5 Low-Cost Small Business Ideas

Even if you don’t have those things, you can still launch a successful business for no money down. All it takes is hard work, dedication and, of course, the right idea. You supply the first two, we’ll give you the ideas right here — for free!

Tour Guide Operator

Tour Guide OperatorDo you love where you live? Do you enjoy taking friends and family members to out-of-the-way places they’d never find on their own? If so, you can easily turn your passion into a profitable business.

You can advertise your new tour service for free with a Facebook page. You can also list yourself as a local expert on sites like Yelp. And you can leverage services like Google Maps to create walking and driving tours that give your clients a one-of-a-kind experience.

You can also broaden your services. If you’re an avid biker, start a biking tour. Are you an art lover? There’s nothing tourists love more than hitting the local museums. Once your business catches fire, you can hire more tour guides and build a travel empire.

Home Caterer/Personal Chef

Home Caterer/Personal ChefThere are many double-income families these days that simply don’t have the time to slave over a hot microwave every night. That’s where you come in. You can make the meals for them. Of course, you should be a way better cook than our college roommates. But even if you have no formal cooking training, you can start your own personal chef business. If you’re good, you’ll soon be in high demand.

The personal chef business is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, reaching $1.2 billion in 2010. And one of the best things about this business is that you don’t need a big initial investment to get started. You can keep your costs low at first by renting needed equipment and gradually purchasing new supplies as you ramp up and secure new customers. The one thing you will have to do is check local zoning laws, which could determine where you do your cooking and how much you can handle from home.

Wellness Instructor

Wellness InstructorOver a quarter of Americans are obese, which means there’s plenty of work to go around in the fitness industry. In fact, employment in the fitness business is expected to increase 29 percent by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You don’t have to invest in expensive equipment to get started, because you can train your clients at the local gym, the Y, or even in the park, like those bootcamps that are so popular these days. Instead, invest a few hundred dollars in building a website and advertising. You can also put up flyers at local sports and fitness stores.

You should also get certified. A number of national certification programs such as the American Council on Exercise,International Sports Sciences Association, and American Fitness Professionals and Associates provide education and training in the personal fitness trainer field.

Poop Scooper

Poop ScooperSeriously. Because pet owners hate picking up after Fido, especially if Fido happens to be a 200-pound Bernese Mountain Dog. There’s an especially large demand for services that go directly to the pet owner’s yard and clean up the mess on-site. All you need to get started is a $10 pooper-scooper, or a pocket full of plastic bags.

You can quickly build your workforce by hiring local kids. Try to corner the market in one or two neighborhoods to cut down on travel time and expenses. Pretty soon you’ll be capturing your own slice of the $47.7 billion pet-care market.


Online Retailer

onlineStarting an online store is easier, and cheaper, than ever. In fact, you can launch an e-commerce business with as little as a few hundred bucks. For instance, eBay lets you put up a store and find customers for your products for only around $20 a month with one of its online storefronts.

If you want to strike out on your own, there are companies that sell professional website templates for about $100. For around $10 a month, a company like Yahoo! will host your business and provide email accounts and technical assistance.

But before you begin, decide what you want to sell. If you love tennis, consider selling tennis shirts or balls. If you’re a car mechanic, maybe auto supplies are your thing. As for inventory, begin with a few basic products and add more selection as you scale up. Remember, you don’t have to be Jeff Bezos to create a successful online business.






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