A lot of people think you need to “have money to make money”. But that’s just not the case.
While money can be great, having too much of it can often kill one’s creativity when they’re starting out with a new business venture or side hustle.
So if you’re looking to earn extra money, but you don’t have any to begin with, don’t worry – there are certainly things you can still do.
Let’s get right into it.
Here are 13 proven ways you can make money when you don’t have any money.
Sell Your Old Stuff
Selling your old stuff is a great way to earn extra money without having to spend any.
Everyone has old stuff that they don’t use anymore – whether it’s clothes, books, electronics, household items, whatever!
I guarantee that you have at least a couple hundred dollars worth of junk…I mean stuff, laying around your house.
Put it to good use and make some money off it!
Take a picture of it and then upload it to some second hand marketplaces like Kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook marketplace.
You’ll be shocked how quickly your stuff sells. People absolutely love bargains.
The downside of this method is that you only have so much stuff that you can sell.
So it’s not an evergreen way to make money. BUT it can certainly help you out if you’re in a bit of jam and need some extra money.
Start a Youtube Channel
Starting a Youtube Channel is a great way to earn extra money without having to spend a dime to make it.
You will have to put in some time and effort, but with the cameras on smartphones today, that’s all you really need.
There are many different ways you can make money from Youtube, but what I love about this option is that you’ll be able to make money from doing something you enjoy.
What are you into? Cooking? Fitness? Pranks? Politics?
Whatever it is, make your Youtube channel about something you’re interested in. Otherwise, you might give up quicker than you should.
Unlike a lot of the methods discussed in this article, making money from Youtube will take a bit of time as you’ll first need to grow a following and subscriber base.
But once you do this, your earning potential will be unlimited. The more views you get, the more money you’ll make.
Walk Other People’s Dog
If you don’t have any money but you need to make some, walking other people’s dogs could be a great option for you.
For dog owners, having to come home from work to feed and walk their dog can be an absolute pain in the butt.
And one thing we know about pain is that people are willing to pay to have it go away.
Another thing we know – people love their pets and are willing to pay good money to ensure they’re happiness.
Have you ever seen the prices on pet toys? It’s outrageous.
So how does this work you might ask? Well it’s pretty simple actually.
Market your dog walking services around your community – put up flyers, knock on doors, make phone calls, maybe even set up some social media accounts.
For example, you could charge $200 a week to walk someone’s dog for half an hour, Monday to Friday.
Now imagine if you could get 5-6 clients on board? You’ll be making really good money, I’m talking $60,000 – $80,000 a year, for walking dogs!
The other great thing about this option? Once you have a customer, as long as you do a good job, you’ll have consistent work with them and you won’t have to continually look for new clients.
Do Freelance Work
Freelancing is a great way to earn money without having to spend any.
Businesses often need work done but they don’t want to hire full time for it so they contract the work out to freelancers. Cha ching!
These services include things like logo making, website design, SEO, copywriting, video production, coding services etc.
I know people who have made an abundance of money from freelancing their skills. I played basketball with a guy in university who funded his way through school by making logos for small businesses online.
If you don’t have any skills, that’s okay too. Learn some!
I said you didn’t have to have any money to make money, but I didn’t say you won’t have to work hard!
Thanks to websites like Youtube and Google, information is now a commodity. There are no secrets anymore. Anyone can learn anything.
Take advantage of this! You don’t have to go to school to learn things like graphic design or SEO (take this one from me).
Dedicate 3 months of your life learning a technical skill and then put your new skill to use and freelance for businesses online.
Freelancing can be a great side-gig because you have the flexibility of working from wherever you are around the world, no offices, no meetings, no corporate BS.
Here’s your work, here’s your money – have it done by this date. No fuss. Next please.
Become an Influencer on Instagram
Becoming an influencer on Instagram is a sure fire way you can make money without having to spend any.
Similar to creating a Youtube channel, generating a large following can often take a lot of time and effort, so be prepared for that.
If you need to make a quick dollar, this option probably isn’t for you.
