How to become an entrepreneur with no money

By The Rebel School CEO, Simon Paine.

The number one skill to work on is selling.

Most people when they start a business get bogged down with the detail of logos, branding, websites and the scores of multiple ideas that are buzzing through their heads because they’re excited to start.

But the number one thing that will help you start a business without any money is sales. So the question you might be asking is “how can I make sales if I can’t afford to buy anything in my business?“

Well here’s the thing to do: your job is to bootstrap everything

What we mean by this is to reduce the amount of money to the smallest number possible that you need to spend in order to get started.

Get things for free, borrow, barter, sell things that you don’t need any more on Facebook marketplace to create a small slush fund and the smartest entrepreneurs out there are the ones who use their customers money to grow their business and not their own.

How do you do use your customers money to grow your business?

You make a sale and then you ask for payment upfront either in part or in full and then you’re able to get started without any money. 

But there is a fundamental step to take in order to make this happen. You have to focus. Have you ever try to ride three horses with one butt? I wouldn’t recommend it.

What does focus mean? It means you choose one idea. It means you choose one product or one service and like a laser go talk to your target audience; the customer who is most likely to buy.

 Because the thing is most people won’t be interested. Not even your own family will give you cash (why don’t you ask them just in case). So to become an entrepreneur without any money you have to come up with an idea focus like a laser, don’t spend any money and get out there and start selling to the people who are going to be most interested.

Focus on your business to speed up your growth

If you can take the money in advance then you can speed up your progress. Oftentimes people ask us if there is funding available to start a business like grant funding and occasionally people want to know how they can get investors involved.

Don’t rely on grants and definitely don’t rely on investors that’s going to be some difficult conversations to make happen. And here’s the thing: if you are the kind of entrepreneur and you are going to start the kind of business that might interact investment you can give away most of your equity if you’ve not been able to make anything happen at the beginning.

If you can go to investors with a viable business already, then you’re more secure in the driving seat.

Your business is a mini-experiment

Final top tip of the day is if you treat your ideas like a mini-experiment you’re more likely to win.

You’re going to have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince or princess of an idea. Be prepared to try and fail focus on getting things done and then you’re more likely to get the results that you really want.

So what’s your next step?

Simon Paine

Simon started the Rebel School (formerly Pop-Up Business School) with Alan in 2011.

As well as helping start-ups realise their business dreams, he has coached, trained and facilitated senior leaders from some of the world’s most famous companies including Microsoft, British Airways, and Thomson Reuters.

Find out more about Simon on our team page.