10 Self-Employed Businesses You Can Start Today With Little Or No Money

Starting Your Own Small Business Today on the Cheap

Of course the conventional wisdom is that when you don’t have a ton of cash on hand, or an existing employment situation from which you might transition to full-time freelancing, starting a business is tough. That’s true – if you choose the wrong sort of business.

The fact is, it is not nearly as tough if you do it right.

What do I mean by that? One way to succeed right now is to start an inexpensive part-time, home-based business.

Some Self-Employed Opportunities When Just Starting Out

No, none of the ideas below are get rich quick plans, but they certainly can help you get some extra dough now, and maybe even more later. Here then are some freelance business ideas that can be started right now without a lot of time or money:

1. Deliveries / Driver:
Especially with the price of gas evening out a bit, this might make sense. Businesses of all sorts (in bigger cities especially) need stuff delivered every day. Print up some flyers, charge less, and away you go.

2. eBay sales:
We once had a pal who spent every weekend at garage sales buying old motorcycle parts which he then sold during the week on eBay. He made several thousand dollars a month. His motto? It’s all in the buying. Think of something you know well, hunt it out, and resell it on eBay. Buy low, sell high. Here are tips for profiting in an eBay business.

3. Residential and commercial cleaning:
House cleaning is a tried and true freelance-based business, and it can lead to more lucrative commercial contracts. The cost to get into this sort of business is almost zero.

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4. Transcription:
Doctors and lawyers especially contract out transcription services.

5. Window washing, spa and pool cleaning, snow removal, etc:
Simple service businesses like these can be started with very little time and money and require nothing but some elbow grease. Again, especially in this economy, the secret is to undercut the competition in terms of price.

6. Pet-sitting :
No, you won’t make a ton of money, but these sorts of businesses can be a nice source of extra income. (Although the dog sitter up the street seems to have 20 dogs a day, every day. Lets see… 20 dogs x$20 a day = $400 /day. X 5 days a week = $2,000 a week. Not bad, not bad at all!)

7. Hauling:
With a truck and a Craigslist ad, you can have a business removing junk for people.

8. Independent sales representative or manufacturer’s rep:
Thousands of companies hire independent salespeople to get their products into store and handle their product lines. This job would likely take you on the road for long stretches. Consider handling the products of several different companies.

9. Gardener:
If you have a green thumb this might be the right business for you, but of course it tends to be seasonal work with most of it coming in the spring and summer, along with some leaf cleanup in the fall.

10. Childcare:
Of course this is a business that requires extra responsibility and due care, but it can also be very rewarding and can be started with little money.


This list is really just a sample to get you thinking. If you have a specialized skill, such as automotive repair or being bilingual, you could parlay those as well into a shoestring startup. The important thing is that you open your eyes to the possibilities.


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