27 Low Cost and Easy Business Ideas That Make Money
In a world where entrepreneurship is more accessible than ever before, finding the right business idea can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Whether you’re looking to start a small side hustle or a full-scale operation, the key is to find low-investment business ideas that can quickly turn a profit without breaking the bank.
From online business ideas to unique service offerings, this guide presents low-cost and easy business ideas that not only make money but also have the potential to grow and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.
You can use this resource as inspiration to start your own business without having to borrow money, raise funds from investors, or pour your life savings into it. Most of these business ideas can be started for less than $500 and follow business models that turn a profit almost instantly.
1. Online Tutoring and Teaching
Online tutoring has recently emerged as one of the most lucrative business ideas in the digital age—mostly due to its low operational costs and expensive market research.
Unlike traditional tutoring, which involves renting a physical space or traveling to the student’s home, online tutoring services eliminate these logistical expenses and transcend geographical limitations.
The initial startup cost is minimal, and most of you already have what you need to get started. You just need a dependable internet connection and a decent computer, along with a quality webcam and microphone.
One of the best parts about becoming an online tutor is that it can apply to nearly any skill or knowledge base. Think beyond the traditional student and teacher arrangement here. You could teach new mothers how to care for their babies or teach people how to build a home garden in urban environments. The possibilities are truly endless.
Furthermore, you can automate your online tutoring by moving away from one-on-one sessions and creating online courses. This approach offers limitless scalability where people can go through your course at their own pace from their computers or smartphones using your dedicated online learning app. Whether you charge a monthly subscription fee to access all of your content or charge a fixed fee per course, there are tons of ways to earn high profits with this business idea.
2. Dropshipping Business
If you want to sell products online but don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing inventory or fulfilling orders, then dropshipping is perfect for you.
With this online business model, all you need to do is manage your website and marketing materials. When customers purchase something through your ecommerce site or mobile commerce app, the items get shipped directly from the manufacturer to the consumers—so you never actually touch the products.
You don’t have to pay for inventory upfront either. Your supplier charges you the wholesale rate of an item once it’s been sold to the customer and you earn profits based on the markup of the sales price.
It takes a bit of research to find the right products to sell. You’ll also need to find the right suppliers. But if you’re using a platform like Shopify to power your online store, then you can get started for just $30 or $40 per month. Shopify integrates with all of the best dropshipping companies and supplier software, and then you can easily turn your Shopify store into a mobile app to further expand your reach and make things more convenient for your customers.
3. Mental Health and Wellness Coaching
People have really started to acknowledge the importance of good mental health, and they’re more open to taking steps to improve it. But many don’t know where to start, which is where the coaching aspect comes into play.
This business idea offers a unique blend of personal fulfillment and financial opportunity. So if you’re passionate about helping others but still want to turn a profit, this can work well for your goals.
The startup investment is pretty low—often just a certification in coaching or a relevant field can help enhance your credibility. But it’s not technically a requirement. The key investment here isn’t monetary at all. It’s the ability to develop a deep understanding of mental health practices and effective communication skills.
You can structure your coaching around individual sessions, group workshops, or even online courses. Just make sure they cater to a broad audience seeking guidance and support through their wellness journeys.
Promoting your business shouldn’t be too expensive either. You can start by growing an organic social media following before experimenting with some low-cost ads driving people to your website or mobile app.
With such a high demand for these services on the rise, there’s plenty of room to make money in this niche without having to spend a fortune.
Following the trends is always a good business idea, and podcasting has been skyrocketing in popularity in recent years. According to Demand Sage, there will be roughly 505 million podcast listeners globally by the end of 2024—that’s up roughly 20% from just two years ago and up nearly 85% over five years.
What’s even more astonishing is that we’re just barely scratching the surface in terms of potential. Even with this high growth rate, less than 10% of internet users worldwide listen to podcasts—meaning there’s still a massive opportunity to claim your share of this growing market.
You can start a podcast from home with a minimal upfront investment. You just need a high-quality microphone, audio editing software, and some basic soundproofing. The ongoing costs are relatively low, with the biggest expenses being the hosting fees.
