The best things in life are free. The sun warms your skin. Afternoon sleep. Testing out your lifelong dream of a woodworking career at a community workshop that offers free equipment to work with.

Especially this last one. Who knows? Maybe you don’t do woodworking and it’s best to learn about it earlier you quit your job and buy all this equipment.

Opening a business is expensive enough. But don’t worry, you intrepid entrepreneurs. Here are business resources that won’t cost you a penny.

13 Small Business Resources That Are Completely Free

From subreddits to small business grants, you can turn to these resources at any stage in the life of your business.

1. AngelList

Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi founded AngelList in 2010 as a way for companies, investors and job seekers to come together in one place. Over the years, the website has grown into a community that offers many resources – especially for small business owners.

For example, business owners can create free job listings targeted specifically at candidates who want to work in a startup culture. Also free? Crowdsourcing seed money from accredited angel investors. The site also posts useful tidbits for investors and entrepreneurs on its blog.

To date, AngelList has made 6 million matches for businesses and workers.

2. Department of Labor

The Ministry of Labor website can be a useful source of knowledge if you know where to look. It provides an overview of 10,000 feet of recruitment regulations, industry updates and news in one place. It can be a lot to take in.

One way to get rid of the noise is this subscribing to the DOL newsletter. After you enter your email address, you can choose exactly what information you want to receive directly in your inbox.

3. Friends and family

Like it or not, your friends and family are part of your foray into entrepreneurship.

Catherine Grattan is the founder Red Lips Mentor, which helps businesses develop leadership, vision, passion and strategy. She says a brutally honest support system can help, especially if you’re still in the early stages of development and need advice.

“We all have that friend who will tell you that you’re getting fat,” she says. “They are the best at managing things. You know they will tell you the truth.’

4. Google

You may have heard of Google. You may have even used it to find this article. But it is much more than a search engine. Here’s the basics on how it can help your business.

  • Google Analytics will help you get an idea of ​​your website traffic. Use it to track how people interact with your site – where they came from, what pages they checked, and how long they stayed. When you invest in marketing activities, Google Analytics can show whether your investment is paying off.
  • Google Workspace includes Gmail, of course, but also other useful apps like Drive, Docs, Calendar, Chat, and Meet that are important for online meetings, word processing, and file storage.
  • Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) lets you better connect with your customers and manage how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps. Use it to post and update your location, hours, contact information and prices, as well as share photos and respond to customer reviews.
  • Google Voice is an Internet provider of telephone services. The phone number you choose can be synchronized with your mobile phone and accessed from your computer. This service is especially useful if you want to forward business calls to a cell phone without giving out your personal number.
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5. State statistics

Before investing, market research is an important step starting a business — you can use government statistics to answer the first questions about the viability of your business idea. The government reports on several factors of US consumers, such as credit, demographics, income, location, spending habits and more.

The Census Bureau tracks everything from general economic trends to characteristics of small business owners by location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics takes an in-depth look at wages, inflation, labor force trends, and education levels. It even tracks how Americans spend their free time through the American Time Use Study (ATUS). Other government data sources include Federal Reserve System for data on home and business finances and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for debt and credit information.

6. Grants

Private and public organizations are common sources of grants, and the great thing about cash is that it doesn’t come from some lender who wants interest or an investor who wants control.

Startups often qualify without the income statements and financial projections required by most loans. Sometimes grants are simply given to people trying to start a certain business.

The Penny Hoarder Guide grants for business women outlines five sources of grants for women, ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.

The government consolidates available grant opportunities on grants.gov. In addition to a grant search database, the website includes grant writing tips and tricks to increase your chances of funding.

7. Libraries

Public libraries are no longer just places of dusty tomes and Dewey Decimal.

Need a lawnmower? Check it out at the library. A 360-degree video camera? Library. Fishing rod? Library. Thanks to the expansion of intra-library loans, most public libraries offer many unexpected things — including garden tools, electronics and musical instruments.

If your local library doesn’t have a particular item, they can request it from another library.

This system offers access to expensive equipment that can help launch additional gigs or businesses. All with one swipe of a library card.

