What’s up Believe Nation? I’m a little bit sick today it’s been a really rough week but this is the last video I need to make for the week so I’m going to bring everything I have to this final video as we talk about the seven ways to get started in your business with zero cash.
So one of the most common questions that I get asked on my stream, in my emails, on twitter, on YouTube is how do I get started? I don’t have any money. I don’t have an investor. You need money to make money. You don’t. I’m going to show you how to do it in seven different ways, how you can make money and start a business without any start-up cap. Here we go.
Seven ways to get started in your business with zero cash
#1: Start A Service
Okay so way number one is start a service. I think entrepreneurs should always start at the service over a product whenever possible ’cause it does a couple things. One, when you start the service, you don’t need to invest into any gear, you don’t need products, you don’t need a location. You can go to your clients.
You’re investing your time, your energy, your hustle, but you’re not investing your dollars. So it’s a great way to get started and test something out before investing money into it and as you start making money then you can put it back in. So start with a service.
“I think entrepreneurs should always start at the service over a product whenever possible ’cause it does a couple things” – Evan Carmichael
The other thing that it does with a service is that it gets you close to your customers. When you’re selling a product, you’re not as close to your customer but when you’re doing a service and you’re meeting with them, whether it’s every week or every month or every quarter, whatever it is. You’re getting close to them , you’re getting to understand them.
So you’re getting their money which is great, you get cash still coming in without spending anything and you’re getting close to them so you can understand their needs and when you’re ready to make the jump and sell product, you have a ready base already there. So you can get that attachment to them and when you’re ready to go bigger, you already have that base to build from.
#2: Use A Print On Demand Service
Number two is use a print on demand service. If you are going to any kind of product make sure that it’s a limited production run and that you’re not outlaying tons of cash. This is a big mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs will make when they’re first getting started. If you want to make caps, right. I’m going to make caps, I want to be in the cap making business. Great I’ve got this sick design that’s going to take off. Awesome.
If you want to make real margin off of baseball hats, you need to order tons, right, you need to have 10,000. You need to order 5000, 10,000. The challenge is one that costs a lot of money, you’re going to have to take out a big loan or take a mortgage on your house or sell everything you have. To get the start-up capital to be able to make the initial purchase. But the problem is you don’t know if that’s going to sell or not.
And it happens to so many people, they go for the bulk order ’cause they get the biggest price breaks and you figure if I can sell all 10,000 of these, I’m going to make it rich, great. And then you sell three. Because maybe your design sucks, because maybe you wouldn’t like it enough.
And so I would much rather you use a print on demand service where you are selling one hat at a time and they’re being printed one hat at a time and being shipped one hat at a time And there’s services that allow you to do this for a huge range of products. Whatever you’re tryin’ to get out there and sell and why it’s great is you’re not spending any money.
“If you are going to any kind of product make sure that it’s a limited production run and that you’re not outlaying tons of cash.” – Evan Carmichael
The downside is you’re not making as much money, right, where if you buy 10,00 caps, you might be making a 90% margin. Where if you’re selling one cap at a time, you may be making 5% or 10%, you’re not making as much but what it allows you to do is test. What I would love to see you do if you’re going into caps or t-shirts, whatever you’re trying to make, test your concept, see if it works, see if people want to buy it or not.
And if you’re selling these caps and your selling hundreds and hundreds of caps, then you can say you know what, forget this print on demand service, I’m going to take the money that I made from this and I’m going to make my own order. Now it’s worth it. It’s not risky because you already have a ready audience.
You know those are going to keep selling so use the print on demand service to start, to test it, to build up an audience, and then when you’re ready, make the jump. ‘Cause what I don’t want you to do is take out a big mortgage and then get stuck with 9992 caps, sittin’ in your mama’s basement, ’cause you couldn’t sell them and you took your shot and now you’re in debt for the rest of your life. Don’t do that. Use a print on demand service.
#3: Barter And Barrow
Number three is barter and borrow. Listen as an entrepreneur it’s never about the resources you have, it’s always about how resourceful you can be and so think about what you can barter, think about what you can trade, think about what you’re really good at and what you need help with and maybe you could trade what you’re really good at with somebody else ’cause they need help with that. If you’re lawyer trying to get started but you need a website, trade some legal services to a website designer.
