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Is it actually true as MJ claims that starting a business doesn't require much capital?

FauxPas

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I don't get how MJ can say that you don't need much money to start a business when there are literally businesses that absolutely require capital to even get started. (Whether from your own money or investors). Starting an internet company is not the same thing as a manufacturing company. Where the former can be bootstrapped easily while the latter not so much.
While I understand that MJ can often oversimplify things to not have one overwhelmed by the details of everything to make the messaging hit home, knowing the details of everything is important when it comes to actually intending on taking action. If your product requires manufacturing, you cannot bootstrap that at all. You have to get money somewhere, and that's not bite sized money. You can only get that kind of seed capital from angel investors, and often, they're hard to find and convince. So personally, I find it a bit misleading. I like MJ's stuff and all, I just wish he did not leave out at the details of everything when it comes to the core components of what he talks about. It would be way more helpful if he at the very least explains the details that apply regardless of what kind of business you intend on doing. Your messaging can be fantastic, but if it doesn't actually spell out the precise details on what you must do action wise, then you feel helpless.
 

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I don’t know his exact words, but wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

It is one million percent true on so many levels.

You seem to have talked yourself out of the possibility just because you don’t understand it. “Investors are hard to get.” Even if they were... So?

There are literally companies on the NYSE that make zero money and have multi-billion dollar valuations. I like any competent entrepreneur’s odds raising money in today’s world.

Go check out the show “undercover billionaire” on the discovery channel. There are so many different moves that can be made. There is always a way.

Or like I always say: “you can solve any solvable problem with leadership.” Even if that problem is that you don’t have enough money to start your business.
 
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FauxPas

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I don’t know his exact words, but wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

It is one million percent true on so many levels.

You seem to have talked yourself out of the possibility just because you don’t understand it. “Investors are hard to get.” Even if they were... So?

There are literally companies on the NYSE that make zero money and have multi-billion dollar valuations. I like any competent entrepreneur’s odds raising money in today’s world.

Go check out the show “undercover billionaire” on the discovery channel. There are so many different moves that can be made. There is always a way.

Or like I always say: “you can solve any solvable problem with leadership.” Even if that problem is that you don’t have enough money to start your business.
How can a company be valued that much and not make profit? Is it the assets of the company that's driving that valuation?
 

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How can a company be valued that much and not make profit? Is it the assets of the company that's driving that valuation?
yeah, if you want to value companies using enterprise value.

The formula is Debt + Equity - cash and equivalents to give you assets and working capital. Simply working the financial statement backwards...


You can also use cash flows for valuation if the company hasn’t turned a profit yet (free cash flow and discounted cash flow)

I bought stock on a local semiconductor companies that still had a negative PE, but their Price-Cashflow ratio was edging up. Eventually they could improve their cash flow enough to go green. I think that stock is now 30% up since February.
 

Matt33

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I started mine with $2,000 out of my dorm room, 18 year old freshman.

$1500 product inventory, product was free to prototype (clothing product with a twist)
$500 shipping supplies, Shopify, misc

Spent many man hours (months) custom coding and editing together a kick a$$ website, built on Shopify but really a giant landing page.

Next step, executed a variety of free marketing methods, i.e. product hunt, reddit growth hacking, etc. Sold my $1500 inventory for $6k. Next step took a $3k loan from a friend and got $9k in inventory ordered. I'll leave out the next 2000 steps and lay out my yearly sales.

First year $10k sales
year 2 $103k sales
year 3 $800k sales
year 4 $2m sales
year 5 $5m sales
year 6 - TBD, projection around $7m sales

Never had an investor, only loans from places like Shopify capital, clearbanc, paypal working capital. I own 100%

I credit the success to solving a legitimate problem, there is a large need for the difference I offer with my product. It's a broad product, not super niche. High quality marketing and high quality product.

When I was 15 I found TMF and this forum, got addicted to it. I spent my time after school creating websites and ads, affiliate marketing, teespring, etc. I learned a lot. Never made much. But learning by doing helped me identify the opportunity that eventually became my business.
 

