Start a business fast with these low cost business ideas

When the going gets tough, the tough start looking for low cost business ideas. But how can you start a business to earn money when you really need it most... when you're broke?

What is “low cost” to you? There are websites that claim to have low cost business ideas for you to start for less than $1000 or even $5000. Sorry, but those numbers just aren't realistic for people that NEED A BUSINESS NOW.

If you're broke, a business that you can start for less than $100 probably sounds good, but even that can be hard to set aside. What are the most reliably low cost business ideas?

Here's a list of some businesses you can start for the cost of business cards...

  1. Make something to sell- retail/wholesale, off or online.
  2. Sewing/mending/alterations
  3. Tutoring/teaching skills
  4. Personal assistant (errands, misc)
  5. Proof-reading or editing what other people write
  6. Event planning.
  7. Research things for people.
  8. Vehicle detailing
  9. Pet services- walking, sitting, clean-up
  10. Hauling stuff

I'll add more when I come up with more!

These low cost business ideas were chosen because of these features...

  • Anybody can do at least one of these. Some will need special skills & tools that you already have. For instance, I have a sewing machine & the skills to use it.
  • No special licenses usually needed. Of course, this may be different from one town to the next.
  • Generates income quickly. Usually on a per-job basis... paid after the job is completed.
  • Advertise for work without spending money on advertising... Craigslist ads, leave business cards where they can be found, and by word of mouth (that's networking).

Don't forget that just because you need a business that's fast & cheap to begin doesn't mean that business rules don't apply.

Before you decide which low cost business idea you'll try, there's a few things to think over first.

Take a look at your own strengths. What do you already know how to do, and are good at? The inexpensive business ideas listed above can make money fast because you're leveraging (fancy word for using effectively) the skills you already have.

Now do the same with your weaknesses. For instance, if you hate kids, don't even think about babysitting or any kind of child care. Please! Be honest with yourself. You don't have time to experiment and make expensive mistakes.

Do you already have tools that you could use to earn money? Sewing machine or iron, computer, pick-up truck or trailer... all potential money makers.

Okay, now lets talk about money. Any business you can think of, even these low cost business ideas, will cost something to start... business cards cost money even online. Will you need to pay for transportation? Some kind of insurance? How much can you afford to spend?

How fast do you need to earn money? Is your rent coming up in a week? That could be a problem. I only listed ideas that were paid on a per-job basis. None of these are exactly high-paying jobs at first. Don't let that stop you from getting started.

Don't plan on going to your bank to borrow money for your small business start up. Try for a loan if you feel it's worth your trouble and your credit is good, but don't waste a lot of time there. And especially don't finance your business with your credit cards. That's a dangerous idea.

Licensing and insurance. Where we live, in Oregon, USA, you have to be registered with the state for anything to do with contracting, landscaping, home maintenance & lots of other things.

For some people this takes extra time to take and pass (again, state) classes. Then once you have the proper licenses, bonds & insurance. The actual license isn't too expensive, but the cost of insurance can make you cry.

Don't get discouraged if these good low cost business ideas don't get you excited. For a look at a list of 50 small business ideas, click here. Maybe you'll see a way to start a business using one of these ideas. Keep thinking about it, and you'll come up with a way to earn some money by starting your own business.

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