Starting a business from scratch can be a challenge. Continuing to grow that business and become successful can be even more demanding. It takes a certain mindset to become a successful business owner or entrepreneur. The good news is that mindset is more important than money or experience.
Our founder, Andrew Henderson, started his first business years ago. Since then, he has met many successful high-net-worth earners and has grown a business that helps other people to take their business and ideas overseas and succeed.
Over the years, readers and viewers on our YouTube channel have reached out to ask how they can achieve the same success.
In this article, we’re going to answer some questions you might have if you are wondering how to start a business with no money, and we will give you advice from years of experience on how to get into business and then grow your business successfully.
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How to Start a Business With No Money
“What would you do if you were broke and unemployed?”
Our founder started with no money in loans, grants, gifts, or trust funds from his parents. He started off totally from zero out of high school. He spent about a year in university before getting out of that. From there, he decided to start a business in the broadcasting industry.
During the day, he worked on his business but wriggled his way into working with a radio station at night. It was a great way to bring in a little extra income and gain experience in the industry.
He got the job by first pitching them on hosting a show, and they allowed him to do that as long as he brought in a sponsor for $60 a week. They put him on Sunday from 11 to midnight.
He ran his show at their station for around eight weeks. Then, he got a bit bigger sponsor and went to another station for another eight weeks. That is when he realized that he didn’t really want to be on the radio himself. He just wanted to be in business.
So, he went back to the original station and asked them what he could do to help them. They weren’t hiring, so he had to show them how he was going to bring value to the table. When they asked what he could offer, he told them that their website looked terrible. That was probably too blunt, to be honest, but they said okay and told him to make them a website.
After he made the website, he realized they had never agreed to terms. The radio business is one of the cheapest businesses on earth, so they couldn’t really pay him. So, he asked if he could come in and produce a show, and they agreed.
He was back on the night shift, 6:00 p.m. to midnight, four days a week.
That’s how he got started in the radio business, building his broadcasting company from his apartment during the day and producing shows for a radio station at night.
He says he learned three lessons during this period that have served him well ever since. They are:
- Network and Find Mentorship
- Create and Sell Value
- Learn to Face Rejection
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Network and Find Mentorship
Working the night shift at the radio station was a great way to meet people and learn how the radio business worked. The station owners let him run the office all alone, looking over contracts and marketing materials.
He was able to use all of that to build contacts, and he eventually even brought one of the station owners over to his business as a partner as it grew. He was also able to see what they were doing successfully as a radio station and apply that to other radio stations that he was helping.
Most importantly, he was able to use this opportunity as a mentorship of sorts. He gained experience not by asking them to do something for him but by offering to do something for them.
Today, so many people reach out because they want your mentorship, but potential mentors want to know what’s in it for them.
When the radio station asked him what was in it for them, he told them.
By creating value for their company, he was given the value of mentorship and access to a network within the radio business that was invaluable as he learned how to start a business with no money and build it into something successful.
Create and Sell Value
This brings us to our second piece of advice for those who want to know how to start a business with no money: figure out how you can add value to other people’s lives and then go out and sell that.
You may not have money, but you can create value.
If you really do have something of value to offer, the key to success is to learn how to sell it.
Now, the word sales has never been one people particularly like. Who likes a salesperson?
Back when he started, not even entrepreneurs were considered to be the “cool thing” like they are today in the entrepreneur era. Today, entrepreneurship is cool. But even now, not enough people understand and appreciate the importance of sales.
If you don’t have sales, you don’t have revenue, and if you don’t have revenue, you don’t have a business. But sales is not a necessary evil; it is a positive and essential component of the market for both businesses and consumers.
Sales is simply connecting two people with something of value.
In our founder’s business, he was able to connect people who wanted to buy radio time with radio stations that couldn’t make their payroll – single stations with one owner, stations that weren’t part of a corporate chain, and so on – and convince them to let him help them by bringing in these shows.
There was always one station on the verge of going out of business. They could never pay their staff. He came in, and they quickly took their sales from $10,000 a month to $60,000 a month with this paid programming. It may not have been the most fascinating programming, but no one was listening to their stations anyway because they didn’t have a marketing budget. No one even knew these stations existed.