Podcasts commonly earn revenue through sponsorships, ads, and affiliate programs. You can also charge your listeners for premium content that’s locked behind a paywall for members only.
In addition to broadcasting your podcast through popular directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify, you can always distribute your content through your own podcast app as a way to enhance the listener experience and take more control over your revenue streams.
5. Virtual Cooking Classes
If you love cooking or have some type of formal culinary training, this is one of the most profitable small business ideas because the costs are so low. You can literally teach people to cook different meals online without having to do anything different than you’re already doing.
For example, if you already cook dinner for your family five nights per week—all you need to do is set up a camera or two and coach people through the process. Your grocery bill won’t change, and you likely have all of the pots, pans, and cooking materials in your kitchen.
The profitability of virtual cooking classes comes from the ability to reach a wide audience without geographic limitations.
You may decide to offer some free videos to promote yourself, but turn a profit by selling cooking courses, virtual cookbooks, and premium recipes. Alternatively, you can offer all of your classes for free and earn money through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate programs in this category.
6. Virtual Home Staging For Real Estate Sales
Virtual home staging in the real estate sector stands out as a lucrative business idea due to its low overhead costs and the booming real estate market. This service involves creating digital interior designs for properties that are unfurnished—helping potential buyers visualize the space.
It’s one of the more profitable small business ideas if you can develop relationships with real estate agents and agencies. Here’s why.
According to Realtor.com, it can cost about $2,000 to $2,400 per month to stage a 2,000-square-foot home. Most staging companies require a three-month minimum contract. So even if a house sells instantly, realtors are paying upwards of $6,000 to $7,000+ at a minimum for staging.
But if you set up your business structure to partner with real estate agencies, you can offer virtual staging for a fraction of the price—helping them save money while improving profits for the sellers. It’s a win-win-win for all parties involved.
7. Freelance Graphic Design
Freelance graphic design stands as a sought-after business idea due to the increasing demand for digital content and branding. The primary investment involves software tools like Adobe Creative Suite and a powerful computer setup.
The low-cost nature stems from the ability for graphic designers to work remotely and manage multiple clients simultaneously.
Profitability in freelance graphic design is driven by the ability to specialize in niches like logo design, web design, or social media content—allowing for higher rates. Building a strong portfolio and leveraging social media for marketing can attract a diverse range of clients. Networking and maintaining good client relationships are key to consistent work and referrals. As brands increasingly seek unique visual identities, the demand for skilled graphic designers is likely to remain high.
8. Digital Marketing Agency
Starting a digital marketing agency involves understanding the nuances of social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online advertising. The initial costs are relatively low, primarily revolving around establishing a strong online presence and perhaps some initial spending on online ads to gain visibility.
The profitability of a digital marketing agency lies in its ability to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape and deliver results for clients. Services can range from managing social media accounts to developing full-fledged digital marketing strategies. The potential for scalability is significant, as businesses of all sizes are constantly looking for effective ways to increase their online presence. Establishing a reputation for delivering measurable results will be crucial in attracting and retaining clients.
If you’re starting from scratch, consider picking a niche-specific role—like becoming an outsourced social media manager for small businesses in a particular industry. Get really good at one thing, and then scale from there with additional services.
But beyond a computer, stable internet connection, and maybe some SEO software, the costs of starting a digital marketing company are next to nothing.
9. White Label App Development Services
White labeling mobile apps is one of the most profitable business ideas of this year and the foreseeable future. There are so many different ways to approach this, and all of them follow the same format—low upfront costs and limitless revenue potential.
First, the demand for app development is still at an all-time high. But the barrier to entry isn’t as difficult as it was in years past. This means that smaller businesses that previously couldn’t afford an app now have the budget for it.
As a white labeler, you can white label an existing app builder and resell it as your own or use white label app builders to create mobile apps for your clients. You can also use a combination of these models.
Due to the structure of white label software, you can break even after selling just one or two apps—and everything on top of that is pure profit.
