Ready To Launch

63 Businesses to Start for Under $10,000

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You know you want to start something for yourself. You just need to funnel your ambition and time into an idea that’ll earn extra cash, make you proud, and possibly lead to a full-time venture—and that amazing moment you get to say “I quit!” to your boss. But what great idea should you say “I start!” to?

From childcare, fix-it services, and party planning to business consulting, artisan manufacturing, and resume writing, there is a business for every skill level, interest and budget in our list of ideas you can start for less than $10,000. Some ideas listed here can even be started for less than $2,000!
 

Image credit: Shutterstock

These businesses can be started on a full- or part-time basis. Your location may be just an online presence, your clients’ homes or businesses, a work van or truck, or even a small storefront. You’ll advertise locally with fliers and coupons, cold-call potential clients, or set up shop with a website and online advertising campaign—finding customers will depend on the business idea you choose.

Each idea includes an overview of the business, a skill level recommendation needed to provide the service or create the product, ideas for marketing your business, and current average rates others are charging in this field. We’ve also included a list of resources for each business idea, including business associations, websites and books, which will help you continue your research should an idea spark your passion. Featuring a resource in this list of ideas is by no means an endorsement of the company or publication; it is the responsibility of every entrepreneur to make sure he or she is doing business with reputable organizations. Rather, these are the just first resources for your journey from idea to business ownership.

Business ideas under $2,000
Business ideas under $10,000

Under $2,000

1. Resume Service

Finding the perfect words to describe why people’s experiences, special skills, and interests make them the right candidate for a job is difficult work. That’s why resume services continue to flourish despite the fact that most people have the tools (a computer and word processing program) to write their own. If you are a wordsmith with a human resources, management, or administration background, this idea may be the perfect opportunity for you.

One of the best aspects about the idea of starting a resume service is that you can start small, part-time, and keep costs low by working at home with your current computer. It's the perfect opportunity for people looking to earn an extra few hundred dollars a month. In addition to resumes, other ideas include writing cover letters and thank-you notes, assisting with LinkedIn profiles, and helping clients build portfolios if their industry requires them. As a way to separate your resume service idea from competitors', considering offering consulting on how to dress for interviews, how to handle themselves in a stressful interview situation, how to make follow-up telephone calls, how to prepare for interviews, and how to network for that dream job. Advertise locally, online, and through career expos. Once established, word-of-mouth advertising and customer testimonials will go a long way to keeping you busy with this business idea.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1–2

Resources:

Image credit: Shutterstock

2. Personal Shopper

If you love to shop, this is the business idea for you. Earn great money and have fun by starting a personal shopping service assisting people who are too busy to shop, who don’t like to shop, or who can’t get out to do their own shopping. Lots of busy and well-heeled people love the idea of hiring personal shoppers to select gifts for any number of special occasions, including birthdays, births, weddings, holidays, and anniversaries. And it’s not just new products they’re after: Personal shoppers are also hired by interior designers and collectors to rummage through flea markets, consignment shops, antique dealers, and garage sales for collectibles, art, books, antiques, and funky home and office decor.

Corporations hire personal shoppers to purchase gifts for customers, prospects, business partners, investors, employees, and executives, as well as to purchase products for gift bag giveaways at special events, ceremonies and seminars. Seniors and other people who may find it difficult to get around hire personal shoppers to purchase groceries, clothing and other home and personal products. Best of all, no experience is required to get started. If you love to shop, have good taste, are creative, and don’t mind networking with business owners, corporate executives and people from all walks of life, you’re qualified to turn the personal-shopper business idea into a reality.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1 Resources:

3. Homebased Alteration Service

Calling all people with sewing skills and a sewing machine! It’s time to capitalize on your talent and ideas by providing garment and fabric alteration services right from the convenience of a home workspace, and earn a bundle of money in the process.

Dry cleaners, fashion retailers, uniform retailers, bridal boutiques, costume shops, drapery studios, and consignment clothing shops—all are potential customers for your service. In fact, any businesses that retail or rent clothing of any sort are potential customers, and for that matter so is any person who is in need of alteration services.

Try this idea as a quick-start marketing method: put on a comfortable pair of shoes and start calling on businesses most likely to require alteration services. Offer free pick-up and delivery, fast turnaround times, great service, and quality workmanship, all at fair prices. Your business clients benefit because they can offer alteration services to customers for free, ensuring repeat business. Or, they can make it in to a profit center by marking up what you charge. Along with your sewing skills, you will need the tools of the sewing trade and reliable transportation to bring this business idea to fruition.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Association of Sewing and Design Professionals
  • Custom Tailors and Designers Association
  • Sewing.org

4. Valet Parking Service

A driver’s license, the ability to obtain third-party liability insurance, and an outgoing friendly personality are the three essentials for the business idea of a special-events valet parking service. The business can be started with minimal cash, is a great part-time idea, and the profit potential is excellent, as rates for valet parking services are in the range of $50 to $70 per hour for a two-to-three person crew. And it goes almost without saying that tips can really add up!

There are many great ideas to market  your valet parking services directly to consumers hosting parties and events, corporations hosting conventions and other event and wedding planners, trade show organizers, and charity groups and organizations. Uniforms worn by all staff and emblazoned with your business name and slogan, along with incredible customer service and a smile, will make a great impression on customers that is sure to secure lots of repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • ValetPark.net

5. Children’s Party Service

A love of children and party planning are the two most important prerequisites for starting and operating a children’s party service. And this is a hot business idea: Parents are spending much more on their kids' parties than they did a generation ago. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions reports that the average revenue for hosting a kid's birthday shindig is $370. There are two ways to run a children's party service. First, you can operate on a mobile basis and throw the party at your clients’ locations. Second, you can host the parties from a rented space or reserved park, requiring partygoers to come to you. Regardless of whether you operate mobile or from a fixed location, duties remain the same—plan the party, decorate, provide entertainment, food, and beverages, stage games and contests, and make the event one heck of a lot of fun for kids and their parents. Rates will vary depending on the menu, entertainment, games, and frills, but start at about $20 per guest and go as high as $100 per guest for highly specialized and themed party ideas.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

6. Cake and Cupcake Bakery

Making, decorating, and selling one-of-a-kind cakes and cupcakes for occasions ranging from birthdays to weddings to anniversaries is a great business idea for the hobby baker to pursue, and one that is potentially very profitable. You can get started on a shoestring budget by baking and decorating right in your own kitchen. Contact wedding planners, photographers, bridal shops, event coordinators, restaurants, kids party planners, and catering companies to let them know about the specialty cakes you bake and sell. An effective marketing idea is to send samples of your cakes to make sure they send business your way.

Create a website with photos of your creations, and post those photos on social media sites. On a large scale, you can rent commercial kitchen space so you have enough room to mass-produce cakes that can be sold wholesale to restaurants and grocery stores. Baking and decorating specialty cakes can be very profitable, as ingredient costs are only about 15 to 20 percent of the retail selling price.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1–3

Resources:

  • Cake Appreciation Society
  • International Cake Decoration Societé
  • National Association of Wedding Professionals

7. Personal Chef

Take your pots and pans, cooking skills, and love of food, and hit the road as a personal chef for hire. Prepare gourmet meals for people hosting house parties, special occasion events such as birthdays or anniversaries, and corporate luncheons—basically anywhere there is a kitchen on-site that you can use to create your mouth-watering gourmet masterpieces.

Personal chef services are quickly becoming a popular alternative for people who do not have the budget for a full-scale catered event and for others hosting small gatherings not requiring complete catering services. The advantages for this start-up idea in comparison to a full-service catering business are apparent: low overhead and initial investment, full-time or part-time operating hours and easy management from home. That idea may appeal to people who want to slow down, but at the same time want to earn an excellent income doing something they love.

