Have you ever dreamed about leaving your job and becoming your own boss? What’s stopping you? For most of us, we’re subject to either budget or time constraints. For that reason we’ve created a list of 9 low budget business ideas that you can start in 2020.
I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur from the age of 14. But at that age, my entire savings consisted of leftover birthday and Christmas money (very little). However, this didn’t stop me starting my own successful business.
If you’re currently cash poor, you must realise that your greatest and most leverageable assets are time and hard work.
Not all businesses require large sums of money to get started. In many cases, you can get started for less than £1000.
Whether you want to make some extra income on the side of your full time job, or go full time on your own thing, we’ve put together a list of 9 real, practical, low budget business ideas with set up costs of less than £1000 (or $125). The potential to make money online in 2020 is infinite, however don’t underestimate the practicality of getting out in real life.
Low Budget Business Ideas:
- Personal Trainer
- Coffee Cart
- Etsy Jewelry Business
- Mobile Car Wash
- Driveway Cleaning
- Online Tutor
- Social Media Manager
- Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
- Content Creation
1. Personal Trainer
If you love fitness and working out, then you should consider taking that hobby to the next level by helping other people achieve their goals (and getting paid at the same time).
Our first low budget business idea is becoming a Personal Trainer (PT). You’ll be working with clients to help set their fitness goals, whilst creating custom exercise and nutrition programmes to get them there. Part of your job will require you to motivate and educate your clients and also perform exercises alongside them.
The great thing about being a PT is the flexibility of the working hours. You can work 40 hours a week, or 4 and could even keep your current job and get a feel for what being a PT is like by taking on weekend clients. You can also take advantage of the internet and offer online coaching too. Building an online presence will be essential.
To become a personal trainer, you will be required to pass a specific qualification (varies across countries). In the UK, you’ll need one of the following at a minimum:
- Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing Gym
- Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction
- Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness
These courses are widely available at local schools and training facilities. Have a look on Google to find a course in your area. These courses will be your main expense (second to marketing) which is why it’s worthy of this list of low budget business ideas.
Other things you’ll need to do:
- Find a gym to operate in.
- Determine your area of specialization (e.g. weight loss, bodybuilding, athletes).
- Be in good shape yourself (not essential but pretty important).
Instagram: If you’re not using Instagram to promote your PT business, then you’re doing it wrong. Each time you’re at the gym, post a picture and tag the gym in the post (or location). Then hashtag the sh*t out of the post. This recent keynote by Gary V is a great watch on power of content creation and is also a way to ensure you keep your business low budget.
YouTube: Create a free 90-day fitness course that people can follow with a printable pdf plan and nutrition information with meal ideas. Giving out free material is the best thing you can do alongside content creation.
Leaflets/flyers in all the houses within a certain distance from the gym.
Posters in the gym and local area
Talk to everyone in the gym and tell them what you do!
2. Coffee Cart
A coffee cart business is exactly what is sounds like; a vehicle fitted with a coffee machine. It’s a much cheaper alternative to opening a brick and mortar coffee shop, and best of all, you’re mobile.
The highest demand will be found in places like business parks, university campus’ and tourist hotspots.
- Everyone loves coffee and it’s a growing trend
- Great profit margins
- All year round product
You’re going to want to find out about the legal requirements in your local area. You can usually find this information online or by contacting your local council.
The coffee machine and cart itself, including all necessary equipment, will cost from £1000 to £2000. It’s not the cheapest of our low budget business ideas but we thought it’d be worth including for you coffee lovers.
3. Etsy Jewelry Business
In 2018, nearly 35 million buyers has purchased items through Etsy. The handmade and vintage items shop is the biggest marketplace to getting your jewelry in front of customers.
In 2019, the handmade jewelry market is saturated. However, the good news is that now you know that you’ll need to think outside the box and target a specific niche.
As handmade business expert Elissa Carden explains in a blog post, “Think about this scenario: A customer is in need of a personalized silver necklace. She searches on Etsy, finds one she likes, and says, “Wow! I like this style. Let’s see what else this seller has to offer.” She clicks on the storefront and is then immediately confused. Where are the rest of the personalized silver necklaces? Why does she now see wooden growth chart rulers, industrial metal letters and planner stickers? She isn’t going to stick around in this variety store for long. Instead, she’s going to find an Etsy seller that specializes in the type of necklace she is looking for because she trusts a seller who looks like an expert in the craft.”
Material: How to open an Etsy Shop
4. Mobile Car Washing
The most budget business idea of this list. You’ll need some basic equipment (bucket, sponge, soap) which can all be purchased for less than £10. You can start making money from a car washing business on day 1.
