35 Small Businesses you can Start with Little or no Money

35 Small Businesses you can Start with Little or no Money


There are many different types of small business opportunities available for those looking to start a new venture. Whether you’re interested in starting an online store, selling crafts at local markets, or opening a restaurant, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Here is a list of Small business ideas you can establish and venture into with little capital about $100 or less, by establishing it at a much smaller scale to reduce the cost, and you should only invest in those that align with your internal and external talent. You may require some time for training to refine your skills and talent to prepare for some of them.

You can start these 35 small business ideas, with zero money. Yes, these are businesses you can start by just building relationships. I started my business this way by talking to total strangers. And I believe you will get answers to your question about how to start a business with no money.

Best business to start with little money

Complaining about the economy won’t make anyone rich. This article is about to show you a list of small businesses you can start with little or no money from anywhere in the world. By the time you are through with this post, you will have enough business ideas to earn your money for the rest of the year or the rest of your life. The ball is in your court. Let’s jump right in.

small businesses you can start with little or no money

1. Book Sales

This business idea is straightforward and easy to get started. You don’t need capital to start this business; all you need is a good relationship.

If you can get someone to introduce you to a good bookseller for an internship, you can get started. Most booksellers need more customers for their business. If you are not too ashamed to sell, this is your chance to earn. Move the books around into colleges, ministries, barracks, churches, and mosques. Build relationships, and make money. 

2. Social media manager

If you are that guy that spends several hours on the internet, and you love to chat, relate, follow trends, drive traffic, gossip, and share news, this is your gig. Thousands of small business owners are looking for someone to handle their social media accounts. Some will pay $100k – $500.

If you manage five accounts a month, you can earn $500 – $2500 monthly. You don’t need special skills to get started. Join Facebook groups for businesses and tell them you can do this for them. You may also need to learn how to handle one account using CRMs like HubSpot. If you can master this trade, you can make millions of dollars in a year.

3. Start a Profitable Blog

Starting a blog has become a very affordable way to earn extra nowadays. To monetize your blog and call it a business, you have to put in the time and effort. In the first months, you will certainly not earn enough to pay all your bills. With a good niche, interesting content, search engine optimization, and well-chosen partner campaigns, you can gain traction. In the long run, you can turn it into a profitable small business. 

You are the person that loves to source information and share your ideas with other people? Try blogging. Blogging is not only about sharing content; there are some technical sides to it.

SEO, Traffic, Bad Traffic, Domain Authority, etc. But here is the hack. You don’t need to know all this. In short, you don’t need to have money to start. Go on Facebook, join groups for bloggers and tell them you will collaborate with anyone ready for profit sharing. Collaborate with five people. Out of these 5, 2 would be your cash cow.

If you guys work hard, each blog generates $200 in ad earnings per month, and you get a cut of 50 dollars each which will be your total earnings for the month. What did you do? You only build relationships and share your ideas: things you already know. 

4. Babysitting

It works best for ladies or guys that love kids. Now, this might be technical. Trust is usually an issue. You may need to prove that you have what it takes before people agree to leave their kids with you. So it is best to start with your friends and family.

To some extent, you may need to do it for free before anyone agrees to pay you. Meet them and ask them to give you a chance to take care of their kids while they are away. Once you gain experience and a track record, ask for referrals. Charge $1 per hour. Work for 8 hours a day, and you will make $240 in a month plus, your feeding is on your boss. 

5. Online Car Sales Rep

Someone broke the sales of all the cars you see on the street today. A good car salesperson can make between $100 – $1000 per sales deal. You don’t need to buy a car before you sell one. Just go to your church or mosque and talk to all the elderly ones there. Let them know you will promote their cars if they have cars to sell.

Join social media platforms dedicated to car sales. Once you see a request for the car you want to sell, chat with the person and offer to sell the car. Keep in mind that this business depends on trust, recommendation, and relationships. 

6. Home and Office Cleaning Service

If you are not too proud to get your hands dirty, this is your gig. Meet people in your church, mosque, school, and environment and let them know you are now in business. Once in a week, you can get their house sparkling like new.

