How can I start a business with NO money?

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Business, Freelancing

I was doing some research online the other day trying to come up with some new ideas for blog posts. One of the things I like to do is to type “how do I” or “how can I” type questions into Google to see what comes up. One question that came up a few times was “How can I start a business with no money?”

This is a question I asked myself during my journey towards freelancing, and it one I’m sure many mums relate to. There are a fair few people googling this topic, so I think it is worth discussing.


How to start a business with no money

Often when we decide to start a business, we don’t have a lot of money to put into it. It could be because we are on maternity leave and money is a bit tight. It could be because we are scared to put a lot of money into something that might not work out. Or it could be that someone else in our life (like a partner) doesn’t yet have faith that we can make our business work, so doesn’t want us to spend money on it. Whatever the reason, starting a business with no money is an issue many mums face.

So, is it possible to start a business with no money? I very much believe it is, so in today’s blog post I am going to answer the question “How can I start a business with no money?”

You might think that it is simply not possible to start a business without investing any money into it. This is not correct. You can start your own freelance business with no start-up money, and I want to explain how.

When you start your own freelance business you are selling your hours for dollars. As long as you can secure a client who is prepared to pay you for your hours you can start earning. Now, you might say, well there are some things that I need to start a freelance business, and that is true. However, many of us can start our freelance business using resources we already have or are already paying for.


Using resources you already have access to 

For many freelancers, we can start our business with the resources we already have. These resources are often the computer and phone we already have, and the internet connection we are already paying for. There might be other things you feel like you need, or that you need to have to offer a full range of services, but if you don’t have money to invest in starting your freelance business then you don’t need to get those things straight away.

To start with, work on finding work that requires you to only have resources that you already have access to (or that you can access for free). Once you start bringing in some money, then you can look to buy any additional subscriptions you would like to use. At that point, you can expand your service offering to include services that are reliant on those applications.

If you don’t have access to a phone, computer or internet connection, do what you can to access those resources. Borrow them from a friend, use your local library, or even start by just selling your hours (e.g. maybe you could go to your client’s office and do the work on a computer they have there). It might be tricky to start, but you can make it work.

When I started my business I had a glitchy old laptop from my uni days and a slow desktop computer. I made them work until I had enough money coming in to justify the purchase of a better laptop.


Making the most of free or cheap resources

There are a lot of shiny objects out there that are attractive to new business owners. I’ve been caught in the trap of thinking I needed fancy tools, websites, email addresses or subscriptions to look professional. However, you just don’t need all of that at the start.

You might think you need fancy accounting software to help you keep your business finances under control. You don’t. Those tools definitely can make your life easier. However, it is perfectly adequate to use a Word template to create an invoice and an Excel sheet for expenses. This is all you need to start with. For me, I’ve only ever used these tools to do my invoicing and accounting in my freelance business. I do have to pay a monthly subscription for Office, but I think that is around $10/month and I needed that on my computer anyway so it wasn’t something I had to add as an additional cost. I used an Excel sheet to track my hours, a Word template and a calculator to create invoices, and another Excel sheet to keep track of my invoices and expenses to send to my accountant.

Websites and email addresses are another money-spending trap. When I first started dabbling in the online world I thought I needed a nice website, domain name, and matching email address to look professional. Those things all cost me money that I didn’t need to spend. In most cases, you don’t even need a website to get started and you can use a Gmail account for your email. You can start a new Gmail if you feel like your personal one isn’t professional enough. If you feel like you need a website, there are lots of free platforms you can use to get started. Anything additional can come later once you are earning enough money to cover it.


Avoiding things you don’t need 

There are a lot of things that can seem attractive to a newbie business owner, but they often aren’t needed. If there are things you need to invest in, focus on the essentials so you can keep your costs low. Sometimes you can access the resources you need through your clients. For example, if your client wants you to do their social media, ask if they have access to paid resources.

Alternatively, you could make it clear in your marketing that you only offer your services by the hour. If any additional subscriptions are needed to do the work, be clear that this will be billed to your client. One of the jobs I did involved stitching together pdf files. I didn’t have the software to do this, but the client was prepared to pay for it so that the job could get done.

Some additional things can seem attractive, but are not necessary at the start. Business cards are a great example of this. When we started one of our businesses the business cards were the first thing I bought. We only ever used about 10 of them before one of us changed our phone number and they were no good anymore! A text is as good as anything for sharing your contact information.



It is 100% possible to start your own freelance business without needing any upfront cash. Start your business with what you have a build from there. As your business grows you can invest in better tools and equipment if you need it. Don’t fall into the trap of getting those things just because it seems like the right thing to do. We’re trying to create more freedom and any additional costs can keep us working more than we need to.

If you want to learn more about starting your own freelance business connect with me on Facebook or Instagram. You can also download my 101 freelance business ideas for busy mums eBook here.

P.S. I’ve also recorded a video on this topic which is available on my YouTube channel here.


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