Anyone start a business with little or no $?

I have many good ideas, but no $ to invest.  I make pretty good money at my 9-5, my wife makes eh-money but has incredible benefits.  House, 2 kids, etc.  Can’t just up and quit.  Or can I?  Should I?  Anyone have success with crowdfunding?

    • Mortgage, kids, life, etc. I live in one of the most expensive places to live in America. Believe me, I’d love to move, but I have a lot of family here.

  • It depends on if you already have a specific business in mind.

    If not, I’d advice you to start someting in retrail.

    You nearly don’t need any money, just some for the stuff you will be selling. In the beginning you can even start without any website of your own, whatsoever. Just open up a Facebook page and start driving people to your stuff on ebay or amazon. The profits you make you can further invest in making a website of your own, etc.

    Don’t quit staright away, just keep doing the stuff on the side until you can replace a part of your income. Then limit the hours on your day job, use it to build the startup, replace more of your income, limit hours more, etc.

    Also read the Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. You will learn how to set up a business with little money and design it to work without you having to put much time into it.

    If it is an app you want to build you can get people to pay for it upfront so you can use the money to pay a developer. Check out The Foundation by Dane Maxwell for more info over at

    • I’m sorry every startup I’ve seen “the Foundation” feature have crashed and burned. They get some dollars in pre signups but when the company launches the companies all proceed to underdeliver and then go silent.

      Has anyone successfully launched using that program?

      • I didn’t partake, but they reccently advertised with their first millionaire graduate.

        Also I don’t think you should join their program, just use the free ressources to find a market and develop a fitting product. There is still a lot to do and figure out on your own.

    • A program that won’t state its cost upfront smells wrong. Why would anyone apply without even knowing all info including cost? Stank!

      • The cost is $5k+.

        My considered opinion is that it’s largely deceptive and manipulative – heavily biased toward benefiting the owners rather than users, and whilst it likely has some useful stuff it’s just not worth either the money or the effort.

  • I started a business from $0. Took 5 years before I started making a living wage, and being broke gets old fast. I’m not sure if I could do it again.

    Getting money by crowdfunding is a very specific skillset. You’re not going to raise anything if you don’t understand the dynamics at play.

    Frankly, you sound somewhat unprepared, so I suggest you moonlight instead. Don’t jump in until your startup makes 50% of your current salary. This means you’ll have to work a lot of evenings and weekends for the next year or two. This is a good thing, because it forces you to focus and work effectively. You’re also much less likely to ruin your marriage this way.

  • If you’re not going to give 100% and you have really good ideas.You’ll get squashed by the copy cats, real quick.

  • I’ve worked pretty much full time on my own business for last 18 months. Wife was making OK money, got made redundant (with a package), now cash is basically gone and bills are behind. 2 kids, mortgage, just like you OP.

    Am I stressed? Hell yes. Is the stress driving me forward? Hell yes. Am I looking for a job? Hell no. Every time the thought crosses my mind, I put the hours I’d be working part time or at nights into my business.

    Have faith in yourself. If you can visualise your ideal life, you can make out happen. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Good luck.

  • Stack 2 years pay, hit the ground running like a mad person, Book at least 5 customers before quitting and be prepared to drive uber at nights. Clear it with your wife first because she will have to pick up the slack and deal with your stress and absence. Good luck!

      • If you are in a major city, you can net about $1500 to $3000. Range on the low side in case things are on the slow side. Uber will help keep the lights on and cover the groceries. Wife will have to do the rest. Be sure to get rid of any and all debt before hand, budget for insurance and emergencies. Seriously don’t quit until you have 5 customers paying you with the potential to get 15 more in 90 days. You need that much momentum and cushion.

  • So, i’ve started several companies as a technical cofounder/business development guy and realized that ideas are pretty much worthless. Everyone has them and some people act on them. The only important thing that matters long term is clarity of vision and effort. Sounds like you don’t have those from the post so i recommend staying where.

  • As others have said, ideas are not worth much, so you will have to go through the process of developing a basic version of a product, look for customers, find out that nobody will pay for the product that way it is, tweak your product again and again until you find few customers willing to pay for your product, and improve from there, and many years later you may eventually make some money.

    The problem with the above is that it is a lot of work and a lot of time. The longer you stay in your current job, the longer it will take for you to get the point that your company is really generating sales. Once you reach the point where you have paying customers, you should focus on your venture: while it is possible to develop a product on the side, it is almost impossible to grow sales if you are not full time.

    What I did is what I think most entrepreneurs do. I had saved money over the years. After deciding to start a company (B2B), I stayed in my job for 18 months until we had our basic product working (“MVP”) and I had a few customers ready to start testing it. Then I quit and went full time, trying to convert trials into sales. As generally happens, we discovered over the next 12 months that our product was all wrong, that nobody was going to pay for it (“customer discovery”). Then we launched a second product (“pivot”), this time knowing exactly what our customers needed and were willing to pay. Another 12 months later we growing revenues by 15-20% month over month, and I should be able to start paying myself in another 6-12 months.

    In short: unless you can find investors (friends and family or Angel money) you need to have sufficient savings so you can keep your family afloat and invest in the venture without a salary for 3 years. You should stay in your job when you believe that you have something that someone will pay for (you will likely be wrong about that, but that’s okay).

  • It has been said a couple times already, but for short and sweet:

    Everyone has ideas, @#$!ing brilliant ideas; ideas don’t make no one special. The only thing that matters is execution.

    There are some really good suggestions on execution in this thread, and amazing resources out there.

    The biggest key, make sure your wife is on-board, figure out what “give it everything you’ve got for x years”, and keep your wife, and any family investors, up-to-date at least monthly. Execution is about focus, and refining the focus is the small failures you’re inevitably going to encounter on the way to success.

    But I find the best start-ups are the ones that realize that:

    1. $0 dollars is a great way to start – don’t loose focus spending money on the idea, spend “time” on executing the focus

    2. Success is often accept that the idea may have been great but the execution wasn’t going to meet the life/family goals you have and you move on (nice way of saying “fail fast”).

    3. Seed / Angels, typically, invest $25k to $50k, not $100k+ for a reason… even early investors in t, fb, and g were in the lower end range.

  • no family so cant say i relate 100% — but ideas are ideas. i truly believe my ideas are brilliant and people agree with me. without money to startup, i am currently saving as much money as i can to pay off student loans. once that clears i will try and launch a business.

    i believe in the following: “Learn & Earn”

    get a job that you are literally learning/training for your future business so you’re not at step 1 when you leave.

  • yes, it seems no matter how smart you are, it takes about 2 years of full time effort to build a saleable product and earn revenue. I tried doing it part-time for several years, but my job was so draining, I had to leap because I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I left with six months of money and 1 client (who was former employer). I got lucky that I had three times as much work from my one client than I had anticipated, so I may survive just working on my start-up this summer. Still think about another year before I can sleep through the night.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like