How to Start a Home Business with No Money
If you would like to start your very own home-based business, and you want to do so without spending any money to get it started, then this one’s for you.
There are multiple ways almost anyone can start a home-based business without risking a nickel to start it. I know what you’re thinking: “There’s no way it can be that easy!”
And you’re right. I won’t say it’s necessarily easy, but it’s totally possible to build a home-based business without money. So, I’m going to cover a few of the exciting home based business ideas you can get started on today to build the business of your dreams and get one step closer towards financial independence.
Sounds good, right? Let’s go!
*Some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I’ll receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links. This happens at no extra cost to you. With that said, I only share products and services I truly believe will benefit my readers.
Tips for Starting a Home Business Without an Investment
1. Consider online business ideas
When considering how to start a business with no money, your first go-to should be some type of online business. Online businesses are becoming more and more common because there are so many online business ideas without investment needs. Unlike running a brick-and-mortar location, your online store doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. You just need a reliable and secure website that shoppers feel safe on and a team (or yourself) handling all the backend stuff, like inventory, payments/refunds, customer service, etc. Without the overhead, you’re already saving yourself a lot of money. And you can typically get started with a low-cost website and worry about scaling later.
2. Get someone else involved
Going into a business with a partner can help you cut down on costs – or cut them out altogether, depending on how you split the business. For example, if you don’t have anything to spend up front, you might find a partner willing to foot the bill for startup costs with a promise that you’ll pay your share once things get going. You might have a friend or family member who’s willing to help you out to get your business going.
3. Look for business funding opportunities
If you’re looking into how to start a business at home with no money, look no further than your local community. There are often opportunities through local organizations, like your Department of Job and Family Services or the Chamber of Commerce, that can help you get started with grants and other sources of funding. Another option is a small business loan, which you’ll need to pay back, but it could give you the funds you need to start bringing money in. A great place to start is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has microloans for small businesses that are just getting off the ground.
4. Get help from others
People you know might be more willing to help you out with your business than you realize. A parent, sibling or friend, could be willing to take out a loan to help you get moving with your business or become a co-signer for a loan if you can’t qualify for one on your own. Just be sure to stick with your end of the deal to pay your loan on time or pay back your friend or relative as soon as you can.
The Cheapest Business to Start from Home: 8 Awesome Ideas
This definitely is not an exhaustive list of inexpensive businesses to start at home, but it’s a good list to start sparking some ideas.
Starting a daycare is a fantastic business opportunity to start with little cash. You can stay at home with your kids and have their friends over while getting paid for it! This is a great opportunity for moms and people who enjoy working with children.
It’s not quite a free home based business opportunity, as most towns will require you to get a license if you’re planning to run a daycare from your home. Check your locality’s requirements to see what you’ll need to do to comply. Other than that, your biggest expenses will be some toys and snacks for the kids. You can even ask parents to provide a lunch, milk, and diapers for their kiddos to cut down on your expenses.
Before I started freelancing, I researched how to start a home business with no money. What I discovered was that freelance writing was not only right in my wheelhouse, but it was also an excellent opportunity to own a business without needing to pay a bunch of money to start. Plus, virtually any skill that you have is one that you can turn into a viable freelance business.
With the help of freelance marketplaces, you can literally start with zero out-of-pocket expenses. That is, of course, if you already own a computer to work from! Here are a few of my favorite freelance marketplaces to get started with:
But you don’t even need freelance marketplaces to get started for free. You can also do it by seeking out your own clients to work with. Depending on what you do, you can find startups or established businesses that might need your service. Contact them and let them know what you do. You might end up with a few clients that can quickly get your bank account rolling.
Direct selling is quickly becoming one of the hottest ways to start a business from home. Most of them do have a startup cost, but some are 100% free. PartyLite has a completely free starter kit to jump-start your business. Bella Branch lets you earn through affiliate sales, so no money is needed to start!
You can start some other businesses with $25 or close to it. So, these options are best left as a secondary way to earn money. Use some of your profits from freelancing to put toward a direct sales business, for example.
Alternatively, keep checking around popular direct sales companies for promotions! Occasionally, you might find a special offer for starting your business at a discounted rate.
Blogging is a fun way to build an income and a following at the same time. It typically works best when you have a passion for a topic and a unique angle to bring. Some of the most successful bloggers write about popular topics, but in a different way that makes them stand out.
And, they’re also great marketers. To earn money blogging, you can’t be shy about marketing yourself. You should have a presence on social media and get your name out there to like-minded bloggers and readers. This way, you’ll build a strong network of people who look to you for advice.
I won’t lie – blogging isn’t an easy thing to make money from. It can take months to start earning an income, but there’s no better time to start than now. You can always blog as a freelancer while you wait for your blog to take off!
Virtual assisting is the perfect work from home opportunity for people who like doing something different every day. Seriously, virtual assistants do it all:
- Make phone calls
- Research information
- Generate and follow up on sales leads
- Write articles
- Contact customers or clients
- Create email newsletters
- Transcribe audio files
- Complete data entry tasks
Basically, virtual assistants are all-around internet savvy people. There are several websites that will help you get started as a virtual assistant. Best of all, they cost $0 to join! Here are a few of the best ones that will help you find some work:
You can earn $20 per hour or more by transcribing audio files into word documents for people around the world. Most places don’t require any formal education to get started. Instead, you’ll usually need to complete a skills test or two. This just ensures that you’re able to type fast and transcribe accurately.
Not all transcription work is equal, though. Some companies don’t pay fair rates per word or audio hour, and you’ll end up spending tons of time working on a file for pennies. Stick to the companies that have excellent reviews and have been proven to pay their workers fairly. Rev, Scribie, and TranscribeMe are among some of the popular online transcription companies.
Once you get some money rolling in, you can invest in equipment to make your life easier. ExpressScribe is a handy transcription software to help you navigate audio files. And, it even comes in a convenient bundle with a foot pedal.
Social media management
As a social media manager, you can work with multiple businesses or business owners to tackle their social media platforms by responding to comments, posting new statuses, etc. This particular business may take some money to really scale, but you can technically start it with nothing. Once you get more clients, you might consider investing in tools that’ll make it easier to manage content for multiple social media platforms, like Hootsuite and Buffer. They come with a monthly or annual cost, but it might be one that you can roll into your client pricing.
Dropshipping has become a go-to business for people interested in how to start a home business with no money. Aside from the setup costs of a website to use as your storefront, dropshipping doesn’t have to cost a dime. If you’re not sure what it’s all about, check out Shopify’s guide. If you want the tl;dr version, dropshipping goes like this:
- Customer purchases a product on your site.
- You place the order for that product from a third-party source.
- Third-party source ships the product directly to the customer.
So, you’ll hold no inventory, and you won’t have to pay for anything up front. Instead, your customer pays you and you pay the vendor. You’ve marked up the product, which, in turn, gives you a profit. See why so many people are jumping on board with this idea?
There you have it: how to start a business at home with no money! I want to hear all about your home-based business ideas and how you plan to get started! Have any questions for me? Leave me a comment down below or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.
Amy is a mom of two, freelance writer, and blog manager who works with family-focused businesses to improve their content strategies. You can find her published work on Reader’s Digest Online, MSN, Niche, Frugal For Less, and other lifestyle publications.