26 Businesses You Can Start for Free

26 Businesses You Can Start for Free

You’ve always wanted to start a business. You’re tired of working for someone else and you’d love the flexibility and responsibility of running your own company.

The trouble is, you don’t have much starting capital—or any at all. Which means you might think you’re out of luck, right?

Wrong! Here are 26 businesses that you can start virtually free (and those that aren’t completely free are low-cost). They don’t require expensive training or degrees, fancy equipment, or lots of materials, space, or product.

That being said, many of these businesses require regular access to a computer, internet, and perhaps a car. However, if you already have those, dive right in—there’s sure to be a business idea that suits your skill set if you think creatively!

1. Blogging

Monetized blogging is always a popular option for a no-cost business.

You can make money from your blog through affiliate partnerships, producing ebooks, and offering online courses and webinars. Certain blog niches like beauty, food, and parenting are more popular and easier to monetize, though they have more competition.

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To succeed, choose a subject that you are passionate about and personally invested in.

2. In-home child care

If you love children and have a good setup for it, turning your home into an in-home childcare facility might be a great option. There will be associated fees and licensing requirements (which vary state by state), but the costs are minimal.

Check out our article on starting a daycare business for more information.

3. In-home dog care

If you love caring for animals, consider setting up a doggy daycare business. You can operate during business hours or look after dogs for people while they are out of town.

The skill set you need is pretty self-explanatory: experience with caring for dogs and ability to look after them patiently and carefully.

4. Pet services

Start a business that encompasses all the smaller details of pet ownership, such as taking pets to grooming or vet appointments, dog walking, and pet sitting.

Mix and match services depending on what works for you.

5. Dog training

If you’re great with dogs, start a business as a dog trainer. Be aware that demand is high in areas with lots of dog owners.

Consider starting by shadowing at an established training facility to find out more about the process.

6. Freelance writing

If you have solid writing skills, consider starting a business as a freelance writer.

To build up your portfolio and client base, start with a site like Upwork.

7. Freelance editing

If you have a great eye for structural changes and enjoy editing for grammar and punctuation, consider starting a freelance editing business.

Freelance editing will always be in demand as long as there is written content.

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8. Resume building

Consider starting a business as a resume builder if you have experience as a hiring manager, are a graphic design whiz, and have a great eye for detail.

9. Logo and image design

If you’re artistic and good with Photoshop, consider starting a logo or graphic design business. List your services on sites like Upwork or 99Designs.

10. Etsy business

Sell digital art and other printables on Etsy, such as to-do lists and calendars. These involve minimal startup costs.

11. Consulting

Offer consulting services based on your skills and previous job experience.

12. Errand runner or jack of all trades

Start a business as a jack-of-all-trades or general errand-runner, running errands for people or specialized errands for seniors.

13. Building websites

If you know how to set up a killer website, start a web design business. Find ways to make yourself seem invaluable.

14. Programming

If you are a skilled programmer, start a business offering programming services. Land your first clients by following these useful tips for freelance developers.

15. Driving for Uber

Start a business as an Uber driver if you have a car, driving experience, and a clean record.

16. Music lessons or tutoring

If you are great at a specific subject or play a musical instrument, start a tutoring business. Specialize in your niche skill set or interest.

17. Language teaching and practice

Start a business teaching a language or holding language conversation practice sessions if you speak more than one language.

18. Virtual assistant

Become a virtual assistant if you are organized and can easily accomplish tasks remotely from your home office.

19. House sitting

Turn house sitting into a profitable business by building up a reputation for trustworthiness and providing excellent service.

20. Home organization

Offer home organization services if you love to keep a tidy home.

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21. Professional finder

If you have a knack for finding things, monetize this service by helping people find what they’re looking for.

22. Drop shipping

Start a drop shipping business, which involves little specific skill set and can be done from anywhere.

23. Gardening and landscaping

If you have a green thumb, consider starting a gardening or landscaping business. Basic skills like mowing and pruning are enough to get started.

24. House or office cleaning

Cleaning businesses have low costs and are always in demand. Check out our guide on how to start a cleaning business.

25. Event planning

Start an event planning business with a computer and capital for a website and branding materials.

26. Sewing and alterations

If you’re a skilled seamstress or have a desire to learn, start a sewing or alterations business. Startup costs are minimal if you already have a sewing machine.

Ready to start your business?

If you’ve found the perfect business idea, great—it’s time to get started. Check out our business planning guide or use LivePlan, our business planning software.

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