Are you longing to be your own boss? For most of us, what stands between our dreams and reality is money – but starting a business doesn’t have to cost your entire life savings. In fact, with it’s completely possible to start a business with very little money upfront.
If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, there are tonnes of business ideas that will cost you barely a penny. In most cases the bulk of your expenses will be on promotional measures, like posters in relevant locations or a stall at your local market.
Not convinced? Read on for 18 examples of businesses that you can launch for less than £100.
What’s a virtual assistant, you ask? Essentially, a personal assistant who does everything remotely – managing emails and schedules, putting together research, chasing clients and bookkeeping are all popular tasks. Some virtual assistants specialise in one sector, like finance. If you have a computer and an incredible eye for organisation, you’re ready to go.
Social media management
Social media is crucial to businesses’ success, but it’s a huge learning curve for many. If you have a knack for engaging content and know how to attract a following, why not offer your services to other entrepreneurs? All you need is an internet connection.
If you’re popular in a particular scene, consider making use of your contacts and clout for other businesses. Music is a big one – independent bands and musicians need help promoting their records and tours, and knowing contacts at venues, magazines and blogs is invaluable. You’ll need to be eloquent, enthusiastic and good at following up on queries; it’s not a job for shrinking violets, but the end results are extremely satisfying.
Decluttering and organisation
People, as a rule, are messy. If you have a knack for tidiness and live for decluttering before-and-afters, why not lend your eye to local households? Marie Kondo’s recent Netflix show proves that there’s huge interest in paring down clutter and making homes soothing spaces. Best of all, you don’t even need any equipment – just patience and great people skills.
Tutoring often conjures up images of after-school algebra sessions, but these days you can teach anything to anyone who wants to learn. Suppose you’re a talented crocheter or excellent at vegan baking – somebody out there needs your help!
What’s more, language learners are always looking to practice with natives: why not offer one-on-one conversations and help learners to improve?
Read more: How to start a tutoring business
Graphic design uses art theory to communicate ideas effectively – whether that’s a logo, advert, magazine spread, packaging design or signage. If you’re trained in art or design, this might be a good field to explore; it takes time and work to master, but requires very little in the way of equipment.
If you have Photoshop and an excellent eye for detail, editing might be for you. You’ll need to be strong with colour and composition, but the rest depends on the clients you take: e-commerce sites typically want crisp photos with transparent backgrounds, while lifestyle brands need photographs that evoke a certain aesthetic.
If you love pups and have time and access to green spaces, this one is for you. Busy dog owners need walkers to keep their dogs healthy and happy, and if you hit it off you’ll get to work with the same dogs on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to get pet business insurance in case anything should go wrong.
Everyone needs a little help around the house sometimes. Trustworthy, careful cleaners are always in demand, and it’s quite easy to score regular gigs and recommendations.
Read more: How to start a cleaning business
If you’re the host with the most, how about sharing your talents with others? The scope is enormous: private weddings and birthday parties are first to come to mind, but corporations, hotels, charities, government organisations and places of worship also need event planners. If you’re extremely organised, always meet deadlines and thrive under pressure, this could be the job for you.
Decorating houses is messy, hard work and takes preparation – which makes it the perfect job to outsource. If you have painting equipment and patience, it’s a great way to make a little money.
Do you know your alstroemeria from your allium? Lend your green fingers to homeowners or businesses and help them to grow gardens that fit their location and needs. Some gardeners further specialise in fragrant flowers, desert succulents or all-edible gardens – if you’re passionate about plants, this is a great way to turn a hobby into a profession.
If you know your way around WordPress, you can manage a good 33% of the world’s websites – it’s hands-down the most popular content management system. Your services could include updating pages, improving SEO, making backups and regularly checking security.
If food is your passion and you have a great grasp of the science behind cooking, recipe development might be your calling. Magazines and blogs need delicious, reliable recipes, and freelance work could well lead to a regular feature.
If you’re a gym bunny and great with people, why not combine the two and help other people reach their fitness goals? All you need is a gym membership, workout clothes and a positive attitude.
Are you excellent with numbers? To be a freelance bookkeeper you don’t need to be a certified accountant, but you do need to be confident with maths and spreadsheet programmes. Bookkeeping work typically includes making balance sheets, financial reports and income statements.
Many people need a little help with their diets, whether it’s for better nutrition, to save money or to get more confident in the kitchen. As a meal planner you would help to design a weekly or monthly plan for your client’s needs, explaining the nutritional benefits of each meal. You’ll also send them off with a shopping list and instructions on making each dish.
It’s not easy being green, but businesses are definitely working harder on it. Sustainability is a huge field with constant new developments; expertise in the field and an ability to solve problems specific to clients are extremely valuable.
… and that’s just for starters! Hopefully this article will have inspired you to think about the skills you have to offer, and how to turn those ideas into income. For more information, check out our guides to starting your own business.