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Founding without equity - 12 ways to start your own business with little money

How to start a business without money and equity capital

Does starting a business without equity work? Starting your own business is a major challenge. In addition to a lack of confidence in one's own abilities, meager start-up capital can also mean that one does not even attempt to take this step.

What a shame it would be if someone were to drop a great, sustainable start-up idea just for financial reasons? Fortunately, nowadays you have many options to start your own business, even if you don't have a lot of money.

In this article, I would like to give you my most valuable tips for starting a business without money. Let's go!

Here you can find a short overview in advance:

  1. Start a crowdfunding campaign
  2. Choose the right industry and company type
  3. Profit from start-up subsidies
  4. Become self-employed on a part-time basis for the time being
  5. Apply for a scholarship
  6. Take advantage of a founder's loan
  7. Start your business online
  8. Win investors for your idea
  9. Search for co-founders
  10. Use guarantees as collateral
  11. Get a transitional job to help you get started
  12. Convince your family & friends of your intention

Notice: You are still missing the so-called bootstrapping in the list? Although this form of startup is adapted to a very tight budget and scarce resources, it requires a certain amount of equity capital. Therefore, it is more suitable for a startup without outside capital than for the path to self-employment without any funds of one's own - and is accordingly not listed here.

1. start a crowdfunding campaign

Founding through crowdfunding even without equity capital

You want to improve something in our society, but you lack the necessary equity to do so? No matter whether you Reduce food wasteplant 50,000 trees or write an enlightening book: If you have a great and attractive idea, that can inspire many people, crowdfunding is definitely right for you.

On an appropriate platform (e.g. or you can present your project and ask for donations or participation of other internet users (as a kind of Swarm funding). The "crowd" will then help you scrape together the necessary capital - once the target amount is reached, you can finally get down to the implementation and keep your supporters informed.

Tip: You can also have investors participate in your company and generate equity in this way. For the so-called Crowdinvesting there are also some platforms that really make it easier for you to find potential supporters.

2. select the right industry and company type

If you want to start your own business, but money is not that easy to come by, then you should choose an industry for your business idea in which you can also Start with very little or even no equity can. Here are a few ideas:

  • Photography
  • Blogging
  • Translation
  • Web design
  • Marketing
  • Coaching
  • Event planning

For long-term success, however, it is fundamentally important that you are passionate about your idea and have the skills - or at least can learn them (quickly) - that are needed to implement it. By the way, the preferred form of business also plays a role! The Formation of a GbR is possible without start-up capital, for example and therefore significantly cheaper than establishing a limited liability company.

Can you think of other industries where you can theoretically start your own business without capital? Then feel free to write me a comment and I'll add them to the list.

3. profit from start-up subsidies

If you are starting your own business from unemployment, there is another very good possibility to become self-employed even without your own start-up capital: the Start-up grant from the Federal Employment Agency.

With this subsidy, the state helps unemployed people who want to start a business. In the first six months, founders receive, in addition to unemployment benefits, the following benefits additional 300 Euro for social security during the start-up phase. If everything goes well, at the end of this period you will receive an extension of the funding phase for another nine months, during which you will then "only" receive the 300 euro grant.

However, the start-up subsidy is ultimately approved at the discretion of the case workers at the Federal Employment Agency. The basic requirements include, for example, that you have are not older than 65 and have received ALG I for at least one day have.

4. become self-employed on a part-time basis for the time being

There are Countless signs for the right time to terminate a contract. However, no one should give up their permanent employment to become self-employed without being prepared and thinking it through. Especially if there is no money for the start-up, it is a good idea to start your own business in addition to your actual job. slowly but surely start into self-employment.

For example, by agreeing with your employer that you will in the future you will only work for the company three days a weekto have more time to fulfill your dream of owning your own business.

If everything works out, you will have a somewhat reduced but still secure income and finally more time to put your business idea into practice. At the same time, you can still start your own business without make sure if the idea works and if self-employment is something for you at all.

5. apply for a scholarship

Not everyone gets a scholarship as financial support, which as a rule does not have to be repaid. But if you meet all the funding criteria with your project, write a business plan and present your idea in the best possible way, you have really good chances.

Should you, for example, want to take advantage of the university-affiliated, Germany-wide EXIST Start-Up Grant you will receive for one year a four-digit amount each month as start-up aid for your business start-up, as well as an office, further grants for material expenses and professional business consulting.

Many federal states also have their own funding grants, such as Innofounder in Hamburg or ego.-START in Saxony-Anhalt. Every now and then, larger companies also offer scholarships. Either way, they offer a great way to start a business without your own money.

