In the past, it was difficult and hazardous for entrepreneurs to launch a new venture. The initial investment required to open a brick-and-mortar store is substantial. Now that we live in the information age, there are countless possibilities for entrepreneurs to make a living doing what they love.
Whether you’re seeking a weekend hobby or a method to replace your income, there are plenty of low-investment businesses to consider.
Low-Cost Business Concepts
It’s not necessary to go into debt to get your business off the ground. Making money while engaging in an activity you enjoy may be quite rewarding. And you can launch any of these enterprises for about $600, often with nothing more than a laptop and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Writing or editing on the side
As more and more companies establish an online presence, the need for freelance writers and editors rises. Freelancing as a writer or editor opens up several doors, from advertising campaigns and blogs to product descriptions and more.
Finding your area of expertise is essential. You may increase your rates, improve the quality of your output, and increase your portfolio’s value all thanks to this.
Freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork make it easy to connect with potential clients and find work. My own experience has taught me that these venues are excellent for gaining skills and constructing a resume, but they do not yield lasting cash rewards.
There are a lot of users on these sites, and they often start bidding against one other for jobs. Furthermore, the platforms will retain a cut of your profits.
In any case, it has been stated that some users of these sites make well into the six figures annually, so the sky’s the limit.
As a result, many media editors now put out calls for submissions on social media. Observe them and prepare a pitch if you’re a writer. Another great tool for learning which businesses pay writers and how much they make is Who Pays Writers.
Finding work as a freelance editor is similar to the process of finding work as a freelance writer. Sites like Reedsy are also available to them. It’s an online resource for authors who are getting their novels ready for sale. You create a profile, and then authors who are interested in your services can contact you there to discuss the details of their project and request a price estimate.
Setting your own charges as a freelance writer or editor is flexible. Typically. new writers and editors should expect to make $20-$30 an hour. Raise your prices as you gain expertise and assets.
- Gig Worker
Temporary, on-demand employment that is paid by the project rather than by the hour is sometimes referred to as “gig work.” Ridesharing applications like Uber and Lyft, as well as food delivery businesses like Doordash and Grubhub, are examples of highly sought-after gig economy careers.
Numerous more sites exist to facilitate communication between freelancers and employers. Soothe is geared at massage therapists, whereas TaskRabbit specializes in home maintenance.
These sites make it easier to acquire customers and can provide a reliable stream of employment, especially for newcomers. The employer may take a cut of your pay, reducing your take-home pay.
Tips are a significant part of the income for most people who work as independent contractors through platforms like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Grubhub. They often make between $15 and $25 per hour. Soothe massage therapists, for example, may expect to make anywhere from $60 to $100 an hour.
In the realm of content creation, influencers are all the rage. They amass a fan base (perhaps across many platforms) and then negotiate endorsement arrangements with businesses.
Micro-influencers have become more common in recent years, and it’s not uncommon for them to make several hundred bucks every post from a modest audience of a few thousand.
If you’re a prominent influencer, you may make tens of thousands of dollars with a single post. Social media stars with a large following, such as Kylie Jenner or NikkieTutorials, can earn millions of dollars annually.
When you’re just starting out, though, that number drops to roughly $100 each post. Building a sizable, engaged audience is a time-consuming process.
You may offer your creative talents to businesses directly if you enjoy creating content but would like to see financial returns from your efforts sooner. The work you produce will be taken away from you without compensation. You pitch this idea to the company whose brand you’re operating under.
It may take some time before companies are willing to pay you to promote their products or services while you’re establishing your own audience and monetizing it. The emergence of so-called “micro-influencers,” however, has opened up new doors for small businesses.
Those with enormous followings of over 1 million can charge upwards of $10,000 or more each social media post. The standard rate is $100 per post for every 10,000 followers (thus, for 30,000 followers, the rate would be $300).
Similar to having influence, blogging requires you to cultivate your own following and provide original content for them. Bloggers may make money in a variety of ways, including through advertising (they receive a tiny portion of the cost of the ad in the margins of the article), affiliate marketing (they receive a fee on any sales that arise from advocating a product), and sponsored brand collaborations.
Do not expect to start making money right away; building an audience takes time and work. Having control over your own material may bring in passive revenue for years to come, as long as people keep coming back to read your articles.
Bloggers make a variety of amounts through advertising, but one common figure is $15 per 1,000 pageviews, at least according to several well-known bloggers.
Affiliate marketing is another way for bloggers to make money. One signs up for an affiliate scheme like DFO Global or Amazon Associates. Then, when you want to recommend a product, you utilize those unique URLs. Customers who click on your affiliate link and make a purchase are likely to earn you a commission, even if they don’t wind up purchasing the item you promoted.
Bloggers, like influencers, may monetize their efforts by striking arrangements with brands. Blogging’s potential payoff is highly proportional to the blog’s readership, thus a single variable may make a huge difference. While some bloggers make six or seven figures per year without monetizing their site, the majority make far less.