If you do four houses at $20 per week, you have $320 at the end of the month. Plus, you can now sell detergent, air freshener, and special brushes to your clients too and the value chain increases.

7. Real Estate Agent

Have you ever called one of those boys who can help you find a new apartment within 24 hours? Good, that’s a real estate agent.

These guys don’t own a single apartment, but they know so many caretakers that they can easily earn by brokering a deal. If you think you can build relationships, you can generate income for sure.

Meet as many caretakers as possible and get them to give you some apartment to push. If you promote ten apartments per month, you can earn as high as $500 – $2000.

8. Home lessons

If you like to hang around kids, but you don’t know where to start, try teaching. An average home lesson teacher can earn between $50 – $300k in most tier 3 countries. Sign a 3days per week deal and get two clients on board.

Target homes with up to 3 kids, and you are in the money. If you charge $100 per kid and there are three kids, that’s $300. If you have two clients, that’s $600k. 

9. Write and sell ebooks

So you know so much about a particular topic? This gig is yours. If you are reading this blog post, it means you either have a laptop or a smartphone: you can start with that.

If you own a laptop, Microsoft Word will do the job. Just type everything you want to share with the world into Microsoft Word and save it as a PDF instead of a Word document file. Once saved, go on the Facebook group and let people know that you have something they might love to learn. Charge $1 –  $10 naira for your ebook.

If you sell 20 per week, you will earn between $80 – $800 per month. You can write more than one ebook to earn more income. These ebooks can also be Amazon Kindle for more exposure and income.

10. Provide painting Services

If you are that kind of creative person who your friend envies your taste for color and designs, here is how you can earn income. Paint other people’s houses. Most house owners repaint their homes once every three years.

There are over 4 million households in your state. If you are serious, disciplined, and hardworking, land seven good painting gigs monthly. If each painting gig gives you $200, you have $1400 monthly. Save up and establish yourself better, and you can earn as you like. This business idea is low-cost and high-profit model.

11. Event Decorator

Have you worked as a decorator in your church, mosque, or school? This gig would work perfectly for you. YOU can work directly with event planners to craft amazing decor for occasions and get paid for it. You will make money on materials and get paid for your service. The earning potential is between $200k – $1000 monthly. Event decoration is one of the businesses for small investments.

12. Social media influencer

You joined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok early, and now you have over one hundred thousand followers who like you and engage with you. Let’s make some money. Reach out to upcoming musicians and offer to push their music on your social media handle.

Charge $10 per track, and get five upcoming musicians to pay you weekly. You would have $50 per week and $250 per month. Not bad for a business starting with no capital. Read on to learn more about how to start a business with little to no money.

13. Coaching Business

It has nothing to do with sport. Coaching is a multi-million dollar business. Top companies and high-performers in the world hire several coaches in various areas of their lives. If you are that person who knows how to help other people get from A to B, then you might do well in coaching.

Starting a coaching business is easy. You only need to rebrand yourself and show a track record in the area you choose. You don’t need a dime to start. Just join a Facebook group where your target audience is and let them know you are an authority and offer this service.

14. Sell Digital Products

If you’ve got a product that people will buy, then you should consider selling it online. This type of business has become increasingly popular as more consumers turn to the internet to find products and services.

Products that provide you with educative information and skills which are not delivered physically give high turnover within a blink of an eye.

You don’t have to sell physical items to run an online business. One of the easiest and fastest ways to make money is through digital information items.

However, among the most prominent formats for creating information products are:

Videos such as a webinar, a how-to, an interview, etc.

Audio recordings, such as one from an interview, podcast, or course.

Text such as an eBook, a tour guide, an instruction booklet of any sort

As long as the information is compelling and useful, you can be as creative as you like in each of these categories.

It doesn’t matter whatever way you do it, it’s still effective.

15. Furniture maker

Many people need new furniture after relocating to a new house or to update their houses and they are also willing to pay a lot of money for it.

