77 Best Businesses To Start W/ 10K Or Less (& how to pick one)

A lack of funds is the most common obstacle that keeps people from starting a business. How can you set up a successful business if you don’t have the capital to do so? However, you don’t need to have huge amounts of funding and the backing of investors to start a business. There are plenty of ideas you can consider that will allow you to start a business with $10,000 or less. Some businesses can even be launched with nothing more than a few hundred dollars, or barely anything at all.

So we’ve put together a huge list of businesses you can start with just an idea, a dream, and maybe a little bit of cash. Even if you’re on a budget, you can build a successful company. 

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  • Watch Ramit Sethi host Netflix’s “How to Get Rich” 
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How To Start And Run A Business On A Limited Budget

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Not sure how you should go about starting and running a business when you’re strapped for cash? There are many strategies and techniques you can use to make it happen. Of course, choosing the right business idea is the first step to making it work, but it doesn’t end there.

First of all, you need to come up with a lean business plan that makes the most of your budget. Plan out what resources you need, what your costs are going to be, and how you can save money. Once you’ve done this, the real challenge is keeping your business going and making it successful while your budget is still low.

You can use a variety of tactics to save money while growing your business. Outsourcing, for example, can save you a lot of money compared to hiring permanent staff. Focusing on investing your profits back into the growth of your business helps you grow it on a lean budget and quickly start to find success.

Other tips to keep in mind include:

  • Know your strengths and keep building on your skills
  • Watch carefully over your finances and cash flow
  • Only buy what you really need; avoid overspending on unnecessary equipment, real estate, or anything else
  • Look for ways to save money with discounts, offers, and deals
  • Collaborate with other businesses to get more done together
  • Look for extra funding to help your business grow faster

 

Whatever business you decide to run with, you’ll also find a few surprises along the way and lessons to learn. I spoke about 5 things that surprised me when I was starting my business in the below video:

77 Businesses To Start With $10k or Less

1. eCommerce

Selling online will always be a good bet for a new business on a budget. However, competition in the e-commerce space is likely to be stiff, so do your research.

Make sure people want to buy your product and discover who they’re buying it from right now. By examining the marketplace, you can find out what your competitors are doing well and – maybe more importantly – where you can swoop in and do better.

 

Make sure your business is visible online too. Create an easy-to-navigate website, double down on SEO, and use social media to highlight your products as well as build strategic partnerships with influencers and others.

2. 3D Printing

Purchasing a 3D printer requires a small investment and opens up many options for making unique items. It’s simple to operate and allows you to express your creativity. You can offer printing services or make things to sell on websites like Etsy.

3. Home Staging

Setting up homes for real estate agencies is a great option if you love interior design. This service is in increasing demand and helps realtors sell homes quickly. Try reaching out to local realtors or brokers to see if they require this service to get started. 

Build a portfolio with before-and-after photos to showcase your work. To start, you can ask friends and family if you can use a room in their homes to re-stage. Try to get a variety of different rooms from a home office to a bedroom.

4. Life Coaching

Have some wisdom or life experiences you could pass on to others? Using social media and a phone or laptop, you could help people live their best lives.

And don’t just stop at 1-on-1 coaching. Include online group coaching, workshops, and live and pre-recorded webinars in your offering. These will enable you to boost the number of people you’re coaching at any one time and make the business more financially viable. 

5. Content Creation

Businesses are always on the lookout for new digital content so offering content creation services is a great way to capitalize on this need. Creating content for businesses allows you to capitalize on the need for digital content at a low cost.  

Also remember, this job isn’t just about posting on social. Make yourself stand out by creating videos, podcasts, graphics, newsletters, blog posts, and even content calendars. 

To help you get started, you can also read this blog post about how to create remarkable content

6. Resume Writing

If you have a background in HR or recruiting, helping others to succeed in their careers is a great option. Based on your expertise, you might be drawn to resume and CV writing. People looking to grow their experience and careers are often willing to make a big investment in these services to boost their careers.

7. Clothes Altering

If you have a sewing machine and some sewing skills, this business could work for you. You could quickly learn alterations and even offer to teach others this important skill. Social media and the internet are great ways to advertise this service, especially with bridal gowns or prom dresses. Best of all, you can operate this business out of your home.

