One of the main hurdles for aspiring entrepreneurs is often the lack of capital. There’s also the overwhelming feeling that comes with the thought of having to manage people and handle administrative tasks such as payroll and tax compliance.
However, when you’re just getting started, the admin will be minimal. And with a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, it’s possible to start a successful business with little or no initial investment. This article explores five types of businesses that you can get started with today – despite having a lack of funds.
1. Online Freelance Services
Freelancing has become a viable option for many aspiring small business owners, with opportunities based on all kinds of skill sets including writing, coding, translation, social media management, customer service, and much more.
If you possess a flair for design and have experience with graphic design software, starting a graphic design business can be a lucrative opportunity. You can offer your services to small businesses or startups in need of logos, branding materials, social media graphics, or website design.
Another common choice is to become a Virtual Assistant. Many businesses require virtual assistance for tasks such as administrative support, customer service, social media management, and content creation. If you have excellent organizational and communication skills, this may be a good option for you.
Platforms like Zirtual can help you connect with clients seeking assistance, as well as the more general freelancing sites such as Upwork and Fiverr, giving you access to a global market.
To start, get a portfolio together and begin applying for jobs – once you’ve completed your first few jobs, it will get easier and easier to find more work.
When you have some experience, you could even operate as an agency, hiring other freelancers and making a profit from the jobs you win.
E-commerce has gained great popularity thanks to platforms like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Shopify. An easy way to get started is through online reselling, which means one of two things:
- Selling products you already own or second-hand items sourced from garage sales, thrift stores, or online marketplaces at a low cost.
- Buying from manufacturers or wholesalers and reselling at a profit.
As your business grows, you might consider transitioning to more expansive e-commerce activities. This may involve establishing higher value relationships with wholesalers for re-selling or with manufacturers for selling your own branded products.
You might also want to consider drop shipping. With drop shipping, you don’t store any inventory, which is great if you don’t have much space at home. When a customer orders something from you, you let the manufacturer or distributor know and they will arrange the delivery on your behalf.
Another advantage of drop shipping is that it’s an easy way to test the demand for different products without committing any budget (aside from marketing costs).
3. Tutoring and Coaching
If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, you can offer tutoring or coaching services – whether it's academic tutoring, language instruction, fitness training, or business coaching, there is always a demand for individuals seeking to improve themselves.
You can provide these services in person or online. If you do so online, you have access to customers all over the world. In either case, you can market your business both online and offline. You’ll also likely get word of mouth referrals if clients are happy with the experience.
Websites like tutor.com and coach.me can help you connect with potential clients and build your business.
4. Event Planning
If you have good organizational and interpersonal skills, event planning could be the business for you. Begin by planning small-scale events for family and friends to gain experience and build a portfolio.
You can then make use of social media to showcase your services and create a simple website to get started. As your reputation grows, you can secure contracts for larger events, such as weddings or corporate gatherings, and collaborate with local vendors to create memorable experiences for your clients.
You will eventually need to identify your niche, target market, and the types of events you want to specialize in (or whether you want to include a combination of different event types). In addition, clarify the services you will offer, such as venue selection, event design, vendor coordination, budget management, and on-site event management.
Part of defining your niche will be conducting market research on the local event planning industry so you can identify any gaps in the market and gain insights into pricing structures.
Networking is crucial in this industry. To build your network, attend industry events and build relationships with vendors, suppliers, venues, caterers, florists, photographers, and other key partners who can support your events. Building a strong network will not only help you get clients but will also help you provide comprehensive services and enhance your credibility.
You will also need to develop a strong brand identity that reflects your unique selling proposition and makes potential clients choose you instead of any competing event planning companies.
Finally, it goes without saying that providing excellent service is vital in this business. If someone is coming to you to plan an event rather than plan it themselves, they want a hassle-free experience where everything is taken care of for them.
5. Selling Digital Products
Creating and selling digital products such as e-books, online courses, templates, or digital art offers the potential for passive income, and the return on investment can be exponential. For example, if you spend several weeks or months writing an e-book, you can continue to profit from that for many years – without investing any more of your time.
It can also be very rewarding if you have a genuine passion for writing, art, or whatever the activity involved. If you have some funds to get started, you can outsource the creation of your digital products, and you could offer commission to the creators to give them a good incentive to produce high-quality work.
To get started, identify your areas of expertise or topics of interest, see what others are selling and think about what you can do better in order to stand out.
Starting a business doesn't always require a significant financial investment. With determination and a focus on your strengths, you can build a successful venture with very little funds to start with or in some cases, no funds at all.
So, if you're ready to turn your passion and skills into a profitable business, take the leap and start your entrepreneurial journey today!
If you’re already a small business owner and you need a handy online tool to manage your payroll, check out or instant paystub generator. With our professional paystub templates and option for instant download, you can keep payroll records organized with ease! Check it out paystub generator.