How to start a business with no money (yes, it's possible)

By The IFTTT Team

October 19, 2023

  • Most successful businesses you see today had the luxury of a large upfront investment, allowing for comprehensive marketing plans, office spaces, equipment and staff. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to start off that way. Many people have a great business idea but lack the necessary funds to get it off the ground. If you are one of those people, don't worry - starting a business with no money is possible.

    Starting a business can be an intimidating and challenging task, especially when you have limited funds. In this guide, we will discuss some tips and strategies that will help you kickstart your entrepreneurial journey without breaking the bank. To finish, we will discuss how IFTTT can help you get your business off the ground, free of cost.

    join today button

    Why you should be "Bootstrapping"


    The term "bootstrapping" in business refers to the process of starting and building a company with little to no capital from external sources. This concept involves entrepreneurs relying heavily on their personal savings, earnings from initial sales, and sometimes funds borrowed or invested from family and friends.

    A bootstrapped company is typically one that has been launched without significant assistance from venture capital firms or angel investors. Instead of depending on external investments, these businesses focus on self-financing using existing resources.

    Bootstrapping can be a strategy that strengthens startups by forcing them to become efficient and innovative due to limited resources. It encourages financial discipline as companies have to carefully manage cash flow and make every dollar count.

    Despite the significant financial risk involved, bootstrapping can lead to a sense of accomplishment and independence for entrepreneurs who successfully grow their businesses from the ground up. It also offers the potential for greater financial reward in the long term as the entrepreneur retains full ownership of the business.

    A no-frills guide to starting a business with no money

    The importance of identifying your skills and strengths


    Since your business will be run exclusively by you for the first few months, it's crucial to identify your personal skills and strengths. These attributes will not only guide you in choosing the type of business you want to start but also help you manage it effectively.

    Your skills are what you're proficient at. They can be technical skills like programming or marketing, or soft skills like communication or leadership. Your strengths, on the other hand, are innate abilities or talents that set you apart from others. Find where your skills and strengths overlap, and of course, make sure it's something you are passionate about.

    Finding a low-cost business idea

    photo-1665686306265-c52ee9054479 (1)

    Before you choose a business idea, there are several factors you should consider. These include your skills and interests, the potential profitability of the business, and the level of competition in the market. It's also important to think about how much time and money you're willing to invest in the business. With that being said, here are ten good suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

    Content creation: This involves creating content for blogs, websites, social media, and other platforms. You can specialize in writing, graphic design, video production, or another type of content.

    Personal or virtual assistant: As a personal or virtual assistant, you would help clients with tasks like scheduling appointments, answering emails, and organizing files.

    Event planning services: If you're organized and detail-oriented, you could plan events like weddings, corporate meetings, and parties.

    Accounting and bookkeeping: If you have a background in finance, you could offer accounting and bookkeeping services to small businesses.

    Online affiliate sales: This involves promoting other companies' products and earning a commission for each sale made through your referral link.

    Airbnb host: If you have an extra room or property, you could rent it out on Airbnb for easy profit.

    Antique refurbishing: This involves finding antiques, fixing them up, and reselling them for a profit.

    Dropshipping: With dropshipping, you sell products online, but a third party handles the inventory and shipping.

    Print-on-demand t-shirts: You can design and sell your own t-shirts online, with a print-on-demand service handling the printing and shipping.

    Landscaping business: If you enjoy working outdoors, you could start a landscaping business.

    Utilizing social media for marketing


    Social media has revolutionized the marketing landscape by providing a platform where businesses can engage with consumers directly, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. When used effectively, it can be a highly cost-effective tool for promoting your business.

    One of the primary reasons why social media is cost-effective is its low barrier to entry. Most social media platforms are free to join and creating a business page doesn't usually incur any extra costs.

    Even when you decide to invest in paid advertising, the cost is often lower than traditional advertising channels and you have the added advantage of being able to target your ads to a specific demographic, thereby increasing your return on investment.

    When it comes to using social media platforms for business promotion, it's essential to start by choosing the right platform for your business. Posting regularly is another crucial factor. Consistency not only helps to keep your audience engaged but also increases your visibility on the platform.

    However, it's not just about quantity; the quality of your content matters too. Strive to provide value through your posts, whether that's by sharing useful information, providing entertainment, or giving an insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of your business.

    Exploring funding options


    Exploring funding options is a crucial step for any small business owner. The right funding can help your business grow and thrive, while the wrong funding can leave you in a financial hole. Here are some potential funding options for small businesses:

    Bootstrapping: This idea, talked about earlier, is when you use your savings or personal resources to fund your business. This option is ideal for businesses that require minimal startup costs.

    Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to raise funds from a large number of people. This is a great way to validate your business idea and get initial funding.

    Small business loans: Banks and online lenders offer loans specifically designed for small businesses. These loans often have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than personal loans.

    Venture capital: Venture capitalists invest in startups in exchange for equity. This can be a good option for high-growth businesses.

    Angel investors: These are individuals who invest in startups in exchange for equity. They often provide mentorship and connections in addition to funding. Getting an angel investor is rare, and requires lots of networking.

    Grants: There are many grants available for small businesses, particularly for businesses in certain industries or those owned by underrepresented groups.

    Approaching these options with no initial funding can be challenging, but it's not impossible. It can take time to secure funding, so don't get discouraged if you don't get a yes right away. Keep refining your pitch and exploring different options.

    Building your dream business with IFTTT

    R (7)

    If you are pressed for cash, but still want to start a business, IFTTT can be an invaluable tool. Our platform allows you to automate tasks and workflows, saving you time and money in the long run. This can be especially helpful for small businesses with limited resources.

    From automatically scheduling social media posts to sending personalized emails to your customers, IFTTT can help you streamline your business operations. You can use IFTTT to connect over 800 different apps and platforms, making it easier for you to manage tasks across multiple channels. 11 Read on to hear about our mission and our top picks for small business automations for you to try, free of charge.

    What is IFTTT?

    IFTTT, an acronym for "If This Then That," is our free web-based service and mobile app designed to boost productivity by automating tasks. It works by creating connections between popular apps and services, allowing them to work together seamlessly.

    The basic idea behind IFTTT is to create "applets" or sets of instructions that trigger when certain conditions are met. This can be turning on the lights automatically when you enter your house, for example.

    Founded in 2011, IFTTT has been used by over 25 million individuals to automate both business and home tasks, saving time and increasing efficiency. It's commonly used to connect disparate services and systems, making all products and services work well together in a way that instills user confidence. Best of all, it's free and only takes a couple of minutes to set up.

    Best small business automations with IFTTT

    download (9)

    Automatically share new posts to a Facebook Page

    This applet automatically shares your blog updates to your Facebook account, increasing visibility and engagement for your company.

    Track your work hours in Google Calendar

    This applet logs your working hours automatically in Google Calendar, helping you keep track of your work hours and bill customers correctly.

    Send a text when you miss a call to your Android phone

    With this applet, you will be alerted by text if you ever miss a call to an Android phone, ensuring that you never lose a potential lead with a client.

    Create reminder to follow-up e-mail

    This applet automatically sends a follow-up reminder to a user after an email is sent by a client, meaning that you won't miss the opportunity to get feedback or respond to a question.

    To enable these Applets and millions more (yes, millions), try IFTTT today for free.

    join today button