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It doesn’t have to be expensive to start a new business. The SBA (Small Business Association) reports that in most cases, micro-businesses get started for less than $3000. We evaluated many low-cost business ideas too. We considered their ongoing expenses, skills required as well as earning potential. Take a look at these 25 great, affordable business ideas.

tutor and a student

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Consulting & Teaching Business Ideas

These types of businesses are built around enhancing clients’ lives by sharing knowledge as well as a skillset of some sort. It may be related to personal or professional skills. If you have the wisdom to share, and you are willing to pass it on, these affordable business ideas may work for you.

1. Acting Lessons

If you have previous credible performance experience, consider starting a career teaching acting. If you also have connections in the business, you should be able to acquire plenty of students eager to learn. Initial expenses you may incur when you start giving acting lessons include renting a facility if you don’t have one already. As the business grows, you may also need to hire more staff. It’s fair to assume you can charge students about $500 per student for eight weeks of classes. That’s assuming they will attend three classes a week.

2. Art Consulting Business

Are you an art enthusiast who frequently works with artists and collectors to make sure people get the artwork they love? This career choice is great if you have an extensive background in art since it requires familiarity with a wide variety of artistic styles and tastes. You will need an established presence inside artists’ networks so you can connect with collectors and gallery directors. Consultants need to maintain a simple low-cost professional website. You work for a commission of about 10 to 15% of the art your clients buy or sell.

3. Art Lessons

If you have the talent, teaching side gigs like art can help bring in extra money. however, the art world is highly competitive, but if you have natural art skills, you can make a name for yourself. Many artists advertise themselves only as teachers. You have choices so if you prefer small-group instruction, or would rather tutor individual students, set it up how you like it. Maybe you feel more comfortable just teaching adults or just children. Requiring students to bring their own supplies also helps reduce your ongoing costs. The standard teaching fee ranges between $40 and $100 an hour.

4. Tutoring Services

If you are looking for ideas with super low startup costs, tutoring may be the perfect business. Do you consider yourself a people person? Are you a current or a former teacher? Providing tutoring services fits well with both of these categories. Your profitability depends on your ability to self-motivate and organize your day and your lessons. Most tutors charge around $30 per hour.

5. A Personal Trainer Business

Personal trainers average about $50,000 annually. But someone who is seriously dedicated to their personal training business could make a lot more than that. If you desire to be a personal trainer, you need to build confidence by being an example of your own work ethic. Your successful exercise and diet regimen is your best (and free) advertisement. You can obtain a personal trainer’s certification online at a reasonable price. Other costs include insurance and advertising. Personal trainers can work at home, a gym, or in many public areas such as a park.


6. Health Coach Business

If you have a great knowledge of nutrition and enjoy giving practical tips and advice, health coaching is a low-cost business for you. As a consultant, you meet with clients and discuss personalized plans for their nutrition and exercise. Startup costs include maintaining a website, a state license fee, and certification. On average, health and nutrition coaches earn around $43,000 a year.

7. College Planning

People excel in this business if they possess a desire for knowledge as well as a passion to help others. A college planner gets to know young adults personally and helps them find where they fit in the collegiate and academic world. You meet with families, analyze student records, arrange college tours, and strategize throughout the admissions process. To start you only need a computer, a website, and marketing materials. Experienced college consultants bring home salaries between $40,000 and $80,000.

8. Test-Prep Business

If you are a former or current teacher, helping people get ready for high-stakes testing can be a great profession. You will emphasize test-taking strategies and techniques, using study guides, and being familiar with the latest test prep books and materials. Thanks to the latest technology, test prep for high-stakes English tests has moved to the international level. All you need to get started is a place to meet online or off, a professional website, and advertising costs.

9. Music Lessons

Do you play the piano, guitar, or other musical instruments? A skilled musician may be able to provide private lessons. In most cases, you work with younger students to help them improve their playing and music-reading abilities. The student’s home is a natural place to conduct music lessons, but some music stores offer low-rate rental areas to teachers as it helps encourage on-site purchases. The average cost of music lessons is $45 per hour.

social media icons on a phone

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Web-Based Affordable Businesses

Starting a web-based business reduces startup and ongoing costs. It also allows you some great flexibility when it comes to scheduling. These ideas include digitally driven means of an extra or primary income. Here are our top picks.

10. Affiliate Marketing Businesses

Do you run a popular blog, website, or social media channel? If you manage to attract a sizeable online audience, you may be paid to endorse products related to your industry. For example, a nutrition blogger may be paid to endorse a line of supplements.

11. Etsy Business

The Etsy site offers a platform for artsy types. If you are good at crafts or creating items, Etsy provides a great opportunity to sell your works or collections. There can be quite a bit of work involved from producing products, selling and shipping them, and listing new items. There are also many administrative tasks like billing and restocking. The platform takes a relatively low 3.5% from your earnings. Potential profitability varies greatly depending on what you sell and how much of it you can produce.

12. Social Media Marketing Business

Do you have a deep knowledge of social media platforms? Are you familiar with internet marketing best practices? If so, you may be the ideal candidate to create a social media marketing business. The world is yours if you understand online marketing strategies like SEO, digital sales monitoring, and managing ads. Your basic costs include software and hardware upgrades, and time invested in keeping up with the rapidly changing world of online advertising. Becoming an expert in the field can earn you about $100,000 a year.

13. Data Entry Business

Do you know your way around the keyboard and spreadsheets? You’ll need strong organizational and logic skills to process requests and organize customer data. However, if you do it well and excel, you can quickly grow your business to include employees. Then, most of your time will go toward client acquisition and managing those relationships. Startup costs include internet service and computer maintenance.

