Businesses You Can Start With $100 or Less18 min read
Wondering what businesses you can start with just $100? You’ve come to the right place.
There are plenty of businesses you can start, but unfortunately, most small businesses take a lot of time, cash, and energy to get started. While it’s sometimes true that you have to spend money to make money, you shouldn’t have to drop a fortune just to get paid.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you should know to get started with the business idea of your dreams—no matter what your skills and aspirations might be.
Here are some of the best businesses you can start with $100 or less in your pocket.
Business You Can Start With $100 or Less
There are all kinds of e-products you can sell, from audio downloads to webinars, online courses to e-books. You don’t even have to have a ton of expertise in a given area. Just be prepared to dedicate the time to research and produce helpful, high-quality content.
This is one of the quickest businesses you can start, particularly if you have less than $100 to work with (but lots of know-how). All you need is a sharp business idea—and perhaps a few writing skills—to begin selling products.
In most cases, you can sell these products from platforms like Etsy or Shopify. However, if you’re willing to invest a little bit of cash (less than $100) on a website or blog, that’s a great platform to help you increase sales, too.
Resell Used Items
Have a few old books lying around the house? Consider starting a small business reselling your old items. Once you’ve built up some profits, you can buy more used books and then resell those, too.
If you have the space for it, you can hang on to all kinds of used products and sell those online, too. This business is another one of many you can start for less than $100, as long as you have a bit of patience.
If you love to paint—and have some experience to back up your passion—house painting is one of the best businesses you can start. You don’t have to be rolling in the dough. All you need for a lucrative house painting business is $100, and it’s one of the smartest businesses you can start.
Even if you don’t, you won’t have to spend a lot of cash in order to be well set up for your first job. Less than $100 should do the trick. Just take the time to build a solid portfolio of past work and positive references and the referrals will come rolling in over time.
Drop-shipping is one of the easiest ways to make a quick dollar online. You can sell a variety of products through a basic e-commerce shop, all without having to lay a finger on the inventory. It works like this: A buyer places an order through your shop, and you’ll then place the order with the supplier.
The supplier then sends the product directly to the buyer. You don’t have to deal with shipping logistics, tracking numbers, or anything else of that nature—but you’ll get to keep most of the profits when you start one of these businesses.
Dropshipping may require some patience and cooperation from other business owners, but in most cases, it’s a great business to consider starting. You can ship products all over the country, in many cases requiring less than $100 to begin.
Blogging is one of those businesses you can start that takes very little cash. Of course, you can always invest a little bit of cash back into the business, allowing you to pay for upgraded features like add-ons to boost your website speed, a virtual assistant, and other helpful features.
Blogging costs very little to start but does take some time to be successful. In most cases, you’ll have to have a blog for a few months to a few years in order to start seeing any profits. Nevertheless, blogging is one of the most seamless businesses you can start if you have less than $100 to spend.
Life Insurance Sales
This one sounds a little cringey, but starting businesses specializing in life insurance sales is a good investment. It’s a low-cost small business idea that will let you find work virtually anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you live in the rural countryside or right in the middle of a bustling city. Just about everyone will want to get quality life insurance at one point or another.
You can join an agency or set off on your own. There are many online classes you can take, too.
Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, and Dog Training
If you’d rather deal with animals than with people, starting an animal-centric company is one of the best businesses you can start. There are many dog owners who are willing to pay other people for some of the most basic services. You could board dogs at your home or pet sit at owners’ houses. You could also start dog walking or dog training businesses.
In order to start as a dog trainer, you may want to invest in joining a site like Rover. Here, you’ll be able to find opportunities to work with animals in cities near you. If you plan on working with animals as a business, you may want to invest in basic things like liability insurance, too.
In some cities, keep in mind that you may have to be licensed in order to offer dog sitting, walking, or training services—and that can cost a small bit of cash, too. The fees tend to be nominal, but you should be aware of them if you plan on starting these kinds of businesses.
Just about everybody knows how to clean—but very few people actually want to do it. A cleaning business is one of the easiest businesses you can start with just $100.
You can charge up to $25 per hour for your services, or potentially even more if you are able to offer specialized cleaning services (like window cleaning). Bring your own cleaning products—an investment that will rarely run you more than $100, even if you invest in the good stuff—and you could really make a killing.
Tour Guide Services
Love where you live? Why not start a tour guide service? This is one of the easiest businesses you can start, even if you have less than $100 in your pocket.