Be aware that you’ll be working hard, long hours. The good news is that there is a direct correlation between how much effort you put in and how much money is in your back pocket at the end of the day.
The business is simple. Gather all your equipment and then find a relatively affluent area and start knocking on the doors. The more cars in the driveway, the better!
When asked how much your services cost, say: “We have no set prices. Please pay whatever you find reasonable”. This technique allows you to extract the customers willingness to pay, i.e. the highest price.
You’ll typically make £50 to £100 a day.
We wrote a longer guide here which you should check out if you’re interested in starting a car washing business.
5. Driveway Cleaning
Like a car washing business, a driveaway cleaning business is very simple.
Instead of knocking on doors looking for work, you should print a few thousand leaflets and put them through the doors of all the houses in your area. Like in the car washing business, focus on affluent areas with big driveways (this is where the money is at).
Then you wait for the phone to ring!
Equipment-wise, you’ll need a pressure washer (like this one).
How much you charge the customer will depend on the size of the driveway. Start by seeing what competitors charge per square metre and then adjust your prices accordingly.
For an average sized driveway you’ll typically charge around £400 (2 days work).
Material: Check out this full guide to starting a driveway cleaning business
6. Online Tutor
If you have a busy lifestyle and like helping people, the convenience of online tutoring may be of appeal.
The growth of the internet and has given many people the opportunity to work online and it has made the experience of online tutoring very effective.
Subsequently, the demand for online tutors is rising every year.
You’ll need to think about what area of expertise to specialise in. Whether that’s a subject you’re passionate about, or a subject that you have a degree in, you’ll need to know your stuff to a high level (unless you’re teaching kids).
Your expected earnings will be anywhere from £10 to £40 an hour depending on your level of experience/qualifications.
You’ll be required to have an interview and knowledge test before you’re able to start teaching students. It’s a great way to learn more content yourself and of course help other people better themselves through the power of education.
There are loads of sites that provide opportunities for this, such as MyTutor.
7. Social Media Manager
Social media started out as a place to share stupid cat videos but has quickly became a vital part of a company’s marketing strategy.
Many companies don’t know how to use social media properly!
If you enjoy posting your own social media content, then starting a social media management company may be of interest to you. Even better, if you already have a decent following, then this truly is a low budget business ideas because there will be no startup costs!
As a new business, you’ll be able to charge £10 to £30 per hour.
8. Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
If you’re interested in an E-commerce business but don’t want to undergo the long delivery times that dropshipping entails, then check out Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
This business model will allow you to take advantage of Amazon’s customer base and distribution network. Once an item sells, it will be fulfilled by Amazon’s warehouses and they’ll take care of the rest.
We’ve met entrepreneurs who have scaled their FBA businesses from 0 to £40,000 within the first year of opening their Amazon seller account.
To get started, you’ll need to choose a niche. This will take some time but make sure to do your research and brainstorm all the possible products and competition within each. Narrow your ideas down to 3, and it only helps if it’s something you’re passionate about.
You’ll also want to use a keyword tool (like MerchantWords or Jungle Scout) to help assess the level of demand for your product. These tools will provide you with data on how often your products are included in keyword searches. Supply and demand drive markets and it’s no different in your FBA business.
Once you’ve decided on your niche and products, you’ll want to set up an Amazon seller account and then procure your products. This will most likely be from China and we’re looking at writing an article on sourcing products soon.
There are plenty of resources and free courses on YouTube on how to setup and scale an FBA business. We believe that £1000 is more than enough to get started, another reason why it has been included in this list of low budget business ideas.
9. Create Content on a topic you’re passionate about
To finish our list of low business business ideas… this isn’t a traditional business idea, but more of a strategy to build a social media following and then one day create a business around that topic. I like to call it; content creation!
Pick a niche that you’re passionate about and start creating content around it.
Steps to making this work;
- Create an instagram, facebook, and twitter page for your “brand”.
- Create interesting content and post every single day (post on all platforms).
- Interact with other pages. E.g. if your niche is dog toys, find dog related pages and comment on their posts. Don’t just comment something generic like “great post!”. Write something more thoughtful that is related to the post and will lure people to click on your profile. Gary V calls this the “$1.80 method which you can see here.
- Do this for an entire year. Only after a full year should you be in a position to start profiting.
- Don’t stop making and releasing content.
We hope these 9 low budget business ideas have been thought-provoking at the least. We’ve set up half of these businesses and they’ve all been of decent success. It really comes down to how much time you want to invest to making them work.
Best of luck and drop us an line if you decide to take the leap of faith and set up any of the above ideas (or any business in fact!).