How to Start a Business With Nothing


Truth is you can’t. You cannot start a business with Nothing. It’s impossible. Nothing begets nothing. But the other reality is you are way more of a “Something” than a “Nothing”. All of us have a whole bunch of “Something” that we bring to the table. Amazing minds, passions, abilities, and life experiences! So the question should really be “How to start a business with Something”.

And that’s what I did…..and you can too! We can start with our “Something” and go from there.

OK clever little man you might be saying, where does One begin? Answer? With our “Something” of course!

We look within. We ask questions of ourselves. Questions like: “What do I love to do? “What would I do even if I didn’t get paid for it"? “What am I good at?” What are my strengths, talents and abilities"?” AND here’s the biggy, with all of that said “How can I help other people solve a problem they have or make life easier for them? We examine all our “Somethings” and begin to narrow down our preferred options that could help others. As Zig Ziglar famously said “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

It’s about others… Every day I leave my house and help people get something they like, want, or need. Or I help them by fixing a problem like a broken, rusting, or ugly waterfall. And I get paid well for my services. But there was a day when it all started from…“nothing”. :)

I had no company, employees or customers. Didn’t know how to make fake rocks or any other products or services I now provide. What I did have was a Vision. An idea or concept and a passion and desire to make my dream a reality. What was also clear is I needed to learn things. So I bought books on how to make ponds and waterfalls. I had already been working with my hands for years making things, (sand sculptures and crowns and bridges as a dental tech) so I knew I could create a pond and waterfall, and even a fake rock, if I learned how. I studied the books. Went to pond supply stores and asked a bunch of questions. And I started experimenting in my own yard during my free time. I made a pond with a waterfall attached that even had goldfish in it. Then throughout this process my passion and excitement only grew. I was figuring this stuff out!


One of the coolest things about starting a business, or learning anything really, is that when you share your passion and excitement with others they often get excited too! A word of caution is needed here. However, other people can also rain on your parade. They can sabotage what you’re doing and try and get you to reverse course or change your mind. Especially family members. But don’t let that happen….at least not right away.

Along with the strategy of launching your new business you are going to want to do some research, get some feedback, maybe even do a focus group to see if your idea is workable and will be likely to succeed. To that end I recommend you get the book “Will it Fly” by Pat Flynn. This is a great book for discovering whether or not our business ideas “will fly”. What he goes through are very clear strategies to move your idea towards success or towards adjustments and modifications that might be needed or even abandoning the idea to then go in a new, different and hopefully better direction.


But back to the passion. I shared my new business and pond building passions with my friend’s Brian & Laurie who said it sounded really cool. I then offered to build a water feature at their house and in their yard for supplies only.. They agreed. They knew I was a talented guy with my sculpting background so they were confident that I’d do a good job. I thought so too…. So I built it.

I then photographed it, (another one of my skills) and then used the photos to help sell my services at a home and garden show. It worked! I sold some projects and began making money making ponds with both real and fake rock!

That was how I started a business with “nothing”.

But as you now see it wasn’t from “nothing” at all. It was from “something”. And that “something” was the skills, personality, and abilities I’d learned and developed over the years and the passion and willingness to “go for it” and try. There’s no question that if you want to start a new business you can. Just figure out how it helps people get what they want and you’re sure to succeed.

I’m sure of it! Because you really do have a whole bunch of "something” to work with right off the bat!

- Dave :)

Dave HendersonComment