25 low-cost business ideas
According to our source, these are 25 low-cost business ideas that will help you start your own business efficiently and effectively with a low budget.
1. Professional organizer
Becoming a professional organizer requires virtually no startup costs, as you don’t need any special equipment or even office space. For this job, all you need are your skills and a home office, even if that home office is a corner of your living room.
However, to set yourself apart, you may want to become certified as a professional organizer. There are tons of online courses dedicated to this field but start by looking into NAPO University, which is offered through The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Their special certifications typically cost around $350, and their training courses are under $200.
2. Nanny or babysitter
Unlike opening a daycare center, starting a babysitting service where you visit your clients’ homes is a low-cost business idea. Since your clients will provide everything you need for you, all you really need to start this business is yourself.
The only potential startup costs you’ll encounter are a small monthly fee for your business website’s platform and fees for any training courses you take. It’s recommended that nannies and babysitters are CPR-certified and have first aid training; you can find local or online courses for both on the American Red Cross website.
3. Home or office cleaner
Pretty much every home and office in your community needs a regular deep clean—so if you want to start a cleaning business, all you have to do is sell yourself and find those potential customers.
You can ask your customers to provide their own cleaning supplies, and since you’re a mobile business, you don’t need to worry about renting and furnishing an office space.
Whether you’re creating online continuing education courses for sites like Udemy or providing in-person tutoring services—be it test prep, music lessons, or whatever your area of expertise is—becoming a tutor is another business with low startup costs. You can easily set up a home office and video chat with your students, but if you offer in-person sessions, it’s more likely that you’ll be working from your clients’ own homes, which leaves you with gas money to budget for.
5. Freelance writer or editor
If you have a knack for words and have strong opinions about grammar styles, you may consider starting a freelance writing or editing business. The only equipment you’ll need is a computer and reliable internet, making this a great low-cost business idea.
Another business that requires little money to start is a transcription business. This can be another great home business, where clients send you audio or video files that they need to be converted to written documents.
This low-cost business may take some time to monetize, but it can be an easy and flexible solution for many creative types out there. If you have a passion or set of skills you want to share with the world, you can do so with a blog.
8. Graphic designer
Starting a freelance graphic design business is another low-cost, flexible way to make money from anywhere. Like a freelance writer, you’ll want to create a professional-looking online portfolio to showcase your skills and past projects. Social media accounts, particularly Instagram, can also be crucial.
9. Video producer
You’ll likely need some software for this job, but besides this nominal upfront cost, you won’t have to worry about much else when starting a freelance video-producing business. Your clients will do the actual shooting of the video, so you don’t have to worry about buying expensive video equipment.
Starting a photography business may require more upfront costs than some of the other business ideas on this list. Still, once you have a professional-grade camera and the software you need to edit your pictures, you’re in business. Building your portfolio will take some time, but the good news is opportunities to take photos are everywhere.
11. Podcast host
Think of podcasts as an audial version of blogging. If you’re particularly knowledgeable or passionate about a specific topic and have an especially soothing voice, you may make a great podcast host.
12. Social media consultant
Becoming a social media consultant doesn’t require cash as much as it does hustle. Rather than money, starting a social media consulting business takes time and patience. Focus on building up a portfolio to show clients.
When it comes to businesses starting with little money, dropshipping may be one of the best options around. The biggest hurdles will be building your business e-commerce website and finding the right supplier to start a dropshipping business.
Starting a side hustle or full-time business as a consultant in your field of expertise is a great low-cost startup business idea if you’re looking to lend your expertise to other businesses, from startups to established corporations.
15. Event or wedding planner
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of event planning is projected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 7% until 2028. So if you’re super Type A, a logistical whiz, and a people person in general, becoming an event or wedding planner is a promising potential business for you.
16. E-commerce reseller
Instead of tossing or donating your secondhand but good-quality clothes and accessories, make a business out of your cast-offs and sell them. Online selling platforms like The RealReal, ThredUp, Depop, and Poshmark accept gently used clothes, shoes, and accessories, then do a valuation, list them on their marketplace, and offer you a commission when a buyer purchases your items.
17. Gig worker
There are so many platforms open to people looking for varied, short-term work: Delivering food through Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, or Uber Eats; becoming a Lyft, Uber, or Via driver; completing various tasks through TaskRabbit, and doing odd creative jobs through Fiverr—these are just a few options to look into.
18. Life coach
The biggest upfront investment involved in becoming a life coach will be your training and certification course cost. While you’re not required by law to become certified to practice as a life coach, it’s highly recommended that you do, both for lending yourself credibility and to ensure that you’re providing your clients with the best possible service.
19. Virtual assistant
As the name suggests, virtual assistants provide remote administrative support for individuals and/or businesses. The kind of services you offer depends entirely upon your skillset and preferences. Still, a few common services include customer support, data entry, processing orders and refunds, managing emails, and bookkeeping.
20. Pet sitter and dog walker
Starting a dog walking business and/or offering pet-sitting services is a dream business idea for animal lovers—and of course, it doesn’t require a lot of cash to launch. Other than a business website, your major startup cost will be likely be marketing materials. Print flyers and business cards to tack up around your neighborhood or hand out to neighbors and local business owners.
21. Remote travel agent
While traditional travel agents are mostly a thing of the past, becoming a remote travel agent can be a lucrative travel business idea. Planning a vacation takes a lot of research, time, and patience—which not everyone has. Some people are eager to outsource this task to have a professional plan and book their vacation itinerary.
22. Tour guide
If you live in an area with a decent tourism trade, you may consider starting a tour guide business. Since your city will be your office, the greatest overhead cost you’ll incur is likely marketing your tours. Consider what you want to show visitors about your locale—and what’s not already being done.
Every business has accounting needs, and most business owners can tell you it’s one of their least favorite parts of the job. If you have a penchant for numbers, consider starting a bookkeeping business.
24. Personal trainer
You may only think of personal trainers as people who work in gyms, but you don’t need to be affiliated with a gym to become a personal trainer. Especially as more and more people want to work in their homes on their schedules, you may also find success as a remote personal trainer, so you won’t have to purchase any equipment.
You may enjoy baking for friends and family, but have you considered starting a bakery business? A storefront or even a food truck would come with a hefty upfront cost. Still, you can easily start a home-based bakery, where you create your confections from your own kitchen and deliver them to clients, set up a stall at a farmers market, or partner with local businesses to have them stock your goods.
As your business grows, you may want to upgrade equipment to handle greater volumes, but you’ll have more cash flow to work with by then.
In this video, you’ll discover 12 small business ideas that will make you money in 2021—smart ideas for people looking for online or offline opportunities and earn money quickly. Enjoy!
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