However, if you already have a large following (I would say at least $10,000), look for ways you can monetize your account.
The Financial Geek’s article 9 Simple Ways a Teenager Can Make Money on Instagram goes through 9 methods in which Instagram influencers can monetize their account.
Here are a few of these ways:
- Selling Shoutouts
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Posts
- Selling Online Courses
- Promoting Small Businesses
So if you don’t have any money but you have a large Instagram following, then use your influence to make money and earn a regular income.
You might have read this and thought, oo give me a break – but just hear me out for a second.
Everyone who owns a house has a lawn, but 99% of these people don’t want to mow it. That’s a huge market, and you only need a small, small, small percentage of this market to make money.
In fact, you only need one customer!
Here’s what you do.
Pick a few neighbourhoods and spend a weekend going door to door asking people if they’d be interested in you mowing their lawns.
You’ll get a lot of no’s, but you’ll get some yeses, and that’s all you need!
Knock on 300 doors and aim to get 8 clients that will pay you an average of $100 bi-weekly to mow their lawn – that’s over $1500 a month for a bit of work on the weekends.
Not only this, but most households own lawn mowers so you don’t even have to buy one yourself.
Again, there is $0 upfront cost here.
Advertise on Your Car
Now if you don’t have any money, you might not have a car. So if not, you can skip this one option.
But if you do have a car, have you ever considered advertising on it?
Believe it or not, companies pay drivers to advertise their brand on their vehicle.
There are two ways to go about this.
One, you could reach out to local businesses yourself and see if they’d be interested in using your car as a moving billboard, or two, signup for a service like Carvertise that will do all the advertising and setup work for you.
Obviously, a service like this will take a cut of your revenue, but they won’t make money until you make money – so there is no upfront investment on your end.
What I love about this option is you don’t really have to do anything once you get everything setup, you just go about your daily life and get paid for having ads on your car.
Talk about passive income.
Babysitting is a great way to earn money when you don’t have any money.
I don’t think we have to dive into this option much as I’m sure you know what babysitting is and how to make money from it.
But here are a few points that you might find helpful:
- It’s all about networking and who you know. I don’t care what your “babysitting resume” looks like, no one is leaving their kids with a complete stranger.
- Value your time. Don’t low ball yourself – ask for a fair but reasonable hourly wage.
- Do some basic babysitting training courses such as CPR and First Aid.
- Upsell your services “So now that I’m here, I could clean your bathrooms too…”
- Have great references.
- Be flexible with your schedule.
Okay, I think you get the point here so I won’t waste your time and ramble on about how to become a babysitter. It’s pretty straightforward.
Point being though, it takes no money to become a babysitter. And believe it or not, full time babysitters actually make solid coin.
If you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow, you can probably skip this option.
Correction, you can definitely skip this option. If there is no snow, you can’t shovel it.
Jokes aside, shovelling snow is a great way to earn extra money when you don’t have any.
Similar to mowing lawns, 99% of households need shoveling done after a large snowfall, but no one actually wants to shovel it themself.
So get out there and make yourself available!
After a big snow dumping, get up early and go knocking on some doors, you’ll be shocked how much money you can make over the course of a few days.
If you don’t have a shovel, ask your parents, friends or other family members if they have one – they’re not hard to come by.
It might not be the sexiest side hustle in the world, but it’s a great way to earn money while staying in shape.
And to be honest, shovelling snow can be a really nice winter activity, you put some tunes in, have a coffee and shovel away, and to top it all off, earn some money while doing it!
Become a Consultant
Becoming a consultant could be a great way for you to make money if you don’t have any money to start out with.
But in order to become a consultant, similar to a freelancer, you first need to have some specific set of skills to consult on.
For example, if you are great at Search Engine Optimization (SEO), become a consultant for other companies looking to increase their search engine rankings.
If you have experience and expertise in digital marketing, then become a digital marketing consultant for companies who don’t have much experience with it themselves.
