Can I start up a business with no money?

You may find that, with this additional time on your hands, now seems like the perfect time to start up that business that you have always pictured being a part of, but is it possible to set one up with little to no spare cash in your pockets? Often, big ideas get put on hold or pushed aside entirely due to lack of money, but this doesn’t always need to be the case. It is possible to start up a business without a large amount of funding.

Take Richard Branson as your example. He released his first magazine, Student, with just £300 – courtesy of his mother. His idea and passion grew into the globally known ‘Virgin’ that we know of today with Branson now being worth a large £3.8 billion. His passion and aspirations were undoubtably similar to yours, and with the correct actions and processes, there is no reason why you couldn’t achieve this as well.  Here are some of the steps and ideas that you could follow and will allow you to dive straight into your business dreams.

Office space

Many who are starting up businesses have been known to panic or stress over the price of renting or buying office space. At the beginning of your journey, it may be that you are flying solo and so there won’t be much need, if any at all, to find this space. Why not start out in a quiet area within your home, such as a bedroom or a shed or outhouse. If you are not fond of the idea of working within your home, ask around between your friends or family. It may be that your parents allow you to occupy a room in their home throughout the week, allowing you to separate your work life from home life. If this is also out of the question for you, with a bit of money, you could rent a ‘hot desk’ in a nearby office on a ‘pay as you use’ basis.


When starting out, you will need to ensure that you have the correct equipment available to complete the services that you offer effectively. If your budget is tight, take a step back and observe these services. Do you need to offer them all at this point? Could you limit them ever so slightly and increase them again over time? By cutting them down, you may be able to put the purchase of some equipment on hold until your incomings increase, allowing you the funds to purchase additional supplies and expand your service offerings.


Unfortunately, licenses are something hard to avoid when setting up a business. The type of license or permit that you need depends on the location you are working in and the industry sector you are working for – and not every business will need one. We recommend, in case you do require it, that you save up for this before you start trading as the consequences and fines of attempting to dodge this wouldn’t be worth it for your start-up business. It may be that you have queried it with a professional and they have reported back that you do not need to hold a license and in that case, you will have some spare cash to spend on equipment or essentials to increase your services, or you could apply for a DBA license (‘Doing Business As…’) which would benefit the overall look and professionalism of your business.

Promoting your business

This may be causing you sleepless nights. How will you find customers? How will you generate income? How will you ensure that setting up a website, purchasing equipment and arranging a designated office space won’t be for nothing? Well, this is simple, as you are lucky to live in a world where social media is the piece of the jigsaw that joins everyone together. Print and paid online advertising may be unneeded at this stage with an input from the right friends and family. By creating a social media page of two, you could put out regular posts about your services and those friends who share any posts, statuses or stories in regards to your new business, will be reaching out to a new range of potential clients for you each time. Alternatively, you could attend regular networking events, allowing you to meet with local, like-minded business owners who may be able to put you into contact with potential job opportunities or recommend your services to their connections.

Power through

It may be challenging and grueling at times, but if you believe in you and your business, you will make it work. It is important to remember that this is new to you, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve or expect to receive a paycheck immediately, it will happen over time. It may take some days of hard work, long hours, and a few knock backs but these will teach and guide you towards success and once you have a team on your side, a steady income and a strong business that you are passionate about, you won’t look back.
If you are planning to start up a business, contact our welcoming team at Cain & Co for an informal conversation about your plans and what is possible for you.

You can call us on 020 8087 1341,  or drop us a line at where we will be happy to advise and assist you and your future business.