9 Small Businesses Anyone Can Start With Little to No Money Upfront

Many aspiring entrepreneurs dream of opening their own business, but they fear that they’ll need to invest a lot of money to do so — and will end up losing that money should their business fail down the road.

Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses that don’t require a lot of capital to get started. To give you an idea of what businesses you might consider, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) respond to the following question:

“What’s one small business anyone can start with little to no money upfront? Why is this such a good business for someone just starting out?”

Here are nine businesses these entrepreneurs recommend starting if you’re on a budget.

small businesses anyone can start with a small budget

1. Freelance Consulting

“One small business that anyone can start with little to no money is a freelance consulting business, such as graphic design, coding, financial modeling or virtual assistance. For those just starting out, consulting requires minimal initial investment. With the rise of remote work and the gig economy, freelancing has become viable for anyone looking to start their own business.” ~ Eddie Lou, CodaPet

2. Content Marketing

“If you’re good with words and can convince people to take action based on your words, content marketing can be a good business idea for you to start. Most business leaders look for good content marketers. You can start your content marketing firm and offer your services to these businesses. Since you’re selling your skills, you don’t need to invest anything to set up this business.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster


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3. Home Cleaning Services

“A home cleaning service can easily be started with little to no money upfront. It’s a great business to launch because there is a high demand for it and there aren’t many barriers to entry. Plus, the money is recurring since clients tend to ask for cleaning over and over again. This is also an easily scalable business since one can start solo and then hire workers as the business grows.” ~ Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of CPAs

4. Social Media Influencing

“Create a brand on social media. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, you can open an account and start creating high-quality content geared toward a specific audience for very little startup cost. Then, grow your following and find brands willing to pay you for sponsored posts so they can get in front of the curated group of followers you already have.” ~ Nanxi Liu, Blaze.tech

5. Web Design

“If you have an eye for design, you may want to consider getting into the world of web design. There’s no shortage of business owners and marketers who simply don’t have time to build a website. That’s where you come in. The evolution of drag-and-drop builders and hands-on tutorials have made it easy for anyone to design a storefront or blog, even if they don’t know how to code.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC

6. Blogging

“Starting a blog serves as a decent standalone business that requires little to no money upfront. It opens a variety of possibilities for you to generate revenue and requires minimal effort to get started. All you have to do is pick a niche that aligns with your interests and has the potential to help you unlock different monetization options.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

7. Affiliate Marketing

“You can start a small business by leveraging affiliate marketing. All you need to do is create a website and sign up for an affiliate program offered by a brand that piques your interest. A business fueled by affiliate marketing allows you to generate revenue via commissions by simply promoting solutions offered by your affiliates. So, it’s an option worth considering.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Social Media Content Creation

“Virtually anyone can start a small business or offer professional services in the field of social media. You need to be clever with words, know how to take pictures and videos and be creative. And you can pitch your services to manage businesses’ social media accounts. You have to show measurable results like an increase in followers and engagement, but you can learn this as you work.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress

9. Translation Services

“One can start a translation business with little to no money upfront. All you need is a love for a language or different languages and a grammatical and structural understanding of the language you’re translating. With the rise in immigration and the rise of localization and “local search,” the need for content in the local language is a domain that has only grown in demand.” ~ Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

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