How Do I Start a Business from Scratch with No Money, No Credit, and No Expert Friends?

You have $0, no credit and no expert friends that could help. You want to start a business, but how?

This is how you do it:

Step 1. Make sure you are poor to middle class. If you have rich parents, then this doesn’t work.

Step 2. Enroll in community college.

Step 3. Apply for FAFSA, the student grants.

Step 4. Get a BOG fee waiver for the tuition on your classes. (This means you don’t have to pay for your classes.)

Step 5. Get your $2,000 grant for the semester.

Step 6. Use $400 of that to buy books and the things you need for your business classes. Use the other $1,600 for a Macbook Pro.

Step 7. Study and get A’s. Finish the semester with some business knowledge.

Step 8. Do the same thing again next semester, but don’t buy another Macbook.

Step 9. Now you have 8 business classes under your belt (probably enough for an AA degree, aside from the general education) and $1600 left over from school.

Step 10. Buy a website and a template and domain. Spend like $300 on that with a logo and some basic graphic design. Or better yet, learn how to do all this in one of those 8 classes you took. Then you can spend like $150.

Step 11. Test out ideas on your website and with friends.

Step 12. Validate your ideas (find people who will actually be interested in your product before committing to an exact business). It’s a horrible idea to sell real estate if you only know 20 year old kids, but you won’t know that unless you validate the idea and figure out if there’s a market for it or not first. Maybe you’ll find they’re interested in toy helicopters or something.

Step 13. Have a few people pay you up front for your product.

Step 14. Deliver them product.

Step 15. Research how to turn product or service delivery into long term business.

Step 16. Register business and pay all those fees and stuff that come with the process. Costs around $800.

Step 17. Create content with your Macbook’s video camera and keyboard for free online (Youtube, Quora, Medium, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever) and guide visitors to your site.

There. You did it. Plus you’re left with $350 to $500 from school. And a few bucks profit from those toy helicopters you sold! Plus, you already tested your idea so more people will buy from you as well!

And people say to drop out or not go to school because it is a waste of time…

But here it is fully funding your first startup, and there isn’t a single penny you have to pay back either. What better way is there to start a debt free business without spending a single dime of your own money?

Oh, and if you continue to go to school, you can get more grants to pay for other related business or marketing expenses down the line, while you get your degree too.


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Leonard Kim consults startups and write books. He also blogs at LeonardKim.com.