Before the age of advanced technology in which we live today, if you wanted to start your own small business it would require either years of studying or years of experience (or a generous inheritance). Fortunately, the past couple of decades have ushered-in an array of amazing innovations in digital technology that have provided prospective owners of small and medium-sized businesses with the ability to not only start a business with a small investment, but to also turn high profits on low investment business ideas.
Business ideas with low investment and high profit are a dime a dozen. But lucky for you, we’ve curated a list of 30 top business ideas that won’t break the bank or dig you into debt. Get your notepad ready, because you’re going to want to jot down at least a few of these low investment business ideas!
What is a “low-investment” business?
You might be thinking, “it’s a business that I can start without spending a lot of money, big deal”. And you would be right – but there’s much more to low investment business ideas than simply not needing to put lots of cash down from the get-go. In order to define what a low investment business is for the purposes of this article, it’s best to begin by defining what a low investment business isn’t. First and foremost, a low investment business is not necessarily going to fall under the most profitable small businesses. Beyond that, there are three major details that set low investment business ideas apart from the rest.
1. Be rent-free
There are plenty of business ideas that have the basic requirement of purchasing a physical location out of which to run the business. When considering low investment businesses though, you can oftentimes dodge the need to purchase or even rent a physical property. Even so, your customers will still want to be able to learn about your business, ‘visit’ the storefront, communicate with you, and so on. While you don’t necessarily have to buy a plot of land or a building, for lots of low investment business ideas you’ll still need to purchase a website domain.
2. Avoid equipment expenses
With more and more digital services and tools being developed and released every day, the need to purchase ‘real’ tools, equipment, or machinery is becoming increasingly limited. Let’s say, for instance, you want to start a business selling customizable apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, hats, etc.
A few years ago, you would have had to purchase loads of different kinds of tools to get the time-consuming job done – one piece at a time. Today, all anybody with an interest in selling custom apparel has to do is sign up with any of the many online print-on-demand services, such as Gooten. It’s really that easy. You provide the idea, they provide the service, and together you can start a business with a small investment without emptying your wallet on expensive equipment.
3. Go solo
One of the biggest perks of low-cost business ideas with high profit is the ability to operate completely on your own. Hiring staff has many implications on how a business runs, from operating costs to decision-making processes. With all of the ways that technology has made it easy to start, run, and scale up a small business, there are fewer demands on a business owner than ever before. In essence, that means there are fewer people needed to get the work done, and more money staying in your bank account.
30 Low Investment & High-Profit Business Ideas
If you’re looking for the best business ideas with low investment and high profit, you’ll want to first consider what a ‘low investment’ is in relation to your budget. For that reason, we’ve split the list of 30 low investment business ideas into two groups according to the cost of what it takes to start the business.
Before diving in, it’s important to note that several of these low-cost small business ideas will require taking courses and obtaining a license. Most (if not all) of them will also require that you obtain a business license. Be sure to investigate your state-specific laws and regulations to find out exactly what type of certification you may need. Get ready – now is when you’ll want to get ready to take some notes!
15 businesses you can start with less than $1,000
1. Sell Homemade / Handcrafted Products
Have you got a handy hobby that fills your free time? Maybe you enjoy woodworking, crocheting, leatherworking, or another pastime. Try turning your homemade or handcrafted goods into a business by making them to-order! If you don’t already have such a hobby, you can easily pick one up such as jewelry making or pottery. The initial investment will be minimal, as you will either already have the materials needed or you can obtain them at a very low cost.
Top tip: Selling homemade products is useful as a part-time gig to bring in extra cash on the side.
2. Personal Trainer
If you enjoy exercising and living a ‘fit’ lifestyle, becoming a personal trainer is one of the best low investment business ideas for you. This is an especially profitable low-cost business idea because you can set your rate however you feel, and the amount of equipment you need to purchase is really up to how creative you are with your regimens and routines (there’s a lot that can be done with suspension straps!).
Top tip: You can even consider approaching your local gym to work there as a part-time trainer, which can help build up your private client list.
3. Dog Walker / Pet-Sitter
Chances are, there are lots of people in your neighborhood who have furry friends. Likewise, chances are that those people are not around all of the time to take care of their pets. That’s where you come in! Whether it’s only dog walking, or a combination of general caretaking, training, and grooming, there’s plenty of profit to be made from this low investment business idea.
