If you choose to run with it, any one of the low cost business ideas on this list could give you an escape from the job you have right now that you hate.
Are you happy with where you are at 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 answering 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 BS 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 before, and I know how much it sucks. If you don’t have a lot of money set aside to start, you can still start small.
If you’ve been thinking about trying to set out and start 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- I promise.
This is important stuff, so if you are reading this article on your phone, please pin it for later.
So here we go- 3 businesses you can start today for under $200.
1. Social Media Management for Local Small Businesses
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. If you’re a millennial, or even a few years older, 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.
Here’s what you need to start:
- I’d recommend developing at least a baseline understanding about how Facebook ads work (yes, there is actual work involved in starting a business!). 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. Here are some popular Udemy courses I would recommend checking out:
- You’re going to want at least a basic website to showcase what you can do and to make you appear legit. To give your website some “meat” I would syndicate what you’ve learned about social media marketing in your Udemy courses (or wherever) in the form of 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. I recommend using Hostgator to start your website/blog. Use our coupon code BTOP42 for 42% off your hosting fees. Here’s our step by step guide on how to get started.
- You’ll need a Facebook page for your website.
Starting a business like this is a big arbitrage play. When you first start, you’re not gonna be an expert compared to the pros that work in a big marketing agency. But you’re going to know a hell of a lot more than the guy running the bakery down the street, and that’s what matters. Just get your first client (in person conversation, not email), produce positive results for them, and go to a slightly bigger client. Rinse and repeat.
2. Start a Blog About Something You Know a Lot About
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 options for a low budget, 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, 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 uber valuable.
Update: We have since rebranded VTX and are now calling DollarSprout.com our permanent home 🙂
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.
Wondering what specific ways a blogger makes money?
- Sponsored content from brands
- You have a food blog. Kellogg wants to promote a new cereal. They 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 showed 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
- 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.
Here’s What You Need to Get Started:
Here are some helpful resources if you want to give blogging a shot (again, this is my favorite new biz opportunity on this list):
- From 0-$100k: How Anyone Can Start Blogging
- How to Turn Your Love of Cooking into Profit by Starting a Food Blog
- How to Start a Lifestyle Blog and Use Pinterest to Make Money
And here’s a bonus tip: without solid traffic, your blog will never make any money. If you’ve already got your blog up and running and are dying to get more traffic, check out our brand new course: The Perfect Pin: How to Create Viral Pins that Drive Insane Amounts of Traffic (we get over 100k monthly visitors from Pinterest each month)
3. Do Freelance Work or Become a Virtual Assistant
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.
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. Becoming valuable 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
Here’s What You Need to Get Started:
- Get yourself 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.
- Create a list of at least 50 bloggers who you know are earning money (a lot of them will post income reports)
- Email every single one of them a personalized email asking what they need help with with 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.
Is One of These Low Cost Business Ideas Going to Be Your Way Out?
Well, 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, retire, then die a few years later. 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.
So go out there and do something great.
Looking for other ways to make money? Check out these related articles:
- 100+ Genius Ways to Make Extra Money
- How to Make Money Driving for Uber
- 5 Lucrative Side Jobs for College Students
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