Dreaming of starting your own business but low on capital? Here are 25 low-cost options to consider.
- Looking for the best business to start with little money? Let these low-cost business ideas get you up and running without requiring much capital.
- Look for service-based business ideas as they often have lower overlap than product-based businesses.
- Consider turning your hobby or professional skills into your own business.
This article is for people who want to start their own business but can’t afford to spend a lot on start-up costs. For many people with an entrepreneurial spirit, the main reason they don’t realize their business dreams is the significant costs associated with starting a business.
But today, there are many businesses that you can start with little money as long as you are dedicated and put in good old-fashioned hard work. If you want to start a low-cost business, these 25 ideas will help inspire your entrepreneurial passion.
25 Best businesses to start with little money
1. Content creation
Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have created a perfect storm of opportunities for creative professionals like writers and graphic designers. They can use their talents to create high-quality, shareable content for businesses and media outlets. Thanks to the growing gig economy of freelance and contract workers, it’s easier than ever to market yourself as a professional services provider.
2. Personal or virtual assistant
Along the same lines, those with good organizational skills are in high demand among other entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and focus on high-return tasks. A personal or virtual assistant performs many of those secretarial or front-desk functions without being onsite. These people often work from home for many different clients, keep track of calendars, arrange flights, and do administrative work.
3. Event planning services
If you are a highly organized, detail-oriented individual who loves to organize parties, you may have the right personality to start an event-planning business. From weddings birthday parties, and class reunions, event planners make it easy for others to throw an exciting party. Planning a few pro bono events will help give you the experience you need. Build a solid database of vendors and contacts using LinkedIn and cold calling so you can help organize the event of your customers’ dreams.
4. Errand/concierge service
Between taking care of their children and juggling professional responsibilities, most working parents have little time to do personal tasks like grocery shopping, shopping at the mall, or getting the mail delivered. A driver can take care of these time-consuming tasks for customers and free up their days for the important things in life. Consider travel expenses when determining your prices. This can be done by the hour or by task.
5. Professional administrator
Yes, it really is. A good reputation is not lost on companies, large and small. Many companies provide products and services to individuals so that they can write about the company again. They want to be good and most importantly, honest. They pay for your time or review. You get to try new things, read new books, experiment with the latest technology, and more, all while getting paid.
6. Social media consultant
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff to manage their Facebook and Twitter accounts and blogs, but small businesses often have to manage their social media marketing. With so many other responsibilities, business owners can be too busy or overwhelmed to keep a great social media strategy moving forward. As a consultant, you can help them deploy the best tactics, schedule, and content for their target audience. As their follower count increases, so will your business.
7. Etsy shop
Etsy is a popular online marketplace that features thousands of home sellers and larger productions, including the highly regarded Wildflower + Co. They sell jewelry, patches, and DIY goods. Starting an Etsy shop is quite affordable. Joining the site and starting a store is free, but there are three types of selling fees: listing, transaction, and payment processing fees.
8. Online courses and tutorials
What are you passionate about? Yoga? Baking bread? Web design? If you know something inside and out, you can help others enrich their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional packages and videos or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients. Another option for aspiring educators is to start a virtual or home-based training service.
9. Personal chef
This job requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your customers. Therefore, strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets are a must. You don’t necessarily need to graduate from culinary school, but having some cooking courses under your belt will boost your confidence. You may have to travel to supermarkets and customers’ homes, but your customers have to pay for the ingredients in addition to your service fee.
10. Translation service
If you are fluent in a second language, you can find work translating written and spoken words from one language to another. Expanding international connections and the growing number of non-English speakers in the United States make this a rapidly growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 19% growth through 2028. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers.
11. Software training
Are you a highly skilled software developer? There is a growing demand for training for amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs such as QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but they are often expensive and difficult for the average user to understand. Schedule small group sessions or private sessions, and charge by the hour while providing comprehensive program instruction. Patience and a great personality are critical.
12. Music lessons
For musically talented people, teaching others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of income. If you don’t teach piano lessons, it’s likely that students will bring their instruments to your home for hours of lessons. Stock sheet music or songbooks in different genres and aimed at different skill levels so you can offer a wide selection to your potential customers. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local colleges and community theater groups.
13. Sustainability consultant
Over the past few years, businesses across the country have taken a closer look at their environmental impact. However, eco-friendly business solutions are often prohibitively expensive, even for the largest enterprises. Businesses of all sizes are looking for experts to advise them. Sustainability consultants come from a variety of backgrounds, from management to engineering. Practical skills and experience are more important than specific qualifications.
