You can start a business with no money even though it can seem daunting.

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a lot of work. It’s just you doing everything in your business, from marketing and accounting to the stuff that you love, building a business can seem overwhelming. But at the end of the day, seeing your business grow through your own efforts is an amazing feeling.

Bootstrapping a business is tough. But it doesn’t need to be as hard as all that if you follow the instruction in this blog post.

What is bootstrapping?

There are two ways you can build a business. You either need to spend money or spend time.

Bootstrapping is the latter of those options, which means that when you start your own company, there’s no outside investment needed for initial capitalisation and you work on building revenue from day one.

In a sense, it’s not about how much money you have but your mindset and the way you approach things. Bootstrapping is all about taking action on what you know will work for your business right now in order to create revenue and build capital.

Bootstrapping means managing every aspect of your company from marketing and accounting to the bits you really enjoy yourself. But it also means there are no investors or debt to repay.

The freeing aspect of this model of business building is that, often, all you need is a computer, internet connection and your own nous.

Keep your outgoings low

When you start a business it can be really easy to get caught up in trying out shiny new apps and services that promise to make your business life easier.

The trouble is, each one comes with its monthly subscription fee. Even the low cost ones add up. The challenge is to find the ones that are worth it in terms of ROI (return on investment).

The truth of the matter is, even though some of these things will make things easier for you, you can do a lot of things manually. Again, by spending your time.

There are no hard and fast rules to keeping your outgoings low. Each business will require different things and each business owner will favour saving time in different ways.

The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to keep a hard eye on your subscriptions. Checking every couple of months to make sure you’re using the things you’re being billed for and that you’re getting benefit out of them.

Don’t quit your day job

As hard as it is, don’t assume your business is going to be an instant success. You want to aim for steady growth. A sudden spike in work can be hard to manage and often leads to burn out.

Quitting your day job too early is the biggest mistakes bootstrappers make. Without that stream of income yours savings will dwindle. You’ll be stressed and more likely to give up before you hit success.

Market research will save you

It sounds obvious but many people who start a business don’t do any market research. Without putting in the effort to find out what your target audience needs you could end up wasting a lot of time on something that people don’t want or aren’t willing to pay for.

The worst part is, you could end up needing to start again, from scratch.

Get paid upfront and write it into your contract

Two of the biggest mistakes I made when I was starting out was not requiring a deposit and not having a contract. Legals are something you need to spend money on.

Learn from my mistake. If you work in the service industry, especially if you’re doing big ticket projects, make sure you get at least a part payment upfront.

As a small business you can’t afford to wait for weeks or months to be paid. Having a legally binding contract that stipulates a deposit upfront and payment before hand over is complete.

Join a mastermind

One of the best things you can do for your business is joining a group of likeminded people who can keep you on track.

The idea behind mastermind groups is that they’re made up of people with at a similar level of business. They should push each other to hit new goals while being there to support you when you’re not feeling the best about your business.

Find your people

This is really key. When you’re bootstrapping you need to be where your target audience is. Because you’re not paying to advertise you need to find a different way to get your product or service in front of your audience.

Social media is a great place to get in front of people, but the important thing to remember is that you’ve got to be on the right channel. There are so many options and each one caters to a different demographic.

Joining your local Chamber of Commerce as well as other local, regularly meeting groups can be useful too. It’s not just being in touch with other business owners in your area either. The more people you tell about what you do the more likely you are to find work (or make sales).

Building a network of relationships, both online and in person, is going to be crucial for you to build traction when bootstrapping.

Wrapping up

When it comes time to start a business with no money you need to remember it’s going to take time. Probably more than you’re expecting.

You’re going to need to figure out where to spend money and where to hold back – holding back is going to happen way more than the spending.

You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to feel lost and tired. But keep going, don’t quit. Steady progress is what you need to succeed in business.