To begin a successful business as a tour guide, all you need is a few inexpensive business cards to market your services. You can also sign up with a site like Vayable, which will find all the customers for you in exchange for a chunk of the profits.
Coding is another skill that can be learned relatively quickly. In fact, many people develop skills with software at an early age—sometimes when they’re still in elementary school. If you know how to code, you might want to consider a career as a freelance coder. You can work for a variety of clients as you build your side hustle.
Many companies turn to freelance coders to help them grow their businesses to 100 or more clients. Freelancing can be tough, but if you know how to sell your skills and can turn out a superior final product, you won’t have to put much investment into this business at all (especially not once you’ve built a lucrative client base).
If you’re artistically inclined, it might seem as though there are very few well-paying business options out there. Logo design is one of the easiest businesses you can start as long as you have a solid website and a great business idea.
However, you just need a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit in order to start various businesses designing logos. You can start by searching sites like Fiverr.com for openings. Once you have a portfolio built up, you can go out on your own and start charging $100 or more per job.
If you have a knack for numbers and a good understanding of tax regulations, you may want to start a business as a tax preparer. In many places, you don’t have to have any formal credentials (although these can help).
Before you know it, you’ll be growing your business into a multi-employee office. This is one of the top businesses you can start if you have some ideas that are more long-term and forward-thinking. You can do so with less than $100 in most cases, too.
The days of having to join a taxi service or buy a fleet vehicle to start a driving service are over. With modern ride-sharing platforms like Uber, you can turn your car into a money-making machine.
These are zero-cost businesses to start if you already have a car—just make sure your insurance will cover the potential liability of your paying passengers. Usually, you can get this kind of insurance for less than $100 a month.
Whether you have a formal teaching degree or not, starting a small business as a tutor is a smart choice. In order to be a tutor, you don’t have to spend much cash at all—although it wouldn’t hurt to invest your $100 in a quick online class that will acquaint you with some of the basic principles of pedagogy.
You may not even have to have a college degree to get a job. Often, parents are willing to hire someone without a formal degree to tutor their children as long as the tutor is intelligent, well-spoken, and a good teacher. You don’t even have to leave your house to become a tutor. There are plenty of resources out there that will allow you to launch online tutoring businesses as well.
If you know what it takes to make a sale, you may want to consider starting a business in marketing. You can sell SEO or SEM marketing services or you can sell more basic services, like print marketing materials.
Wherever your skills and preferences might lie, the only cost you’ll have in starting a marketing business is in your own marketing expenses. Plus, there’s the cost of labor, but with marketing businesses, that tends to be nominal compared to other labor-intensive businesses.
Being helpful is underrated—and lots of people are looking for assistants to help them go about their most mundane daily tasks.
Of course, if you’re organized and have a keen eye for detail, these tasks might not be mundane to you! As a virtual assistant, you might tackle everything from basic email correspondence to setting appointments or even paying bills. You might even book travel for someone.
You don’t have to have very much startup capital at all, but it can pay to invest a small amount (less than $100, of course) in a basic website or business cards.
Virtual assistant businesses can also primarily be managed from home in many cases.
Being a calligrapher is a popular side hustle. Everybody wants a picture-perfect, hand-addressed wedding invitation, birthday card, or decorative sign—but very few people have the skills to do it.
If you have beautiful handwriting and a few specialized pens, you can easily start your own calligraphy business. It may be helpful for you to invest your $100 in a basic calligraphy course that will help you learn the trade. There are plenty of options online as well as free videos you can watch to learn the ropes.
Spend a few hours practicing and a few more hours making connections to land a few jobs, and you’ll be rolling in the dough.
As any job recruiter can tell you, writing a resume is not as easy as it might seem. In fact, this is a skill that very few people have mastered.
If you know what it takes to bring a resume to the top of a pile, you may want to consider formally offering your services by starting a resume writing business. It’s one of the smartest businesses you can start if you have strong career savvy and good writing skills.
Aspiring resume writing business owners don’t need very much cash at all to begin work: $100 is more than enough, but you can often start small businesses in resume writing with no cash at all.
Once you’ve honed your craft, you could invest a bit of cash into your business by paying for basic business cards or editing software to help improve your offerings to your clients.
Want to start a lucrative side hustle? Start a flooring business. In fact, many people start flooring businesses with just $100 and a box of business cards. If you just start with installation, you don’t even have to buy materials or inventory.