Writing and Editing Businesses

Writing and editing businesses have very low startup costs. The focus is on writing and editing content for a wide client base across many industries. They are best suited for those who are proficient in English grammar. It’s a huge plus if you are familiar with a wide variety of genres and writing styles.

14. Professional Proofreading Business

Do you have a firm grasp of grammar and punctuation mechanics? A professional proofreader is meticulous and has a keen eye for detail. Proofreading involves carefully reading a large volume of content and making revisions. Other than having a computer and internet service, there are minimal ongoing expenses. The average yearly salary for proofreaders is around $48,000.

Digital Art and Design Businesses

If you use digital tools to create or edit art and other types of media, starting your own digital art and design business can be a low-cost business option for you. There are many avenues in this field available.

15. Graphic Design Business

Graphic design businesses are for artistic entrepreneurs who have an intuitive sense of business aesthetics. You execute a variety of projects for clients, collaborate with illustrators and other artists, and discover effective ways to represent client franchises so that you appeal to their targeted demographics. Software for graphic designers can be a bit costly, but once you get started there are few ongoing expenses, plus you’ll be working from home.

16. Photo Editing for Business

Do you know image editing software like Photoshop inside and out? You may be the ideal candidate for starting a photo editing business. There are few if any overhead costs such as the internet, editing software, and advertising.

Specialty Craft Business Ideas

Let’s take a look at some low-cost startup business ideas for those who create old-fashioned, hand-crafted specialty items. It may be an opportunity to turn your existing hobby, skill, or interest into a profitable venture.

17. Candle-Making Business

If you have a good head for marketing, candle-making may be a great side or primary business venture for you. There are many things to do besides just making candles, though. You need to order materials, photograph your creations, and explore ways to market your products online. Primary ongoing costs include buying candle-making materials and shipping them. Most online platforms like Etsy will cut your earnings a little bit too. But you can make a steady income if you create a great product.

18. Soap Making Business

If you want to excel in low-cost businesses like soap making, you’ll need to be good at two things. One is, of course, making soap. But secondly, you’ll need strong marketing and business skills. As with selling any homemade products, you also will spend a large portion of your time executing online marketing strategies, running social media campaigns, creating products, and shipping them to your customers. Your largest expenditures will be buying what you need to make your products. This cost increases and decreases with the amount of product you need.

Lifestyle Business Ventures

Think of lifestyle business ideas as those that are focused on improving your customer’s quality of life. Jobs center around planning or offering assistance both of which help take the load off of busy people who try to keep up with hectic schedules.

19. Shop and Delivery Services

Extroverts with great memories and exceptional navigational and organizational skills excel at providing personal shopping for others. Your primary goal becomes delivering goods to customers in a timely fashion. You will build trust with your clientele by making sure they are satisfied, and they trust your abilities to choose products and deliver items on their list. Some of your ongoing costs include gasoline and vehicle maintenance. You can spend as much on advertising as you feel you need. Earnings are quite nice for those who procure goods for clients quickly and efficiently.

20. Professional Organizer

Do you have a knack for organizing? Helping clients get spaces organized through personal instruction can be a great job. You meet with clients at their location and also work with them to help organize and manage their time as well as their tangible items more effectively. You may help install new organizational systems in their homes or offices. Your only ongoing costs include transportation and advertising. Typically, professional organizers earn between $30,000 and $115,000 annually.

21. Babysitting Services

You gotta love kids to be a babysitter or nanny. If you find that you want a larger operation, you may spend a lot more time managing calls, ensuring proper fits of sitters to families, and also making reservations for clients. Overhead costs are the same as for most businesses depending on if you rent an office or you choose instead to work from home. While babysitters usually make minimum wage, you can stand to improve your earnings substantially as your babysitting business grows.

22. Dog-Walking Business

If you love working with animals, a dog-walking business may be just up your alley. You pick up the dog(s) take them on an agreed-upon route and return them back to their homes. You will also need to manage clients and appointments, so you’ll need some management skills. Ongoing costs include things like dog accessories, treats, leashes and harnesses, and also transportation crates. Your profits depend on how many dogs you can handle in a day.

cleaning supplies

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Maintenance and Cleaning Businesses

People need help with their yards and homes. They often call on others to help them tackle physical cleaning or restoration tasks. Become a labor specialist and use these low-cost business ideas to help others save time and money while providing them with reliable home maintenance services like these.

23. Lawn Care Business

If you love the outdoors and have physical stamina, a lawn care business. Work occurs only during the daylight hours and you’ll work with clients to meet their specifications. A solo lawn care specialist can make between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. Your costs include maintaining all your equipment, insurance, and labor assistance as your business grows.

24. Cleaning Business

If you have lots of energy and time, a cleaning business is a great idea. You’ll also need plenty of stamina to deal with physical exertion for long time periods. You have choices such as residential home cleaning or office-oriented cleaning services. You can earn substantial money if you learn to work quickly and efficiently. Even a smaller business can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. Your ongoing costs include cleaning supplies and equipment.

25. Handyman Business

Hard-working, independent people who are also in great shape physically may want to start a handyman business. The field is wide open for those who have a vast knowledge of appliances and can also perform home improvement-related tasks. Starting out may be expensive if you don’t have the tools you need. But once you acquire tools and a license as required by your state, you can make a hefty living. Plus your business-related costs for tools and equipment should be tax-deductible.