8. Baking Services

A small baking business doesn’t have a lot of startup costs. If you’re a baker, you could sell wedding cakes, cupcakes, or even bread. This is a great option to start from your home. You could sell your products via social media or try your hand at a farmer’s market if there’s one in your area. Just make sure you check into any local regulations around homemade baked goods.

9. Tutoring or Teaching

If you have any particular skills, teaching them to others is usually low-cost. Many full-time teachers find that tutoring after school is a great way to help students while making some extra money. Plus, you don’t need much of an initial investment to get started. 

 

But building a client base can take some time, so work on using resources like social media to spread the word about your offerings.

10. Pet Sitting

Love animals? Then, you’ll enjoy caring for people’s pets. There’s also the option to add on other services, such as dog walking. Look into apps, like Rover, that allow you to operate these services, or consider using social media or even word of mouth to inform people of your services. Be sure to gather testimonials from clients to help build your positive reputation.

11. Real Estate Agent

Getting into the real estate business is a good choice for natural salespeople. You’ll need the right certifications and licenses to get started, but the possibilities are endless. Use your friends and family to help you network as you get started.

12. Moving or Hauling

If you can invest in a truck and trailer, you can start moving things for money. Offer haulage or moving services online or through social media.

13. Consultancy

Any professional skills can be transferred to consultancy services. Act as a consultant for businesses to help them grow and improve, based on your unique skillset. This can be a great side hustle that could lead to a full-time role down the road.

14. Guided Tours

Become a tour guide if you’re interested in the culture and history of the area where you live. You could soon grow your business with additional tour guides as you get started. Consider reaching out to your local historical society to get started and see if there’s an opportunity for partnership.

15. Personal Trainer

If you know about health and fitness, being a personal trainer could work for you. Offer online services to save more money, and even offer promotions like free classes. While you may not make money right away, it will help people become interested in what you have to offer. Consider taking classes to become certified and add to your credentials.

16. Homegrown Nursery

With a backyard and some green thumbs, you could grow plants to sell. Fresh produce could also be turned into various products that you could sell out of your home. If your area has a farmer’s market, try getting a booth there on the weekend to sell your produce or products.

17. Business Plan Writing

Put your business knowledge to use by writing business plans for others. A computer and a phone are all you need to get started, and you may consider creating a website that provides an overview of your offerings.

18. Copywriting

Love to write? You can develop your copywriting skills or take a course to gain knowledge about writing. This professional service is always in demand, and many companies love the flexibility of hiring freelancers to write copy on an as-needed basis. To help you build up a strong business, you can also read my blog post on how to become a highly-paid copywriter.

19. Window and Gutter Cleaning

Domestic services are often a winner and don’t have huge startup costs. Hiring equipment in the beginning can save money, and you could purchase equipment as you go. Consider going door-to-door to share flyers and information on your services.

20. SEO Consultant

SEO, or search engine optimization, is crucial to any business that has an online presence. You could offer digital marketing services to help companies grow online. You can apply your skills to your own business too. Google has plenty of online resources to help you become educated on and even certified for SEO.

21. Childcare

Childcare services of different types are always in demand. Babysitting, nannying, and other options can be viable businesses if you enjoy being around children.

22. Photography Services

If you enjoy photography as a hobby, turn it into a profitable business. Find your niche to help you discover success. If you aren’t ready to invest in expensive equipment, try using your phone and editing apps to get started. Then, utilize the power of social media to share your images with the world!

23. Pet Grooming

Pet grooming has become an increasingly sought-after service, and good pet groomers are always in demand. Get the right training first, then start building your clientele. Mobile grooming is another great option to go to your customers and pamper their pets in the comfort of their driveway!

24. Virtual Assistant

If you can set up a small home office space, you can be a virtual assistant. Help people with a range of tasks like scheduling meetings, ordering essentials, and anything else to help them stay productive. Try online services for virtual assistants to get started.

25. Graphic Design Services

If you have an artistic flair and love design, consider freelancing or starting your own company. Graphic designers can offer services to businesses, charities, and more. If you have the skills, you can turn them into a business and easily operate it out of your home.

