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How to Start a Business with No Money: 22 Low Cost Business Ideas Real Businesses People Started for Under $1,000
No Cost Business Start Ups
Being your own boss has never felt better—so it makes sense that post-pandemic businesses have taken a hit and people are starting to move around.
Low Or No Cost Small Business Ideas
If you want to create a business to change your lifestyle and finances, you may not have a lot of cash to invest in the venture. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. I asked around and was filled with all kinds of ideas for low capital business ideas that 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.
Working remotely 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!).
How To Pitch A Business Idea: 5 Steps
If the thought of sitting at a desk all day makes your skin crawl, a landscaping business may satisfy your need to get outside. Upfront costs can be as low as $500, especially if you start with equipment you already have. Landscaping work is typically seasonal, so you can use automation to help keep your landscaping business running during 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 likely have some of the equipment you need.
Colin Johnson founded the company Bread from his home in Connecticut. “To get started, I only needed a $50 license, a $100 food safety course, basic ingredients, and some equipment for mass production. I also invested in a domain name for my website, so the total initial The expense was around $1,000,” he shared. “I was able to recoup those costs within a few months.”
Colin also shared some words of advice for people starting a new business from scratch: “You should be able to provide the same level of service to your 10,000th customer as you did to your first. There’s more involved than I thought. I realized, so think about how to scale your business model quickly. 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 enjoy hypnotizing a room of teens at a bar mitzvah, you may 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, getting to spend every day with furry friends is a dream job. Typically, startup costs for setting up a pet sitting or dog walking business are limited to licensing and insurance (though 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 binge event shows on Netflix? Turns out you can get paid to do this. 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 who has a truck and a few strong people who can help. TikTok creators Cameron and Sadie call the gig “the easiest side hustle.” To keep an eye.
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@cameronandsadie Easiest side hustle! 😊 #furnitureflip #furnituremakeover #sidehustle #sideincome #flips #couchflipping #couch #flippingcouch ♬ Feel the Groove – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz
If you want to sell goods without large inventory costs, try buying discounted items and selling them to a niche audience. People who don’t live near a thrift store or are looking for a really specific type of item will love what you have to offer. Building an audience around a specific theme makes it easy to search for inventory and build a brand. For example, the Vtgspice storefront on The Depot sells 90s 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 Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you don’t even need to hold the books and ship them to sellers.
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 tasks online, you don’t need much to get started.
Key Steps To Designing Your Business
If you want to work without leaving home, there are plenty of home-based business opportunities with low startup costs.
Just as a personal concierge handles local tasks, a virtual assistant helps people manage their work and life from the comfort of their homes. The virtual assistant world is flexible, as you can specialize in general admin tasks or specific business areas like social media management.
Carolyn Marshall, founder of Upsource, shared that she “set up as a VA in 2020 investing very little money. I now own a multiple-award winning VA agency company that became a Limited Company last month. A VA Business is great. Very low cost to start.”
Creating and monetizing a blog is one of the most popular ways to earn money online. James Taylor, an SEO consultant, recommends looking into your hobby 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’re never going to run out of content ideas. You know what people are searching for because it’s your hobby, and you’ve undoubtedly created similar content.” You’ll also learn what products and information people need to get started.”
While there are some startup costs, your main investment will be time to get your blog off the ground. Mushfiq Sarkar, founder of The Website Flip, states that “the skill set required to build a website includes SEO, content marketing, and some technical knowledge of how to put a website together. Get started. Host a website and then use a free platform like WordPress. There are hundreds of YouTube channels and blogs covering these topics as far as learning about business goes.”
Once you have set up your blog, you have a few ways to make money. Robert Jones, founder of Property Investments UK, said that blogs “can be monetized in a number of different ways (many low cost and no cost) through partnerships and affiliates, through displaying ads and selling their products.”
Have something to teach? Instead of starting a blog, you can start offering coaching or counseling sessions. The cost can go into the thousands if you let them, but you can even start small with a simple website and marketing. Once you test out the idea and make some money, you can add to your business.
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Paige Arnouf-Fain, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, said, “It’s possible to set up any type of consulting or coaching business on the cheap (less than $1,000) because all you need is a website, logo, name, email, Business needs. A good idea for cards, proposals, and invoices online for stationery, cell phones, and so forth.” Paige recommends skipping printed materials like brochures and letterhead to save money.
When you don’t have the cash to invest in a business, you can fall back on your time and skills. Alex Birkett, co-founder of Omniscient Digital, shared that “service businesses are the easiest to bootstrap because you are selling your time.” Alex and his co-founder David Khiem started their agency in their spare time outside of their jobs. He kept start-up costs low by doing the work himself and holding off on hiring help until client cash flow was in place.
Most in-demand freelance skills include web design, social