A couple of years ago, there was a minor uproar when Forbes called Kylie Jenner the “youngest self-made billionaire”. Those of us who did not come from families with tremendous wealth and fame took issue with the term “self-made”. That moniker is usually used to describe someone who actually built their wealth from nothing.
However, the truth is that even those who we do consider self-made often have more backing than the average person. This may be a benefactor to give them a start with some capital, a small amount of capital of their own, or the kind of network that makes anything possible.
For those truly beginning at zero, how do you start a business with no money? Here are some options.
Get a small business loan
If you have a solid concept and are confident in your business’s ability to make money, you can start with a small business loan. Banks, private lenders, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are all constantly on the lookout for small businesses that have potential.
There are some business ideas that come with much greater risk than others. This is particularly true if you are innovating something that hasn’t been done before. But for most entrepreneurs, there are good options for small business loans. While traditional banks tend to offer rigid loans that don’t suit a lot of modern businesses, the number of private lenders with great products is growing by the day.
Be sure to ask the Small Business Administration (SBA) what they can offer. They are committed to helping small businesses get off the ground, with loans that will not come back to haunt you.
Grants and angel investors
Your funding does not necessarily need to be a small business loan. Certain companies, as well as federal and state organizations, offer grants to small businesses with great potential. Getting a grant is not easy, as there are limited funds available from these sources.
You can also try searching for angel investors. Angel investors are private individuals and companies who invest in individuals and businesses that impress them. They give their own money, as well as mentorship, to help these businesses get off the ground and become profitable.
Finding an angel investor that believes in your business opens up tremendous opportunities. Since they have a stake in your success, they will go to great lengths to help you get there.
Sell your time
Not every small business requires capital. If you are selling your time, you do not need money to lay out at the start of your journey. This may be time spent tutoring or mentoring, using skills such as writing or design, or any number of uses of your intellect.
Of course, your time is not free in any sense of the word, and that in itself can be considered capital. However, this is a way of getting started without actual money in the bank and without having to find lenders or investors to get your project off the ground.
If you have no money to begin with, a small business might seem out of the question. The good news is there are a number of ways to start a profitable business from nothing.