26. Local Delivery/Courier Services

Investing in a vehicle, such as a truck or a van, can open up various business opportunities, including local delivery services. Consider partnering with local companies to offer your services and help them with deliveries as needed.

27. Equipment Rental Service

There are many types of equipment that businesses or individuals prefer to hire instead of buy. Find out what’s in demand by doing your research. Consider options like tents, tables, chairs, or other equipment used for parties.

28. Meal Prep

Keen cooks can make a business out of preparing meals for busy people. Consider specializing in a certain diet or client type and selling meals out of your home to start. Be sure to look into any health codes or regulations to make sure this is an option in your state.

29. Mobile Car Wash

Mobile car washing offers convenience to customers and doesn’t require a physical business. Just get a vehicle and the necessary tools, and get the word out about your services.

30. Research Services

Anyone who has strong research skills may be able to make money by offering business research services. Try freelance websites like Upwork to see if there are companies or individuals out there eager to put your skills to use.

31. Jewelry Designer/Maker

Creative skills can be very marketable, especially if you can make unique items to sell. Designing and making jewelry is one option. Think about materials like clay or metal, and research the options out there. Websites like Etsy are a great way to share your goods with others.

32. Making Soap or Essential Oils

Another product you could make is soap or essential oils. These are popular items for those looking for hand-crafted products. You could sell these items out of your home, at a local farmer’s market, or see if existing businesses will stock your items for sale.

33. Makeup Artist

Makeup artists can provide services for weddings and other events, as well as for commercial purposes. You can build your equipment over time.

34. Cleaning Services

You don’t need much to start a cleaning business, especially if you ask your clients to provide the equipment and cleaning products.

35. Dropshipping

If you’re interested in eCommerce but want a low-stakes option, dropshipping allows you to skip holding any stock. Many people have found great success on Amazon using this method. Be sure to do your research on how it works and what types of products are most popular. 

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36. Doula Service

A gentler birthing experience is all the rage, and birthing companions are popular to provide much-needed (often non-medical) support. If you’re interested in this field, you will likely need training and certifications to get started. Be sure to research what you need based on your state.

37. Reselling Vintage Items

Buying and reselling can be a good strategy for making money. Vintage items are in high demand, from clothes to furniture. Websites like eBay and Etsy help you get your items in front of a large audience. Researching how much something is worth before you buy it is crucial to turning a profit. 

38. Event Entertainment

Entertainment for events could be children’s party entertainment, wedding music, and much more. Whether you are interested in singing and dancing or being a DJ, there are plenty of options. Think about the equipment you’ll need to get started and how you can make connections to start building your business.

39. Landscaping Services

Investing in some tools and transport could be all that you need to do to get started with landscaping or lawn care services. Try reaching out to neighbors, friends, and family to advertise your services and build a clientele.

40. Pressure Washing

All you need is a pressure washer and perhaps some transport to start offering powerful cleaning services or equipment hire. This is a great summer job and has endless applications for people with concrete driveways, pool decks, and even wood decks.

41. Decorating and Interior Design

Love home décor? You could get started with decorating or interior design by investing in a few tools that help you get the job done. Start by advertising your services on social media to get the word out about what you can do for clients. Then, work with suppliers to find the right products for clients.

42. Chimney Cleaning

Many homes have fireplaces and wood-burning stoves that require regular maintenance. This specialized field is in demand but will likely require training and some tools to get started. Consider working with a local provider or franchise first to understand the process.

43. Dent Removal

For people in minor fender benders, a body shop may not be necessary. You could provide services for removing dents from vehicles with a few essential tools that you’ll need to get started. Make it mobile to save money.

44. Bicycle Repair

Love tinkering with bicycles? Focus on smaller modes of transport by learning how to fix bicycles or using your existing skills to provide a mobile service.

45. Event/Party Planner

Planning events can ensure you have work from corporate customers or the general public. There are lots of events to focus on, from meetings and parties to wedding receptions.

46. Hair Stylist

Like a makeup artist, a hairstylist can provide services for special events. You could provide services on-location. You’ll likely need training and certifications to get started, so be sure to understand local regulations.

47. Vending Machine Business

Owning vending machines can be a way to make a fairly passive income. Just keep them well-stocked and collect the cash.

