Just about anyone can start a business with little to no capital these days. With the right idea, determination, and a modest budget, you can launch your own venture and pursue your entrepreneurial dreams. Most of the time, it’s no longer a question of if you can create your own income but of how and when. In this article, we’ll explore seven business ideas you can kickstart in 2024 without breaking the bank.
Dropshipping is where you sell products without holding any inventory. You partner with suppliers who handle product storage, packing, and shipping. All you need is an online store, which can be set up relatively inexpensively, and a good marketing strategy to attract customers. You can also sell through marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Here are three common dropshipping models:
Standard dropshipping model – selling through a dropshipping service
There are companies out there who specialize in being dropshipping partners. They provide you with a catalog of products to choose from. You market and sell those products via your website or marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, and when the orders come through, the partner packages and ships on your behalf.
Selling stuff you procure or create
Dropshipping could mean selling products that you procure or create, but a partner fulfills. For example, you might find items you’d like to sell on a marketplace like Alibaba and sell them through Amazon’s fulfillment program. You send the products to Amazon, and Amazon will store them for you and then package and ship them when a customer places an order.
Selling print-on-demand products that you design can also be thought of as a form of dropshipping because you don’t have to house inventory or deal with shipping items out to customers. More on this below.
Print-on-demand services allow you to create designs for everything from backpacks to t-shirts to household decor that you can sell to customers without holding any inventory. You simply create the design, post the items for sale, and then let your print-on-demand partner do the rest. When a customer places an order, your print partner will create the item and ship the order so you don’t have to.
If you’re a skilled writer, graphic designer, or video editor, you can leverage these skills into a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time income.
Content Creation Services
Consider offering your services on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. These platforms can help you find clients, and you can start with little to no investment in equipment and software. You can also market your services through your own website.
Try the search box below to see what kinds of services people just like you are offering on Fiverr:
Content Pieces for Sale
You can also create content to sell on your own. Graphic design templates, PowerPoint templates, worksheets for kids, book covers, private label rights blog posts – the sky’s the limit. You can sell your digital products via platforms like Etsy and/or through your own website.
And don’t forget you can also create content for your own brand – blog articles, TikTok videos, e-courses, etc. that you put out via your website and social channels. These can all be monetized and managing your own content brand is a great business to start in 2024.
Leverage your expertise in a specific industry by offering consulting services. Whether you’re knowledgeable in marketing, finance, or any other field, you can provide valuable insights to businesses and individuals. All you need to get started is a website to showcase your services and skills. Your consulting services could include the individual consulting that you do for specific people and companies, as well as services and products that you promote to a larger audience such as webinars, courses, methodologies, and worksheets.
Digital Marketing Agency
The demand for digital marketing services has exploded in recent years and continues to grow. You can start a digital marketing agency with a focus on social media management, content marketing, or search engine optimization. Many tools and resources are available online to help you get started, often at little to no cost. One nice thing about this type of business is the opportunity for monthly recurring revenue. You can sell marketing packages and layer them over monthly maintenance services such as web hosting and maintenance or monthly SEO upkeep. Once you have 10 or 20 clients on monthly services, you’ll probably want to consider hiring help or contracting with a white-label service to assist.
Online education is booming, and you can capitalize on this trend by offering online tutoring services. Whether you excel in academic subjects, languages, or even specialized skills like coding, there’s likely a demand for your expertise. You can join online tutoring marketplaces, work for a company or school, or even set up your own website and find students on your own.
There is so much opportunity in this area. You don’t need a degree to get started (although you’ll certainly have more options if you at least have a certificate). There are numerous apps and websites hiring language tutors, and you can also strike out on your own by setting up your own website and/or leveraging language tutor marketplaces like italki.
Test Preparation Services
Did you score well on the SATs, ACTs, GRE, LSAT? If so you may be able to build a business around helping others prepare for the exams. There are plenty of test-prep resources that you can use as a basis for your tutoring sessions.
Other Types of Tutoring
Teaching languages and test prep aren’t the only options for starting a tutoring business. Platforms like Chegg or Varsity Tutors help students and tutors connect on a wide variety of educational and professional topics.
Another way to tap into the digital market for education is by creating an e-course. E-courses can be sold via your own website or marketplaces like Udemy. E-courses don’t have to be complicated; most online courses consist of text, images, videos, and quiz functions at their core. There are also plenty of programs that can help you build more complex and interactive courses if that’s your thing. If you want to take some of the headaches out of dealing with payments, refunds, and technical issues, partnering with Udemy or leveraging a platform like Teachable or Thinkific might be the best fit for hosting and managing your course. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to manage every aspect of your customer journey, you can set up your own Learning Management System on your website, for example, you can use the LearnDash LMS to create an online course or academy right from within your WordPress site.
You don’t have to create your own products to run an e-commerce business. Consider buying and reselling products on platforms like eBay or Amazon. Start small, and as your business grows, reinvest your profits to expand your product range. Places to find products include online marketplaces like Alibaba, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay. You can also look for overstock shops in your area and discount stores like Ross or TJMax. If you’re a fan of treasure hunting, you may enjoy looking for hidden gems at yardsales, thrift stores, and flea markets.
Handmade Crafts and Artwork
If you’re a creative individual, turn your passion into a business by selling handmade crafts or artwork. Marketplaces like Etsy offer an affordable platform to showcase and sell your creations. Initially, you can start small and gradually invest more as your business takes off. You might also enjoy taking your online business on the road and selling crafts and artwork at famer’s markets, craft fairs, festivals, and other community events in your area.
No list of budget-friendly, beginner-friendly business ideas would be complete without affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you sign up as an ‘affiliate’ of various businesses, such as Amazon, and add links to products in your own content. When people click the links and make a purchase, you get a commission. Related: What is Affiliate Marketing? You can market your affiliate links through a website or blog, social media channels, email lists, forum posts, and more. You’ll need to make sure that you post your links in accordance with the terms and conditions of both the affiliate program and the platform you’re promoting on. It can take some time to learn the ropes of the affiliate marketing business, but there are many many resources to help you along the way, from courses and workshops to website builder, social media management tools, and so on.
Tips for Launching a Budget-Friendly Business
- Bootstrapping: Avoid unnecessary expenses and reinvest your profits into your business. Even then, be careful. These days, there is a service or product for every business need. It can be tempting to sink your hard-earned dollars into an exciting tool before you actually need it. Think twice before making big purchases, and make sure you have an accurate idea of when you would see a return on the investment.
- Use Free or Low-Cost Tools: Take advantage of free or affordable software and online resources to manage and promote your business. Sometimes it’s worth paying for all the bells and whistles, but when you’re just getting started with your new business, you can save a lot of money by leveraging the many free options out there, from free email marketing tools to free design tools to free web tools.
- Market Smart: Focus on targeted marketing strategies to reach your ideal customers without going broke paying for advertising. Take advantage of social media, free advertising credits, and your email list to save money in the beginning.
- Lean Operations: Keep your overhead costs low by working from home, using virtual assistants, or sharing resources with other small businesses.
- Continuous Learning: Invest time in learning and developing new skills to reduce the need for expensive outsourcing. You may be amazed by how many things you can do yourself with a little training! Use the power of the internet to find free tutorials, courses, blogs, videos, and social channels to enhance your learning. Once your business takes off, you’ll likely want to hire some help, but being able to figure things out yourself in the beginning will save you a ton of money getting started.
Starting a business in 2024 on a budget is entirely possible with the right idea, resourcefulness, and dedication. These nine business ideas provide a starting point for your entrepreneurial journey, and by keeping costs in check and prioritizing smart decision-making, you can turn your budget-friendly venture into a thriving business!