They’ll build you a website, you got your legal services. Whatever it is, there’s people who need what you have, and you need what they have so find some way to barter. As an example, after I sold my first business, I needed a new office, I needed a new thing to do and so I connected with a venture capital company and they had this amazing office at Yonge and King, which in Toronto, is one of the most prestigious addresses you can have pretty much in the country actually, in Canada and I was there and I got the space for free and I got to incubate my next company out of there because I was able to barter with the people who owned that business.
I joined them, I helped them bring in deals at the same time I got to incubate my business out of it and so look for people who have what you need and how you might be able to work some kind of trade. The other thing is to borrow, before you go out and buy something, borrow from somebody. You get a landscaping deal great but your first gig don’t go out and buy all the gear, go borrow the gear from one of your friends that’s sittin’ in their garage and they’re not using it. When I was gettin’ started on YouTube, I did both, I did barter and I did borrow.
“It’s never about the resources you have, it’s always about how resourceful you can be” – Evan Carmichael
I had a friend of mine Mark Drager, who’s actually featured in Your One Word was startin’ at this company Phantom Media, he came in and in exchange for promotion on the channel, he filmed my videos. So some of my very first videos has this intro, created by Phantom Media or in association with Phantom Media, whatever it is, he got a lot of exposure on my channel and in exchange he did the video production and I was just the guy in front of the camera and so that was a great exchange, as I wanted to go off and do it myself, the next step before I bought a camera was I borrowed a camera from a buddy of mine.
He was a bartender and he did bartending tricks and flare and he filmed a whole bunch of his events and I said hey can I borrow your camera? Would you mind, I want to make my own YouTube channel videos and see what happens and I borrowed his camera for a day. Borrow don’t go and buy yet, borrow, test, always find a smaller way to get started. In almost any industry there’s a smaller way to get started. Go out and find that and then pour it into your business.
You look at Toronto Dance Salsa, yes I have a retail location now. Yes it cost me six figures in rent every year but how the business was started was renting spots out of gyms where we would pay 25, 30, 40 dollars an hour to rent their gym space for an hour and then fill it with students and then we did more time, two hours, three hours at a time and then multiple days.
“There’s always a smaller way to get started.” – Evan Carmichael
If you want to start a bake shop, you don’t have to go out and take a five to ten year lease on a bake shop. Find somebody who already has some retail location and ask if you can have a tiny part of their store. Come in for one day or come in for everyday for a week, come in for every Saturday for a year, they take a piece of every sale that comes in or whether they like it for just the marketing ’cause you’re bringing in awareness and people to the store.
There’s always a smaller way to get started. Borrow, barter, think smaller, think bigger at the same time, big goal, crunch it down into the next immediate steps, because what happens, happens to a lot of you, you have this big goal and you think you have to take this huge giant step, that’s my next step, I got to open up my store, that’s my next step, I got to take that big order, that’s my next step and then you do nothing because you can’t get the capital and so you stay here at the bottom having done nothing, and then years and years and years go by and you see other people makin’ tons of cash off of your idea and you freak out and complain and say that was my idea, I should be the one making money off of that.
No ’cause you didn’t take any action. ‘Cause the idea alone is not enough, you got to do the work and so stop tryin’ to take that big step and instead doing nothing, small steps will lead to that big step. There is always a smaller way to get started, go find it and stop making excuses. Barter and borrow.
Number four is pre-sell and the idea here is, use services like Kickstarter or use an email list or use Facebook or whatever it is and start to pre-sell your idea. Whatever product, whatever service, whatever you have in your mind that you think might cost you $10,000 or $50,000 or whatever it is you think it’s going to cost you, make a video about it, make a web page about it, you can do it yourself, it doesn’t have to cost you money, you’re partnering with people to help make that happen, and pre-sell it so before you actually go out and write that book or before you go out and make that t-shirt, or before you go out and launch that service, you can pre-sell it and see if people are willing to buy it and actually put money down and say listen, if I get a hundred people who will want to buy this book, I am going to write it and here’s the topic.
