Can it be done? Can you actually start a business from home with no money? That’s a question that a lot of people seem to ask. And, it’s not surprising. Of course, a fair portion of people who are actually thinking of starting their own business from home are doing so precisely because they are not happy with their current financial situation and are looking to improve it. Some may not be — some may be satisfied with the amount of money they’re currently earning, yet are just tired of the daily grind, hate having to answer to a grumpy boss, or what have you, and believe they’d be much happier in their own business and working from the comfort of their own home. If it happens that you belong to that first group I mentioned, however, the fact that you’re not happy with your current financial situation means that you very likely don’t have a lot of extra money to play around with. So, it’s not at all surprising that you’d be asking the question: Can I start a business from home with no money?
Well, there’s some good news and some bad news regarding that. The good news is that the answer to that question is most certainly a resounding YES! The bad news is that, if you’re like most people who actually want to know if it’s possible to start a business from home with no money, that’s not actually the real question you’re looking to have answered. The real question is more likely: Is it possible to easily start a business from home with no money and make it profitable? And, the answer to that question, unfortunately, is not quite so simple. But, do not be discouraged! Because I, my very own self, did actually start a business from home with no money and ended up earning more money from that business than I ever really dreamed possible. Was it easy? No. Did it make me mansion-in-the-hills, personal jet and luxury yacht rich? No. But, I did it. And, I ended up making an income from that business that most people would be overjoyed to find themselves earning.
So, let me tell you a quick, in-a-nutshell, story about how I was able to start a business from home with no money: First of all, you should understand that when I say “no money”, I really mean “no money!” You can find people who will tell you that they were able to actually start a business from home with no money, but, when you dig into their story, you’ll discover that they had access to some small amount of savings, or were able to borrow some small amount from someone they knew in order to get the ball rolling. What they mean when they say “no money” is actually ‘not very much money’, or ‘practically no money.’ That’s not my story. When I say that I was able to start a business from home with no money, I’m talking not one dime — not one, single solitary penny – nothing! I didn’t dip into savings. I didn’t commit a portion of my regular paycheck to founding or maintaining the business. I didn’t beg, borrow, nor steal even a single penny to start my business. I invested absolutely, positively, nothing whatsoever beyond my time and effort. And, by the end of the first year, I had earned a take home income just slightly below the then current US median household income. By the end of the second year, my income was significantly more than the US median. And, by the end of the third year, I had more than doubled the US median household annual income. Like I said, that’s not private-jet and luxury yacht rich, but it’s nothing to complain about at all. Especially since I did it all without ever spending a single, solitary penny which the business itself didn’t earn for me before I spent it.
So, how did I do it? Please be patient for just a while longer, I’m going to give you a run-down here in just a moment. But, I think it important to note that what I did relied a lot on certain and specific circumstances that were taking place at the time. And, my ability to start a business from home with no money was, in very large part, due to my ability to recognize those circumstances and figure out a way that I could leverage them into a workable, functioning and profitable home business. So, don’t expect that I’m going to divulge some cookie-cutter formula here that you’ll be able to reproduce exactly and realize the same results I did. What I did, I did almost twenty years ago. The circumstances I took advantage of don’t exist in the same way now as they did then. If you try to do exactly what I did then, you’ll likely go broke. So, as I say, don’t think you’re going to get some step-by-step, cookie-cutter list of instructions you can just follow to start a business from home with no money yourself. Instead, read my account and try to understand how I was able to see what was going and use my circumstances to my advantage. Then, once you understand that, look around you, take account of what is going on around you, and try to use your circumstances to start a business from home with no money, just like I did back then.
What I Did to Start a Business From Home With No Money:
The year was 1996 and I was making just enough money to scrape by working as a professional musician. I loved my work. I felt incredibly blessed that I was actually able to even provide myself with basic nourishment and a roof over my head by doing nothing other than just playing music for a living — something which I absolutely loved to do — something for which I had a life-ling passion for. But, let me tell you, while I was able to provide myself with basic nourishment and a roof over my head, I was just barely able to do that, and it really wasn’t much of a roof at all. And, at the end of every month, I had pretty much no money whatsoever to do anything else. Three square meals a day of so-so food, and the monthly rent on a not so great place, and I was pretty much broke. There was more that I wanted to do, though. I needed to invest money into my music career in order to further it. Around that time, due to advances in technology, it had become feasible for musicians to be able to finance independent recording releases on their own without being signed to a record label — it certainly wasn’t cheap; far from it. But, it was no longer totally out of reach for anyone who didn’t have the bucks of a major label backing them. A lot of independent musicians were doing it — releasing albums independently. And, it became so commonplace that I began losing out on quite a bit of paying work because I didn’t have an album myself.
Around that time, having your own album that you could hand to venue owners and promoters was kind of like a letter of certification. If two musicians were trying to land the same gig and one of them went in and said “Here’s my album”. and the other one didn’t have an album, the one that did would be getting the gig — practically every time. The idea of an artist having an album out was new enough that promoters still associated it with a musician being a ‘real’ pro. “That guy must be fairly big-time. He’s got an album out! I’ll hire him because he’ll attract more people and make me more money!” That was the common thinking. Just a few short years prior practically the only musicians who had albums were at least fairly big names on fairly major labels. And, that is how people still sort of saw it. Having a release that looked and sounded comparable to big-names was exceedingly impressive to people who hired musicians.