One of the best ways to make money in this space is cornering a niche. For example, let’s say you build an app for a law firm or dentist. Beyond some business-specific information like locations, logos, and contact phone numbers, the vast majority of the app features for every other lawyer or dentist will be the same.
So if you secure more of these types of clients, you can simply duplicate the apps you’ve already built and just make small changes. 90% of the work is already done for you.
If you’re interested in this business idea, then book a demo to learn more about BuildFire’s white label reseller program.
10. Career Coaching and Resume Writing
With such a high demand for professional guidance in an increasingly competitive job market, many job seekers are willing to pay big bucks for expert advice.
Embarking on a journey as a career coach and resume writer can be a highly rewarding and profitable business idea for those with a knack for helping others achieve their professional goals. This business idea requires a minimal financial investment but demands a strong understanding of various industries, resume writing expertise, and coaching skills to guide clients in their career paths.
You can offer services like one-on-one coaching sessions, group workshops, or online webinars. Additionally, creating downloadable resume templates or guides can provide passive income streams.
Building a robust online presence is key to success in this field. Start with a professional website showcasing testimonials and successful case studies. Stay active on platforms like LinkedIn to engage with potential prospects.
As you establish your reputation, referrals and repeat clients can significantly contribute to your business’s growth.
11. Online Dating Consultant
Starting an online dating consultancy is a unique and modern online business idea that taps into the ever-growing world of digital dating. It’s perfect for those who have an in-depth understanding of relationships and can offer advice on creating compelling dating profiles, communication strategies, and dating etiquette.
Like with any consulting business, the initial investment is pretty low. It’s just about establishing a digital footprint for your online business and maybe spending some targeted advertising dollars to attract clients.
You could offer personalized consultations, dating profile makeover services, or even group coaching sessions.
12. Car Detailing Business
Car detailing stands out as one of the best small business ideas for those willing to put in some hard work in the early stages. While the monetary investment is low, you must be willing and able to clean cars when you’re first starting out—at least until you’re ready to hire some employees.
This is one of the few ideas on this list that require your physical presence to get paid. So you’ll need to be located in an area where car detailing is in demand. For example, a small rural farm community in Iowa probably won’t have the same demand for car detailing as Beverly Hills.
But for the most part, you can purchase all of the equipment you need to detail cars for less than $200. And you’ll likely make that back after just one detail.
13. Print on Demand Services
Print on demand services represent a lucrative business model in the e-commerce world. This business idea involves partnering with a supplier to custom-print designs on various products like t-shirts, books, or mugs, only when an order is placed, eliminating the need for inventory.
The low-cost nature of this business comes from its on-demand model, which significantly reduces the risks associated with unsold stock. The initial investment is minimal, often just needing a website and designs to get started.
Additionally, this business model allows for significant scalability without a corresponding increase in costs. As your brand grows, you can expand your product range and explore new markets, all while maintaining low overhead costs.
14. Event Planning Business
Launching an event planning business is a dynamic and rewarding venture, especially for those with a flair for organization, creativity, and people skills. Event planning encompasses a wide range of categories, from corporate events to conferences and weddings—offering diversity in clientele and projects.
This business idea requires a modest upfront investment, mainly in marketing and building a network of reliable vendors and suppliers. Success as an event planner hinges on attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, and exceptional organizational skills.
Profits in this model typically come from the markup on services provided and the ability to handle multiple clients and events. Building a strong portfolio and client testimonials can significantly help in attracting new business. Networking with other industry professionals is also key to finding new opportunities and partnerships.
Event planning also offers the flexibility to start small, perhaps focusing on smaller local events and gradually expanding your services as you build your brand. With creativity and a robust network, an event planning business can thrive and grow into a highly profitable venture.
For larger events and corporate, you can even create dedicated event apps to help you manage everything. Best of all, your clients will end up footing the bill—and you can earn a markup on this as well.
This is another great value-added service that can help differentiate your event planning business from other event planners on the market.
15. Dog Walking Business
The best business ideas fill a specific need—which is exactly what this does. Pet owners have business schedules and aren’t able to provide their dogs with the necessary exercise.
