10 Businesses With Low Startup Costs for Your Next Side Hustle

According to the US Small Business Administration, many microbusinesses are started for less than $3,000.

The cost of starting a business is often one of the biggest deterrents, preventing many aspiring entrepreneurs from establishing their dream businesses. However, contrary to popular belief, there are many small businesses one can run from the comfort of their homes at a low cost.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, many microbusinesses can be started for less than $3,000, and several home-based entrepreneurial undertakings cost as little as $2,000 – $5,000.

Whether you are looking for a side hustle or a full-fledged entrepreneurial project, here are 10 home business ideas with low startup costs that you can consider.

1. Dropshipping

With minimal investment required and no inventory or logistics, dropshipping could be one of the best low-cost businesses to run. Under this business model, the store does not stock the products it sells. Instead, when it receives an order, it purchases the items from a third party – a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer – and ships them directly to the customer.

As dropshipping eliminates the costs of inventory or warehousing, this business model is the most cost-effective way to own and operate an ecommerce store without even stepping out of your home. With minimal expenses barring website fees and payment processing fees, you can start a dropshipping business with a small investment in the range of $1,000.

2. Handcrafted Products

Selling handcrafted goods is a great means to turn your creativity or hobby into a profitable business. Depending on your interests and skill set, there are a number of handcrafted products you can sell with fairly low investment, such as candles, soaps, or cloth bags.

Be it for decor, gifting, or to celebrate festivals, candles are in high demand across the globe. According to the U.S. National Candle Association, candle sales are estimated at $3.2 billion per year. The average candle sells within the range of $1.99 to $35, but top-of-the-line products can even reach $200 or more. And at the end of the day, candles can be made with just basic raw materials such as wax, moulds, wicks, aroma oils, and candle-making equipment.

With consumers becoming conscious of what goes into the making of various personal care products, the market for homemade soaps is booming. With similarly basic material requirements including herbs, glycerine, essential oils, moulds, and so on, you can start a soap making business at home with an initial investment ranging from $2,000 – $10,000.

3. Freelance Writing

If you have a way with words and love writing, then freelance writing is a great self-employment opportunity that has low initial costs. All you need is a desktop/laptop and a stable Internet connection, and you are good to go. Depending on your interests and skills, you can opt for different types of topics, writing styles, genres, and languages. If you don’t have a laptop or Internet connection, or would like to upgrade your existing setup, the initial investment is likely to be around $1,000.

4. Freelance Editing And Proofreading

If you have a keen eye for detail, you might consider starting a freelance editing or proofreading business. As in the case of writing, you would only need a desktop/laptop and a stable Internet connection to get the idea off the ground. With an initial cost of only around $1,000, it makes a great low-cost business venture, and like freelance writing, is a solid option for running a side hustle from the comfort of home.

5. Design And Sell Print-On-Demand Products

Print-on-demand is another great means to turn your creativity into a profitable business, but sans the hassle of inventory, shipping, and fulfillment. While this is also a dropshipping model, the difference here is that you would be customizing products with your own designs.

You would be responsible for creating designs to be printed on everything from caps and T-shirts, to hoodies and totes, to phone cases and notebooks, but a third-party supplier will handle everything from printing to shipping. This model requires little to no investment and is a low-risk means to sell custom products.

6. Freelance Graphic Designing

Freelance graphic designing makes for a cost-effective business idea if you have a creative mind and experience with design principles and software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

From web design, logos, and ads, to flyers, brochures, and Instagram graphics, there is a wide array of niches you can explore in this field. With an initial investment of around $1,000, you can earn $15 to $28 per hour as a freelance graphic designer.

7. Freelance Photo Editing

Similar to graphic designing, freelance photo editing is also a profitable side business that you can run from the comfort of your home with an initial investment of around $1,000. In this field, you will be editing photos according to clients’ instructions, and the intensity of each assignment can vary from basic editing such as cleaning up blemishes, to more complex edits.

To do this, you would need a computer, Internet, and photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. You can also take online courses to perfect your craft. As a photo editor, you can earn an average of $70,539 per annum in the U.S.

8. Handmade Chocolates

If you are passionate about chocolates, then you can make chocolates right from your home kitchen and deliver them to your clients. With a growing market for speciality candy, you can turn your business into a highly profitable venture. To start off, you would have to develop a product line and purchase raw materials, packaging, and a business license – the cost of which would vary depending on which state you are in.

Depending on the scale you decide to start with, you may need an approximate capital of $2,000 and higher.

9. Online Tutor

Ideally, this kind of side hustle is for someone who really has a passion for teaching, but online tutoring is easy to set up for some steady income. Depending on your academic qualifications and other skills, you can choose from a wide range of topics to tutor. As an alternative to academic tutoring, you can also teach a particular skillset, such as art, music, or acting, among others.

For tutoring, you would just need a computer and a good Internet connection – all of which you can get with an initial investment of under $1,000. Depending on the student’s needs, you can earn $65 to $80 an hour and can even earn up to $150 an hour if you are a standardized testing tutor.

10. Social Media Manager

With digital businesses on the rise, many companies are opting for social media networks like Instagram to promote and sell their products and services. As many small companies and entrepreneurs are not well-versed in social media marketing and cannot afford a marketing team, becoming a social media consultant or manager can make for a profitable business.

To start out in this field, you would need in-depth knowledge of various social media platforms, and to be familiar with Internet marketing practices. With a minimum investment of around $500, a social media manager can earn a median of $51,000 per annum.

Header image by Viktor Forgacs from Unsplash.

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Reethu Ravi
Reethu is a Staff Writer at Jumpstart.

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