Can You Start a Business With No Money? A Guide for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

According to data released by the SBA, there are nearly 30 million registered small businesses in the United States. That number grows constantly with thousands of small start-ups opening their doors each month!

Are you looking to get in on the fun? If so, we don’t blame you.

Owning your own business trumps going out and getting a job in a lot of ways.

You get to be your own boss. You get to set your own path. You get to leverage your God-given creativity and turn it into something valuable to you and your customers.

Unfortunately, many business ideas require cash to start. That reality begs a big question…

Can you start a business with no money?

The answer is, yes… So long as you have patience and/or are willing to be clever.

Below are a few of your options.

1. Think of Business Ideas That Require No (or Low) Startup Cash

There are tons of business ideas that fit quite well with the question of, “Can you start a business with no money?”

These businesses require zero startup dollars so long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

A few examples of no (or very low) startup cash businesses include:

  • Blogging
  • Wholesaling Real-Estate
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Door to Door Car Washing
  • Dog Walking
  • Bookkeeping
  • Editing
  • Property Management
  • Cleaning
  • Online Coaching

Some of the ideas above might come with certain insurance requirements in your state that you’ll want to look into.

2. Pitch Family and Friends

If your business ambitions fall outside of the scope of free and cheap to get up and running, you’re not alone. A ton of people open businesses with startup costs and no many in-hand.

The solution they come up with when asking themselves, “Can you start a business with no money?” is to find investors. The first investors starting entrepreneurs engage is typically their family and friends.

Mixing business and loved ones isn’t for everyone. If things go south, you could end up losing your relationship.

If you have a solid plan, good intentions, and your loved ones have cash to spare though, you may end up with a win-win scenario.

3. Get a Small Business Loan

Securing investments can be a hard process for someone who’s still trying to prove themselves. If you can’t find investors or don’t want to go to multiple people asking for money, your next best bet will be to take out a loan.

For the uninitiated, loans are products you take out from bankers or private lenders. These products carry interest and fees that you’ll need to pay to your lender in exchange for the money they grant you.

Below are a few places you can look for commercial loans:

Banks and Credit Unions

This is the usual go-to for people looking for business funding. Go into any bank or credit union and see what kinds of commercial loan products they offer.

Qualifying may be hard depending on your business type and credit score.

Online Commercial Lenders

Many loans are given out online today by small lending institutions. The sheer volume of online lenders that are out there is good in that it gives business owners a ton of options when seeking approval.

The downside to online lenders is that not all of them are created equal.

Beware when seeking small business loans from a non-reputable lender online as many online lending products are predatory and can put you in a poor financial situation.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending is a collection of lending platforms where money comes from everyday people rather than a single institution. These platforms are typically easier to use and more straightforward in the terms they offer to business owners.

Peer-to-peer lending platforms are just about as vigilant as banks when it comes to approval so if your credit is bad, you may have difficulty securing funding.

KIVA is a good peer lending platform that offers no interest loans to business owners that are part of under served communities.


Many organizations offer grants (free money) to budding business owners. These grants might be offered in your local community or online on a national scale.

The best part about grants is that you don’t have to pay them back! That means that if your business fails, you have nothing to worry about in the way of debt.

The downside to grants is that they are typically small and are usually reserved for minorities and females.


A ton of money is handed out for free to prospective businesses on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. That money comes from individual “investors” who don’t get anything in the way of monetary benefits for investing in your company.

In exchange for their money, investors get “prizes” which range from t-shirts to product prototypes and beyond.

Getting funded through crowdfunding platforms can be difficult in that you usually have to dazzle investors with media kits that show off your idea.

If you’re willing to put yourself out there though, this is a great, free way to get the money to start a business.

Build Out the Free Parts of Your Business While You Save

If all else fails for you, start working on the parts of your business that don’t cost anything while you save up the money to fully launch.

Sure, saving isn’t fun. If you have a business idea that could change the landscape of your financial life and the world around you though, it’s worth making the sacrifice and setting aside a couple hundred dollars each month to achieve that reality.

Wrapping Up Can You Start a Business With No Money?

As you can see from our suggestions above, there are many ways to get a “yes” to the question of “Can you start a business with no money?”

Get creative, get to work, and get the funding you need to bring your big idea to life.

For more business and entertainment reading, check out more content on Social Actions today!