TheKingOfMadrid

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Let's go back to the very basics of business.

A lot of people when they start a business do most of this: buy a trademark, get their tax code, pay for a tax company, hire staff, hire an accountant, buy product, hire equipment, rent an office, spend out on productivity suites, and before they even have one person giving them money IN they are giving it all away.

But that's the kinda stuff you'll learn is important at business school.

But if you start by taking in massive amounts of money before you even begin, people give you revenue that you can then invest into the business essentially starting it for free or little capital.

Think about famous incidents like FyreFestival guy, now i'm not saying be a fraud, but he understood more about business as a hustler than 99% of people these days.

Could you not apply this principle to most businesses? Even hard lines? Receive liquidity, invest liquidity, serve customers, get more liquidity.

A business only thrives by people giving you money, if you haven't solved that problem you don't have a business.

This should be common sense but today most people are stuck with their website that no one visits.
 

FauxPas

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yeah, if you want to value companies using enterprise value.

The formula is Debt + Equity - cash and equivalents to give you assets and working capital. Simply working the financial statement backwards...


You can also use cash flows for valuation if the company hasn’t turned a profit yet (free cash flow and discounted cash flow)

I bought stock on a local semiconductor companies that still had a negative PE, but their Price-Cashflow ratio was edging up. Eventually they could improve their cash flow enough to go green. I think that stock is now 30% up since February.
So then wouldn't your only option to cash out would be to turn your company public? Because I can only see a company that doesn't make a profit be bought out for the sake of eliminating competition.
 

Kak

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How can a company be valued that much and not make profit? Is it the assets of the company that's driving that valuation?

No, it is not the assets on their balance sheet or their threat to opposing firms either.

Summarized like this: Something is worth what people are willing to pay for it. There is a reason people value these companies that don’t produce, most likely because they have an expectation of future production. It has subjective speculation value to them.

There are people, en masse, given opportunity cost, that decided they would like to own unproductive companies more than something else. So they do. It creates a market price for the stock.

Door dash, air bnb, Uber, wework are just a few of the very popular stocks that don’t make money.

This also means that MILLIONS of dollars of private equity and VC money flowed to these companies before their IPOs too. Once again before they even made a profit.

The moral of the story is free yourself from thinking that this is somehow luck. That this is nearly impossible, or not for you. It could be, if your project inspires the right people. If you are a good leader the world’s resources are at your fingertips.
 
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sparechange

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IIRC, pretty sure Spanx started with $5K and Paul Mitchell was started with just $700

Paul is one of the best entrepreneurs around, hell of a story.
 

SammyGlick

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I don't get how MJ can say that you don't need much money to start a business when there are literally businesses that absolutely require capital to even get started. (Whether from your own money or investors). Starting an internet company is not the same thing as a manufacturing company. Where the former can be bootstrapped easily while the latter not so much.
While I understand that MJ can often oversimplify things to not have one overwhelmed by the details of everything to make the messaging hit home, knowing the details of everything is important when it comes to actually intending on taking action. If your product requires manufacturing, you cannot bootstrap that at all. You have to get money somewhere, and that's not bite sized money. You can only get that kind of seed capital from angel investors, and often, they're hard to find and convince. So personally, I find it a bit misleading. I like MJ's stuff and all, I just wish he did not leave out at the details of everything when it comes to the core components of what he talks about. It would be way more helpful if he at the very least explains the details that apply regardless of what kind of business you intend on doing. Your messaging can be fantastic, but if it doesn't actually spell out the precise details on what you must do action wise, then you feel helpless.

@FauxPas, is there a specific business opportunity you are pursuing where you perceive the need for start-up capital to be an obstacle? If you can describe your situation in general terms (no need for revealing details), I am sure there are lots of people on this forum who would be happy to make suggestions.

In your original post, you mentioned that (I paraphrase) you did not believe a manufacturing company could be easily bootstrapped. I run a business that manufactures a physical product. In order to bring the product to market, the business had to invest $140k in tooling for injection moulded plastic parts.

