How to start a business risk-free with no upfront costs

A cost-effective approach to starting a business that works
Amal Alshamsi
by 
Amal Alshamsi
How to start a business risk-free with no upfront costs

Starting a business is equal parts exciting and intimidating as new founders feel like they’re putting everything on the line to build a product that could go either way. Well, what if we told you that you could start your business risk-free and for free? 

1. Choose the right type of business.

There are two business categories to start with. 

A. Service-based or agency businesses

Never requires serious financial investment

Both service-based and agency businesses typically don’t need serious financial investment, since the product you are offering is time/skills of humans. 

There are countless options of what your service business could offer. Based on your interest or experience, you can launch a business that specialises in content, design, social media marketing, recruitment, no-code development, or influencer marketing. 

Once you’ve decided on the vertical that best suits your experience and found a niche within this industry, you’ll need to launch a simple website (which does not need any money with Squarespace or Wix) and target paying clients via cold email outreach (also free, just needs a lot of effort!).

Once these types of businesses are up and running, you can sustain them with the revenue you start to bring in.

B. Digital and physical products 

Requires some funds down the line

Launching a business that sells digital products can get going with little to no funds, but unless you are a developer or engineer, you will need to spend some money at some point to build out your product or buy inventory.

A common mistake is taking out big loans or putting your life savings into paying agencies to build your product and ending up 9 months later with a product that no one wants. 

There is a better way to build these types of businesses, that requires little to no capital to get going and leads to higher success rates down the road. Find out how below.

2. Start part-time

The main reason that people keep putting off starting their business is that they’re waiting for the perfect moment to come along. Most think that one day, everything will fall into place with their finances, stability, and experience so they can quit and become entrepreneurs

The reality is that you have everything you need right now to launch your business. It’ll actually be more enjoyable and less stressful to start it part-time so that you can continue earning money in your job while pursuing your dream. Regardless of where your business ends up, you’ll still learn a lot and earn money in the process. 

3. Build a minimal viable product (MVP)

No matter what product or service you’re selling, you can always build a stripped-back, lean version of your product also known as a minimal viable product (MVP). This version would have just enough features for customers to understand what you’re offering and if it appeals to them.

Think of it this way. If the problem you’re solving is convenience or speed of transport, you shouldn’t just jump right into building rocket shoes. That’s expensive and requires a lot of effort. So, if it turns out no one wants to buy it, you’ll be in trouble. Following the lean methodology, you’d start by launching a skateboard!

Next, based on the market’s responses, you can see if customers want the offer and get feedback early on. This is the key to minimising your costs. 

Most successful businesses that you can think of in the past 15 years have used this MVP lean method to get going:

Dropbox launched as a single, lo-fi demo video to observe if users were interested in their offer before they even began building their product. 

When starting Zappos, the founder took photos of shoes at stores and posted them on a landing page to see if anyone would be willing to purchase a pair online. It turned out that customers liked this model, so he started building it out. 

4. Market your business for free

Once you’ve launched your landing page, your next step is to drive the right people towards it. This doesn’t mean that you should spend money on expensive ads. You can market your product for free over email and relevant networks on LinkedIn, Facebook groups, or even sites like Reddit. 

Get access to our marketing experiments that work with your budget once you sign up for Oneday membership. 

5. Test if customers/users want what you’re offering

Keeping track of traction is a good way to determine if your MVP is attracting users. Traction indicates how well your business is gaining market acceptance and popularity. 

Here’s what traction looks like: 

1. Pre-orders

2. Newsletter or webinar signups

3. Registrations 

4. Positive feedback on customer conversations

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How to start a business risk-free with no upfront costs

A cost-effective approach to starting a business that works

Starting a business is equal parts exciting and intimidating as new founders feel like they’re putting everything on the line to build a product that could go either way. Well, what if we told you that you could start your business risk-free and for free? 

1. Choose the right type of business.

There are two business categories to start with. 

A. Service-based or agency businesses

Never requires serious financial investment

Both service-based and agency businesses typically don’t need serious financial investment, since the product you are offering is time/skills of humans. 

There are countless options of what your service business could offer. Based on your interest or experience, you can launch a business that specialises in content, design, social media marketing, recruitment, no-code development, or influencer marketing. 

Once you’ve decided on the vertical that best suits your experience and found a niche within this industry, you’ll need to launch a simple website (which does not need any money with Squarespace or Wix) and target paying clients via cold email outreach (also free, just needs a lot of effort!).

Once these types of businesses are up and running, you can sustain them with the revenue you start to bring in.

B. Digital and physical products 

Requires some funds down the line

Launching a business that sells digital products can get going with little to no funds, but unless you are a developer or engineer, you will need to spend some money at some point to build out your product or buy inventory.

A common mistake is taking out big loans or putting your life savings into paying agencies to build your product and ending up 9 months later with a product that no one wants. 

There is a better way to build these types of businesses, that requires little to no capital to get going and leads to higher success rates down the road. Find out how below.

2. Start part-time

The main reason that people keep putting off starting their business is that they’re waiting for the perfect moment to come along. Most think that one day, everything will fall into place with their finances, stability, and experience so they can quit and become entrepreneurs

The reality is that you have everything you need right now to launch your business. It’ll actually be more enjoyable and less stressful to start it part-time so that you can continue earning money in your job while pursuing your dream. Regardless of where your business ends up, you’ll still learn a lot and earn money in the process. 

3. Build a minimal viable product (MVP)

No matter what product or service you’re selling, you can always build a stripped-back, lean version of your product also known as a minimal viable product (MVP). This version would have just enough features for customers to understand what you’re offering and if it appeals to them.

Think of it this way. If the problem you’re solving is convenience or speed of transport, you shouldn’t just jump right into building rocket shoes. That’s expensive and requires a lot of effort. So, if it turns out no one wants to buy it, you’ll be in trouble. Following the lean methodology, you’d start by launching a skateboard!

Next, based on the market’s responses, you can see if customers want the offer and get feedback early on. This is the key to minimising your costs. 

Most successful businesses that you can think of in the past 15 years have used this MVP lean method to get going:

Dropbox launched as a single, lo-fi demo video to observe if users were interested in their offer before they even began building their product. 

When starting Zappos, the founder took photos of shoes at stores and posted them on a landing page to see if anyone would be willing to purchase a pair online. It turned out that customers liked this model, so he started building it out. 

4. Market your business for free

Once you’ve launched your landing page, your next step is to drive the right people towards it. This doesn’t mean that you should spend money on expensive ads. You can market your product for free over email and relevant networks on LinkedIn, Facebook groups, or even sites like Reddit. 

Get access to our marketing experiments that work with your budget once you sign up for Oneday membership. 

5. Test if customers/users want what you’re offering

Keeping track of traction is a good way to determine if your MVP is attracting users. Traction indicates how well your business is gaining market acceptance and popularity. 

Here’s what traction looks like: 

1. Pre-orders

2. Newsletter or webinar signups

3. Registrations 

4. Positive feedback on customer conversations

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