Promote your personal chef service idea by joining business associations and community social clubs to network and spread the word about your business and menu. The service can easily be supported by word-of-mouth advertising and repeat business once established, providing the food is great and the service is second-to-none. Additionally, building alliances with party planners and event coordinators is a marketing idea sure to land work. Rates vary according to factors such as the supply of food and the type of menu requested. However, average earnings are $35 to $50 per hour.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2–3

Resources:

  • American Personal & Private Chef Association
  • United Stated Personal Chef Association
  • The Professional Personal Chef by Candy Wallace and Greg Forte (Wiley, 2007)

8. Artisanal Food Manufacturing

Do you have a secret recipe that makes friends salivate? A particular obsession for a certain ingredient like local honey or vanilla extract? Many entrepreneurs just like you are making small-batch foods in their kitchens to sell at upscale food shops, local restaurants, and farmers' markets. Ideas include infused oils, flavored salt, candies and truffles, salsas and hot sauces, jerky, pickled vegetables, and fruit jellies and butters. Quality is key as consumers will expect the best local ingredients if they are paying a premium for your homemade goods. A good back story and excellent salesmanship helps, too!

First, educate yourself on local and federal laws regarding your idea of what you will be making in your kitchen and food labeling regulations. You may need to entertain the idea of renting space at a community commercial kitchen that caters to businesses just like yours. Second, make sure you are creating your food safely, especially if you are canning foods. Then, start cooking! Have friends and family act as tasters until you perfect your creations. Then hit the local farmers and craft markets and street fairs to sell your goodies.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: Varies

Skill Level: 2

Resources

9. Music Lessons

If you know how to sing, play guitar, piano, drums, or a wind or string instrument well enough to teach others, then what are you waiting for? Capitalize on your talents and earn a great full- or part-time income by teaching clients how to play your instrument of choice. Classes can be conducted one-on-one or in a group format, at your home, the student's home, a rented commercial space, or at a community facility, in conjunction with community programs, continuing education, or an established music store. Expanding the business idea requires nothing more than hiring other experienced musicians to teach students. Fees are split—basically, you find the students, your instructors teach the classes, and everyone profits. Lesson rates will vary depending on class size, skill level and instrument, but on average, group lessons cost students $10 to $20 per hour and one-on-one lessons are in the range of $40 per hour, plus the costs of instrument rentals or purchases, course materials, and sheet music. Alternately, if you prefer the idea of teaching music without the added work of operating a business, then subcontract your musical teaching talents to an existing music school and earn in the range of $15 to $25 per hour.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Music Teachers National Association
  • National Association for Music Education
  • National Association of Teachers of Singing
  • National Guild of Piano Teachers

10. Arts and Crafts Instructor

Knitting, painting, printmaking, and many other arts and crafts have gained popularity in recent years. People are more than willing to shell out their hard earned money to learn. If you have mastered an art or craft, why not train others and earn substantial profits for your efforts? Day, evening, or weekend classes can be taught from a homebased studio, rented commercial space, in partnership with a crafts retailer, community center, or school.

Another idea is to offer lessons at art nights at bars and breweries. Promote your classes through local retailers, in community magazines and online event listings by posting fliers on community bulletin boards, and by exhibiting at arts and crafts shows. Creative entrepreneurs may even choose to film the training classes for online broadcast or sell instructions or patterns on craft marketplaces like Etsy. You can also create special classes for children on the weekends. The options are nearly limitless when you have a talent that other people want to learn. Rates vary depending on how many people are in each class and material and equipment requirements, but on average, arts and crafts instructors can expect to earn in the range of $25 to $50 per hour.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Craft and Hobby Association
  • Etsy

Image credit: Shutterstock

11. Pet Sitting

Many people have pets that cannot be boarded or left with friends or family when the need arises—pets with chronic health conditions or exotic pets that are difficult to take care of, for example. Likewise, many people prefer the idea that their dogs, cats and other pets are in the safety and familiar surroundings of home as opposed to an unfamiliar boarding environment. When these pet owners want or need to be away from home there is only one solution available: Hire a pet-sitting service to come to their homes and take care of their beloved pets while they are away.

If your idea is to work on a small scale, you can be the pet sitter. But if your intention is to operate full-time with an eye on growth, you will need to hire or contract additional pet sitters. Good ideas for job candidates include pet-loving retirees and students. Market your pet-sitting services through pet-related businesses in your community such as veterinarians, pet food retailers, dog trainers, dog walkers, and pet-grooming services. Remember, many people also hire pet sitters for short periods of time—a weekend away, a night out, or time off for family events. Therefore, you will need to develop fee schedules for long- and short-term pet-sitting jobs.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
  • Pet Sitters International
  • Start Your Own Pet Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin (Entrepreneur Press, 2009)

12. Gardening Consultant

If you enjoy working in the great outdoors and playing in the dirt, and know a whole lot about flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens, chances are you are the perfect candidate for the idea of starting a gardening consulting business. You will teach other would-be green thumbs everything they need to know so they can design, plant, and maintain a decorative or productive vegetable and herb garden. During the first consultation with clients, you ask questions to determine their idea for the type of garden and landscape features they want, their budgets and time frames, and whether they want to do the work to install the garden or hire others. From this point, based on your knowledge about plants, plant placement, soil, rocks, and fertilizers, you create a garden plan in step-by-step detail suited to each client’s needs and garden criteria.

This is a terrific business idea for green-thumb entrepreneurs to stay active and fit because gardening work can be somewhat physically demanding, but at the same time earn an income in the range of $25 to $50 an hour. This is a business that will thrive on repeat customers and referrals once established. To get the ball rolling, advertise your services locally using newspaper advertisements and online. Then build a network of alliances at garden product retailers so they refer your services to their clients. You may even offer free seminars at local garden centers, churches and community center to spread the word.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2–3

Resources:

  • National Gardening Association
  • Urban Farming

13. Backyard Nursery

People with green thumbs, a backyard, and some time, take note. Growing and selling trees and shrubs right from home is a fantastic way to earn an extra few thousand dollars every year or even every month, depending on your space and ambition. Surprisingly, not much yard space is required to generate excellent profits. Consider that you can purchase Japanese maple seedlings for about 75 cents each wholesale, plant them in pots or in burlap in the ground, wait a season or two while they grow, and resell them for $50 or more. A 20-foot square garden area is large enough to support 300 seedlings, which in turn can produce approximately 150 saleable trees annually when planting is alternated. That is as much as $7,500 every year from just a small patch of ground in your backyard. Imagine what you can earn by planting a 50-, 60-, or 100-square foot seedling tree garden. In addition to selling directly to consumers from home and through garden shows, you can also sell the trees and shrubs to garden centers and landscape contractors in volume at wholesale pricing.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: Varies

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • ArborDay.org
  • Mike’s Backyard Growing System
  • Mother Earth News: Starting a Backyard Nursery

14. Business Plan Service

Did you know that a recent survey of new business owners revealed that only 33 percent surveyed had a formal business plan? With 28 million small businesses in the United States, that points to fantastic market potential for a business plan service. To start such a service, you should have experience with business planning and be able to conduct the research and run the numbers a business plan requires. Market your service by attending business networking meetings and be able to explain why a business needs a business plan. Also attempt to obtain a list of all new and renewal business registration licenses through your local business service center. In addition to new businesses, you can also aim marketing efforts at existing businesses and professionals who are expanding or need to update or create a new business plan. This service costs little to start and can be operated part-time or full-time, depending on your needs. Billing rates vary depending on the size and scope of the business plan being developed.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Association of Management Consulting Firms
  • Bplans.com
  • Institute of Management Consultants USA
  • Start Your Own Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin (Entrepreneur Press, 2014)

