Kwabena Okyire

blog, make money online

Best Businesses To Start Without Money in 2022

Starting a business is the dream of many yet only 582 million out of the 7 Billion people in the world are entrepreneurs and business owners. That is 5% of the world population getting into business. A 2018 study found that 62% of Americans would like to start a business. One of the critical reasons why most people don’t start is self-doubt. 

Consequently, we have venture capitalists, bank loans, investment firms, and various solutions yet, the problem persists. While it is great to pursue any of these options when starting your company, you don’t have to, in some cases. Most cases are much better off running on self-funded while a few others need a large pool of capital to start. The business ideas of the average person do not need large pools of funding to start. And there is plenty of evidence of profitable businesses that started with nothing but a dream and some skills to use.

There are various strategies and particular profitable small businesses that anyone can start today and start making money with $0 invested. It all starts with a business idea and some creativity. Explore these ideas with us. 

How to Start a Business Without Money

Starting a business that generates a consistent amount of money for you every month is now much more possible than decades ago. Of course, the internet has made a lot of things possible. But they don’t come easy, and to survive, you will need a matrix of skills, knowledge, experience, and the ability to learn and adapt fast to the ever-changing digital economy. 


One of the ways to start making money is to leverage your skills. In our modern world, certificates and degrees are fast becoming less relevant on the global market especially the internet as compared to decades ago. Today, if you can perform a certain task, you can serve clients all over the world by simply getting onto the internet. Freelancing as a graphic designer, web developer/designer, freelance writing, app development, virtual assistant, and many more in-demand skills that pay good money online. 


Another way to start a business is to leverage your knowledge. There are lots of things you know, especially if you have been working for more than 5 years. With your knowledge, you could figure out some potential opportunities in your industry and come up with a business idea, some startup costs, and then find ways to cut down the costs to the bare minimum. What you know is also very valuable, and people might be willing to pay you for it. There are billions of people on the internet and they all have problems. If you can figure out a problem you can solve well and seek out to help them, you can start generating passive income with your knowledge and you could be the next online business owner who hits it big. That’s the beauty of the internet, if you have something valuable and know how to get people to trust you, they can make you rich and you in turn help them solve their problems.  

Products & Services

You may decide to combine your skills and knowledge to come up with a product. There are various types of products you can create, but the best ones are virtual products that involve zero cost of production, zero cost of reproduction, and zero cost of distribution. This kind of product could be an ebook, a course, templates, swipe files, and many more. 

Leverage – Attention Broker

If you can get the attention of people in our present-day and time, especially on the internet, you can start a business. The skill of building communities and creating an environment of trust has become very important due to the relative anonymity of the internet. This is why social media influencers thrive. It is why content creators can generate millions of dollars in a year from their online businesses. It is almost that they are making passive money, even if little money, from thin air. But that isn’t the case, Content creators create value and that allows them to build communities that have the trust that businesses, brands, and governments will pay to have access to. By being able to build attention around you and what you do, you can build almost any business that you can think of. 

Leverage Social Media and Digital Tools

Social media is one of the many gifts of web 2.0. We are now at the dawn of another iteration of the internet, as we enter the world of metaverse and web 3.0. These technologies are often free to us. And anyone can sign up for free. But how you use the platforms will determine just if it could be a business or something you do as a hobby. Only a few decades ago, playing games was a hobby. Today, gamers make millions in a year while others make that in some months. The world of social media can help you build on your ability to leverage attention to grow a business. Thousands of people have built successful Shopify businesses from only Instagram. In recent times, Tiktok has taken over with sales from the platform skyrocketing. These are avenues that are free for any business person to explore. The world of social media and digital marketing is free (to a large extent) therefore you do not need to spend thousands of dollars of loan money to buy radio and newspaper ads. By being creative and having a knack for what users want, you can create businesses that thrive and bring you lots of money. FOR FREE. 


Your Experience is one of the best things you need to start a business such as a consultancy. By selling your knowledge, experience, and skills, you drastically reduce the need for various expenditures associated with starting a business. With a well-developed network in your industry, you can launch your consulting or coaching business just by communicating with a few key players and you will have clients pouring to you. It must be noted that a good network, as well as industry leadership, is important to make it as a coach and a consultant. 

Top 5 Businesses To Start Without Money in 2022

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the best profitable businesses anyone can start. While there are legal limits for children under 13 years old, they too can participate with parental guidance. Affiliate marketing is a good way to make a more than steady but also rising income by referring a large number of people to products and services you enjoy online. 

It costs $0 to sign up to affiliate programs and it costs zero to start a blog. With a free or medium account, you can launch your affiliate marketing business. The sweet part of affiliate marketing is that it brings in real passive income and you are not limited to how much you can earn. To make it much sweeter, you are not limited to where you can promote your links in terms of the channel. You can use social media, blogging, youtube, and other media available to you. This way, you can go with the free ones and get started quickly without worrying about startup costs. 