Top tip: One of the best parts of working as a dog walker is that you can schedule multiple clawed-clients at a time. Unleash your full profit-making potential with this low-cost business idea.
4. Music Teacher
Do you play an instrument? If you answered yes, then this is one of the top ways for you to start a business with a small investment. You probably already have the equipment and the skills necessary to turn your talent into a low investment business. Lessons can be given at your home or at the client’s home, which allows for maximum flexibility and minimal overhead expenses.
Top tip: Connect with schools or local businesses that may be able to offer free space for you to advertise your services.
5. Cleaning Services
There are plenty of messy and lazy people out there who you can turn into fuel for this low investment business idea. There’s no experience needed, there are plenty of chances to get references and build a regular client list, and you can offer different pricing options. Business ideas with low investment and high profit don’t get much better than this!
Top tip: Diversify your clients; you can clean homes, offices, daycare centers, etc.
6. Work with a Dropshipper
Instead of buying a ton of inventory, holding onto it until you make a sale, then finding the exact piece, packing it, and shipping it – *deep breath* – dropshipping is a way to reduce the stress of working an online store. You choose what you want to sell, market your business, place orders, and handle customer relations. Other than that, the dropshipper stores all of the products and does the shipping for you.
Top tip: You can start working with a dropshipper with a small investment and then combine it with other business models (more on that below). That combination may take a bit more money to get done, in which case business loans can be the right solution. Become improves the small businesses lending process by improving approval odds and providing SMBs with optimal matches to top loan providers.
7. Sell Print-on-Demand Shirts
This low investment business idea pairs perfectly with dropshipping. If you enjoy creative designing, and other people like your work, you can sell your designs through a print-on-demand business model. Since partnering with a dropshipper means you don’t need to deal with loads of inventory, all you really need is the right software to make your design and the drive to market and sell the merchandise!
Top tip: Find an online service, such as Placeit, which allows you to easily create a t-shirt ‘mockup’ so that you and your customers can preview how the shirt will look before making a purchase.
8. Sell Print-on-Demand Posters
The print-on-demand and dropshipping pair-up can be applied to more than just apparel. People love sprucing up their homes and workplaces, which makes offering a service that provides customizable posters and other printouts a prime business idea with low investment and high profit. With this low-cost business idea, most of your effort will be put into successfully marketing your service.
Top tip: While there are plenty of classic prints that people will always ask for (like Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ album cover), creating original pieces will give your business a personalized touch that customers will value and appreciate.
9. Affiliate Marketing
Are you more of a practical person than you are a creative mind? Don’t sweat it, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to start a business with a small investment. Affiliate marketing is essentially the promotion of another company’s products or services, so all you need to do is find something you believe in and sell it!
Top tip: Affiliate marketing is one of the top low investment business ideas since you can closely track your progress and use that data to prove your worth to your clients (the companies).
10. Grow and Monetize a Social Media Following
There are tons of ways that you can monetize a large social media following, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You can, of course, become an affiliate marketer for existing companies whose products or services you feel comfortable endorsing. But you can also advertise for other businesses, advertise the sale of your own product or service, and so on. This is one of the best low investment business ideas to have on the side or in combination with other forms of income.
Top tip: Take heed of what your followers like. If you find that there are trends among large numbers of your followers, capitalize on them! The trends will eventually shift though, so be sure to stay in touch with what the latest fads are.
11. Virtual Assistant
There are plenty of potential clients out there who need a hand in running their own business. As a virtual assistant, you can take on multiple clients, make your own schedule, and choose your own pay rate. When it comes to flexible low investment business ideas, being a virtual assistant ranks near the top of the list.
Top tip: Make the most of the tools available online, such as Monday.com, to help streamline your CRM (customer relationship management). You can easily and efficiently schedule assignments, organize projects, and share links, documents, and media with their click-and-drag user interface.
12. Social Media Consultant
Social media (namely Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – though others as well) has virtually taken over the world in the matter of just more than a decade. How does that translate into a low investment business idea? Other businesses need a social media presence, many of them don’t know how to go about it successfully, and you can be the person to help them.
Top tip: The best part? You don’t need any sort of formal training or certification to qualify. Though some platforms, including Google, do offer courses so that you can be considered a professional by their standard.
