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How to Start a Business With No Money

You want freedom, flexibility and autonomy. We hear you! While the standard 9 to 5 routine may totally suit some people, others – possibly you – have visions of creating something and nurturing it.

Starting your own business might be a long-held dream but you may be a bit short on ideas. Or you might be brimming with ideas but short on money. Either way, here are some suggestions to help you start a business with no money.


  • Idea Generation: Look at personal challenges or skills for business ideas.
  • Government Grants: Explore small business grants from state and federal governments.
  • Bootstrapping: Start as a side hustle, use free resources, and ask for pre-orders.
  • Seeking Investors: Create a business plan and pitch to investors or enter competitions.
  • Smart Start: Consider online entrepreneurship courses for guidance and resources.

I want to start a business, but have no ideas

Interestingly, some of the world’s most successful businesses were established because the founder had a problem they needed to solve for themselves. Australian digital design platform, Canva, was established because design programs like Photoshop were complex and difficult to learn. It’s now valued at over $15 billion!

Aussie insurance tech platform, Butter, came about because two lawyers, Steph Skevington and Cassie Bell had found themselves “locked out of” insurance options for their expensive possessions, like jewellery, designer handbags and smart devices. Their subscription-based policies are aimed particularly at young people and renters

Think about the challenges you face in your own life, from regularly spilling coffee in your car to finding someone to feed your cat if you’re unexpectedly hours late home from work. Think about mistakes you’ve made, like accidentally sending sensitive emails to the wrong client or forgetting to water your plants, and they all die.

Do you have skills for which others admire you? For instance, are you really smart with investing money, have a knack for calming animals, or do you always know where to get the best bargain?

The above are all idea ignitions. The answers may be products or services, but they all represent a need that a business can meet.

And hey, there’s no reason you can’t borrow someone else’s idea! Look how many mechanics workshops, personal stylists and home organising services exist. Sometimes, all you need is a new slant on an old concept.

Think about what you’re good at, what you love (but others don’t), what your peers seem to need, what’s trending, why some things are so difficult, or what you hear people complaining about all the time. See if you can translate those concepts into something customers will happily pay for.

While you’re here, you might like to download our FREE guide: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a New Business.

Download your free guide

Government money to start a business

Another challenge you might face when wanting to start a business is finding the money to do it. Did you know that grants are available? Google ‘small business grants’ and you’ll likely find that your State government has money to offer.

There are also Federal government grants. Alternatively, check out this Grants and programs finder.

Bootstrapping your business

‘Bootstrapping’ refers to establishing and building a business relying on creativity, ingenuity and finances and not turning to external investments. It’s time to get smart and ‘bootstrap’ your business.

1. Start with a ‘side hustle’. Often, a great idea can blossom from a part-time ‘hobby’ into a full-blown business. Keep earning through your day job and save as much as possible while growing your side hustle.

2. Get your hands on what you can for free. You can ask your friends and family to chip in with their skills or services (e.g. building a website, packing parcels or doing deliveries). Seek free advice from your local Chamber of Commerce. Attend free networking get-togethers. Get your hands on free (discarded) materials. Use free software versions such as Canva and your iPhone’s suite of photographic tools. Start with a free website builder.

3. Ask for pre-orders. Once you have the money to make or get your products, ask your customers to pay for their order in advance. This will help keep your business running smoothly. You could even buy products on consignment from suppliers.

Seeking outside investment

Once you reach a point where your business is proven, you can start looking for money from external sources.

1. Seek investors. Create a smart business plan and pitch it to an investor in your field. Alternatively, ask friends to go into business with you. They may be the ‘cash’, while you’re the ‘brains’.

2. Look out for business competitions. From time to time, some contests offer thousands of dollars to help get a fabulous business idea off the ground. One example is the Nespresso Circular Innovation Competition, which provides a $50,000 top prize.

How to guarantee yourself a smart start to your business

If you’re nursing a deep urge to start your own business but you need a place to start, why not explore MiTraining’s Certificate III in Entrepreneurship and New Business course? 

It’s conducted fully online, so you can complete it at your convenience, and you’ll have a dedicated trainer and access to learning resources. Both weekly and fortnightly payment plans are available to get up and running without significant overheads.

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