say this:

If you want to start a business with no money, you start a business that requires no money.

If you’d stop rolling your eyes for a minute, I’ll explain.

I request that you take a step back and analyze.

Money is a resource. Just like your time. And your skills. And the people you know. These are all resources you will use to start your business.

If you do not have the resource and you want to start a business that requires that resource, you are being a bad entrepreneur.

Are you a bad entrepreneur? Do you want to be a bad entrepreneur? 

An entrepreneur is someone who uses existing resources in the most efficient manner. If you are stuck up on the money resource, then you need to rethink the business itself. There is a problem in your idea that needs to be fixed. So fix it. Start something that doesn’t require as much capital.

For example, you are a resource. How are you being used?

Use Your Available Resources.

When you have more money, you have more options. But when you don’t have money, it doesn’t mean that you have no options.

When I was in college, I started making websites. Freelancing is one type of self-employment that requires little, if any, capital. You sell your skills.

When I was going out and trying to sell my skill, I learned some very valuable lessons.

I got to learn:

  • how to rapidly teach myself new tools (such as web development softwares).
  • how to sell from face-to-face meetings with people triple my age.

I was soon making enough money in a month to ward off pressures to start a job. Every time my family would say,

it’s time to get a job!

I’d show them my hand-written “monthly income sheet” in hopes that they would see that I am earning enough to keep going on my own.

By God’s Grace it worked out then.

Was I in business? Yes. Was it a big business? No. Did I care? No.

Did it give me the financial freedom that I so craved? Most definitely.

Start Yesterday

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.  ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

You may have your own naysayers and well-meaning doubters. But you must start. Start small. If you can, quit your job now. If you can not, dedicate an hour a day.

Start selling your skills. If you do not have any, develop them. Skill’s like a muscle; work it, build it, make it strong.

You can take your hobby to the next level, start earning from it and become what I call a prohobbyist.

All the information you’ll ever need is already out there.

Here’s the bottom line, friend: Money should not come up as a reason for not starting. Catch yourself making that excuse.

Either find a better reason for not starting your journey, or start your journey.

I wish you nothing but the best!

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Photo courtesy of Alina Sofia

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23 Comments

  1. Awesome post Momekh , very useful info you have mentioned

  2. Shiraz Nazir

    I am very much hopeful that this article will help me in transferring my ideas into reality. I have many ideas about starting some small businesses but the main hurdle was finances.
    I am reading yours blogs theses days and finding all with full of information and motivating.

  3. Rao

    Hey Momekh,
    I think if person have some best and unique ideas of business then he will get too many promoters. And if he has not any good idea of business then he is not able to do any business even he has lot of money. Business will work based on mind not on money

  4. Oti

    Hi Momekh,
    My concept and yours is almost the same. I encourage people to raise enough capital with their skills and practise the 3-laws of money to start with the business of their dream like the Airline business as one suggested. Every one should work and fine tune on ones talents and skills.

  5. The last TV channel I worked for kept me so tensed up that from the very first month I wanted to leave but kept on working for one and half year. Thought of leaving it was a tension too. Reason? If I left, how would I be able to part- finance Umeed-e-Bahar Welfare Trust. The children would be deprived of one thing or the other.
    After reading one of your articles I finally left my job; am now applying my time marketing the institute which gives me more satisfaction than what I could never imagine.
    Mohammed, Of course there are a lot good things to learn in your articles.
    Do have a look at what we aim to do at http://www.umeed-e-bahar.com

    • Awesome to hear your story, madam!

      I am glad I could play some part 🙂 … and I do encourage everyone to look at the work that you are doing at Umeed-e-bahar! May God bless you and give your further courage to take this to newer heights, God willing.

  6. Absolutely true with this. “Always start small” is the key. Like someone said money solves only one problem and this is – money.

    So often we see people that have the resources but no idea. I’ve always believed that there are 2 types of people in the world – one who have the idea and the other that has the money to push it. Nature keeps a balance like this.

    We started tossdown with nothing and just sat there with an idea and a complete faith in ourselves that it will happen. You start off by selling what you already have for instance in our case we starting making small websites to raising capital. So you could always start small to reach your bigger goal. If you need to open a restaurant or a bakery. Try starting from home, I mean there is always the first step that people tend to ignore and dont step up towards their dream.

