Bookkeeping, dog walking, house sitting, snow removal, fact-checking, tutoring, and resume writing are all businesses you can start with little (or no) money. In most cases, all you need is a website and business license, making them extremely low cost.

Starting your own business is a great way to control your own destiny, make some extra cash, and even turn your hobby into a profitable venture. But, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to invest.

Don’t worry! There are plenty of businesses you can start on a shoestring budget. In fact, here are 30 businesses you can start for free (or with very little money).

Ready to become your own boss? Read on!

1. Concierge Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business cards, transportation, business license, liability insurance

If you live in an affluent area, you would be amazed at what some people are willing to pay to not have to do boring chores 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.

2. Mobile Auto Detailing Business

⚡What you’ll need: Transportation, vacuum, cleaning supplies, power supply, business license, liability insurance

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 look like new. Professional shops can charge $100 or more for this service.

3. Consulting or Coaching Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, client management software, business license, liability insurance

If you’re an expert in a particular field, you can start your own consulting business. For example, if you have a knack for organization, you could work as a clutter consultant to help people rid themselves of crap and regain their living space. If you have marketing experience, you could help entrepreneurs grow their small businesses.

All you need is a phone, an email address, and a website (which you can set up for free). Depending on your industry, you may also need to spend some money on business cards and marketing materials.

4. Podcast

⚡What you’ll need: Website, microphone, recording software, business license, liability insurance

Podcasting is a great way to build an audience and earn some extra income. All you need to get started is a microphone and some recording software. In most cases, you can get started with just a few hundred dollars (or for free if you’re willing to use your phone or computer’s built-in microphone.)

Once you’ve recorded a few episodes, you can submit your podcast to iTunes and other directories for free. If you build up a large enough following, you’ll start attracting sponsorships or donations.

5. Local Tour Guide

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business license, liability insurance

If you live in a tourist-friendly area, why not become a local tour guide? You can create your own walking tour or offer bicycle or Segway tours. All you need is some knowledge of the area and a few promotional materials (which you can create yourself for free).

If you don’t want to create your own website, you can get started as an Airbnb Experiences host.

6. Bookkeeping

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business accounting software, client management software, business license, liability insurance, certification (optional)

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.

7. Dog Walking or Pet Sitting Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, pet software system, first-aid certification, business license, liability insurance

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.

Check out sites like care.com, but like with any job websites, be wary of scams.

8. Window Washing Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, window washing supplies, transportation, business license, liability insurance

This is a great business to start if you’re handy and don’t mind working outdoors. You’ll need to buy some supplies (ladders, buckets, rags, etc.), but the total investment shouldn’t be more than a few hundred dollars.

To get started, simply hang flyers in local businesses and promote your services online.

9. House Sitting Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, business license, liability insurance

This is a great way to make some extra money if you’re responsible and trustworthy. Homeowners are always looking for someone to watch their house while they’re out of town; all you need to do is take care of the property and any pets that may be staying there.

To get started, create a profile on Trusted Housesitters or Mind My House and start applying for jobs in your area.

10. House Cleaning Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, cleaning supplies, transportation, business license, liability insurance

Think about all the people in your neighborhood who work long hours and don’t have time to clean their houses.

Starting a house cleaning business is a great way to get started in the business world with very little overhead costs. All you need is a vacuum cleaner, mop, and some cleaning supplies. Once you’ve established yourself, you may want to consider hiring additional help to keep up with demand.

11. Home Painting Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, painting supplies, transportation, business license, liability insurance

A home painting business is another low-cost option for entrepreneurs who are handy with a paintbrush. To get started, all you need is some basic painting supplies and a vehicle to transport them.

Once you’ve built up a reputation for quality workmanship, you may want to consider investing in ladders and other equipment to help with larger jobs.

12. Landscaping or Lawncare Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, lawnmower, edger, weedeater, business license, liability insurance

With a lawncare or landscaping business, the sky’s the limit in terms of potential earnings. To get started, all you need is some basic lawn care equipment like a lawnmower, edger, and weed whacker. As your business grows, you may want to invest in additional equipment like a truck or trailer to haul away debris.

