How To Start A Business When You’re Clueless With No Money. Here’s What I’d Do…

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Whenever I have a conversation about entrepreneurship, I often find that most people have a strong desire to start a business at some point in their life.

But here’s the thing. While the desire is there, it’s often the lack of confidence and the uncertainty of the outcome that prevents most people from taking serious action.

Start A Business

In fact, I would go as far as to say that most people are not willing to take any risk at all unless they are confident that they will succeed.

I was the exact same way. To be honest, making 6 figures selling handkerchiefs online still sounds completely ludicrous to me. And if you told me that I was going to make 700K blogging last year? I would have told you to get the heck out of town!

Editor’s Note: If you are interested in learning how to start your own online store, click here to take my FREE 6 day mini course on ecommerce.

Also if you’re curious, you can click here to check out my little online shop.

In fact, the mere premise of making significant money selling wedding hankies is so ridiculous that I’m often challenged by my readers as to whether my success was a direct result of luck and circumstance as opposed to skill.

Did I just happen to stumble upon a small niche that no one else was into? Did I just get lucky that no one was selling these types of linens online?

And the answer is yes. Luck certainly did play a part. It always does. But you have to put yourself out there in order to take advantage of it.

Today, I want to address the readers of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com who are currently on the sidelines with very little money. I want to address those of you who have no idea where to begin but want to start your own business someday.

How do you convince yourself to begin? How do you lay the groundwork for your future business if you don’t feel ready today? Here’s what I would do in your situation.

Start Gathering An Audience

Audience

Before I started my blog, I used to think that no one would care about what I had to say. And as a result, I had extremely low expectations when I first started writing for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. To put things in perspective, I didn’t think that anyone would read my blog except for close friends.

But then something surprising happened. Very few of my friends took an interest in my writing. And instead, complete strangers started emailing me about my experiences and my philosophies on life.

I started having conversations with random people and these random people and I started to become friends. And before long, I had a bunch of regulars reading my blog.

Note: This was the complete opposite of what I expected to happen!

  • I expected many of my friends to take an interest in what I was up to.
  • I expected my friends to be 100% supportive of everything I was working on.
  • But I did NOT expect total strangers to care at all. After all, why would people care about some random Chinese dude on the Internet?

The truth is that people care about what you have to say! You just have to find the right people to talk to!

Put Yourself Out There

Guitar

But the only way to find these people is to put yourself out there!

Even if you have no money, there are a variety of ways to create a following.

For example, there’s this Asian kid I follow on YouTube who has over 1 million subscribers to his channel. His name is KevJumba.

Kevin started out by posting silly videos of himself dancing online. Then, he used a cheap webcam to record himself talking about his beliefs and his philosophies on life. Things started out slow but year after year, he started gathering more and more followers to his channel.

And over time, he developed a huge following. Because of YouTube, he now makes a living creating his own films and producing his own movies!

Here’s one of his very early videos below which I found hilarious! As you can tell, it’s not professional. And the quality of video isn’t amazing. But the guy put himself out there!

Here’s the thing. Kevin was only 18 years old when I started watching him online. And you would think that a 30 year old dude would have no interest in what an 18 year old would have to say. But Kevin was spunky, funny and I liked his attitude.

Not only that, but the reason I followed Kevin had nothing to do with the production quality of his videos (which were pretty bad early on). There was just something about him that resonated with me and I wanted to know what he was up to.

This is exactly what you need to do!

Choose Your Medium

Even if you have no clue what business you want to start later on in life and even if you have no money, you need to put yourself out there.

I started MyWifeQuitHerJob.com by writing on a consistent schedule about life, family and ecommerce. People found me via search, social media, word of mouth and my readership gradually grew over time to where it is today.

Once I developed an audience, making money became an afterthought.

When you have a large group of raving fans interested in what you have to say, the money will come. Trust me on that.

The hard part is finding and gathering your fans.

Today, we live in a day and age where you have lots of options depending on what you want to do. I personally chose to start a blog but there are many other low cost options to choose from.

Gather And Retain Your Followers

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Once you’ve developed your fan base, it is essential to retain them as you continue to build your brand.

In the case of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, 99% of my early readers would come, read a single article, and then leave forever. So instead of missing out on a potential regular, I started gathering email addresses using a service called Aweber.

In return for a reader’s email address, I would give away a free 6 day mini course on ecommerce. And 9 times out of 10, that reader would stick around after the mini course to check out my new articles and updates.

In fact, I have readers on my blog that have stuck with me for over 5 years(you know who you are) and I’m very thankful!

The key is to retain your existing audience while simultaneously attracting new fans. This way, your audience count has no where to go except up.

One thing that I like to tell my friends is that my blog is like a stock that only increases in value. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing, it can only get better, not worse.

I’ve Got An Audience Now So What?

Once you’ve gathered a small group of raving fans is when the fun begins. And it is infinitely easier to start a business when you already have an established base of potential leads.

Using my blog as an example, if I ever wanted to develop an ecommerce plugin for Shopify or BigCommerce, I could instantly gather a small user base of customers by sending word out to my email list and blog.

I could also leverage my audience to gather ideas for products to sell even if I had no idea what to create. The possibilities are endless!

But none of these fun things can happen if you don’t have an audience. So if you take away anything from this post, please remember this…

Start creating something today and put yourself out there!

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Take your smart phone and start recording videos about your philosophies on life. Find something that you are good at and start talking about it. Put together some tutorials about a recent skill you have acquired!

At first, you will be skeptical that anyone will be interested in what you have to say. But there is always someone out there who will care. You just have to find the right audience. (I’ll bet KevJumba had no idea that he’d be attracting people almost twice his age to his YouTube channel).

The point is that you’ll never know unless you try.

