Now is a great time for a startup, but it can be difficult to develop ideas for an affordable business. That’s because the internet provides everyone with a lot more choices for everything. This abundance of choice is great, but it could make it hard for us to pick!
What’s great about our times is that those options don’t require a lot of startup costs. Modern tech replaced many of the tools and services people had to pay for back then. Pick the right business idea, and your profits can easily exceed your starting capital.
That’s why this guide will provide suggestions for your next small business idea. I provided more details about each, arranging them from easiest to hardest. The toughest ones may require more skills, but all the entries on the list charge minimal overhead costs.
Here are some ideas for businesses with low startup costs:
- Freelance writing
- Affiliate marketing programs
- Become an online influencer
- Social media assistant
- Virtual assistant
- Start an online eCommerce store
- Sell on Amazon
- Ghost kitchen
- Customer service representative
- Online teacher or online teacher
- Sell online courses
- Graphic design
#1. Freelance writing
Here’s the best low-cost business idea right now. Thanks to the small work boom, you can now earn money writing blogs and articles.
This lets you make as much as $35,324 a year. You don’t need to have a degree related to creative writing either. If you have the right skills to write engaging articles, this will likely be a profitable business for you.
You might have experience in writing articles in your school newspaper. Maybe you loved creating and reading them in your spare time.
No matter how good you think you are, it’s much easier to find people who may pay for your work. One of the Inquirer USA articles even recommends it as a great job for college students.
That’s because you can start with little to no startup costs thanks to remote work platforms like Fiverr. Create an account so that they can connect you to potential clients.
You will need a PC, laptop, or notebook PC for this low-cost business. Chances are, you already have one, so you just cut a huge expense for your new startup!
Working from home lets, you become more versatile than regular employees. For example, you’re not confined to an office space. You could work while sipping a cup of joe at your favorite cafe or other places.
What’s more, you could take on more work than most. Once you get the hang of being a freelance writer, you could get work from platforms outside Fiverr. More tasks mean more earnings!
As you build more experience, you may find more companies willing to pay for your work. This means this remote job could be your gateway to more career opportunities.
Read More: How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur
#2. Affiliate marketing programs
This next low-cost business idea may seem strange at first. Affiliate marketing involves promoting the products and services of another company. Shouldn’t you be advertising your startup instead?
A business provides something others need, even those that other companies need. Nowadays, this type of marketing allows them to reach people their overarching marketing campaigns couldn’t reach.
You may have seen it in action without knowing. If you watch online videos often, you may have noticed the host promoting certain brands. The video content may have a certain part just for the sponsor.
They flash a prompt code on their screen at the end of the host’s spiel. Viewers may enter that word or phrase on the product webpage to get a discount.
Alternatively, it’s a company’s product page followed by the creator’s username. This will also let a person reduce the price of a certain product. Meanwhile, the video creator earns money based on how many purchases were made using his code.
This isn’t as easy as it looks, though. After all, you will have to find a way for people to use your code. It’s not that easy to do if you don’t have a lot of followers on the internet.
You will have to be creative and start promoting yourself online. You could follow the previous example by being an online influencer who promotes affiliate marketing materials simultaneously.
Alternatively, you may try a different approach by including your code in your online articles. This could be your alternative if you’re not keen on appearing in a video or live stream.
Like other low-cost business ideas, affiliate marketing is great because of its versatility. What’s more, many businesses affiliate marketing programs nowadays. Still, you should pick the best ones.
You could start by trying out the one from LeadAdvisors. The digital marketing company lets you earn 20% commission on your first few clients and 10% on the succeeding ones. Click here to learn more.
#3. Become an online influencer
Perhaps you’ve seen your son or daughter watch people like Charli D’Amelio on TikTok. If not, maybe you tune in to famous YouTubers like Mr. Beast during your free time.
Some people may think of their content as a source of wholesome fun. After watching, you go back to real business in your office or home. Little did you know, that was a sample of one of the best low-cost business ideas!
Numerous websites allow regular people to earn from their content. These creators get to publish videos for free, and they let YouTube include ad breaks in their content.
This lets a person earn a few cents each time someone watches their videos. That may not seem like much, but imagine how much that would be if you get millions of views!
This is one of the relatively easiest small business ideas because many influencers are ordinary folks. With enough persistence, most people can build a career as an influencer.
That is, if you have a certain personality type. You may find this easier if people see you as an outgoing and engaging person. This is why it’s not as easy as being a freelance writer or an affiliate marketer.
It’s also on this list because you don’t have to spend a lot on your video content. You can find so many free programs to help you. Social media platforms even provide video-editing features for free.
Similar to previous entries, online influencers are highly versatile. You can focus all your content on one platform or spread it out on several. Not to mention that you’re in charge of whatever content you prefer.
This is one of the small business ideas that may contain other business ideas. For example, TikTok can link your short-form videos back to your eCommerce business. As a result, influencers can have multiple sources of income.
