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30 businesses to start with little money in 2024

Control your own time and make some extra income with our list of small businesses you can start with no or little money. For most of these, you'll just need a website, some hustle and creativity.

You can definitely start a business with little or no money upfront. It will likely be a service business since you won’t need to worry about inventory. So as you go through this list of business ideas consider your existing skill set and interests.

Starting your own business is a great way to control your own destiny, make some extra cash with a side hustle, and even turn your hobby into a successful business.

When starting your own business look into the legal requirements in your area. Some states require a business license or registration of some sort.

Also, contact an insurance agent and make sure that you are covered legally. You may want to consider liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance. Also, if you enter people’s homes you may need a bond – which covers you in case you are accused of theft. You may also need commercial car insurance if you driving as your business, for example, if you are a courier. You can also consider forming an LLC for your small business to provide you some protection legally.

With that said, here are some of the best businesses to start with no money (or with very little money).

1. Concierge business

What you’ll need: Website, business cards, transportation

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.

You can build a successful business by being reliable, trustworthy, and fast.

2. Mobile auto detailing business

What you’ll need: Transportation, vacuum, cleaning supplies, power supply

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. You can get started with minimal startup costs and professional shops charge $100 or more for this service.

3. Consulting or coaching business

What you’ll need: Website, client management software

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 and editing software

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

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 tours. All you need is some knowledge of the area and a few promotional materials (which you can create yourself for free). That’s what Scott’s Pizza Tours did based on their familiarity with the NYC area and love of pizza. They now have grown to offer walking tours, bus tours and even online classes all about pizza.

Also, look into partnering up with other local business owners and work to promote each other.

6. Bookkeeping

What you’ll need: Website, business accounting software, client management software, 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

If you love animals, there are plenty of people who will pay you to do some pet sitting 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.

Pet sitting can sometimes mean having a dog stay at your house, or staying in a strangers house while they are out of town. If you don’t want that much commitment you can start a dog walking business. You can charge $20 or even more sometimes depending on your area for a 20 or 30 minute walk.

Or do both! Offering both services could turn into a lucrative business. Some dog walkers have worked up to hustle to $100k a year!

Check out sites like Care and Rover, but like with any job websites, be wary of scams.

8. Window washing business

What you’ll need: Website, window washing supplies, transportation

This is a great business idea 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 through some social media marketing.

9. House sitting business

What you’ll need: Website, transportation

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

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, bond

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

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. That’s why it’s one of the highest paying summer jobs for college students that end up becoming a long-term career for some once they see the potential.

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

Snow removal is a low cost business idea 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.

If you get busy enough you can invest in a plow and increase your client base.

This is a great business to pair with a landscaping business. 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, commercial car insurance

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

You’ve probably heard of apps like Ubereats and Grubhub that we include in our article of best food delivery apps. But there are plenty of other opportunities as well. For example, apps like Roadie and GrabMyBag take luggage from the airport and deliver it to the customer – either because the bag was lost or for customer convivence when flying.

Many businesses also need courier services. Real estate companies, lawyers, schools, hospitals and more use couriers to move papers and other items from one place to another.

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, 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. A food truck, as you grow or even when starting out in the food world, can be an option as it’s one of the best businesses you can start with 20K or less.

16. Senior transportation business

What you’ll need: Website, transportation

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

With the rise of eCommerce, starting your own online store and learning how to make money online is easier than ever before. 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, a portfolio of work (maybe)

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.

» MORE: Best free business checking accounts for freelancers and side hustlers

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!

20. Association manager

What you’ll need: Website, client management software

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)

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. Property managers are also a frequent need for Airbnb owners, so you can make money off Airbnb without owning property.

If you want to go full-service, you can even offer to show apartments, screen tenants, and collect the rent, but you may need a real estate license for this.

If you enjoy doing handyman work around the house, then starting your own property management business might be a great business idea.

22. Freelance writer

What you’ll need: Website, a portfolio of work (maybe)

There is a huge variety in the world of freelance writing so if you like to write you can likely find clients in an area that is of interest to you.

There are a lot of different types of writing jobs available including, books, articles, sales pages, social media posts, and product descriptions. Most businesses need some kind of writing done and most of those jobs are freelance.

23. Garage sale flipper

What you’ll need: Website, transportation, space to store inventory

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 like could be a great way to make some extra income (or even replace your current income!). You can end up selling an assortment of finds like video games, vintage clothing and Pokemon cards for extra cash.

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

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.

I strongly recommend Ramit Sethi’s courses. 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)

If you love planning events and making things beautiful, then starting an event planning business 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)

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

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.

A tutoring business 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

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

Job seekers need a powerful resume that can pass the AI checkers and catch a hiring manager’s eye.

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. Personal training business

What you’ll need: Website

If you enjoy working out then becoming a personal trainer is a great business idea with low startup costs.

You can run group sessions or have individual one-on-one training sessions. You can even take it online do virtual sessions or start a YouTube channel around helping people work out.

Focus on workouts you can do outside the gym to keep costs down for both you and your clients.


If you have no or little money, you need one of these small business ideas and knowledge on starting a business with no money. With some creativity and resourcefulness, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your dream of a small business or side hustle into reality — even if you’re just working with a small amount and just learning how to start budgeting.

It is also a good idea to connect with other business owners for tips on how to run and grow your business. It’s always nice to have support of other business owners when you are launching your own business.

And, if your small business takes off and you would like to separate your finances to help keep track, see our list of the best business checking accounts.

About the author


Cassidy Horton

Cassidy is a personal finance writer with an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She has published hundreds of finance articles online covering a range of topics for variety of publications, including Forbes, The Balance and Money Under 30.

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