15. Online Researcher

If you like digging for information or miss spending hours in the library working on academic papers, and are looking to supplement your income, consider starting an internet research service. It's a great way to get paid for the time you spend reading and surfing on the internet! This business was once referred to as information brokering, but the name changed as the means of obtaining information changed. The business remains the same, however, as the information that was once researched and compiled from newspapers, trade magazines, and business and industry journals can now be found online. You'll be delving into government and business reports and perhaps even interviewing people to find the information your clients need. An internet research service operates in two fashions. First, collect data and facts relevant to a specific topic or topics, and then sell the compiled data to individuals and businesses that require the kind of information you have compiled. Second, business owners and marketers often enlist the services of an internet researcher to find specific data and facts relevant to their particular business, industry, or market. In both cases, clients pay for information they are seeking. Billing rates for the services vary, depending on how much research time is required to compile the data and related costs, but expect to charge in the area of $25 to $35 per hour.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1–2

Resources:

16. Copywriting

If you have a talent for writing in a clear and concise manner that can build excitement and interest and motivate readers, listeners, and viewers to take the desired action, then starting a copywriting service might be just the right moneymaking opportunity for you. Copywriters prepare copy or text for websites, advertising, online and print marketing materials, press releases, TV and radio commercials, catalogs, and packaging labels. The demand for copywriting services is excellent, as most business owners, managers, and marketers do not have the time, skills, or inclination to prepare highly effective copy. Establishing alliances with graphic designers, publishers, editors, advertising agencies, and public relations firms is a good way to get your foot in the door, the telephone ringing, and the email pinging. You'll also want a well-written and designed online portfolio of your work. Copywriting fees vary greatly depending on what is being prepared and the size of the assignment, but average in the range of $50 per hour. If you have the required skills, additional income can also be earned by providing a full-complement of editing services, including proofreading, indexing, and production.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2–3

Resources:

17. Online Marketing and Social Media Consultant

When you're running a business, you rarely have time to hop onto Twitter or Facebook to interact with customers or offer special sales. And how many business owners know how to optimize their listing on Yelp, keep up with changing algorithms on Facebook, or figure out if they need to be on the newest social media channel? This is where your expertise as a social media guru comes into play. First, ensure your own online presence and social media sites are topnotch. To get experience, offer your services to local nonprofits or friends' businesses. Once you have the results in hand, market your services—including information on how you've increased the social media and online presence of other businesses—to local retailers, restaurants, personal service businesses and others. Network at local business associations, and visit business owners to sell your services. The demand for social media and online marketing will only continue to grow, so your clients will be grateful you can keep them up-to-date with the changing online landscape and in front of consumers' eyes.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Internet Marketing Association
  • Social Media Association
  • Social Media Examiner
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association 
  • Start Your Own Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin (Entrepreneur Press, 2014)

18. Search Engine Optimization & Digital Advertising Consultant

In the old days, it was enough to take out an ad in the Yellow Pages to ensure potential customers would find your business. These days, you need a website, but you also need that website to rank high on search engines. How does the average business owner keep up? An online marketing and advertising consultant is similar to a marketing consultant in their goal—getting their clients new business—but online consultants specialize in search engine optimization (SEO) and advertising on Google, Facebook, and other websites. Your expertise in this arena can help local businesses rise to the top of search results and ensure the advertising money they spend is well worth it. A background in digital marketing is required for this business, as well as the type of personality that thrives on change and new advances in their industry.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Interactive Advertising Bureau
  • National Search Engine Optimization Association
  • SEMPO: Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization

19. Floral Designer

If you love flowers and need to earn money to supplement your retirement income, then this just might be the right opportunity for you. If you have an eye for design, you are qualified to start your own floral design business. However, formal training is an asset, and there are a number of schools and community continuing education programs that offer floral design classes. Floral designers select flowers, greenery, and decorations to create appealing floral arrangements, such as bouquets, wreaths, and table centerpieces for any number of occasions—weddings, funerals, social events, restaurants, and business functions. Designers also use a variety of tools and materials to produce the desired cut and shape, as well as foam, wire, tape, and all kinds of containers to hold and showcase their designs. Market your services by establishing alliances with event planners, wedding planners, catering companies, and funeral homes.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1–3

Resources:

Image credit: Shutterstock

20. Fashion Accessories Designer

If you have a flair for design, then why not try your hand at designing fashion accessories? Get started by picking a fashion accessory to design, produce, and sell. It could be just about anything, including bridal veils, handbags, shoes, belts, belt buckles, scarves, costume jewelry, wraps, or wallets. Don’t worry if your sewing or tooling skills are not up to par, because there are numerous fashion accessory manufacturers that will manufacture your designs under your name. The options for selling fashion accessories are also numerous. You can sell your wares online on Etsy and eBay, at craft fairs and consumer shows, or host in-home fashion accessory sales parties. If you are ambitious, you can also sell your products wholesale to fashion accessory retailers.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1–3

Resources:

21. Toy Maker

Building and selling children’s toys is a great way to create cherished memories for children and to supplement your income at the same time. Just think of all of the toys that you can make—wooden toys, dollhouses, stuffed animals, dolls, antique toy replicas, and puzzles, to name just a few. In fact, handcrafted toys often become treasured family heirlooms passed down to each new generation to enjoy. Fortunately, you do not need much in the way of special skills or equipment to start making and selling handmade toys, just a workshop space outfitted with basic hand and power tools or a sewing machine, the ability and patience to learn new crafting skills, and the creativity to create unique designs. With the rising interest in handmade crafts, you'll find a demand for handcrafted toys online, at local craft fairs and toy shows, and through consignment and wholesale at local boutiques.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1–2

Resources:

  • Etsy
  • The Handmade Toy Alliance 
  • Toy Industry Association 
  • Making Heirloom Toys by Jim Makowicki (Taunton Press, 1996)

22. Essential Oils and Soaps Making

Manufacturing and selling essential oils and soaps from home is a unique business opportunity that will appeal to eco-friendly entrepreneurs who love handcrafted goods. By definition, essential oils are the volatile essences extracted from aromatic plants. They are up to one hundred times more concentrated than the oils found in dried herbs and can be used as scents in a wide variety of health and beauty products, including cosmetics, body lotions, soaps, candles, aromatherapy burners, perfume, and aromatic potpourri products, or they can be applied directly to skin as a perfume. Soap is, of course, soap, but you can be incredibly creative making and selling soap products, using unique colors and scents, focusing on aromatherapy or organic ingredients, molding novelty soaps in fun shapes or with toys embedded inside, or extending your line into bath products like bath bombs and salts. You can get started making soaps and oils in your kitchen. A good setup for soap costs less than $500, but you may want to purchase a commercially manufactured distiller to create oils for about $1,000. Soaps and essential oils can be sold directly to consumers online, in local stores, or at craft fairs and farmers markets. Essential oils can also be sold in bulk to companies manufacturing and selling health and beauty products.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

23. Vintage Clothing Dealer

How do you strike it rich in the vintage clothing business? You start by spending weekends at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and auctions looking for vintage clothing and fashion accessories, such as hats, shoes, handbags, and scarves. While most clothing will net you a nice markup, you can also hit the jackpot if you uncover decades-old fashion from Channel, Pucci or another high-end designer. Vintage clothing dealers need to be knowledgeable about the value of vintage clothing and accessories to know what to buy, how much to pay, and what the resale price should be. Skill with removing stains and making small repairs (or knowing someone who can) is also a plus. The items you purchase can be resold for a profit directly to collectors and vintage clothing retailers, at antique markets held on weekends, in an antique mall booth, or through vintage clothing online marketplaces and eBay. You may even choose to open your own retail store.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $2K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

