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Ten small business ideas with low start-up costs

By Alexandra Gavril - January 23, 2020

Starting a small business. It’s a dream many hold but few put into action. Why? The lack of time, skills, or funds are just a few of the reasons that are holding most people back from launching a start-up up and working on their own terms.

Luckily, with the prevalence of the internet, it’s now increasingly easy to start a business from scratch without spending a fortune. In fact, most often all you need to make your idea happen is a laptop, a website, a willingness to learn a few extra skills and a desire to succeed.

So, for those of you dreaming big on a small budget, here are ten low-investment start-up ideas that you can bring to life this year.

1. Start a blog

No matter what you’re passionate about – travel, movies, music, cooking, nutrition, business, or personal finance – you can easily start a blog and share your knowledge and advice with the world.

While it can take a while to start making money from your blog, it’s not impossible. In fact, if you write great content, keep a consistent publishing schedule, promote all your blog posts on various channels, and start an email list, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to turn your blog into a side business or even one that earns you a full-time income.

There are lots of ways you can monetise your blog once you start getting traffic, including:

  • Selling affiliate products
  • Reviewing different products and services
  • Writing sponsored posts
  • Selling online courses and ebooks

This post walks you through the best ways to make money from a new or existing blog. And if you need some more ideas and inspiration, take a look at how these ten bloggers make a million dollars per year from blogging.

Need help getting started? Check out these guides to learn how to start blogging:

2. Start a podcast

Podcasting is similar to blogging, the main difference being that it’s in an audio format. In this case, the investment might be a little higher as you’ll likely need to purchase some audio equipment to ensure a good sound quality.

Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to get started with podcasting and then use these 15 strategies to start making money from your podcast.

3. Become a freelance writer

If you have a way with words, why not put that passion and skills to work and start a business writing for the web?

Even if you don’t have heaps of experience, you can start by helping other start-ups with small projects like blogging, email newsletters and social media posts.

To increase your chances of getting hired, focus on a niche or specific industry that you’re passionate or knowledgeable about. For example, if you’re a parent, you can easily start writing content for businesses that sell baby clothing or related products, or consultants that sell parenting courses.

Check out this post to learn how to market your writing services and land your first freelance clients.

4. Create and sell greeting cards

For most people, writing a fun, quirky or heart-warming message for their family or friends on their birthday, anniversary or any other special event, is exhausting. It takes work and energy to find the right words to express your thoughts and feelings.

So, if you’ve always been complimented on your original greeting card messages, take the plunge and turn that into a small business. You’ll not only be making people’s lives easier but you’ll also be having fun trying out all sorts of messages for different occasions and audiences.

If you can also draw or design, or have a friend who is artistically inclined, have them join your start-up.

5. Help people get hired

If you have experience helping people get jobs, why not make some money out of it?

Whether you’re skilled at creating and writing stellar resumes and cover letters, or can advise people on how to ace an interview and get hired, there are plenty of job seekers who would pay for your guidance and services.

6. Set up a recruiting business

For most businesses, it’s time and energy-consuming to search for and find the right candidates for specific jobs.

So if you have experience with recruiting or are willing to learn, you can easily lunch a recruiting start-up. With the plethora of tools available online, you can easily interview candidates over the Internet, without having to meet with them face-to-face. In other words, you’ll be able to do most of your work online.

This can be a lucrative business that can earn you a nice income on the long-run, considering that many businesses often pay a premium to recruiting services that can help them find high level candidates.

7. Sell courses online

What’s your passion? Yoga? Running marathons? Playing the guitar? Taking photos? Making videos?

If you enjoy it, and you know it inside out, you can help others enrich or better their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional videos or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients.

This beginner’s guide walks you through the key steps to follow to promote and sell your own online course.

8. Become a handyman

Lots of homeowners are willing to pay for small repairs or additions like patching walls, hanging curtain rods, picture frames or mirrors, or installing or repairing taps.

If you have experience as a contractor or handyman, you can easily start a small business where you offer your services to homeowners in your area. Get a website up and running, use flyers as well as social media and other channels to promote your services, and you’ll soon get paying clients.

Plus, the start-up costs for this kind of business are small since it doesn’t require you setting up a physical storefront.

9. Cook for special events

If your friends and family are always complimenting your cooking and inviting you over to prepare dinner for them, then that’s all the key ingredients you need to launch a start-up.

You can start small by positioning yourself as a private chef for small events like romantic dinners or small party events at people’s homes. This also helps to keep the start-up costs to a minimum since you won’t need to pay rent for a physical space.

10. Start an ironing business

If you ask people which chore they dislike most doing around the house, ironing would probably be high on their list. If you’re one of those people who enjoys it or finds it relaxing, why not start an ironing business?

With very little outlay, other than an iron, an ironing board and your time, you can earn good money pressing clothes for other people from your home.

As with all businesses, you may only have a few customers at first, but if you provide a professional service that people are happy with, the word will spread and soon you will be earning a nice additional income from it.

Here’s a useful guide with some great tips and advice on how to start your own ironing business from home.

What’s next?

Not sure whether or not running your own business is worth it? This post walks you through the pros and cons of running a business so you can make an informed decision.

If you decide it’s worth it and have a fantastic idea that you want to turn into a business, the next step is to validate it. This blog helps you to road-test your start-up idea, to make sure there’s a market out there for you.

Finally, check out this comprehensive guide to starting an online business. In it, you’ll find all the steps you need to follow to get your start-up online and thriving, from the idea phase to online marketing. Good luck!