Looking for a great small business idea that doesn’t cost a fortune to get up and running? Many people assume that in order to make a lot of money, you have to spend a lot of money. But that just isn’t the case.

There are loads of small business ideas that are cheap to start and have major potential. In fact, we have 25 ideas ready to go for you! 

Some of these ideas may require some experience or skill, but the background you need can be learned online. There are tons of free and paid courses and training videos on Youtube, and on course websites like Udemy and Coursera.

You’re bound to find the information and education you need somewhere online, so anyone can use these cheap small business ideas!

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30 Small Business Ideas You Can Start For Cheap

  1. Social Media Manager

  2. Home Staging

  3. Virtual Assistant

  4. Online Tutoring

  5. Event Planning

  6. Home Daycare

  7. Interior Decorator

  8. Furniture Flipping

  9. Nanny Placement Agency

  10. Branding Consultant

  11. Gift Basket Curator

  12. Makeup Artist

  13. Mobile Nail Studio

  14. Unique Candles

  15. Graphic Designer

  16. Pet Sitter

  17. Drag & Drop Website Builder

  18. Ad Specialist

  19. Notary

  20. Transcription Business

  21. Customer Service Business

  22. Content-Writing Services

  23. Vacation Planner

  24. Fitness Instructor

  25. Resell Items

1. Social Media Manager

Practically all businesses need an online presence these days but many don’t have the time or know-how to create and maintain an effective social media account. If you are an avid user of Facebook or Instagram, chances are you follow a few business accounts and are familiar with what they post.

Give these small businesses a hand by creating and/or maintaining their social media accounts! You would be in charge of posting, creating stories and reels, as well as replying to comments and messages. Sounds simple enough right? 

Take an online course to learn everything you need to know about social media management.

2. Home Staging

With the booming real estate market, many sellers are looking to have their home staged so they can stand out and get top dollar for their homes. If you have an eye for interior design, this may be a great fit for a local business you can run out of your home.

3. Virtual Assistant

With the rise in online businesses, many assistant jobs are going online as well. Many companies or individuals are looking for help with scheduling, filing, research, and other business-specific tasks. This is the perfect small business you can start if you’re organized and detail oriented. If you take on enough work, you may even be able to hire other virtual assistants to work under you!

4. Online Tutoring

If you have knowledge or experience in a certain subject, you can offer online tutoring services to students. Many students need more help understanding concepts in school, and teachers don’t have enough time for an individual approach. That’s where you come in!

5. Event Planning

If you find yourself continually planning all of the birthdays, anniversaries and other parties in your family, or amongst your group of friends, you may have a knack for event planning! Utilize your organizational and creative skills with this low-start up cost business. Start by planning an event for a friend for free, then use it to market your services.

6. Home Daycare 

If you enjoy working with children, a home daycare can be a great opportunity for a small business you can start from home. Child care can be super lucrative, especially if you differentiate yourself with additional services like teaching skills or more advanced activities, or have a really great outdoor space for the kids to play.

Just make sure you get all required permits, insurance, and licenses to start this type of business.

7. Interior Decorator

Similar to home staging, if you have an eye for design and enjoy home decorating, this may be a great service-based business you can start from home. If you don’t want to just offer in-person local visits, you can also consult people online and sell mood-boards and furniture lists as part of your virtual decorating packages.

8. Furniture Flipping

If you are creative and enjoy working with your hands, furniture flipping might be your new favorite hobby turned business! Find old, beat up furniture on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and in-person at second-hand stores, garage sales, and flea markets. Then work a little magic with paint or repairs and voila! Trendy, beautiful furniture you can now resell for a much higher price.

9. Nanny Placement Agency

Large nanny placement agencies are great, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity for a local, more personalized approach.

After all, parents are incredibly concerned with who will be watching their children and having someone that can improve the vetting process and give them high quality candidates is a valuable and needed service for many.

Interview potential nannies and build a list of qualified, trusted nannies you can recommend to families based on their needs.

Having a local approach also gives you the ability to build lasting relationships with your clients and benefit from word-of-mouth marketing when they tell their friends about your awesome agency!

10. Branding Consultant

Businesses and individuals need help with branding themselves. This is especially true for e-commerce companies, online coaches and consultants, public speakers, authors, etc. 

Consult them on their image and creating a cohesive brand for all of their services and products. Image is everything!