Flea Market Sales
Believe it or not, flea markets are still alive and well in many places around the U.S.
Often, you’ll pay much less than $100 per day to rent a space and you can then offer low-cost items (even those you just had kicking around your house, like antiques and knickknacks) to make up for the expense. If you already have the products, you already have everything you need.
When you dream of floral arrangements and wedding vows, a career as an event planner might be the ticket for you. Event planning is an easy home-based business that has little overhead and the potential for great rewards.
While some clients might want to see a formal college degree in Hospitality Management or a related field, most people are willing to hire you as long as you have the communication and organizational skill necessary to help them pull off their big day without a hitch.
People hire event planners for all kinds of shindigs besides weddings, too, including company soirees and even backyard birthday parties.
You might want to invest some time and cash (less than $100, in most cases) in building up a solid marketing plan, though. Not everybody is willing to pay an event planner to do a task many people think they can do themselves (heads up—they can’t!). You’ll want to do some work to win people over and offer your services.
Take a cheap class in mixology online (often less than $100) and you’ll have everything necessary to start your own freelance bartending business. People will hire you for all kinds of events, including weddings, real estate events, and functions at upscale businesses.
As long as you’re friendly and know how to make a killer martini, this is an easy industry to break into.
Gourmet Food Business
It doesn’t matter whether it’s specialty beer or specialty chocolates: Gourmet food makes the world go ‘round. If you have a passion for making gourmet or artisanal food, you may want to start a small-batch gourmet food business. You can ship your products (with overhead expenses usually costing less than $100) so you don’t have to open up a virtual storefront.
Just be aware that you may want to spend a small amount of time to set up an inspected kitchen. The USDA has some regulations in place about selling food products you’ve made at home.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to detail cars, nor do you need a lot of money to begin. In fact, with a few basic supplies like a good vacuum and some cleaning solutions, you’ll have everything you need to start a business from home.
Auto detailing is easy to advertise and sell, too. Everybody wants a fresh, clean car, but very few people have the time to commit to making their vehicles look perfect. You can offer auto detailing at $20 to $100 per job depending on where you live.
Plus, auto detailing is a great gift to give around the holidays or for special occasions, like Father’s Day.
Scrap Metal Recycling
A quick perusal of your own backyard shed might be all you need to start a lucrative scrap metal recycling business. If not, you can buy scrap metal for less than $100. Aluminum and copper are in high demand, and once you’ve made your first sale, you can buy new supplies to then resell.
Soap Making or Other Handmade Goods Sales
It doesn’t take a lot of time, effort, or skill to start a home-based soap making business. In most cases, you’ll pay less than $100 for molds, lyes, and scents. You can then resell your soaps online or at local craft shows.
You don’t have to mess with lye and essential oils in order to offer your wares, either. You could offer other handmade or vintage items, too. The beauty of selling handmade goods in this day and age is that you don’t need to purchase space at a flea market or mall kiosk in order to do so. Just start an account with a site like Etsy.
Work with Etsy or another online marketplace, and you can sell all of the cute doggie sweaters or vintage earrings you craft with care. You’ll pay less than $100 per month to list these items, and you’ll walk away with the profits at the end.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a growing buzzword in just about every industry. As more companies expand their online presence, they look to seasoned SEO professionals who have the skills necessary to help their companies grow their online visibility.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or secure financing to launch your own SEO consultancy business. If you have $100 saved up, you might not even need to spend it.
You’ll just need a solid portfolio of work and the skill to back up your claims, too. Even if you think you are among the best of the best when it comes to SEO, it pays to invest a bit of time in taking an updated class. SEO practices change frequently, and you’ll need to stay current in order to be successful.
Remember when you were in high school and your parents used to get on your case for spending so long picking out your outfits? Well, it might actually pay off.
You could easily start a side hustle as a personal stylist and make quite a bit of money. In fact, if you have a knack for the latest trends and know how to take someone from frumpy to fabulous in a flash, a career as a personal stylist might be the right choice for you.
This is one of those business ideas that does take a bit of dedication, however. Not everybody is willing to hire a personal stylist. In order to be successful, you may want to market your services to people who tend to have a bit more disposable income—and you’re going to want to have a solid portfolio of work to back up all your big talk, too.
