Fortunately, many great small business ideas require little to no money, making it easier than ever to start your own business without breaking the bank.
If you’re considering starting a business, finding a business idea that aligns with your interests, skills, and goals is key- but they also need to align with your bank account!
By choosing a business that requires little to no money upfront, you can test the waters and build a successful venture without taking on too much financial risk.
Explore the many great small business ideas on our list that require low startup costs, and start building your own successful small business today.
Get FREE access to our step-by-step plan for starting a blog that makes $1,000 per month.
It’s great that there are many opportunities to start a business, but it can be overwhelming with so many options.
So here are my tops picks for the best small business ideas for anyone to start this year:
- Best For Passive Income – Blogging
- Easiest To Start – Proofreading
- Quick Money Potential – Facebook Ads Manager
- Best App For Finding Jobs – Steady
23 Best Business To Start With Little Money
Creating a blog has become one of the most popular ways to start a business with little money.
Whether you want to write about personal finance, travel, food, or any other niche, blogging provides a platform to share your thoughts and expertise with the world while getting paid!
As your blog grows and you attract more readers, you can monetize your blog through advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and other revenue streams.
Not only is blogging a profitable business idea, but it can also be a highly lucrative business to start from home and quit your day job.
You can write blog posts from the comfort of your own home, a local coffee shop, or even while traveling.
If you’re interested in learning more about starting and growing a successful blog, consider joining our Start Your Blog Boot Camp to get you started on the right track with your blog.
Proofreading is a low-cost business idea that can be ideal for those with an eye for detail and a strong grasp of grammar.
It involves reviewing written material to identify and correct spelling, punctuation, and syntax errors before anything gets published into the world.
While it may not sound like the most exciting small business idea in the world, getting paid to read can be highly rewarding!
Proofreading requires minimal investment, making it an excellent option for those who want to start a business on a shoestring budget.
Often people take workshops to learn how to become a proofreader and get a feel for it before they list their services online, and we know a great way to get started.
Consider taking the free workshop from Proofread Anywhere. The workshop covers the basics of proofreading to how to find clients and grow your business.
3. Facebook Ads Managing
Getting paid to run ads is one of the best small business ideas out there, and you can run it entirely online.
Many businesses are looking for professionals who can create and manage their Facebook pages and ads campaigns on their behalf, and that’s where you come in!
It may seem daunting to start a business with social media, but it can be easy to learn and pay thousands a month.
Ad management requires more than just posting content; it involves understanding how Facebook works and reviewing analytics to optimize campaigns for the best results.
To learn more about posting ads on social media, check out the Facebook Side Hustle free workshop by Laptop Empire.
These guys manage Facebook ads for a few hours a week and make $2,000+ per month from all the tips and tricks they’ve learned- and they’re happy to teach you about it!
Have you been looking for a low-cost business idea that you can start from home and make over $30+ an hour?
One of the best-paying options to consider is offering bookkeeping services online.
Most business owners are focused on growing their businesses, so they don’t have time to manage their bookkeeping. That’s where you come in!
To become a bookkeeper, all you need to get started is a computer and internet connection, some basic accounting software, and a knowledge of bookkeeping principles.
Bookkeepers handle sending invoices, tracking money when businesses get paid, calculating expenses, and various other money stuff for businesses.
If you want to become a bookkeeper, you can take the free lessons from Bookkeeper Launch on bookkeeping basics and tips on how to start your own bookkeeping business.
5. Shopify Store
Have you ever thought about starting your own online business but felt overwhelmed by website design and hosting fees?
Well, have you heard of selling on Shopify? Starting your online store might seem daunting, but it’s pretty simple with Shopify.
It’s a platform that makes it super easy to create an online store without any of those headaches. Plus, features like inventory management help run your business smoothly.
Shopify is a great small business idea for anyone looking to start their own online store. With its user-friendly platform, you can easily create a professional-looking online store.
Plus, Shopify makes it easy to manage your products, customers, and orders in one place.
You can start your Shopify store here with a free trial and only pay $1 for your store for 3 months. It’s a very inexpensive way to create your own website and start selling online!
We started our Shopify store with their easy templates and got sales in our first week after marketing and promoting our stuff on social media!
6. Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is one of the best small business ideas to start with little money. It’s a low-risk and low-cost business with much growth potential.
With your own website, you can tap into a global market and sell products to customers worldwide- without keeping products on hand or in your house!
You can easily select the products you want to sell through a large online supplier like Alibaba, and list them on your website without worrying about storage, packing, or shipping.
When a customer orders from your website, the supplier ships the product directly to the customer’s doorstep.
One of the best places to learn more about dropshipping is Dropship Lifestyle. Their free training covers what you need to know about starting a dropshipping business, from finding the right products to setting up your online shop.
7. Flea Market Flipping
Flea market flipping is one of the best small business ideas requiring minimal up-front investment.
Flipping involves scouring flea markets and garage sales for items that can be resold for a profit online. You buy popular items for cheap and make up the price when you sell.
First, you only need to invest money in buying items from thrift stores or online and then list them for sale on popular e-commerce sites like eBay so you can sell them.
Some of the best items to look for when flea market flipping include vintage clothing, unique home decor, and antique furniture.
These items often have a higher resale value and can be sold much higher than what you paid. With some research and negotiating skills, you can find hidden gems for low costs that can turn a profit in no time.
One great place to learn more about flea market flipping is Flea Market Flipper’s free workshop, which teaches the ins and outs of finding the right products and selling them at a fair price.
8. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is one of the best online business ideas that require low startup costs and has great potential for success.
By becoming a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere, set your schedule, and choose the type of writing projects you enjoy most.
You can take a few different routes when finding potential clients for your freelance writing business:
- Cold-pitch your services directly to businesses and individuals who need content created.
- Create a portfolio website and use social media to attract clients.
- Sign up for freelance marketplaces like FlexJobs to find clients.
Using an AI writing tool like Jasper.ai can also help make your freelance writing business more efficient.
Jasper.ai is a writing assistant that uses AI technology to suggest edits and improvements to your writing.
It can help you produce higher-quality work in less time, which can be a major benefit when working with clients on tight deadlines.
9. Virtual Assistant
Starting a virtual assistant business is a great idea for anyone who wants to work from home and offer their services online.
As a virtual assistant, you can help businesses with different office tasks but all online rather than in person.
Just a few examples are data entry, translation services, scheduling appointments, and social media management.
It’s a good business idea for anyone since you don’t need special skills or qualifications to become a virtual assistant, just a willingness to learn and a desire to help others.
To start your virtual assistant business, sign up for platforms like FlexJobs to find potential clients and start your own website.
Plus, if you’re already working a full-time job, you can start your virtual assistant business on the side and gradually transition to working for yourself full-time.
10. Graphic Design
Are you someone with a keen eye for design and who likes to create fun or interesting artwork?
If yes, starting your own graphic design business could be the best business idea to make money from the comfort of your home.
All you need to get started as a freelance graphic designer is a computer, graphic design software like Canva Pro, and creative flair.
With these tools, you can begin offering graphic design services and creating stunning logos, website designs, flyers, brochures, and more.
By starting a graphic design business, you can work on projects you love and have the flexibility to work on your own terms.
With the rise of remote learning, the demand for virtual tutors has skyrocketed.
As an online tutor, you can work with students one-on-one or in small groups, helping them with subjects they may struggle with.
This could include anything from math and science to reading and writing.
You can set your schedule and work from the comfort of your home, making it a great option for those looking for a flexible work arrangement.
You can find plenty of online tutoring jobs with BookNook, one of the best online teaching platforms that connect tutors with schools and organizations needing academic support.
12. Dog Walking Business
Looking for a low-cost business that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors and spend time with furry friends? Consider starting your dog walking service.
The real investment in this type of business is your time since you’ll need to fit dog walks into your schedule. And don’t forget the poop bags and good walking shoes!
You can advertise your services through word of mouth, social media, or online platforms such as Rover to get started.
By creating a profile on Rover, you can attract potential customers in your local area and easily manage your schedule and payments.
13. Social Media Community Manager
As a social media community manager, you would create and manage social media accounts for businesses or organizations.
You’d be responsible for engaging with followers, monitoring posts and comments, and creating content.
Do you need help creating engaging content that ranks well on search engines? Surfer SEO can help you reach more people than ever before.