- Virtual Assistant (VA)
You may find success as a virtual assistant (VA) if you have strong interpersonal and organizational skills. A virtual assistant’s duties depend on the individual customer and may include scheduling and arranging trips, drafting and responding to emails, managing finances, and paying bills.
To become a virtual assistant, you need not complete any formal schooling. However, if you want to distinguish out from the competition, consider providing other services like social media marketing or site design.
Virtual assistants often begin charging anywhere from $10 to $26 per hour, but have been known to charge $40 per hour or more.
- Pet Sitting or Dog Walking
As more and more people are getting pets, there has been an increase in the need for dog walkers and pet sitters. IBIS World estimates that the dog walking sector is currently worth $1 billion. Sites like TrustedHousesitters and Rover allow you to house sit for those in need in your area, or earn money by watching others’ pets, while you’re away.
It’s low-cost to start up, but certification can be worthwhile. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International are two of the most respected organizations in the pet sitting industry. In general, you can count on spending between $250 and $400 for the credential.
Your prices as a pet sitter should reflect the services you provide. You should charge less for dropping in on a cat for 30 minutes to clean the litter box and feed it than for spending the night with a puppy. A pet sitter might charge anything from $20 to $30 per day, and $45 to $85 per night.
Usually, you can expect to pay $20 to $30 for a 30-minute walk for your dog with a professional dog walker. Providing discounts for many walks per day or for a second dog might encourage customers to arrange more frequent service. If you provide dog walking services, you might charge $30 for a single outing or $50 for two outings on the same day.
Nannying is a rewarding profession if you enjoy working with children and they enjoy being cared for by you.
Nanny agencies often only hire nannies to work with a single family at a time. The client may also want you to do things like run errands, clean the house, or assist the children with their homework in addition to providing child care. Tell your parents whether you’re bilingual or creative. It’s a great way to set yourself apart from the competition.
Depending on location, level of experience, and the number of children in the household, a nanny’s hourly wage might range from $12 to $20.
- Etsy Seller
Those with creative talents might find success on Etsy. Etsy is an online marketplace where users may buy and sell a variety of unique things, including those manufactured by other users, vintage objects, creative materials, and even digital downloads.
Etsy beginners should open a shop and display their wares. The initial fee of creating an account is $0.20, but each listing after that will cost you that much. Every sale you make comes with a 6.5% transaction charge. To calculate this fee, add the shipping and handling costs to the price of the item.
What you sell, the success of your store, and consumer demand all play a role in determining how much money you may make on Etsy. To discover more about how to sell on Etsy, see our helpful article.
- E-Commerce Reseller
The practice of purchasing and reselling products online may be a source of income for some and a means of offloading unwanted possessions for others.
Before launching a company on a marketplace like eBay, Craigslist, or Poshmark, it’s important to study the competitors and determine how you can outdo them.
What you’re selling has a major impact on your operating costs and profits. You might, for instance, use Poshmark to market your collection of antique T-shirts. You’ll need to spend some time perusing secondhand shops for these T-shirts, have somewhere to keep the merchandise, and foot the bill for delivery.
Further, the majority of online marketplaces charge a flat fee or a portion of sales to merchants.
- Online Tutoring or Online Course Instruction
Maybe you know how to study efficiently, play the piano, or speak a foreign language, and you have no idea that these are all skills that people would like to learn from you. This knowledge will serve you well in your pursuit of online education teaching positions.
You need just develop the curriculum and market it to potential students. The creation of an online course may be a source of passive income because it can be sold for years after it was first made. The cost of online education varies widely. Based on the use of the software, prices might range from $10 to several thousand.
After developing your course, you’ll require paying participants. You can find them via internet marketing or recommendations from friends and family. It may take some time to establish a reliable income from course sales.
You can count on a steady income from online teaching, so it’s a good choice if that’s what you’re after. As an online instructor, you may connect with students anywhere in the globe who are interested in learning your expertise. Sites like Italki and Cambly allow you to teach English to students online.
Online tutoring jobs are available on websites like Skooli and Tutor.com. Costs might differ widely amongst online tutoring services. To give just one example, Skooli pays its educators $25 per hour. However, the costs to others may vary.
You may charge anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour to work with your own private students, depending on the level of difficulty and your level of expertise in the field. If you have a bachelor’s degree and are teaching students in fifth grade arithmetic, you can expect to earn around $25 per hour.
You may easily charge $75 or more per hour if you have a master’s degree in mathematics and are tutoring a high school student in calculus.
- Graphic Designer
Web designers, logo artists, and magazine page designers all fall under the purview of the graphic designer’s vast remit. It’s a position that calls for both creative and analytical thinking, so you’ll need to bring both to the table.
To be successful in the field of graphic design, you’ll require access to appropriate design software. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Lightroom are just some of the programs included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which can be subscribed to monthly for $52.99.
Even though there are many no-cost options for learning graphic design (like YouTube), it may be worth it to pay for formal training to set you apart from the crowd.
Freelance graphic designers with less expertise may expect to pay anything from $20 to $25 an hour. Experience and a solid portfolio will allow you to increase your hourly rate to $65-$150 or more as you progress.