Are you skilled with a hammer? Do you know your way around basic plumbing systems? If so, you may want to consider starting a business as a repairman or woman. Lots of people hire out repairs and other small projects that don’t necessarily warrant the time or expense of a professional contractor.
You can offer your own repair services at a fraction of the cost of a professional contracting service and still end up bringing home a ton of money for yourself. You don’t need a lot of money to begin, either. Usually, just a few basic tools will suffice. You may also want to get some basic liability insurance if you will be going into people’s homes.
We’ve given you a few specific ideas for consulting jobs on this list, but you don’t have to have skills in one of the areas we’ve mentioned to be successful at starting your own business, either. In fact, you can become a consultant in just about anything—as long as you’re an expert.
For example, are you really good at drafting business plans? Maybe that could be your side hustle. Whatever the case may be, there are opportunities out there for everyone.
In most cases, to start a consulting business, all you need is a good head on your shoulders and a social network that can help you land client leads when you’re first getting started. However, if you’re willing to spend $100 or so on marketing materials—like business cards or a basic website—you’ll be in even better shape.
Lawn Care and Landscaping
Look around the local gas station, and you’ll find tons of flyers for high school students advertising their handiwork with a lawnmower. You don’t have to be a high school student to start a lawn care or landscaping business—but you don’t need a lot of cash to get started, either.
In fact, for less than $100 (provided that you already have a lawnmower and other basic gear) you can easily start this kind of business on the side. All you are going to need to pay for is basic recurring expenses like gas and motor oil. Depending on where you live, you could earn several thousand dollars per month—or more.
Social Media Management
Social media management is a growing field that can be a lucrative business idea. If you know what it takes to get an Instagram post to 10,000 likes, or you love creating pins for Pinterest, a business in social media management could be the right fit for you.
Most businesses today use some form of social media to reach their clientele. Not everyone has the skills (or interest) in being hands-on, however. If you understand these social platforms and are willing to spend a small amount of money to market yourself to these clients, consider this kind of small business.
Does a row of color-coordinated shoes make you smile? Is there nothing you love more than labeling, sorting, and arranging?
If so, you might want to consider starting a business as a professional organizer or an organizational consultant. Many people struggle with staying organized. Once they get organized they lack the skills and experience (or discipline) necessary to stay organized over time.
When you’re a skilled organizer, you know what it takes to create an effective organizational system. Why not share those skills with others? The difference between being an organizational consultant and being a professional organizer is in how much involvement you’d like to have with the day-to-day organizing. Become a professional organizer, and you will be responsible for the actual organization tasks. You’ll be doing the filing, sorting, labeling, and arranging.
However, if you’d rather take a more hands-off approach (and perhaps even run your business solely from home) all you need to do is offer organizational consulting services. You can provide people with the plans and tools they need to implement and maintain solid organizational systems—but they’ll be responsible for the final follow-through.
Of course, if you live in Florida, this isn’t a small business idea that’s going to make you a ton of money. However, if you’re a bit farther north and you have the skills and equipment necessary to push snow, you can make a killing by offering snow removal services in the dead of winter.
The kicker to this, of course, is that you’re going to need to be willing and available to work at all hours, including late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. People need to be able to get out of their driveways to get to work, even in the middle of a snowstorm.
However, if you have a snowplow or even a strong back and a good shovel, you can make money (and lots of it) without having to invest very much money in your business.
Last but not least, freelance writing is another fantastic business you can start with $100 or less. If you have a knack for writing, it doesn’t even matter if you have formal training or work experience to back up those chops. You just need a keyboard and some basic skills.
Freelance writing used to be viewed as a poor way to make a living, but now that companies recognize the importance of online content, there’s no better way to pay the bills. You can work from home with very little overhead or business liability.
Many freelance writers get their start with $0, in fact. But being willing to invest a little bit of money back into your business is a smart choice. Pay a bit to get a basic website and subscribe to the best job boards, and you’ll find that clients come rolling right in. You have everything you need with the skills you already have.
What to Consider: What is the Easiest Business to Start?
You don’t need a lot of time on your hands to start a business—and you don’t have to have tons of money, either. While you can easily start all of these businesses from home, you’ll want to consider your own strengths and capabilities to determine which one will be best for you.
These are all businesses you can start for less than $100—as long as you have the passion to do so. With a little bit of patience and dedication, you could find your business on the Fortune 500 list in no time.
Or, at the very least, you could make a few extra bucks to take your family out to dinner! Who knows—the opportunities are limitless.