Have you ever wanted to start your own business, but find excuses not to?
Maybe you know the saying, “It takes money to make money,” and that holds you back. If you’re a bit short on cash, figuring out how to start a business with no money can seem daunting.
But we have good news: there are countless easy businesses to start for less than $100. In this post, we’ll share 40 business ideas to get you started.
The Investment Needed to Start a Business
First, you should know the costs associated with starting a business. You don’t need much up front, but there are a few essentials:
- A business plan – Free
- A name for your new business – Free
- Domain name — $15 per year using Hover or NameCheap
- Managed hosting for your website — typically starts around $35/mo
- An email address – $6 per month with Google Workspace
- Social media accounts – Free
All that will cost you just $21 upfront plus around $35/mo right now. Business cards and fancy graphics aren’t necessary when you’re in the launch phase. Of course, if you’re just starting a side business within your own network, you may not even need these.
After you start making money, you may want to take things to the next level. At that point, you can invest in better tools and systems, like bulk email software to keep current and potential customers updated on your products or services.
If you want to start an ecommerce business, you should look into Volusion to help you start an online storefront that will help with displaying products, payments, and more.
Now, to the list.
1. Pet Walking and Sitting
This idea requires no initial investment. Start by asking your friends, family, and neighbors if they need someone to watch their pets when they go out of town or if they want someone to walk their dog during the day.
2. Grocery or Food Delivery
Delivering groceries or restaurant food for Uber Eats or Grubhub is a great way to earn some extra cash, and it costs you absolutely nothing to start. There’s not even an interview. You will just need to pass a background check and have a working vehicle, valid driver’s license, and a smartphone.
3. Ride-Share Service
You can be your own taxi service working for the company of your choice with no startup costs. You’ll just need to meet the same requirements as doing food delivery. The best part is that you get to work on your own schedule.
Students from elementary school to college need assistance in every subject. If you have expertise in an area, starting your own tutoring service can be a great business to create with no money! All you’ll need to do to begin is advertise your services.
If you do not have much experience, look into VipKid, a business that connects native English speakers to children in China whose parents wish to teach them English as a second language.
5. Cleaning Service
If you love to clean, share your services on social media and with family, friends, and neighbors. Your only costs will be cleaning supplies and advertising.
6. Sell Your Stuff
This will cost you literally nothing. Find some things around your house that you don’t use and post them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Want to go a step further? Look for stuff around town people put out to take for free, pick it up, and sell it.
Are you a writer, web developer, graphic designer, or have another technical skill? As long as you have a laptop and internet connection, you can be a freelancer. Find freelance gigs at sites like Upwork or Freelancer.
If you enjoy making minor household repairs, like changing electrical outlets or fixing leaky faucets, then being a handyman (or woman!) is an in-demand business you can launch without a lot of money.
9. Social Media Management
If you spend a lot of time on social media already, why not get paid for it?
Many businesses want to be active on social media, but don’t know what to do. Get started by searching for small businesses in your area and pitch to them how you could help their following grow. This would mean Instagram influencer outreach, finding key opinion leaders, managing social media scheduling, etc.
This won’t cost you a dime. Your social profiles are your resumé here (and those are free)!
10. Direct Sales Representative
You can become a local sales representative for companies like Rhodan and Fields, Mary Kay, or Pampered Chef and sell their products at parties or online. Their starter kits cost around $100, which will set you up with everything you need to be a sales rep.
Do you enjoy working outside and own some basic yard equipment—like a lawnmower, trimmer, or chainsaw? This is a no-brainer business to start! Your only cost will be printing a nice flyer and the time to hand them out.
12. Snow Removal
What do you do when the grass and plants aren’t growing? Plow snow! There are a lot of people, especially the elderly, who will pay quite a bit for regular snow removal service on their property.
13. Christmas Lights Installation
Another winter-based business you can start for under $100 is Christmas lights installation. If you have a ladder and know where to hang lights on a house, you’re all set. Bonus tip: try to work with an entire neighborhood or street to give them a package deal.
14. Senior Home Companion
In the U.S., almost 27% of adults over 60 live alone. The older people get, the harder it is for them to function with ease. This means many seniors need someone to keep them company, help with various daily activities, or provide advice to their families on how to care for them.
15. Virtual Assistant
In our post-Covid world, a lot of executives are moving toward hiring remote assistants to organize their work life and schedule. You could actually do this job for multiple companies.
This would include jobs like managing their other remote employees, taking care of content scheduling, managing customers, updating their online store, etc.
16. Project Management
Not all companies have project managers on staff. A freelance project manager could be a huge relief for a small business in need of someone to oversee projects.
17. YouTube Creator
You probably already have a laptop or smartphone with a camera. If you have knowledge to share or can make engaging or funny videos, you can profit from posting YouTube videos through advertisements.
You can begin your own consulting agency if you have knowledge or expertise in a particular field. Legal advice, strategic branding, and marketing consultants are always in-demand.
Own a nice camera and have an eye for the perfect shot? You could be a photographer for family pictures, weddings, and graduations. Do a few gigs for family and friends for free in exchange for permission to post, then put together a portfolio.
20. Flipping Websites
You’ve heard of flipping homes. Flipping websites is like flipping a digital house. For a small investment, you buy a website and use your skills in content development and SEO to increase traffic and sales. Then, sell it for more than you bought it for and repeat the process.