With that said though, having specific skills to consult on is really only half the battle. You also need to sell yourself to whomever you are looking to bring on as a client – this is one of the biggest challenges in becoming a successful consultant – getting clients.
Sales is a tough job and you’re going to have to make phone calls, send emails, maybe slide in some DMs and knock on some doors in order to get your first couple of clients.
But once you get your name out there and do a good job, you should see some inbound clients coming your way.
So yeah, being a consultant could be a great way for you to earn money if you have none to begin with.
But in saying all that, if you’re just looking to earn a quick buck, I probably wouldn’t recommend this option.
Becoming a successful consultant might not cost a lot of money, but it takes time, patience, a lot of energy and sometimes a bit of luck.
Start a Window Cleaning Business
Window cleaning is another great way to earn money when you don’t have too much to invest upfront.
I actually started a window cleaning business during my university days as a way to make extra money during the summers.
It was great, cleaning the windows themselves wasn’t my favourite thing in the world to do, but it was nice to learn something new and the money was great.
You know what else was great, how easy it was to get work.
I’ve never seen a house without windows, so literally every single house is a potential customer for you.
Similarly to finding people who want their lawn mowed, spend a weekend knocking on doors until your knuckles bleed – metaphorically speaking.
Seriously though, spend two days and knock on 1000 doors.
Ask everyone who answers if they’d be interested in getting their house windows cleaned on a monthly basis.
For simplicity sake, let’s say you’ll charge on average $150 a house. If you get 30 clients on board, you’re making $4500 a month!
Again, this is a numbers game, you’ll need to knock on a few doors, but I guarantee you that you’ll get some customers on board if you talk to enough people.
Starting out, you may need a few dollars to buy things like soap, buckets, towels, squeegees etc, but we’re only talking residential housing here, you don’t need any fancy equipment – you should be able to buy everything you need for under $150.
I love this option, the skys the limit here with how much money you want to make, the harder you work, the more you’ll make and this can be very motivating.
Become a Tutor
Do you excel in any subjects academically?
I certainly don’t, but maybe you do!
If so, use your brain to make some money. Tutoring can be a great way to earn money and your only really cost is your time.
The other great thing about tutoring is that once you tutor your first 3 or 4 students, as long as you do a good job, word travels fast and you’ll get a ton of business from client referrals.
How can you find students to tutor when you’re just starting out?
Great question, and I’ve never been a tutor myself so I actually don’t know, but what I do know is that with anything, you just have to get yourself out there.
Talk to teachers and professors, hang around university libraries (in a non-creepy manner), put up flyers and promote your services on social media.
In other words, just market yourself!
And again, tutoring is one of those things that getting new customers won’t be difficult as long as you do a good job.
Get a Job
Okay, last but not least. If you don’t have any money but you want to make some, you could always get a job.
There are so many job sites available now that applying for jobs these days is easier than it ever has been before, and it’s completely free!
Make an amazing resume, write some cover letters and apply for some jobs that interest you.
Whether it’s full time or part time work, try and find work in an industry that you’re interested in.
While it won’t always work out this way, and sometimes you’ll have to take what you can get, but the more you enjoy what you’re doing, the better.
Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first job you apply for, most people don’t! Cast your net wide at the start and see what sticks.
In other words, apply for as many jobs as possible at the beginning, don’t be too picky.
If you’re lucky enough to get job offers from more than one company, then you can weigh your options.
To conclude, not having money should not be an excuse for why you can’t make money.
As proven above, there are many ways in which people who have no money can legitimately make money.
To recap, here they are again.
- Sell Your Old Stuff
- Start a Youtube Channel
- Walk Other People’s Dog
- Do Freelance Work
- Become an Influencer on Instagram
- Mow Lawns
- Advertise on Your Car
- Shovel Snow
- Become a Consultant
- Start a Window Cleaning Business
- Become a Tutor
- Get a Job
Hopefully this article helped spark some motivation in you to get out there and start making some money.
If you have any questions about any of these methods, or you want more information, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!