48. Car Detailing

Keep people’s car interiors clean with a detailing service. Investing in a few products and tools could get you started. Plus, you could make it a mobile service and save customers time.

49. Property Management

Offer to manage people’s properties, including taking care of maintenance and dealing with tenant issues. For property owners who are busy or reside out of state, this is a much-needed service.

50. Social Media Management

Work online to provide social media management services to businesses or perhaps to creatives, media personalities, and more. This in-demand field is a great option for freelancers to start, and you could build a full-time role from there. 

You can use my blog posts on achieving success on YouTube and Instagram as helpful resources to get you started.

51. Bookkeeping and Tax Services

Looking after finances for businesses and people is always needed. However, you may need some certifications or even a degree to get started. Consider reaching out to a local firm to learn more.

52. Personal Shopping

Love stylish clothing and accessories? Become a personal shopper for people who are looking for advice or who need some help getting their shopping done.

53. Professional Organizing

If you love to organize anything, turn it into a business by offering to put people’s homes, businesses, and lives in order.

54. Translation Services

Put a second language to use by providing online translation or interpretation services. You might want to consider some certifications to get started.

55. Professional Training

Training people in professional skills, from sales to customer service, is an interesting and low-cost B2B option.

56. Video Production

Pick up a video camera and produce videos for businesses or individuals. You could make internal training or onboarding videos, explainers, product and promotion videos, ads, wedding videos, and more. The possibilities are endless.

57. App Development

App development skills can easily be used to turn a profit. Offer services making apps to meet the demand from businesses.

58. Home Care and Companionship

Start a non-medical home care business to assist seniors, people with disabilities, and others with their activities and daily living. 

The work involved includes helping people get around, meal prep, medication reminders, light housekeeping, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, and providing company and social interaction. 

Most states don’t require you to have certifications, but some may formal training so check out local, state, or federal websites for further information.

59. Medical Claims Billing

As this job entails helping healthcare providers bill their patients and insurance companies, it’s a good idea to do some research about the medical practitioners and facilities in your area. 

Find out how much of a need there is for this service, whether the doctors and other healthcare services handle their own billing, and if they use specific software. 

You will need to learn the ins and outs of medical claims billing, but it can be a profitable business to run. 

60. Food Truck

Love cooking and ready to take your specialty to another level? Taking your cooking on the road with a food truck is a great option. It allows for mobility and may have less overhead than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. 

With smart planning, a food truck can be started on a budget. 

However, it’s important to keep it going long-term and think about factors like cold weather if you live in an area with harsh winters. 

61. Personal Errand/Concierge Service

Some people are just busy and don’t have much time for running errands. Offer to do it for them for a price.

62. Home Maintenance Services

Put some handy skills to use by providing home maintenance and domestic tasks, from fixing things to building furniture.

63. Subscription Box Business

Subscription boxes are very popular, especially as gifts. But you need to think of a unique twist for success. Do some research and identify a real market need.

64. Online Dating Consultancy

Online dating is tough to navigate but you could help people build the perfect profile and find the right partner.

65. Travel Planner

Take the stress out of planning travel by doing it for your clients. Get to know destinations and create itineraries.

66. Massage Therapist

Massage therapy can be a mobile business, which you conduct in your own home or wherever your client requests you. Licensing requirements are different depending on the state. But generally, certification by a professional association such as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, is required. 

67. Small-Batch Goods Selling

Make and sell artisanal products in small batches. This could include many things you can make at home.

68. Blogging

Start with one blog and build up to multiple blogs, using a range of methods to make money from your content.

69. Sell Stock Photography/Video

Use your photography or videography skills to create generic images and footage that can be licensed.

70. Buy a Franchise

Explore a wide range of businesses and get set up affordably by buying into a franchise, instead of starting from scratch. Make sure you understand the financial inner workings of the company first.

71. Driving Services

You don’t have to work for Uber or Lyft to make a living as a driver. Consider setting up on your own instead.

72. Holiday Home Management

Help people out in the growing vacation home market by taking care of their properties and offering cleaning and management.

73. Laundry Service

A large washing machine and dryer may be all you need to start up your own laundry service and slowly grow it.

74. IT Support

Use your technical skills to provide remote or in-person technical support to businesses or individuals.