We did not have $140k, so we spent a much smaller amount of money (perhaps $2k) to have prototypes 3D printed and ran a crowdfunding campaign, which brought in the capital required to pay for the tools. The successful crowdfunding campaign also provided some credibility which I leveraged to raise $800k in angel investment.

I will not pretend this was easy - but it was possible. The crowdfunding campaign brought in enough capital to pay for the tooling but not enough to pay for the products the campaign backers had ordered (or the many other costs we needed to cover). Raising investment was a close call - on the day I closed the angel round, we were five days away from being totally out of cash and defaulting on some payments (and I had already done a lot of work to delay our payment obligations).

Some businesses are certainly easier to start than others in terms of the capital required. However, obtaining capital is just one of many challenges you may need to overcome in order to build a business. I do not think the MFL is misleading in this regard and frankly, I don't think it's reasonable to expect MJ to lay out al the details for you. The replies in this thread alone detail the very different steps that are required depending on the context. I believe that the MFL provides a great framework for approaching business creation but it is not (nor is it presented as) a guide to starting any specific business.

To echo the point made by @Kak, this is an issue of mindset. If one believes that obtaining capital is an impossible obstacle to starting a business, it almost certainly will be.

If you want to talk about the details of raising capital for a specific opportunity - let's do it.
 

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Strm

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I can tell from only my own experience, but I didn't need that much. It was around 2K€ for me to get started in april 2020 - not a big amount to save from dayjob. Sales in 2020 was over 50K, in a very small country. Profit around half of that. Now its almost fully automated. May get a job to save more money and start something new.

Of course there are examples where you would need tens or hundreds of thousands, even more. Basically depends on the business model.
 
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ZCP

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@FauxPas he's trying to get you over and past the GREATEST obstacle you face ........ your own mindset.

MOST people who think of going into business find an obstacle that CANNOT be overcome so they can stay in their scripted life and feel like 'they did all THEY could do' 'i'm just not LUCKY' 'got to have money to make money' and other forms of bullshit they feed themselves to feel good about staying in place.

You do need money to start a company.
You do not need money to start a company.

Both are true. Neither is the obstacle in your way to getting started.
 

Kevin88660

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I don't get how MJ can say that you don't need much money to start a business when there are literally businesses that absolutely require capital to even get started. (Whether from your own money or investors). Starting an internet company is not the same thing as a manufacturing company. Where the former can be bootstrapped easily while the latter not so much.
While I understand that MJ can often oversimplify things to not have one overwhelmed by the details of everything to make the messaging hit home, knowing the details of everything is important when it comes to actually intending on taking action. If your product requires manufacturing, you cannot bootstrap that at all. You have to get money somewhere, and that's not bite sized money. You can only get that kind of seed capital from angel investors, and often, they're hard to find and convince. So personally, I find it a bit misleading. I like MJ's stuff and all, I just wish he did not leave out at the details of everything when it comes to the core components of what he talks about. It would be way more helpful if he at the very least explains the details that apply regardless of what kind of business you intend on doing. Your messaging can be fantastic, but if it doesn't actually spell out the precise details on what you must do action wise, then you feel helpless.
Most of the time you can do things with money or without. It just take longer.

Like if you don’t have a marketing budget you have to rely on words of mouth if your good service/product.

Without a budget to outsource to professionals you have to diy for most things.

It depends on if the business is capital intensive. If you are into developing and renovating houses that were in bad condition, you need an amount of money not small for sure.

Youtubers? Could be done with far less money involved.
 

Ernman

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If you don't have much money - or any - you need to think harder, be more clever and imaginative. That actually makes you stronger in the long run as your success grows. Nobody said it would be easy or fast.

Sometimes having too much money in the beginning is bad. It can lead to bad habits. It can cause you to miss important details that get worse over time until the money can't cover it anymore. It can lead to a false sense of security.
 

farmer79

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The agricultural company Kinze was stated with $3500 loan. Granted it was 1965, but it didn’t start at a huge manufacturing business. It was started as a welding shop by a 21 year old. I believe their yearly sales now are around $100,000,000. They also had John Deere try to completely destroy them, patent infringement, government regulation, pressuring their lenders etc. the story (chronicled in an excellent book about the company) almost makes you sad that a historic US company would behave so horrifically. The larger point though was 1 welder did all that starting with $3500. Available capital is very much a two edged sword that is very difficult, especially for beginners to manage. If I said I would invest 10,000,000 in your manufacturing idea you would spend 10,000,000. If I invested 100,000,000 million you would spend 100,000,000. All before you knew if you had sales. Build one sell 2 then go from there.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I hear someone making excuses.

