Last updated on May 17th, 2023 at 10:06 pm
Are you looking for business ideas that you can start on the cheap and with little-to-no experience? Well, you’re in luck. Most bloggers are casually updating their title and giving minimal tweaks from a post they wrote in 2017, leaving you with the same tired advice on this topic. However, I’ll share 44 of the best online business ideas that can be started for very little money. Some you’ll have heard before. Some you won’t. But, all are perfect for someone who wants to build recurring revenue from their side hustle or new business venture. Whether you’re interested in building a paid newsletter, starting an OnlyFans, creating a course, or anything else, there’s something here for you.
Let’s get started.
Here’s a list of small business ideas that are low cost, online, and/or easy to start.
Start a blog on any topic that interests you. Share your insights, thoughts, and experiences with the world. We all have thoughts. We all have experiences. You can monetize your blog through ads, affiliate marketing, or selling products and services. The best part is that there is a strong shelf life for content, which means you can continue to earn money from something you created years ago. Some great examples of killer blogs (aside from this one, obviously):
I know that the idea of being an “influencer” may seem like an odd choice. Specifically, TikTok. Who wants to be known for creating silly dances or sound bites. Not only that, but you have to put yourself out for the world to see on a pretty regular basis.
However, we have entered the age where “whoever controls the audience controls the money”. Having spent the past decade in the influencer space, I can say that there is an OBSCENE amount of money to be made as an influencer. With TikTok on the rise and a simple 60-second format, creating content for the platform and repurposing on Instagram is a surefire way to make money. Maybe not like Kylie, but definitely like Lisette.
Keeping with the content theme, starting a YouTube channel is one of my favorite small business ideas. If you have a camera, an internet connection, and a face, you can start a YouTube channel. Honestly, there’s nothing you can’t do directly from your phone. You can do it on any topic that you’re passionate about or knowledgeable in. Once you build an audience, you can start earning money through ads, affiliate marketing, or lucrative brand deals. The key is to be consistent with your content and engaging with your audience. Some great YouTubers to check out for inspiration:
With the rise of Substack, it has never been easier to start a paid newsletter. You can be up-and-running in less than 30 minutes and start earning money from your passion project. Whether you’re a business insider with industry news or just someone with an interesting story to tell, there’s an audience for you out there willing to pay for your content. And, if you build a large enough audience, you can start charging $5/month or more. At $60/year per subscriber from just a few hours of work per week, there’s some serious money to be made here. Some popular Substack newsletters:
Online courses have to be one of the most profitable business ideas. And, they’re only getting more popular. You can create a course on literally any topic under the sun (like body positivity, seo, how to build a smart home, etc.) and start earning money while you sleep. Maybe you’ll be the next Teri Ijeoma and make $25M+ per year. The key is to find a profitable niche, build an audience, and then sell them a high-quality course that solves their problem. Once you do that, you’ll be able to scale your business to the moon. Check out Teachable to get started. Some great examples of successful online courses:
There’s power in a tribe. When people rally around the same cause or goals, they can achieve some pretty amazing things. If you’re looking to build a business around something you’re passionate about, start by building a community of like-minded individuals. One of my favorite examples of this is Trends. I pay $297/year to access this community of 15K+ entrepreneurs who rally around gathering information and delivering insights on the next business trends. The website is chock full of information, but the true value comes from the community conversation. You can use tools like Circle to build a community or simply start a Facebook group.
Maybe the idea of creating content in your blog or YouTube channel seems a bit daunting. The idea of building an audience seems difficult. Well, there’s an easier way to make money as a content creator. And, that’s by creating video for brands. You can sign up with a service like Fiverr or Upwork and start selling your video creation services to businesses. There are plenty of business owners out there who are more than willing to pay you $50-$1000 per video to use in their advertising or on their social media.
Okay, I admit that this one is a bit more controversial. But, there’s no denying that OnlyFans has taken the internet by storm. And, there are people out there who are proving this is a good business idea by making a killing on this platform.
