Is it really possible to start a profitable business with little money?
The short answer is of course, yes!
It is possible to start a business with very little money.
Before I decided to write an article on this topic, I realized that the word “little” is actually subjective. So the question is, how do you define little?
For some people, little maybe $10,000.00, for others, little maybe $500, or even $100.00 so I’ll try to address this topic with ideas on how you can start a profitable business with the least money as possible.
Before we get started, however, you have to understand that money is a currency that represents energy, so if you don’t have the physical bill or at least not a lot of it to fuel your business start-up; you need to have the necessary energy to bring your business to life because if you don’t have money and you don’t have the energy, your profitable business will never come into fruition.
When asked, most people would want to start a business, someday or when they have the money but most people are actually missing the point. While it’s true that the rich get richer because they have the necessary funds to finance more lucrative business startups, keep in mind that you’re not stagnated in poverty simply because you’re not already rich.
The rich don’t start businesses to become rich, those who are self-made would agree that they didn’t have a fat wallet when they first got started but what they had was the unformidable goal of starting a profitable business with little money.
If you’ve ever joined a network marketing company, you’ve often heard of the common motivational rant of how you should start with your “why?”.
That’s because, starting a profitable business doesn’t necessarily need a lot of money or a fat wallet but lots and lots of energy and if you don’t have the necessary determination, your business will only be part of the failure statistics.
Table of Contents
Concept Over Capital
A lot of would-be successful entrepreneurs are stopped on their tracks because of the belief that they can’t start a business with little to no capital.
While capitalization is important to most business ventures, your business concept is more important because a sound and profitable business concept can and will get funding anytime.
And while venture capitalism salivates any startup CEO, it’s more complicated than just starting out on your own as a renegade entrepreneur so don’t be afraid to start small and produce your proof of concept first then expand later on by offering shares when it’s time to expand, but for now, start something that will bring in money and food on the table to replace your employment income.
Hard Work and Massive Action
Aside from your business concept, taking action is more important than anything else when it comes to starting a business.
If you’re lazy or you just don’t have the energy to take action on your business idea, it will remain just as an idea and pretty soon, someone else will think of that same idea, take action on it and be successful.
As a chronic entrepreneur, one may never run out of ideas but most of us, simply fail to take action.
The simplest of ideas can make the massive action taker with a deeper why way more money than a state of the art business idea of someone who lives in the someday isle.
What I’m trying to say here is, your business idea shouldn’t be the brightest, you have to take action and commit to making it successful.
To be successful in business and in life, you have to learn the value of delayed gratification and you should be willing to do the things that most people won’t as it’s beyond their comfort zone.
Doing the things that most people won’t let you live the life that most people would only dream of.
Starting a business is the easy part, turning it into a sustainable income source is another story.
If you’re starting a would-be profitable business with little to no capital, you have to accept the fact that most of the time, it would only be you and your business venture.
There will be no staff or labor that would do the things you wouldn’t want to do, you’ve got to live with that in the next couple of months, or even years, depending on how long it would take until you’re financially able to hire out the things that you hate doing so you can focus on tasks that you enjoy.
During the startup phase of your business venture, you will be the President / CEO, Sales Department, Accountant, Technician, and Customer Support all rolled into one. Take heart and be willing to sacrifice!
Re-invest Your Profits
You just earned $10,000.00! Yay! Now what?
Your business is like a tree, you have to water and cultivate it in the next couple of years until it becomes self-sustaining. Don’t get trap with the illusion that the paycheck will keep coming in, you’re not working for someone else here and it’s all performance-based in the business world, meaning, you’ll never know as to when the next $10,0000.00 or $1000,00. for that matter would come.
Re-invest the majority of your revenue back into your business, now you have the capital, so don’t make the stupid mistake of feeling that you’ve made it. That initial revenue isn’t yours, that’s the reward for the initial energy you’ve invested into your business so make use of that capital on the business and not your personal spending.
I know, it’s harsh! Welcome to the business world! If you reinvest your profits in the early days of your business, you’re cultivating the growth of your business and before you know it it will be self-sustaining.
It has never been easy to hire-out the things you suck at to experts that can do the tasks in minutes, all without hiring them as full-time employees. Such is the case in the era that we now live in – thanks to the internet and the many services and freelance marketplaces that abound it.
Once your business gets to a certain point where it starts bringing in some profits, you’ll have the necessary budget to pay for labor to improve your business further that saves you time so you can focus on doing things that you’re good at.
While everything can be learned, there are just things that we naturally suck at so instead of trying to learn them and wasting time with trial and error, hire them out and be done with them!
Suck at writing? Go to sites like TextBroker or Iwriter.
And how about the software or app design and development? Ever heard of Envato Studio?
