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50 Ideas for Businesses You Can Launch for Cheap or Free

Updated: Apr 1, 2020


Related: Need help funding your business?


Luckily, it is now increasingly easy to start a business from scratch without spending a fortune. Below, I've highlighted 50 varied business ideas you can start cheaply from the comfort of your own home. Some of the business ideas listed require nothing more than an internet connection, while others demand a level of licensing or a specific set of vocational skills...the choice is yours!




1. Online Marketing Services

Marketing does involve a certain level of background knowledge. That said, if you are not experienced, investing in an online course is not only cheap but will equip you with the adequate tools to start a solo digital marketing agency you could expand in the future. There are lots of new marketing fields opening up such as influencer marketing.

Companies are always looking for freelancers able to provide marketing copy that is SEO-friendly and can transform website visitors into leads and, eventually, customers. In addition to offering optimized copy, you could offer to upload the content to their websites and improve their SEO further with:

  • Meta descriptions

  • The right titles

  • The correct keyword density

  • Tags and categories

  • Relevant images with SEO captions and alt tags


2. Social Media Consultant

Who doesn’t love Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Fancy yourself to be a bit of whiz, but don’t have any formal training? Twitter and Google, among other platforms, offer complete professional courses with recognized certifications that require little to no money. Social media is also a business that has unlimited potential with a client base that can span across the world. This trend is unlikely to die soon, if ever, and new platforms are being released every year, making the possibilities for expansion limitless. You can usesocial media management toolsto make your job easy.


3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is extremely easy to get into and involves you earning a commission by promoting other companies' products and services. Basically, you choose a product you like, promote it, and make a profit on each sale that stems from your marketing efforts. An affiliate marketing business is especially easy to start if:

  • You have a blog or website of your own

  • You can prove your success through visitor statistics

  • You have already successfully undertaken affiliate marketing and can show this to your potential clients



4. Tester or Reviewer

Individuals or startups often look for people to review their products to encourage others to buy them. You can either get started with a profile on freelancing websites or approach companies directly, offering them a review in exchange for a monetary reward by becoming aninfluencer. Even better, if you have your own website or blog, you could write entire posts about their products, thus allowing you to charge more money in the long run and build a portfolio with tangible results to show future clients.


5. Secretarial Services

Similar to virtual assisting, remote secretarial services require little to no experience. All you need is:

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Good communication skills

  • Good time management

  • A high level of autonomy

Your day-to-day tasks as a freelancing secretary will typically include:

  • Booking meetings

  • Organizing calendars

  • Replying to emails

  • Putting together presentations

  • Answering phone calls


6. Online Dating Consultant

Have you got a way with words? Or have you found your Mr. or Mrs. Right and want to share how you got there? You can become someone's wingman or woman and help them find love by becoming an online dating consultant. This type of consulting comes with a large level of responsibility, as you will be guiding someone's love life. Daily tasks include:

  • Acting as an account manager on dating sites

  • Writing profiles

  • Offering telephone updates on their matchmaking status


7. Ebay Assistant or Seller

An Ebay assistant or seller is similar to being a marketing affiliate. The key difference is that instead of marketing the product, you are selling it directly to the customer. When selling for others on Ebay or any other platform, you will sell the product and keep a commission as compensation.

Unfortunately, this type of job comes with risks. Commonly, scam artists attract Ebay sellers and use fake shipping papers to convince them to send payments. Unfortunately, even if you are scammed, you will be held responsible for your customers not receiving their items. Always remember to:

  • Get to know the distributor

  • Keep all payments in your e-wallet until the customer confirms having received the parcel

  • Report any suspicious activity

  • Do not share any of your banking details


8. Application Developer

New applications are launched on a daily basis and if you believe you have the skills to create your own and a unique enough idea, you should do it! Aside from the fact that you will have to invest little to no money to get started, it is far less time consuming than the average 9 to 5. Once you have created your application, couple it with the right marketing strategy and you'll be making money in your sleep. The best part about developing applications is that you can do it from anywhere in the world.



9. Website Developer

We live in a digital world where every business needs a website to drive their traffic to in order to make sales. If you have the skills, you could enter an industry that will never die. You can also start small by creating websites on platforms such as Wordpress. If you want to take your web-building skills to the next level, you can learn the language of website creation throughCodecademy.com, where you will be able to learn how to incorporate personalized:

  • Shopping carts

  • Product pages

  • Galleries

  • Blogs

  • Services pages

  • Feedback forms


10. Internet Security Consultant

Hacking, scamming, and viruses are just some of the security threats on the web today. If you know your stuff, you could make very good money consulting businesses, especially those who handle sensitive customer information and want to keep it as safe as possible.


