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Starting with $0 – Building a Future

“Started from the bottom now we here”

Drake (Award Winning Canadian Rapper)

How do I start making money?

That’s a common question as well as an important one for many people who don’t know where to smart. For those with money, the answer is easier because having money opens a greater amount of opportunities such as investing. But, what if you are just starting your journey and trying to make money when your account balance is zero or close to that?

In this post, we will be going over a couple ways to start making money (and for those of you that don’t like to read, they are listed below and you can jump to the part that you are interested in)

  1. Finding odd jobs (Craigslist, Online Posts, Network for opportunities)
  2. Participate in studies
  3. Answer surveys
  4. Find you’re own niche
  5. Create an online business and slowly build it up
  6. Pitch to investors as to why they should invest in you for a round of seed capital

1.Finding Odd Jobs

Odd jobs or even just tasks are available all over the internet. One of the most famous platforms being Craigslist where people can ask for other to perform a “gig”. Places such as Craigslist have a huge following and allow people to to find local opportunities for work. Some of the most common requests that I have seen include labor services such as moving furniture, landscaping, cleaning and other basic tasks. Many older people (or even lazy people) are looking for cheap labor to help them with tasks that aren’t that hard. You can come in a perform some tasks and get a small commission as a return.

This method is not a get rich quick scheme and many simple tasks do not pay a lot of money. Earning $20 per gig isn’t bad when you can start doing a lot in volume. Potentially, you could even build a network through working side gigs on the internet such as Craigslist. Additionally, if you are really willing to tasks that many are not willing to do, you may reap higher rewards. An example that I have seen would be someone looking to hire a person to scoop manure out of a barn and bring it out to a field. It is not glamorous work, but because not many people are willing to do it, that post offered $150 for 2 hours of work.

Another note to consider when taking side gigs and odd jobs is to be careful of the scams. The internet is quickly being filled with automated advertisements asking for help and saying something like “Make $1000 Today by Mowing the Lawn”. If everyone could make $1000 mowing the lawn, I would be all over that too but the reality is that getting to that point is not easy.

2.Participate in Studies

Studies can be very rewarding but make sure you read over the terms carefully. Especially if you chose to be a part of drug studies, those can have unintended consequences down the road. I would personally recommend joining studies that do not do anything invasive. For example, in University I participated in a couple of psychology studies where they would ask questions and I would give an answer while they analyzed my brain activity through diodes temporarily stuck on my head. I didn’t have any needles in myself and I knew that I was not signing myself up for anything that could harm me – additionally the study paid me $50 for 2 hours of my time which I thought to be solid for just answering normal questions.

Studies vary in many different ways from psychological experiments to having you do certain tasks. As always, only do the ones that you feel comfortable with and see what the payout stipulations are. For some studies, they pay you by the hour and others only pay you after the study is complete and if you leave early then you get nothing.

3.Answer Surveys

This may sound kind of stupid but if you have free time, you can get paid to fill out surveys. There are plenty of apps you can also get from the App Store that also offer this sort of service. Depending on the amount of time to complete a survey, I would say the quick ones that take around a minute usually yield a dollar. Some more in-depth surveys can yield more but you can usually pick the type of surveys you want to do to get the highest return.

As expected, this is not a way to get rich quick. But, this is a easy way to get money for your time if you are not already doing something else. Besides filling out surveys, there are many companies that also pay you for watching their ads. The reason you get paid for watching ads is because many times they will ask for your feedback or hope that you will buy the product. But, remember the goal is to save money and not get tricked into spending it.

4.Find Your Own Niche

This is definitely a broad category, but everyone has some sort of talent. This could be anything from ballon tying to being able to write beautifully in calligraphy. People are willing to pay for services that they themselves cannot perform and if you are good at a specific thing, people may come to you for that service.

For myself, I was pretty good at piano. I practiced a lot and eventually built up a solid reputation to become a piano accompanist. I played with people playing other instruments such as violin when they were doing competitions or auditioning for different orchestras. This business proved to be very lucrative as I worked closely with my client to make them sound as good as possible. If you are able to become really good in a specific niche, word spreads and your services may grow in demand.

5.Create an online business and slowly build it up

Creating an online business is no easy task and there is a high likelihood that it could fail. But the great thing is that you may not lose anything besides some time. Sites like Shopify and Squarespace offer free trials all the time and you can give a go at setting up an online business. If it does not take off, no harm done and you can cancel the free trial if you wish.

I know that you’re wondering – what can I sell if I have no money? Well, remember that you do not always have to sell physical goods. Instead the website could be promoting your services in the local area. If you can then get capital from your services, you may then think about selling products if that is something that interests you.

6.Pitch to investors as to why they should invest in you for a round of seed capital

Start-ups seem to be all the craze, but did you know that you can ask for money when all you have is an idea. It is not going to be easy as the start-up space is very crowded and many companies are battling it out against each other to get money from investors. To make your idea stand out, a key point you will have to make is why your company is worth it and how can you reduce the risk that the investor is taking by investing in an idea.

Investors are looking for the best balance of risk and return. By investing in just a very promising idea, there is plenty of steps down the road for potential failure as the idea has not even been proven. Alternatively, you could show previous projects or explain your background to build up credibility to show investors that you are serious. This is by far the hardest way to make money from nothing and having a great network is very important.


All these things listed above can help you in starting to build wealth. The ease of getting money are listed in order from easiest to hardest. The easiest tasks basically have guaranteed income, but it won’t be a lot. If you are willing to put in more work, there is a higher risk that could yield nothing or a lot potentially.

Ultimately, there should never be a reason to think that you cannot start making money. Where there is a will there is always a way, but you need to take that first step in just starting.

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