Even though starting a business – online or offline – is no small task and can be a daunting undertaking to sign yourself up for, it certainly is not as impossible as you might think.
Starting a business is often associated with having a lot of money to shell out even though 69% of all U.S entrepreneurs start their business at home. This misconception keeps thousands of Americans from taking that first entrepreneurial jump.
The main costs incurred by small businesses come under the advertising and marketing umbrella, so your primary focus should be to find a business idea that can either go without those costs or has affordable ways of getting the word out.
15 Easy Businesses to Start with Less Than $100
We are going to cover a few business ideas that you could consider if you are strapped for cash, but still want to be your own boss.
A consultancy business is easy to start and has a lot of potential for growth. You can start your business by simply investing in building a website (expect to spend about $60 on web hosting and domain purchase) and then using your contacts to get a few clients.
Working on growing your reach through social media, maintaining a blog, and getting references through your clients will help you grow to a point where you can then afford to invest in ads, virtual assistants, and web developers to really make your consultancy business a long-term source of income.
Consultancy businesses do not even have to remain a solo project. You can think about hiring consultants down the road so you do not have to sell your time for money. You can also productize your services by creating courses and eBooks that hold some of your most sought-after information.
The possibilities are endless, and the startup cost is minimal, which is what makes this perfect.
2. Social Media Manager
As more businesses jump online and reap the rewards of having a digital marketing strategy, more companies are looking to hire a social media manager.
Source: Asset Digital Communications
You will notice that this position does not need a lot of time (certainly not 40 hours a week) which is why it is normally a freelance position. You can work on getting a few clients for yourself while also building a social media management business of your own.
The startup cost is non-existent and you can begin looking for freelance positions today on job boards like Indeed, FlexJobs, and UpWork.
3. Painting Contractor
If you choose to become a painting contractor, it can be a lucrative business model that has the added bonus of scalability. You can start off as an independent contractor, which will allow you to take on client work and sign contracts under your name rather than having to work under a company.
This can serve as a foundation for you to build up your own business. Some of the steps you will need to go through to get your painting business started include:
- Certificate: There are no national qualifications necessary to start your career in the painting business, but you can learn the basics through numerous available courses.
- Apprenticeship: You could also get some hands-on experience by becoming an apprentice for an already established painter.
- Licensing: Different states have different licensing laws in place, so you will have to go through the process to get one.
4. Tour Guide
Nowadays, with amazing technology and applications like Airbnb, it is much easier to break into the tour guide world and carve out a career path for yourself within it. If you know and love your city, want some extra cash, know the best place to eat, or are simply a great photographer; you could put your services up on Airbnb as an experience option for free.
It is extremely simple to get started, and the platform helps you get work by showcasing your services to interested users.
5. Cleaning Service
Starting a cleaning business is very similar to starting a painting business. You can start off by yourself and add people to your team down the road. So, getting started only really needs some basic cleaning tools that you could buy at your local Walmart.
Other ways you could save money would be:
- Depending on referrals to get started and bag your first few clients.
- Not wasting money on unnecessary items like a custom-made uniform or business cards. This can come later once your business has started to make some money.
- Doing all the cleaning yourself in the beginning which saves on labor cost.
- Taking this time to build a solid brand for yourself by developing long-term relationships with clients and working on bettering your reputation.
This business model has the ability to start out small with room to grow, which is why it is perfect if you want to work on your future without spending thousands to get there.
You have probably heard this one before, so it needs no introduction, but the importance of recognizing how fast the blogging space is growing cannot be ignored. The Savvy Couple make over $20,000 every month with their blog.
This is just one of the many examples that prove you can make a lot of money through your blog, but here is the truth about it: not everyone does.
Blogging is often made to seem like a one-way ticket to success when, in fact, very few bloggers are actually making a full-time income – 5% to be exact.
You may have already given up and written this down to luck, but I do not agree with that at all. Personally, I think the bloggers that succeed all possess the same characteristics and have followed the same key rules to become successful.
Here is what I think is important.
Blog for money.
