100 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $100

There are many obstacles to starting your own business, but money isn't always one of them.

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By John Rampton

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Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? What's holding you back?

If the answer is not having enough money to get started, then here's some excellent news: You can start countless businesses with less than $100.

People do many odd jobs to pay the bills, and no matter what your skills are, there are ways to put them to work. It doesn't matter if you're a handyman or an online marketing expert -- you can still make extra money on the side.

Here are 100 business ideas to get you started. 

Direct sales representative

Being a local sales representative for companies like Avon, Mary Kay, and Pampered Chef requires you to spread the word about their products by hosting a party or selling them online. Most starter kits cost around $100 and provide you with everything you need to become a sales rep.

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Consulting

If you already have the knowledge or experience in a specific area, such as providing legal advice or showing business how to become more eco-friendly, then you can easily start your own consulting agency. The main costs involved are marketing your business and networking, so invest in a website and business cards. Here is an example consulting guide.

Senior home companion

In 2016, there were more than 49 million people in the U.S. alone aged 65 years or older. That figure is expected to grow to around 98 million in 2060. That means that there are lot of seniors who looking for someone to keep them company or families looking for advice on how to care for their loved ones.

Tutor

There are a lot of students who need assistance in every subject, ranging from elementary school to college. If you have this knowledge, then starting your own tutoring service can be an appealing business idea that requires almost no capital. After all, the students already have the learning materials with them.

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Freelancing

Whether you're a writer or web developer, freelancing can be a lucrative business idea that pretty much requires nothing more than your talent, laptop and internet connection. Thanks to the numerous websites that post freelance gigs, you should have no problem starting out. Here is a freelancer guide that will help you every step of the way.

Related: The 15 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs

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Vlog with YouTube

Since every laptop, tablet, and smartphone comes equipped with a built-in camera, anyone can start creating videos and posting them to YouTube. If you have knowledge you want to share, or are just incredibly charismatic, then you can start profiting from your vlog through ads.

Auto repair/detailing

If you have a garage, tools and knowledge, then why not start your own auto repair shop? Even if you don't have a garage, you could start a mobile auto repair business where you go to the broken-down vehicle.

If you like the idea of working with vehicles but you aren't a mechanic, then consider washing and detailing cars. (I had a former colleague who did this on the side, and eventually, he was able to make this into a full-time gig through word-of-mouth recommendations at work.)

Sharing economy rentals

Thanks to the "sharing economy," more and more people are opting to rent items instead of purchasing them. You can rent out things ranging from your parking space to your furniture. Try starting with a niche and slowly working your way up. For example, you could start renting out yard equipment like rakes, shovels or leaf blowers. If you don't already own them, you can purchase them for less than $100.

Related: Airbnb and Uber Are Just the Beginning. What's Next for the Sharing Economy.

Managing web design

There are countless sites out there that teach you basic web design. Learn a new skill today. Even if you aren't a web designer, you could find a designer affordably and still charge less than professional web design firms. They key here is managing the process -- most businesses don't want to do this and are willing to pay.

Handyman

If you're able to make minor household repairs, like switching out a broken electrical outlet or sealing a pipe under the kitchen sink, then this is another in-demand business that doesn't cost much to launch. You could even consider starting out on TaskRabbit, a marketplace platform for small jobs. 

Menu planning

Plenty of people are indecisive when it comes to their food. That's why they're willing to hire someone to help them plan out their meals. This is a low-cost idea for anyone who enjoys working with food but doesn't have the resources to prepare and serve it.

House-sitter/pet-sitter

This idea essentially requires no initial investment. You can start asking your family, friends and neighbors if they need someone to watch their home or pet when they go out of town.

Related: An Animal Lover Finds the Perfect Franchise -- and Financial Security

Lawn care

If you have a green thumb, enjoy being outside and have the tools to get started -- like a lawnmower, weed-whacker or chainsaw -- then this is a no-brainer of a business idea. The only main cost is advertising and marketing your business.

Homemade gourmet foods

Whether if it's soup mixes, jellies or chocolates, people love gourmet food products. And since you probably already have a kitchen, you just need cooking supplies, packaging and basic marketing materials to get started.

Professional organizer

We live in a materialistic world, and it's easy to start getting overwhelmed by all the stuff that's consuming our homes. Just look at the rising popularity of Marie Kondo. Professional organizers can help people get their homes back in order for no more than $20 or so on classified ads.

Green cleaning service

Cleaning services are a dime a dozen. You can stand out from the competition by offering a green cleaning service that uses eco-friendly and natural products. You may even be able to make some of them yourself and sell them for extra cash. 

Grocery delivery

Some major grocery stores offer delivery services, but not all of them do. There's a chance your local supermarket doesn't, either. That's when you can charge customers to have you go to the store for them and then deliver groceries to their homes.