If you’re not familiar with OnlyFans, it’s a subscription-based service where content creators can share photos, videos, and other forms of content with their fans.
Most people think it is for adult only content, but, while that exists, it’s simply not the case. You can find content creators on OnlyFans sharing everything from recipes to business tips.
And, if you build a large enough following, you can start making some serious money. The key is to find a niche and then produce high-quality content that your audience will be willing to pay for.
This is one of the best business ideas out there. The ability to run ads for yourself opens up a whole world of business opportunities. If you can learn how to run digital ads, you can start your own agency, work for an existing one, freelance, or use your skillset for any of your personal business ventures. You can also use your skills to help local businesses with their ad campaigns. The key is to get started and then keep refining your skills. Check out Google’s AdWords certification program to get started.
Copywriters are in high demand. If you can learn how to write copy that sells, you’ll be in business for yourself in no time. The common theme in this list is to find a niche that you’re passionate about. This shortens the lead time to perfection. Once you’ve identified your “starter” niche then start writing copy that sells. You can use platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to find clients. Or, you can start your own copywriting business and sell your services directly to businesses. With copywriters being able to charge anywhere from $25 – $25,000 per page of work, it can quickly become a lucrative business.
Another great business idea for those with some design skills is to start a web design business. You can start small by offering to design simple websites for local businesses. Or, you can scale up and offer your services to larger businesses. Start by building a portfolio of work that you can show potential clients. Once you have a few happy clients under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to making a great living as a web designer.
This is another great business idea for those with some creative skills. If you can create digital products or e-books, you can sell them online and make a solid living.
You can also start your own website and sell your products directly to your audience. There are also many platforms that you have made it easy to sell your products, such as Gumroad where creators collectively earned a whopping $142M in 2020.
Ever since Zapier came onto the landscape, no-code development has become one of the hottest business ideas to begin. And, it’s only going to become more popular in the coming years. With no-code development platforms like Bubble and Webflow, anyone can build complex applications without a single line of code. If you have some design skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, you can start your own no-code development business and build custom applications for clients like this guy who charges between $300 – $3,000 per no-code project.
If you have some business experience, you can start your own local business agency. Local businesses tend to need additional support when transitioning their marketing and operations into the digital age. You can help them with everything from marketing to accounting to human resources. And, you can do it all from the comfort of your home.
If you’re a social media junkie, this business idea is perfect for you. The impact of social media on a business’s bottom line can’t be ignored. It’s the perfect blend between direct response marketing, customer service, brand building, and loyalty. In fact, 66% of consumers are more loyal to a brand that they follow on social, so businesses of all sizes need help with their social media presence. And, they’re willing to pay good money for someone who can help them grow their social media following and engagement.
I personally don’t have the patience for this, given the repetition of the mundane and my mild ADHD. However, if you’re wired with the ability to laser focus on a task for long periods of time, then this business idea is perfect for you. Whether it’s inputting customer information into a CRM or transcribing meeting notes, there’s always a demand for accurate and efficient data entry services. The average data entry job pays $15/hour, so it’s a great way to make some extra money while setting your own hours.
Similarly, if you’re patient and enjoy talking to people, then becoming a call center or customer service representative is a great side business opportunity. The average hourly pay for a call center agent is $15/hour, but it can range from $11 – $20/hour depending on the company. And, like data entry, it’s a great way to make some extra money while setting your own hours and working from the comfort of your own home. Rat Race Rebellion has an ongoing, prescreened and vetted list of work from home opportunities with well-known companies that are specifically for call center and customer service reps.
If you’re good at online marketing, then you know that the key to success is conversion optimization. And, one of the best ways to optimize conversions is through building high-converting sales funnels. Russell Brunson brought the term to the forefront when he built Clickfunnels (he also has some great training here if you’re interested in learning). If you can build Funnels for businesses, then you have a skill that’s highly in demand and opens up tons of opportunities for your own business.