75. House Sitting

Care for people’s homes while they’re away or provide security services for vacant properties.

76. Carpet Cleaning

The tools and equipment required for carpet cleaning services won’t require much of an investment. A vehicle can come in handy too.

77. Private Investigator

Put your research skills to good use by becoming a private investigator. But remember to check licensing requirements and laws for your region.

Evaluating and Choosing the Best Business Idea

With so many potential ideas that could inspire you, how exactly should you choose the best one? It’s not all about what interests you or what you’re drawn to, although that can be helpful too. You need to know you’re starting a business that has the potential to be profitable. It might not be the most exciting part of starting a business, but this requires research to help you make your decision.

If you don’t know where to start, choosing something that sounds interesting to you or aligns with your current skills and experience is a good idea. However, once you’ve picked an idea or two that interest you, you need to start researching the market to work out if it will be viable.

Here are some questions to ask when you’re deciding on a business idea:

  • Is there a demand for this product or service?
  • What will you do differently to existing businesses in the market?
  • Who will your customers be?
  • Who are your main competitors?
  • What will the market look like in the future?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What skills and experience do you have that will help? What skills will you need to grow?
Watch this video where I reveal a failproof technique to determine if your business idea could be profitable—before you invest any time or money. 

How to Secure Funding and Financing for a Business Startup

Many people use personal savings to help fund a business idea, but it’s definitely not the only way you can fund a business. There are multiple ways to secure funding that will help you to ensure you have the capital to launch a business.

Some of your options for securing funding and financing your business include:

  • Take out a loan – either a personal loan or a business loan
  • Borrow money from friends and family, or get them to invest
  • Use crowdfunding to get the public to fund your business
  • Look for local business grants and loans from government bodies, charitable organizations, and similar
  • Consider peer-to-peer lenders
  • Find opportunities for equity investment from angel investors or venture capitalists

How to Get a Business Loan

Business loans are often the go-to option for securing startup funding. Business loans will generally come from banks and credit unions, offering a more traditional way to fund a new business. If you want to get a business loan, there are a few things you can do to secure your chances of actually getting a loan.

Before approaching any lenders, be sure to create a business plan. Lenders will want to see what your plan is for your business and how you’re going to grow it. It’s also beneficial to have an expense sheet and financial projections, ideally for the next five years. If lenders think your business may be too risky, you might be able to get an SBA-guaranteed loan.

 
 
 
 

Best Small Business Loans

You have many different options if you’re looking for the best small business loans to help you start your business. Our list of the best 10 small business lenders can help you get started with finding the best option for your new business.

They include:

  • BlueVine
  • Kabbage
  • Lendio
  • FundBox
  • Funding Circle
  • Kiva
  • Accion
  • OnDeck
  • StreetShares
  • Currency
 
In this video, I’m sharing the 3 saving strategies you should be focusing on—what I call the ‘CEO approach to saving money’—so you can save thousands of extra dollars per month.
 
 
 
 
 

Key Takeaways

Being on a tight budget doesn’t have to stop you from starting a business. Whether you have $100 or $10,000, you can start a business that becomes a success. Various business ideas might suit you in different markets. Additionally, there are always opportunities for you to seek more funding for your business. Securing a business loan or another type of funding can give you the money you need to start and grow your business.

Choose your business idea carefully and spend plenty of time researching and planning to ensure you can grow it on a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Ways To Cut Costs When Starting A Business?

You can cut costs in many ways when starting a business. Consider hiring equipment instead of renting it, or outsourcing tasks instead of hiring employees. Look for discounts and good deals, and consider running your business from home, to begin with.

How Can I Market My Business Effectively With A Limited Budget?

Marketing can quickly get costly, but it can be done on a budget. Digital marketing is often best for cash-strapped businesses, especially if you can do some of it yourself. Use methods like SEO, social media, and content marketing.

How Can I Manage My Finances Effectively As A Small Business Owner?

One of the best things small business owners can do is to hire an accountant or bookkeeper. It might seem like another expense, but it’s worth it to manage your finances properly. Use accounting software and other tools to keep track of your finances too.

If you liked this post, you’d LOVE my Ultimate Guide to Finding Your First Profitable Idea

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.