Personal concierge

A personal concierge takes care of everything from taking clients to the airport, bringing the dog to the vet or managing schedules. It's essentially being someone's personal assistant.

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Creating information products

If you have experience with a specific niche, then you can start selling your knowledge by creating products like eBooks or instructional videos. The cost is usually no more than your time, domain name and web hosting.

Blogging

If you're familiar with a specific topic, then you can launch a blog where you share your knowledge. You can earn money by selling ad space, becoming an affiliate or starting a subscription service. Here's a resource to getting started with blogging. (I followed its tips and was able to personally create a solid four-figure income within around 12 months.)

Related: 10 Keys to Make Millions Blogging

Window-cleaning

Window-cleaning is many people's least favorite household chore, and a window-cleaning service doesn't require much capital to become profitable.

Interior designer

Both homeowners and business owners are looking for people to design comfortable, organized and productive spaces. 

Flier distribution

Local businesses still hire people companies to hand out fliers or place them under windshield wipers. You essentially just need to make a lot of copies, and that's not a major investment. 

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Programming

Learning how to program or code, such as with the object-oriented dynamic programming language known as Ruby, is one of the most lucrative business out there. Here's a guide to starting a developer business to help get you started.

Virtual assistant

This job is similar to being a personal assistant -- answering phone calls, responding to emails and keeping your client's schedule. The difference? You do this remotely.

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Social-media consultant

Businesses and individuals are always on the lookout for people to manage and maintain their social channels for them, and many businesses will pay $500 or more a month for these services.

Project management

Believe it or not, not all businesses have in-house project managers, which means that projects can quickly get off-track. Companies are often willing to hire outside project managers to keep their teams focused.

Secretarial services

There are a lot of small businesses and individuals who need services like typing, transcribing and proofreading. As long as you've got a computer, a printer and the necessary skills, your business should be good to go. 

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Catering

If you're an outstanding cook but don't want to invest in a restaurant, then you can start your own catering business directly from your own kitchen.

Mobile repair

Want to put your own spin on a repair service? Start one that involves you going to the client. Whether if it's fixing a mobile phone, a computer or a piece of furniture, this idea doesn't require more than a vehicle, marketing and your own expertise.

Resume-writing service

A lot of people have difficulty writing amazing resumes, and that may cause them to lose out on a job they've been eyeing. If you have knack for composing resumes, it can become a profitable business. (I personally have paid $100 several times for people to get my resume in shape.) 

Holiday decorator

Everyone wants their home or office to look festive for an upcoming holiday, but not everyone can make that happen. If you can pull off that holiday cheer, then this is another business that doesn't require much capital.

Related: Spreading Holiday Cheer as a Christmas Decor Franchisee

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Domain name-buying

You can buy a domain on the cheap -- sometimes for less than $1. If a business comes along and needs that domain, sometimes they'll be willing to pay top-dollar for it.

Flipping websites

Using a site like Flippa, you can purchase a website, build it up and sell it. You can turn this into a lucrative business. (I personally have been able to make around $25,000 to $30,000 flipping websites each year.)

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Cleaning dryer ducts

Dryers get jammed with lint, and if too much builds up, you could have a house fire on your hands. Since this is an area that's often overlooked, you can start a dryer duct-cleaning business with just a vacuum and some basic marketing.

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Tour guide

If you know your area like the back of your hand, then you can start charging tourists for a personalized tour of your hometown.

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Affiliate marketing

If you have a blog with a significant amount of followers, then you can become an affiliate. Essentially, this means that whenever you recommend ther people's products or services, you can use your own special affiliate link that you've requested from the company (or a marketplace like Amazon). Whenever a visitor clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you'll receive a commission.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is selling products for companies on sites like eBay. Whenever the product is sold, the company handles everything else, such as shipping.

Snow removal

If you have snow shovels and maybe even a plow, then this business idea can make you serious cash. However, it's completely dependent on the weather. (When I lived in Utah, I paid a neighbor $25 every time it snowed to shovel my driveway and walkway, and it only took him half an hour.)

Pet grooming

If you enjoy being around pets and can bathe them, cut their nails and give them a decent haircut, then this can be a serious money-maker without much of an investment.

Pooper scooper

It's definitely not the most glamorous job, but you'd be doing something that most people dread so much that they'd pay someone else to do it for them.

Event or party planner

If you're organized and a planner, then taking care of the arrangements for birthdays, retirements or weddings can be a profitable business.

Computer repair and maintenance provider

Think of all the computers out there that crash or need updates. Do you think that each owner has the technical knowledge to handle any troubleshooting problems? Consider starting your own service. 

Life coach or mentor

Many people hire coaches or mentors to help them with things like losing weight or finding happiness. (I've found that most life coaches charge $50 to $250 an hour.)