If you’d like to start a consulting business and are technically inclined, this is one of the best business ideas on the list. You can start your own web development business and build custom websites, apps, or integrations for businesses of all sizes. If you’re not technically savvy, then there’s still hope. There are tons of free resources like Codeacademy or YouTube channels like Programming with Mosh that can help you get up to speed. Even better companies like Devslopes will train you and help you find freelance work alongside your training. No matter the route to learning, this is one to jump on because The average hourly rate for a web developer is $75/hour, but it can range from $50 – $150/hour depending on the complexity of the project.
There’s not a better place to be on the internet than in the middle. And, that’s exactly what affiliate marketing is – being in the middle of the transaction between the business and the customer.
As an affiliate marketer, you get paid to drive traffic to a business’s website and then receive a commission on any sales that you generate. With more than 80% of advertisers using affiliate marketing, It’s a great way to make a few hundred dollars or more online every single day without having to create your own products or services. If you’d like to learn from some great affiliate marketers, follow the below for inspiration:
Having worked in the online course creation space and needing videos for different marketing campaigns over the years, I can say without a doubt that there’s always a demand for quality video editing and production services. This is one of my favorite business ideas because it’s always needed and most entrepreneurs don’t have the time to devote to learning the process given their competing objectives. The ability to turn someone’s vision into a reality with a the click of a mouse and some patience will have you in high demand from the comfort of your home.
Earlier I mentioned becoming an influencer. However, brands often times are looking for someone they can outsource the liaising between themselves and influencers. This business idea is perfect for those who are skilled at building relationships and have a firm grasp of spreadsheets. The demand is high, but so are the profits if you can land some big clients. I’ve worked with clients who pay anywhere from $5,000 – $25,000 per month to build a roster of social media talent who are creating content on their behalf. This is actually an easy one to start, as you just need a solid tool for identifying talent (my favorite is TalentSheets – for only $15/mo. it pulls influencers directly into your Google Sheets).
On the flip side of the influencer marketing coin, you could become an influencer manager or agent. You’ll be responsible for managing an influencer’s day-to-day business, which can include tasks like scheduling posts, negotiating rates, sending invoices, and more. My agency used TalentSheets in identifying new talent and then negotiating rates for them based upon it’s baked in “what’s it worth” pricing functionality. Simply identify talent you are interested in working with, check out their bio to see if they already have representation, reach out, rinse, and repeat. What I like about this business idea is that once you have a handful of talent, reach out to every brand under the sun for partnership opportunities, and manage their inboxes, you receive 10-20% of their earnings. With microinfluencers earning north of $40K USD on average, a roster of small talent could earn life changing amounts of money.
If you’re based in the US and speak a second language, you could be sitting on a business idea that’s in high demand. With the rise of business going global, there’s an increasing need for those who can facilitate communication between parties who don’t share a common language. Throughout my journey to learn Spanish, I can say with certainty I found myself stuck at times when I needed a native English speaker to explain the Spanish to me.
Or to at least explain the nuance. On the flip side of the coin, there are many people worldwide who wish to learn English. You could start by teaching English online to students in China, for example, through one of many platforms like VIPKid or italki. VIPKid pays between $7-$9 per lesson. At 25 minutes each, that’s $14-$18/hr. to have a conversation with someone and connect with another person anywhere on the planet. If nothing else, this is by far one of the coolest small business ideas.
Facebook Marketplace boasts more than 1 Billion monthly active users and more than $26 Billion in annual revenue. The majority of people shopping on the platform are looking for low-cost, used furniture and home decor items. If you have a knack for finding hidden gems at garage sales or thrift stores, this business idea is perfect for you. Simply source your inventory, take quality photos, create compelling descriptions, and price your items to sell. With the size of the market, the fact that Gary Vee always lists “garage sales” as his top-rated side hustle, and the fact that people are making 6-figures flipping furniture, this seems to be an interesting and lucrative small business idea. There’s always great inspiration on YouTube from people that are doing this well.