14. Library services
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a certified public accountant to work as a freelance bookkeeper. All you need is a knack for numbers and a working knowledge of basic accounting (although an associate’s degree in accounting or equivalent work experience is preferred). Some of the services you can offer as an outsourced bookkeeper include:
– Protection of accounting programs and document circulation systems
– Issuance of financial statements
– Creation of balances
– Working fee
15. Digital marketing services
If you have experience in marketing, starting a solo digital marketing agency is a low-cost business idea that can get you up and running in no time. If you don’t have a background in marketing but are interested in the field, you can take appropriate online courses to develop your skills. One of the best yet hardest things about marketing is that it’s always evolving. Therefore, if you want to learn and adapt quickly in the digital marketing industry, starting a business can be done quickly and cheaply.
16. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is easy and cheap, but it takes dedication and a long-term vision to achieve success. Affiliate marketing means promoting the products and services of other companies and earning a commission on the leads generated. All you need to get started is a blog or website and a specific product or service you want to promote. However, to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to attract a lot of visitors to your website and persuade them to buy products or services from your affiliate partners.
17. Online dating consultant
If you love connecting with people and playing matchmaker, you should consider becoming an online dating consultant. As anyone with multiple online or app dating profiles can tell you, filtering messages and finding people you’re interested in meeting can be a chore. An online dating consultant can write interesting profiles, manage multiple client accounts, filter spam, and provide text or phone updates on potential matches.
18. eBay seller
An eBay seller is sometimes called an eBay assistant. The main function of the job is to sell other people’s products on eBay for a small commission. Becoming an eBay seller is simple and affordable, but the platform is full of scammers. So you have to be very careful about who you work with and take responsibility for packages that your customers did not receive. Be very cautious when selling on eBay and never share any personal information such as credit card or bank details.
19. Internet security consultant
If you’re passionate about dogs, communication systems, and computers, you’re a great fit for small businesses that need to improve their online security. Helping business owners avoid viruses, hackers, and scammers can be a very profitable business, especially if you have the skills to secure sensitive client and customer data.
20. Graphic design
Every company needs some kind of visual assets to brand their business and attract customers. Becoming a freelance graphic designer requires a computer, a design application like Adobe Illustrator or Canva, and a large portfolio of your work. You can choose to provide extensive graphic design services, or you can offer niche services such as logos, show ads, brochures, t-shirt graphics, flyers, hero pictures, infographics, and Instagram graphics.
21. Vlogger or blogger
If you are passionate about a particular topic or field and love to write or be in front of the camera, consider starting a professional blog or vlog. To blog, all you need to get started is a computer and a website. In contrast, vloggers need to invest in a high-quality camera, video-editing software, and various AV equipment as needed. To earn money, you can offer advertising space on your website, find video sponsors, or create an account on a funding platform like Patreon or Indiegogo.
22. Domain name investor
A domain name investor or domain broker is someone who buys domain names that they believe people or businesses will want and tries to sell them for a profit. Like many of the other professions on this list, the concept is simple, but being a successful domain name investor requires being quick to spot trends and identify profitable domains – good luck with this additional service.
23. Resume writer
Few people are good at writing resumes, and even fewer enjoy writing them. All you need to become a professional resume writer is a computer. To get started, you can sign up for a freelance platform like Fiverr or Upwork and market your services on social media.
24. Meal planner
Most people love to eat, but not everyone can cook healthy, mouthwatering food on a budget. As a meal planner, your duties would include creating ingredient lists, writing easy-to-follow recipes, providing nutritional information, budgeting, and educating your customers.
25. Video producer
While many companies, influencers, and potential YouTube celebrities want to take their videos to the next level, they lack the skills and equipment to produce high-quality videos. If you have experience as a video producer, a solid portfolio, and a desire to help individuals and businesses create stunning videos, becoming a freelance producer is a great career move.
What do you need to start a successful business?
People tend to imagine that a profitable small business needs an entire team of professional employees, painful start-up costs, or angel investors. While such a business model may still exist, it is certainly not a fixed rule that you should follow.
However, there are some requirements that entrepreneurs should be aware of before jumping into the business. Here are some crucial rules:
- Allow enough time to prepare.
- Calculate all necessary business expenses in advance.
- Research whether the job is profitable in your area.
- Ensure that you have at least some experience in the subject.
- Maintain good organizational skills.
Although there are ongoing costs associated with successfully running these businesses, such as marketing and operational costs, the initial investment for these is easily obtainable. All these businesses need are key people and networking skills to be successful.