“Pre-selling is a great, great, fantastic, amazing way to launch your business without having to spend any money.” – Evan Carmichael
If I get a thousand people, who will pay for this specific e-book, then I’m going to write it. Or whatever it is, whatever your product idea is, this new baseball hat, if I get 25 people to commit to the first order of my baseball hat or a thousand people, whatever it is you need to make your numbers work, that’s the whole point of Kickstarter, it’s great ’cause you’re not givin’ up equity.
Remember when you’re going to an investor, you’re giving up equity in your business. Here it’s just marketing, if you don’t hit the goal, you don’t make the product. I mean it sucks, ’cause you didn’t make the goal, but it’s great because you didn’t outlay thousands of dollars on this idea that’s not going to take off. ‘Cause you don’t have an audience for it so pre-selling is a great, great, fantastic, amazing way to launch your business without having to spend any money.
#5: Use Free Resources
Number five is use free resources, just like bartering and trading and borrowing, I like free too. I like finding free ways to do stuff and so I would always look to free, even if it’s not ideal, I would look to free before paying for something. I want to start it, get anything up, test it, and then as I start making some money, then I invest it back into growing. As an example there’s this great games cafe that opened up in Toronto where you pay five to 10 dollars to get into the location and then you play games and then they sell food and it’s a coffee shop and it’s a bar and they have multiple locations now.
When they started, it’s called Snakes and Lattes instead of Snakes and Ladders, Snakes and Lattes. Anyway when they started, they didn’t have a website, instead of investing into a website they just did it on Facebook. They did everything on Facebook. Facebook has all of the social connections all built in already ready to go. When you’re starting you don’t need a website.
“Anybody can spend money. Not everybody can make it. So find ways to go free” – Evan Carmichael
Does it help you? Does it make you look more credible? Does it allow you to do more customized things? A hundred percent. But you don’t need it. Start on Facebook just start get something up. Get some attention, get some traction, get your first dollars in and then once you start making some money, you can figure out okay where am I going to spend that? I’m going to spend that on improving my product, I’m going to spend that on business cards, I’m going to spend it on an office car. Am I going to spend it on a new website? Where am I going to spend it?
When you’re meeting people you don’t need an office Having an office should never be anything you consider until you’re making some money. Meet people at their location. Meet people in Starbucks. I still meet people at Starbucks. I like getting out of the office. You don’t need to have an office. Stop finding ways to spend money, anybody can spend money, anybody can put a budget together and say hey I need a million dollars to go and do this and here’s how we’re going to spend it. Amazing. I’m sure you could find millions of ways to spend a million dollars, you’ll figure it out. Anybody can spend money. Not everybody can make it. So find ways to go free like using Facebook, like not having a business card, like not buying office equipment, any of that stuff, go to coffee shops until you’re making some money.
#6: Turn Your Job Into A Client
Number six is turn your job into a client. I’ve always been a big proponent of if you’re going to have a job, don’t look at it as just having an income source, yes you need to make money and it’s great.
You need to be learning from your job, the point of taking a job is to learn, so whatever business you want to get into, whatever this new company you want to start, the ideal scenario is to find somebody who’s already done that and go work for them. Find somebody who has 10 employees, some small company whose built up, is bigger than you but not some giant where the job you’re going to get is tiny and not helpful and then go work for them to learn. Yes get paid but to learn. So how do you transition that job into a business?
The two things that come to mind are one, that company that you’re working for could become your first client. It happens a lot, where you need to free up some on your time, you don’t want to be an employee anymore and so you become an independent contractor where instead of going to work five days a week, you work three days a week or two days a week or one day a week, and maybe it’s not from the office anymore, maybe you work from home and you’re not an employee, with the benefits and all the taxes anymore, you’re an independent contractor running your own company and so it gives you some money, it gives you your own client and you’re in business.
“You need to be learning from your job, the point of taking a job is to learn, so whatever business you want to get into, whatever this new company you want to start, the ideal scenario is to find somebody who’s already done that and go work for them.” Evan Carmichael
The second way to do it is to use some of the opportunities that come through this business that you’re working at for your own advantage. So you might be able to take one of the clients that you’re working on or you meet somebody at a networking event because you’re going there, you’re forming contacts, you’re forming partnerships, by being in the space you get to make connections.