 

Under $10,000

24. Image Consultant

Image consulting is an exciting business: You can get paid big bucks to help other people look and feel great. Working as an image consultant, you can help people land a new job, spruce up for an important occasion, make a great impression on others, or just feel good about the way they look and the image they project. Image consultants help people on many fronts, including:

  • Wardrobe consulting and updating
  • Current image analysis, and the development of a new image program
  • Etiquette training that can be used in business and social situations
  • Assistance in developing better communication skills through vocabulary enhancement and voice projection
  • Assistance in developing skills such as the perfect handshake and perfect posture

Potential clients include corporate executives, people on the job market, politicians, people recovering from major illnesses and injuries, television and radio personalities, public speakers, sales professionals, and singles in or reentering the dating scene. Market your services by building a strong network of alliances that can refer their clients and contacts to your business. Be sure to include corporations, hair and makeup professionals, fitness trainers, and public relations consultants.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Association of Image Consultants International
  • Gloria Starr Success Strategies: Image and Etiquette Consultant Training

25. Nonmedical Home Care

One of the reasons that nonmedical home care is an exploding industry is our aging population. In the United States, people 65+ accounted for 12.9% of the population in 2009. That number will grow to 19% by 2030. So the need for extra care for our aging population isn't waning anytime soon. Generally, as people age they tend to need more personal attention. Nonmedical home-care services provide clients with a wide range of services specific to each individual's needs. These services can include companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping duties, laundry, running errands, trips to appointments, and shopping for groceries and other personal needs. In addition to seniors, nonmedical home-care workers can also provide similar services for new moms, people with disabilities, and people recovering from injury or illness. People who are reliable and compassionate thrive in this field. This is an easy service to start, with minimal skill and experience requirements, although all nonmedical home-care service workers are required to carry insurance and be bonded. You can provide the care yourself or grow to become an agency with contractors or employees.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

26. Makeup Artist

There are numerous occasions when professional makeup artistry is needed, such as weddings, film or TV shoots, professional photo shoots, important job interviews, public speaking engagements, and special occasions such as parties, reunions, and weddings. Some people may just want a makeover and lessons to feel more confident. What makes makeup artistry such a great opportunity is the flexibility it offers. You can work on a mobile basis, full- or part-time, and travel to your client's location. You can establish an independent shop or join forces with an established hair salon, day spa, or nail studio. Or you can freelance for cosmetic companies and work from retail cosmetic counters. You will want to build working relationships with wedding planners, event planners, and people in the fashion industry. Additionally, cosmetology training is recommended. Contact the associations listed below to inquire about class availability in your area.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • International Make-Up Association
  • Professional Beauty Association

27. Personal Fitness Trainer

Calling all fitness gurus! The time has never been better than now to start your own personal fitness business teaching people from 5 to 95 how to live a more healthy life through exercise and nutritional programs. Although there are currently no universal certification requirements for personal trainers, anyone serious about operating this service should become certified. Contact the associations listed below for more information about certification programs offered in your area. Your target audience will include anyone who wants professional guidance. You can work one-on-one. You can specialize and train busy executives, kids, disabled people, moms-to-be, or seniors. Train at people's offices or homes. Open your own fitness studio, and offer one-on-one and group training programs. In addition to developing exercise programs to match each client's individual needs, personal trainers also conduct fitness assessments and provide nutritional coaching. Training in fitness clubs, community centers, retirement homes, hospitals, cruise ships, corporations, hotels, spas, resorts, camps, and schools are also other moneymaking options open to certified personal trainers.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
  • IDEA Health and Fitness Association
  • International Fitness Association
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers
  • Start Your Own Personal Training Business by Entrepreneur Press and Ciree Linsenman (Entrepreneur Press, 2012)

28. Furniture Repairs and Refinishing

If you're handy with wood and upholstery, you can earn money repairing office and residential furniture, and refinishing antique furniture. The furniture-repair side of the business can be operated on a mobile basis working right from a fully equipped van, repairing furniture at your customer's location. Potential customers that commonly require furniture repair services include home and office movers, business owners, property managers, restaurants, hotels, and retailers of new and used furniture. The furniture-refinishing side of the business, namely antiques refinishing, can be conveniently operated from a well-equipped home workshop. Advertise this feature of the business by building alliances with antique dealers and interior designers who can refer their clients to your service. You can earn additional money by attending auction sales and buying furniture and antiques in need of repair and refinishing. Once they have been repaired and refinished, you can sell them for a profit via Craigslist, eBay, collector's shows and consignment shops.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Professional Refinishers Group
  • Restoration Industry Association
  • The Furniture Bible by Chrisophe Pourny (Artisan, 2014)

Image credit: Shutterstock

29. Decorating Service

A myriad of popular TV shows on networks like HGTV and DIY network have fired up people's imaginations about how they can dramatically change the look of their homes on a relatively small budget. But there is a hook: Anyone involved with the decorating makeover must have a creative flair for decorating and design, and the skills and tools necessary to pull it all together. Not all homeowners have these skills and talents, but if you do, operating a decorating service might be right up your alley. For budget-minded clients, you can spend time at garage and estate sales, scrounge through flea markets, and scan local print and online classified ads for wacky decorative items, recycled building materials, and unique home furnishings. A flair for sewing, painting and wood furniture repair can also help you rehab unique items. All can be purchased and resold to clients at a profit as you redecorate rooms or their entire house. For well-heeled clients, stick with designer and brand-name products to transform their homes and offices into designer masterpieces. Market your service through home-and-garden shows, online by positioning yourself as a local decorating expert on social media, and by creating colorful before-and-after brochures that showcase your decorating talents.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • American Society of Interior Designers
  • Certified Interior Decorators International
  • Interior Design Society
  • International Interior Design Association

30. Handyperson

Cash in on the multibillion-dollar home repair industry by starting your own handyperson service. Handyperson services require little explanation about the business opportunity. The main requirement for starting such a service is, of course, that you are handy with tools, have the required tools and equipment, and have a good working knowledge of many trades--painting, carpentry, flooring, and plumbing. Basically, you should be a jack- or jill-of-all-trades. Currently, handyperson billing rates are in the range of $25 to $40 per hour, plus materials and a markup to cover the costs associated with handling and delivery. The service can be promoted and marketed to both residential and commercial clients through the Yellow Pages, online classifieds like Angie's List or Craigslist, fliers and door hangers, site and vehicle signage, door knocking, and home-and-garden shows. Repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals will become your main source of new business once you are established, providing you offer clients good value and excellent service.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Association of Certified Handyman Professionals
  • United Handyman Association

31. Commercial Cleaning

Commercial cleaning is a booming industry, generating billions in sales annually. Commercial cleaners basically perform the same services as residential cleaners--dusting, vacuuming, and polishing, but on a larger scale and with the addition of services like replenishing paper products and soaps, washing windows, stripping floors, and emptying trash and recycling receptacles. The only real downside to commercial cleaning is that in most cases the cleaning must be performed nights and/or on weekends after the business or office closes, which is actually a positive for people who want to keep their day jobs but still be able to earn extra money working nights and weekends. Rates generally tend to be higher for commercial cleaning than residential cleaning, in the range of $20 to $30 per hour, plus paper and other special supplies. Rates are typically higher because equipment costs are more, work such as floor stripping and waxing is more specialized, and once again, the nighttime aspect of the work enables you to charge a premium. Landing contracts will require you to get out and knock on doors. Visit businesses in your community to learn if they need cleaning services or when their cleaning services contracts come up for renewal. You can also buy commercial cleaning contracts, which is a common practice in this industry but expect to pay about three to five times the monthly value. For instance, if you want to earn $1,500 per month, this will cost you in the range of $4,500 to $7,500.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1-2

