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10 Businesses You Can Start With Almost No Money

With the right motivation, you can start a lot of businesses with (almost) no money.Astute readers of this blog will know that I advocate increasing your income more often than reducing your spending. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is with ten real business ideas (not cheesy work-at-home ideas) that require little or no money to start up.

I’m not saying these ideas will make you rich, but with a little hard work you might end up with a nice second income.

Concierge Service – If you live in an affluent area, you would be amazed at what some people are will to pay to not have to do themselves.

From grocery shopping to dry cleaning runs to booking travel and doctor’s appointments, you can become a personal assistant to the super-busy, and superrich.

Mobile (Interior) Auto Detailing – How many people do you know who have decent cars but drive around with buckets of junk in the backseat and French fries stuck to the floor mats? Gross. With a vacuum cleaner you may already own and a few cheap bottles of automotive cleaning products, you can offer to come to anyone’s home or work and make their car’s interior like new. Professional shops can charge up to $100 or more for this service.

Dog Walker or Petsitting Service – If you love animals, there are plenty of people who will pay you to watch after their critters for a few hours. Depending on your schedule, this could be a part-time gig or very full time, and you could probably start working without spending a dime.

Fact-Checking and Research Service – Did you know that nearly every major magazine and many websites obsessively check and re-check every fact and source in their story? Best of all, very few employ in-house researchers to do this critical task. Yes, it’s tedious, but it only requires a laptop and a telephone!

Bookkeeping – Bookkeeping and accounting is perhaps one of the most in-demand services that small businesses will farm out to part-time freelancers. And you don’t need to be a CPA to keep a company’s books – most of this work is routine data entry and paying bills. No experience? You can find evening or online training pretty easily.

Association Manager – Everyday people form new professional networks, community associations, or even groups of hobbyists with similar interests. The only problem is groups take a lot of administrative work to maintain. There are websites to be built and updated, newsletters to be written, dues to be collected, meetings and events to be scheduled, and mailing lists to maintain. Think you’re up to the task? By creating templates and protocols you could easily begin managing several groups and raking in

Property Management – The “grown up” version of shoveling snow and mowing lawns, small to medium sized landlords everywhere need trustworthy people to watch after their real estate. The responsibilities can vary, from simply taking calls from tenants and arranging for maintenance to be done to actually fixing things and landscaping yourself. If you want to go full-service, you can even offer to show apartments, screen tenants, and collect the rent.

Sports or Activity Clinics – Were you a slugger on your college baseball team? Are you a great golfer? An artist or a musician? Start evening, Saturday, or summer clinics for local youth to learn your skill. Parents are always looking for enrichment activities for their children and are more than happy to pay you for a day – or several – without their kids.

Clutter Consultant – Have a knack for organization? Another great business opportunity in more affluent areas, you can work as a clutter consultant to help people rid themselves of crap and regain living space. FYI, this would pair nicely with a junk removal service!

Start a Blog – Okay, you knew I’d have to include this one! If you’ve got something you love to write about, you can probably make money blogging about it! Just beware, blogging is by no means an easy business. It may take months – or years – before you make your first dollar, but it also has great rewards.

With any business, you’ll need to get the word out and get some customers! Next week I will look at ways to market your new business for little or no money.

What about you? Have you started a part-time business you think others could also do? Do you have a business idea that you don’t have time for? Please share!

 

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. I’ve always joked about becoming some kind of organization maven. I should TOTALLY start charging my friends.

  2. Most of the list are not business, but miserable jobs.

  3. Francisco Aldape says:

    I like what I see hear. However I am only 25 years old and I left my job with no plans or anything what would yall suggest I do?

  4. Jennifer Clemens says:

    I would like more information on the Fact Checkng and Research Service. How would I go about finding employers?

  5. Bruce Williams says:

    Hello i’ve thinking about doing the same business. How long have you been doing this business? Did u start off doing all the work? If there is anything else you can help me out with can u share thank you

  6. i am 25 years old and i done mba, but inspite of doing job i want to start my own business with small capital. so can you suggest me.

    • Anzar,

      I don’t want to be disrespectful but you may want to consider learning to speak and write English correctly first. Most employers won’t even finish reading your resume or help you with a business if they can’t understand you.

  7. Elaine logan says:

    I am interested in editing, researching and words in general. Any ideas?

  8. I am a student of industrial engineering ,my age is 23 years … i want to start my own small business which is not more hard (just sit on internet and do business) ..at least i can pay my university fee by doing business on internet plz gave me some suggestion.

  9. i want to open my own small business…do you have any ideas for me i am a hard worker and college graduate with small savings. I’m looking into acct..

  10. To any aspiring property managers reading this, be advised that some states require you to have a broker’s license or at least a real estate license and work under a broker’s supervision in order to manage the property of others.

  11. Great list. I had a friend whose car was like a hoarder’s. She definitely could have used the car cleaning service.

    Being a virtual assistant is also a great way to make a side income.

  12. I started an automotive detailing business when I was in high school, but after a while I realized that it was a cut-throat industry. Other competitors kept coming in and undercutting me and then supplies would continue to cost more. It was more of a hassle than it was a revenue producer, so I learned other trades to keep me going part time. Now, I work part time with internet tasks for other businesses. It is not easy, but at least I can do it on my own time without traveling.

  13. I can attest to the research idea. I spent several years working about 15-20 hours a week doing research for a law firm (I have no legal background) regarding fashion and entertainment…starting pay was $17 an hour and it was easy, though tedious, work.

  14. Agree with Marie.

    Many states require licenses to be “real” property managers.

  15. Another good idea is getting paid to manage social media for business.

  16. I was waiting for “Start a Blog Option.” I would stay away from areas that require expertise if you don’t have any experience and want to start a business. Focus on options like Dog Walker and Mobile Car Detailer.

  17. Matt Blair says:

    My Friend and I just started an computer solutions venture that deals with linux operating systems other than windows and mac. We also sell things for people online at amazon and ebay. If you have the time and want to make your bus. work then nothing is impossible. I have a BS in finance and economics and ive found out this is worth way more than getting a job. 11 dollars and hour in a economy like this was not doing it.