You may see an opportunity for, you go to this networking event and there’s this person that you meet and there’s an opportunity for you to work with them, for them to be your client. So you bring them on board and that could be your first client as well. Either from becoming an independent contractor and splitting up your week, so you’re not spending full time at your job or using the connections that you build which is why it’s so important to have a job in the industry that you want to build your business in, you’re making contacts and from there one of those become your first client.
#7: Build Around A Customer
And the number seven and final way to build a business without having to spend any cash, and it’s an important one, build around a customer. Business is about providing value and I’ve talked a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, about this on this channel if you want to make money, you have to provide value to your clients. Having success in business is going to come from combining two things, this is how you’re going to provide value, in this corner, in this fist is what you love doing.
This is your passion, this is what you love doing and in this corner, in this fist is what the market wants, what your clients want, your success will come by bringing these two together because if you love doing something but it provides no value to anybody else, it’s going to be a hard time becoming a successful entrepreneur and if all you’re doing is chasing opportunity, but you’re not interested in it, you’re never going to really be a success, you may make a few bucks but you’re never going to really be a successful entrepreneur. So you need to combine what you love doing with what people will pay for with the market wants.
“If you want to make money, you have to provide value to your clients.” – Evan Carmichael
There’s been a ton of video series that I’ve put up that I love doing but you guys didn’t resonate with and that I pulled down. Some I do keep up but recognize that this is really just for me but if I had to build my whole channel around it, it wouldn’t work. There’s been other ones that I could easily go to, if I put 10 stupidest things that Steve Jobs ever said, 10 biggest fights with Donald Trump, if I started doing those kinds of videos, people would eat that up, they might be the most popular videos on my channel, people would love that but the idea of putting people down and making people look stupid, and just causing controversy for the sake of fighting, I don’t like it at all. I never want to do that stuff it’s not part of who I am and so I’m not making those videos even though there is a demand because other people would do a better job at it anyway then me.
I don’t want to play in that game. And so combining what you love with what the market wants is super important and that’s why you need to get close to potential customers and build a product or service around them so instead of just saying here’s my idea, go buy or don’t buy. Be more collaborative.
Think about who potential customers would be for your service of for your product and go out and talk to them ask them what they think, ask them what their needs are, ask them what their problems are, ask them what their pains are if I made this for you, or I came and did this for you would it help would that be something that you would pay for is that enough value for you? If you get a yes and it’s work that you would want to do, then you’re in business and If not then you need to keep talking to people, keep meeting people, make a list of all the potential customers, these are the kinds of people who would buy from me and go understand them. So instead of just selling them something, instead of just saying here is a solution for you , it’s talking to them and building a business around them. This is something I did really in my very first business, even in this business, look the top 10’s, most of the videos that we make on this channel are your requests, like what do you guys want to hear?
“You need to combine what you love doing with what people will pay for with the market wants.” – Evan Carmichael
Who do you guys want us to make a video on? What topic do you want to hear from? We collect it, we think about, we pick the ones that we like the most too and then we start running with it. In my first business, the biotech software company, all of the features that we built ended up being around what are customer’s wanted. You know you want this thing added to the software, great it’s going to cost you this amount of money to do it.
And then we roll that feature into the software for everybody else as well, to get some custom development, we’re not out money on the development, and then we can roll it out for everybody else as well. You want it translated into Spanish? Perfect it’s going to cost this amount of money to do it, provides enough value to them even if that alone is break even, even if you’re not making a profit off of that, we can roll it out to everybody else and add more value to them. Building your business around a customer is so, so, so, so important especially in the early days.
So those are my seven ways on how to start a business without having any cash. I’m curious what do you guys think? What was you favorite rule? What resonated the most with you? What are you going to take from this and apply to your business immediately? Did I miss something that you want to add? Is there eight, nine, 10 that you want to add to the list? Leave it down in the comments below. I’m going to join in the discussion.
I also want to give a quick shout out to Wilfred Chan, Wilfred thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word. It really, really, really, really means a lot to me. So thank you guys again for watching I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself. And whatever your one word is, much love I’ll see you soon.
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