But there was value in the exchange, so he made a business around selling that. You can do the same. Find a way to help people and sell that.
Nomad Capitalist was our founder’s opportunity to sell what he knows how to do. He sold everything in the United States, including his businesses, and decided to take a mini-retirement before starting another business with a new idea.
He was no longer broke, so he took advantage of his wealth and traveled the world. During that time, he blogged about his travels and adventures as he built an offshore strategy and lifestyle by opening bank accounts, getting residencies, and investing in foreign markets.
Over time, people started to reach out and ask for help to do the same. That’s how Nomad Capitalist got its start. Today, Nomad Capitalist is a full-service consulting company. The people who come to us do so through a very streamlined process – we get to choose who we work with.
It developed into this over the course of many years because people could see the value of what he had to offer, and he was willing to continue creating and selling that to them.
Learn to Face Rejection
If you’re broke and unemployed and want to know how to start a business with no money, you may not have the luxury of slowly creating a lot of content and waiting for people to come to you. That’s why you need to pick up the phone, send emails, and face rejection.
Your top priority needs to be to become successful.
You can do that by living overseas to cut your costs if you’re from a country where things are expensive. You can go and live in a country where things are less expensive. But nothing will save you the unpleasant cost of rejection.
If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to face rejection.
When he was first building his broadcasting business, our founder’s number one strategy was to make cold calls. He looked for people who had radio shows that they were paying for, like infomercials or other businesses buying airtime to promote something, whether it was gold, nutritional supplements, or anything else.
He would call these people and tell them that he could get them airtime on even more stations. Then, he would call struggling AM stations that needed to sell time or that he thought would benefit from selling time.
It was all about cold calls.
To this day, he recalls radio hosts that he reached out to who were insulted by the fact that he wanted them to pay to have a radio show. They had these big egos and didn’t want to pay. Some of them were unpleasant about it.
But that’s the name of the game.
If you can master being rejected, you’ll do well in business, dating, and any number of endeavors, no matter if you start with nothing or have every possible resource at your disposal.
How Do You Grow As An Entrepreneur?
Another question we have been asked is, “How do you grow as an entrepreneur?”
To grow as an entrepreneur, you have to recognize that entrepreneurs are not normal. You are different. Especially if you’re a Nomad Capitalist entrepreneur living and traveling around the world, that’s definitely not normal.
Living paycheck to paycheck is what most people identify as normal. You don’t want to be normal, and you don’t need to waste your time trying to change others’ minds about that. Not everyone is going to be a digital nomad. Not everyone is going to be a Nomad Capitalist. Not everyone is going to be an entrepreneur.
But if you’re relying on other people to change their minds about what you are doing and how acceptable and normal that is within society – if you’re seeking validation or advice from most of the people around you – you’re not going to grow as an entrepreneur.
You need a circle of valuable people who will push you to grow.
Surround Yourself With Success
Returning to the original example of how our founder built his business, he found people doing something he wanted to do. Then, he tweaked it. The people that he learned from were doing what he wanted to do in one place, and he wanted to do it across the whole country.
But they had the skills of what worked.
That is how he would grow. If you’re still surrounded by people from high school who are still hanging around the same bars, then it’s probably time for you to make some new friends. You only grow as much as what you’re surrounded by.
That is one important lesson to be learned, especially through traveling and living around different cultures. People are rarely aware of anything beyond their immediate surroundings.
They define “normal” by what they see. That is how they are going to live, and it is likely what they’re going to advise you to do.
If you go to someone and ask them how to start a business with no money or explain to them how you plan to do it, they likely have no idea that things could even be done that way, and they’re going to challenge you on that.
If you’re surrounding yourself with people who are small-minded or unfamiliar with where you’re going, that’s going to hold you back.
We’ve known folks over the years who don’t understand how it’s possible to make over $100,000 a year or how it’s possible to make more than $10,000 a month if you’re asking that with such doubt, then you’ll probably never make over $10,000 a month.
