Starting a Business on a Shoestring Budget: 20 Ideas That Can Lead to Success
Starting a business with little to no investment may seem like an impossible task, but it’s not! There are many ways to become an entrepreneur without a lot of upfront costs. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs started with humble beginnings and turned their passion into profit.
If you want to learn how to write a business plan and create a pitch deck, sign up for this course of 1,5 hours.
Below is a variety of business ideas that you can start with no or minimal investment. From translation and language services to event planning and pet care services, there are endless possibilities to create a successful business. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can become a success in business!
- Translation or language services: If you are fluent in multiple languages, you can offer translation or language services to businesses or individuals.
Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X Prize Foundation and Singularity University, started his career as a professional interpreter.
- Virtual assistant: If you are organized and efficient, you can offer virtual assistant services to businesses or entrepreneurs. This can include tasks such as email management, scheduling, and data entry.
Chris Ducker is a well-known entrepreneur and author who started his career as a virtual assistant. He used his experience as a VA to build his own business and help others build theirs.
- Handmade crafts: If you enjoy making crafts, such as jewelry, pottery, or knitted items, you can sell them online through platforms like Etsy or at local craft fairs.
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, started by making and selling her own handmade hosiery.
- Personal training or fitness coaching: If you are passionate about fitness and enjoy helping others reach their goals, you can offer personal training or fitness coaching services. This can be done in person or online.
Jillian Michaels, a fitness trainer and television personality, started her career as a personal trainer.
- Lawn care or landscaping: If you enjoy working outdoors and have basic lawn care or landscaping skills, you can offer your services to homeowners or businesses.
Mike Michalowicz, author and entrepreneur, started his first business by mowing lawns in his neighborhood.
- Personal shopping or styling: If you have a keen eye for fashion and enjoy helping people look their best, you can offer personal shopping or styling services. You can start by working with friends and family, and expand through word-of-mouth referrals.
Stacy London, co-host of the television show “What Not to Wear,” started her career as a fashion stylist.
- Tutoring or teaching: If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can offer tutoring or teaching services. This can be done in-person or online, and you can set your own rates.
Salman Khan, the founder of the online education platform Khan Academy, started by creating educational videos for his cousins and expanded from there.
- Social media management: If you have experience or a strong interest in social media, you can offer social media management services to businesses. This can include managing social media accounts, creating content, and analyzing metrics.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the founder of the digital marketing agency VaynerMedia, started his career by managing his family’s wine business and sharing his expertise on social media.
- Event planning: If you enjoy planning and organizing events, you can offer event planning services. This can include weddings, corporate events, or social events.
Colin Cowie is an event planner and designer who has planned events for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, and Kim Kardashian. He has also appeared on television shows such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
- Home or car detailing: If you have an eye for detail and enjoy cleaning, you can offer home or car detailing services. You can start by working with friends and family, and expand through referrals.
Tariq Farid, the founder of Edible Arrangements, started his career by detailing cars in his teens.
- Freelance services: If you have a skill, such as writing, graphic design, or social media management, you can start offering your services to clients as a freelancer. You can work from home and set your own rates.
J.K. Rowling started as a freelance writer before publishing her bestselling Harry Potter series.
- Online store: With platforms like Shopify and Etsy, it’s easier than ever to start an online store. You can sell products you make, or find suppliers to dropship products for you.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage with only a few thousand dollars.
- Blogging or content creation: If you enjoy writing or creating content, you can start a blog or YouTube channel and monetize it through advertising, sponsorships, or affiliate marketing.
Arianna Huffington co-founded The Huffington Post, a news and opinion website, which was sold to AOL for $315 million.
- Pet care services: If you love animals, you can offer pet care services, such as dog walking, pet sitting, or grooming.
Jen Tserng, the founder of the pet care company Happy Pets Palace, started her business by walking her own dogs and expanding from there.
- Cleaning services: You can start a cleaning business that offers services to residential or commercial customers. This can include general cleaning, deep cleaning, or specialized cleaning services.
David Zalik, the founder of the financial technology company GreenSky, started his first business at age 14, offering cleaning services to construction companies.
- Delivery service: You can start a delivery service by partnering with local retailers to deliver products to customers. You can start by using your own vehicle or bicycle to make deliveries and expand over time.
Brian Chesky, the co-founder of Airbnb, initially started the company by delivering handmade cereal boxes to customers’ doors.
- Photography or videography: If you have a good eye for composition and enjoy taking photos or videos, you can offer your services to clients for events, products, or social media.
Chase Jarvis, a professional photographer and founder of the online education platform CreativeLive, started his career as a freelance photographer.
- Graphic design: If you have design skills and software, you can offer graphic design services to clients. This can include creating logos, brochures, or social media posts.
Emily Weiss, the founder of the beauty brand Glossier, started her career as a fashion assistant before launching her blog, which led to the creation of her brand.
- Pet grooming: If you enjoy working with animals and have some basic grooming skills, you can offer pet grooming services to pet owners.
Jorge Bendersky, a celebrity pet stylist, started his career as a groomer in his native Argentina before moving to the United States.
- Cleaning or decluttering: You can start a business offering cleaning or decluttering services to homeowners or businesses. This can include deep cleaning, organizing, or decluttering services.
Marla Cilley, known as FlyLady, is a cleaning and organizing expert who has gained a large following through her website and online community. She offers tips and advice on decluttering and maintaining a clean and organized home.