Have you been thinking about the best business to start with little money? There’s good news: low-cost money making business ideas are everywhere. And starting a successful small business today is a lot easier than most people think.
So if you’ve been wondering how to start a business with little money, we have answers for you. Read on to find out some of the best businesses if you’re long on ambition but short on cash.
Why Start a Business?
Being a small business owner offers many benefits. Maybe you’re looking for the flexibility to set your own schedule or work from wherever you want. Or maybe you just want to make some extra money from a side hustle. Whatever reason you’re drawn to it, there are many benefits to starting your own business.
You Can Work from Home
A big benefit of starting your own business is being able to work from home permanently. Our list of the best businesses to start with little money includes many ideas that will help you jumpstart your own home business.
You Can Work Online
The Internet has made it easy — and cheap — to start a small business. In fact, many online business ideas, such as running an eCommerce store, can be started with little capital.
Even if you have a full-time job, you can make extra money with a side business. You may find an ideal side hustle in the list of startup business ideas below. And since these small business ideas are low cost, you won’t have to invest much to get that extra income flowing.
Become an Entrepreneur
There’s nothing like starting a small business to test your entrepreneurial skills. And since the ideas below don’t require a lot of money, you’ll have little to lose but so much to gain. Even experience is a rich reward for entrepreneurs who are willing to bet on themselves.
10 Best Small Businesses to Start
Knowing the best small businesses to start is one thing, but how do you know which small business idea is the right one for you? Here are some questions to ask:
- What skills do you have to offer? Knowing your areas of expertise makes it easier to choose a startup business.
- Are you a “people person”? Some small business ideas need you to talk to people on a regular basis, while others do not.
- How much startup money do you have? While some businesses can be launched with just a website, others may need specific equipment or software.
Once you’ve answered these questions, the following list of some of the most profitable small businesses to start will help you begin your small business journey.
Dropshipping is all the rage these days, and it’s easy to see why. With dropshipping, you can run an online store without having to deal with buying and storing inventory or packaging and shipping your products. Instead, you partner with a dropshipper who takes care of these tasks for you, so you can focus on making sales. With dropshipping, you can resell products or extend your business with new products. You can even create your own products and partner with a manufacturer that has dropshipping capabilities.
2. Online Tutoring
Are you skilled in something that people want to learn? With online tutoring, you can teach people through the Internet. And you’re not limited to academic subjects either. You can teach people just about any skill that they are willing to pay to learn. For example, if you play the guitar well, you could offer online guitar lessons. Startup costs are low, too. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and free video conferencing software like Zoom.
3. Print on Demand
If you’re creative, you can use print-on-demand services to sell your custom designs and artwork on just about anything you can think of. For example, you can put your art on a mug or a t-shirt. By working with a print-on-demand service, you can focus on creating your designs and selling them through your own website. The print-on-demand company will produce your custom products and take care of the shipping and handling.
4. Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation
Do numbers make you happy? A bookkeeping and tax preparation business is a great small business idea if you like math. With this type of business, you’ll help clients with their accounting records and their tax returns. And unlike an accountant, you don’t need a special degree to offer these services. Startup costs are usually low. In most cases, all you need is a computer and specialized tax or accounting software.
5. IT Support
These days, most people and businesses use computers. But computers and their related software and hardware often have issues. This makes IT support a popular form of small business for entrepreneurs with technical expertise. As an IT support provider, you would help people and businesses install software or hardware. You’d also help them to troubleshoot any computer or software problems they run into.
6. Technology Repair Services
If you’re good with computers and know how to repair them, a technology repair business could be a good startup idea. Everyone uses computers these days. And as with anything else, computers experience wear and tear and can break down or be subject to viruses. With this type of business, you’d use your computer expertise to fix people’s computers and help them access and save data on computers that might be beyond repair.
A translation business is a great business if you can read or write in more than one language. In a translation business, you would apply your language skills to translate documents from one language to another. It’s a low-cost business to start because a computer is your main startup cost. It’s also an ideal business if you want to work from home.
8. Website Design
Every business, even local ones, needs a website. But not everyone can build a website, especially not a professional-looking one. If you have the skills to design and build a website, a website design business could be the perfect business for you. You can start your business easily with only a computer, an Internet connection, and website design software. Website design services can also be run from anywhere, making it an ideal home business.