If your clients want any particular landscaping done, they can foot the bill for any plants or vegetation.

13. Snow Removal Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, reliable transportation, shovel, snow blower, salt sprayer, business license, liability insurance

A snow removal business is the perfect option for entrepreneurs who live in snowy climates. To get started, all you need is a shovel, snow blower, and salt spreader. You may also want to invest in some good cold weather gear so that you can work comfortably in the winter months.

In the warmer months, you could offer secondary services, such as lawn maintenance or handy work, to your existing clientele.

14. Small Delivery Service Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, business license, liability insurance

With the rise of e-commerce, there has been an increase in demand for delivery services.

If you have a truck or van, you can start your own small delivery service business relatively easily and cheaply. In addition to the vehicle cost, you will also need insurance and gas money.

15. Catering or Personal Chef Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, kitchen supplies, permits, business license, liability insurance, commercial kitchen space (optional)

If you love cooking and baking, why not turn your passion into a profit? A catering service or personal chef business is a great way for foodies to make some extra money on the side (or even turn it into a full-time job).

To get started, all you need are some basic kitchen supplies and access to fresh ingredients. As your business grows, you may want to consider hiring additional staff or moving into a commercial space to help with food preparation and delivery.

16. Senior Transportation Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, business license, liability insurance

As our population ages, there will be an increasing demand for transportation services that cater to senior citizens who can no longer drive themselves around town.

If you have a car or van that can accommodate wheelchairs or walkers, then you’re already halfway there!

In addition to the vehicle cost, you will also need insurance and gas money.

17. Online Store

⚡What you’ll need: Website, eCommerce platform, inventory, business license, liability insurance

With the rise of eCommerce, starting your own online store is easier than ever. There are several platforms you can use to set up your store (such as Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, eBay, etc.), and many of them offer free trials or have low monthly fees.

You will also need to invest in some inventory (if you’re not selling digital products), but other than that, the startup costs for an online store are quite low.

18. Freelance Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business license, liability insurance

If you have a skill that others are willing to pay for (such as writing, editing, graphic design, web development, etc.), then starting a freelance business could be a great way to earn some extra cash.

The best part about freelancing is that you can work from anywhere in the world and set your own hours. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection!

Although there are no startup costs per se, you will need to invest some time in marketing your services and finding clients.

19. Fact-Checking or Researching Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website and a laptop

Did you know that nearly every major magazine and many websites obsessively check and recheck 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!

Read more: 7 Flexible Side Gigs that Pay Well and Let You Set Your Own Hours

20. Association Manager

⚡What you’ll need: Website, client management software, business license, liability insurance

Every day, people form new professional networks, community associations, or groups of like-minded hobbyists. The only problem is groups like these take a lot of administrative work to maintain.

There are websites to build and update, newsletters to write, dues to collect, meetings and events to schedule, 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 start raking in the dough.

21. Property Manager

⚡What you’ll need: Website, phone, software for handling maintenance and service requests, real estate license (maybe), business license, liability insurance

The grown-up version of classic teenage jobs like shoveling snow and mowing lawns, property managers help small to medium-sized landlords everywhere take care of their real estate. The responsibilities can vary, from simply taking calls from tenants and arranging for maintenance to doing the fixing and landscaping yourself.

If you want to go full-service, you can even offer to show apartments, screen tenants, and collect the rent.

22. E-Book Writer

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business license, liability insurance

If you enjoy writing and have something valuable or interesting to say, then writing an ebook could be a great way to make some extra money (and potentially even turn it into a full-time business). The great thing about writing an e-book is that there are very little costs associated with doing so — all you need is time and commitment!

Once your e-book is finished, you can sell it on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Gumroad.