Before you start this business, it is advisable to learn from someone that is already in the business. If you have talent and interest in working with your hands and raw materials, you also know a lot about wood, this business is for you.

You want to make a lot of money – A set of chairs ranges from $1000-$5000 now.

16. Tutorials

Do you know a subject inside out, and can you explain it to others in a simple way? Then you can earn extra money. Sign up with online tutoring platforms and create a profile. After this, you can talk to parents and students.

Or design flyers for personal classes, print them out and distribute them in your area and across your social handle. Think of schools and libraries.

With monthly rates starting at $20 – $100, you can run a successful tutoring business by sharing your knowledge. This allows you to help others succeed in their studies.

17. Run a daycare

Do you love taking care of children? Then consider opening a daycare.

There is always a demand for high-quality childcare. You can get started by turning your guest room into a playroom. A daycare is a small profitable business idea.

Businessmen and working-class women that have little kids regularly enroll them at daycares, so they can leave them there while they go to work, so they would have to worry about the child’s safety and the daycare makes money taking care of the children.

18. Open a Photography Business

Photography may be just a hobby now, but you could always turn it into a professional business.

Determine what your specialty is: do you focus on nature photography? There are many photo niches that you could explore.

A good idea to test your skills is to sell your photos to stock photo portals like Adobe Stock or Getty Images.

You can also create your own website and an Instagram account. So, you can start building your brand. Photography is certainly also suitable as a side job, you don’t necessarily have to do it full-time, or you can start a mini photo studio there are everywhere these days. I’m not talking about traditional photography, you know. It is a small business you can start by renting a camera at for a start.

19. Open a Barbering salon

Hairstyling is one of those things that we all do at least once in our lifetime, so if you want to start up a hair salon for men, it is a great business idea.

The only thing you really need to start up your own salon is a place where you can set up the business, and depending on what type of hairstyling service you want to provide, you may need a few tools for styling.

If you have the skills and enthusiasm, a barbering salon can brighten up your neighborhood.

Get the prices and treatments right, and watch your setting fill up. Spread the word with friends and family, and your best work will speak for you.

Start small – get customers to your home or you to theirs. Or you can rent a space if you can afford it. In this business, your skills are the main deal.

20. Run a Fashion Design service

There is nothing worse than realizing that one of your favourite shirts or dresses is torn or no longer fits.

If you have the skills to make, modify or patch up clothes, you can turn this into a profitable business. You will be surprised at how many zips need fixing, or how many people can’t shorten their jeans themselves. But before u start this, you have to learn from established tailors.

Read this: Top 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs that Shocked the World

21. Rental Locations

Do you have an empty space in your front yard or a lodge that is not occupied?

If you don’t plan on renting these out long term, you can rent them out multiple times for the short term instead. We have also written on how best to monetize your empty space.

22. Cooking Classes

Knowing how to make a great meal is a lifelong skill – no doubt about it.

If you are a real home cook, share your knowledge and organize cooking classes. You can organize your classes around themes, such as specific types of dishes (pasta, soup, pizza, fish, or rice).

The easiest way to get started is to teach online classes. You can also partner with local professional schools and make a deal where you can use the classrooms in the evenings for your group teaching.

Determine your prices (sell your lessons as a course or can individual lessons be booked).

23. Group fitness classes

If you are in your element at the gym and you encourage everyone, then you could be a good fitness instructor for group exercise classes.

Most group fitness instructors work at multiple gyms. While you need the training to start your fitness career, you can quickly build a loyal customer base when you build a strong brand.

You can even set up your own gym for group classes.

24. Poultry farming

Poultry is a million dollars industry in the world right now. Given the increase in population, farmers alone cannot produce enough meat to satisfy their citizens hence the import of frozen chicken, so it doesn’t matter how many people are already in this business you will always sell your products just with the right marketing strategy.

A fully grown chicken sells for $20 and a day old is less than a dollar, and you have to feed it for just 8 weeks, but this is in no way easy it is best to learn from someone in the business. Though, it involves high risk. But, with high technical know-how, you will breakthrough.