Depending on which type of business you’re building, it may come to a point when you’re going to need to offer customer service of some sort. Waiting on call as to when the next customer support ticket is going to come in isn’t a productive use of your time; ZenDesk will help you provide the necessary customer support service your patron needs for as low as $5 per agent.
You can outsource pretty much anything to anyone across that globe if that service is deliverable digitally.
If you’re a local business, and you need to outsource jobs that aren’t deliverable through online means, you can also subcontract jobs to local experts. General contractors have been doing this for years.
What Types of Businesses Can You Start with Little to No Money
If you have a skill and you’re struggling financially, then there’s a problem because you know what?
A skilled man is a walking enterprise.
Most highly-skilled individuals know how to do things, they just don’t know how to market themselves effectively.
Offering a service-based business is one of the best and profitable businesses that you can start with no money.
Depending on your expertise, you can start one of the following service-based businesses:
- Mobile-oil-change business
- Handyman and/or Renovation
- Photographer / Videographer
- Singer (Wedding / Party / funeral)
- Advertising / PR
- Online Marketing (Social Media / PPC / SEO)
- House and/or Apartment Painting
- Plumbing / Rooter
- Computer and/or Appliance Repair
- Auto/Vehicle Repairs
- Graphic Design
- Head Hunter / Recruitment
- Article writing
- Website Design/Development
- Babysitting/Home Daycare
- Mobile Chef / Cooking / Catering
- Teaching Music to Kids
- Academic Tutorial / Online Tutor
- After School Program
- Martial Arts
- Swimming Lessons
- Personal Fitness Instructor
- Mobile Stylist / Haircutter
- Cellphone Repair
- Snow Removal / Lawn Maintenance
- Decks and Fences
- Voice Lessons
- Translation / Interpreter
- Virtual Assistant
- Massage Therapy
- Video Editor
There are a lot of opportunities in sales. If you’ve been on earth for at least two decades, you must have sold a lot of people without you even realizing it.
From the moment you lured your parents into buying that shiny new toy that you couldn’t live without, convincing your employer that you’re the right person for the job to manipulating your spouse to spend the rest of his or her life with you, you’ve used one or two sales strategies to close the deal.
Such is the value of selling, and you can actually turn it into a profitable business venture with little to no capital.
If you really want to start a business but you don’t have the capital to invest in inventories, there are a lot of companies that would allow you to represent/sell their products for a commission without you first buy the items yourself.
From consumer goods, real estate, insurance, and investment; you can start your own agency as a solo operator. Some industries such as insurance and real estate would require you to get a license first before commencing business but the costs of licensing are usually minimal and more than worth it if you are serious about starting your own profitable enterprise.
Nowadays, there are people who have taken this concept online and this is called dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a business enterprise where you list products for sale on your own websites such as a Shopify store or marketplaces like Amazon and eBay and only order the product(s) yourself when your customers buy them.
No stocks, no warehouses, just smart work, a little capital to field the selling costs of third-party marketplaces and advertising in the case of running your own Shopify store.
If you’re some sort of expert at something, you’re in business!
The consultancy has grown to become an industry in itself.
And while no one of us has the monopoly of knowledge, we are all experts at something and if you dig deep inside and find what it is you’re an expert at; you may be blown away to learn that people would actually want to pay consulting fees for that expertise.
A life coach for example could average an annual income of $100,000.00.
If you enjoy working with people and giving the advice to help them improve their personal, professional, and entrepreneurial lives, why not cash on it?
You can build a profitable consulting business around your expertise as a consultant or coach.
And you can offer your consulting services at your local marketplace where you meet people on a face to face basis or globally through Skype and Google Hangout.
There are various ways on how you can promote yourself and establish your credibility as an expert and they are as follows:
You can start offering speeches to schools and industry gathering for free to put the word out, giving tips and tricks to your target audience.
When you get to a point where you’re already a recognized expert, these speaking engagements can be another source of income for you as a subject matter expert.
You can start publishing articles (blog) that are related to your niche and better yet, publish videos if you’re comfortable with speaking in front of a camera. These publishing platforms have global reach and can catapult your consulting career into a lucrative business.
Keep in mind though that not unless you pay for traffic, online publishing is a slow medium if you’re relying on organic growth but if you have the desire and the vision to make it, putting in the work to build the momentum wouldn’t deter you from consistently publishing to reach your global audience.
Nowadays, people tend to rent a lot of things, from cars, houses, apartments, websites, baby gear, surfboards, tools, etc.
So, what it is that you think you have that are rentable?
If you have a spare room in your house and/or apartment and you live in a decent and accessible neighborhood, renting space out of your abode can be a profitable business to start with little to no money upfront.
Start small and see how you like it; reason being is the fact that being a landlord isn’t for everyone, and sometimes tenants can cause headaches especially if you make mistakes in your tenant selection process.
