You don’t need a ton of cash to start a business in 2023. In fact, there are many small business ideas you can get off the ground for under $100. Here are some options for those looking to start a low-cost business this year.
Yes, it is possible to start a business for less than $100, as long as you don’t need a physical location, lots of equipment, or expensive inventory. Many online businesses that offer services or digital products require little to no upfront investment. For example, a low-cost business idea may be consulting or offering virtual assistant services.
If you’re looking for a small business idea you can start with $100 or less, there are several industries and niches to consider. Here are the top local and online business ideas that you can start for under $100.
Walking dogs for pet owners in your community is a simple business idea that requires very little upfront. You might post signs or take out a classified ad to let people know about your services. But many of these businesses also grow through word of mouth or free online marketplaces.
There are online courses for just about everything, from business topics to online cooking classes. You can either set up your own website or use online teaching platforms to make your offerings available to students. Then either shoot video content or make text lessons and workbook pages available to students who sign up.
Social media accounts are generally free, and you can charge a fee to help businesses or influencers grow their presence on these platforms. All you need is a phone or computer and an internet connection to run a social media business. And most people already have those covered. However, it is important to also have some experience and knowledge surrounding social media marketing.
Search engine optimization is another major focus for lots of businesses. This involves adding keywords and other features to websites that make them more easily found via an online search. If you have experience in this area, simply connect with relevant business owners online to share about your services. You shouldn’t need any expensive equipment to get started as a new SEO business. And this is a business that can easily be run remotely.
If you enjoy working with cars, this next business idea may be for you. Help drivers in your area keep their vehicles clean with a mobile detailing service. You just need a few simple cleaning supplies like cloth, squeegees, and automotive cleaning solutions to get started. And you can travel directly to your clients to perform services, eliminating the need for a physical location.
House sitting simply involves staying at or looking in on a client’s house while they’re away. This may be an especially relevant business idea for those in areas where lots of people leave for the summer or winter. However, people go on vacation anywhere. And you can even make more money by adding on extra services like pet sitting.
Run errands like grocery shopping or dry cleaning pickup for busy people in your community in exchange for cash. This should be straightforward enough, and shouldn’t require any equipment or upfront purchases. The only thing you may need is reliable transportation. But a car isn’t required if you live in a walkable area or a city with public transportation options.
To start a house cleaning business, you just need some basic cleaning supplies and a way to advertise your services. Some businesses in this niche take out classified ads or post signs around town. But if you already have some existing connections, you may simply grow your business through word of mouth.
A personal trainer works one-on-one with clients to improve their fitness. You may create tailored workout plans for each person, or specialize in a particular type of workout like weightlifting. Many personal trainers work out of a home gym. So you may simply use weights or a workout mat to get started. Others partner with local gyms to provide the space and equipment each client needs.
For a landscaping business, you just need a lawn mower and some basic maintenance tools, which most homeowners should already have. If you don’t have these supplies, this business may cost a bit more than $100 to start. But you can always start small and add additional services as you earn enough funds to cover new equipment purchases.
Often, online business ideas are perfect for those who don’t want to invest a lot of money into a new business. These ideas cost less than $100 to get off the ground.
There are tons of products you can sell online that don’t cost much at first. For example, you may offer low-cost products like t-shirts or mugs. So you can just purchase limited inventory and pay for a website and shipping supplies. Alternatively, many entrepreneurs start their eCommerce journeys on marketplace sites like eBay or Amazon. Then you can migrate to your own website once you earn enough to cover those costs.
As a freelance writer, you offer your services to businesses and publications on a contractual basis. You can decide what assignments to take, but the companies you write for should handle most of the back-end tasks and expenses involved in launching a website or publication. This is a good business idea for those with some writing skills who just want to earn some extra cash on the weekends or in addition to other projects.
A virtual assistant may handle a variety of tasks for business owners, from inbox management to scheduling to social media posting. All you need for this business is a computer and an internet connection. And there are tons of online job boards where you can advertise your services and connect with clients looking for help. Many of them are free to use.
Handmade business opportunities vary widely depending on what you plan to sell. However, many of them can integrate free or low-cost supplies, making them inexpensive to start. For example, you may start a jewelry shop that integrates recycled materials found around your own home. Then all you need to purchase is some basic craft supplies and shipping materials. Online marketplaces like Etsy let you sell to people around the world for almost nothing upfront. There are also in-person craft fairs and flea markets that you can enter to sell your products. However, some may come with a small fee.
As an event planner, you can help people in your community iron out the details for their events. For example, you may coordinate with vendors for a wedding or design and market business conferences. Your operations can largely be handled online or over the phone, so this is one of many home business ideas that doesn’t cost much to get started. There are tons of free calendars, spreadsheet apps, and budget calculators you can use to manage your operations without spending much upfront.
Consulting is one of the best small business ideas for those with some expertise who don’t want to spend a ton of money to get started. Think of an area where you have plenty of knowledge or experience and consider how you can help others who are navigating that process. For example, a seasoned entrepreneur may offer business or marketing consulting services. However, there are also those who specialize in personal topics, like a life coach or online dating consultants. Once you carve out a niche, you just need a website that outlines your services, a way to communicate with clients, and potentially some methods for advertising your offerings.
A dropshipping business model is an eCommerce shop where you don’t actually handle your own inventory. Instead, you work with a fulfillment center to store and ship your products. Depending on what you sell and the provider you choose, this method may cost more than $100. But for those with low-cost items, you can definitely add this business idea to your list. There are even dropshipping providers that connect users with a wide array of products based on their budget and interests. So you may simply start small and then scale over time as you begin earning an income from your business.
If you have some financial expertise, start a bookkeeping service where you manage finances for other business owners. This generally just requires a computer and some financial software or spreadsheets. There are paid versions available. But you can also use free tools to keep secure financial records. And this business model allows you to create ongoing relationships with clients to maintain a steady income over time.
If you speak and/or write in more than one language, consider offering your services as a translator. You may work on a contractual basis with other companies or individuals, translating for special events, audio content, and even books. You shouldn’t need much if any, equipment to get started. So this business idea may simply require advertising or marketing your services to interested parties online or in your local community.
Affiliate marketers are bloggers and online content creators who share affiliate links with their audiences. When someone purchases something through an affiliate link, the person who shared it earns a small commission from each sale. You can build an entire business around affiliate marketing, or just use it as an additional revenue stream for a blog or influencer business. This is potentially the best business idea for those who want to build a passive income without a lot of upfront costs. All you need is a website or some popular social accounts and relationships with companies that run affiliate programs. Many of these programs are free to sign up, as long as you meet the audience requirements and have enough influence in the areas that are relevant to each company.
There are many business ideas with low startup costs, but a few can be started for next to nothing. Look for business ideas where you can offer a service using an online platform that is free to join. For example, you may advertise VA services on an online marketplace or offer social media management using free social accounts to connect with potential clients.
The exact profitability of each business idea varies widely. However, those who offer a professional service like business consulting or marketing support can generally charge more for services than those offering simple help with errands or data entry. And these business ideas also come with low overhead costs, as long as you have the experience and connections to get started.
There are many easy low-cost business ideas that you can start right away. A full list is included above, but a few examples include an errand service, VA business, and a handmade shop.
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