One of the things our founder has done to become more successful is surround himself with people who make a lot of money because being around people who have already done it helped him to realize that it was possible.
You may never reach certain levels, but you at least know it’s possible. You can meet people who have made hundreds of millions of dollars in their lifetime. That might not ever happen to you, but you know that’s a real possibility.
You want to learn from someone who has been winning for a long time – the builders, those with long track records, etc.
Some of the most fascinating people to spend your time with are folks in their 50s and 60s who have been successful in business for 30+ years. They’ve seen it all. They’re the guys who have been sued, and the government has come after them. They’ve faced it all. There’s nothing you can do to shock them because they’ve seen it all.
It’s so much better to learn from people who have been around the block. If you surround yourself with this type, you’re going to have more opportunities to grow than you would have hanging out with someone who’s been successful for just a year and a half.
Be Familiar With Your Flaws
The second thing you need to do to ensure that you continue to grow as an entrepreneur is to learn your flaws. You have to learn what you are not good at, and hopefully, you can delegate that.
You also have to learn your flaws from a personality standpoint. Our founder says he doesn’t suffer fools perhaps as well as he should. He used to constantly feel bad when he would bring fools into his life and then get frustrated with that. His solution has been to tighten the hiring process, allowing him to find only great people to work with.
There are certain things he’s never gelled with. There are personality types he doesn’t get along with. He’d rather not have those people around. Rather than trying to push through things that aren’t a fit for him, he’s found sometimes it’s better to go around it.
If you have the right level of self-awareness, you can navigate around these issues more easily.
When you’re trying to grow, you have to make that a top priority.
As he gets older with over 15 years of relative success – he can start to prioritize relaxing a bit for the first time ever. He has 20+ team members who he can rely on to do stuff. He’s able to do less and not have to go hard 24/7 to enjoy the same level of success (or more) compared to when he was learning how to start a business with no money.
But when you’re just starting out, there are sacrifices to be made and experience to be gained.
That is one thing he learned by surrounding himself with successful people: new starters have less experience and a lot more judgment, but that judgment starts to melt away the longer you’re successful.
He recalls sitting at someone’s house on Christmas day several years ago and learning that this individual had been sued by some employees. The reactions from those in the room were very revealing. Those there who were new to business just acted like he was a jerk. But the people who had been in business longer and had made more money sympathized with him and discussed procedures and prevention with him.
You have to get through those things. No one becomes super successful without running into problems. But as long as you prioritize growth and commit to it, you’ll get through it and come out the other side with experience and more success than ever.
If you’re hanging out with people who can’t imagine having problems or pushing through them, it will be just as difficult to grow as an entrepreneur as it would be if you were hanging out with people who can’t imagine making more than $10,000 a month.
Surround yourself with successful people who can show you the possibilities and have made it through the challenges, be aware of your weaknesses, and then prioritize and work toward that growth.
Entrepreneurship Is Its Own Reward
Whether you are figuring out how to start a business with no money or have already had some success and are looking for ways to grow your business, these are some of the valuable lessons our founder has learned in the past 15 years of personal business experience.
Learn how to create value and sell that to the right people. Seek out mentorship, and don’t shy away from rejection. All along the way, surround yourself with successful people who can inspire you, be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and never lose focus on growth and success.
And recognize that you may have to switch horses once you reach a certain level. Perhaps one mentor gets you to a million dollars in revenue, but they aren’t going to get you to $10 million.
Realize that you may need new people to help you progress further.
You may have heard the expression, “It’s lonely at the top.” When you’re doing great things, it’s going to be difficult. There may come a time when you find yourself alone because no one else you know is going in the same direction as you.
But will you stop going after what you want just because the average person doesn’t understand it?
Whether you are trying to figure out how to start a business with no money or you have made it to the top, entrepreneurship is never a normal path. But just as you can start a business from nothing, the challenge of entrepreneurship is part of the draw that keeps you coming back for more.
Would you like to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and learn from world-class speakers? Join now so that you don’t miss your chance to attend our yearly Nomad Capitalist Event, with unparalleled networking and impactful discussions on everything from global citizenship offshore strategies to tax-saving tactics and so much more.