9. Courier Services
Couriers are in high demand these days. Many stores use couriers to deliver products to their customers, and service businesses often rely on couriers to get documents into their clients’ hands. If you have a vehicle or own a bike, you have the equipment you need to start a courier services business. This business is especially ideal if you prefer to be out and about rather than cooped up at home in front of a computer.
10. Cleaning Services
If you’re good at cleaning, running a cleaning services business might be a good choice for you. The startup costs for this type of business are low. You’ll need to own the tools of the trade (for example, a vacuum and a mop and bucket), and it helps if you have a vehicle to get your tools to your clients’ places. A cleaning service is also easily expandable; you can hire other good cleaners to help out if you have too many clients.
Being a Small Business Owner
Starting a small business offers many benefits. Whether you want to set your own schedule or earn extra money, there are many good business ideas to start you on your small business journey. Add in a bit of promotion and some customer service savvy, and you could be well on your way to being a successful small business owner.
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I’ve been a bookkeeper for over 20 years and work with several CPAs and EA’s. Your comments regarding bookkeeping and tax prep are really off base. Accounting has little to do with a love of “math.” You buy the software but if you don’t know accounting theory or the nuances of tax prep, you can create a real nightmare for people. I do a lot of “clean up” for people who have had someone do their books who “bought” the software.
Very good idea for myself to get a small business loan! One that can roll over. Please have someone contact me for more information.
Thanks for reaching out, Christine! You can learn more about loans on the Small Business Administration’s website: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans
Running jewelry parties/events for organizations, clubs etc. are fun and profitable with little or no upfront expenses. Here are the steps to start.
1. Find jewelry manufacturers or designers who will give you products on short term consignment for the duration of the party…usually one or two days with suggested retail prices with mark-ups of at least 3x.
2. Organize a party for a club or organization with at least 20 to 30 people in attendance. Negotiate a portion of the profits going to the organization.
3. On the date of the party/event set up the jewelry display and supervise the sale of the jewelry.
4. After the event send unsold jewelry back to the manufacturer and pay for the sold jewelry.
5. Split the profit with the club or organization as negotiated with them.
One jewelry manufacturing designer who will work this way is Susan Silver Designer (website susansilverdesigner.com).
Thanks for the detailed comment, Marvin!
I want to start cell phone business.
That’s great to hear! Check out these articles to help you get started:
This is great information for all small business professional at all levels.
We’re glad you thought so! Thanks for the nice comment!
Love the ideas and hopefully some people will follow up. This is how I started my store. But you have to be willing to put in the hours no matter what. You have to research your products, is it salable in your region? Advertising and buying the products is not cheap. Can you find enough locally because the postage will kill you. But persevere and you will make it. I am still in business after 5 years.
These are great insights! Thank you for sharing your experience with starting a business. We appreciate the comment!
Good post!! There a lot of great small businesses out there!
We’re so glad you liked it, Sarah! Thanks for reading SBA!
There is so much to know before starting a business of your own.
Thanks for the comment, Kay! Starting a business does take a lot of planning! Keep checking back for more tips and strategies that can help!
Your #4 deserves a professional comment, but generally I like this approach for the other 9 items, and will share with my clients who are in need of career changes, etc. #4 Tax Prep now is under a great deal of scrutiny from IRS, and some states actually regulate it too…New IRS rules will require licensing by the IRS, education, and some exhibition of the Preparers ability, background checks, etc. Bookkeeping on the other hand does require specific knowledge of the area, but no formal education requirements nor licenses.
Great insights, James! Thank you for sharing!
Great post! I started a parking lot litter cleaning business as a side hustle in 1981 and grew it into a successful business that I still operate today. I started with little money, skills and education, but plenty of passion, patience and persistence. If I can do it then so can you!
That’s an awesome business, Brian! Passion, patience and persistence are so important. Thank you for sharing!
I have developed a low cost business plan for teaching chess mainly to children in grades 8 and below. I would like to help others replicate my business in other communities. It can be run as both online and in-person. This doesn’t require an expert chess player but the person involved needs to be a people person. To keep from being a franchise the up front cost is under $500 plus any local costs for setting up a business.
Thank you for sharing, Stephen! These are great insights.