Ways to Become an Entrepreneur With No Money or Experience

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How to Become an Entrepreneur With No Money or Experience
How to Become an Entrepreneur With No Money or Experience

 



Being your own boss, calling all the shots, hustling to hit your goals — for many people, entrepreneurship is the ultimate career goal.

But as awesome as running your own business sounds, it’s also incredibly difficult.

How difficult? 90% of startups fail.

Entrepreneurs are also more anxious than other people and experience more day-to-day stress. After all, when you’re responsible for the bottom line, every setback falls on you personally.

Here’s the good news: Starting a company can be one of the most rewarding, exhilarating, and interesting opportunities you’ll ever get. If you’re aware of the risks and you’re still dead-set on being an entrepreneur, use the strategies and advice in this guide.

In this post, we cover:



1. Identify profitable startup ideas.

A successful startup begins with an idea. You can’t build a business without one. Here are some creative techniques for thinking of a product or service:

Ask your friends what frustrates them.

What makes a product or service profitable? It provides a solution for a problem or frustration that people are willing to pay to have alleviated.

With that in mind, start by asking your friends what frustrates them.

Founders get inspiration from their frustrations all the time. For instance:

  • Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp started Uber after they had trouble getting a cab.
  • Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail founded Venmo (acquired by PayPal) after they had trouble paying each other back by check.
  • Chris Riccobono launched UNTUCKit — a line of shirts that look good untucked — after getting frustrated with how wrinkly and ill-fitting his regular button-down shirts were when he didn’t tuck them in.

As you brainstorm, ask your friends to keep track of the day-to-day things that annoy them. Then go through their lists and look for problems you might be able to solve.

Get inspired by other emerging startups.

Checking out what other people have come up with can be a great way to kick your own thought process into gear. Go to Product Hunt, a constantly updated curation of the newest apps, websites, and games, for digital inspiration. Meanwhile, Kickstarter is great for physical products.

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There are also a ton of product review sites like might spark your creativity. Try Uncrate, Werd, and Wirecutter.

Identify trends to future-proof your idea.

As the world changes, people need different products. As an example, the rise of Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps created a demand for a third-party app that will tell you the cheapest fares at that exact moment.



You want to get ahead of the curve. Read trend predictions for your industry or market, or check out universal trend forecasting publications like Trend Hunter and Springwise. Then ask yourself, “If these predictions come true, which tools will be necessary?”

2. Identify and focus on a growing category (or categories).

Licensing expert and intellectual property strategist Stephen Key recommends picking a category that fascinates you but isn’t overly competitive.

“I avoid industries that are notoriously challenging, like the toy industry. There are so many people creating in that space,” he explains. “You will have an easier time licensing your ideas if you focus on categories of products that are growing as well as receptive to open innovation.”

After you’ve picked a category, Key says you should study all the products in that category.

  • What are each product’s benefits, and how do they vary?
  • What’s their packaging and marketing strategy?
  • What do reviewers say?
  • What are the potential improvements?

Once you’ve picked a product, consider questions like:

  • What can be done to improve it?
  • Can I add a new feature?
  • What about a different material?
  • Can I personalize it somehow?

 

3. Fill an underserved demand.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if there aren’t enough wheels. Many people start successful businesses after noticing a gap in the market. For example, perhaps you learn there’s a shortage of high-quality sales outsourcing. Since you have experience in sales development and account management at early-stage sales companies, you might decide to offer this service to tech startups.

4. Make something better (or cheaper) than what’s out there.

You don’t always need to develop something brand-new. If you can offer an existing product at a lower price point, better quality, or ideally, both, you’ll have plenty of customers. Better yet, there’s clearly an existing demand.

As you go about your day, make a list of everything you use. Then review the list for something you could improve.

Other suggestions

    • Network with other entrepreneurs: Use Meetup or Eventbrite to find events in the local startup community. Not only will networking with other entrepreneurs help you build valuable relationships, but it’ll also give you lots of ideas. For some quick tips on how to network efficiently and meaningfully as an entrepreneur, check out our video guide here.

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