This is another of the best small business ideas that may have never crossed your mind. That’s unsurprising since most people just use most websites to pass the time.
Contrary to popular belief, it has become one of the most important marketing strategies. Nowadays, people spend more time on the internet, specifically on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites.
That’s billions of people glued to their screens! This makes traditional marketing methods less effective nowadays. For example, how would they look up to billboards if they’re always looking down on their phones?
This is why businesses spend more on social media marketing than the traditional method nowadays. They had to find someone to manage their social media accounts as they covered more platforms.
You could meet this growing demand as a social media manager. Also known as a social media assistant, it’s tasked with overseeing a company’s various social media channels.
I don’t think you’ll just earn by scrolling down on funny cat memes, though. This full-time job involves creating and publishing the latest daily content. Video and photo editing skills can come in handy.
Meanwhile, you will have to reply to customer concerns. This is a truly important task as you could make or break a company’s online image if you perform poorly.
You won’t have to spend a lot on this as other companies usually provide the materials you need. If you must craft posts yourself, you could probably do it for free on your PC.
#5. Virtual assistant
Remote work has transformed numerous regular jobs so that you can do them at home. For example, you could now work as a personal assistant for a business executive from your home.
This role is also called a virtual manager, and it could help you earn $45 138 a year. Despite being an online job, this often entails more tasks, such as:
- Look into the company’s competitors
- Find new products and services
- Schedule appointments
- Book flight and hotel bookings
- Handle sales and data entry
You can start your virtual assistant business even if you don’t have a lot of initial capital. Another company will probably provide you with their online tool, so all you need is your computer.
You will need to know how to communicate professionally to talk to many other executives. The other home business ideas require an internet connection, but you may need faster speeds for this one.
This may require more video calls, especially when speaking with other companies. Still, this small business idea can be more affordable than others.
#6. Start an online eCommerce store
The coronavirus pandemic has caused local businesses across the globe to close down. This didn’t stop certain small business owners from turning to the internet for a new market.
That’s why you can find so many mom-and-pop stores with websites nowadays. They also understood that this would be the new direction most businesses would take.
The abundance of online hosting websites and website builders boosted this trend further. This allowed a small business to have a professional-looking website within minutes.
Their websites shared more information about their brands. More importantly, people could order their products and services using the site.
You may want to use this as a sort of “building block” for your physical storefront. More US states and foreign countries are removing their COVID rules, but the uncertainty it caused still lingers.
Hosting an eCommerce store lets you minimize that risk. If the mandates return, you won’t have to adjust too much. What’s more, this will help you keep down the operating expenses.
You’ll be in charge of what your company will offer customers, making this another versatile choice. You will have the extra task of designing your brand’s website.
You will probably hire someone to do it, but you will have to be a part of the design process. Then, you will have to attach many small business tools for it to work.
Launching an eCommerce website is one of the best ideas you can have without spending too much money. This will depend on your brand’s offerings and other factors like your current location.
#7. Sell on Amazon
Let’s say you can’t have an online store because of the upfront costs. After all, it takes a lot of time to design a website and attach the tools you need.
In that case, maybe you’d like to sell on Amazon instead? The biggest eCommerce firm globally helps small businesses reach more customers and gain more sales.
It can handle two aspects that typically costs them a lot of money: storing inventory and delivering goods. If you register to the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, the eCommerce giant can store, pack, label, and ship products on your behalf.
What’s more, an Amazon Business account can help you do more with the site. It’s especially great for business-to-business (B2B) sales due to the following features:
- Fellow Amazon Business will see your pricing, making it easier to attract potential customers.
- This feature also makes it easier for them to reach you about your brand’s offerings so that you can close a sale quicker.
- Amazon business lets you have to customize your brand’s profile.
- It also lets you include more details about your products so that you can boost business-to-customer (B2C) sales too.
You may have heard a lot of online personalities talking about this money-making venture. It refers to the practice of selling another company’s products on your website.
This lets you earn more while making it easier for them to distribute their products. Think of it as providing a service similar to Amazon’s FBA program. This is still a low-cost business idea, though.
That’s because you won’t have to design or create the products. You just have to fulfill orders for another company’s offerings. Unfortunately, this is one of the difficult recommendations on this list.
That’s because you will have to know enough logistics to manage your orders properly. You will likely receive numerous bulk orders that you must deliver on time.
Meanwhile, you won’t have any control over the orders you receive. The other company expects you to meet your quotas as part of your dropshipping business agreement.
Nevertheless, some people still love it as it allows them to spend less on their first online retail business. Once you try it, you might feel the same way!
#9. Ghost kitchen
Some people take an issue with the name “ghost kitchen.” After all, this is how some restaurants kept on operating after their brick-and-mortar establishments closed down.
Yet, this type of food business has been thriving ever since the pandemic. A ghost kitchen sells and delivers restaurant food despite not having a physical dining area.