Buy and Sell Domain Names
Speaking of flipping things for profit, one of the original online business ideas is to buy and sell domain names. Look at trends, niches, and people to identify opportunities to make a killing reselling domains to businesses or individuals who are looking to launch their own website. Noah Kagan spent over $1M to acquire sumo.com. But, that’s nothing compared to the $832M that cars.com sold for. I’ve personally have a handful of domains that are expected to be worth $500 – $2,000 should I wish to sell them.
Some side hustles take nothing more than a smartphone and the tools you already have at your disposal. If you’re willing to use your free time, driving for Uber or Lyft is one of the simplest business ideas without no additional startup costs. You could also consider delivery services like Instacart or DoorDash if you don’t mind working with food. While it’s certainly not the most glamorous of business ideas, it is an easy way to make some extra cash on the weekends or during your free time.
Sure, your 2004 Toyota Corolla isn’t going to be the most appealing to someone who’s hoping to rent a car for the weekend, but you could be like Ryan Rea who took his need to cover his high monthly car payment and turned it into an opportunity to generate an extra $4,000/mo. in passive income through the Airbnb of cars, Turo.
Maybe the idea of someone driving around in your car all weekend doesn’t sound super appealing, but what if they were renting your entire home while you’re on vacation? That’s exactly what people do on Airbnb. If you live in a high-traffic area, have an extra room, or even an entire home that you’re willing to part with for a weekend or longer, this business idea is easy to get started with no upfront costs. Learn how to use your own home as a money maker from amazing Airbnb educators like:
But, truthfully, your options are limited to Aribnb or home rental. Peerspace was developed to let people rent space they have for a few hours at a time. So if you have the perfect dining setup for a dinner or an office space or, even, a barn that’d be great for a country music music video, then this may be a great option for you.
What if you don’t own your home or the idea of letting someone sleep in your bed gives you the heebie-jeebies, but you really want to learn about the Airbnb model? Start by being a property manager for existing Airbnb hosts. This business idea doesn’t require any special skills or experience and you can get started with just a few hours per week.
While it may not sound like the most glamorous business idea, starting a cleaning service is one of the easiest businesses to start with very little capital. The US alone has more than 2.2M Airbnb listings. With the average stay being 4.2 Nights, that offers the opportunity to have 7 cleanings per house per month. Given the average house cleaner charges between $50 – 90/hr., this small business idea can quickly turn into some serious dough.
Do you have a closet full of clothes that you never wear? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 30% of Americans have clothes in their closets that they’ve either never worn or haven’t worn for over a year. Instead of letting those clothes go to waste, why not sell them online? There are plenty of platforms like thredUP or Poshmark that make it extremely easy to sell your gently used threads. You could be the next Sophia Amoruso. She started flipping clothes online which led to the creation of her brand Nasty Gal which she later sold for $20M+.
Podcasting is one of the hottest business ideas as of late. And, it’s not hard to see why. With more than 550 million active monthly listeners, there’s a huge opportunity to produce quality content and build an audience that will pay for your products or services. Consistency in content creation and promotion is the name of the game here. And there’s a lot of money to be maid. Te idea of getting paid just to have a conversation about topics you’re passionate about seems like one of the most successful business ideas. If you’re interested in following podcasts for inspiration, check out:
If you’re looking for lucrative business ideas that have made people like Grant Cardone and Gary Vee millions of dollars, then you can’t go wrong with real estate. And, one of the most active business models in this space is wholesaling. Wholesaling is when you find a deeply discounted property, get it under contract, and then sell the contract to another buyer at a higher price. Paul McComas uses his TikTok to show how “driving for dollars” has led to a $20K/mo. small business wholesaling houses in rural Tennessee.
Did you know that Shopify is now powering over 1 million businesses in 175 countries? In fact, if you’ve ever shopped online at Allbirds, Gymshark, or Fashion Nova, then you’ve been to a Shopify storefront. They all use Shopify to power their eCommerce business. With the simple drag and drop features of their platform and their infrastructure of more than 5,000 developers worldwide building solutions to help you execute your business idea, it’s easier than ever to sell a product online through a clean-looking website. Drive traffic. Engage your audience. Sell Product. Repeat.