I very quickly discovered that the bloggers who are making millions and giving advice are not giving very good advice. The reason behind this is simple enough: they got into blogging when there was barely any competition around and profited because of it. Their advice is from 10 years ago may not work now in a world where you are competing with established companies instead of just small “mommy bloggers.”
So, if you want to make money blogging, it is important that you understand this from the get-go. You cannot just talk about anything you want, whenever you want and make thousands doing it. That is where having a plan comes in.
Remember: Links are the currency of the internet.
Link building is an imperative part of your blog’s SEO strategy if you want to succeed. When you get a link from the Huffington Post, Google looks at it as the Huffington Post vouching for you. This translates into trust and will help you become more authoritative in your niche, which is what is going to help you rank higher.
Niche down (carefully).
With websites like the New York Post and BBC dominating Google’s first page, it is important to remember you simply cannot compete with them. Do not try to target topics and keywords that you cannot ever rank for. Focus on a niche that does not have much competition and then create content that is unique.
Do not forget your niche and start writing about topics that are completely unrelated because Google will stop trusting you almost immediately. The search engine is ten times smarter than it was years ago and will categorize your website into a niche. It cannot do that if you are writing about essential oils and finance at the same time.
A great example of a website that has successfully niched down is Modest Money. Instead of simply focusing on personal finance, it has niched down even further to only include investing tips. Google will take you more seriously if you present yourself as a master of one topic rather than a jack of many.
It is not about you.
Remember that you are not a social media influencer. Do not focus on your stories and your life – focus on the topic you are writing about. Create content that is thorough and useful; that will be far more effective than a long form diary entry.
These tips may burst a few bubbles for you. You may have wanted to make money by simply writing about your day or posting whenever you want. But, if you want to make money blogging, you need to treat your business like a startup from day one.
The cost to start a blog is as low as $60 a year (web hosting and a domain name), but it is the best investment to make if you know what you are doing. Obviously down the line, you may need to invest in services like a good email marketing service, a more expensive hosting package, G Suite, and other tools. But, for the first two years, you are just going to need about $60 for good hosting.
Starting your own freelance business is quickly becoming increasingly profitable. Elna Cain, a freelance writer, makes thousands every month with her freelance clients. She has even started her own blog dedicated to freelance writers who are looking for tips on everything from getting clients to creating an effective content marketing strategy.
If you are interested in becoming a freelance writer, here are some great places to find jobs online:
This is not just limited to freelance writers, though. You could create a steady source of income by taking on regular freelance work in multiple industries like data entry, web design, outreach, content creation, marketing, and more.
8. WordPress Developer
As WordPress continues to power 35% of the web and new websites continue to be built on a daily basis, the services of a great WordPress developer are always in short supply.
If you are good with WordPress, have created a website of your own, or are simply willing to learn, there are plenty of great jobs with your name on them. There are also courses online that you could take if you truly are interested in becoming a freelance WordPress developer.
Some of these courses are free while others are paid. A good mix of both should give you the tools you need to get your feet off the ground. Here are some great options to begin with:
- WordPress Training by Yoast Academy
- Wordpress for Beginners - Master Wordpress Quickly by Udemy
- WordPress Quick Start Course by WP Apprentice
Once you have the right information, you can spend $60 to create a website of your own to showcase your portfolio and get started. Warren Groom has created an awesome website that serves as a great example:
9. WordPress Tech Support
As more WordPress websites prop up, more tech support is needed. The two go hand in hand. If you do not want to design a website from the ground up, you could also consider offering tech support.
A great example is Grayson, who makes thousands every month with his company imarkinteractive which provides a variety of WordPress solutions as well as monthly maintenance plans. He has also further grown his company to include blogging courses as well.
He started off by simply teaching himself how to use WordPress and learn coding, which has transitioned into the established business he now runs today.
You could also potentially use your WordPress knowledge to create an awesome tool that can be used by bloggers, WordPress users, and editors.
Wordable is a great example of this. The tool lets you automatically export content you have created in Google Drive into WordPress, saving you hours at a time that you would normally spend on formatting.
