If you choose to run with it, any one of the low cost business ideas on this list could be your escape route from a job or career that makes you miserable.
Are you happy with where you are right now in your career?
If you would have asked me that question two years ago, I would have given you a resounding “no.”
It wasn’t so much the job itself that I hated (I worked at a wealth management firm and helped people invest their money).
What really wore me down was having to answer to somebody else, not having control over my own schedule, and the constant office politics. And like most of us in the Rat Race, I felt like I was underpaid. Go figure.
I would sometimes browse job boards online to find something new, but I knew I would experience much of the same corporate nonsense no matter where I went.
The itch to dive into entrepreneurship grew with each passing month like you wouldn’t believe.
I put this list of low cost business ideas together because I have been where you are, and I know how bad it is.
If you don’t have a lot of money set aside to start, you can still start small with one of the profitable business ideas on this list.
Related: 100+ Genius Ways to Make Extra Money
3 Low Investment Business Ideas ($200 or Less)
Seriously, if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, please do it.
There’s always a way out if you’re willing to work hard enough, and you’re never as trapped as you think you are.
You have the power to change your life. Here’s where you can start.
1. Social Media Management for Local Small Businesses
Social media management is one of the best business ideas with low investment because it’s in such high demand.
Think about your favorite hole-in-the-wall cafe or bar. Chances are, it’s not owned by someone under the age of 40. That means you have a huge opportunity.
Most business owners over 40 don’t have a clue how to use social media to promote their business. Even younger business owners typically don’t have the time to dedicate to marketing on top of actually running their business.
If you’re a millennial, or even just someone who knows their way around technology, your familiarity is actually extremely valuable.
If you can show a coffee shop owner how you can instantly make everyone in a 10-mile radius know they exist, they’re gonna listen to you. Between paid (and effective) social media advertising, to just managing accounts on a weekly basis, there is a huge need for your young-brain skill set.
How to get started:
Learn how Facebook ads work. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but even spending a few hours learning the basics will put you light years ahead of most. This field is incredibly lucrative right now. You can create an entire business just running Facebook ads for local businesses.
Set up a basic website to showcase what you can do and to make you look like a true professional. To give your website some “meat,” create a blog showcasing your social media marketing knowledge. (Yes, there’s a difference between a website and a blog.) As a business owner is doing intel on you, they’ll get the picture real quick that you know what you’re talking about.
When you first start, you’re not gonna be an expert compared to the pros that work in a big marketing agency. However, you’re going to know a lot more than the guy running the bakery down the street, and that’s what matters.
Just get your first client, produce positive results for them, and go to a slightly bigger client. Rinse and repeat.
2. Start a Blog About Something You Enjoy
Maybe I’m a bit biased because blogging is what ultimately set me free from Corporate America, but I really do think that starting a blog is one of the best business ideas with low investment, especially for a 1- to 2-person entrepreneurial endeavor.
Since my professional background was in finance and I enjoyed the topic, I decided to start a personal finance blog, DollarSprout (formerly known as VTX Capital). As you build up your following of readers, a lot of opportunities will open up for you to make money. An audience of engaged readers is incredibly valuable.
You can make money blogging about virtually any topic. Seriously, some people are pulling in over a hundred grand a MONTH from their blogs. These are regular people just like you and me. In less than a year, we went from making $0 with our blog to over $7,000 per month.
Wondering what specific ways a blogger makes money?
There’s no limit to how you can monetize your blog. Every blogger has a favorite method for making money — some are more passive, while others require a bit more effort. Some of the main blog monetization methods include:
Sponsored content from brands: Say you have a food blog, and Kellogg wants to promote a new cereal. They may pay you $500 to post an article that mentions said cereal. Profit.
Display advertising: These are ads that Google displays to website visitors based on what that reader has already shown an interest in.
So if Susie was looking at Toyota minivans a couple days before she came to your food blog, she would see a Toyota minivan ad on your blog (each reader is getting ads catered to them specifically).
Affiliate marketing: This is where you actively promote other company’s products on your blog, but you only get paid if you generate a conversion/sale from your ads. Your success is based solely on how well you convert, but you can make a lot of money with this monetization plan.
Selling ebooks and other shop items: You can also sell your own stuff on your blog, of course. With this approach, you keep all of the revenue (awesome), but you are also responsible for product development, inventory (if applicable), and order fulfillment, which can be quite cumbersome.
There are dozens of ways that you can make money blogging. These are just a few ideas to get you started.
How to get started:
Check out these articles we’ve written specifically to help you start and grow a profitable blog:
- How to Start a Blog and Set Yourself Up for Success
- How to Make Your First $1,000 Blogging
- The Top 5 Income Streams Your Blog Needs
3. Do Freelance Work or Become a Virtual Assistant
Freelancing and virtual assistant work are two of the easiest low investment business ideas to get started.
If you aren’t quite ready to take the leap with either of the above two businesses, I think this is a really good compromise. After freelancing or being a virtual assistant (VA) for a while, you will have built a solid foundation of skills needed to tackle other business ventures more confidently in the future.
Or, if you’d rather, you can keep going with this one and build a virtual assistant empire.
Many online business owners (myself included) are always looking for help with certain administrative tasks. If you can specialize in one of these kinds of tasks, you become quite valuable to those who need an extra set of hands. Providing value is the name of the game here, no matter what you end up doing.
Here are some skills in high demand that you can offer online business owners:
- Social media planning, scheduling, and promotion
- Web design help
- Graphic design/photo editing
- Creating high-quality email campaigns
- Write blog articles
- Put together press releases
- Manage customer service emails
- Transcription of audio to print
- Here are over 100+ other in-demand services for VAs
How to get started:
Set up a basic website to showcase your services. Noticing a theme here? If you want to be taken at all seriously, you need a website. There’s really no way around it.
Start pitching clients. Create a list of at least 50 bloggers who you know are earning money (a lot of them will post income reports). Send every single one of them a personalized email asking what they need help with regarding their business.
If these 50 ignore you, find 50 more bloggers to contact. Getting your first client is the hardest part; just stick with it. After you get a client or two, create a portfolio of your work that you can use to market yourself to bigger and better clients.
Low Cost Business Ideas Are Becoming More Popular
Any of the low investment business ideas above could be your ticket to freedom, but that’s completely up to you.
If you decide to give any of these opportunities a shot, the one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is that success is going to take time.
It would be much easier to stay at your 9 to 5, clock in and clock out for the next 40 years, and retire in your 60s (if you’re lucky). But don’t you want something more than that? Don’t you want to create something that lasts, and that has your name attached to it?
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I can’t imagine anything other than entrepreneurship. For me, life is too short to spend working for someone else. I have a feeling that if you made it to this point in the article, you might feel the same way.
Know of any other low cost business ideas? Share them in them in the comments below!