Starting up With Next to Nothing.


We stumbled across this book whilst researching the types of businesses that entrepreneurs around the world were setting up. Whilst research and written in the US, it caught our eye because we are big fans of starting micro-businesses with little to no investment. It isn’t always possible and it may not be an appropriate route for some people but for many, particularly those who might not have considered starting a business before now, it can be a fun and rewarding way to go.

The author of the book, Chris Guillebeau, compiled research on over 1500 businesses. The criteria for being included in his research was that they:

  • Adopted a Follow-your-passion Model. Many people are interested in building a business that is based on a hobby or activity they are especially enthusiastic about. Not every passion leads to healthy levels of income but you’ll see in the book that some certainly do.
  • Had a Low Startup Cost. He particularly focused on businesses that required less than $1000’s to startup, especially those which needed almost nothing (less than $100) to begin.
  • Generated at Least $50,000 per Year. Being profitable was a must and so he focused on businesses that earned at least as much as the average North American would earn. The range varied from $50,000 dollars to year to high 6 figure profits.
  • Needed no Special Skills. He was looking for businesses that anyone could run, either with skills that they could transfer from other experiences or very quickly acquire through a short period of training or independent study.
  • Agreed to Full Financial Disclosure. Needing to validate that the businesses were indeed successful, they had to supply the previous two years financials and show current performance against their forecast for that year.
  • Had Fewer Than 5 Employees. For the most part he was interested in unexpected or accidental entrepreneurs that chose to remain small.

All manner of businesses are featured in the book and it is a fascinating read, but don’t take our word for it, read see this independent review by Brigitte Lyons or see the reviews on Amazon here.

A good local example, here on the Island, is the Community Interest Company RECRE8. This was started with the objective of spending next to no capital to get the business up and running. You can read more about this story by following the RECRE8 link.