How to start a home business with no money

Many people think they need to spend big in order to start their own business. Depending on the type of business you choose, that may or may not be the case. I think that before we start talking about how to start a home business with no money, we should consider some costs that people in businesses might typically face.

How much does it really cost to start a business?

Franchise stores

If you’re looking at owning your own store within a franchise business, there will be some huge costs involved. Some of the costs involved in becoming a franchisee may include:

  • A once off franchise fee – this is a fee payable for the privilege of entering into the franchise agreement. Depending on the strength of the brand, the fee might be a few thousand dollars, to a few hundred thousand dollars.
  • Fit out fee – this includes the costs of ‘fitting out’ the store so that it has the same look and feel as other franchise stores in terms of brand and image. There may also be fees for finding a location for the store.
  • Training fee – there may be fees to cover the cost of mandatory training that you must do as a franchisee. After all, stores need to be offering the same services at the same level of quality, and there will be ‘ways of doing things’.
  • Ongoing royalty fees – these fees give the franchisee the right to use the intellectual property of the franchisor. This might also be called a management fee. This will either be a percentage of revenue, or a fixed amount.
  • Ongoing administration fees – these fees are charged by the franchisor to manage suppliers, and the day to day business of running a franchise network.
  • Ongoing marketing fees – contributions to pay for marketing, advertising, and promotion for the franchise as a whole.
  • Transfer fee (if you want to sell the franchise). This will either be a fixed amount, or a percentage of the sale price.

This is a snippet from the McDonald’s franchise opportunity website:

McDonald's franchise costs
In order to make their investments as profitable as possible, many franchisees will also work full time in their business to ensure that it is running smoothly, to avoid paying other people to manage their store, and to keep an eye on their business. This often means that the franchisees take very little in wages for themselves, yet work phenomenal hours to make it all happen.

Brick and mortar business

If you are going to have your own brick and mortar business, there are numerous fees you need to consider, including;

  • Cost of the purchase of the building, or cost of ongoing rent
  • Cost of fit out
  • Financial and legal advice and support
  • Equipment and office/store furtniture
  • Employee wages
  • Insurance, electricity, water, cleaning and maintenance
  • Logo and brand design, advertising, marketing and promotion so people know where you are and how to find you
  • Support services such as technology and web support, and potentially payroll and HR support
  • Cost of the products you will be stocking and selling

There will be at least a few hundred thousand dollars worth of overheads required if you are planning on establishing and maintaining your own brick and mortar business. It is something that will take very careful planning, including potentially paying for advice to ensure that you do everything correctly to set yourself up for success.

Store front

Don’t forget that if you are offering professional services, you will have paid for your college/university tuition, and spent years studying, with little or no income coming in for the years of duration of your degree, for the privilege of being able to sell your service. And many of you will have spent years at college/university earning your degree to never really use it in practice (but hey – you have a degree!).

There are a few business you can run from home that cost very little in terms of upfront costs.

Multilevel marketing (MLM)

I know that lots of people have success with MLM (and some experience HUGE success). I also know that more people fail at MLM than they do succeed. Usually though, the costs of giving it a try are not so big that it hurts too much if you don’t succeed. I’ve written more about the MLM model here which talks about some costs you need to look out for if you’re considering joining an MLM company:

If you are not afraid to get your name out there, and are willing to talk about your MLM company to anyone and everyone who will listen, then MLM might be a good option for you. It takes quite a bit of courage and resilience to do MLM well, and for those who have the knack, it can be a very lucrative business. Like anything though, do your research before you sign up for anything.

How to start an online business with NO money

Building a career in affiliate marketing can be done on an absolute shoestring. The main cost here will be your time and your motivation to succeed.

I have put together a short video about what it costs to join Wealthy Affiliate, including the free options available through the starter membership so you can ‘try before you buy’:

You can also read the full story here:

You can certainly start an online business with no money. With the free starter membership, you get two free websites with hosting, together with twenty lessons to get you up and running. You will be well on your way to making a great start.

What I will say to you is this. You should invest in yourself to be successful – don’t expect everything to come for free. Whilst you can make a very good start with the free websites, you are better off purchasing a .com domain name for $13.99 as it looks far more professional than a .siterubix website. You do need to take your online business seriously, and give it the attention that any business deserves. Just because it is online doesn’t mean that you can cut corners, or expect things to happen quickly and without the right training and hard work.

If you are serious about establishing an online business, I highly recommend going for the premium membership, where you will receive extensive training on how to really monetise your site and drive traffic to get the results you are looking for. For only $359 per year, it is a very small investment to equip yourself with a new career that has no other overheads.

In addition, the beauty of a work from home business is that you can still maintain other employment while you are building and growing your home business. Or alternately, depending on your home business, you might continue to be employed full time or part-time while your home business ticks along. Either way, you have the flexibility to do what’s right for you.

What would you rather do?

What sounds like better value to you? Working for 16 hours a day in a McDonald’s franchise, requiring a $2.2m investment, or $359 per year to be your own boss at home and learn how to earn residual income?

I know what I choose!

Sign up and get started

Leave me a comment or a question below and I’m happy to help.

8 thoughts on “How to start a home business with no money”

  1. Great post on how to make money online. That platform looks amazing as well, and even better that you can try it all out for free to see if you like it. There aren’t many options available where you genuinely get to see what it is you’re signing up for, and get a thorough test drive first. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi James, thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. The platform is amazing, that’s why I write about it. I want to share it with other people so that they can access the same opportunities to build a great business opportunity from home, that is financially achievable for anyone. I would feel selfish keeping this to myself!
      All the very best to you James.

  2. Hi Melissa,

    I’ve always like the idea of starting a franchise business. It’s something to work towards. The cost can be rather steep on some of these if not most.

    I agree with you on starting out in MLM or affiliate marketing as a way to build income. How is Wealthy Affiliate going for you?

    Thanks for the info & your insight on ways to start a business.

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Wealthy Affiliate is going great thank you. I absolutely love it and want to share it with everybody – hence my post! It has truly been a life changer for me, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  3. I am glad I came across your post, as I have been looking for ways to supplement my full time income. I never liked the idea of MLM companies and feel that as soon as I am done selling my family, that’s it. I can’t talk people into buying things. This piqued my interest because being online means that I am not speaking with people directly, and I am reaching out to an audience who is already interested in what I am talking about, so that seems appealing to me. I will check this out for sure! Thanks for the great info!

    • Hi Amy, that’s exactly how I feel too. Reaching an audience through research and writing, to an audience who already has an interest, is far more appealing to me than selling to family and friends.
      Thanks for stopping by Amy and I wish you all the very best.

  4. Very good article! Something I have always wanted to do is to be able to work from home. My dad had worked from home doing online stuff when I was young, but after 9/11 happened, things slowed down dramatically. My sis tried doing some online things here recently, it was a MLM kind of thing, it didn’t work out for her.

    I love how the Wealthy Affiliate shows you how to get started for free! A lot of folk’s are strapped for cash, and are always looking for something to hep them get out of the financial rut. I think this is an excellent way of getting started!

    Thank you for the info!

    • Hi Darrin, Wealthy Affiliate is certainly a great way of getting started, and even when folks are strapped for cash they still learn the ropes and get two websites for free through the Wealthy Affiliate platform. One of the things I love about it is its accessibility to all people.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.


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