Ask anyone who has done it; starting a business is not easy. Or cheap.

Or is it?

Maybe you’re bored and want to try something new without a huge investment. Maybe you have skills but not a lot of free cash. There are millions of reasons to start a business; it shouldn’t take millions to make it happen. So let’s look the easiest way to start a business with almost no startup money.

Choose the Right Type of Business
Not every business lends itself to low startup costs. If you want to create a tangible product with precision machining and a lot of raw materials, this blog is not for you. But, if you want to start something that doesn’t require a lot of startup capital beyond your time, consider these types of businesses to start.

Time-Based Services

Time-based services are intangible goods, like services, that simply require your time to start and operate. Services like dog walking or caring for seniors in their homes, for example. Or you could be a little more industrious and start a company that shuttles compost from homes to farms who will pay for it.

Time-based services also include one of the most profitable startups you can consider: consulting. We all have skills and knowledge that other people are willing to pay us for. Turn your CV into a pitch deck and start making cold calls to people you know need your expertise.

Skill-Based Services

Like time-based services, many of us have a passion or skill that others pay us for. Maybe you enjoy making tables using wood from old barns or you design websites. Gather some proof points as to the quality of your skills, like customer testimonials and a portfolio of prior work, and start advertising your services. You may need to invest in the tools you need to perform your work, but chances are you already have them, can buy them used, or, you can rent them, lowering your startup costs even further.

Handcrafted Goods

Handcrafted goods are like skill-based services except you produce actual goods, like macaroons or hats. Like skill-based services, you can get creative with the tools you need to produce your goods. Instead of spending hundreds on proper screens and gels for your screen printing business, for example, you could get started using a much cheaper technique that requires parchment paper, and embroidery hoop, and Mod Podge, for a fraction of the cost.

Unlike skill-based series, handcrafted goods can be sold on Etsy, Craigslist, and even Amazon.

Grow into a Guru

Regardless of the type of business you start, generate more revenue and exposure by putting your knowledge online. Create “How To” videos with affiliate links to raw materials. Put your hacks into a blog and generate ad revenue. Build an eBook then sell it outright. Charge a small fee to speak at various conferences. Now you’ve become a guru with almost no startup money!

What You Have to Pay For
Almost no money isn’t the same as no money. If you’re going to start a business, you’ll need some startup capital. For example, you’re going to need a website. You can learn to create one with WordPress for free but the domain will cost you about $10 a year. You may also need a business license or permit to operate legally, which runs a few $100.

Everything else you need to get started, such as a business plan, marketing plan, etc. can be self-taught, and free resources like Bizlaunch webinars can help get started with almost no money.

Image: StockUnlimited