If you’re just letting out a room, you may want to look at short-term rental opportunities such as Airbnb and HomeAway. This way, you don’t deal with one tenant long term. However, if you’re not comfortable letting people you don’t know in and out of your home, you may look at offering HomeStay services to international students or simply let out your spare room to working singles.
When you gain traction and you feel that land lording is something you enjoy doing, you may acquire another property as an investment or a rental property.
Don’t want to deal with tenants and property maintenance?
Rent something else!
As mentioned, there are a lot of other things that you can rent out.
Local business website rental for example is a lucrative rental business opportunity.
If you know search engine optimization, you can build online properties, rank them to appear on top of the search results, and rent them out to businesses who are after these leads.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your website should be ranking enough that it attracts leads to business owners.
Website rental prices range from $300.00 to $1,500.00 a month, depending on the industry or niche.
If online marketing and SEO is your cup of tea, you may want to take a look at this lucrative business opportunity.
Website rental, in essence, is a lead-generation business wherein you rent out a website that brings in prospective customers to business owners.
If your websites don’t work, then your renters will stop paying the rent so your websites should perform.
Say for example if you develop 10 local websites on different niches, and each of these websites only brings you $300.00 in monthly rental fees; that’s a total of $3,000.00 a month of monthly income for a very minimal monthly overhead.
Can’t stop talking about something but you don’t feel like serving clients on one? Why not publish your ideas to the world?
If you’re comfortable with talking in front of a camera, you can launch a YouTube channel focused on your niche of expertise and speak to millions.
The more subscribers and viewers you garner over time, the more money you’ll earn.
Or you can start a blog built around your expertise if speaking in front of the camera isn’t your cup of tea.
Both are effective ways of publishing your ideas into the world, potentially reaching millions of knowledge seekers.
A blog or a YouTube channel that’s dependent on organic traffic, won’t make you money in the short run but as you build your online brand, traffic, and subscribers, you’ll attract the attention of brands which are more than willing to pay to be in front of your audience.
Of course, there are a lot of ways to monetize a channel and a blog aside from ads and sponsorships; if you have the traffic, you will make money but you can’t rush it, otherwise, you will burn out and stop the whole journey entirely.
A blog or a YouTube channel is a slow way of building a business but you need to have patience and understand the concept of frontloading work.
This is where you work to build an asset that will provide you with a leveraged and semi-passive income, later on, your time and effort will not, however, be paid initially when you’re pouring in the hard work and most people would find this a raw deal since very few of us would have passed the infamous marshmallow test.
It is but natural for us to put off an activity that doesn’t pay right away and I’m guilty of this since we tend to focus more our effort on things that brings in money on the table right away instead of ones that pay off later but building assets that will support us semi-passively for many years may just be worth it.
Once your blog or YouTube Channel gains traction (and traffic), there are a lot of ways that you can monetize them.
The most common way people monetize a blog or a channel is through pay-per-click advertising.
It’s where you display or have a network (such as Google Adsense) display ads on your website, blog, or channel and you (or your company) get compensated per ad click or per ad view.
Another way people monetize their blog or video traffic is by recommending products and/or service to their audience as an affiliate marketer where they get a commission each time their audience makes purchases or take certain actions such as filling out a form, signing up for a program, participating in sweepstakes offers, etc. in the case of CPA or cost per action marketing, which in essence is still part of affiliate marketing.
When you’re in the publishing business, whether it’s online or off, what builds or breaks your business is traffic.
If you have traffic, you can monetize them whichever way you fancy.
If you’re running a blog or a website and you have sizeable monthly traffic. You can actually launch an eCommerce store to sell your own branded merchandise or any other product(s) that your audience may be interested in.
This can also be done if you have a YouTube channel or any other online publishing platform. All you have to do is channel your traffic to your online store.
Yet another way you can monetize a publishing business is by developing your own e-products. These could be ebooks, courses, and any other product(s) that can be delivered to your customers digitally.
Entertainment / Show Business
If you’ve been following TV and Movie personalities as a fan, know that these personalities are in the business of entertainment or more popularly known as “showbiz” or show business.
Being discovered was somewhat a difficult feat to those who were trying to make it in the showbiz world but with the advent of video websites like YouTube, anyone who wants to be in the entertainment business can start filming themselves with a camera or their smartphones, learn simple editing and you’re in business.
You just have to keep in mind that a couple of videos doesn’t cut it; you have to upload interesting videos on a consistent basis.
The following are some business ideas in the entertainment world:
- Short Movies
Below are some entertainers who have turned their passion for show business into lucrative businesses with little startup capital.
If you’re hitting the entertainment pave ways as a self-publisher, uploading consistently is the key which pretty much works like content publishing because your showbiz stints are all content.
Of course, there are other ways on how you can penetrate the entertainment industry like auditions and hiring agents to put you on the big screen but these are not necessary because you have a digital camera or a smartphone, you’ve got all you need to launch!