Are you serious about starting a business, but lack the big bucks? Start your own business with the lowest investment and get the biggest success. Before you startup and take out a bank loan, consider thatyou can start a number of businesses for as little as several hundreddollars. We’ve compiled a list of 15 proven businesses that you canstart for $5,000 or less in overhead. Some require little outlay, butlots of time; others require more energy; still others don’t requiremuch at all. One of the business ideas below might just be your next big thing.
Online courses and tutoring
What are you passionate about? Yoga? Baking? Web design? If you know something inside and out, you can help others enrich their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional packets and videos, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients. Another option for aspiring educators is to start a virtual or home-based tutoring service.
Virtual assistants help clients with a variety of projects from their home offices. Tasks may be administrative, but can also relate tomarketing, Web design, IT, and other tasks. Virtual assistantscommunicate with their clients via Internet, phone, or fax.
Your computer, phone system, and Internetconnection are your lifeblood in this industry. If you already own therelevant machines, make sure you have the means to pay for goodconnections on a monthly basis.
Many virtual assistants come from a non-virtual (on-the-job)background. If you’re interested in education and coaching to launchyour business, venues such as Virtual Assistance U. charge around $1,500 for complete training.
Also read: 5 Reasons Many Businesses Fail in the First Year
If you’re fluent in a second language, you can find work converting written and spoken words from one language to another. Broadening international ties and an increase in the number of non-English speakers in the U.S. make this a fast-growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Services predicting 42 percent growth by 2020. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers.
With ride-sharing platforms like Uber, you can turn the car you already own into a business today without spending a dollar.
If all goes well, you might parlay the money you make into a regular taxi or chauffeur service.
Of course, once again, your goal if you want bigger profits is to eventually hire employees or sub-contractors.
Apps are taking over the world! If you have a propensity for Webdevelopment, enough skill to work in various platforms (iPhone, iPad,Droid, etc.), it’s time to mine the app craze.
Many companies now exist that will take your amazing smartphoneapplication idea and develop it into a real, sellable app for download.Upfront costs include a development period where they will work with you to best design the application. Most of these companies charge from$999-$2000 and many keep partial ownership of the application as thedeveloper. But you are also gaining entry into a highly technicalmarketplace.
Recurring expenses: Ongoing marketing and spreadingthe news about your app will be your greatest time and moneyexpenditure. You might consider hiring PR or marketing company familiarwith getting new apps reviewed. Make sure that your app is included onthe relevant blogs and news outlets who report on new apps.
Tour Guide Service
Again, the Internet has made all the difference in lowering the barriers to starting a business.
Forget about business cards (at least at first) or trying to gettravel agencies to recommend your guide service. If you know an areawell, you simply sign up with a website like Vayable.com and let them find your customers for a cut of the revenue.
Once you know the ropes and make some money, you can encouragereturning visitors to come to you (and your new employees) directly.
If you’re a decent interior and exterior painter–or, better yet,already know the painting business–forking up for some high-grade toolscan pay handsome dividends. Residential homes, new construction, andcommercial painting are general places to start.
Overhead: $2,000+. You’ll need painting supplieslike drop cloths, a ladder, and edges. Marketing and advertising willalso be necessary expenses. Add to that any necessary licensure andliability insurance. Your biggest investment at the beginning will bethe time it takes to build your network.
Recurring expenses: Replacing supplies. Keepinginsurance and licensure current. Constant advertising, at least untilyou gain enough business through referrals.
Also read: How To Start A Business: 12 Incredible Small Business Ideas
Like pets? Don’t mind walking a lot, disciplining animals, orscooping poop? Combine the two by becoming a pet walker (this usuallygoes hand-in-hand with cat sitting, too). It can be a surprisinglylucrative full-time business.
Starting expenses $100-$500. Some dog walkers may berequired to have a business license, if walking multiple dogs at onetime, for example. Many opt to become insured and bonded as a safeguardfor both themselves and their clients. Check your local jurisdiction for rules.
Recurring expenses: Ongoing marketing and clientcare. Cards, flyers, handbills and networking with local pet centerswill help get your message out there.