Resources:

  • International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association
  • ISSA (Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association)
  • Start Your Own Cleaning Service by Entrepreneur Press and Jacquelyn Lynn (Entrepreneur Press, 2014)

32. Rubbish Removal

A secondhand truck or trailer, shovels, rakes, and a few garbage cans are all you need to start a rubbish removal service. Rubbish removal can be charged by the hour, by the truckload, or by quote before removing the junk. If you can offer home and business owners fast and convenient rubbish removal services at competitive prices, word-of-mouth advertising will generate more work than you can handle. Be sure to build alliances with people who can refer your business to their customers and clients; these referral brokers include real estate agents, residential and commercial cleaners, professional organizers, and home service companies such as carpet cleaners, contractors, and property managers. If you're looking for a low-cost business start-up that requires little in the way of skills or experience, a rubbish removal service is one of the better choices. After expenses and dumping fees, you should have no problem earning in the range of $25 to $40 per hour. A smart side business is foreclosure cleanup: Some of these homes have furniture and other items left behind that you could resell.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • Junk Trash Removal Startup Advice Blog

33. Chimney Sweep

Some experience is needed to clean chimneys, which makes a franchise chimney cleaning business a good choice for entrepreneurs without experience because training and the necessary equipment is provided when you purchase the franchise. The Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Chimney Sweep Guild also provide chimney sweep training. If you elect to work independently, you will need to purchase cleaning equipment such as ladders, roof jacks, and flue brushes, but these items are readily available at large centers and online, and are relatively inexpensive. In addition to experience and tools, another prerequisite is that you have no fear of heights, as much of your time working will be spent on rooftops and ladders. The average chimney will take one to two hours to clean and rates are in the $75 to $150 range per chimney cleaned, with discounts for houses with multiple chimneys. If you also have experience in masonry repairs, you can offer services such as repointing, brick sealing, installation of new liners, chimney rebuilding, and new pots and crowns to boost revenues and profits.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • The Chimney Safety Institute of America
  • The Chimney Sweep News
  • National Chimney Sweep Guild

34. Blind Cleaning

Window blinds are a wildly popular window-covering choice for home and office owners across North America. With millions of window blinds hanging out there, all needing to be cleaned regularly, it makes a lot of sense to cash in by starting a blind-cleaning service. The most efficient way to clean window blinds is ultrasonic cleaning equipment, which is basically a tank filled with cleaning solution that gently cleans blinds ultrasonically, with no risk of damaging the blinds' materials or operational parts. This equipment can be mounted on a van or trailer so you can offer blind-cleaning services on site. Or, you can set up the cleaning equipment at home or in a warehouse space and offer clients free pickup, delivery, and reinstallation. In addition to homeowners, be sure to aim your marketing efforts at winning blind-cleaning contracts from schools, hospitals, hotels, institutions, corporations, and others with large numbers of window blinds.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

35. Dent Removal

Using specialized equipment, visit clients' homes or businesses and remove small dings and dents in their vehicles, all without the need for new paint. Potential clients include private automobile owners, automobile fleet owners, new and used car dealers, and insurance companies. Operating on a mobile basis enables you to get started with limited funds and keep your overhead low. More importantly, it gives you the ability to go to where the business is available, with no geographical limitations. Many distributors and manufacturers of dent-removal tools and equipment also provide training, which is reasonably priced and requires only a few weeks to complete. Hence, even if you have no previous auto-body repair experience, you can still start and operate this business. Extra money may be earned by offering clients paint touchup services, automobile detailing services, window chip repair, and window tinting.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Automobile Service Association
  • Ding King Training School
  • Fender Bender Magazine
  • National Paintless Dent Removal Association

36. Bicycle Repair Service

A Mechanically inclined entrepreneur with an interest in cycling can earn a great income repairing bicycles right from the comfort of a homebased workshop. In addition to big profit potential, there are many other advantages to operating a bicycle repair service, including low overhead, huge demand for the service in an ever-growing sport, and flexible full- or part-time hours. Even if you are not experienced in bicycle repairs, there are a number of schools offering bicycle mechanic courses that take only a few weeks to complete, such as those offered by United Bicycle Institute in Oregon. The key to marketing your services is to join bicycling clubs and organizations in your community, largely because members can become customers and refer other bicycling enthusiasts to your business. You can also work on a contract basis for bicycle retailers to handle their overflow work during the busy season. Likewise, advertising online in cycling forums or in your community newspaper and distributing fliers detailing the services you provide can attract new business.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

37. Event and Party Planner

If you love to plan and host parties and special events, then starting an event and party planning service will be right up your alley. Event and party planners are responsible for organizing and hosting special events such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and award ceremonies for their clients. Duties can include creating and sending out invitations, selecting event locations, decorations, arranging for entertainers and speakers, selecting caterers and menus, and just about everything else that is required to put on a special event without a hitch, including arranging clean-up after all the guests have left. To go into this industry you must be detail-oriented, well-organized, good communicators, and very creative. Networking, networking, and more networking will be your main marketing tool for attracting and keeping new business, peppered liberally with a good online presence, advertising in the Yellow Pages, and direct-mail fliers. Get to know catering companies, event venue managers, and party entertainers. You will also need to build a reliable team of contractors--the businesses and individuals who you can rely on to supply products and services for your events promptly and on budget. They can also refer clients to you. The more reliable your team is, the more successful and profitable your event and party planning service will be.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Event Planners Association
  • International Special Events Society
  • National Association of Event Planners
  • Start Your Own Event Planning Business by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. and Cheryl Kimball (Entrepreneur Press, 2015)

Image credit: Shutterstock

38. Wedding Planner

Long gone are the days when a great shindig of a wedding could be put on for a couple thousand dollars. Now the cost of a typical wedding can easily exceed $10,000, $20,000, and even $30,000. It's easy to see why many couples now realize that spending $1,000 to hire a professional wedding consultant is not only money wisely spent, but also a very cheap insurance policy on their substantial wedding investment. It is the duty of the wedding consultant to plan the wedding, hire caterers, screen musicians or disc jockey services, book a reception hall, find a florist and help to create table centers and bouquets, make a lot of suggestions, and fix a myriad of last-minute crises. In other words, the consultant does everything required to plan and carry out an unforgettable, perfect wedding. If you like to plan a party, are well organized, can calmly deal with stressed people, and thrive in a chaotic atmosphere, providing wedding-planning services would be right up your alley. There are more than 8,000 professional wedding planners in the United States, and needless to say, the industry is competitive. At the same time, however, more than 2.5 million people get hitched each year, so the opportunity to succeed and profit is available to those willing to get out there and make things happen.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Association of Certified Wedding Consultants
  • American Association of Certified Wedding Planners
  • Association of Bridal Consultants
  • The National Association of Wedding Professionals
  • Start Your Own Wedding Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin (Entrepreneur Press, 2011)

39. Bounce House Rentals

Bounce houses are inflatable amusement games that children and adults absolutely love to bounce around in (and on) and they are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and themes. Some higher-end models feature slides, mazes, obstacle courses and water areas. Renting bouncy houses is easy, and you can make incredible profits, up to $250 per day, just for delivering, setting up, and returning at the end of the day for pick-up. This is perhaps one of the best part-time business opportunities available. New inflatable amusement games cost in the range of $2,000 for small basic models, and up to $15,000 for large, fully featured models. Used ones are available for about half the cost of new. In addition to renting these inflatables for children's birthday parties, they can also be rented to charities, sports and social clubs, and for corporate and community events. Setup is fast, taking one person approximately 30 minutes and about the same amount of time for dismantling and removal. You will need a vehicle to transport the inflatables, and space to store them.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • InflatableStartup.com