    Best of luck to those who dare to take that small step forward! Things will fall in place themselves, Believe in something. Believe is a strong word!

    • Awesome story, Omair.

      And couldn’t agree more with your line that “try starting from home”… that’s how money can be made! 🙂

      And Tossdown is a great app and a great website, man. Keep at it!

  7. Amna Tahir

    You are very right dear!!!

    Twice in my life I have practically done this myself. I developed a detailed business like; Corporate Training Institute; at a place like Model Town, without a single cent in my pocket, for peoples reference the institute is still registered with SDC. I am not even a “Baray Baap ki beti” but had a better dad; a man with a fighting spirit.

    When I was in college I used to write critical appreciations of
    poems and other stuff and used to sell to Nala’ik students who
    believed only money can get them something 🙂 Alhumdolillah the world is loaded with such people.

    I developed short simple workshops on somebody else’s computer and sold them to school teachers and other institutes only in Rs 200/ but it saved me thousands & thousands of money required for advertisement or marketing. This is one example, I
    almost did everything with help of any idea produced by my Wicked
    Brain :D.

    Please help those who can’t give u anything in return in a year you will find all those good deeds coming back to you; “Naiki ker darya mei daal

    Lastly I would again repeat, the Treasure is lying within us waiting to be discovered while we keep searching every possible corner of this world.
    May Allah bless you all.

    • Wow! That’s one inspiring string of stories, Amna! Wonderful.

      That’s the spirit. And the thing is, at the end of the day, it is this spirit that makes us see past the obstacles (like having limited resources, no or little money etc) to go ahead and pretty much fight for our own dreams and aspirations.

      Thank you for such a detailed, inspiring comment!

  8. Adil

    A very useful and motivating article . You are showing light to millions at the end of the tunnel and it is light there, indeed. Two thumbs up dear bro

  9. Naveed

    Dear M,

    I have done this often, infact I never had any investment money to start a business but I had ideas and I sold them. And earned money.

    Thanks for sharing you thought I hope other people around us shall get inspired and start making their dreams into reality.

    God bless.

  10. Brenda

    This post has just made me commit to start my Blog / Web Site . I am totally out of excuses. It may not start out big , but it will be started . Thanks Momekh !

  11. I think you can’t be a good entrepreneur if you don’t take risk. And to take risk you need either skill, money or time. If any one of them is missing then you can still take an intiative but if two of them is missing lets say time + skill is missing then it wouldn’t be a piece of cake to start a business. So money isn’t something must-have to start a business but you do need it at certain times.

    • Agreed!

      Too bad many of us replace ‘certain times’ with ‘all the time’ and end up doing nothing. Thanks for the feedback Nabeel. 🙂

  12. Muzaffar Ali

    But if the business you want to do requires money, like if someone wants to do dairy business and needs ample amount of money, is he not stuck in middle? I think money plus idea rocks, both are useless without each other.

    • Money + Idea rocks. Definitely. But the last line, that without money your idea is useless, that is why I wrote this post actually. 🙂

      It’s one thing to want a certain business. I want to open an Airline. I can’t right now. This doesn’t mean I keep doing a job. A lot of people keep doing a job because they do not know that they can be self employed and start earning money on the side as well. Which can easily lead up to complete independence. God willing.

  13. Aamir

    Momekh,
    I would have never agreed with your idea of starting a business without money, had I not met this Professor of IBA. He suggested a business and I said no money. His reply changed my thinking. He said, “Anyone with money can start a business and any business, the real art of business is to start it without money”. Discussion with him, opened up a new world of opportunities for me and now everything seems like a chance to make money, although my fear of loss and risk is a new hurdle that I am facing. I now have the fear that what I am trying is too big a leap for me and this fear of the unknown scares me.

    • You are at the right place then! 🙂

      Fighting fear is a given, Aamir. And I am glad you see it like that.

      No risk, no reward. It’s that simple. And risk, by definition, is dangerous. You are courageous to think differently. Be courageous to act differently. All the best! 🙂

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