13. Event Planner
If you’ve got a knack for organizing events, becoming an event planner is one of the best business ideas with low investment and high profit. There’s very little overhead, meaning you don’t need to rent a storefront, you don’t need to buy equipment, and you don’t even need to hire employees. Word-of-mouth advertising also goes a very long way in this industry, so if you have consistently positive reviews from clients, this low investment business can grow quickly.
Top tip: Reach out to local venues, restaurants, and suppliers and develop personal connections so that you can strike better deals for yourself and your customers.
Need a low investment business idea that allows you to pick your own schedule and pay rate? Consider becoming a tutor! You don’t need to be a college professor, you don’t need to purchase any tools, and you’ll own and operate the business individually. Pick a subject that you’re proficient in and get started with little-to-no cost.
Top tip: Tutoring is typically thought of as something for children, but there are adults who also use tutoring services to learn a second language or get themselves prepared to earn a degree, and so on.
15. Content Creator
If you like to learn about new subjects and relay information in an interesting and engaging way, then this is the low investment business idea for you. There are plenty of businesses that are looking for freelancers to create content for their websites in order to generate leads, so finding clients won’t be a big problem (assuming you’re a good writer!). You can even be a content creator as a part-time gig to make some extra cash on the side.
Top tip: Having an attractive writing style is one thing, but in order to be a successful content creator, your work will need to result in high ranks on search engine result pages. That will require you to sharpen up on your SEO strategy.
15 businesses you can start with less than $10,000
1. Moving Company
Not the type of person to sit at a desk all day? If lots of heavy lifting doesn’t bother you, you can start a business with a small investment almost immediately. All it really takes is a moving truck (which you can rent on a per hour or per day basis) and a fair bit of sweat to get the wheels turning. If the business picks up, you can hire a team to get jobs done more quickly or to handle several jobs simultaneously.
Top tip: Purchasing or leasing equipment, including trucks, may be worth considering if you plan on getting serious and expanding the moving business.
2. Daycare Provider
For parents who want to work from home, starting a daycare facility is one low investment business idea that offers the flexibility needed to balance home life with the need to generate income. The main steps to becoming a daycare provider are obtaining the proper license and child-proofing your home. People are willing to pay top-dollar to ensure their children’s well-being, which makes becoming a daycare provider one of the best business ideas with low investment and high profit.
Top tip: Save yourself some cash by reaching out to local pre-schools or kindergartens to see if there are any supplies (chairs, tables, bookshelves) that they are looking to get rid of.
It takes practice, but hairdressing is one of the best low-cost business ideas with high profit. Whether for men or for women, cutting and styling people’s hair can start off small and bloom into a bustling business in no time. There are state licenses and certifications that you’ll need to obtain, but you can run this low investment business out of your own home quite easily in most cases.
Top tip: Diversify your hairdressing business by selling products, and watch the revenue improve in turn.
4. Makeup Artist
People want to look their best, and as a makeup artist, you can help your clients shine as elegantly or extravagantly as they like. Becoming a makeup artist is one of the top low-cost business ideas with high profit since you can charge rates as you prefer, take on whichever clients you feel like, and set your own schedule. You can even offer special deals for special occasions such as weddings, graduations, dance recitals, and so on.
Top tip: Develop your makeup skills so that you can provide a wide variety of services to attract more clients. Consider including manicures and pedicures, facial treatments, and massages.
5. Pet Groomer
Animal lovers will find this low investment business idea very appealing. It’ll take some time before you can generate lots of clients, especially since pets don’t typically get a trim-up or rinse-down as often as their owners do. But if you demonstrate your ability to handle people’s pets the right way, the clients you do get will likely remain loyal.
Top tip: You can offer a traveling pet grooming service to make your business even more convenient for customers. Many pet groomers also combine their services with pet caretaking.
6. Personal Chef
Offering your services as a personal chef is a fantastic low investment business since, more often than not, you don’t need to purchase any equipment at all. All of the work is generally done at the client’s home (or office, if you’re working for a company), where the supplies are typically provided. There’s no paying rent, utilities, or staff. Although, most of the time the responsibility of picking up the actual ingredients will be left to you.
Top tip: Cater your services to special dietary needs so that you don’t limit your client list. Create special menus for people that eat vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free.
So many people work very long hours and don’t have the time to think about choosing nutritious foods or actually going to buy fresh ingredients. To practice legally, you’ll almost certainly need to get licensed by your state. That said, there are plenty of people nowadays who have restricted diets and are desperate for help in that area of their lives. Turn your healthy-living habits into a low investment business by offering people assistance in becoming healthy themselves.