Surfer SEO can help you create optimized social media posts that engage your audience and improve your online visibility by providing data-driven insights into what works best.
14. Delivery Driver
Looking for a small business idea that doesn’t require a lot of upfront investment? Consider becoming a delivery driver.
With a growing demand for delivery services, there are plenty of opportunities to deliver food, packages, and other items.
Plus, as you’ll be using your own vehicle, it’s a flexible option for those looking for work.
You have many options for being a delivery driver, but the easiest option I found was starting a courier business.
Some businesses need to get things to business partners or clients not the next day but the next hour. They’ll hire couriers to quickly pick up their documents or packages and get them across town.
15. Food Delivery Driver
Food delivery has become a booming business idea, where you can start delivering on your own or join the best delivery apps to get paid.
A food delivery service is one of the best businesses you can start with little money. You only need a car, a clean driving record, and a smartphone.
You can sign up with a food delivery service like DoorDash or Postmates and choose your hours. Plus, you get to listen to your music while you work!
Either way, this is a great way to make extra cash or even turn it into a full-time gig with your car.
16. Grocery Shopper
Have some extra time on your hands? Why not put it to good use by starting a grocery shopping business?
By offering your services to busy individuals and families, you can earn money by doing their shopping and even delivering their food right to their doorsteps.
You only need reliable transportation and a willingness to shop smart to earn rewards and discounts on your groceries.
One popular platform for grocery shopping and delivery services is Instacart, which gets the clients for you!
As an Instacart shopper, you can work flexible hours and earn money by shopping for and delivering groceries to customers in your local area.
17. Personal Training Business
Starting a personal training business is a great option for anyone looking to start a small business with low overhead costs.
As a personal trainer, you can offer your services to clients in their own homes and help them achieve their fitness goals.
What’s great about personal training is that you can help people in their own homes with their own equipment to keep things more low-cost.
Or, if you want to offer more services, you can rent a small location and rent cheap workout equipment and teach classes for a higher rate from your clients.
One way to get started in the personal training industry is by taking courses on Skillshare.
Skillshare offers a wide range of fitness, nutrition, and wellness classes to help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful personal trainer.
18. House Cleaning Business
Another great business idea for entrepreneurs is starting your own house cleaning business.
House cleaning is a service that is always in demand, especially by busy families and professionals who need more time to clean their own homes.
It’s a great recession-proof job that can keep you busy for years to come!
To get started, you’ll need basic cleaning supplies (or let your clients provide some) and a reliable vehicle so you can get from job to job easily.
You can also promote your business online by creating a simple website or social media account.
You can also join websites like Handy, the easiest place to list your services and have clients find you.
Babysitting is an excellent business idea for anyone looking to start a business with little to no money.
As a babysitter, you go to people’s houses to watch their kids, play with them, feed them, and even put them to bed for the night.
You don’t need to pay for anything because your clients provide everything the kiddos and you need while you’re there, and you just show up in comfy clothes.
Contact friends, family, and neighbors who may need a babysitter. You can also use online platforms like Care.com to find potential customers.
20. Property Manager
People who buy property often don’t want to watch over the property themselves and will hire people like you to keep things clean and safe for residents.
As a property manager, you may be responsible for finding tenants for rentals, collecting rent payments, coordinating repairs and maintenance, and handling tenant complaints.
Property management is an excellent business opportunity for those with strong organizational and communication skills.
By building relationships with property owners and tenants, you can create a reliable source of income and build a successful business.
21. Event Planning
Event planning is one of the best business ideas on our list because there is always something going on in people’s lives, and making plans for parties is hard.
Event planners bring everything together, from getting the location to finding food and entertainment and even coordinating decorations and people.
The key to event planning is developing relationships with vendors such as caterers, florists, DJs, photographers—any service provider involved in organizing an event.
A good relationship will help get competitive rates to keep costs down while delivering quality client results.
Strong organizational skills are essential to keep track of all the details involved in planning an event (from budgeting and scheduling vendors down to selecting decorations).
22. Landscaping Business
If you have a green thumb, starting your own landscaping business is a great way to make some extra cash – especially if you live in an area with warm winters and long summers.