11. Gift Basket Curator

Gift baskets are a tried and true gift giving idea, whether it’s for a holiday or special occasion, or baskets for a corporate event or event weddings. Few people know how to compile a well-made basket with great on-theme items. You can get as specialized as you want with these. In fact, the more specific the better as it will set you apart and make you an expert in the space! Some ideas for specialized baskets include:

You could even offer personalized baskets where the purchaser fills out a questionnaire and you curate a one-of-a-kind basket for them!

12. Makeup Artist

If you’re always getting compliments on your makeup or beauty skills, becoming a makeup artist is a great small business to start. It’s also relatively inexpensive, all you need is makeup, brushes, and any other tools for beautifying your clients. 

13. Mobile Nail Studio

If you love nail art, a mobile nail studio is a great idea for a small business. You can work out of your house, or take your artistry on the road. You can do house calls, or offer your services for bachelorette parties, girls nights, birthday parties, or any other special events.

14. Unique Candles

Candle making is simple and fun! Create a line of scented candles with fabulous aromas you can’t find anywhere else. You can sell them on your own website or on Etsy, or partner with local shops and boutiques.

15. Graphic Designer

Graphic designing has never been easier with platforms like Canva! You can easily create beautiful graphics and images that you can sell to businesses, bloggers, and content creators. 

16. Pet Sitter

Love animals? Pet sitting may be your perfect small business! Whether they work all day or are going out of town, many people want to leave their pets with someone they trust, not just a large (expensive) boarding facility with tons of other dogs. Start a pet sitting business out of your home for a super cheap home business idea.

17. Drag & Drop Website Builder

Modern website building tools like Squarespace, Wix and Shopify make it possible to launch a beautiful website without any coding or technical expertise required. However, so many businesses don’t have the time (or want to spend the time) putting one together for their brick & mortar business. That’s where you come in!

If you have a great eye for color and design, this may be a great fit for a business you can start for free at home. Create a website for yourself and use that to show clients what you’re capable of. Start your prices off low so you can get some gigs and grow from there. 

18. Ad Specialist

All businesses need marketing, and online marketing is absolutely essential for healthy, thriving companies whether they’re online or brick and mortar businesses. These businesses need help advertising their brands and products, this makes for a huge opportunity for you if you have any interest or background in marketing.

Specialize in just one area to be the true go-to expert. You can also take online courses and get certifications to market your knowledge to these businesses.

Specialization ideas:

19. Notary

A notary acts as a representative of the state to certify the proper execution of legal documents. People are always needing documents notarized so there will be demand for your services. You can be a local notary or a virtual one (if your state allows it). You may need a certification for this position.

20. Transcription Business

Are you a great listener? Then this may be an excellent fit! This role requires you to listen to voice or video recordings and convert them into documents, word for word. Many online companies are hiring for this position but you can also do freelance work and start your own business. Work with local medical and law offices that use transcriptionists to type out dictated notes from doctors and lawyers.

21. Customer Service Business

While there are online companies that cheaply hire customer service reps from out of the country, there is still an opportunity to be had here. For businesses that want a personalized approach, and want to trust that their customers are getting the best treatment possible, you can offer customer service services that cater to a high-end experience. Focus on quality as this will be what keeps the customers going back to those companies again and again!

22. Content-Writing Services

Many small business websites don’t include a blog section which is a huge missed opportunity. Content marketing is a great way to be seen by potential customers in free Google searches, as well as provides credibility and positions the business as an expert. 

If you enjoy writing and have great grammar skills, offer content-writing services for businesses in various industries. It helps to narrow down to one or two when you’re first starting out. Some great small business industries to target when reaching out to promote your services are:

23. Vacation Planner

Another great idea for those that are organized and detail oriented is vacation planning. Many travelers don’t know where to begin when it comes to planning a vacation, or miss out on special experiences because they have little knowledge of the area or how to make a good vacation exceptional. If you love travel, start a vacation planning business that specializes in one area or go big with planning vacations worldwide.

24. Fitness Instructor

If you have a passion for fitness, this may be an awesome way to stay in shape, love what you do, and make great money. There are so many different types of workouts you can specialize in, and you can offer classes online, in-person, or host bootcamps and events.

Fitness specialization ideas:

25. Resell Items

This is a very low cost business idea and can even be a lot of fun if you like to shop! If you enjoy scouring thrift stores, garage sales, or perusing your local Craigslist and Facebook marketplace for a killer deal, this may be a good idea for you. Look for items you think you can sell online at a higher price than you’re able to buy them. 

By finding an item in person and then putting it online, you’re expanding your buyer pool significantly. List your items on Facebook, eBay or Poshmark. This can result in a nice profit! Some great items to target are:

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