Top Affiliate Marketing Niches to Explore

  • Digital marketing.
  • Blogging and making money online.
  • Health and fitness.
  • Personal finance and investing.
  • Recipes and food.
  • Personal development and self-care.

2. Sell a Course / Tutor Online

With so many free course platforms for tutors, you can start your course even today. With Kajabi, Thinkific, Skillshare, and even YouTube, you can create a course and sell it to people with an interest in learning what you know. There are also many platforms that allow you to join as a tutor and start your tutoring business through access to many potential students on the platform. 

Top Course Creation Niches to Explore

  • Personal Development
  • Arts and Craft
  • Education
  • Health
  • Make Money Online
  • Writing and Content Creation
  • Videography
  • Graphic Design

3. Create a SaaS Product

Software as a service is one of the ways you can start a business. However, depending on your skills, your SaaS product may not be free. Specifically, if you do not have the technical skills to program your software, you may have to incur costs to get a skilled programmer to build your product for you. A better alternative however is to partner with a skilled developer to create the product by sharing the company with them or through a mutually beneficial agreement. 

Top SaaS Product Niches to Explore

  • Marketing, Sales, and CRM
  • Productivity Tools
  • Email Marketing Solutions
  • Payment Gateway and Solutions
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Website Design
  • Analytics and Tracking
  • Product Management
  • Social Media Scheduling 

4. Consultancy in Any Industry

Starting a consultancy these days takes nothing to start. While more traditional people may want to rent office space, employ people before they get a client, times have changed and you do not need an office or a team of gladiators working for you to secure consultancy gigs. A good old LinkedIn account and a professional website will set you up for success almost immediately. 

Top Consultancy Niches to Explore

  1. Strategy Consultants.
  2. Financial Advisory Consultants.
  3. Coaches for Different Fields
  4. IT Consultants.
  5. Human Resources Consultants
  6. Accounting Consultants
  7. Strategy consultants
  8. Company growth & lead generation consultants
  9. Trusts and pension consultancy
  10. Financial advisory consultants
  11. Business operations consultant
  12. Investment consultants
  13. Financial risk management consultants
  14. Economic consultants

5. E-commerce

Ecommerce is here to stay and it has already helped many people start successful businesses out of their rooms and into massive warehouses and high-profile acquisition deals. If you have an idea for the perfect product, you can easily get a manufacturer for the product. Some manufacturers will agree to drop ship the product for you. This means you do not have to handle shipping and you do have to touch the product. Of course, you will have to get some samples to be sure of the quality of your product which usually comes at a very minimal cost. The rest of it is marketing and sales. With social media and lots of online tools to help you, there isn’t much cost to be incurred until perhaps your business has already taken off and you have consistent revenue coming in. 

Top Ecommerce Niches to Explore

  • Technology and Home Office Equipment.
  • Home Gym and Fitness Gear
  • DIY and Home Improvement.
  • Home Entertainment. 
  • Technology and Home Office Equipment.
  • Beauty and Health Products (General)
  • Men’s Skincare and Beauty Products. 
  • Natural Skincare and Cosmetics.
  • Home Gym and Fitness Equipment.
  • Eco-friendly Products.
  • Food, Drink and Cooking.

6. Social Media Influencer

Being a social media is a career that is highly rewarding. Social media is free to use. Depending on your content strategy, you may incur costs to grow your audience. But as most creators and influencers advise, you do not need expensive equipment and you don’t have to spend tons of money creating content especially when you are starting. As a newbie, leverage your creativity to build on trends while providing massive value to your audience. Connect with them as much as you can both online and offline, and create a culture. Creating a culture with your own lingo, jokes and more will make your community not only fun but filled with trust which is an asset that brands and businesses will pay for. 

Top Platforms for Influencers

The most popular platforms for influencers are YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms are the go-to if you want to become an influencer and to build a loyal audience or following. 

7. Digital Marketing Agency

A digital marketing agency is one of the best businesses you can start. Much like the many business ideas here, it is fully remote and can serve clients from all over the world. You can set up a website, source clients from Fiverr and Upwork as a starter to build your portfolio and extend your business as you grow. The trick about a digital agency is that you don’t have to know it all. You can handpick freelancers and have them do the work while you do the operations and get clients for the business. 

Digital Marketing Services you can Offer

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Website Strategy.
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing.
  • Email Outreach.
  • Re-targeting.
  • Content Generation and Optimization.
  • Quality Link Building.
  • App development
  • Lead Generation 

8. Design Company

There is not a single day that we do not see designs. Logos, branding, flyers, social media content, and many more. Graphic designers are in an all-time high demand with all businesses trying to leverage the use of social media and digital marketing to grow their businesses. However, a design company is not limited to the online world. You can engage in traditional marketing such as the design and printing of banners, business cards, booklets, and other marketing collateral. You may be wondering how to get the prints done. That’s easy! Outsource the printing and do the designing in-house by yourself. Most design companies use this model as printing equipment and machines are expensive and you may need some time before you can acquire your own. 

