So you’ve decided you want to be an entrepreneur. That’s
great. But you have no money and therefore have also
decided to wait until you get some before you start your
entrepreneurial journey. That’s not so great.
People come up with all sorts of reasons why they can’t start a
business and a lack of money is usually one of them. You’ve heard
the saying, “It takes money to make money”? Rubbish! Just ask all
the hugely successful entrepreneurs out there who started off with
no money. I’m sure this one negative belief must be responsible for
millions of missed entrepreneurial opportunities alone!
At this stage I can hear many of you coming up with examples
of scenarios where they absolutely need money to get started.
“But I want to build the finest 5-star hotel in New Zealand – I need
money to do that”, “But I want to create a pill that stops people
from aging – I need money to do that”, “But I want to create an
alternative to Facebook – I need money to do that”…
And yes, you’d be right. Many businesses require an investment
of capital to get them up and running. The problem is when you
let this stop you from starting your entrepreneurial journey. So,
what to do if the business you want to start requires money? Well,
the first option is to go out there and sell that vision to get the
investment you need. “Too hard!” you say? Who’s going to give
me 10 million dollars you say? (Well, in all honesty, if it’s your first
venture and you have no track record, connections or reputation
to trade… probably no one!).
Start small. Invest your time, not your money. Go talk to people and find out what they need help with.
Well then if you’re really committed to becoming an entrepreneur, you
won’t let that stop you from getting started by finding an opportunity
you can start working on now without any money.
What can you do with the skills and resources you have right now
to help other people in some way? If you can’t think of anything,
well then that’s your first entrepreneurial lesson – learning to see
opportunities. (Keep looking and you will find them – I promise!).
Start small. Invest your time, not your money. Go talk to people and
find out what they need help with. Go find some customers. Focus
on generating some cashflow – it doesn’t matter how small it is
because it’s the principles you’re learning in the process that matter.
To do this you will need to work on your personal entrepreneurial,
business and technical skills. You will need to work on your problem
solving skills. You will need to work on your sales skills. You will need
to work on your skills as a leader to enrol others in your cause. You
will need to work on being extremely resourceful, frugal, smart.
Start by building a small revenue stream with whatever opportunity
you can get to work on now. Keep at it, keep learning, keep on
“keeping on” and eventually you’ll find yourself working on bigger
ideas and opportunities, with more money flowing, and hopefully a
track record that will support you as you get closer and closer to
starting that dream business of yours. Learn how to start a business
with no money, or very little money, and you will never have to worry
about financial security ever again.
So far I’ve started four businesses with zero money – only the
problems I saw people had, the skills I had to start solving them,
and the ability to learn quickly as I went. Any money I’ve spent on
my businesses has been money we’ve earnt or have managed to
scrounge together from personal savings and credit cards. And with
each new business, comes a new level of success.
Rod Drury, founder of Xero says that “entrepreneurship is a series of
baby steps” – don’t let the belief that you need money stop you from
getting started – because you’ll probably find yourself waiting forever. ■
Richard Liew is an Auckland based entrepreneur and the founder of
NZ Entrepreneur magazine www.nzentrepreneur.co.nz