How to start a business when you have little or no money

Most of the time you will find me sharing information on how to get funding for your business. The truth is that not every business needs funding. In fact, plenty of entrepreneurs, including myself, have started businesses for next to no money. 
 
So, let’s take a look at how to start a business with no money in hand.
 

How to start a business with no money

 
One of the quickest ways to start a business with no money is to take your existing skills and start out freelancing. 
 
In fact, freelancing is such a popular side hustle that it has taken on a catchphrase, the “gig economy”, and there are blogs dedicated to helping entrepreneurs launch their freelancing careers. So, I am not going to share here the exact steps to getting started.  I will leave that to two of my favorites freelancing sites. They are the Side Hustle Nation and Austin Church’s, a past SouthFound podcast guest, blog.
 
If you feel like you don’t have enough experience to offer, don’t worry. We are going to talk about that on Friday.
 
The opportunities are nearly endless. But some of the more popular freelancing services offered I see include:
  • social media management
  • editing services
  • graphic design
  • content writing for blogs, eBooks, etc.
  • being a virtual assistant
 
In many instances, you don’t need much to get started. 
 
For example, when I started my first consulting business I didn’t have a website, logo, or frankly much of a process in place for how I would work with clients. But I jumped right in and decided to get started anyway. Be sure to avoid over-thinking getting started.
 
Start a business with no money, but with customers
 
Since I had a day job at the time, I didn’t have much time (I will talk about time limitations Wednesday) to focus on finding clients. But I knew that there were websites where people were posting work they needed help with. Such sites, like Fiverr and Upwork, allow you to join and bid on jobs for free. They only make their money once you get paid. 
 
There are a few things I want to point out about sites like this. 
 
In my experience, you are not likely to be paid what you think your services are worth. This is for multiple reasons. First, when you are starting out you might need to bid low to win a job. But it is worth it to build your resume up. Second, you are competing with freelancers from across the globe who may be charging less than the going rate in your country.
 
Also, these sites tend to take a decent cut of your revenue. For example, with Upwork you can count on paying them about 10% of your revenue. 
 
Since they drive opportunities to me, I just look at this as a marketing expense. That approach paid off, as I was able to start winning opportunities and earning some income. In fact, over the past few years, I have earned as little as $5,000 and as high as $30,000 through freelancing. Think of the difference that amount of extra money would make in your life.
 
Your turn
 
Are there other websites, like Upwork, that you use for finding freelancing jobs? 
 
Be sure to leave your insights below so we can all learn from each other.

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