25. Website Designing

You can acquire skills in website design by watching free YouTube videos and mastering them in days with high discipline and dedication. Then, you could offer web design services and earn cool cash.

The advent of Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Shopify has made developing a website easy. Gone are those days when you have to sleep on codes before you make it happen.

26. Mini computer service center

This isn’t news to anyone, everyone has at least been to a computer center once to print, photocopy or use the Internet service. This is a kind of small business that is really profitable, speaking from experience, and if properly managed can make you close to a million yearly. The location of the business is vital, near a high institution or at a busy junction will do wonders for you.

27. Become a Freelance Writer

If you’re looking to make extra cash, consider becoming a freelance writer. Many companies hire freelancers to write articles, blog posts, white papers, press releases, and more.

To find work, try sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, and oDesk. Once you’ve landed a job, you need to build up your portfolio by submitting samples of your writing.

28. Local Drink and Juice production

Different drinks from fruit extract and be processed, packaged, and monetized. This is a profitable small business that can suddenly break into the food industry if it is established well.

A location next to a school or marketplace is ideal to scoop sales. Students love this drink, and if you can add snacks and small chops to the drink. You can start small and then scale fast, be sure to produce it in a hygienic environment. If you know how to make these drinks, you are ready to go, but if you don’t, you can always learn.

29. Game center

Gaming center is a really profitable business if you know what you are doing, and it is not that costly to set up, you can start with one or two consoles and then expand as you make money. Most people think that playing games are for teenagers, but adults play from time to time, after all, it is a way to relieve stress and have fun.

30. Fish farming

This can only be called a small business if practiced on a low scale. Fish farming is recently booming since barbecue became a famous cuisine in some African countries.

The demand for fish is greater than the amount of supply, all the stocks of some farmers are fully booked before the fish is ready for marketing. Catfish are sold per kilogram. If you will be consistent, restaurants and hotels can make you their permanent supplier. There is money to be made in this industry now and in the near future.

31. Mini restaurant

If you like to cook and welcome people, but you do not have the necessary funds to open a restaurant, you can rent a small space complete it with seats and tables for customers, under a shade, or with an umbrella mounted to provide shade it is really paying, and sometimes you can be employed to cook for an occasion. This is a whole new level, but it all depends on how good your cooking is. Be hygienic, you can see I keep repeating it.

32. Graphic designer

Various companies are constantly in search of designs that show people what they do. If you can follow brand guidelines and customer needs, all you need to get started is a computer and a program like Photoshop or Illustrator.

So you can create Logos, Advertising, Flyers, Journals, Datasheets, Cards, Promotions, and Posters. Infact, tools like canva and pixellab made the whole designing process easy. Your graphic designing skill can be offered on freelancing sites like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Fiverr.

33. Laundry service

Most working-class citizens don’t have time to wash their clothes, this is not about being lazy. It is about not having time and that is where your service is needed, most laundry business starts out without a washing machine just a few buckets and iron as they make more money they expand. The good thing about laundry service is that it can be transformed from a small business to a big venture.

34. Create an Ecommerce Store

An eCommerce store allows you to sell products directly through your website. It’s easy to set up and requires very little maintenance. However, there are also several drawbacks to starting an eCommerce store.

First, you’ll need to spend money upfront to purchase inventory. Second, you’ll need to invest time and effort into managing your sales. Third, you’ll need to pay taxes on any profits you make. Finally, you won’t be able to use much of traditional advertising methods such as print ads or television commercials. This business model goes with digital marketing.

35. Run a Local Food Truck

If you’re looking to start a business without spending much money, consider running a food truck. A food truck is essentially a mobile restaurant where customers order food via a smartphone app. They then pick up their orders at the truck and eat them on site. This type of business is perfect for people who enjoy cooking and serving food.

Our Conclusion

You need to put in all the work that’s required to build them into something worthwhile. These are small businesses you can start with little or no money. These small business ideas discussed in the blog post have the potential to grow, it’s up to you to push through.

However, the best startup businesses think big, start small and scale fast!

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