Hello! Welcome to episode 57 of the Money Mindset Shift with your host, me, Shelby Melissa. In this episode we are breaking down a commonly said but I believe is dishonest, statement that gets passed around. Can you guess what it is? We’re talking about why “it takes $0 to start a business” isn’t totally true.
When coaches share posts saying this, or talk about it on social media – “It takes $0 to start a business!!” – it really gets my goat and leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Aside from the fact that people who usually say this are the first to sell you a course or coaching program on starting and growing a business – the statement is really only true based on a technicality, and overall is rather dishonest.
Yes, technically you can …
- create social media accounts
- use a Gmail account
- utilize Canva for creating graphics
- sell with a google doc or pdf sales page
- start a Paypal account
… all for free. Technically you can do that.
This depends on how we define “start a business.” Likely, you think of making sales. Making money. In fact, Dictionary.com does too. They define a business as “the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.” And I think it is reasonable to include services in that definition as well. You are attempting to create a profit, to make money.
But most likely, you won’t be making money. Zero dollars coming in. Zero profits. And zero-dollar paychecks.
Additionally, there is so much else that goes into starting a business. Registering your business. Accounting. Marketing. Branding. Etc. Now, these things DO NOT have to be perfect when you start off (and I would argue mine are still very imperfect), but some awareness and planning is important.
So how do you do that? Well, you can either spend time and energy to gain the knowledge that you need. Or you have to trade money for access to other people’s time, energy, and knowledge.
That $0 is starting to add up huh?
Which is why you’ve maybe heard of angel investors or the sharks on Shark Tank. These are people who invest money into a business to help the business get started and/or grow. Typically this deal involves giving something to the investors in return, like a percent of profits.
The other side to this, is if you are going all in on this – your business – by yourself – how are you supporting yourself while your business makes zero dollars? How are your bills getting paid? How are you getting groceries and food?
And, who is caring for you? Your business takes time and energy. As well as does caring for yourself, doing laundry, making food, etc. It also takes time and energy.
If you aren’t doing these things, they are being subsidized by someone else. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’re in it to help and take care of each other, but this doesn’t get talked about. Even when billionaires talk about their businesses – they don’t mention the seed money their parents gave them, or how their partners did all of the care work so that they could work 12, 14 hour days.
And that’s because we live under this wider myth of the individual pulling themselves up by their bootstraps when in reality, no one ever truly does things on their own. They build upon the landscape of what others have built and contributed.
So all of this is to say that, yes, it may be technically true under some definition that you can “create a business using $0.” Yeah, on a technicality.
But it’s actually dishonest. It takes money, yours or someone else’s. Everything takes resources, and if you want more access to resources, unfortunately, we live in systems where that takes money. Right?
So yes, you can create social media accounts, use a Gmail account, utilize Canva for creating graphics, selling with a Google Doc or PDF sales page, start a PayPal account, do your own branding, attempt to learn marketing, accounting, keeping track of your numbers, etc.
Like, it’s a lot to be doing for one individual. Trust me. We’ve been talking about this on the newsletter, that like, it takes a lot of work to run a business, and if you want access, or you need more time and energy back, that takes money. And it takes money to learn the skills and knowledge to take the courses. The things that these coaches who were saying, “It takes $0 to start a business” were going to be selling you.
Because in reality it – yeah, sure – on some definition, you have started a business, but you don’t just start a business to start a business. You start a business because you need money or you want to make money that way, or the system doesn’t support you making money in some other way. Your livelihood isn’t supported in some other way.
So, it’s technically misleading. And to me a bit dishonest. Because you’re not just starting a business. You’re trying to create and grow a business that is profitable, that has some measure of success, whatever that success means to you.
So if you do wanna start a business or you really have no choice, and you have to start a business, take some time to consider your financial situation and your options. Don’t let the shady statement convince you that it is simple or easy.
And if you already have a business, don’t beat yourself up over the head that like, you shouldn’t be spending this money, or you should be making more money already, or all of these other things. It takes dedication. It takes hard work. And it’s not glamorous. It’s not easy to sell, so it doesn’t really get talked about. It kind of gets swept under the rug, closed behind a curtain, you know, like put away in the closet. It’s, the hidden stuff, right?
So when you’re thinking about financials and making money in your business, and sometimes it looks really easy or somebody makes it look really easy or they say it’s really easy… it’s taken work to get there for them. And things do get easier over time and you can, and you do hire people to help you and support you, and you do learn skills and it does get easier doing those skills, right? Because you’ve created habits. You’ve learned from things.
But it does take money to start a business. It takes resources, it takes time, it takes effort. And it takes money and time and resources to continue having a business and to grow a business. All right, so again, don’t let the shady statement convince you that it is that simple or easy. There’s a lot more going on behind the surface than that statement leads you to believe.
And that’s why “it takes $0 to start a business” isn’t totally true. It’s why it gets my goat and leaves a sour taste in my mouth and why I think it is overall rather dishonest.