You want to start your own business, but you don’t have a lot of money to invest. So you need some business idea and plan to startup. Many people will say you can start online business without money, but that’s not true. There are plenty of businesses you can launch for well under $10,000 (or even less than $1,000).
First, review our list of “10 Best Full-Time Business Ideas,” many of which are also low-cost. Then, check out the low-cost businessideas below. Most require little more than a computer, smartphone, andenough of a marketing budget to set up a basic website, print business cards or brochures and place some online ads.
- House sitting/pet sitting: Watching overclients’ homes, pets or both while they’re on out of town requiresliterally no equipment. You will want to get insured and bonded to giveyour clients peace of mind, but other than that, your startup costs arevery low. Word of mouth is the best way to grow your clientele, but youcan also list your services on a site like the National Association ofProfessional Pet Sitters or HouseSitter.com.
- Consulting: Turn your previous work experience into a low-cost business by starting a consulting service. You can often tap into previous connections — or even your former employer — for yourfirst clients. (Just make sure you’re not breaking any non-competeagreements with your ex-employer.) Your biggest expenses will bemarketing your business and joining professional and industryorganizations to meet potential clients. (also read: 25 Profitable Business You Can Start Without Money)
- eCommerce store: Launching an eCommerce website is a low-cost way to get into retailing. Use drop shipping to save onstartup and operating costs: This means you don’t buy or store inventory but have products shipped directly from a third party when the customer makes a purchase. Want to keep it really low cost? Set up a store on Amazon or eBay.
- Event planning: If you have a flair for events, are good at managing details and have connections among musicians,caterers, florists, furniture rental companies and other event-relatedproviders, consider an event planning business. Since vendors providethe equipment and customers pay for it, your upfront costs are minimal.Get started by offering to organize a few events for free or at reducedcost to build your portfolio, then use social media and word-of-mouth to grow.
- Accounting/bookkeeping service: If you have a waywith numbers and experience as an accountant or bookkeeper, it doesn’tcost much to turn your job experience into a business of your own. Allyou need is a computer and accounting software tailored to yourclientele. Specializing in a particular type of client, such asrestaurants, retailers or manufacturers, can help you gain an edge.
- Mobile automotive detailing: Who has time to take a car in to get washed and detailed? That’s where your mobile automotivedetailing service comes in. You can start small by targeting residential customers at home, or you can service corporate clients — either bydetailing their fleets or by providing mobile detailing services theycan offer to their employees at work as a perk.
- Non-medical senior home-care provider: AgingAmericans prefer to keep living in their homes, and as a seniorhome-care provider, you can help them do so. You won’t provide medicalcare but help seniors with tasks of daily living, such as cooking, light cleaning and transportation. Make connections with organizations thatwork with seniors, such as rehabilitation centers, doctors and seniorday-care centers, to get referrals to potential clients.
- Admissions consultant: College and postgraduateeducation are becoming more competitive by the day, and parents arewilling to pay for admissions consultants who help students get into the school of their choice. If you have experience as an admissionsofficer, you’re ahead of the pack, but many admissions consultants learn the ropes by getting their children into college. Specialize in aparticular niche, such as obtaining financial aid or helping withmedical school admission, to make your business stand out.
- Residential cleaning service: Busy two-incomefamilies mean ongoing demand for housecleaning services. All you need to get started is transportation, cleaning supplies and a budget formarketing, such as setting up a basic website and printing brochures and business cards. Most housecleaning customers prefer to getrecommendations from friends and family, so use referrals from satisfied customers to grow your business by word-of-mouth.
- Mobile massage services: Check with your state’srequirements for massage training and licensing; you’ll also need toobtain insurance. However, once this is handled, your equipment needsare few–a portable massage table and/or chair, linens, and lotions oroils. You can target individuals and go to customers’ homes, take thecorporate route and offer mobile massage services to businesses as aperk for their employees, or specialize in areas such as pregnancymassage or sports massage.
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