40. Childcare Center

 

The escalating cost of living has made child daycare a booming industry simply because many families require two full-time incomes to make ends meet. To start for the lowest startup costs, open a homebased daycare facility. Your growth will be limited by how many children you may legally care for in your home, but so will your investment budget. If you choose to expand later, you can open a storefront or office location or in conjunction with an established business or office complex. In the United States and Canada, daycare facilities as well as childcare staff must obtain proper licensing and certification to meet minimum operating requirements. Because every state and province has its own individual licensing requirements, you will need to contact your regional municipal offices to make inquires or contact childcare associations to inquire about certification and licensing requirements in your area. Once your center is open, you will find that the problem is not finding kids to fill your facility, but having to turn down parents daily because you are at your limit. Word-of-mouth advertising is generally all the marketing that is required in this industry.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 4

Resources:

  • National Association for Family Childcare
  • National Childcare Association
  • Start Your Own Child-Care Service by The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. and Jacquelyn Lynn (Entrepreneur Press, 2015)

41. Pet Photography

If you are an animal lover and a great photographer, what are you waiting for? Start a pet photography service! Owners of dogs, cats, reptiles, horses, champion livestock, birds, and even fish can all be potential customers. Full-time or part-time, you can operate the service on a mobile basis, from a homebased studio, from pet shops, or combine all to cover all the bases. Making the experience fun for pets and their owners will also go a long way toward securing repeat business and a ton of referrals, so liven things up with pet costumes, themed backdrops, and by offering pet video recording services, complete with music, titles, and special effects. Likewise, to boost profit potential, also offer a wide assortment of products that customers can have their pets' photographic images transferred onto--key tags, greeting cards, calendars, mugs, hats, T-shirts, sports bags, and bumper stickers.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Pet Photographers of America Alliance
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Pet Photography by Alan Hess (Peachpit Press, 2014)

42. Urban Farm Consulting

Consumers today are highly educated about the environmental and health impacts of the food they consume, including issues like water use, pesticides, transportation, and GMOs. To combat these problems, many are turning to urban farming to grow their own food. For people without a farming background who want to turn their yard, rooftop or even patio into an urban farm, this is where you can help. If you've got a green thumb for growing food, offer your services as an urban farm consultant. You can advise your clients on what plants will work well in their space and how to lay out the farm, how to set up irrigation, ways to protect plants from cold and heat, and when to harvest. You can also charge more to set up and maintain the farm, and go bigger by creating and managing rooftop gardens for restaurants. Get the word out by joining local food and environmental groups, giving free seminars at libraries and community centers, partnering with garden supply stores, and placing signs in the gardens you create that are visible to passers-by. Word-of-mouth--and delicious results--will be key to this business.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: Varies

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • International Network for Urban Agriculture
  • Mother Earth News
  • UrbanFarming.org
  • My Urban Farm Business by Nourah Mumeen (Nourah Mumeen, 2015)

43. Cloth Diaper Service

Babies use 2,500 to 3,000 diapers each year--a large expense for parents and the environment. Green-minded parents may want to use environmentally friendly cloth diapers, which are softer on babies' skin, but may feel overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning all those dirty diapers. That's where a cloth diaper delivery service comes in. Depending on how much money you have to invest, there are a couple of options for starting a cloth diaper service. First, if money is plentiful, you can offer a complete service, including diaper supply, delivery, pickup, and cleaning. Second, if funds are tight, you can simply supply delivery and pickup services and have an established commercial laundry wash the diapers at a reduced or bulk rate. Over the long term, option one will probably put more profits in your pockets than option two, as well as enable you to have more control over your business. Word-of-mouth marketing will be your main promotional tool, so be sure to get out and start the promotion train rolling by talking with as many new parents as you can. Drop off business cards with baby-product boutiques, natural food stores, moms' groups, lactation consultants, and midwives, and make sure you're findable online when someone searches for diaper services in your local area.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • Born to Love
  • Diaper Pin
  • Real Diaper Association

44. Green Business Consultant

Need a green idea? For business owners, going green is a lot more complicated than for homeowners. While there are some simple steps small businesses can take to reduce energy use and paper and other consumption, larger businesses may be facing more complex issues like regulatory compliance, alternative energy use, green building practices, telework and commuter programs, green sources for product manufacturing materials, and obtaining governmental and other eco-labeling certifications. This field requires some training. You can become certified through college programs, with LEED certification, or companies like Go Eco Certified. Some niches of the green consulting industry like regulatory compliance and green building may require additional expertise. Find business by joining local business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, marketing yourself as a green business expert in local newspapers and trade publications, and calling on local businesses and explaining how your services can save them money on energy expenditures in the long run.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-4

Resources:

  • SBA Green Business Guide
  • SBA: Green Certification and Eco-Labeling
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • Start Your Own Green Business by Entrepreneur Press and Rich Mintzer (Entrepreneur Press, 2009)

45. Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Consultant

If you have a green thumb, an eye for landscape design, and the strength (or contractors or employees) to remove lawns, this could be the business for you. In some areas of the United States, drought conditions are causing homeowners and businesses to rethink their green lawns. Drought-tolerant landscaping services (also called native landscaping) are in vogue as people try to reduce their water usage. You'll consult with clients, looking at their current space and using your knowledge of native shrubs, herbs, flowers, succulents and bushes, as well as rocks and mulch, to redesign their outdoor space to be attractive and friendly to the environment. You may choose to partner with a local landscaping firm who will do the actual physical labor or work on the grounds yourself. These services cost about $3 per square foot, so depending on the size of the lawn, $2,000 to $10,000. Market your services with truck and lawn signage, flyers at local gardening centers, an online presence, and partnering with landscape companies that might not offer the design services.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

46. Expense Reduction Consultant

Calling all seasoned business managers, controllers, CFOs, operations managers, accountants, and administrators! You can greatly profit from your business experience and budgeting skills by starting an expense reduction consulting service aimed at all businesses, from small and local to multinational corporations. Expense reduction consultants provide clients with a multitude of services:

  • developing short- and long-term budgets,
  • analyzing fixed and variable overhead,
  • increasing employee productivity,
  • analyzing product and service costs,
  • and developing expense reduction strategies to meet each client's specific needs.

The objective of the expense reduction exercise is to uncover costs associated with doing business that can be reduced or eliminated entirely while maintaining or increasing the overall efficiency, productivity, and profitability of the business. Many expense reduction consultants specialize in their field of expertise--manufacturing, food services, retail, or small business, for example. Expense reduction consultants generally save clients anywhere from two to 50 times their consulting fees.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 3

Resources:

  • Association of Management Consulting Firms
  • Institute of Management Consultants USA
  • Start Your Own Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen Figure Sandlin (Entrepreneur Press, 2014)

Image credit: Shutterstock

47. Medical Claims Billing

With the advent of the Affordable Health Care Act, more people than ever are insured. And that means the medical billing market is on the rise. It's an extremely competitive industry, but for the determined entrepreneur, there is a good opportunity to earn $40,000 or more per year operating either a franchise or independent medical claims billing service. Doctors must bill insurance companies and Medicaid for all services performed, and the bills must be prepared to exacting standards with the proper codes for each item. While doctors can be great at treating patients, they may not be patient with submitting such paperwork electronically. You should obtain certification, which is available at a variety of colleges--try to find a community college for the best pricing. You will learn the diagnostic and procedure coding system used by doctors and health-care professionals on medical claim forms to indicate the type of service being billed, and the software used to bill. Medical billing services can charge clients a percent of the collections or $2 to $6 per claim processed. The overall profit potential for the service is good, providing you can process medical claims on a volume basis. There is a fairly steep learning curve for operating this service, and careful research and planning will be needed to ensure initial and continued success.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

