How to Start a Business with No Money

man starting a business with no money

This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by David Jones.

Starting a business is tough, especially in the current climate. Starting a business without no money is tougher again, but it can be done. In this article, we will discuss how you can start a small business without investment.

Doing It Yourself

If you have no money to invest, you are going to have to invest something called “sweat equity” which means you will have to invest all of your time to get your business off the ground. The best part of not having money to invest in your business is you have to get creative and hustle.

Running a business when you have money is easier as you can hire people who are better at performing certain tasks than yourself. But when you don’t have the money to invest in hiring, you need to pick up these skills yourself.  

woman on a laptop sitting on a staircase

You can get creative by learning the different aspects of your business through YouTube videos and by reading books. If you have the time you can set up your own website, run your own marketing campaigns on social media, and even sell your product or service through cold emailing and cold calling.

Launching a business without money and being responsible for every part of the business does take effort, but it can be done. You may not like all aspects of it either, cold calling and cold emailing for example is something many business owners hate. But if you don’t have money for advertising and need clients quickly, it is a great way of getting some money in your account so you can reinvest to grow your business.

man holding money

Get Paid Upfront

When you have landed your first customers, be sure to get paid upfront. There’s nothing worse than carrying out work only for the client to disappear. Get your fee upfront and you can use that money to re-invest in other areas of your business. This strategy can also help you keep the lights on that month.

If you can’t get paid fully upfront, then do a split on payment: a deposit upfront, and then the remainder when work is complete. This only applies if you offer a service, as a product would require full payment.

When agreeing to split payments, make sure to have a contract signed and have both parties agree to it. Otherwise the client may go missing and you are left out of pocket.

Source Free Items

Sourcing free items or items at lower costs can make a big difference to your startup business. This could be anything from buying your products from auction websites to online classifieds or finding trials of software you can use until you have more money coming in.

When you have money coming in, you don’t have to penny pinch as much — but in the beginning, even the smallest of savings can help.  

storage space

Cut Down on Costs

This article is all about starting a business without no money, and the tips above are a great start. Eventually, you will get to a point where you have money coming in and you are ready for the next step in your businesses growth.  

When you have money coming in, you should be smart where you invest it as good decisions will allow you to grow and bring in new work for your business. Most people think that this means getting an office, but as a new company, a coworking space is usually a better choice as it’s more affordable and often doesn’t require you to sign up for a long contract.

The same can be said for storage space. Often new businesses (especially those working in eCommerce) will look to hire a warehouse to keep their products in. That can be a huge waste of money when self-storage containers are so cheap and don’t require long contracts.

Remember businesses can go out of business quickly, so having long contracts hanging over your head during your first years of trading won’t do anyone any good.


Starting a business is tough without money, but if you are willing to put the work in and make smart financial decisions, you can build a business out of nothing. Most businesses fail within the first year, so focusing on your finances as well as the products and services you provide can help you overcome these odds.

About the Author

David Jones

David is the head of marketing at Urban Locker, a small family-run self-storage business in London.