Plus, they don’t want their dogs to feel lonely and left at home all day. These dogs might even go 8-10+ hours without going to the bathroom unless someone lets them outside.
If you’re an animal lover who’s looking for a flexible and enjoyable way to earn some extra cash, this might be for you.
Your potential clients are right in your neighborhood, making this a community-based business idea. To attract clients, consider creating eye-catching flyers, setting up a simple website, or leveraging social media platforms to showcase your services.
Networking with local pet stores, veterinary clinics, and pet groomers can also help in getting referrals. Offering additional services like pet sitting can increase your earning potential. As your client base grows, consider expanding your business by hiring additional walkers.
16. Virtual Assistant Services
Virtual assistant services are increasingly sought after by most business owners who need help managing their day-to-day tasks. This business idea requires virtually no upfront investment other than a computer and a stable internet connection. The services offered can range from email management and scheduling to social media management and data entry.
The demand for virtual assistants (VAs) has risen as businesses look to outsource administrative tasks to focus on core operations.
Offering specialized services, such as graphic design or content writing, can further enhance your attractiveness to potential clients.
17. Photography Business
Launching a photography business today goes beyond just having a good camera–-it’s about offering your photography services online to reach a wider audience. This business idea requires investment in quality photography equipment and a professional website to showcase your portfolio.
- Corporate events
- Stock photography
- Real estate photography
- Food photography for restaurants
- Product photography for ecommerce stores
The list of opportunities here is seemingly never-ending.
Try to specialize in a particular style or niche to set yourself apart in a competitive market.
18. Upcycling and Furniture Restoration
Upcycling and furniture restoration represent a creative and eco-friendly small business idea. It involves refurbishing old or discarded furniture into appealing and functional pieces. The startup costs can be minimal, especially if you start with smaller projects and use upcycled materials.
It’s one of the better small business ideas for creative individuals who have the means or skills to work with their hands. If you can turn someone’s trash into someone else’s treasure, there’s plenty of money to be made in this space.
19. Personal Training Business
The personal training business has evolved beyond the traditional gym setting, especially through technology advancements.
Starting a virtual personal training business using a mobile app can significantly broaden your client base beyond your local area. This business idea eliminates the need for a physical space, reducing overhead costs.
Through a mobile app, you can offer personalized workout plans, live training sessions, and fitness challenges to clients worldwide. The app can also track progress, provide nutritional guidance, and facilitate direct communication with clients.
Offering a mix of subscription-based models, one-off sessions, or package deals can cater to varying client preferences and increase revenue potential.
20. Mobile Public Notary Service
You can become a public notary for as little as $20. The application process and exact fees vary by state, but it’s one of the cheapest ways to start a small business.
As a notary, you simply authenticate the signing of important legal documents. You’re an impartial witness to the parties who sign, and you verify the identities of the signers.
It’s worth noting that some states have a cap on how much you can charge for these services. For example, in California, there’s a maximum $15 fee per signature.
But there are so many opportunities and scenarios which require documents to be notarized. You can stand out from the crowd by offering your services on the go and adding a travel fee to your bill.
Blogging has transcended being a hobby. It’s now a viable pathway to establishing a successful business.
The beauty of blogging lies in its versatility and potential for monetization. You can start with a specific niche, offering insights, reviews, tutorials, or personal experiences. The initial costs are limited to website hosting and design.
There are plenty of ways to make money from blogging. From affiliate marketing and sponsored content to selling digital products and services, you can experiment with different monetization methods until you find what works for you.
The key to making money in blogging is to create compelling, valuable content that attracts a loyal readership. Growing a profitable blog requires patience and consistency. SEO strategies, guest posting on other blogs, and collaborating with influencers in your niche can increase your visibility. As your blog grows, you could explore additional revenue streams like offering courses, webinars, or consulting services in your area of expertise.
22. Mobile Hairdresser or Barber
The appeal of a mobile hairdresser or barber lies in the convenience you offer clients–-the luxury of a professional haircut in the comfort of their own home. This service is especially attractive to busy professionals, elderly clients, or those with mobility issues.
