Even for the most passionate entrepreneurs, finding startup capital can be a huge issue to overcome. Businesses such as restaurants, retail stores, and manufacturing plants often require too much money for the average person to get their hands on. However, many other types of enterprises can be launched on the cheap.
Here are five businesses you can start with little or no money:
1. Cleaning service — Some of the highest-margin businesses involve performing tasks that others don’t want to do. Very few people enjoy cleaning and janitorial work, and they’re willing to pay to have someone else do it for them. You could launch a cleaning business with very little startup capital and scale your business into commercial or specialized markets. According to Entrepreneur magazine, cleaning businesses are very profitable and generate income soon after opening because of the high demand.
2. Lawn care and landscaping — A lot of people hate yard work, too. If you love it, a lawn and landscaping business is generally a low-cost startup with a lot of scalability. If you mowed lawns as a kid, you know that you can get started without much more than a lawnmower, then build your product offerings and clientele. In regions where harsh winters are common, turn your yardwork business into a seasonal snow-removal business.
3. Intellectual property — Not all low-cost startups require extreme amounts of elbow grease. If you’re a skilled writer, graphic designer, computer programmer, consultant, or public speaker, startup costs are often minimal. For those who offer high-quality services, word of mouth often results in a rapidly expanding business.
4. Online sales — What started as a three-person startup “headquartered” in a garage recently reported $13.8 billion in third quarter net sales–up 27% from the same period in 2011. That company is Amazon.com. E-commerce sites can be set up for free, and with online sales expected to rise 45% in the United States from 2012-2016, online marketing shows no signs of slowing down.
5. Tutoring — Regardless of age, learning is a lifelong passion for most. Whether it’s to help others gain higher test scores or GPAs or just learn a new skill or hobby, if you have an area of expertise and passion for teaching, consider becoming a tutor. Take on as many or as few students as you would like. You could make $40 per hour or more teaching something you love.
Regardless of the size of your business, registration, permits, and insurance should be factored in to your startup costs. It may seem like a hassle, but even small businesses can be the target of litigation. Take the time to protect yourself and your family.