Money is not needed to get started, albeit, the challenges are greater. The real problem here is expectations. Do you want to launch the next Tesla? Or Facebook? Yea, you'll need money. But to bootstrap yourself from nothing, it has never EVER been easier.

@MTF just started a new business... how much did it cost you @MTF?
 

thechosen1

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I don't get how MJ can say that you don't need much money to start a business when there are literally businesses that absolutely require capital to even get started. (Whether from your own money or investors). Starting an internet company is not the same thing as a manufacturing company. Where the former can be bootstrapped easily while the latter not so much.
While I understand that MJ can often oversimplify things to not have one overwhelmed by the details of everything to make the messaging hit home, knowing the details of everything is important when it comes to actually intending on taking action. If your product requires manufacturing, you cannot bootstrap that at all. You have to get money somewhere, and that's not bite sized money. You can only get that kind of seed capital from angel investors, and often, they're hard to find and convince. So personally, I find it a bit misleading. I like MJ's stuff and all, I just wish he did not leave out at the details of everything when it comes to the core components of what he talks about. It would be way more helpful if he at the very least explains the details that apply regardless of what kind of business you intend on doing. Your messaging can be fantastic, but if it doesn't actually spell out the precise details on what you must do action wise, then you feel helpless.
Can you afford to buy a lawnmower?

How about a hammer?

You can start a service-based business for almost zero dollars, and the potential is limitless.

Better yet, get a customer to agree to do a project with you, have them pay you maybe 10% upfront and 90% when you're finished, and use the 10% to go buy the tools you need to do the project.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to think creatively. This is actually pretty common stuff that entrepreneurs do.

Here are some examples of these types of businesses that you can start with basically $0 and can grow to billions:

Carpet cleaning:

Pest control:

Home remodeling:
(The top company here did over $1.8 BILLION in sales in a year)

Landscaping (the top company does $2.4 BILLION in a year):
 
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IceCreamKid

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Can you start a biz with no capital? Absolutely. There has never been a better time in history for it. I can post multiple business models that yield 6-7 figures profit with zero capital if you're interested.

For most though, the trick is to combine a long term view with a short term view

Long term: Creating significant equity value resulting in an exit worth millions of dollars

Short term: Create a cashflow stream to cover living expenses + capital to invest
 

Koji

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You can sell another person's product and you are already in business I guess...
 

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thechosen1

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You can sell another person's product and you are already in business I guess...
Good point. Sales businesses are fantastic and run lean.
 

ZF Lee

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So then wouldn't your only option to cash out would be to turn your company public? Because I can only see a company that doesn't make a profit be bought out for the sake of eliminating competition.
Actually going public SHOULDN'T be about cashing out...going public is to be used to raise more funds for massive expansion. But well...even entrepreneurs have lost sight of that purpose.

And yes, while buying out other companies for competition's sake is one route, not all companies stay unprofitable forever. They just need time to improve.

That semiconductor stock I mentioned earlier was AEMULUS...they had earlier poor earnings since 2019 or so because eventually they found their customer services was f*cked up, and their semicon tester products were all over the place. They ended up specialising in a few good testers, smartened their customer service and also expanded to China. Turned out OK, I'd say...

 

CruxisKnight

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Actually going public SHOULDN'T be about cashing out...going public is to be used to raise more funds for massive expansion. But well...even entrepreneurs have lost sight of that purpose.

And yes, while buying out other companies for competition's sake is one route, not all companies stay unprofitable forever. They just need time to improve.