Creating a tool like this can be done alongside offering your services as a WordPress techie and is a great way to increase your passive income.
Private tutoring is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7% and hit $279.3 billion by 2027, according to a recent report by ResearchandMarkets. With COVID-19, the world is focusing on online learning now more than ever before.
Online learning platforms are seeing a repeated increase in their student count, which makes now a great time to jump on the bandwagon.
Tutoring is a great way to earn some extra cash on the side while also working on growing your own reach by getting new long-term clients. The key in this case is to find something you are an expert on and market yourself using that as your base.
Do not try to be a jack of all trades because this is going to do you no favors. You could focus on languages, science, math or music; the point is you need to show potential clients that you know what you’re doing.
You could also consider coming up with a business name, getting yourself on social media, creating a website, and making business cards. This will help you create a brand out of your tutoring business, which you can then use as a foundation for bigger ideas, such as creating a learning platform or hiring other tutors.
Coding is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after skills on the job market. According to a recent report from Burning Glass, seven million job openings in 2015 were for jobs that needed coding as a skill. This same report mentioned that programming jobs are growing 12% faster than the average market rate.
According to a U.S News and World Report, computer programmers make an average salary of $84,820 per year. Instead of working for a big corporation, you could take your skills freelance as a freelance programmer. This will allow you to eventually start your own company and work with multiple clients.
You can get your first client by applying on one of these job sites:
12. Start an Online Store
As COVID-19 paused the world for a good few months, eCommerce boomed. Even though cases of the novel coronavirus are decreasing in number, people are still sticking with online shopping.
I believe this pandemic has changed a few of our habits for good, or simply expedited the move towards online shopping, which is why starting an online store could be an immensely profitable venture.
If you use an eCommerce platform like Shift4Shop that offers a free plan, the only expense you need to worry about is procuring products. If you’re dropshipping, which is an eCommerce model that involves working with a supplier that stores and ships products for you, then you won’t need any extra startup capital. If you’re procuring products yourself, you’ll need to factor in those costs.
Here are some of the most important steps you will have to take care of if you want to launch an online store:
- Figure out your niche and what you want to sell.
- Determine how you will get your products.
- Narrow down a theme for your website.
- Use an eCommerce platform to build your online store.
13. Start a Podcast
According to Nielsen, 50% of all homes are podcast homes, with most listeners coming from educated backgrounds. Podcasts have allowed people to enjoy the perfect balance between video and text-based content. You can listen to an episode on your way to work or while you are cooking dinner; the flexible nature of a podcast is what people love about it.
Starting a podcast with a host service like BuzzSprout can start at as low as $12 a month for 3 hours’ worth of uploaded content, unlimited storage, and access to helpful statistics.
This affordable pricing makes it a great business option for people who want to monetize their podcasts down the road.
14. Dog Trainer
Dog trainers do not need much financial help to get started – all you need to do is market your services and find the right clients. You might have to start small by doing the dog training yourself and working for people in your neighborhood, but the sky’s the limit after that.
A great example of this is Bark, a company that now offers their dog trainer services in 8 countries. They allow clients to post details about their requirements, which they then use to show them various dog trainers they can work with. Everything is online and the company has become highly profitable over the years.
This is obviously going to take a while but becoming a dog trainer yourself is the first step. You can then think of starting a website of your own, getting on social media, and maybe even investing in some Facebook ads.
15. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is an integral part of an online business which means that, as online businesses grow, so does the need for virtual assistants. You can apply for jobs online and work with multiple clients at the same time, managing your own hours and your own income.
A good first step would be to invest in a great VA course like the one offered by Horkey Handbook. This course will teach you the skills you need to be an awesome VA, whether that is effective customer service skills or content marketing, how to apply to jobs, and how to manage your schedule as a VA.
Wrapping It Up
If you found this article by searching “How to start a business with no money?”, then hopefully these 15 ideas gave you a foundation from which you can build on. It should also show you that, now more than ever before, it is possible to start a small business without loads of cash backing you up. You could even have as little as $100.
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