6. take advantage of a founder's loan

Those who burn for their business idea, wants to start immediately of coursebefore someone else takes over. But how else does starting a business without equity capital work? Taking out a special loan for start-ups is also a good and quick way to get started. However, you have little or no capital at your disposal, which is why financial institutions naturally find it difficult to give you their money as start-up aid.

Experience has shown that, due to the uncertainty about a company's chances of success, it is rather a stroke of luck to obtain outside capital for the implementation of one's own business idea. However, it is much easier to obtain financial support from Online lending platforms (e.g., Auxmoney) via a classic Credit for self-employed. Also from state development loans from KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) for young founders, you can benefit.

Tip: Put your idea on paper! In order to have a good chance of obtaining outside capital, it is essential to have a detailed and accurate business plan, as well as a profitability forecast.

7. start your business online

Start a digital business and start without money

As a blogger, I have enjoyed the advantages of an online business from the first second of my self-employment. Meanwhile, I no longer sell my own sustainable products, but only recommend them. This way I save a lot of costs and can still make money through Affiliate commissions (so to speak, through regular referrals) earn from it.

Also Courses on topics I am familiar with can be created and distributed with little financial effort. The Internet offers an incredible number of possibilities.

Last but not least, it is important to mention that for online-only companies, often the Rent for office space or the cost of travel to the office is eliminated. Online-based business ideas are really predestined for starting up without equity.

8. attract investors for your idea

Crowdfunding with many small backers is one way to get outside funding for your startup - getting individual, large investors interested in your project is another. In order to find them, you should mainly hang around at founder and startup events. But please don't show up there unprepared - you need to present your Present business idea in the best possible way, to convince them.

You can then expect support in various forms. A so-called Business Angel For example, a partner not only acts as an investor, but also as a mentor who contributes experience and knowledge to help your company grow successfully. A dormant partnership (in a "only" money-giving function) is also a possibility.

9. look for co-founders

No one has to start a business all by themselves - especially if you want to start your own business without the big bucks. By specifically looking for co-founders who are passionate about your idea, lack of know-how and ideally also the necessary equity capitalyou can fulfill your dream together with your co-founders.

For example, at start-up fairs, in Facebook groups and via platforms (such as, you can convince other people of your idea and, if necessary, get them on board.

10. use guarantees as collateral

Whether real estate, gold, the assignment of your salary, life insurance or securities -. Credit institutions need collateralto entrust you with their money for your start-up. For your start-up without equity capital all this is not available? Then a guarantee offers you another possibility!

A surety bond means that someone else will stand in for the fulfillment of your obligations should the worst happen. This role could, for example, be your Parents or friends However, there is always the risk of straining relationships.

Fortunately, there is also as an alternative Federal and state guaranteesThese cover at least part of the credit default risk. You can apply for a guarantee from the guarantee bank in your federal state - either directly or via your bank.

11. get a transitional job to help you get started

You want to implement a business idea, but you just don't have the money? Then provide yourself with a steady financial injection by looking for a temporary job. Most of the founders I know have had a job on the side. For example as Waiter*in Cafes and bars, as Babysitter*in with friends and acquaintances or as Cashier in the supermarket.

Of course, unlike your start-up project, the job doesn't have to fully excite you - what's important is that you earn the appropriate chump change to cover your running costs, as well as to Gain additional equity and time to implement your ideas.

12. convince your family & friends of your plan

Money for the start-up of Family & Friends

I am actually not a friend of starting a business with the financial help of "Family & Friends". After all, in the end it can also lead to Disputes, addictions, disappointments or other relationship stressful scenarios. come. Not least if one's own start-up idea does not prove successful.

Nevertheless, this is of course also the way to get the money that you so urgently need to implement your business idea. If you convince with the latter, the financial injection by your parents, siblings, grandparents and friends can accordingly also Foundation stone for a successful career in self-employment lay

Founding without equity in different ways!

As you can see, there are a surprising number of options available to you to be able to start up without money. A healthy mix of the above-mentioned sources of money is usually the key to success in the end.

An important factor for the success of your project is trust. Banks, investors, family and friends all need to have confidence in you and your abilities before they will support you financially. If you convince people and are willing to work hard for your dream of self-employment, you have created a great basis for building a functioning, successful business even without equity capital.

Do you have any questions, further advice or valuable experiences with starting up without money that you would like to share? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay Determined,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: You want Founding sustainably and become a good entrepreneur? Then look now next also still my Tips for a goal-oriented morning routine on. Good luck!

Coffee box Suggestions for improvement

* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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