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    Most Lucrative Business Ventures with Zero Startup Costs

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    how to start a business with no money Canada

    Those looking to begin a business venture don’t always have plenty of available start up cash. Here’s how to make the most out of a little.

    You may be limited to a strict budget when you start a small business in Canada, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have any options. It is possible to start a small business with very little to no money if you have a business idea and the right combination of work ethic, skills, and social media marketing know-how.

    If you’re wondering how to start a business in Canada with no money, then you’re bound to have questions! This article will answer the following commonly asked questions:

    • How do I start my own business with no money?

    • What is the easiest business to start?

    • What business can I start with $0?

    • What are the most successful small businesses?


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    How do I start my own business with no money?

    Whether you’re planning on starting a small business as a side hustle or something that can be scaled and grown, it is possible to get the ball rolling when you have little to no funding. Exploring investment platforms that cater to your specific needs can be a game-changer, allowing you to kickstart your journey as a business owner with no money. While it might seem like a far-fetched idea initially, it is indeed not impossible.

    To start and scale any business you’re likely going to need extra cash flow, partners, investors, and a solid plan for how you’re going to use your business funds in order to grow. However, when you’re just starting out, you start small.

    For example, if your dream is to open a store-front where you sell your hand-crafted wares then you may choose to start by selling them to friends and family. Not only do you build up a reputation this way, but this allows you to get initial feedback and to save on initial startup costs (as you’re not paying for a workspace or store-front yet). Then, you may begin to sell them on a third-party website online. To save money, you may initially choose to use a free internet connection from a local coffee shop or McDonald’s. After that begins to take off you can move on to hosting your own site and eCommerce store. But you get the idea!

    If you’re wondering how to start a business with no money, here are a few ideas on where you can start your business venture:

    • Ask yourself what you might be able to get and/or do for free.

      • To keep costs low until you’re making steady profit from your business, it’s important to think about what you can do and get for free. It may be wise to put off paying for a slick, custom-designed website for your business initially, and to instead opt for creating a free Facebook page to promote your business locally.

    • Use low-cost services.

      • Put in some work and seek out creative ways to save money. For example, it can greatly benefit your business over time if you look for coupon codes on sites such as RetailMeNot before checking out at any online retailer. This may save you money if your business requires you to purchase any materials online.

    • If you can, build up six months’ worth of savings that you can set aside for expenses.

      • Often, it can take about six months before you start seeing any cash flowing in from your business. For this reason it is wise to save at least six months’ worth of living expenses so that you can devote yourself to your new business full-time. Not only might this save you from needing to dip into any emergency savings that you may have set aside, but it will also decrease the likelihood of you maxing out your credit cards in an effort to get your business off the ground.

    • Practice your sales pitch and find investors.

      • Finding startup capital and venture capitalists can be hard! It’s a good idea to practice your sales pitch with family and friends before you approach any potential investors or crowdfunding platforms. They can ask questions, provide you with feedback, and they may even choose to invest in your business!

    • Decide what kind of business structure you want to have.

      • In order to structure your business properly and develop a business plan, you will need to know what your structure should be in the next year: sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or C-corporation. Each one has benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research. For example, you should look up "What is an LLC operating agreement?" to make sure you fill out this document correctly.

    • Apply for a small business loan when you need extra cash.

      • Banks and online lenders offer different kinds of small business loans to customers looking for extra funds. However, it’s important to be mindful that business credit can have higher interest rates than personal credit, so you’ll need to be sure to monitor your spending closely.

    • Look into local funding opportunities and small business grants.

      • Organizations in your city or province may offer funding or grants to small businesses. Applying can’t hurt!

    • Find out about potential angel investors (and woo them!)

      • Head on into the Dragons’ Den or look into other potential angel investors to back your great idea.

    • Make something, resell something, and/or sell your services.

      • To get your business started, you’ll need to start creating stock, reselling products, or selling your services.

    • Barter to get what you need.

      • You may be able to find other small business owners who are willing to barter and trade your skills, products, and/or resources in lieu of payment.

    • Register your business!

      • Use business banking accounts that offer Shopify, eBay integration, or integration into your accounting software, because they can assist in monitoring your spending, managing cash flow, and distinguishing between personal and business finances. As a result, you make sure that as a start-up business, your finances are managed easily.

    What is the easiest business to start?

    The easiest business to start is a business that you’re passionate about and that you already possess skills for. Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup, states that: “to succeed in a business project, especially one you’re excited about, it helps to think carefully about all the skills you have that could be helpful to others and particularly about the combination of those skills.” Not only will this help your business succeed, but it will naturally make starting your business a lot easier!

    Related: What are the basic requirements to start a business?

    What businesses can I start with $0?

    There are plenty of businesses that you can start with zero dollars or at a low cost. Some of the most lucrative business ventures with low startup costs include, but are not limited to:

    • Starting a dropshipping business.

    • Designing and selling on-demand printing services and t-shirts.

    • Selling print-on-demand posters, greeting cards, and prints.

    • Launching your own book or book series.

    • Creating digital products and/or online courses.

    • Starting a charitable business.

    • Selling a service.

    • Creating an online fashion boutique.

    • Selling handcrafted and homemade goods.

    • Building an audience you can monetize.

    • Starting a pet business.

    • Creating a membership program.

    • Joining an affiliate marketing program.

    • Becoming a virtual event planner.

    • Starting a landscaping business.

    • Testing app development.

    • Offering child care.

    • Starting an online coffee shop.

    • Becoming a handyman (Top handyman apps in Canada).

    • Selling your photography.

    • Becoming a social media managing consultant.

    • Starting a beauty business.

    • Offering housesitting and petsitting services.

    • Creating a phone accessories-based business.

    • Selling subscription boxes.

    • Investing in vending machines.

    Related: How to start a small online business

    While this list is a great starting point if you’re looking for an idea for your next business venture, there are plenty of other businesses that you can start at an equally low cost.

    What are the most successful small businesses in Canada?

    The most successful businesses in Canada are insured businesses!

    Regardless of the business plan, location, or type of business, Small Business Insurance is essential for small business owners. Business insurance not only protects business owners from liability issues, but it is necessary for a small business once you begin to hire employees.

    Related: What is the best hiring process for a startup?

    With so many different types of business insurance available, it’s important to make sure you have the right coverage that works for your business. Contact APOLLO Insurance today to speak with one of our advisors and get custom coverage that’s suited to you!


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    Originally published June 24, 2022, updated February 28, 2024

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