This small business venture eliminates the need for a physical salon, reducing overhead costs significantly. The only investment will be in quality hairstyling tools and a reliable vehicle.
To diversify your revenue, consider offering additional services such as hair treatments, styling for special events, or even group sessions for families. Building a strong client base through word-of-mouth, local advertising, and a solid online presence can help your business thrive. Personalizing your service, being punctual, and maintaining high hygiene standards can lead to repeat customers and referrals.
23. Professional Voice-Over Services
The demand for professional voice-over services makes it a great business idea for those with a good voice and articulation skills. This field involves lending your voice for commercials, audiobooks, video games, and other multimedia.
You’ll need to get some quality recording equipment and soundproof a space in your home. But it’s a great business idea if you want to work from home and take control over your own schedule.
Expanding your reach can involve offering your services on freelance platforms and creating a professional website with your portfolio. Continuously honing your skills and adapting to different voice-over styles and requirements can open doors to more lucrative and diverse projects.
24. Local Travel Guide
For those with extensive knowledge of their locality, becoming a local travel guide can be a rewarding small business idea. You can organize and lead tours, while sharing insights about local history, culture, and attractions.
Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a specific type of tourism license for this small business idea.
But this is a great opportunity for people who enjoy interacting with others and want to have some fun while making money. Focus on the uniqueness of your tours, your storytelling ability, and the experiences you offer, which can set your service apart.
Customizing tours for different interests–-culinary, historical, architectural-–can cater to a diverse clientele. Collaborating with local businesses for mutual promotion can also enhance your offerings.
25. Affiliate Marketing Business
Affiliate marketing is a good business idea for those looking to earn by promoting products or services online. The concept involves earning a commission for marketing another company’s products through your website, blog, or social media channels. The initial investment is primarily in setting up a digital platform and possibly in some online advertising to drive traffic.
The key to success in affiliate marketing is to choose products that align with your audience’s interests and to create engaging content that drives sales. Transparency with your audience about your affiliate relationships is crucial for trust.
Strategies for growing an affiliate marketing business include SEO optimization, email marketing campaigns, and collaborating with influencers in your niche. Continuously analyzing your performance and adjusting your strategies can optimize your earnings.
26. Landscaping Business
Starting a landscaping business can be a rewarding endeavor for those with a green thumb and a passion for outdoor aesthetics. Successful small business owners in this space typically spend an initial investment on landscaping equipment, such as lawnmowers, trimmers, and perhaps a vehicle for transporting tools. However, the costs can be scaled depending on the services offered and the size of the projects undertaken.
Landscaping services have a steady demand among both residential and commercial property owners. From routine lawn maintenance to elaborate garden design and installation, the scope of services can be diverse. The key to profitability lies in delivering high-quality work, building a reputation for reliability, and being able to work efficiently to manage multiple projects.
27. Online Music Lessons
The rise of digital platforms has revolutionized the way music is taught, making online music lessons a viable and successful small business idea.
Online music lessons eliminate geographical barriers, allowing you to teach students from anywhere in the world. This business can be lucrative, especially if you have expertise in a popular instrument or genre. You can structure your lessons as one-on-one sessions, group classes, or even create pre-recorded lessons for students to access at their convenience through your website or mobile app.
Offering a range of lesson packages, from beginner to advanced levels, can cater to a broad spectrum of learners.
Successful small business ideas don’t always require a ton of capital. As demonstrated through these 27 business ideas, many opportunities exist to start a profitable business with minimal upfront costs.
The majority of these ideas capitalize on digital platforms, reflecting how the business landscape has evolved in the internet age. Whether it’s offering services online, like tutoring or personal training, or selling products through a dropshipping model, the digital world opens up a realm of possibilities. Furthermore, the integration of a mobile app can significantly enhance these business ideas, offering convenience, broader reach, and innovative ways to interact with customers.
With creativity, dedication, and a strategic approach, it’s possible to launch a successful business without a substantial initial investment.
These ideas not only provide avenues for financial gain but also offer the flexibility and satisfaction of being your own boss. As the digital world continues to evolve, so do the opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their visions into reality.