Starting your own business is the dream for many. The ability to set your own hours, to determine the type of work you do and earn your income as you wish is a freedom many consider worth pursuing. And, if this sounds like something that interests you, now may be the perfect time to do so. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the United States Department of Commerce, from the years 2000 to 2011, 99% of the total increase in employment was from the self-employed.
Becoming self-employed is goal for many want-to-be entrepreneurs, but knowing exactly what business to start and being able to afford the startup costs can be a barrier. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for those willing to learn and put a little elbow grease into their career path. If you’re looking for a little motivation or inspiration to get you started, below you’ll find 50 self-employed business ideas you can start for under $100. Now, now you just need to pick one!
1. Create Information Products
In a similar vein to blogging, creating information products for sale can also be a lucrative low-cost startup idea. If you have knowledge in a certain area, you can create courses, ebooks or videos (or all three!) that others can purchase and download. The ideas for this business model are limitless.
2. Business Window Cleaning Service
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and many stores have to make that impression with their storefront. Help local businesses keep their shine with a business window cleaning service. To start, target local stores that are close together to save time and money.
3. Dog Walking/Pet Sitting Service
Love pets? Consider putting that love to work with a dog walking or pet sitting service. While only 3% of households annually hire a pet sitter, this number is on the rise. If you think this is a hobby job, you might want to think again. The national average for pet sitters is $16 per visit. If you’re keeping an eye on eight different pets a day, that could earn you up to $32,00 a year. Add in some additional dog walking or homemade pet treat services and that number could grow exponentially.
4. Life Coach/Mentor Service
While we may be able to see exactly what someone else needs in a particular situation, figuring it out your own life isn’t always as easy. That’s where a life coach or mentor can be of help, especially if you specialize in a specific area. This particular business idea is lucrative because it’s inexpensive to get started and the fields of specialty are endless. You can coach or mentor in any area from sports to weight loss, organization to personal happiness.
5. Write Books
Amazon and Apple have made book publishing a field just about anyone can enter. If you have a wealth of knowledge in a particular subject, creating and publishing your own books might just be your ideal business. The key here is to enter this business with the goal of creating multiple books related to your subject matter. The more books you can create the better. When you are comfortable with the process, consider helping other authors publish their works for a fee.
6. Direct Sales Consultant (Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Avon, etc.)
If you have a big network of friends and acquaintances, and you don’t mind selling, you may want to have a go at becoming a direct sales consultant. Most of the reputable companies offer starting costs under $100 and provide training and team support to help you succeed. This is a great idea for someone who wants to branch out on their own, but wants a little help and support behind them.
7. Business Plan Service
Make your business helping other people start their businesses! Business plans are needed to help secure loans, investments and to make sure you keep your business running on target. If you have a keen knack for creating business plans, considering helping out one of the fastest growing employment areas – the self-employed!
8. Restored/Upcycled Furniture Business
Are you handy when it comes to repairing furniture? Taking old things and refurbishing them, or even upcycling the various parts into something completely different, is a great way to earn a bit of extra cash. With this business Craigslist and social media are your best friend. Fix up a few pieces at a time and offer a “sale day” where people can come by and see everything you have. Or, just sell your pieces one at a time through Craigslist listings.
9. Logo Design Services
If you’re a graphic designer, but don’t want to be attached to huge projects, you might want to consider becoming a logo designer. The projects are typically simple and straightforward and you probably already have everything you need to do the work. To get started building your portfolio, contact local businesses, nonprofit organizations or government agencies for work. You can also expand your services by providing logos and other branding images for use on social media profiles as well.
10. Homemade Gourmet Foods
There are a lot of laws restricting what food products you can and can’t sell out of your home, but as long as you’re following them, there’s always a great market for delicious homemade treats. If you’re at home in the kitchen, this may be the perfect business idea for you. With the growth of different diets, you have a great opportunity to carve out a niche for yourself in a specialized area such as low carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, etc. You can start out small and test your recipes with local food stores.
11. Homemade Natural Soaps/Beauty Products
Similar to making your own gourmets foods, you can also create your own natural soaps or beauty products. The trend for going natural in all areas of our lives is growing and this is an area with some real potential. If you’re not up for actually making the products, you could refer to the previous ideas in this article and either set up a dropshipping relationship with vendors you trust or create a blog related to this topic.
If you love cooking up a feast for special events, consider starting a catering business. You’ll need to check with local laws and regulations before starting. However, many in this field find it an extremely rewarding experience. They key to success with this business idea is to find a speciality that is unique in your area. You can focus on a certain cuisine, dietary needs, or type of event.
13. Errand Service
Companies like TaskRabbit are already employing this idea, but they’re only available in certain cities. Offering similar services in your local area could be quite lucrative if you’re willing to do the tasks at hand. This can be especially fruitful if you are offering your services to the senior market. This demographic isn’t as able to get around and would benefit greatly from having someone they trust run some local errands for them.
14. App Developer
The phrase “there’s an app for that” has never been more true than it is today, but there’s always room for a new idea or a better implementation of something that’s already out there. From developing an app for a company to creating something for yourself. All you need is a great idea and the technical know-how to actually build it.
15. Sell Plants Online
Have a green thumb? Now you can make some extra green selling your plants online. This is a newer growing niche, but with concerns over seed origins growing, this could be a lucrative business venture. This business will be somewhat seasonal, but you can offer garden design and landscaping plans during the off season to help provide some additional revenue.