The “But I don’t Have any Money” excuse is no longer acceptable

by Jane Button on July 30, 2010

I wish I had a $1 for every time I hear the "But I don't have any money" excuse. I don't mean to be harsh, but it is an excuse. It's an excuse not to do something, not to experience something and an excuse not to get going with what you really want to do.

As I would probably say to my 3 year old grand daughter, it's a stall tactic.

You've said it, I've said it – and again I don't mean to be harsh, but when you say those words to yourself or anyone else, you instantly shut down and stop thinking about what it is that you want to create. A wall goes up and the creativity goes down.

Think of all those amazing inventors, designers, artists and idea people like you and me who went out into the world and pushed through with their passion and got it done. These may be some of the very same people we think are "overnight successes" because we don't necessarily see everything they went through behind the scenes.

I'm here to tell you – there are ways you can come up with MONEY to start your business; create new prototypes, buy raw materials, hire people to help or make more products to ship.

Here are my favorite ways:

But wait – before we start on that, here's a big question I have for you. Before you start saying I don't have enough money – do you really know exactly how much you need?

Ah – I thought not.

So before you start – figure out what you're going to need…and I mean exactly what you anticipate. Are you in phase 1 of your business where you're just starting out? Do you have orders in hand like I did with that $40K order I received from Nordstrom that I didn't know how to fund? Do you need money for prototypes or samples? Before you begin – know how much and what the money is going to go for.

When I work with clients and we start on the money part – they have overestimated the amount they need – usually because they put the cart before the horse. And often are looking for the whole enchilada instead of one piece at a time.

So again, here are my favorite ways:   

1. Self-Finance by Selling Products 

This is the way I started out. To self-finance, you take orders, fulfill them and collect the money. Then use some of the income to buy the raw materials, create more product, and then sell, sell, sell as many as you can while racking up kudos, testimonials, vocal fans and more orders. You can sell the products retail or wholesale. A great way to promote yourself is through a blog and social media on Facebook and Twitter.  They are your least expensive marketing "strategy" creating both enthusiastic word-of-mouth buzz. For selling wholesale, showing to stores, taking an order and requiring pre-payment is a way of getting start-up cash. 

2. Borrow from Yourself: Put your money where your mouth is

Along the way, this was another thing I did in order to get financing – I borrowed from myself using a credit line from my home as well as borrowing against investments or using my own savings. At first I thought it was too risky – but I came to the conclusion that if I didn't believe in myself, my business and my own products – how was I going to ever ask anyone else to invest? A huge red flag for any potential investor down the road is that the business owner does not want to invest any of her own capital.  If you don't think you have any to invest – look around you and check out some of the other possibilities below. 

3. Sell Stuff You Already Have

If you know you'll be needing cash-in-hand for a business-related purchase – consider posting unused or lightly used equipment, clothing, tools, furniture, extra cars, DVDs, CDs and other items you have lying around the house. List everything on eBay and craigslist that you can live without – generally eBay is a place where you'll get more for what you're selling. I've known people who have had antiques, jewelry or a car they could sold because the business was more important than "stuff".  These things may take more than a simple listing on eBay by searching out specialty auction houses or other sales avenues.

Fun fact: Most people have between $2K and $10K worth of stuff that they rarely use. Imagine what you could do by turning those items into cash and dedicating it to launching your business?

I have a mentor who sold his motorboat for his start-up. It was worth it to him and he figured down the road when he was successful he could buy another one. And, yes, he was able to many times over.

I actually once sold a knitting machine on eBay for a down-payment on a house – and it worked, we bought the house. Be creative – you usually don't NEED everything you have sitting around. 

4. Lean (Lightly and Legitimately) on Family and Friends

Who's most likely to want to see you succeed?  Unless you find yourself in a 100% dysfunctional environment, the answer is friends and family who believe in you. If they catch your vision and your enthusiasm, they'll be happy to help to the degree they can.  But be aware: If your enterprise fails (which it won't if you come at it with the right passion) these are the folks you'll be beholden to for a lot longer than you probably envision.

Be sure you write up a contract and agree to pay at least some interest — unless they entirely reject the notion of interest; some will, as act of love. If they do, realize that their loan will actually cost them money in lost interest and thank them profusely. Be sure the money you get from friends or family is in the form of a loan – not a gift. Just because. You'll be glad you did. Getting loans keeps you accountable and your mind will be more keenly focused on results. 

5. Just Do It: Use What You Have to Start – Bootstrapping is Scary Fun

When you go with the resources you have – you develop feelers and become resourceful. You remain alert to every possibility and option at your disposal. You talk about your scary fun adventure to comrades who will often network with their friends, families and business associates to help you find what you need.

People who start out with a large funding source often squander large portions of it because they don't know what they don't know. What you'll learn by bootstrapping your venture will pay dividends for decades.  You can go without fancy office furniture; a fancy office and other unnecessary items.

Your funds should go towards creating your product – getting expert help – branding and marketing. These are the things that will grow your business faster than anything else. 

6. Save Your Money

Instead of the habitual daily $4 latte or the drive through fast food lunch or dinner, eat at home and put the money you save into your business fund.  You'll be amazed at how quickly these things add up!   When you buy clothes, be sure you really need them and that you can mix and match them, then off-load two older (but little-used) clothing items at your garage sale or donate them. By developing a sense of detachment from eating out and unused wardrobe, the freedom you feel is worth its weight in gold. You quickly realize that you are completely in charge of where you'll end up as an entrepreneur unless you're fated to get hit by a Mack Truck. 

7. Launch Your Start-Up at Home

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did it.  There's no reason you can't.  You don't need a warehouse – yet. Or a conference room – yet. Or an executive suite in a high rise – yet. Don't despise small beginnings. They have a way of growing, into bigger and better things. And you'll grow right along with them.

© 2010 Jane Button International Design2Market Success  

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?  You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Online craftpreneur Jane Button publishes "Design 2 Market Success News" a bi-weekly ezine packed full of great tips to help you make money from your Sewn or Knit Product, Design, Gift, or Craft Business. If you're ready to take off the training wheels and turn your creative passion into a profitable business, get your FREE tips now at

For more information about how you can create your best life and turn your idea into a profitable business, contact us about our MasterMind groups for 2010 – the best way to get the coaching you need to move your idea forward – all for less than what you pay a part-time employee! Contact
© 2010 Jane Button International Design2Market Success

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