11. Graphic Designer

Companies are always in search for branding that tells people about what they do. If you can follow company guidelines and customer needs, all you will need to get started is a computer and applications such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Types of media you will be responsible for creating include:

  • Logos

  • Fliers

  • Newsletters

  • Magazines

  • Information sheets

  • Letters

  • Advertisements


12. Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers typically use publishing software to create:

  • Magazines

  • Books

  • Marketing newsletters

  • Other marketing materials

In order to offer a full service, you could also write the content or hire a content writer and create your own small team.



13. Designing Business Plans

Having a eureka moment is great, but it can be hard to put that idea down on paper in a way that will speak to a potential investor. If you have owned your own business in the past or earned a business degree, why not help those with a eureka moment start something they love? Plan your fee around the various packages you are prepared to offer your clients. You can either:

  • Create an electronic copy that your client can customize

  • Keep a copy on file and continue customizing it according to their needs

  • Create various templates that you can show your customers and how you can customize the templates for them accordingly


14. Tax Consultant

Companies big and small pay good money to have their taxes prepared for them. It gives them a chance to focus on the everyday operations of their business. If you have the appropriate experience, you could set yourself up as a freelancer; however, by starting with a tax preparation franchise, you will receive courses, seminars and training.


15. Blogger or Vlogger

Are you an expert in a specific field? From travel, fashion, cooking, to DIY, and removal services, if you know how to do something particularly well, why not tell the world through a blog or vlog? All you will need is a computer and a good quality camera. You can make money by offering advertising space and reviews of products on your platform.



16. Informational Product Creator

Similar to blogging or vlogging, creating informational products is your chance to put your expertise in an e-book or some form of digital format and selling it to the online world. Find a niche that's not been overdone and start writing. You can sell your information piece on platforms such as Amazon Books.


17. Resume Writer

No matter the experience, there are very few people that enjoy or are good at writing their own resume. Individuals pay very good money to have their personal statements put on paper for them. It will cost you nothing to get setup and once you get the hang of it, you should be able to average a good hourly or daily pay rate.



18. Domain Name Buyer

As the name suggests, all you need to do is buy domain names you believe people will want and sell them for a profit. You will need to be able to:

  • Identify profitable domain names

  • Identify domain names that are memorable

  • Learn about SEO and keyword optimization


19. Flipping Websites

Flipping a website is the art of buying an already existing website, improving it, and selling it. With the right web development skills, it is a very easy and cheap trade to explore. That said, you need to be able to identify websites that have the potential for improvement.


20.Translator

Translating is one of the easiest and most profitable industries to delve into if you are proficient in more than one language. Sought out on a global scale, translators do not need any capital to get started and can earn a salary of $40,000 a year (minimum) depending on the size of the company you are hired by and the length of the contract they offer.



21. Financial Advisor

Although the number of people wanting to start their own business has grown, many still do not know how to organize themselves financially. Start by getting your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate to show clients you are credible. On the other hand, if you already have the experience, you can start by advising individuals and then grow your empire to consult for larger organizations.


22. Editorial Services

An editorial services business is easy to start, requires no initial monetary investment, and has a huge potential for expansion. From small and large businesses to authors and students, your client base could be endless. You can offer a variety of services, some of which include:

  • Copywriting

  • Ghostwriting

  • Magazine article writing

  • Newspaper article writing

  • Web content writing

  • Proofreading

  • Editing

  • Indexing

  • Book writing


23. Online Photo Selling

If you are a professional photographer or just have a deep-rooted passion for it, you can make money from your pictures on photo selling websites. All you need to get started is a camera, preferably a digital SLR with a minimum of 8 megapixels, and a computer. Once you have established yourself on websites such asGettyImages.comandFlickr.com, you can setup your own website with a list of your watermarked images and their price per unit.


24. Meal Planning

There are loads of people who love food but don't have the first clue about what to buy. They are either not very confident in the kitchen, don't know the first thing about a balanced diet, or struggle with maintaining a budget. As a meal planner, you would:

  • Create a list of ingredients

  • Create step-by-step recipes for your customers to follow

  • Explain the nutritional value of the meals to educate your customers

  • Explain to them how they are saving money by sticking to your meal plans



25. Patient Advocacy Services

Patient advocacy services are extremely important to communities across the world. On a daily basis, you would be:

  • Helping people track down hospitals for paperwork

  • Gather bills for insurance companies

  • Argue cases with insurance companies

People in need of these services are most likely ill or grieving, leaving them fragile and often unable to defend themselves. It is important they have the right support during this time in their lives.


