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How to Start a Business with No Money: 22 Low-Cost Business Ideas Real Businesses People Have Started for Under $1,000
Low Capital Start Up Business
Being your own boss has never looked better—so it makes sense that people starting side hustles have a post-pandemic business boom.
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If you want to create a business to change your lifestyle and finances, you may not have a ton of cash to invest in the venture. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. I asked around and was inundated with all kinds of ideas for low capital business ideas you can start with minimal upfront investment.
The business ideas here are just the tip of the iceberg of low capital opportunities. As you review the examples and come up with your own ideas, here are some tips to make sure you’re keeping your head on your shoulders.
Remember: Because you’re starting a business with no money—or very little—you’ll need to be more strategic about the rest of the process.
Remote work is a hot topic right now, but there are still plenty of business opportunities in your community. Here are some local-based low-capital businesses you can set up for around $1,000 (or less!).
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If the thought of sitting at a desk all day makes your skin crawl, a landscaping business can satisfy your need to get outside. Upfront costs can be as low as $500, especially if you start with equipment you already own. Landscaping work is usually seasonal, so you can use automation to run your landscaping business during the busy months.
Calling all Great British Bake Off fans: Have you considered selling your creations? You’ll need to check the home bakery laws in your state, but if you’re already a baker, you probably already have some of the equipment you need.
Colin Johnson founded the company Bread from his home in Connecticut. “To get started, I needed a $50 license, a $100 food safety course, basic ingredients and some equipment for large production volumes. I also invested in a domain name for my website, so the total initial overhead was about $1,000,” he shares. did “I was able to cover those expenses in a few months.”
Colin also shared a few words of advice for those starting a new business from scratch: “You have to be able to deliver the same level of service to your 10,000th customer as you did to your first customer. It just involves more forward-thinking. I get it.” , so think about how to scale your business model early. Even if you’re not investing a lot of money, you need to invest a lot of time.”
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If you love music or just enjoy hyping up a room of teenagers at a bar mitzvah, you might want to consider starting a DJ business. Depending on what equipment you have and what you need to buy, you can start a DJ business for around $1,000.
For some animal lovers, spending every day with furry friends is a dream job. Typically, the startup costs of starting a pet sitting or dog walking business are limited to licensing and insurance (although some platforms like Rover will cover those costs for you). If you’re looking for something more passive, services like Sniffspot let you rent out your yard to local dog owners.
Do you live by the Konmari method and host a show on Netflix? Turns out you can get paid to do that. You can spend as little as a few hundred dollars to set up a professional organizing service and earn an average of $55 an hour.
You know those satisfying power washing and cleaning video compilations? You can live it. Picking up damaged couches for free or cheap on places like Facebook Marketplace, cleaning them and reselling them is a great business for anyone with a truck and a few strong people to help out. TikTok creators Cameron and Sadie call the gig “the easiest side hustle.” Just take a look.
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@cameronandsadie The easiest side hustle! 😊 #furnitureflip #furnituremakeover #sidehustle #sideincome #flips #couchflipping #couch #flippingcouches ♬ Feel The Groove – Queens Road, Fabian Gratz
If you want to sell goods without large inventory costs, try to buy discounted items and try to sell to a niche audience. People who don’t live near a thrift store or are really looking for specific types of items will love what you have to offer. Building an audience around a specific theme makes it easier to find inventory and build a brand. For example, the Vtgspice storefront on Depop sells 90s-era shirts and sweaters.
You can buy books from thrift stores, library sales, or estate sales and sell them to an online audience. If you use Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA), you don’t even need to hold the books and ship them to the seller.
A personal concierge is similar to a personal assistant, except you’ll be helping multiple customers. As long as you have reliable transportation and a computer or smartphone to manage online tasks, you don’t need much to get started.
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If you want to work from home, there are plenty of home-based business opportunities with low startup costs.
Just like a personal concierge handles domestic tasks, virtual assistants help people manage their work and lives from the comfort of their own homes. The virtual assistant world is flexible, as you can specialize in specific business areas such as general admin tasks or social media management.
Carolyn Marshall, founder of Upsource, shared that she “invested very little money as a VA in 2020. I now own a multi-award-winning VA agency company that became a limited company last month. The VA business is a great business. Very To start with a low cost.”
Creating and monetizing a blog is one of the most popular ways to make money online. James Taylor, an SEO consultant, recommends looking into your hobbies if you’re not sure where to start.
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“A hobby blog, in particular, is a great way to get started because you’ll never run out of content ideas. You know what people are looking for because it’s your hobby, and you’ve undoubtedly searched for similar things. In the past. You’ll also know what products and information people will need to get started.”
Although there are some startup costs, your main investment will be time to get your blog off the ground. Mushfiq Sarkar, founder of Website Flip, noted that “the skill sets required to build a website include SEO, content marketing, and some technical knowledge of how to put a website together. The advantage here is that you can start from $10. Host a website And then use a free platform like WordPress. To learn the ins and outs of business, there are hundreds of YouTube channels and blogs covering these topics.”
Once you set up your blog, you have a few ways to make money. Robert Jones, founder of Property Investments UK, noted that blogs “can be monetized in different ways (very low-cost and no-cost) from partnerships and affiliates, displaying ads and selling your own products.”
Have something to teach? Instead of starting a blog, you can start offering coaching or consulting sessions. Costs can run into the thousands if you let it, but you can start small with a simple website and marketing. Once you test the idea and make some money, you can add to your business.
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Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, said “It’s possible to set up any type of consulting or coaching business cheaply (for under $1,000) because all you need is a website, logo, name, email, business. A good idea to have online stationery, cell phones and more for cards, proposals and invoices.” Paige recommends skipping printed materials like brochures and letterhead to save money.
When you don’t have cash to invest in a business, you can rely on your time and skills. “Service businesses are the easiest to bootstrap since you’re selling your own time,” shared Alex Birkett, co-founder of Omniscient Digital. Alex and his co-founder David Khim started their agency in their free time outside of their jobs. They kept initial costs low by working on their own and holding off on hiring clients until they had cash flow.
The most in-demand freelance skills include web design, social
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