So, I needed an album. I was losing work because I didn’t have one. I needed to book studio time, record a dozen or so tracks and have CDs made. But, like I said, it wasn’t cheap to do that. No bank would touch me for a loan — I was barely keeping my head above water. I had no savings. I had nothing. There were other things too. I always wanted to have better, more professional looking promotional materials made — never had the money for it. Investing in instrument and equipment repairs and upgrades as I needed them was always a hassle — no money. Really, I just got kind of sick of never having any money. I decided that I needed to do something on the side in order to generate some extra cash in order to help pay for all of this stuff I needed. But, what could I do? I was playing music full-time and just getting by on it. It would be difficult to find a job that would afford me the flexibility in my schedule I would need in order to continue playing music for a living. What was I going to do?
I decided that the most ideal option would be if I could somehow start a business that would make me money that I could operate solely from home in my spare time — work when I could, play music when I needed to. But, I had absolutely no money whatsoever! How could I start a business from home with no money? I figured, if I really had to, I could likely scrape together a very paltry sum — and I mean VERY paltry — and so, I decided to start putting effort in to research to see if there was perhaps something out there I could do with the ridiculously minuscule amount of funds that I’d be able to scratch together. As it would turn out, however, I wouldn’t need any money at all – not a penny.
This was 1996, remember. And, if you will remember — if you’re old enough to — this was right around the time of the early part of the internet boom. At that time every business owner in the world seemed to have heard of the internet, knew they just had to ‘get their business on the internet’, and that if they did, money would magically start flooding in by the bucket-fulls (which wasn’t far from the truth in those days) But, almost none of them seemed to know what the internet actually was, much less how they could get their business ‘on it’.
Well, guess what? It just so happened that I had always had an interest in computers and had owned a computer constantly since the late 1970s, when I was a kid. I wasn’t an absolute computer-expert whiz-kid, or anything. But, I knew my way around computers fairly well. I also had a connection to the internet years before most people had ever heard of such a thing as the internet. A friend of mine worked for a computer firm. That firm would give access to their internet feed to just about anyone who asked for it — which, in those days, pretty much meant their employees and not too many other people. But, through my friend, I was able to access the internet supplied by his company any time I wished. And, this was going right back to the very early days of the internet — I’m talking before the World Wide Web was even invented — when everything was text. I had to ‘telnet’ into the company’s computer through a modem hooked into a telephone line in order to access their internet feed. There was no such things as Google™, or anything like that. We used programs like “Gopher“, Archie, and “Veronica“.
Anyway, I found myself in a situation where (1) A lot of people suddenly had a desire to have a web presence, but had no idea how to get one. (2) I did have an idea how to get them one. (3) Not very many other people did have an idea how to get them one. And, in business, that’s pretty much a winning combination. As luck would also have it, at that time, a different friend of mine was paying for internet access from a very early, local internet service provider. And, I knew that the account he was paying for came with a small amount of server space that he wasn’t using and didn’t have a need for. I also did some research on the internet and found a company that leased server space. The potential to make money jumped right out at me.
I contacted my friend and told him I was going to try offering website creation services to local businesses. But, I needed a website to advertise my service, and to provide potential customers an example of my work. I asked if I could use the server space he had, but wasn’t using. I told him that I would pay him 10% of any profit I made for as long as I was using his server space for my business. He agreed. Why wouldn’t he? He was doing absolutely nothing with it — it was sitting dormant. He might get 10% of who knows how much for doing absolutely nothing at all. So, I set-up my website. I then began phoning local businesses and asking if they were interested in having a website for their business. If they were, (practically all of them, at that time, were pretty much frothing at the mouth at the thought) they could pay me a fee and I would take care of everything for them. They just pay my fee and in a few days their business would be ‘on the internet.’ After that, they’d pay me a small monthly fee to maintain and host the site and keep it active. When the first business took me up on the offer, I got half the money up front and used it to lease enough space from the company I found that provided server-space for one website. I designed and published the webpage and collected the rest of my fee. Of course, the monthly hosting/maintenance fee I was charging the local business was paying me was higher than what I was paying the wholesale server provider, so I made a recurring, residual profit there as well.
As time went on, and I made more sales, I kept investing more into the business — rolling back in a portion of the profits. I spent more on advertising in order to gain more clients, I began offering more services — like traffic generation services for the business’s website, and on and on. After just a few months, my business outgrew the free server space my friend was providing me with. I stopped paying him his 10% cut, moved everything over to my own server and continued to grow the business. I wasn’t just setting up and maintaining websites for local businesses anymore — I had national clients, and eventually, international. My business was in profit from day one. 12 months in I was generating over $3,000.00 per month in take-home profit. 12 months after that, more than $7,000.00 per month, and it kept growing. My best month ever in that business, I took home just over $22,000.00 — in one month. And, I did it all without ever spending even a single, solitary, lone penny that the business itself didn’t earn for me before I spent it. And, I did it all entirely from my own home, and just in my spare time.
So, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t start a business from home with no money. Because, I did it. And, believe me, there’s nothing special about me. I was just able to see the opportunity that presented itself at that moment in time, and I took it. And, that’s what you need to do — look for the opportunity — try to recognize it. And, think about what it is you need to do in order to make money from it. Investigate and explore all avenues. It can be done. The opportunity to start a business from home with no money might not present itself every single day, but keep your eyes open. If you see something that looks as though it might be such an opportunity, investigate. They happen. They occur. Never give up. Always stay vigilant. Back when I was starting that business it never once occurred to me that it might be impossible to start a business from home with no money. It was just a matter of how to go about it.