This is a subscriber-only article.

For a limited time, join Entrepreneur+ and save 50% during our Cyber Monday sale. Use code SAVE50.

Join Now

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

More Brains Than Budget? Steal These $0 Marketing Strategies. It sounds too good to be true, and yet many companies pull it off. How? By thinking differently about who does the marketing.

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Photography by Brian Higbee
Chris Dingman, not your average moving guy.

Ten years ago, Chris Dingman launched his company on the flimsiest of grounds. It's called The Dingman Group, and it relocates professional athletes -- so, say, if a guy is traded from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Dingman Group would arrange to sell the house in Miami, pack it up, move the stuff and find a new home in Cleveland. It's a clever, one-of-a-kind service, but there was a hitch: The "Group" was just Dingman, and he had no experience in real estate or professional sports. Also, he was damn near broke -- and it took him almost a year and a half to find his first client. "It was gnarly," he says. "No matter how much you're struggling as an entrepreneur, you have to put a face on."

His fortunes are considerably different now. When he spoke to Entrepreneur one day in early April, The Dingman Group -- now a five-person outfit in Newport Beach, Calif.-- was in the middle of relocating 115 athletes, coaches, personnel and entertainers, plus opening offices in Denver and London. He has much to be proud of, but here's one of his biggest sources of pride: "When it comes to PR and advertising, we've never paid for anything, ever," he says. "I dig my heels into that. I really enjoy being able to tell people that."

So, yes, Dingman is one of those people. When one entrepreneur says, "We did it with no marketing dollars," 50 other entrepreneurs simultaneously gnash their teeth. It seems unfair. Also, it seems impossible. Really? Nothing? What -- do clients just show up at the door waving money?

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Business Ideas

This Teacher Sells Digital Downloads for $10. Her Side Hustle Now Makes Six Figures a Month: 'It Seems Too Good to Be True, But It's Not.'

When one middle school teacher needed to make some extra income, she started a remote side hustle with no physical products and incredibly low overhead. Now she brings in six figures each month, and offers courses teaching others how to do the same.

Business News

An Ivy League University Is Teaching the Secret of Taylor Swift's Success

Several major universities have added courses dedicated to studying Swift's star power.


Google Is About to Delete Inactive Accounts. Here's How to Avoid A Massive Gmail Bounce Rate.

Google will start deleting inactive accounts soon. For businesses like yours, that means many Gmail contacts will probably bounce. Here's how you can avoid that – and keep your business emails landing in the inbox.


'I Haven't Ticked All the Boxes Yet.' Hilary Duff Reveals Her Next Venture After More Than 2 Decades in the Spotlight — and the Surprisingly Relatable Key to Her Enduring Success

The actor talks entrepreneurship, secrets to success and her latest role as chief brand director for Below 60°, a product line of air fragrances.

Business News

Red Lobster Lost Nearly $11 Million Because People Love Endless Shrimp: 'We Need to Be Much More Careful'

The restaurant chain, which is owned by Thai Union Group, made the promotion a menu mainstay in June.