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Businesses that cost almost nothing to start

2 minute read

Rosie Hayes
business ideas that cost almost nothing to start

One of the main hindrances of small businesses and entrepreneurs is the lack of funds available to get their ideas off the ground and into the real world. This financial lack is one of the most prominent challenges for startups, dwarfing other concerns like motivation, time, and a great idea. Because even if you have the aforementioned things in a good place, having little money to drive forward your business idea can be problematic. However, if you have a solid idea for your business and a thorough, concrete understanding of the industry, your business goals can become a success. If you choose not to utilise other options such as investment, crowdfunding, or grants, then you may be pleased to know that there are business options that will require low to no cost to start. Here is a selection of business choices that require very little cash up front:

Your creations

Whether you’re a painter, jewellery maker, renovator, or create other items, many sites are available for you to make a profit from your creations. Websites like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon now make it easy for you to sell your work, and all that is required is your usual supplies. You can create your own e-commerce shop on some websites, and you may choose to set up your very own e-commerce website once you begin to see a return on your products.

Specialist services and other services

Some services don’t cost anything to start up, and only require your time. Babysitting, dog walking, or pet sitting would come under this category, and since you would potentially be working locally, a physical office would not be necessary. Additionally, skills-based services such as repair work can be a revenue stream. If you have a specific skill, all that would be required to start are relevant tools and equipment.

Dropshipping

Unlike wholesaling, dropshipping requires almost no startup costs. Dropshipping is when a business ships goods directly from the manufacturer, so the store itself doesn’t have anything in stock. The third-party ships directly to the customer. The key to this method is to make sure that the amount you pay to your supplier is lower than the amount the customer has paid to your store.

Consulting

This is an option that is usually only suitable for people with significant experience and knowledge in their industry. If you’re highly qualified and experienced in your field, consulting can be a way to offer your services. This can cost nothing to get started, although you may need to invest in a website and some marketing services to promote and sustain your offerings over time.

Shared economy and micropreneurship

Opportunities, like renting a room out on Airbnb or becoming a driver for Uber, are some examples of how you might participate in the shared economy principle. These allow you to build up a customer base, usually have low to no startup costs involved, and often this involves using something you already own. It may be worth investigating services that can make use of what you’ve already got.

After your business begins to bring in revenue, lack of start-up funds will cease to be an issue. You can use the capital to invest more in the business or put it towards your next venture. Up-front money isn’t always necessary to start a business, and it’s possible to start from almost nothing.

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Rosie is a qualified Journalist, NCTJ certified, and is currently an MSt student in Literature and Arts at Oxford University. Having worked in editing, communications, and brand strategy in agencies in Seoul and London, she is passionate about producing intelligent writing with practical and creative value. Previously a Content Editor and Writer at the UK Domain.

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