When you’re first thinking about starting a side hustle, the biggest question that pops up is, “What kind of business can I start on a small budget?”
It’s a fair question. You might be in college living off of a ramen diet wondering how you’ll be able to start a business when you’re barely able to rub two nickels together, let alone start a business. Or you might be living paycheck to paycheck barely able to afford to pay for your 2-year-olds diapers.
I know the situation might seem dire, but thankfully, starting a business in the 21st century has made it possible even for the financially floundering to start something meaningful on a shoestring budget.
Seeds For Greatness
The beauty of the internet has made it possible for anyone with a computer (owned or borrowed) and internet access to build a business from almost anywhere in the world with very little cost. You’d also be surprised by the businesses you can create, both physical products or digital, with just the desire and the know-how to start.
When I first happened across a digital course being sold by someone on the internet back in early 2017, I knew this was the beginning of something incredible. I didn’t know anything about digital courses, sales funnels, copywriting, or that so many people were able to profitably use the internet to make ridiculous sums of money. Now looking back, it should have been so obvious.
There are currently over 4.57 Billion people using the internet around the world (www.statista.com). That’s more than half of the living population now having access to the web. Also, with more and more solutions to banking and finance, a flood of new entrants to the global marketplace is taking place right before our eyes. It won’t be much later that the entire world has access to the internet and financial resources to be a paying customer.
Business A’ Plenty
Knowing this, I wish I knew about the power of the internet earlier. But the beauty of all this is that it’s not too late and it’s not too late for you either. There is enough opportunity for everyone as long as you’re looking for it.
There are millions of businesses that started around the world, 774,725 in the U.S. alone in 2019 (www.statista.com). It’s never too late and never too crowded to start your own business.
Now going back to the initial question of what businesses can be started on a small budget, we can take a look at businesses that you can easily and cheaply start online.
Affordable Business Models
Most businesses tend to fall into classifiable business models with different niches within that model, so I’ll cover a couple of business models that you can start cheaply so you can get your juices flowing.
For starters, blogging is an extremely popular business model. If you like learning, writing, and sharing your experience, you might consider a business like blogging. You can read more about it here.
Within the blogging world, you can focus on different niches to your liking like basketball, knitting, biking, healthy food, marathons, shoes etc. The niches you can pursue are endless. You know that weird quirk you had as a child, where you liked collecting bottle caps? Well, that could actually become a profitable blog. Nothing is really outside the realm of possibilities. If you’re into something, there is a good chance you’ll find your little tribe within the 4.5+ Billion people on the internet.
Once you establish an audience base, you can wisely convert those viewing eyes into paying customers through ads, affiliate products, blog sponsorship, digital courses, and other revenue-generating strategies.
Another cost-effective business to start is dropshipping. It’s a business model where you market existing products from manufacturers and wholesalers and they fulfill the order. You don’t pay for the product until the item has been sold to your customer. The dropshipping manufacturer or wholesaler will take care of the picking, packing, and shipping to your customer without you ever having to touch the product itself. This means you can build a dropshipping business that deals with physical goods from anywhere in the world because you don’t carry physical inventory.
Print on Demand
Print-on-demand is another affordable business to start with on a tiny budget. If you have some artistic ability, print-on-demand could be a great way to start a business. You can create custom designs that customers can choose and then be printed on items like hoodies, shirts, pants, mugs, pencils, notebooks, etc.
The great part about print-on-demand is that you don’t need to purchase any inventory upfront. There are print-on-demand companies that stock blank products that they will then imprint your design on and ship directly to your customer. You make the difference between what the customer pays and what the print-on-demand company charges you per item.
One simple business that’s proven to be a budget friendly hustle is flipping products. You find new or used products online (think Ebay or Craigslist), buy it, and then sell it for a higher price. There are tons of items that you can find with decent margins on each flip.
Think of items like iPhones, Apple Macbooks, luxury watches, bikes, etc. Obviously, the higher-priced items are more expensive but they also provide the most value on each flip. You can start small and scale into higher ticket items by using your profit and reinvesting. The idea of flipping is an invaluable skill set because flipping has no bounds. You can start flipping small items like cell phones, move up to luxury watches, and then even to flipping commercial buildings. Not bad for a side hustle.
Find Your Hustle
The list doesn’t end there. There are dozens of businesses that you can learn about and start. The few hustles listed above are just the tip of the iceberg and tend to be the most cost-effective in starting. If you want to learn about other business models that might suit you better, swing over to our “Find Your Hustle” page and read up on the constantly growing directory of hustles and links to experts that can teach you the ropes.
The big takeaway is, don’t let lack of money keep you from starting a business. With so many resources available, the only thing holding you back from starting is you. Get out there, find a hustle, and get-a-moving!