You’ve always wanted to start a business. You’re tired of working for someone else, and you’d love the flexibility and responsibility of running your own company.
The trouble is, you don’t have a whole lot of starting capital—or any, for that matter. Which probably means you’re out of luck, right?
That being said, plenty of the businesses mentioned below require, at a minimum, regular access to a computer, the internet, and perhaps a car. However, if you’ve got those sorted already, dive right in—you’re bound to find a business idea that suits your skill set if you think creatively!
While not a new concept, monetized blogging is always a popular option for an essentially no-cost business.
There are tons of options when it comes to making money from your blog, such as affiliate partnerships, producing ebooks, offering online courses and webinars. Some of these work better than others, as and certain blog niches will be more popular and easy to monetize than others. For instance, beauty, food, and parenting blogs are some of the most popular niches, and will, therefore, be easier to monetize (though you’ll also face stiffer competition).
It’s worth mentioning, however, that monetizing your blog will work best when you choose a subject that you are actually passionate about and personally invested in to blog about. So, this route works best if you’re thinking, “Yeah! I’ve always really wanted to start a blog about my love of handcrafted artisan chocolates!” (or whatever else gets you going). Merely wanting to make money isn’t enough.
2. In-home child care
If you love children and have a good setup for it, turning your home into an in-home childcare facility might be a great option for you. There will be associated fees and licensing requirements (which vary state by state), but these aside, the costs associated with starting a childcare business are minimal to none.
To start, check out our article on starting a daycare business, which will walk you through all the steps you’ll need to go through to get your business up and running.
3. In-home dog care
In a similar vein, if you love caring for animals, consider setting up a doggy daycare business. You can operate during business hours, for folks who need someone to watch their dog while at work, or you can look after dogs for people while they are out of town.
In addition to being low-to-no-cost, the skill set you need is pretty self-explanatory: experience with caring for dogs, and ability to patiently and carefully look after them. If you’d love to start a dog care business but haven’t spent a ton of time around dogs, consider volunteering at an animal shelter first.
Check out DogVacay to get a sense of what this looks like, and what other sitters are charging in your area. You can even list yourself on the site!
4. Pet services
On that note, why not start a business that encompasses all of the smaller details of pet ownership, such as taking pets to grooming or vet appointments, dog walking, pet sitting, and so on?
Mix and match services depending on what works for you; you could easily start a business involving full-service pet help, including walks, trips to the groomer, sitting during the day, and so on.
5. Dog training
If you’re great with dogs, you might also want to look into starting a business as a dog trainer. Be aware that as with the other pet-related business suggestions your business will fare best in an area where demand is high—one where there are lots of dog owners.
Beyond this consideration, starting a dog training business can be a great, cost-free business to start, especially if you have experience working with dogs or are able to learn. Consider shadowing at an established training facility to find out more about the process, and check out this article from the Animal Humane Society on becoming a dog trainer.
Tip: Establish relationships with vets—getting a vet to refer clients to you can be an invaluable way to bring in business.
6. Freelance writing
Are you a strong writer? This one is a no-brainer. If you have solid writing skills, consider starting a business as a freelance writer.
To build up your portfolio and client base, you may want to start with a site like Upwork (and check out my article on using Upwork to find great freelancers—it’ll give you insight into what to do, and what not to do!).
7. Freelance editing
Similarly, if you have a great eye for necessary structural changes and enjoy editing for grammar and punctuation, you may want to consider starting a freelance editing business.
As long as there is written content, there will be a need for editors (this blogger discusses an instance in which her roommate and fellow editor took on an entire thesis over the weekend) so if you have writing experience and a good eye, freelance editing may be a business idea to consider.