7+ Creative Ideas to Start a Business with No Money Upfront

Start a Business with No Money

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Thinking about starting a business but are low on startup funds?

No worries, I’ve got some awesome business ideas you can start from home with no out-of-pocket expense.

If you have always dreamed about starting a business but were held back by the startup capital, you won’t have to wait any longer. Check out these 7+ smart ideas to start a business with no money.

How to Start a Business with No Money

how to start a business with no money (1)

Before getting into it, here are our quick earners we want to share real quick:

  • Cliqly: Get paid to send emails. They have a referral program too. Some Cliqly users have reported making up to $2,500 within the first 2 weeks of starting. I made nearly $600 in my first two weeks. Here’s my Cliqly review.
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  • Arrived Homes: Invest in rental properties with as little as $100. Perfect if you’ve wanted to diversify your investments without having to support an entire mortgage on a rental property. You can get into fractional shares. Read our Arrived review.

Choosing a business to start with no money can limit you a bit. Most businesses require capital. If you decide to venture into one of those businesses, raising money through fundraising like Kickstarter or Indiegogo can be an option. You can also get an investment from angel investors or family/friends. Or, bootstrap it all.

But, if you’re not a fan of doing any of that, here’s what you do.

You have to pick a service business, first of all. Product businesses are those where you sell products, like home goods, apparel, etc.

Service businesses are where you offer a service, like accounting, bookkeeping, tax prep, graphic design, etc.

Service businesses are ideal to start with no money because you’ll have low or no overhead and no up front service cost.

A lot of service businesses can start just using a laptop and an office.

Check out these ideas to give you some inspiration.

7+ Smart Business Ideas to Start with No Money

start a business with no money

  • Laundromat
  • Graphic design
  • Dropshipping
  • Landscaping
  • Copywriting
  • Accounting
  • HVAC Repair
  • Social Media Management

You will see that these businesses don’t require money to start. These can be done alongside your day job, if you so choose, so while you build your business and grow your business, you can continue working your primary job to sustain your lifestyle.

1. Laundromat Business

laundromat business

How to start a laundromat business with no money? Seems challenging but, it can be done. So, it’s important to note upfront that you will need capital to fuel your laundromat business. If you have no money, you can still do it. Here’s how…

Here are a few strategies you could consider to help finance your business without upfront capital:

  • Look into alternative financing options: Consider options such as small business loans, crowdfunding, grants, or even borrowing from family and friends.
  • Partner with another business: Consider partnering with a business that is complementary to your laundromat, such as a dry cleaner or a convenience store. This can help you share costs and resources.
  • Lease or rent equipment: Instead of purchasing all of the necessary equipment upfront, you may be able to lease or rent the machines and other equipment you need. This can help you save on upfront costs.
  • Offer additional services: Consider offering additional services, such as dry cleaning or alterations, to help generate extra revenue.
  • Start small: You may want to consider starting with a smaller laundromat and gradually expanding as your business grows and generates more revenue. This can help you minimize your upfront costs and minimize your risk.

It’s important to carefully research and plan your business before you get started, and to be prepared for the challenges and hard work that come with starting a new business.

2. Graphic Design

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A graphic designer creates beautiful illustrations and designs for others. This could be…

  • Website design
  • Logo design
  • Business card design
  • Flyers
  • Book cover design
  • And, more!

If you are creative and have knowledge of how to use graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or even Canva, then you can look at becoming a designer.

Small projects like logo design can range for $50 and up. Larger projects like website design can go upwards of $10,000. There is a lot of flexibility and this is the perfect business to stretch your creative spirit.

3. Dropshipping

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How to start a dropshipping business with no money?

Dropshipping is appealing to many prospective business owners because you don’t need money to get started or need a very minimal budget.

I started my dropshipping store many years ago (no longer active) on a free platform (at the time) called Storenvy. It was free to join and free to run your store. They kept a percentage of the profits. When I would sell something, I’d place an order with the dropshipper from the funds I got from the sale (from the customer). And, the dropshipper would direct ship the goods to the consumer. That’s how dropshipping works.

Starting a dropshipping business with no money is possible, but it may require some creativity and resourcefulness. Here are a few steps you could consider:

  • Find a niche: Identify a specific product or category of products that you are interested in selling.
  • Research suppliers: Look for suppliers that offer dropshipping services and that are willing to work with new businesses. You may be able to find suppliers through online directories or by contacting manufacturers directly.
  • Set up a website: You will need a website to sell your products. There are many website builders available that allow you to create a professional-looking website without any coding experience. Some options even offer free plans.
  • Promote your products: Once you have your website set up, you will need to promote your products to potential customers. Consider using social media, online marketplaces, and other free or low-cost marketing channels to reach potential customers.
  • Keep costs low: To minimize costs, consider using free or low-cost tools and resources whenever possible, such as free images and graphics, and open-source software. You may also want to consider using a virtual assistant or freelancers to help with tasks such as customer service or order fulfillment.

Starting a dropshipping business with no money can be challenging, but with careful planning and hard work, it is possible to build a successful business.

4. Landscaping

landscaping business

How to start a landscaping business with no money?