That semiconductor stock I mentioned earlier was AEMULUS...they had earlier poor earnings since 2019 or so because eventually they found their customer services was f*cked up, and their semicon tester products were all over the place. They ended up specialising in a few good testers, smartened their customer service and also expanded to China. Turned out OK, I'd say...

I like me some IPO money
 

sparechange

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You are right, MJ doesn't have any idea on how to build a business.

OP is correct, you need money. Have an awesome day.

1619415867419.png
 

MTF

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@MTF just started a new business... how much did it cost you @MTF?

$13.74 for the domain.

I use two tools that offer a 14-day trial each. After the trial I'll pay $10.80/month for one tool and $9/month for the other (actually paid upfront for a year so $108/year).

The rest depends on one's financial situation. The way I see it, you either invest primarily time or money in a new business. If you're new to entrepreneurship and don't have much to invest, you primarily invest your time.

When you can afford to invest more (and you understand how to do it properly), then you can primarily invest your money (in, for example, finding the right people to build the business for you).

But if you're super clever, there's also the third way of joint ventures and other creative ways to build a business taught by Jay Abraham. @FauxPas, you may be interested in reading Jay Abraham's Joint Ventures: From Mediocrity to Millions. Jay Abraham's Insider's Guide to Engineering Highly Successful Joint Ventures, Strategic Alliances, Partnerships and Other Lucrative Host-Beneficiary Relationships.

If you type "Jay Abraham's Joint Ventures: From Mediocrity to Millions" in Google you'll find a free PDF. It's an old document (from 2005) but extremely powerful and will teach you how people structure deals with zero money involved.

Also, in the end, your question has nothing to do with whether you need money to start a business or not. It's all about your mind somehow conditioned to tend to persuade you that this can't work. Entrepreneurship is about ignoring that silly voice and just figuring things out.
 

MJ DeMarco

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If you type "Jay Abraham's Joint Ventures: From Mediocrity to Millions" in Google you'll find a free PDF. It's an old document (from 2005) but extremely powerful and will teach you how people structure deals with zero money involved.

How has this book aged? Still relevant today? 15 years is forever in internet time.
 

MTF

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How has this book aged? Still relevant today? 15 years is forever in internet time.

I think it's still as relevant as before. Because the examples may be different and are mostly offline but the principles are the same. Jay Abraham doesn't really sell short-term tricks, he's a big thinker.
 

tylerwilkinson

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I started my side gig with no investment, the $600 truck I already owned, and it was profitable on day one. Not life changing, but I haven’t grown it. That’s my fault and no one else’s.
Every single call I answer for trash removal or clean up is profitable.

That profit could very easily go towards advertising. I also look at the tax info on properties in neighborhoods I already work in to find leads. The latter costs nothing, and I do it from my iPhone.
 

edgonic

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I can speak with only a little experience, but I hope it helps. I have had three business ideas. One failed because I didn't have my heart in it, and I didn't do enough research to know what I needed to know. That was totally my fault, and I am lucky that I closed it down before it caused me too many difficulties.

The second one was a joint venture I was a small part of from an equity standpoint but a large part from the day-to-day operations standpoint. It is in stasis now, and I think in actuality a big reason why it did not do well was that we had too much funding. We did have a customer lined up (that stayed with us for two years), but we also had a relatively large amount of capital (225-250k), and I think in retrospect it made us fat, lazy, and less responsive to where the market in our niche was going. We didn't pay enough attention to costs, and we definitely did not feel the pressure to hustle and find new customers or refine the product to make it more attractive.

The third company is my freelance consulting business. I do well with it (not obviously where I want to be) even though I am trading time for money largely (both mine and my team's), but I started it with very little money - maybe a few hundred to a grand for legal items, Quickbooks, email, etc.. I am almost four years into, and I found I perform the best because I have had to learn the hard way how to get new customers with little money, how to keep costs reasonable, and how to assess and respond to customer desires. I am now working through the same process for a product company (still very early, but I was inspired to action while listening to MJ's book). I am 100% dedicated to bootstrapping it because I think the lessons and mindset built are invaluable to focusing on the core items in a business: finding and keeping customers that will pay for the problem you are solving (or need that you are fulfilling).
 

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