26. Ecommerce Store

If you have a great product, but no money to invest in a physical storefront, staff, and bills, why not set yourself up online? Aside from the lack of huge monetary investment and time commitment, the marketing opportunities online are endless. Also, although a storefront is great for branding purposes, it does limit the size and scope of your audience. By setting yourself up with an e-commerce store, you can:

  • Sell to anyone in the world

  • Have a store that is open 24/7 (meaning you literally make money in your sleep)

  • Run promotions easily, whenever you want

  • Cross-sell between your marketing and social media platforms and your website

  • Run marketing campaigns through Google and other platforms


27. Survey Taking

Although you won't get rich doing surveys online, you may make a steady income if you sign up to multiple sites. These surveys take barely any time at all to complete and can normally net you around $150+. Some of the most popular survey-taking platforms include:

  • MySurveys

  • InboxDollars

  • Global Test Market

  • EarningStation

  • Harris Poll


28. Video Production

There are a number of ways you can use videography to create your own home-based business. There are so many people wanting to become YouTube celebrities who don't have the skills to upload high-quality, well-edited videos. Other services you could offer include:

  • Vlog editing

  • Creating music videos

  • Voice-overs

  • Adverts



29. Sustainability Consultant

Businesses of all sizes are trying to find news ways to do their part for the environment by implementing greener practices. Unfortunately, many of the more eco-friendly options available today are also significantly more expensive, so business owners need someone like you who can advise them on how they can change their process without sacrificing their bottom line.


30. Call Center Representative

More companies are looking to hire call center representatives who are willing to work from home on customer care issues. All you need to get started is a computer and a phone line. Aside from the fact that you could earn a good base salary, you will not have any commuting expenses and can save money by cooking your meals at home.



31. Online Custom Tailoring 

People are increasingly conscientious about the way they look, and with that comes the need for tailored clothing. One size does not fit all, and businessmen and women, in particular, want to look the part when they go into the office every day. The custom clothing industry is still relatively untapped, so starting a business now will offer you a significant potential for growth in the future. In addition to having their pieces delivered directly to their homes, you can offer customization of:

  • Fabric

  • Patterns

  • Size

  • Fitting

  • Stitching

  • Lining


32. Currency Trading

Online currency trading is easier than ever thanks to the number of tutorial videos, online courses, and applications that offer step-by-step guides to becoming a currency trader. All you need is:

  • Technical skills

  • Fundamental analytical skills

  • A small amount of cash flow

  • A phone, tablet, or computer


33. Telemarketing Services

More and more companies are outsourcing their marketing efforts, and telemarketing is one of them. As a freelance telemarketer working from home, you will be setting appointments with customers and creating warm leads for companies. The amount you charge will depend on the size of the company you are working for, and the project they want to allocate you.





34. Referral Services

Are you the person who all your friends and family call when they're trying to find a good restaurant, lawyer, plumber or gardener? If that's the case and you love referring them to all the lovely businesses you know of in your neighborhood, you could start a business doing just that. You'll be able to work with individuals and businesses, helping customers find what they want, and businesses gain more clients. To get started, you will need to:

  • Gather a list of businesses you want on your referral lists

  • Sell them the benefits of being on your list

  • Place ads online and in the Yellow Pages to gain customers



35. Online Tutoring

Have you worked as a teacher before? Are you proficient in a second language? Have you studied math, science, or any other subject? If so, you could tutor adults and children, provided you have the right paperwork for child protection reasons. It will cost you very little to get setup, and you can offer your services at people's homes.



36. Computer Trainer

There are a number of seniors wanting to learn how to use computers and the internet, meaning that if you are proficient in both Mac and PC, you could offer your services in your neighborhood. Be warned, most will not be as passionate about computers as you, so they will only want to learn basics, such as emailing and using an internet browser.





37. Courier Services

You may be thinking “that is what the mail room is for”, but in actuality, businesses in busy areas often use local courier services, as they can offer more flexible pickup and drop-off times. Because of the specific services you are offering, you will also be able to charge more.



38. Life Coaching or Mentoring

If you have a proven track record in a particular field, can prove past success, or have trained in matters of the mind, life coaching or mentorship could be for you. People, especially soon to be entrepreneurs, seek guidance through mentorship and life coaches. You can setup your services from the comforts of your home with no monetary investment.



39. Online Personal Trainer

Fancy yourself as a bit of a fitness fanatic? Then why not channel that energy into a course where nutrition and the anatomy of the body are also covered? With this, you can train novices from the comforts of your home or through your local gym.