Services You Can Offer as a Graphic Company

  • Brochures, rack cards & booklets.
  • Business cards, letterhead & envelopes.
  • Logos and branded elements.
  • Posters, banners, and signage.
  • Social media graphics & digital marketing ads.
  • Email marketing graphics.

9. Social Media Agency

If you are a young person, chances are that you know your way around social media platforms. Older folks too are catching up. The basic skills for social media are navigating the apps or platforms, creating accounts, running ads, creating content, and community engagement. There could be other skills or knowledge needed, but like many other things, you learn as you serve more clients. No one totally knows it all, especially not as beginners. Social media agencies, especially when you provide leads, can make a lot of money by charging per lead and other addon services. Getting started requires only skill and knowledge. You can gain these from binge-watching youtube videos and taking a few courses if you can afford them. 

Services You Can Add To Your Social Media Agency Services

  • Ad management
  • Lead generation
  • Strategy planning.
  • Account/profile creation, optimization, and branding. 
  • Content creation. 
  • Content publishing. 
  • Research and analysis. 
  • Education and consulting.
  • Campaign and community management.

10. Start a Virtual Assistant Agency

A virtual assistant is among many things, a personal assistant to an individual or a company. Unlike a traditional assistant, a virtual assistant is not limited by what they can do for a client. Right from traditional assistant roles such as booking meetings, responding to calls and meetings, performing research, a virtual assistant could also be hired to generate leads, perform data entry, sort data, do copy and paste and various tasks that may consume time that busy executives would rather have someone else paid to get the job done faster and more professionally. 

Being a virtual assistant can be compared to freelancing where you run your own business, have your own clients with the freedom to work from anywhere. 

Virtual Assistant Services

  • Creative writing
  • Administrative management
  • Social media management
  • Research 
  • Data entry
  • Lead generation
  • Website management
  • Market research
  • Bookkeeping
  • Legal research
  • Online Marketing
  • Reputation management and PR
  • Social media ads
  • Graphic design

11. Interior Design

Enough of the online business, right? Here is a business idea you can take offline. Interior design is one of the ways to start a business without money. Acquire yourself with the knowledge, skills and build some experience. Start selling your experience for a premium ticket and watch your business thrive. 

12. Build a Mobile App

A mobile app is a great way to make passive income. If you have the coding skills, you can build an app and deploy it to the various app stores. Most of them have a fee for listing, but chances are, it won’t break your bank balance and with the upside, you stand to gain, it is worth it. There are many ways to monetize an app. The most common way is to use Google Adsense. By putting ads on your app, you can keep it free so you can get paid by google. But why stop there? You may have an experience without ads but requires a premium. Depending on the nature of your app, you could have in-app purchases where users can buy credits and pay for upgrades. With a steady growth of users, your income will grow into a mature business. 

Top App Categories to Explore

  • Lifestyle
  • Personalization 
  • Games (Casual)
  • Games (Puzzle)
  • Games (Arcade)
  • Shopping
  • Games (Action)
  • Weather

The Secrets to Starting a Business Without Money

  1. Be Passionate and Super Creative

Being an entrepreneur means you are good at allocating resources to solve problems or provide value to people at a profit. This means you need to be both passionate and creative to avoid the cost or reduce them to a bare minimum.

  1. Have a “Business Plan”

While the traditional business plan is no longer a thing, and most businesses start without a formal written business plan, you need a strategic plan to succeed as a business or startup. This includes how you are going to develop your product at a low cost, market the product, and get sales. Most people focus on extraneous things that create unnecessary costs that the business is not mature for yet. Cash flow is the major requirement for a business. And it should be in the profits, and not losses. This means apart from product or service development and delivery, sales should be the next major thing. In some cases, you can even try selling the product or service before it is fully created. That way, you can validate your idea, get a few clients to test the product, and also get testimonials for sales calls.

  1. Other People’s Money (OPM)

The principle of other people’s money was created by the investor and entrepreneur, Robert Kiyosaki who is the author of the bestselling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Kiyosaki believes that many people can avoid the agony of not seeing their dreams come true as “would-be entrepreneurs” if they only make use of other people’s money. The concept involves getting other people to give you their money as loans or investments to fund your business. This way, you can start without having to spend your own money. Banks for instance will gladly give you a loan if you meet their requirements and you can pay it back when your business is stable and making money. 

Businesses That Were Started Without Money

  1. Shopify
  2. Shutterstock
  3. GoFundMe


Starting a business is easier than before. With the host of internet tools that are widely free, you can launch a successful business without spending anything, or in the worst-case scenario, a few dollars to start a business with the potential for all kinds of income including passive income that will allow you to retire before you get old.

About the author

Kwabena Okyire

After 13 years in digital marketing, I left my job in 2019 to work online full-time. Today I run my own agency, help local companies with digital marketing, freelance on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and share proven marketing and personal branding strategies from my entrepreneurship journey through this blog.