Businesses you can start for under $5000

Written by  Lina Abascal and Gog Zalibekyan / 18 December 2015
Businesses you can start for under $5000
In the age of the Internet and the gig economy, nothing seems less fun than going to go work for “the man”. While it may seem intimidating, nearly anyone can start their own business. Sounds expensive? We know.

Previously, getting a business started required a lot of start up costs. Thankfully with the addition of online resources and a booming gig and on demand service economy, there are plenty of businesses you can start on your own with $5,000 or less to start. No formal training? Find a mentor. No formal schooling? The Internet is your best friend. Can’t afford to rent an office or storefront? Welcome to e-commerce. There are no excuses, so check out a few easy to start businesses below.
Cleaning Service
You already clean your own home for free, take your skills and cleaning supplies and start an affordable cleaning business. All you need is supplies and transportation. Extra points if you have a focus such as “green” or “environmentally friendly” cleaning. Going into someone’s home requires a lot of trust from your clients, so it may make sense to start with people you know personally first and build referrals.

Marketing / Social Media Consultant
Any good at social media, making keynote presentations, writing descriptions or copy? You may make a pretty good marketing or social media consultant. Create a portfolio of your work, or even sample work if you are just starting out, on a personal website and use sites like LinkedIn to network and other sites such as UpWork to find gigs. Similar to many of the business ideas on this list, a great way to expand your customer or client base is through networking and referrals versus traditional promotion and advertising, so take every small job seriously. Taking online classes or certification programs can cost anywhere from a few hundreds dollars and upwards, but can often catch you up on new skills and practices. Having basic software such as Photoshop can help if you are creating social media assets, which you can buy on a monthly license fee.

Dog Walker and Sitter
Any pet owner will tell you, we are willing to spend money on our fur babies! Tap into a high spending market of pet owners by offering your services as either a dog walker or pet sitter. There are a variety of companies that allow you to list your services, but if you want to start your own business, all you need is a space to pet sit, the time and means to walk dogs, and ways to promote your services. Go as old school as neighborhood bulletin boards and door to door, or create a Facebook page and invite your local friends. To make your business even more competitive, try investing in yourself and take a few pet health, safety, and CPR classes to get certified.

Becoming a tutor is another great way to make high hourly wages with little to no start up costs. If you have a degree or previous work experience in a certain category, consider coaching students the subject matter. Tutoring is another business that is easy to market and with a few investments like potential certification, any books needed, or practice tests for your clients, can get you started making cash FAST. Tutors are always in demand and work predominately off referrals and word of mouth. Try recruiting at local high schools or community colleges.

Event Planning
While throwing an event is a lot of fun, sometimes being a hostess and event planner can be more stressful than fun. This is where the opportunity for an event planner to come in occurs. Start small with children’s birthday parties or office events and eventually move to larger budget events and possibly even weddings. Good marketing, amazing organizational skills, connections, and good taste go further in this industry than anything tangible so if that’s you, you will be able to slide into this industry and make a name for yourself at a very low cost. Sometimes this job requires hiring an assistant or an additional employee to help out which can involve some cost.

Freelance Writer
From personal experience, this one requires little to no upfront cost, but a lot of persistence and dedication. While this isn’t directly costing you money, freelance writers often have to begin by working for free, which can cut into savings. Once you’ve established enough samples, reach out to your favorite publications via cold email contact, or try to find specific editors to pitch online.There are many resources online to get ideas of how much to charge and more about industry norms. Once you get in the groove, it’s possible to make a comfortable full time living freelance writing. Mixing in writing for trade publications, marketing materials, and more technical writing along with creative pieces helps diversify your workload and pay range.

Homemade Goods Shop
We discussed How to Easily Sell Your Handmade Goods Online in our recent blogpost. What may begin as a hobby can turn into a full fledged business if you invest time and money into creating enough high quality product and growing your business through marketing and promotion. If business picks up which we hope it does, hiring an assistant or taking on an apprentice can help you expedite your production and shipping processes.
A common thread among all of these businesses is that not only are they easy to start requiring little to no equipment, traditionally training, and money, but they can all be amplified using free resources online. From learning more about starting a business through free articles and resources, to establishing your business with a free website, to promoting your services on online ads and social media, your business will be booming in no time.

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