During times when markets are down and your investments are all in the red, it’s important to focus on things that you can control.
As an individual, we can’t do much to reverse the falling stock prices. However, we do have a lot of control over our cashflow. Specifically, how we spend and how we earn.
And speaking of how we earn, one of the best sources of income is of course… starting a business. Which begs the question, given these difficult times when we’re strapped for cash, how do you even put up a business that requires zero or very little capital?
The Reality of Starting a Business with Zero Capital
A business would always require capital. If not at the start, then at some point in the immediate future. It is necessary for it to become stable and to eventually grow.
Thus, it’s important to save your initial profits, and then re-invest it back into the business. Because if you don’t, then your venture won’t become sustainable for the long-term.
Another fact is that, businesses that don’t need a lot of startup capital usually begin as a freelancing gig. Thus, hard work, resourcefulness, and long-term plans are necessary if you want to eventually convert your hustle into a full-fledged business.
1. RESELLING BUSINESS
The most straightforward way to make money without capital is to simply resell stuff. Of course, with a few cash, you can buy a starting inventory. But it’s very possible to get a consignment or affiliate deal from a supplier and begin selling.
Perhaps, you can look around your home and find something that you can sell to have initial funds.
This was how I started with my past venture of selling computer parts online. I took out the working parts of an old computer we had at home, and sold them in forums. I also emailed friends, and posted about it on my social media accounts.
2. SERVICE or SKILLS PROVIDER
Another way to make money without cash is to offer your skills and sell a service.
A friend, who has a graphic design firm, started by sending messages to Facebook business pages and selling his services to create professional cover photos for them. This got him several clients, which provided him the capital to build his formal business.
Meanwhile, another person I’ve met got started with his events business from hosting the weddings of his friends. He networked hard during those times until he was able to build enough contacts and cash to do a full-time business.
3. CONSULTING and COACHING BUSINESS
Much like being a service or skills provider, working as a consultant is a good stepping stone towards eventually building your own firm.
The Internet has also provided the opportunity for individuals to sell online courses and consultancy sessions. Someone I know earned hundreds of thousands of pesos from doing one-on-one mentoring over Skype as a life coach.
Moreover, another friend created language tutorial videos at home with her smartphone, which she sold online as an English-learning course. Eventually, she started hiring other tutors and built her own tutorial center.
4. CONTENT CREATOR
Social media is filled with influencers who regularly make money online. However, digital marketing professionals are saying that the next big trend online in this field would be content creators.
Influencers are mostly aspirational, but content creators lean more towards being educational. And those who can use social media to create informative, entertaining, and educational content will soon be at the forefront of digital marketing.
It doesn’t take a lot of money to start a blog, create a video channel, or develop a podcast which you can eventually monetize. And the good news is, there’s still a lot of space in the Philippines for content creation, particularly in underserved and specialized niches.
Fun Fact: You may know Mikey Bustos as a comedian and Internet celebrity. But did you know that one of his biggest income earner is his YouTube channel and online shop about ant-keeping?
5. SHARING ECONOMY BUSINESS
Lastly, another business that you can start with zero or little cash is to capitalize on today’s sharing economy.
If you have a spare room at home, or an unused condo unit or apartment, then list it on AirBnB. Looking for extra income while you drive around the city, sign-up as a provider for a ride-sharing app like Owto and Hirna.
Take some time to search for these kinds of apps or websites, and see if there’s something you have, which you can offer. And additionally, it’s quite common for enterprising individuals to eventually scale-up and turn this side gig into a business.
The five types of businesses mentioned require little or no capital to start, but they also don’t really begin as a business.
Rather, it’s mostly a freelance venture above anything, during its initial stages. And the key to success is to save your early profits to scale your operations until you graduate from doing everything, and growing towards outsourcing and hiring staff.
Starting a business with zero or little capital is possible. But it will take hard work, resourcefulness, and a good long-term plan to succeed.
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