Start gathering an audience now and you will have the courage to start your own business someday. I guarantee it!

photo credit: Graveyard Lemonade Stand Live with Regis and Kelly, NYC, 9/10/08 – 26 of 63 Am7 rally clegg 4

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If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

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28 thoughts on “How To Start A Business When You’re Clueless With No Money. Here’s What I’d Do…”

  1. Me and my sister plans to start our own blog in the future. And I would love to read about how to start a blog for under $5 in under 5 minutes!

    1. Kate,

      It looks like you already have a popular blog:) No lessons needed

  2. Steve says:

    One of the most encouraging and practical pieces I’ve read; that addresses the plight of the ‘wantrepreneur’

    Thanks for a great post, Steve…

  3. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. I have been blogging for some time and is still trying to make it materialize. Your tips are always helpful.

    1. Thanks you Felisa. Glad it was helpful

  4. Kard says:

    Interesting article, great for getting people off the sidelines with the potential out there. So many types of online business, I think that can cause overwhelm sometimes.

    By the way, did you know you’ve got a photo of the British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on your website? He’s the guy on the stage with the yellow background (which is the colours of his political party, the Liberal Democrats). You probably don’t know who that is. Timely, as the British are about to go to the polls in a few short weeks.

    1. Ha. I did not know who that was. I just picked a Creative Commons photo from photopin. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Matt says:

    This post is what I needed. I had saved up some money to attempt a business and while it wasn’t much, it was a start. Then my girlfriend became very sick and is unable to work so literally every penny I have goes towards bills and expenses now. I was never afraid of failure to start because I’ve read so much about starting small so that if it fails, you can try something else, but at this point, I can’t afford to lose a dime. I still have plans to start a business someday but was slowly losing motivation, so thanks for this post, it came at an amazing time. Hope all is well!

    1. Thanks Matt. When you have no idea what you want to do and when in doubt, put something out there and gather a following.

  6. Great post Steve, I like that your entrepreneurial journey is something that everyone can relate to. Like you, I have found it interesting that the people you expected to be your audience aren’t usually the ones who become your audience. Goes to show how important it is to keep an open mind! Keep your lessons coming Steve!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Suzanne. I was most surprised by the lack of interest from my friends and family. But bottom line, they were not my target demographic.

  7. wisdom says:

    Hwllo Steve,i wanna thank you for your mails.I’m still looking for product that can sell in Nigeria.I have about $300 start up capital.i already know about alibaba.pls enlight me on what product i can start up with

  8. Marisela Mayor says:

    Thank you! This makes a lot of sense and it is less intimidating. I have a couple of ideas for projects that I want to do and I really need to just for it. I really enjoy your blog!

  9. The biggest things is you need to start doing something, whatever it is. Too many people never start, so they never finish.

    Even walking house-to-house with a lawnmower can pick up $100 fairly quickly.

    1. So true. This post was my way of saying exactly what you just said:)

  10. Javier Aduriz says:

    Hi Steve. One of the things that you develop as you grow old is the ability of getting to know (feeling) when you are in front of a good person. And that is what it feels along the readings on your different posts. That, and of course the appreciation of the good advices. So, congratulations on your posts but also on being a good person, choosing the right paths even when you were clueless and being able to share and desire good things for everyone else.

    1. Hi Javier. Thank you so much for the kind words. Really appreciate it.

  11. francis says:

    hi Steve, I’m one of those who’ve been motivated by your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge, just keep the good work going, kudos!!!

  12. Fear is a huge stopper, the second one after the lack of confidence and laziness, I guess. The point it, every person is individual and unique, so prior to standing out with any idea or skill you have, you should first think about the other point: are you the one who is interested in keeping this contact, because once you start, it’s possible that you’ll become responsible and even committed to keeping relations to all the audience you’ll gather. Not everyone is ready for this commitment. I can say from my personal experience, if you don’t feel like selling it out (whatever it is, either your skills, some product, or any lifestyle or philosophy you want to share), probably, it will be a waste of time and energy. Not everyone are good in building social networks, and I’personally, consider it a disaster that so many feilds in our life depend so gratly on the way we socialise (for example, your credibility today depends on your social networks, don you think it’s fare? here’s an explanation ) That doesn’t mean you will have to give up. I personally, from time to time have an extreme desire to make a start-up and become truly confident that it’s something the world has been waiting for so long. But in some time I realize I can’t make it because I just don’t have any energy to promote it properly. I’m an introvert, it has side effects). Anyway, my point is, if you think of any start up, it’s silly to have fear or lack of confidence, for sure, and being laze is unacceptable as much as the lack of discipline. But! If your start-up simply don’t coincides with your individuality, with your passions or simply, you r way of socializing, probably, you’ll just hurt yourself by spending time and efforts on something you actually don’t need.

  13. Ricky Rangel says:

    Thanks Steve. This really helps get rid of the fear of pushing “publish.” I’ve only visited your site a few times, but so far this post is the most encouraging thing here in getting me to pursue my goal of creating and sharing my own philosophies through my own site. Thanks friend. You are awesome.

  14. ha ha, nice driving,
    almost like me when my father tried to learn me to drive his Honda Accord, 8 years ago :)

  15. I love this! This was me. When I first started out my thoughts…my friends will be my biggest supports. Hmmm…that didn’t really happen. Then I jumped in with a blog, but had no fan base. I’m now stepping back and building my fan base on social media as I slowly write to my blog. And the biggest key…believing in myself and bring consistent. Great article and a great reminder for me!

  16. Kreemly says:

    Thanks Steve, very helpful post !! :) :) :)

  17. This is my opinion dear friends:
    James 1:5 says
    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

    And Steve gives great insight and wisdom!

    Thanks!!

  18. Your capture pop ups ran me off.

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