How I started a Business with ZERO Capital

Around 6 years ago, in June of 2010, I was in first year college, realizing that I’m soon in the ever so marvelous idea of earning money in the real world.  I was excited. I wanted my last 4 years to be done and over with.

But I came to my senses. 4 years? That ain’t a short walk.

It wasn’t too long when I realized I needed to start immediately if I wanted to earn. Around August, I came up to two of my close friends then, Anne and Trish, with the idea of wanting to start our own little business we can share income from. During the time we were absolutely thrilled with the thought of cute lolita accessories- headdresses, cuffs and all that.

We set out on deciding on what to do- materials, plans, fabric costs… and we even already thought of a name for our soon-to-be business then: Ice Cream Laces.

Well guess what… none of those plans pursued. And you know why?

We didn’t have enough drive to do so. We didn’t have enough positivity to think that it’ll work out after some serious grind. We got lazy before even starting anything. And I’m sure it’s one of the reasons why most people aren’t able to pursue any passionate interests. We want it easy.

During these times, I was already in the hype of pursuing a new hobby- Cosplay. I was able to influence Trish and another one of my friends, John, in the hobby. But as a student (and a heavy spender at that), I was only able to save up so little from my P100 a day allowance to make up for my cosplaying expenses- fabric, labor work, accessories, props and all that. And to think I even only had 4 days a week of class. Sad isn’t it?

Well thank heavens for that, because in Jan 2011, I had a big bulb on top of my head while I grasp on the idea of Cosplay. Why not do something close to your heart?

I talked to the tailor we were having our costumes made at and told her my bright idea. I’ll hire her.

Opening up a business is easy, maintaining it while being sane isn’t.

What I did to start?

  1. I looked up Facebook groups with a cosplay audience. Joined them and advertised myself whenever I’m free.
  2. Set up an OLX account (which was then only Sulit.com.ph) and posted my services there too.
  3. I asked my friends if I can grab their photos so I have samples to show to people.

How much did those three cost? None.

But trust me, it wasn’t an easy ride to what it is now. I was already done with my first month then and still, no signs of paying customers. I wanted to  throw away the whole idea since it wasn’t growing any fruits. What a waste of time.

Most people would probably have given up already at this stage. Who wants to continue something you don’t even see a future in?

But then!! During our third month, one of the people who came across my blatant advertisements on posts PMed me to ask about my labor only services… and soon enough she availed.

Oh. The rough ride doesn’t end there.

I had no idea how to price the costumes she wanted me to work with. For crying out loud, I’m not the one who’s sewing them! I only had a ballpark number in my head on how much my tailor would charge so I added a small number just to make up for my transportation and small income. And also to prevent the client from running off from overpricing. I had a lot of competition so I was already lucky enough she came to me despite not having any previous actual customers besides the grabbed photos from my friends.

Ha. We met up, she paid in full, something I needed and bam. Scored my first client.

I remember my mom scolding me since I only added a few bucks to the price, but in my head, it was A-Ok because I want the prices low so I can get clients easier. Simple logic. Because that’s how it’s supposed to work right?

I went on the routine of traveling to my far tailor to finally have the costume made…. and then…. the price she was asking for is how much I charged the client for. Abonado pa ko. What a sad way to start a business right?

Second reason to finally throw away the idea. I wanted a freakin’ business to earn, and yet, I was the one who got to spent unnecessarily because of this stupidity. Lol.

But for me, it was a lesson though. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because I know it taught me things. And having it some other way might have made me choose a different path.

Moving on, right after that client, I was finally able to get one client every 1-2 months in a span of 6 months. But at least I finally learned how to charge my clients properly. Thanks to my mom. It’s sad, yes, the duration it took is frustrating.

The third reason to finally give up. It’s taking a while!!! Others would have already “learned their lesson” by not taking the chance in the stupidity of wrong computation in the first place.

But I took it differently. It was definitely a start. Right? From zero clients, imagine.

I didn’t stop there. I continued to advertise, and soon after, I made my own shop page, Alshain Coser. It wasn’t long when the clients started to roll in. I then started to have at least 3 per month. I was finally getting recognized, getting recommendations. And right now, 5 years later, we barely even have slots left despite me having 5 tailors now. We even get invites from big events such as Cosmania, BOA and even international visitor, APCC… when in fact, no one even knew of our existence before.

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Looking back, it’s a funny and inspiring story for me to strive more each day. And I hope it was for you too.

Are you planning to open up a business but lack the will to do so? Check out some of my other posts to get you inspired!

 

BONUS:

Right now, I’m coming up with the following:

  1. FREE list of businesses you can start with ZERO capital.
  2. A course to help you get started with FREE consultation. (PS. I don’t bite.)

Get a jump-start when they get published by subscribing at the bottom of the page!

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