23. Garage Sale Flipper

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, space to store inventory, supplies for flipping, business license, liability insurance

This is definitely not one of the most traditional businesses out there — but it can be surprisingly profitable! If you enjoy hunting for good deals and have ample storage space in your home, flipping items from garage sales or flea markets could be a great way to make some extra income (or even replace your current income!).

You’ll need money upfront to buy the item and any necessary supplies to flip it. The only other investment for this type of business is time — you’ll need to dedicate some hours each week to scouring garage sales and flea markets for potential items to flip. But all in all, this can be a very low-cost business venture!

24. Online Blog, Course, or Membership Area

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business license, liability insurance

Okay, you knew I’d have to include this one! If you’ve got something you love to write about, you can definitely earn extra money — or even launch a full-time business — on the internet. Although I went the blogging route, it’s getting increasingly difficult to just throw up a blog and start collecting advertising checks. Today’s online entrepreneurs are finding faster (and bigger) success by creating smaller amounts of premium material and charging for that content as a course, ebook, or membership site.

Related: How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs

Again, I strongly recommend Ramit Sethi’s Zero To Launch course. At least grab his free guide, 30 Successful Online Business Ideas, and start brainstorming what you might be able to accomplish.

25. Personal Stylist

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation (maybe), business license, liability insurance

A personal stylist business is a great idea if you love fashion and helping others. The only costs you would need to cover to start this business are your website and any transportation costs to get to and from your clients.

Ideally, your clients will pay a deposit upfront for any clothing or beauty items you buy for them.

26. Event Planner or Wedding Planner

⚡What you’ll need: Website, certification (optional), business license, liability insurance

If you love planning events and making things beautiful, then becoming an event planner or wedding planner might be the perfect business for you.

To start this business, you’ll need to cover the cost of marketing (e.g., creating a website, printed materials, etc.), as well as any fees associated with becoming certified as a wedding planner if you want to stand out from the competition.

27. Interior Decorating or Home Staging Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, transportation, furniture (maybe), business license, liability insurance

Do you have an eye for design? If so, then starting an interior decorating or home staging business could be perfect for you. To get started in this business, you’ll need to cover the cost of marketing (e.g., creating a website) and any design software you need to make your clients’ dreams come to life.

That said, home staging may have added expenses as you’ll most likely be “renting” the furniture to your client. But if your primary focus is interior decorating, your clients will pay for any items they want.

28. Tutoring Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, quiet place to work, business license, liability insurance

Do you love helping people learn? A tutoring business is a great way to make some extra money while helping others succeed. All you need to get started is a knowledge of the subject you want to tutor in and a quiet space where you can work with students.

Tutoring businesses can be run from home, so there’s no need to rent office space or buy expensive equipment.

29. Resume Writing Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, business license, liability insurance

Are you good at writing resumes? Believe it or not, there is actually quite a demand for resume writers!

To get started in this business, all you’ll need is a website and documentation proving you’re good at what you do (e.g., samples of your work).

30. Mobile App or Software Business

⚡What you’ll need: Website, coding software, seed money (maybe), business license, liability insurance

With technology becoming more and more part of our everyday lives, there is an ever-growing demand for mobile apps and software programs. If you have an idea for an app or software program, consider turning it into a business.

To get started, all you’ll need is some seed money to cover the cost of development — which could be minor or significant depending on the complexity of your project.

Summary

These are just a few businesses you could start with very little money. With some creativity and resourcefulness, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your dream into reality — even if you’re on a shoestring budget.

Featured image: VH-studio/Shutterstock.com

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About the author

Cassidy Horton
Total Articles: 50
Cassidy Horton is a finance writer who specializes in banking and insurance. She earned her MBA and bachelor’s degree in public relations from Georgia Southern University — and has since published hundreds of finance articles online for Forbes Advisor, The Balance, Money, Finder.com, and more. When she's not helping Millennials and Gen Zers gain control of their finances, you can find Cassidy hiking around the Pacific Northwest, cuddling her two cats, and eating way too much fried chicken. Connect with her on cassidyhorton.com or LinkedIn to see what she’s up to next.