Famous TV chef Guy Fieri even said they’re here to stay even post COVID. One of the reasons is that it’s helping more people start restaurants. You’d be surprised how much it costs to maintain a dine-in feature!
You’d have to pay wait staff and cashiers. You’ll need to pay for equipment and supplies so they can keep the tables and chairs clean. Also, you will have to spend on extra space just for that dining area.
Of course, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of ghost kitchens before starting one. Click here to learn more about this new restaurant trend.
#10. Customer service representative
Have you ever had problems with your cable TV? Perhaps you needed to call someone to get help with your new credit card? If you have, then you’ve likely spoken with a customer service representative.
Some people call them CSRs or call center agents for short, but the job requires long hours. You’d usually have a headset on while talking to customers.
Just be ready to face angry people, though. If you’re not keen on speaking with rude people, then you might want to look at other options.
Nowadays, some companies will offer this role as a remote job. Aside from the usual laptop and internet connection, you’ll need a decent headset.
Other than that, this could be one of those low-investment business ideas. What’s more, this is yet another versatile option as various industries have call centers. You might find one that matches your current job experience.
#11. Online tutor or online teacher
Many people couldn’t continue their education due to the lockdown restrictions. That’s why many of them turned to online learning.
Sadly, this wasn’t enough to meet the educational needs of some students. Some parents needed other people who could help their kids understand the lessons.
That’s why there’s a trend of online teachers and tutors right now. You can find so many websites to help students with their studies.
If you’ve noticed, this is further down on my list. That’s because some platforms require that you have a degree in education. If not, then you’ll have to be good at the subjects you took during high school or college.
This job may require you to host an online course or several. If not, the platform may ask you to teach various subjects to a handful of students.
Also, you will have to deal with other people’s kids. If you’re not fond of children, this might not be the business you need.
If you like all the above, you won’t have to spend much to begin. You will just need a laptop, webcam, headset, and stable internet service.
#12. Sell online courses
What’s the difference between offering online lessons and teaching over the internet? You record the former, so you don’t need to face a camera while teaching.
You could rehearse and reshoot your lessons until you get them right. What’s more, you may edit them in post-production, so they look their best once you release them.
What’s more, this is geared towards students of working age. Think of clips from sites like Masterclass that cater to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Like online learning, you can find many websites that will let you sell online courses. You may have to exert more effort into promoting your service-based business, though.
Online clout is almost a must, or you might not find many people willing to pay for your lessons. That’s why you can find influencers who have courses too.
You don’t have to be an online influencer, though. Instead, you could market yourself in various ways. For example, post blogs that showcase your expertise.
Those could establish you as an expert in your field. This will take a long time, but you may find it easier to get people paying for your online course.
You don’t have to spend too much money as well. The video-editing software you’ll need may cost a bit, though. Besides that, this is an idea for a business you may want to try yourself!
#13. Graphic design
This one will truly require skills on your part. You’re better off trying something else if you’re not confident in your drawing skills. Fortunately, you won’t need an art degree to be a graphic designer.
This is one of those skills you may have honed earlier in life. You can also find so many graphic designers who graduated from unrelated courses. Yet, they’re making a lot of money from their work.
Even better, you don’t have to do it in an office space. Some clients are willing to receive your work via the internet. Still, you should be careful when dealing with clients.
Sadly, some people take advantage of freelancers by receiving work without paying. That’s why you need to make sure you’re in a quality platform for freelancers.
Also, drawing on a piece of paper won’t cut it anymore. Everything is connected to technology nowadays, from digital marketing services to online stores.
This means you should be used to making art on software like Adobe Photoshop. You may want to invest in a drawing tablet too. It lets you draw on your laptop screen using a stylus.
How can I find low-cost business ideas for my own business?
You might be wondering why these ideas seem to be for remote jobs. That’s because they’re classified as self-employed in the United States and most countries.
This means working a remote job counts as a business. In other words, you are your boss! Of course, there are ideas we haven’t covered, such as:
- Dog-walking business
- Pet business
- Personal training business
- Cleaning business or junk-removal business
- Personal trainer
- Event planning business
- Consulting business
- Wedding planning business
How can I start my new business idea?
Nowadays, it’s easy to start a lucrative business online with low startup costs. If your previous one closed down due to COVID, you might want to try applying for an SBA loan.
You might even get lucky and find an angel investor online. With the help of websites like Kickstarter, you might get several! Of course, this will put your marketing skills to the test too.
Don’t just rely on articles like this one to find out when to start. Talk this over with your business partners, so you’ll have more heads figuring things out.
After looking over the suggestions, you might still be anxious. While it’s good to explore your options, you will have to do one thing eventually: start the business!
You can’t truly prove that your ideas are good or bad unless you try them in real-life. Also, you will need to spend a few months before you can truly get valid results.
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait alone. LeadAdvisors can help you at every step of the way, so you can see your new business succeed. Click here to see how it can help your brand.