Social Media Management
Businesses need help managing their social media presence.
In particular, they need to tweet on Twitter and post on Facebook inorder to raise awareness of their companies and promote their products.You may already know how to use these and many other social media platforms.
Learn a little more with online tutorials on how to become a socialmedia consultant. Then contact everyone you know to see if they needthis valuable service. Scaling up will require hiring others at somepoint, so you can focus on getting new clients.
Startup cost? Zero.
Business Waste Consulting
Many businesses spend thousands of dollars a month just on wastedisposal and recycling. With a little bit of training, you can becomethe person they turn to in order to save money. Companies hireenvironmental waste consultants to build recycling and waste reductionsystems that will save them money. Naturally, a part of those savedexpenditures goes to you, the consultant.
Recurring expenses: Upkeep of your equipment and marketing costs to gain new clients.
Got a knack for fixing PCs or Macs? Are you the person your familyand friends always call when they have computer trouble? You mightconsider turning your skill into a small business. Everyone has acomputer, and 99% of us panic when something goes wrong. Being theperson to save the day can reward you handsomely. Bonus points if youcan fix mobile devices.
A license and insurance could set you back up to $2,000. Also consider marketing costs, especially when you’rejust starting out, and any hardware and software you need totroubleshoot other peoples’ computers. A dedicate space with a repairbench and tools also helps a lot.
Recurring expenses: Software upgrades, equipment upgrades and maintenance, rent if you have a separate office, fuel if you do house calls.
If you’re a highly organized, detail-oriented individual who loves putting parties together, you might have the right personality to launch an event-planning business. Working for weddings, birthday parties and class reunions, event planners make it easy for others to host an exciting party. LinkedIn, cold calling and planning a few pro-bono events will help give you the proper experience. This will also help you build up a solid database of vendors and contacts so you can help your clients orchestrate the event of their dreams.
Ever been in a bouncy castle? It’s fun, right? Kids in churches, atbirthday parties, at schools, and anywhere else there’s a party lovebouncing around in inflated structures. If you happen to be the partyrental service that provides inflatables and other party essentials, you have for you. For a small initial investment, you can bring yourportable party everywhere.
Starting expense $200-$5,000+, depending on the type andamount of equipment you buy (besides bouncy structures, you can getwater slides, obstacle courses, casino games, lighting/specialeffects…the opportunities are endless). For example, for an inflatable,you’ll also need a blower to inflate your equipment, liabilityinsurance, and preferably a company-branded vehicle to carry yourequipment. Budget money for accessories like a dolly, tarps, storagebags, and patch kits.
Recurring expenses: big ones in this business—you want everyone to know about you, so you want to be visible in the phone book, online, and at functions. Also factor in liability insurance and fuel costs.
Everyone needs their lawn mowed, from private homes to big businessparks. Why not be the company that does it for them? Lawn care can be alucrative proposition—and that summer tan doesn’t hurt, either.
Overhead: $3,000. This includes the cost of mowers,trimmers, bagging, seeders, brooms other and assorted items. In manycities you will need a city tax affidavit, liability insurance, a statetax number, and a business telephone. If you plan to spray lawns orprovide sprinkler service, you will need to check with your county forthe proper license.
Recurring expenses: Upkeep and repair on yourmechanical items will be essential to keeping your business running.Once you have built a solid customer base, you may think aboutreplicating your team (buying the equipment and hiring summer workers)to handle more clients. Of course, marketing and networking whether byflyers, cards, brochures or handbills will be required each spring togain new customers.
Also read: 50 Best Online Business Ideas for Female Entrepreneurs
If you’re a jack-of-all-trades who can fix anything from roof beamsto toilets, consider making a killing off your hobby by becoming ahandyman. Many people don’t have the time or know-how to even fix thelittle things in their homes. If you make yourself visible and seal agood reputation, you can have customers for life.
Even if you can’t swing a hammer, you can create a company thatoutsources handymen. People call you for a handyman, you find thespecialist who best suits their needs, and the handyman does the work as a contractor for you. This role might be a little moreoverhead-intense, as it helps to have a central office, a good computersystem, and other office equipment.
Start your business today!