48. Import/Export Specialist

Considering the many red-tape barriers and all the issues surrounding importing products into or exporting products out of the United States, it's no wonder that so many businesses do not know how to get started and give up out of frustration. Of course, smart business owners who do not want to miss a single opportunity to grow their businesses and revenues don't give up. Instead, they hire an import/export specialist to guide them through the complex issues of the import/export business--legal, transportation, warehousing, distribution, marketing, employment, environmental, political, and financial. Starting an import/export consulting business will require experience in the industry or the willingness to learn about the industry. One simple way to market your services is to develop and host a free informational seminar on importing and exporting, and use the event to sign up businesses and individuals who want to get started in import and export.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • American Association of Exporters and Importers
  • American Import Shippers Association
  • Federation of International Trade Associations
  • Small Business Exporters Association
  • The Training Registry
  • Start Your Own Import/Export Business by Entrepreneur Press and Krista Turner (Entrepreneur Press, 2014)

49. Customer Service Training

At some point we've all received bad service from a store, restaurant, office, or online business--and it's probably happened a lot more than once. The end result of such an encounter is usually a vow never to return to the business, to tell friends your tale, and to even post a negative review online. Rude or poorly trained employees cost companies millions of dollars each year in lost business and referral sales. But companies that take proactive steps to ensure that all employees receive professional customer service and appreciation training have a leg up on the competition. You can earn a nice living by starting a consulting service that offers customer service and appreciation training programs specifically designed to meet your clients' individual needs. The starting point is to choose a specialty, such as retail, food service, receptionists, and so forth. Training can be based on your own expertise, as well as on the input of other customer service professionals who help create the training curriculum and manuals.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

50. Sales Trainer

Are you recognized as a top-producing sales professional who knows how to prospect for new business, win negotiations, and close the sale every time? If so, why not share your sales knowledge and experience and make huge profits in the process by training employees, managers, small business owners, and executives to also become top-producing sales professionals? If you don't want to rock the boat and interrupt your current sales position, you don't have to. You can train students online, via correspondence, with personal conference calls, and by way of evening and weekend workshops and seminars. This way, you can make the transition to full-time sales training as your business and client list grows. Target customers will include small business owners, salespeople, retail clerks, corporate managers and executives, students enrolled in business and marketing courses, professional service providers, volunteer fundraisers, and real estate professionals.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Sales and Marketing Executives International
  • The Sales Management Association
  • Selling Power Magazine

51. Small Business Coach

In the United States, approximately 540,000 businesses are started each month. Combine this with the millions of small- to medium-sized businesses already operating, and the future looks very bright, and potentially profitable, for a small-business coaching service. This hot opportunity will appeal to entrepreneurs who are past or present small-business owners, business managers, or corporate executives, especially those with strong marketing, administration, operations, and financial forecasting skills. Because there is a plethora of small-business training schools and courses offered by nonprofit government agencies and for-profit businesses in both countries, you will be well advised to specialize in a specific industry, such as retail or manufacturing, and to offer clients a more personalized one-on-one training service as opposed to a classroom setting. Small business coaches help new and existing business owners with any number of tasks, including business planning, marketing strategies, financial budgets, logistics issues, technology issues, and expansion challenges

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

52. Self-Publishing Consultant

Help people fulfill their dreams of becoming published writers by starting a self-publishing consulting business. Offer your clients numerous services by preparing their manuscript for publication. You can assist with both nonfiction and fiction books, including development editing (helping to structure the book), proofreading, editing, design, marketing, and distribution. Potential clients include people who want to write the next Great American Novel, as well as trainers wanting to write training guides; activists (political, environmental, or any other kind) raising awareness of a cause; corporations wanting to produce a book for customers telling the history of their business, products, services, and employees; and people with interesting life stories who have written memoirs. Advertise your services in online writing portals and magazines, join writing associations and groups to network for business, and build alliances with copywriters, book printers, editors, and illustrators to capitalize on word-of-mouth referrals.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Alliance of Independent Authors
  • Association for Publishers of Special Sales
  • Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Start Your Own Self-Publishing Business by Entrepreneur Press and Cheryl Kimball (Entrepreneur Press, 2012)

53. Freelance Photography

There are three very good reasons why the internet has breathed new life into the freelance photography industry. First, cloud-based services make it very easy to share photos with clients, publishers, editors, copywriters, marketers, and designers all around the globe in a matter of moments. Second, billions of photographic images are needed to fill billions of web pages. Third, in addition to the internet, there are millions of print publications, media companies, retailers, marketers, organizations, government agencies, and others who need new photographs every day to add meaning to newspapers, newsletters, magazines, brochures, catalogs, and presentations. Needless to say, people with fantastic photographic skills have the opportunity to earn a great living taking and selling photographs. You can contract with publishers, post photos on stock image services where you are paid royalties, or specialize in event photography for individuals (weddings, family portraits) or organizations (award dinners, industry galas). You can charge by the hour or day, and arrange for royalties depending on the type of photography you pursue.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • Bureau of Freelance Photographers
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • Professional Photographers Association
  • Start Your Own Photography Business by Entrepreneur Press and Charlene Davis (Entrepreneur Press, 2012)

54. Video Production Business

In 2011, U.S. adults spent 21 minutes watching video on digital devices. That number is increasing to 76 minutes in 2015. YouTube is the third most popular site on the internet, and online video is officially a cultural phenomenon. Local businesses probably haven't caught up with this trend. That's where you and your video skills can come in. With just a few thousand dollars worth of equipment like a high-quality camera, lapel microphone, tripods, and a small camera dolly, you can provide high-end production for businesses looking to create promotional videos or record events like grand openings and conferences or for individuals who want to document a wedding. You can charge for editing as well, or find a partner with great video editing skills who can add video effects like animated titles and appropriate music. Videographers charge $50-100 per hour, depending on whether the setup is single or multiple camera, and $50 per hour for editing.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

55. Aerial Photography and Videography

Drones have revolutionized the aerial photography trade, which used to (and still does sometimes) depend on equipment like including telescopic aluminum masts that can be extended 100 feet in the air and helium-filled blimps that can reach heights of up to 1,000 feet. Drones can be purchased cheaply, they can be outfitted with still or video cameras and the quality of this technology is constantly improving.. Be aware of local and federal laws, as well as local business policies, before launching your drones. Potential clients include colleges, property developers, corporations, amusement parks, golf courses, outdoor-event organizers, resorts, mining and forestry sites, and sporting-event organizers--basically, any person or business that wants or needs aerial photograph or video of their building, event, or property. It takes a bit of learning to operate the equipment, and if you offer video, you'll also want to provide editing services. Rates are excellent because this is a highly specialized niche service.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

Image credit: Shutterstock

56. Vacation Property Rental Agent

If you live in a busy tourist area, there is a good chance that you can start and flourish operating a vacation property rental agency. It is not uncommon for people to purchase vacation homes and condominiums in hopes of renting them for part or all of the year to help offset their costs. Unfortunately, rental income often fails to materialize because the property owners do not understand how much time and work is involved in renting the properties--marketing, booking, cleaning, repairs, and lots more. And most owners are usually hundreds--if not thousands-- of miles away. As a result, many vacation properties sit vacant when not being used by the owners. This creates a terrific opportunity to handle rentals for the owners on a revenue-splitting basis. In addition to marketing and renting the properties, you will also be responsible for cleaning and light maintenance to ensure the properties stay in tiptop condition and get top dollar for rentals. Start small, representing one or two vacation property owners, and run the service from home. As the business grows, so too can your time commitment, until you find yourself operating a profitable, full-time, business.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $15+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • American Vacation Rental Owners' Association
  • Vacation Rental Managers Association
  • The Vacation Rental Owners Association

