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Proven Small Business Ideas That Don’t Require A Lot Of Money

5 minute read

By Ryan Pratt

People who have brilliant ideas tend to shy away from starting a business. But why? In many cases, they are worried about pooling all of their available funds into an idea that won’t sell. Luckily, those high stakes are no longer necessary in today’s business world.

If you’re interested in finding a side hustle, here are proven small business ideas that you can start with little to no money.

Turn Your Idea Into A Business

There are two essential things you need in order for your idea to transform into a profitable small business. Firstly, you need to be passionate about whatever your enterprise is based around. Whether you’re selling jewelry online or running a repair service, it’s critical that you enjoy mucking about with beads or tools.

Secondly, you should research this business model. Take a look at your market and what your competition is doing. Also, take note of the current trends and brainstorm ways you can offer something unique. Successful businesses find a niche that hasn’t been tapped.

Finally, once your seed of an idea has blossomed into a business plan, you’ll know what your product is, how much it’ll cost, where you want to sell it, and how you plan to market it.


Online Seller

Perhaps the most popular way to start a business nowadays is making and selling goods online. You don’t need a lot of startup cash, as long as you have something to sell. A variety of marketplaces are eager to help you succeed. Some e-commerce sites take a cut of the sale (such as Amazon and eBay), while others charge a platform fee.

Many online sellers who deal in clothing, collectibles, or thrift-store finds use Facebook Marketplace, Alibaba, and eBay for their purposes. However, if you’re looking to create a brand and sell one-of-a-kind goods, you might prefer a monthly service like Etsy.

Shutterstock: Chaay_Tee

Drop Shipper

A drop-shipping business is ideal for cash-strapped entrepreneurs. Essentially, you create an e-commerce platform to sell products – but they aren’t your products. In fact, you don’t even have to hold any inventory, as they get shipped directly from the manufacturer.

Basically, you earn a cut from every sale. This can be immensely profitable if your skills lie in marketing and providing an alluring place for customers to spend money. However, drop shipping can be a highly competitive market, so you’ll want to do your research first.

Shutterstock: 24Novembers

Freelance Writer And Editor

Many companies look for talented writers and editors to create content for their products. If you consider yourself a wordsmith, you can freelance your skills and open a small business. It may take a little while to build your credentials, but this is a very affordable startup.

Becoming a freelance writer requires little more than the computer and internet connection you already use. Plus, online job boards like Fiverr and Upwork specialize in freelance opportunities, so you can swiftly move from one opportunity to the next. Keep in mind that these services charge a fee on every paycheck earned.

Shutterstock: Claudia K

Virtual Assistant Or Consultant

We’re living in the advent of virtual roles. As these remote jobs become more common in the business world, freelancers are finding new ways to expand their startups. Virtual assistants conduct the clerical responsibilities of a business as if they were sitting at the front desk – but they’re really at home. In this role, you would answer calls, work with schedules, and file paperwork.

Consultants, on the other hand, operate in a few different sectors. Highly qualified consultants can offer their “virtual” expertise in the fields of business, human resources, social media, or finances. If you have the knowledge, you don’t require any funds to get started.


Help Your Community

Affordable startups aren’t just limited to the internet! If you crave a small business that gets you involved in your community, there are a variety of options that require little cash or qualifications. For example, you can open a pet-sitting or dog-walking business. Conversely, you can start a house cleaning, lawn-care, or laundry service, as long as you have the supplies and appliances.

Being trustworthy, dependable, and friendly are even more important when you’re running a client-facing small business. Your personality can either buoy or sink your new enterprise, so consider how much face-to-face interaction you really want.



Do you have an expertise in a particular study? You can develop a tutoring business based around computer programming or a subject in school. This affordable startup can turn into a profitable business as you log client hours and gain certifications. Plus, you can find clients locally or remotely.

Are you a singer, or an accomplished musician? If so, you can market those talents to prospective students. Since your clients won’t necessarily be working from a school curriculum, this type of tutoring may require you to plan your own classes and buy sheet music.

Shutterstock: granata68

Teach English

You may not think you have skills to market, but even the language you speak can be monetized! Teaching English as a second language is a reliable way to earn income, especially if you’re a good communicator.

Granted, you will need to earn your TESOL or TEFL certification. TESOL is needed to teach English to people who speak a different language, whereas TEFL is needed to teach in locations where English is the foreign language. Intensive courses can get you certified within one month, but either program usually takes a few months to complete.


Find Your Niche

Before the free market platforms of the internet came along, starting a business required loads of paperwork, bank loans, and risk. Nowadays, all you need is an internet connection – and as we’ve seen, sometimes you don’t even need that!

Whether you choose one of these proven small business ideas or discover something else, it’s essential that you research your market carefully. The more competitive the field, the harder it’ll be for you to earn an income. Find your passion, develop your niche, and you’ll be a small business owner in no time!

Shutterstock: Branislav Nenin

Ryan Pratt



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