- Marketing on Social Media
To put it simply, a social media marketer promotes a business’ goods and services on social media. It’s a great exercise in organization, imagination, and communication. Learn the ins and outs of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn if you want to succeed as a social media marketer.
Many people who work in social media marketing also have backgrounds in marketing. You can locate clients more easily if you have a collection of social media profiles that you’ve created and managed. Even if you don’t have any paying customers just yet, you may show off your knowledge of the platforms and how to expand your following by making fake profiles.
Start up charging between $15 and $50 per hour to clients. It is possible to charge $120 or more per hour after just five years of expertise if you can demonstrate your worth to a company.
When the time is right, you can switch to a monthly retainer plan. As you get more proficient at managing accounts, you’ll spend less time with each client. Package deals are a great way to bring in regular cash flow. Prices for packages can vary from $150 to $10,000 or more, based on factors such as the nature of the customer, the scope of the project, and the time commitment involved. Usually, you may expect to pay anything from $400 to $5,000.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The job of an SEO expert is to improve a website’s visibility in search engines like Google and Bing. Everything from enhancing your website’s authority with backlinks and other tactics to optimizing the pages on your site (on-page SEO) is included.
Take a certification course to understand the ins and outs of SEO before launching your own company. An SEO certification from UC Davis is available on Coursera and may be earned at your own speed for $59 per month. SEO courses on Udemy may be had for as little as $15.99.
The cost of search engine optimization services can range greatly depending on factors like the expertise of the SEO expert and the specifics of the client’s campaign. You may set your hourly rate at anywhere from $15 to $250, though starting off, you should anticipate earning closer to the lower end of that range. However, SEO experts like InterCool Studio often provide services on a subscription basis. Prices might vary, but in general, you should expect to pay between $2,000 and $2,500 monthly.
A company’s financial data is useless without a bookkeeper to record and analyze it. The increasing number of people who are beginning their own small enterprises and who would want to outsource the bookkeeping to an independent contractor has resulted in a rising demand for bookkeepers, as reported by IBISWorld.
Being a bookkeeper does not need formal education or experience. However, spending money on credentials can help you command greater fees and set yourself apart from the competitors.
Anything from enrolling at a community college to studying abroad is possible. For instance, Udemy provides a course called “Bookkeeping Basics” that normally costs $89.99 but frequently has discounts that bring the price down to $54.99.
You should have project management and billing software once you start working with several clients. The average monthly cost for one of these is from $5 to $20, however this may vary based on the specifics of your needs.
Additional expenses may be incurred if a web designer is employed, an office is rented, or marketing dollars are spent. However, if you already own a laptop, have access to the internet, and don’t mind working out of your kitchen, you may get started for as little as $125 per month.
Bookkeepers can choose to bill their customers on a monthly, hourly, per-transaction, or per-bank-account basis. Bookkeepers can charge anything from $15 to $29 per hour when first starting out, and more as their expertise and education grow, or as their skills become more in demand.
- Cleaning Services
Many people despise housework; if you aren’t one of them, cleaning services might be a lucrative enterprise.
You will need to invest in some cleaning equipment before you can open for business. Avoiding projects that need a lot of pricey equipment will help you get started (like a hardwood floor buffer or upholstery cleaner).
A vacuum cleaner is probably the priciest thing you’ll need to get going. A decent one may be purchased on Amazon for less than $200. If you want to reduce your initial investment even more, you might look for local sellers on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or OfferUp. Nextdoor also has an area where people may post items they are selling.
Single-family house cleaning services typically cost between $100 and $250, however this range might go higher in some areas. To account for the extra time and effort required to remove stubborn stains during the initial cleaning, it’s fair to charge more for a one-time cleaning.
Opening a business is a lot of work. Try to hold out until the right moment. Gaining traction and identifying your ideal customers might take some time. In addition, there are a few things you should know if this is your first time launching a firm.
To begin, keep in mind that there will be a period of non billable time spent getting your firm off the ground. People often spend a considerable amount of time prospecting for new business, performing administrative tasks, and connecting with existing customers.
You should include that time in your prices to ensure you are compensated for your efforts. Check out our prices for freelancers guide if you need help determining what to charge.
In addition, there are expenses associated with things like website registration and hosting, advertising to help reach more potential clients, and business cards, unless you can get all of your customers through word of mouth. All of these activities are expensive in terms of both time and money. In the long run, they should bring in fresh prospects and customers.
Check the laws in your state that pertain to company owners to see if you are required to have insurance. If you want to make sure you have all the facts, you should go to an insurance agent. Depending on the services you provide and the many types of insurance you require, the cost of business insurance might be significantly more than the average annual premium of $1,000.
Finally, as a business owner, you should always make sure to save enough money to pay your taxes on a quarterly basis. Approximately 25% of your quarterly income should be set aside for taxes.
It takes time and effort to establish a profitable business, but the payoff is knowing you’re in charge of your own time and can take pride in your accomplishments. Yet, enjoy yourself while doing it.