Here are a few steps you could consider to start a landscaping business with no money:

  • Develop a business plan: Create a clear plan for your landscaping business, including your target market, services you will offer, and how you will reach potential customers.
  • Research your competition: Look into the competition in your area and identify ways you can differentiate your business and stand out from the competition.
  • Build a network: Network with potential clients, suppliers, and industry professionals to get your business off the ground. This can help you generate leads and find resources and support.
  • Start small: You may want to start with a small scale and gradually expand as your business grows and generates more revenue. This can help you minimize your upfront costs and risk.
  • Look into financing options: Consider alternative financing options, such as small business loans, grants, or crowdfunding, to help fund your business.

Starting a landscaping business with no money may require some creativity and resourcefulness, but it is possible to build a successful business with hard work and determination.

5. Copywriter

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How to start a copywriting business with no money?

This is where I got my start. Prior to starting my first product business, I did copywriting. I did it on the side while I worked my primary job and I absolutely loved it! I still do copywriting today. In fact, I’m the head of content for a few companies.

Copywriters create content for others, like:

  • White papers
  • Blog posts
  • Magazine articles
  • Product descriptions
  • Sales page copy
  • And, more!

If you love writing and can follow directions well, you can look into copywriting. Entry level copywriters can charge $.05/word and if you write 50,000 words/month, that’s around $2,500 in income.

This is also a great business to turn into an agency. A content agency will have multiple writers on staff so you can get large orders for content and simply outsource it to your staff.

You can keep freelancers on board, that are paid after the client pays you, and you get a cut of their work.

For example, if you book a $5,000 project, you can outsource to a freelancer and give them half, or $2,500 and you keep the other half. This is a great way to make a lot of money fast. A lot of new agencies that have popped up make money quickly, even from the start.

6. Accountant

accounting business

If you know accounting, you can help others with their accounting needs in this business venture.

  • Bookkeeping
  • Taxes
  • Preparing financial statements
  • Cash management

You can manage their accounting business throughout the month and do this with multiple companies, making a nice living.

This is for people who are certified in accounting. It’s really not the kind of job that you can self-teach yourself like writing or graphic design, so keep that in mind.

7. HVAC Repair

hvac tech

Do you know how to repair A/C and heating units? A friend of the family does this and he makes a nice living.

He loves the freedom and flexibility it gives him. He is out and about fixing HVAC units during the day. He makes his own schedule and the time goes by so fast. This is the perfect business to start with no money.

If you have the skills to do HVAC repair, you really only need transportation to get started, for travel to your clients. Make sure to check in your area for other requirements that might be needed like business permit, license, etc. If so, you can use the fundraising ideas shared in this article to help you raise money for those costs.

8. Social Media Manager

content creator

Get paid to play on social media. I do this too! I absolutely love it because it allows me to help businesses grow on social media. You can grow their social presence, get them followers, and create traffic from social networks back to their business.

This is great for Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and other networks.

If you’ve never done this before, this is the kind of job that you can teach yourself. Or, better yet, take a class on Skillshare! Skillshare offers a library of 20,000+ online courses on everything from French baking to digital marketing to copywriting, learning Spanish and everything inbetwen. It’s only around $10/month and you get unlimited access to the courses. I’m a member!

So get on Skillshare, take a course on social media marketing, practice on your own accounts then start getting clients.

SMMs can charge $1,000/month or more depending on how many networks they manage, per client. Ten clients per month means $10,000/mo.

What do you need to start your business?

It depends. Based on your area, you may need:

  • A business license
  • Business permit
  • A business credit card for business expenses
  • A business line of credit
  • Business plan
  • Staff or employees

This all boils down to the kind of business you run and where your business is located. If you don’t have money and eventually need money to get your business up and running, the capital to get a business can come from several places:

  • Business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Business loans
  • Free resources that connect you with funding opportunities from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or other organizations

Final Thoughts

There you go! What happens from here?

Choose a business model, decide on what type of business to pursue, create your business plan and put it all into practice. It is possible for a small business owner to launch their dream business without money upfront. This new business venture can be an exciting new opportunity for you. Money doesn’t have to stop you from launching your business.

What do you think?

What business will you be launching?

Recommended Resources to Increase Your Income and Save Money

Legendary Marketer

This online training program shows you how to start an online business. You can join free then, take their 15-day business builder challenge to learn how to start an online business. Business owner Amalie Lund made $100K in 6 months, after going through this program!


If you’re in a pickle and looking to make some extra money, look at paid online surveys. Swagbucks is one of the best survey companies to use. They offer a multifaceted site with many ways to earn:
  • Surveys
  • Watch videos
  • Listen to music
  • Online shopping
  • Discovering stuff online
It’s free to join and you can start making money sharing your opinion and through other ways as soon as you’re sign up.

Arrived Homes

If you’re looking for a way to earn passive income with no work, look at rental home investing with Arrived Homes. You’ll invest in rental properties with a little as $100 and entirely online. This is a way to make your money work for you and earn passively with rental income.

5 Ideas to Start a Business with No Money 5 Ideas to Start a Business with No Money 5 Ideas to Start a Business with No Money




Jenn Leach, MBA

Jenn Leach is a Houston-based MBA with over a decade of experience in the banking industry. She writes at Millennial Nextdoor where she writes finance, money, business, and lifestyle content to help millennials create additional income streams online. Join her on Substack at https://jennleach.substack.com.

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