8. Creators

Makerspace is a community workshop where you can make things. Things with their own hands. Digital things. 3D printed things.

The concept is simple: Go to a local manufacturer that may have high-tech gadgets, computers with audio and video editing software, or equipment such as table saws and grinders.

You can use the equipment in your own time – usually under the guidance of trained staff – or join a group workshop.

In this sense, Makerspaces provide a critical method for testing money-making projects without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for machines or tools.

A woman is lying on the couch listening to a podcast and smiling with her eyes closed.
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9. Podcasts

We are deep into the golden age of podcasts. Today, many of them are focused on business themes, and they are ideal for business-minded people because they can be played in the background of any task.

Here are some suitable for costumes.

  • How I built it. Hosted by Guy Raz and provided by NPR How I built it is an award-winning podcast built on a simple premise: interviewing the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs of the day and delving into how they succeeded. New episodes twice a week on Amazon Music and Wondery+ a week before they appear on other platforms. You can listen to music ad-free if you’re a Wondery+ and Amazon Music Unlimited subscriber (or Prime member). Available wherever you get your podcasts.
  • Mixergy. This independent podcast is hosted by Andrew Warner. It focuses on budding entrepreneurs who are at the center of things. Every episode Mixergy illustrates a problem that plagues most companies and offers a solution to weather the storm.
  • Building a StoryBrand. New businesses often struggle to connect with their customers. with Building a StoryBrandauthor and podcast host Donald Miller helps businesses overcome this challenge by sharing marketing techniques to make their messages concise.
  • Masters of scale. This podcast aims to “democratize entrepreneurship”. Launched in 2017 by Reid Hoffman (who co-founded LinkedIn, another useful tool for entrepreneurs!), the podcast focuses on how startups can scale without growing too fast. Past series Masters of scale included interviews with tech moguls like Mark Zuckerberg (Meta) and Peter Thiel (PayPal).
  • Side Hustle School. This daily podcast is all about getting out of your 9 to 5 and creating an income stream that will help you achieve your goals. It is hosted by bestselling author Chris Guilbeau. The Penny Hoarder interviewed Guilbeau ahead of the release of his recent book, 100 side hustleswhich is largely based on Side Hustle School.
  • Secrets of rich women. · Hosted by Veronica Dahger, Secrets of rich women seeks to empower businesswomen through interviews and discussions with “female executives, workplace pioneers, self-made entrepreneurs, industry trendsetters and money experts.” The podcast hasn’t had a single new episode since March 2022, but its content library is worth checking out.

10. Reddit

The website, which bills itself as “the front page of the Internet,” essentially functions as a content aggregator and forum for just about any topic you can think of.

Anyone can “stalk” (read content without registering), but you’ll need to register to get a free account to chat with other users.

There are thriving communities for entrepreneurs where current and future business owners can share ideas and advice.

Here are some communities, also known as subreddits, for entrepreneurs and business owners:

11. Evaluation

Since its foundation in 1964. Assessment has become a critical resource for small business owners. The nonprofit has local chapters in every state — more than 320 in all. Each chapter hosts its own events, seminars, conferences and mentoring programs, and the national website offers many free or low-cost webinars and e-courses.

Advice available includes business ideas, registration, marketing strategies, taxes and more.

12. Small business administration

The Small business administration (SBA) is a government agency whose sole purpose is to help small businesses in the United States, and it does so through special small business loans, free advice, e-courses, open data and a number of other services. SBA partners with Score and the Small Business Development Center to provide access to guidance and mentorship across the country.

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the number of letters the DOL sends out, The SBA has its own newsletter.

13. Penny Hoarder Archives

The Penny Hoarder talks to business experts and agencies to provide simple advice.

Here’s a short list of our most helpful articles for startups.

This collection barely scratches the surface. After you finish these articles, stay up to date by visiting our Start a business separation. We’re always sharing new strategies and tips to help make your business a success.

Adam Hardy is a former staff writer and author of The Penny Hoarder. Contributor Timothy Moore updated this post in 2022.




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