Starting your own business has never been easier now that we have two worlds of businesses: physical and digital.
A plethora of studies state that the starting capital requirement for a small business is about GBP 22, 000. Well, that wipes out a large portion of entrepreneurs! Contrary to that statement, many successful companies started humbly without having access to tens of thousands of pounds of investors lined up at the door.
To inspire you, here are zero-capital small business ideas. Hopefully, they will inspire confidence within you and get your creative juices flowing!
What kind of business can I start with zero investment?
Bicycle Repair – Cycling is one of the green choices made by GenXers and Millennials globally. These users are in a broad base of industries and do include a few Prime Ministers.
One common aspect about these eco-friendly citizens is that the majority of them are not interested in tinkering with bikes or getting grease on their hands in the pursuit of fixing their bikes. However, if you are a tinkerer by nature and don’t mind a bit of grease, this could be your big opportunity. This business idea does not require a huge set of advanced technical skills but does benefit from an eye for detail.
You don’t need a fancy brick-and-mortar store on the high street. Reach out to your network and get together some helpful souls to set up a funky, makeshift structure. Execute your first bookings with service excellence beyond compare, and the word will spread. They will be peddling a path to your door.
Boat-cleaning – One of the biggest complaints of boat owners is the cleaning of the boat. It has caused many a boat owner to throw in the towel or rope and sell their boat. Boats, especially saltwater boats, require thorough cleaning from the deck to sleeping quarters to dozens of different compartments AND the hull!
This is obviously location dependent, so you would need to be located near a lake sailing club or academy or an ocean sailing community. You might even be invited to do some social crewing, which is an added bonus if you, presumably, don’t own your own boat.
Party planner – No capital needed, but a skill set is needed. This doesn’t only relate to weddings and big events. Children parties are big business if both parents work, or a stand-out party is desired. Anniversaries, product launches, wakes, memorials, 21st birthdays, job promotions, and the list goes on.
Bring smiles, tasty food, and fun with an experientially based design. Parents with the budget are prepared to pay large amounts for kids’ birthday parties. Build your reliable network of suppliers and start celebrating!
Consultancy – People are always looking for answers and guidance from the minute they get out of bed in the morning. You can be an advisor, guidance counsellor or guru, as you wish.
You can offer advice across many disciplines, e.g. accounting, education, fitness, diet, catering, H.R. etc. It helps to have related achievements, so start consulting for friends and family for experience points. Have a well-defined procedure drawn up explaining to your customer how your help will deliver results for them. Clients will always pay for adding value to their lives.
Lawn care – Lawns in good condition look beautiful, but they are quick to show neglect. Added to this, they are time consuming and fussy. Not everyone has the time or inclination, but they love beautiful lawns. A garden maintenance or specialist lawn business will be a good option if you live in nearby suburbs with reasonably sized gardens. In theory, you will need tools to get started, but you can try borrowing some for a short while to start. You can price your services using client lawnmowers and services plus lawnmower hire. Starting with lawns could lead to full garden maintenance.
Writing – We are not suggesting throwing yourself into an award-winning tome, but by all means, do so. We are referring to content and copywriting as a freelancer. The demand for freelance writing is substantial, with top professionals earning GBP 2, 300 / month for 40 hours/week.
Online job opportunities for writers to grow exponentially as internet use increases. This requires good writing skills and some layout knowledge etc.
A.I. is wiping out many jobs across the market, but professional, quality writing has yet to be affected. This bodes well for a writer’s job security, so start practising! Anyone born with this skill can launch a freelance writing career and become the master of your time and earnings.
Blogging – Another angle on the writing option. Every person and their aunt seems to be a blogger nowadays, but few are successful.
Basically, a blogger writes compelling digital content via a backend program like WordPress and uploads it with images and or videos to their website. Money is made through this via ad networks such as Google AdSense or promoting products with hyperlinks to the agreed partner or from becoming an influencer.
It is inexpensive to register a domain name, and there are many competitive hosting packages. Now – start developing a following!
Influencer – This could be a step along from blogging or not linked to blogging at all. Social media has billions of users, and each day users spend approximately 3 hours on social media. Astounding but true. These social networks are powerful and can deliver big earnings.
Celebrities hire people as social media “managers” to do their uploads, manage commentary and their influence. As an influencer, your aim is to attract an ever-growing number of followers.
When you have achieved a huge following, you can market to this pool of people. You can now start another online business whilst earning income from advertising.
Painter – Love tinkering on buildings? Then perhaps painting them is your thing. Real estate will always be here and will always be growing. Paint has a lifespan, as do colour choices. It is not necessary to be an award-winning painter from day one, so work your way up from easy projects to complex projects as you gain experience.
Fitness trainer – Love sports, going to the gym or general fitness and wellbeing? Start a “gym” even if it is outdoors in a park. Clients will come especially if it is fairly priced. Yoga classes are very popular, as is Pilates. Practice your hobby, and get paid for it!
Starting a business is an exciting and rewarding journey. You are fully responsible for the strategic direction and success of your business. The buck stops at your office door.
What is the easiest business to start with no money?
The short answer is no business is the easiest business. However, if you want to earn money, you have to work for it, an activity that you love will make work easier.
Here are some key steps to help with structuring your start-up phase:
Business plan – Create a business plan, and this is a definitive road map for your business idea. It should include the following:
An executive summary of your business that describes the business, the problem that your business solves, who your target market is, and the financial highlights.
A concise business model which outlines the services or products that you will offer, split per different customer categories if relevant.
The strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and the opportunities or threats this represents.
Operation management –Think through how the customer will be interacting with your company from start to finish.
Marketing and sales strategies
Financial plans, including but not limited to – how are you going to make money?
Type of company
The type of business you are choosing should be clear and perhaps should be chosen after a discussion with an accountant. Do you want a limited liability company (LLC) or a sole proprietorship? LLCs are more complex business structures, but they offer more tax advantages than one-person businesses. As a sole proprietor, would you want to be tax registered or not? Based on your business plan, strategic financial advice is important, so seek out an experienced accountant and work through the choices. See our article on What’s the difference between a sole trader and a limited companyBank account – Accounting is far easier if you keep your business money in a separate account from your personal money. Talk to your bank about what offerings they have for small startups. They usually have a variety of options available with relief on transaction costs or attractive credit facilities. Remember: an LLC has to have a separate account as it is a separate legal entity.
Office space – You will most likely start off working from home, even if it is merely the administration side. If you can, dedicate a room to this to reduce distractions and to keep home/business life separated.
If you can dream it, you can do it. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Shuttleworth and Elon Musk have shown and are showing us this. Whatever you choose, let passion be the engine, and you can build a great business. From university students building computers in garages and school students selling software they have written – billions have been made!