If you’ve ever wanted to tap into entrepreneurship but got discouraged by the costs that come with building a business, you’d be surprised at how far a bit of creativity and a lot of consistency can take you. Nowadays, the best business to start with little money can be successful without keeping inventory or even investing in a complicated website.
With e-commerce driving prices down in today’s business landscape, you no longer need to put up a big capital when thinking of starting a business. There’s no better time than the present. Read on for ten online business ideas to inspire your entrepreneurial spirit and make money like you’ve never been able to before.
2 ways to keep your business cost low
Before we get stuck into the best business to start with little money, let’s talk about how to keep business costs low. As they say, every penny saved is a penny earned.
1. Minimal inventory
Buy, store, pick, pack, ship and repeat. These processes are critical to running a business, especially when you have to manage inventory. They can take a great deal of your time, money and other resources. This alone can make you have second thoughts about launching your small business ideas.
Here’s the good news: we now live in a world where you don’t need to lay a finger on the products yourself. You can automate the entire process from buying stock to shipping. All you’d have to do is spend a few hours a week on sales and marketing.
Like the 33-year-old who spent $200 to launch an online business and in just three months hit $1 million in sales – he went from spending 12 hours a day at his full-time job to spending an hour and a half per week managing his e-commerce business.
That’s $200. No team. No inventory to begin with.
Here are a few other ways to reduce inventory costs:
- Reduce or eliminate stock, take pre-orders.
- Manufacture on demand. Produce the goods once you’ve sold them.
- Negotiate minimum order quantities. Some suppliers might be willing to lower quantities. If you never ask, you’ll never know.
- Request for free shipping.
2. Maximise your time by tapping on your strengths
As a newly minted small business owner, it can be tempting to do everything yourself to save money.
But how much is your time worth, really?
Say you’ve started an e-commerce business. If you drive for an hour to pick up your new inventory yourself because you want to save $5 on a courier service… Your time is worth $5 an hour or less (not including fuel and car maintenance costs!).
That’s one hour you could’ve spent on sales, marketing or an area of the business where your strengths lie. In business, delegation is an important skill to learn, too.
For example, if your strengths lie in product market research and you aren’t so good at things like content marketing, SEO or setting up analytics, get a little help onboard. Check out freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork where you can outsource work at reasonable rates.
10 best business to start with little money
You may be surprised at how many best small businesses you can start on your own, even with just a few hundred dollars (or less!). You still need to come up with the idea and build it into a successful business, but there are ways around some traditional startup costs like inventory or rent.
Here are 10 profitable businesses in 2022 you can start with minimal capital.
Offer your services
Do you have a knack for any particular skill or expertise? If so, it may be worth investing in business ideas that revolve around selling services like video editing, photography or writing. Use Fiverr and Upwork to expand your business to those who need your skills.
The best part about this idea? You’re not limited by one skill set. You could run multiple services that are related – for instance, you could offer SEO services alongside copywriting or web development.
You can also expand revenue streams by creating physical or digital goods. A writer could sell writing templates for cold emails that get opened. A financial advisor could sell a complete tax checklist for 2022. Having a physical product to supplement your online services means you don’t spend any additional time to make more income.
Create digital products
There’s no limit when it comes down to how many different digital products you can create. Create recipe books, music tutorials or comics that can be downloaded after purchase. You can even sell music or podcasts.
This is an easy one to consider. Digital products make for great profit margins – you don’t have to pay rent, shipping costs, or manufacturing. Most of the tools you need you already have, or can get for low prices.GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing makes it easy to add digital products to your own online store, which you can also split into categories if you’re selling different items.
The difficult part comes in deciding what to sell, and what will sell. Think of it this way: if at least one person finds it useful enough and worth spending money on, you’ve got a great product on your hands.
As of 2020, the market for online tutoring has grown at an unprecedented rate. With a stable internet connection, you can tutor kids for exams, teach a language or give classes on subjects you’re an expert on.
It’s a win-win situation – your students pay less than they would pay a brick-and-mortar institution, and you get to save on costs like transportation and printed study materials.
Use your current network to market your tutoring while also leveraging on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to find students.
Create online courses
Besides teaching students online on a group or individual basis, you can create courses online. Many students benefit from learning at their own pace, and digital courses allow access from anywhere in the world, irrespective of time zones.
It’s also a passive, money-making machine. Unlike one-on-one online tutoring, you only need to teach the course once to sell it to an unlimited potential number of students.
If you have your own website set up, there are different WordPress plugins to help you create digital courses:
With these plugins, you can include features like assigning homework, setting up quizzes and awarding certificates and badges – all the ingredients to create a conducive learning environment.
Editor’s note: Looking for a place to call your online classroom? GoDaddy offers affordable WordPress hosting plans with limitless themes, add-ons and plugins to choose from.
Start a dropshipping business
A.k.a. one of the best ways to start a business with low overheads and initial capital. With the dropshipping model, the supplier ships directly to your customer so you’ll never have to hold inventory. Your job is to curate the products from manufacturers, market it on your own online store and provide excellent customer service.The dropshipping model is also a great way to test if there’s a demand for your business before investing in original products.
Check out wholesale suppliers like AliExpress and Oberlo for millions of types of products you can dropship. If handcrafted goods are more your thing, Etsy is a great place to find sellers who specialise in unique, custom items.
Once you’ve decided on one or more products to dropship, start creating your very own E-Store on GoDaddy. There are tons of beautifully designed, fully customizable templates you can choose from to create an online storefront without hiring a professional designer.