If you’re interested in dipping your toes into the water of eCommerce, but don’t want to go through the rigor of developing and manufacturing product, then you can always start a dropshipping business. Dropshipping is when you sell a product on your website and the supplier ships the product directly to the customer on your behalf. This business model became extremely popular when Tim Ferriss started talking about it in his book 4-Hour Work Week. It’s simpler than ever. Identify a product that has interest or is trending upward on Amazon or TikTok. Spin up a storefront (see Shopify above). Once people purchase from your store, the shipment can automatically go out from suppliers like AliExpress or Sellvia.
Dropshipping isn’t the only way to be a middleman between the customer and the supplier. Drop Services are one of those great business ideas that very few people know they can do. Essentially, you advertise for specific services that business owners or individuals need but don’t have the time to do themselves. For example, graphic design. Then you identify freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork who can do the work for less than the rate you’ve charged and you’re able to keep the margin. Build up a large enough stable of freelancers that you trust and can activate quickly and you’ve quickly used Drop Servicing to build your own agency.
Have you ever seen those super popular T-shirts with quotes or niche designs and wondered how the business got started? That’s called Print on Demand (POD) and it’s one of the hottest business ideas as of late. The great thing about POD is that you don’t need to invest in inventory upfront. You can create a design, upload it to a POD platform like Merch by Amazon, and then the POD platform will take care of the printing and shipping for you. All you need to focus on is marketing your product.
Just like Shopify, Etsy has become a household name in eCommerce. And, according to their business model, they are the marketplace where people go to buy and sell unique goods. From digital downloads to soap to plants to t-shirts, if you have a knack for marketing the unique then Etsy is definitely worth considering as one of your business ideas. You could be like Sharon Tseung and quickly turn your side hustle into a consistent cash producing business.
Not every business idea is glamorous. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be lucrative or rewarding. If you love animals and have some business acumen, then starting your own dog walking business could be the perfect business for you. It’s a great way to get outside, meet new people, and make some extra cash. Ryan Stewart was able to take the fact that our furbabies are part of a $100 Billion industry and that pet owners are willing to shell out big money for the care of their pets. If you’re unsure where to start, companies like Wag and Rover make it super easy.
The gig economy is a $347 Billion industry. And sites like TaskRabbit or Fiverr make it easy for you to get started offering your services. Essentially, you can become a Tasker and complete smaller gigs or tasks for business owners or individuals who don’t have the time to do them themselves.
This could be anything from organizing their closets to assembling furniture to moving. And since the gig economy is only expected to grow in the coming years, this is one of those business ideas that you should consider if you’re looking for something that has very low startup costs to owning your own business.
If you have a keen eye for detail and a love of language, then starting your own proofreading or editing business could be the perfect business idea for you. This gives tons of insight into what others are writing and saying as they build their blogs, so you can build your underlying understanding of the game before investing a ton of time and energy into your own blog. If you’re unsure where to begin, Knowadays has a great proofreading course to get you started.
Outbound sales is a process where you proactively reach out to potential customers with the intention of selling them a product or service. And, according to Gartner, it’s one of the fastest growing and most lucrative business ideas as we enter 2023. The great thing about outbound sales is that you don’t need a ton of experience to get started. A simple script and a willingness to face rejection sets you up to be a strong position to quickly build your own business.
Many people think of investing for the long-term and that it should be a part of your ongoing savings strategy. And, while this isn’t financial advice, I wholly subscribe to that. However, there are opportunities to turn cash over quickly through trading.
That’s completely up to you. Above there are 43 different low cost and online business ideas that you can easily start in 2023. Getting any one of them off the ground is up to you. I suggest you identify something that speaks to a skillset you already possess and then take action. The road to financial freedom is exactly that, a road. And, if you don’t get started, then you’ll never reach your destination.