40. Personal Chef

As a personal chef, you will spend your days cooking for people who do not have the time to do so themselves but do have the money to pay someone to do it for them. If you want to stand out from the crowd, offer meal plans that suit various dietary requirements, such as:

  • Gluten-free, lactose-free, or egg-free meals

  • Vegan and vegetarian dishes

  • Meals for those with diseases, such as coeliac





41. Caregiving

To become a caregiver, you will have to undergo professional training and acquire various certifications and health and safety diplomas. That said, if you've have cared for a parent, sibling, or friend in the past and feel this is something you want to pursue, it is a business you can set up cheaply. You can not only choose your clients but also your working hours. Daily tasks as a caregiver will vary; however, you will often be expected to:

  • Clean

  • Wash

  • Do laundry

  • Prepare meals

  • Take your patients outdoors for fresh air

  • Do their shopping

  • Potentially dress and feed them




42. Personal Concierge

You are probably thinking that being the concierge to the executive of a big company will be a piece of cake, think twice. Although you will make good money being someone's personal concierge, it is a very challenging job in which you will be expected to deliver what has been asked of you, on time, with a smile. That said, you will normally be paid very handsomely for your services.



43. Grocery Delivery Services

Big supermarkets do offer this service, but delivery prices are often very high or the food is warm or bruised when it arrives at the customer's home. If you own a large car, you could become people's personal shopper. Some people do not have time to run errands after a long day at work and others may not have the physical capacity to do so, so why not do it for them? You could also couple this service with others, such as:

  • Being a concierge

  • Offering cleaning services

  • Daily or weekly dog grooming, walking, and training services

  • Being a caregiver


44. Babysitting Services

Babysitting may not sound like a profitable market to enter, but you'd be surprised how well you can get paid if you have the right experience, certifications and licenses. Although formal training is not required, this can teach you all the procedures in the case of any emergency. There are also a number of families offering service work as a:

  • Babysitter

  • Nanny

  • Tutor

  • Au pair




45. Personal Driver or Taxi Services

This is an especially easy business to start if you live in an urban area, as many businessmen and women prefer having a driver to go to and from work in order to make calls, schedule meetings, and generally work on the operational aspects of their companies during that time. On the other hand, if you are looking to start a business that is more like a taxi service, why not become an Uber driver? To become an Uber driver, you need:

  • A decent car

  • A clean driving record

  • A smartphone

  • To be 21 years or older

  • At least 3 years' driving experience

  • A background check

Some of the main benefits of being an Uber driver are:

  • You can create your own schedule

  • You don't have a real boss

  • You will benefit from “surge pricing” regularly

  • You'll meet new people every day




46. Senior Home Companion

The minimum life expectancy is becoming later and there are now more than 45 million people in the United States who are 65 years old and up. As people age, they need more help with their day-to-day activities and may also appreciate some companionship.



47. Upholstering Services

If you're good with your hands and have a particular love for sewing, why not train as an upholsterer? There are a number of ways you can learn the upholstering trade, including:

  • A course

  • Books

  • YouTube tutorial videos

  • Practicing on old furniture

There is also significant potential for expansion. Often people who need upholstering services also need their furniture repaired, so why not learn to repair furniture as well? You could also team up with a company who does repairs and add these costs to your customer's final invoice.





48. Menu Planning Services

The restaurant chef is not the only person that has a say on what goes on the menu. High-end restaurants often find themselves indecisive when it comes to the food they want to serve, especially as seasons change. A menu planning business is a very low-cost idea, but is perfect for those who love to work with food without any direct involvement in preparing or serving it. Many places are willing to hire a consultant to design their seasonal menus, so visit local restaurants and make them aware of your culinary skill set.



49. Home Daycare Services

Firstly, you will definitely need the appropriate licensing and permits to start a home daycare business. That said, if you love children; have worked with them before; and have friends, neighbors, or family who take their young children to nurseries while they are at work, then starting your own home daycare business could be very profitable. When getting licensed, you will need to:

  • Research the requirements according to your state's laws

  • Get the correct orientations

  • Submit your application

  • Get your training

  • Buy the necessary insurance

  • Have your home inspected

Finally…50

It may seem daunting to leave your 9-to-5 grind and start your own business, but by doing so, you are giving yourself a newfound level of freedom while doing something that feeds your passion(s). The internet has made it increasingly possible for you to brush up on your skill-set or even learn new ones, leaving you with the opportunity to start a business easily and cheaply.




||| Editorial Note: The content provided on this page is intended for general information purposes only and is not represented to be error-free nor is it intended to constitute an offer, inducement, promise or contract of any kind for you to rely upon. The information and data linked to by Biz2Tmrw are provided as a courtesy and are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by Biz2Tmrw of the linked materials. To get accurate information for your business and industry we recommend you contact a licensed insurance agent or attorney.|||

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