Related: The 10 Best Cities For Starting a Life-Coaching Practice

Bookkeeper

It's important for both businesses and individuals to keep their files neat and tidy, but not all of them have the time to do so. That's when they hire someone to keep their books in order for them. (I pay my bookkeeper $30 an hour, and I found her on a local website with a classified listing that she paid $50 per month for.)

Tax preparation

Preparing taxes is another necessity, but most of us don't have the time or knowledge to take care of this task. If you're up-to-date on the latest tax regulations and enjoy crunching numbers, this can be a lucrative business during tax season.

Book-writing

Did you know that both Amazon and Apple have book-publishing arms? Whether you write an instructional book, cookbook or sci-fi adventure, you can now publish it at almost no cost.

Flooring business

Installing your own flooring may sound easy, but it can get tricky. That's when you can save the day by installing floors for others. Best of all, you don't need to worry about inventory -- you'd only be focused on installation.

Painting addresses on curbs

Many office and residential customers would gladly pay you to spray-paint their address on the curb. You'd just need some spray paint and an address kit to get started.

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Parking lot striping

There are plenty of parking lots that need new stripes. You can start off with a straightedge tool and spray paint. As you earn more money, you can purchase professional equipment.

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Business planning

If you've already created a successful business, then you can actually turn that knowledge and experience into a new business. New business owners will pay for someone to help guide them in developing their own successful business plan.

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Homemade natural soaps and beauty products

Selling natural products is a thriving business. Even if you don't feel comfortable making your own natural soaps and beauty products, you can dropship for companies that do.

Logo design

If you're a creative individual, then designing logos is a relatively easy business to start. You can do anything from designing unique logos to customizing ideas from templates. Here's a guide to starting a design business that should help you every step of the way.

Translator

Businesses are desperately in need of individuals who can speak the language of whatever market they're entering.

Restore/upcycle furniture

If you're handy and spot a used piece of furniture that needs some TLC, you could make the repairs and resell. That's pretty much all profit.

eBay seller

People have been making a living for years off of eBay by selling their old junk, reselling items and dropshipping.

Related: Why It's Nearly Impossible To Stop This Amazon and eBay Scheme

App developer

With the mobile revolution in full swing, the demand for apps has never been higher. Even if you don't have programming skills, you can still hire someone to make your app a reality.

Personal chef

Unlike catering, which may only keep you busy a couple of days per week, personal chefs are responsible for cooking breakfast, lunch and/or dinner for clients. However, you can spend most of your time preparing meals that just need to be reheated. That allows you to take on more clients.

Personal trainer

Even though health is a priority for most of us, it can be challenge to not only stay on track but also make sure that you exercise correctly without injuring yourself. By becoming a personal trainer, you can motivate and monitor people while they exercise.

Beautify products

If you don't have the tools or skills to build something from scratch, you can always modify or beautify an existing product. Take mosquito nets, for example -- they're bland, but you could decorate them with ribbon or beads to create a unique product.

Photographer

There's always a demand for photographers at special events like weddings. Here's a guide to starting a photography business to get you started.

Framing

After procuring tools like a sander, a matte-cutter, a glass-cutter, tape, clamps, saws, miter boxes, picture-hangers, a stapler and glue, all you need for this business is marketing. 

Flea market-vending

Flea markets are still thriving, and you can usually rent out a spot for the day for just $20. You can sell anything from the junk laying around your house to the produce you grew in your backyard to handmade crafts. In many areas, there are multiple flea markets taking place throughout any given week, so this can easily become a frequent gig. 

Online content producer

Businesses need lots of content today. If they don't have an in-house team to create and produce content, they often hire talented outside individuals to do it for them. (There are businesses that pay $50 per blog post, such as mine -- here's my own content marketing guide to help you in your journey.) 

Related: 4 Things Editors Are Looking When They Read Your Pitch

Website developer

Everyone should have a website these days, and for the people who don't have the time or knowledge, you can develop their website for them. 

Selling plants online

If you have a green thumb and the space, then you can sell plants online. It's actually a growing niche since people are becoming more concerned about where their plants originated from, and you can probably charge less the big box stores.

Calligrapher

If you've got above-average penmanship, then you can charge people to create handwritten invitations.

Selling crafts

If you can make handmade crafts, like jewelry and furniture, then you can sell those products on sites like Etsy.

Home daycare

You'll definitely need to get the proper licenses and permits, but this is a business that you can start at home. In some areas, daycare costs around $15 an hour, so this can be a very lucrative business.

Cleaning out foreclosed homes

Whenever a bank forecloses on a home, they have to hire someone to clean the place out. If you don't mind getting a little dirty, you don't need much to start this kind of business. 

