5 ways to fund a business with no money

5 ways to fund a business with no money

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5 ways to fund a business with no money

Last week, we showed you businesses you can start with less than $100. But what if you need a bit more money?

A recent survey showed that 27% of small businesses are unable to access funding.

To fight this, we’ve put together a list of entrepreneurs that were able to launch their businesses recurring to less common funding strategies:

1. Business & Pitch Contests (~$5,000)

This founder got $5,000 for pitching her idea, then used that money to build a $2.2M/year product.

How did she do it? Entering a business contest. is a great way to win cash rewards. Some prizes can go as high as tens of thousands of dollars.

The best part? You get much more than money: high-quality feedback, grow your network, and lots of free media exposure.

Where to find pitch contests in your area? Chambers of commerce, universities, business associations,... there are tons of organizations that regularly open calls for business ideas contests. Check this link with some contests you can enter.

2. Grants (~$20,000)

This founder got $10K to help launch his $960K/year real estate tech business.

Similar to contests, business grants are a simple way for startups to win money. The tradeoff is that you have to spend time working on the application rather than on your business.

There are government grants (federal, local) and also from private businesses and institutions. Chase, FedEx and others regularly run business grant contests with awards ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

Master the art of applying to grants and contests and you can easily raise a substantial amount of money.

3. Crowdfunding ($10K - $5M)

This company has successfully run 3 crowdfunding campaigns and raised almost $3M for their innovative travel gadget.

A great way to obtain funding without going into debt from traditional financing options. Perfect mainly for those building a physical product.

Start a campaign and work on raising interest. People would put their money up front and they’ll wait longer to get the product in exchange for a better price deal or some sort of reward (merchandise, access to an event, etc)

4. Pre-sales  ($10K - $100K)

This company literally reinvented the wheel and received more than $100K in pre-orders.

Pretty similar to a crowdfunding campaign in many ways, just done on your own.

Put up a product and take pre-orders. Then use that money to actually manufacture and ship it. You’ll avoid spending all your savings on creating a product that nobody wants.

Just don’t abuse this strategy. Deliver on time and offer a high level of communication and transparency.

If done right, this is a winner.

5. Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists ($50K - $5M)

These non-technical founders raised $2M to build a SaaS and shared an absolute glorious blueprint of what to do to successfully raise money from investors.

Get initial funding in exchange for a chunk of equity of your business. Even though under 1% of startups raise money from investors this can be a great option if you need a large amount of money to get going.

Getting your foot in the door to even get a pitch meeting can be a challenge. Use your network and ask anyone who’s connected to make an intro.

This method is probably the hardest, but it will get you the highest amount of money and also valuable and experienced business partners.

Bonus: Check these 10 email templates to send to investors.

Learn how to build a successful business

Would you learn to play the guitar by composing your own songs? Or how to cook by creating your own recipes?

No, you wouldn't. You'd use the internet to find step-by-step guides and learn by copying from the best.

Starting a business is the same. You don't need to figure out everything on your own. You can learn how others already did it (and successfully).

There are no secrets to building a profitable business. Everything it takes can be learned from others.

Join us today and get access to 3,000+ real-life case studies that show you exactly how to build a business with thousands of customers.

Less than the cost of 99% of online courses out there. Starter Story is a no-brainer investment in your future.

The $12B product-less industry

That’s right. There’s a $12B global industry without a product to sell.

How’s that possible? Because they sell absolutely all the products and services in the world.

Affiliate marketing is a model where you can earn a commission for marketing someone else’s product or service. Marketers search for a product and then promote it on their blog, Youtube channel, or TikTok account. Around 80% of brands have affiliate programs, so it’s easy to find a product to promote that you’re passionate about.

Translation: you make money helping companies make sales.

This is one of the oldest ways of making money on the internet. Many bloggers have built empires doing it since the early 2000s.

It’s how this blogger makes $84K/year.

You don’t have a product, you have an audience or the ability to build one, which is super valuable.

These businesses make huge money (sometimes more than the companies they’re promoting) working with this business model:


Quick hitters

(1) This founder left Google to create an online tool used by 17,000 people. Even those who most people envy feel the need to leave a great job to start their dream business. And guess what they have in common? They're happier now:

(2) This innovative men’s underwear reached $3.6M/year. They sold a pair even to someone at the Vatican. (Wait, what?)

The job of protecting the crown jewels is no joke. Those who do it right are rewarded with great sales numbers, like this $860K/year brand.**


Thanks for reading!

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to start your own business?

Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

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