How To Start a Company With No Money

The first thing you’ll need to do is change your mindset

Joe Procopio
6 min readAug 11, 2022


image by frimufilms

Let me clarify something right out of the gate. You can’t actually start a company with zero money. I just need to reach the people for whom it seems like the only option.

A better title might be: It doesn’t take an inheritance to start a legitimate, high-growth business anymore. Because too many people start the wrong business and fail because they don’t know that.

I went down that road in my younger days before I realized what the startup concept was really about. I thought starting up was about raising seed money from venture investors to hire the people to master the tech to build the machine of a business that I wanted to build.

And that’s true. It’s the path most people picture when they hear the word “startup.” And when people new to entrepreneurship are confronted with the realities of that path, they see the barriers to entry as insurmountable. They don’t know the first thing about a pitch deck, and they wouldn’t have the connections to the people to pitch to in the first place.

So they give up. Or, worse, they turn to a multi-level, drop ship, paint-by-numbers scheme. And it blows up on them because it’s not meant to be a business for them, its sole purpose is to make money for the scheme.

But the pitch-deck-to-VC-to-IPO path is just one way to start a business, and it is far from the only way. In fact, just splitting the definition of “startup” along a single axis allows you to put the “machine” startup on one side, and the “mission” startup on the other.

Machine Startups Versus Mission Startups

I don’t mean “mission” as in charity and good works. I mean ”mission” as in solving a problem using whatever means are at your disposal. A mission startup demands a lot of learning and a lot of hard work, but for the record, so does a machine startup. The difference is instead of learning how to pitch and hire and conduct a board meeting, the learning and hard work goes into building, selling, and scaling.

That’s the reason every legitimate entrepreneur starts a business in the first place — to build, sell, and scale. Unless you’re just…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at

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