Recycling scrap metal

Some people drive around and take junk, such as broken dryers, off of people's hands full-time. Why? Because they can scrap that metal. Just keep in mind that the more valuable metals are aluminum and copper.

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Internet security consultant

Security is a major concern for businesses and individuals. Besides expertise and some marketing, it doesn't cost much to start a business protecting others' hardware and software.

Freelance bartender

If you can make a mean Manhattan, Cosmopolitan and other oft-ordered drinks, try marketing yourself as a freelance bartender for private parties and events.

Training dogs

Consider yourself to be the next Cesar Millan? This is another low-cost business idea with the potential for high profits. 

Referral service

Whether a new business or family just moved into town, you can can refer them to the right vendors, babysitters or restaurants. Your only cost would be networking and marketing yourself to the community.

Packing service

No one likes the hassle of packing up for a move. That's why they'll hire other people to pack and load their belongings up. You really don't need to purchase anything without reimbursement, since boxes and tape will be included in your final price. You'll probably still be a cheaper option than professional movers.

Writing and/or recording a song

If you have the musical chops, you can make a career out of writing your own music. And it doesn't have to be the latest Taylor Swift single -- you could write jingles for podcasts or local businesses. 

Concert and show promotion

If you have some experience in marketing and are passionate about spreading the word about upcoming events, then you can start working with artists, venues and labels to generate buzz with essentially no investment on your part. 

Tester or reviewer

Companies are often looking for individuals to test and review their products. You can also start your own blog where you review products in a certain niche.

Fashion design

Sites like Etsy now make it accessible for you to sell your unique fashion designs. Even if you're not into high fashion, you can start creating your own T-shirts and produce through sites like CafePress.

Importing products

You can purchase products from overseas in bulk and start selling them at a markup. That's how Pura Vida started.

Makeup artist

Whether if it's for a special occasion like a wedding or for Halloween, people often pay a significant amount for someone to do their makeup.

Hairstylist

If you're up-to-date on the current styles and can cut hair, then you can start your own salon from your home.

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Selling snacks and drinks

Have you ever left a sporting event or concert thirsty and starving? We've all been there. That's why you see people selling bottles of water and hot dogs after an event. Unlike investing in a food truck or cart, you can start off with just a cooler.

Voice-over artist

Now that businesses are creating their own content, such as videos and podcasts, they're looking for golden voices. If that's something that you possess, then you could turn it into a lucrative career. 

Brewer

You can buy a beer kit for less than $100 and start tinkering around with brewing your own beer. (I have a family friend who did this with friends and now has his own microbrewery.)

Winemaking

You don't need a vineyard to start making wine. You can start by growing some of your own grapes or purchasing juice. If your small batch of wine turns out well and you start making some cash, you could eventually start your own vineyard or winery.

Related: How Craft Brewing Inspired This Denver Winemaker

Selling eggs

Farm-fresh eggs are a big business right now. You can get in on the action by purchasing a couple of hens and building your own chicken coop.

Baking bread

The size of the market for home-baked bread might surprise you. (I know woman who makes her own bread by working just a couple of days a week, and people line up to purchase it.) 

Creating customized care packages

Many people enjoy customized care packages that they can give out as gifts. To begin, you need to find a niche, like holiday packages, and start filling baskets with goodies.

Instructor

You can sell lessons teaching people to play an instrument, cook a meal or even work out. You essentially just need your own knowledge and marketing to get started.

Airbnb host

If you have an extra room or home, consider renting it out on Airbnb instead of letting it sit there vacant. (I personally was able to make around $3,000 a month last year renting out a section of my home.)

Related: Learn From These 3 Ways Airbnb Won the Trust It Needed to Succeed

Property management

Landlords can't always check in on their properties or maintain them via cleaning and mowing. A property management company takes care of these tasks for busy landlords.

Laundry/ironing service

Almost everyone has clothes that need to be cleaned or ironed, and oftentimes they don't have the patience or time to handle these chores on our own. That's why many people pay others to do it for them. 

Clothing alteration service

If you know how to sew or replace buttons or zippers, then you've got a new business idea for people who can't part with their favorite pieces of clothing. It's also inexpensive to launch this type of business. 

Online dating consultant

More and more people are turning to online dating to find a match, but it can be overwhelming when just starting out. If you have experience in the area, then some people are willing to pay for advice.

Sourcing service

You can find products or services for local businesses and resell them at a markup.

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Travel agency

Even though there are hundreds of travel websites out there, most people don't have the time or patience to compare the prices on flights and hotel rates. That's why there's still a need for people to do the legwork for them.

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Toy-making

Whether it's carving a doll out of wood or making use of a 3D printer, making toys can be a lucrative business idea. 

Food-delivery service

Some people feel they can't leave the office to pick up food, and others would rather not leave their homes. That's when they'll contact you to pick up and deliver food to their doors.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

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