57. Apartment Preparation Service

By offering a full line of services that includes painting, carpet cleaning, minor repairs, and trash removal, you can help busy landlords and property managers properly prepare an apartment for rental, making sure it's in great condition so they can rent it for top dollar. Advertise your apartment preparation services in traditional ways by joining landlord associations, contacting property management services, and calling on apartment rental offices. On average, you should be able to charge in the range of $25 to $35 per hour, plus materials and markup. The benefits to landlords are obvious: the better the condition of the apartment, the higher the rent will be, probably attracting a more conscientious renter. And of course, there will be much less work for the landlords. In short, landlords will easily recoup your fees and more through higher rents. You will need to invest in suitable transportation and equipment such as ladders, steam cleaners, and vacuums, but these are all relatively inexpensive and an investment of less than $10,000 will be more than sufficient.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

  • Association of Certified Handyman Professionals
  • National Apartment Association
  • National Association of Residential Property Managers
  • National Property Management Association
  • Small Property Owners Association

58. Pet Products Manufacturing

American's spend more than $13 billion every year on products for their cherished pets, and this market is open for clever entrepreneurs who design, manufacture, and sell all sorts of products for pets. What types of pet products can you make? Anything from furniture and clothing to memorials and toys. The granddaddy of them all is healthy pet treats from your own homebased bakery. For the most part, no special skills are needed because with a little practice, all of these products are very easy to make working from a small home workspace with basic tools and equipment. Sell your pet products online via Etsy, eBay and your own website, and in the offline world at pet fairs, craft shows, and farmers' markets, There is also great potential to build a wholesale arm of the business by contacting pet product boutiques, pet shop retailers, veterinarians, and groomers to carry your products or at least accept consignments to test the waters.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1-2

Resources:

59. Liquidated Inventory Sales

Savvy entrepreneurs can earn a bundle by buying liquidated inventory and government surplus equipment at dirt-cheap prices and reselling it at staggering markups. Retailers, distributors, and manufacturers liquidate inventory for any number of reasons--the products are slow moving, out-of-season, or damaged, or the company is relocating, merging, or going out of business. In fact, billions of dollars worth of inventory becomes available every year at fire sale prices. The best types of liquidated inventory to purchase are power and hand tools, films on Blu-ray, toys, kitchen and bath accessories, fashion accessories, and electronics. Stay clear of products that have limited shelf life or special warehousing and transportation requirements. Products can be resold for a profit through eBay and other online marketplaces, at weekend flea markets, and to dollar store retailers, flea market vendors, and eBay sellers. Purchasing government surplus and seized merchandise for pennies on the dollar of the original value and reselling to consumers at marked-up prices can also make you a great profit. Government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Treasury Department often sell off used and surplus equipment, as well as items seized for nonpayment or for criminal activity, through auction sales and sealed bid tenders. Items that are routinely auctioned by government agencies include computers, real estate, automobiles, machinery and tools, jewelry, furniture, electronics, and boats. Sell the larger items you buy from home using Craigslist and other classified ads and through eBay and the smaller items at weekend flea markets.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: Varies

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

  • Liquidation.com
  • Walmart Liquidations
  • Wholesale Forum

60. Vending Cart Business

Big bucks can be earned full- or part-time buying products such as T-shirts, crafts, art, jewelry, sunglasses, watches, souvenirs, umbrellas, and hats at dirt-cheap wholesale prices, and reselling them for a profit from portable vending carts. If you plan on selling from public lands and buildings, you will need to contact your local city or municipal government to inquire about street vending opportunities. On federally owned lands or buildings, contact the U.S. General Services Administration to inquire about opportunities. In addition to a vendor's permit, you may also have to obtain liability insurance, a health permit, and fire permit depending on goods sold. Vending permits, however, usually are not required if you operate from a privately owned location such as lumberyard or car wash parking lot. Before you decide what type of product(s) to sell, do the rounds. What are other vendors selling? Who is the busiest? Which days are they busiest? Who are their customers? Duplicating a successful business model is one of the easiest ways to eliminate or substantially reduce financial risk. Vendors can work from portable kiosks and pushcarts or right from a suitcase depending on what they sell. Depending on your budget, you can rent, lease, or purchase new and used pushcarts and kiosks, which come in many styles and price points. Some are motorized or pedal-powered, while others can be towed behind vehicles or placed on a trailer for transportation. Also be sure to invest in wireless payment processing technology so you can accept credit cards and debit cards on site. This gives you a huge competitive advantage over vendors who do not offer these payment options, greatly increases impulse buying, and reduces the risk of theft because you have little cash on hand. Remember, vendors are never wallflowers. You must love what you do and what you sell and be extremely comfortable talking with people.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $25+

Skill Level: 1

Resources:

61. 3D Printing Service

One of the most exciting new technologies in recent years is 3D printing. A 3D printer takes a 3D design and brings it to life, layer by layer. It allows inexpensive prototyping as well as creating manufactured goods one by one. Everything from jewelry and toys to technology gadgets (like tripods) and machine parts can be created with a 3D printer You can purchase a 3D printer for as low as a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars, so your investment will depend on the size of the objects you wish to print and the materials you wish to offer. The market is wide for such a new service. You could print creations for local jewelry and toy designers or focus on business customers, creating unique licensed trinkets. Machine shops could prototype new parts using your service. The sky is the limit. This is a relatively new business model, so be prepared to break new ground get deeply involved in the 3D printing world, learning about different printers, rendering software, materials and more.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: varies

Skill Level: 2-3

Resources:

  • 3DPrinting.com
  • 3ders.org

62. App Developer

Each month, the iTunes App Store adds 25,000 to 40,000 new apps. With 80 percent of U.S. adults owning a smartphone, it's no wonder that so many app developers can find new ideas to build. You can get in on this booming market regardless of whether you can code. If you have a background in web or software development, you should easily be able to pick up on the nuances of coding an app for Android or Apple iOS devices through books and online learning. If not, you can outsource the work, either online or to local developers in your area. App developers make money either by selling the app for a basic price, as a "freemium" which is free but has additional features a user can purchase, or for free but supported by advertising. What is important is the strength of your app idea and your marketing program. With so many new apps, it may get lost in the crowd. It's key to have a marketing plan and marketing budget in place once you've developed your apps. You want to find a niche, optimize your products for the iTunes and Google Play Stores, and create a social media and public relations campaign to get people talking.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: varies

Skill Level: 1-4

Resources:

Image credit: Shutterstock

63. Marketing Consultant

Let's face it: Without marketing, businesses cannot survive, so it is no surprise that topnotch marketing consultants are in high demand. If you are an experienced marketer, the time has never been better to put that experience to work leading other businesspeople down the path to marketing success. Marketing consultants offer a wide range of services, including developing marketing plans, establishing marketing budgets, hiring and training salespeople, and developing advertising, telemarketing, and direct marketing programs to meet each client's needs and budget. Marketing consultants also help businesses expand into new markets and even new countries, as well as build new distribution channels and profit centers. In short, marketing consultants are the jacks-of-all-trades in terms of helping clients build their businesses, revenues, and profits. Market your services through networking activities, and by setting appointments with business owners and managers to explain how your services will benefit and ultimately profit their business.

At a Glance

Investment: Under $10K

Rate: $50+

Skill Level: 2

Resources:

Edition: December 2016

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