Sell homemade goods
If creating is also your passion, selling the stuff you make is a strong business idea to explore whether it’s candles, paintings, jewellery, small-batch kombucha. Use online shopping platforms like Etsy or Shopee to sell or consider building your own website for a more personal, tailored shopping experience.
One of the best things you can do by building an E-Store on GoDaddy is to make your home products go international: your customers can buy with multiple currencies, get real-time shipping quotes and select their native languages (you don’t have to speak it – just use the automatic translator available).
The GoDaddy E-Store also comes with inventory management tools to track sales and make running a business a heck of a lot easier.
If you’re interested in dropshipping with a touch of creativity, print on demand is the best business to start with little money. You can customise products like T-shirts, tote bags and phone cases with your own designs while a third party supplier handles the inventory, fulfilment and shipping.
It’s a cost-effective way to test the marketability of your designs since nothing actually gets printed until an order is placed. You don’t even have to hire models for product photoshoots – there are plenty of mockup templates on these platforms for you to play around with.
Join an affiliate marketing program
Affiliate marketing is a model where a business pays you to promote and sell their products. As an affiliate, you get commission for every successful sale through your promotional efforts.
Affiliates can promote and link products on their blogs, social media accounts and online communities. While rates vary, commissions can range from 5% to a whopping 50% on each sale. Some people are even able to turn their affiliate income into a main income.
Plenty of companies have affiliate marketing programs you can join, including:
Providing consulting services
If you’re a professional in your field, it’s time to start thinking about how your services can be made more accessible. Nutritionists, therapists and even fitness instructors can provide consultations solely through online sessions.You could also start a low-cost business becoming a consultant on your area of expertise, including social media marketing, public relations or business development.
Start by setting up a website where clients can purchase packages and schedule meetings or sessions easily. GoDaddy’s private websites page allows member accounts and special access pages for easy client management.
Create content on YouTube
Are you great on camera? Or maybe you can animate videos that capture the audience’s intrigue.
Now is your time to shine! YouTube happily pays their content creators based on the number of views and number of ad clicks. If viewers like your video enough to watch through the ads, you could earn approximately $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views.
Creating content on YouTube doesn’t require expensive equipment to begin with – just flip out your mobile phone and take it from there.
When it comes to video content, the most important thing to focus on is telling a story worth listening to.
3 tips for choosing your best business idea
But I hear you, potential small-business owners! The journey to starting your own enterprise is not as easy as plucking one out from a sea of options. Here are three tips for making sure that whatever business idea pops into mind will be worth all those sleepless nights (and weekends).
1. Start with what you know best
Before diving headfirst into search engines and overwhelming yourself on choosing the best business to start with little money, take stock of what you already have.
Maybe it’s an idea you wrote quickly in your notebook in between meetings, or maybe it’s something you’ve been thinking about for years. You’ll be surprised at how often the ideas that come from your own backyard can succeed.
The following questions can help get your brain warmed up in the right direction:
- Which products or services are you passionate about?
- Which products or services are your friends and family passionate about?
- What problems are you looking to solve in your life, or in the lives of those around you?
Start by brainstorming profitable businesses from these questions. You can then dive into some research by going through top Google searches, Amazon best-seller lists and publications like Trend Watching or Trend Hunter to gauge consumer trends that are picking up.
2. Don’t be afraid of smaller markets
Even though it means you end up with less potential customers, less competition could be more cost efficient for your business overall (think cheaper advertising).
The important thing is to figure out the best business to start with little money that will still sell. That goes beyond just the products themselves. Are there any new features you can slap on and make it better? Is there a niche need, or a new market that has never experienced your product?
Engaging an audience also becomes a lot easier when they’re small, specific and can fully relate to what you’re trying to say (and ultimately sell). You can produce targeted social media content that’s consistent and resonates with your audience – making them more likely to buy from you again and again.
3. Get ready to fail forward
The immense pressure of doing things perfectly the first time round is a huge deterrent for most of us when it comes to launching a new business idea.
Computer programmer Ward Cunningham in Collective Ownership of Code and Text talks about the importance of making fast, reversible decisions:
[blockquote]”I can’t tell you how much time is spent worrying about decisions that don’t matter. To just be able to make a decision and see what happens is tremendously empowering, but that means you have to set up the situation such that when something does go wrong, you can fix it.”[/blockquote]
The cold hard truth is you will most likely fail more than once, and that’s okay. The great thing about technology is that it’s never been cheaper to learn from your mistakes and make informed decisions – things like reviews, site traffic and abandoned carts can let you know what is working and what isn’t.
You can always change your products, your suppliers, your strategy. The important thing to remember about business is that it’s constantly evolving, and there are lots of opportunities for innovation every day.
Conclusion: Go get that bread
When it comes to keeping costs low, one of the best things to do is to keep inventory costs at a minimum through dropshipping, printing on demand or launching pre-sales to avoid oversupply.
And while outsourcing tasks may initially seem like you’re spending more money than necessary, finding the right hires can lead to a more efficient work environment for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for ways to make money in the new year, these ten online businesses to start with little money will kickstart your entrepreneur journey into gear:
- Offer your services
- Create digital products
- Teach online
- Create online courses
- Start a dropshipping business
- Sell homemade goods
- Sell print-on-demand
- Join an affiliate marketing program
- Provide consulting services
- Create content on Youtube
But before you choose a business to start, remember to always start with what you already know best, whether it’s an existing idea or an industry you’ve always wanted to work in. While it can be tempting to jump into a popular market with many existing customers, don’t be afraid of entering smaller, niche markets with less competition, either.
Lastly, get ready to fail before you succeed – what matters in the process is that you keep on testing, learn from your mistakes and do it even better the next time around.