Top tip: Use social media marketing to show off your creative recipes and bring in more clients. You can even create informative videos to flex your nutritional knowledge.
8. Massage Therapist
Whether you work out of your home, travel to clients, or aim to open your own storefront, massage therapy is a prime way to start a business with a small investment. Yes, it will require you to take some courses and get registered, but apart from that, the costs are minimal.
Top tip: Provide a unique experience by incorporating audio therapy and aromatherapy into the mix.
9. Senior Care Provider
Older generations require caretakers to keep them company and handle the chores and tasks that the elderly themselves are unable to do on their own. Those responsibilities can range from preparing meals to transportation, cleaning, and so on. This low investment business idea has high returns not only in monetary terms but also on a very human level. Simply put, it feels good to help people, and senior care is a great way to help those in need.
Top tip: Some senior citizen homes hire their own caretakers, but others don’t. At those facilities which don’t offer caretakers, you can advertise your services and perhaps end up with several clients in one senior citizen home.
10. Tour Guide
Living in a location that brings in lots of visitors offers a perfect opportunity to start a business with a small investment. Whether the attractions are natural wonders or man-made crowd-pleasers, it will take less effort to market your business since people are already being drawn your way. What you’ll really need to do is become an expert on whatever the attraction is, and develop your own personalized approach that makes you stand apart from other tour guides working in your area.
Top tip: Establish partnerships with local businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, who will advertise on your behalf while you return the favor.
Get your hands on a top-notch camera, learn to use a photo-editing software like Adobe Lightroom, and start snapping away. Turning a photography hobby into a low investment business idea doesn’t mean you absolutely have to offer your services for special events like weddings. You can just as well build your business around taking pictures of animals, plants, or objects that catch the eye.
Top tip: Combine your ‘photog’ skills with the dropshipping business model as a way to avoid the necessity of buying an expensive high-grade photo printer and an inventory of different frames.
12. Interior Designer
If you get compliments for keeping your home appealing to the eye, consider becoming an interior designer. Decorating and furnishing takes skill, but not a whole lot of money. You can start off by working for friends and colleagues or even team up with local real estate firms to stage the homes they have on the market.
Top tip: You can offer an additional ‘organizer’ service where you help turn people’s cluttered spaces into healthier living areas.
13. Handyman / Handywoman
There is an endless amount of people who need a toilet fixed, a room painted, a floor refinished, and so on. So, whether you decide to offer a broad array of handyman services or to specify in one area, you’ll have plenty of clients out there waiting to pay for your help. And, chances are, if you have handyman skills, you likely have the handyman tools and equipment already. The more difficult part could be generating contractor leads, but fortunately, there are solutions for that obstacle.
Top tip: If you don’t have the equipment needed to turn your handyman skills into a low investment business, consider taking a business loan through Become to cover the costs of acquiring the tools you need.
14. Food Truck
A passion for creative culinary concoctions can be monetized in the form of a food truck. If you’ve had hard luck trying to build a restaurant concept around a special dish that you make, this is a low-cost business idea with high profit that you can use to realize your dreams. The restrictions on operating a food truck can get complicated, so be sure to look up all of the local and state laws that will play into the overall costs of starting this business.
Top tip: Take your food truck to a popular part of the town or city where there’s a rush around lunchtime. That’s the big benefit of operating a food truck: you can bring the food directly to your customers!
From simple planting, lawn mowing, and hedge trimming, to extensive and detailed greenery designs, landscaping is a low investment business idea that can quickly grow into a fruitful enterprise. Your clients can be private homeowners, business complexes, the municipality, and so on. And since the grass will always grow back, there’s an endless supply of business to be done.
Top tip: Since plants will grow at pretty much the same rate from one client to the next, try to space apart appointments so that you’ll have a regularly rotating schedule of jobs.
Get to it
Low-cost businesses with high profit may not put a toll on your wallet, but they’ll certainly test your dedication to turn that dream into reality. You’ll need a vision and a fair bit of determination if you want to start a business with a small investment. With the broad variety of low investment business ideas listed here, though, you don’t need to search any further for inspiration to get started. That said, you shouldn’t be afraid to come up with a unique idea of your own! We hope you find this information useful – please feel free to share with friends, colleagues, and through social media. Good luck!