You can start small by mowing lawns, pulling weeds, laying down mulch, or doing other odd jobs for your neighbors and grow your business by word-of-mouth.
The investments you need are buying a lawn mower and trimming tools, which you may already have for your own lawn.
And when you create your rate, you can charge gas plus your time so that you can get paid well and start buying new tools to offer more services.
To market your business, put up flyers in your neighborhood and create a social media page for people to review you and share your work with other locals.
23. Handy Work
Do you like fixing things around the house? Then starting your handyperson business could be your perfect low-cost business.
You can offer whatever services you like, like moving furniture, fixing odds and ends, and more. The only expenses you have are your vehicle and bringing whatever tools you need for the job.
You can start by advertising your services on Craigslist or other online platforms and grow your business by word-of-mouth.
TaskRabbit is a popular app where people look for helpers in the area, and it’s inexpensive to list your services and find clients.
As your business grows, you can invest in tools and equipment like ladders, power tools, and more to help you expand your services.
Costs You Shouldn’t Cut
When starting a business, being mindful of where you spend your money is important. You cut costs where you can and try to work with what you already have.
Some costs may seem like they can be cut without too much consequence, but in reality, there are some costs that you should never skimp on.
They are essential for the success of your business. So don’t try to save a few dollars by cutting these corners – it will only cost you more in the long run.
When starting a business, taking online courses is a way to invest in yourself and expand your skills for your new business.
It may seem like an unnecessary cost, but taking the right course can provide you with the right skills to land clients- and getting a certification can lead to being hired more often.
Investing in courses can also help you stay ahead of the competition and learn the latest trends in your industry- both of which will be invaluable assets to your new business.
Plus, most courses are relatively affordable, so they won’t break the bank!
We also know that some courses offer free workshops or lessons to get started, and you can use them to see how interested you are in your business idea.
Here are a few free workshops and lessons we have on our list:
- Start Your Blog Boot Camp
- Proofread Anywhere
- Bookkeeper Launch
- Facebook Side Hustle
- Flea Market Flipping
- Dropship Lifestyle
You can also sign up for membership sites like SkillShare, where your monthly membership costs mean you have unlimited access to courses across every industry imaginable!
You can pay one fee and take courses in graphic design, social media management, marketing, finances, and more!
You may or may not want to invest your money or time into a proper business model– but not having a business plan in place can seriously make or break your entire business.
Many businesses fail because they don’t account for marketing materials, licensing costs, registering their businesses properly, and so much more.
Skipping the business model and having no plans is a no-go for us! We would’ve been lost without our plans, even in starting our blog and researching what we needed to do to be successful.
Having a solid business model is essential for any successful business venture, and here are a few things a good business model should include:
- how your company plans to generate revenue
- what products or services you’ll offer
- who is your target market
- how much it’ll cost to produce those products or services
- how much do you need to charge clients for the company to turn a profit
A well-thought-out plan helps ensure that your venture has the best chance at success by providing clear direction and goals for the future.
Liability insurance is also something you should not skimp on when starting a business.
Protecting your personal money and assets is very important if something happens to your workers or clients or your business goes under.
Personal liability insurance protects you from legal action if someone is injured while using one of your products or services or if there are problems with intellectual property rights.
Investing in liability insurance can save you thousands of dollars if something unexpected happens, so it’s worth considering when deciding which of these businesses to start.
Technology is a must-have for any new business, regardless of your business size or industry.
Proofreaders need Word and Grammarly to edit documents; bookkeepers need Excel and QuickBooks to review money details.
From setting up a website on Shopify or other sites to using software to manage your finances, you need to consider various technology costs when picking one of these businesses to start.
While it may be tempting to skimp on some of these business assets, remember that outdated or non-functional technology can cost you more in the long run.
Technology and the gig economy have improved how we get paid and how we can start businesses.
You don’t need a million dollars anymore to become your own boss and find clients to pay you!
As you can see from our list of the best businesses to start with little money, you can start many different small businesses with very little money upfront.
Businesses like proofreading, blogging, bookkeeping, and more can be started in a week, and you can be on your way to making money from home.
Join sites like Steady to find freelancing jobs and other opportunities to make money online and locally, and start your business today!
Earn more money on your terms when you need it most. Steady members can make an extra $5,500 in average yearly income!