What’s stopping you from taking your great idea and turning it into a profitable business? Bet you it’s money! If you’re a cash-strapped student, chances are your budget is tight and there’s nothing to invest in getting your side hustle off the ground. But does it really matter?
How important is it to have money to launch your side hustle?
Sure, every small business needs a bit of cashflow to get going, but you probably need a whole lot less of it than you believe. Ask yourself, if you did have the money you think you need, what would you actually use it for? And is there something else going on? Maybe you’re nervous about putting yourself out there, or you’re scared of failure. Perhaps you’re after the sense of security that money offers?
Yes, you can start a business with no money, or very little money!
Many famous businesses (for example Disney and Google) had very humble beginnings, with little to no start-up capital. Here are a few tips to get that side hustle started:
1. Network, reach out, ask for help
Sure it’s your idea, but you don’t need to do everything alone. Two or more brains are so much better than one, and if you reach out for help you can give your business a greater chance of success. Ask a local business owner you admire if you can pick their brains over a cup of coffee. Speak to your lecturers and see if they have any interesting and useful connections for you. You could even partner with another person who has a similar idea and pool your skills and resources.
2. Create demand before you launch
If you want your side hustle to be successful, you need to be giving people what they want. You can create even more demand BEFORE you launch. For example, you may want to sell art prints of your sketches or offer ready-made vegan meals. You can generate interest (and do market research on price and demand) by posting about your idea on social media. Community groups on Facebook are a great place to see if an idea is viable.
Pre-orders are also an excellent way to generate a bit of cashflow to pay for business expenses!
3. Set small goals for your big dream
Starting a side hustle, especially as a student, is all about baby steps. You’ve got a lot going on anyway, and you don’t want to overload yourself with expectations that are unrealistic. All businesses take a while to reach their potential. If you set small, easily achievable goals, it gives you the chance to grow slowly but steadily. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Above all… don’t let fear hold you back. If you have a really good business idea that you’re passionate about, lack of money won’t stop you from succeeding!