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19 Business Ideas to Start With No Money

Written by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on August 11, 2022

Updated on November 20, 2022

19 Business Ideas to Start With No Money

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19 Business Ideas to Start With No Money

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t always need money to make money. A lot of business ventures can be launched with minimal costs or investment, such as dog walking, junk removal, grocery delivery, lawn care and more. you could start with almost no money. You could start walking dogs, removing junk, delivering groceries, doing yard work, or cleaning gutters. 

If you already have a computer you could even work from home, working as a copywriter or personal assistant. Check out our list of great no-money business ideas to jumpstart your thinking.

1. Yard Work

How to start a lawn care business

If you’re passionate about landscaping and maintaining your lawn, why not set up a yard work business? You can make extra cash while doing what you love. You’ll have to keep up with the competition though. The number of US landscaping businesses has grown to more than 600,000. It would be a matter of finding your niche and offering value to customers to grab your share of this market. 

Most yard work businesses offer maintenance as well as lawn care and chemical application, installation and care of trees, and irrigation services. You don’t have to offer all these services right away. You can just pick a few. You can also start small, and provide services to just your neighbors and friends. As you slowly build your business, finding potential customers will get easier. So rev up that mower and find your first client. It’s a great opportunity to get outside while making money.

2. Dog Walking

How to start a dog walking business

Would you believe that dog walking is a billion-dollar industry in the US? It’s true, and the pandemic deserves some of the credit, because so many people stuck at home for months on end needed company and decided to get themselves a dog. All those dogs, of course, need to be walked, which means demand for dog walking services is strong and on the rise. If you love dogs, you could start your own dog walking business and help people care for their pets while making a good living, getting some exercise and enjoying yourself! It’s a win-win-win. 

Of course, it’s not as easy as giving a dog a bone. You will most likely need to register with your local health department and get insurance, to help you in the event of any accidents or incidents. But beyond that, you’ll just need to offer your services on social media and online platforms like Rover.com and deliver excellent dog walking services to your first few clients. Once you establish a brand and start getting referrals, you might find yourself with too many dogs, and too little time!

3. Junk Removal

How to start a junk removal business

You’ve probably heard that real estate has been booming of late. But you may not realize that this also means the construction industry has been doing well, which consequently means that demand for junk removal services has been on the rise.

Even in smaller towns, the construction of new office buildings and residential properties creates massive amounts of waste and used materials. As a result, the US waste removal industry is now worth $60 billion and seeing steady growth. So if you don’t mind a bit of heavy lifting, now is an excellent time to start your own junk removal business. 

It’s probably easier than you think. You’ll need a truck, as well as the right tools and equipment — both of which you could find with a bit of online digging. Most likely, you’ll also need a commercial driver’s license, as some of the loads you haul are likely to exceed the weight limit allowed under a normal license. Finally, you’ll want to reach out to contractors, construction firms, developers and property managers to offer your services. 

A smart approach is to offer a discount to attract your initial clients. Then, once you’ve delivered fantastic service, the referrals, and the cash, should start rolling in.

4. Freelance Writing

How to start a freelance writing business

In this age of social media and digital marketing, opportunities abound for skilled and creative writers who can connect to an audience. In the US, employment of writers and authors is projected to grow nearly 10% per year through 2030. If you’re looking to capitalize on your writing skills and creativity, you might want to consider setting up a freelance writing business. You could write or ghostwrite for magazines, books, blogs, organizations and corporate clients. 

There’s nothing easy about freelance writing, though. You would be competing with millions of writers on known freelancing platforms so you’d have to work first at establishing your brand as a writer. Create a blog or a website, set up an account on social media and networking platforms, and connect with other writers to find your first client. With a bit of luck you should soon start to find some clients.

5. Grocery Delivery

How to start a grocery delivery business

Global online grocery delivery sales have increased almost 30% since 2020, and this stellar performance is expected to continue through 2024 as a lot of people continue to stay or work from home. With online grocery shopping, consumers no longer have to spend time queuing in supermarkets. They simply browse through a retailer’s website or app, shop and check out, pay for the items online, and have these delivered right to their doorstep. 

If you’re thinking of starting a grocery delivery business, now’s the time to do it. You have at least three options: operate your own delivery service, work with a franchise, or sign up with an established retailer. Consider carefully the pros and cons of each option before deciding on which business model to choose. Assess the competition as well and identify possible clients if you’re going to give it a go on your own. Whatever your decision is, plenty of opportunities await.

6. Mobile Detailing Business

How to start a car detailing business

If you’re thinking about starting your own mobile detailing business, you’re on the right track. Mobile detailers offer complete exterior care for vehicles by bringing their service directly to the customer’s location. The mobile detailing industry has grown fast in recent years and offers a real opportunity for the determined entrepreneur. 

Most detailers specialize in car washes and waxing services, but you could offer additional services like window tinting and paint touch-ups. You could provide your services at people’s homes, while they work, and even while traveling.

Once you’ve invested in good detailing equipment, just market your services with flyers, in local publications and at online platforms like Handy and TaskRabbit. As long as you provide quality detailing and great service, before you know it you’ll be dashing all over town to satisfy customer demand.

7. Blog

Blog

In the podcast era, you might have thought that blogs had gone out of style. You would be wrong. More than 2 million blog posts go online every day, and after years of steady growth, the US is home to about 32 million blogs. Substack, the blog and newsletter platform, recently passed one million subscribers. As a result, there is real opportunity for a bold entrepreneur looking to start a blog business and join this massive market, even part-time.

It requires minimal investment. All you really need is a reliable computer and decent wifi. The major hurdle is coming up with a concept, an objective or mission for your blog business. You might choose generating funds to feed hungry children or delivering crucial news to the people of your city or state. Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll need to reach out across your network, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and beyond, looking for all those who write on related subjects and asking them to get on board. You could offer discounts, incentives, or rewards to sweeten the deal. 

Once a couple of accomplished bloggers sign on, the paid advertisements will start rolling in and you’ll be on the road to success in the blogging business.

8. Social Media Management

How to start a digital marketing agency

Social media is among the world’s fastest-growing industries, with an expected 25% annual growth through 2026. By then it will be nearly a trillion dollar industry, which means now is a great time to get in on the action and ride this wave to serious success.

Starting a social media business can be as simple as launching a media blog on LinkedIn or creating an Instagram business detailing your content and products. The marketing will be absolutely crucial, and the main goal will be to connect with your target audience on the relevant platform. This means that before you get started, you should do some research and experimentation to decide which platform and its user profile best fits you and your interests. From there, you’ll just need to find your niche and start building a respected brand.

9. Proofreading

How to Start a Proofreading Business

Do you have an eagle eye for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors? If so, a proofreading business could be the perfect career for you. With the rising popularity of content marketing, demand for proofreading services is set to increase 6% annually through 2029. 

A proofreading business can be a great way to make money from home. Proofreaders do the final quality check just before a manuscript or any text is published. Your potential clients include publishing houses, newspapers and magazines, and other businesses that outsource proofreading of business documents, marketing collaterals, manuscripts, academic papers, and other content. You will need to establish a strong online presence and brush up on your networking skills to find these clients and ensure the success of your proofreading business.

10. Lead Generation

Lead Generation

Are you great at your marketing job and tired of working for someone else? If so, you might consider starting a lead generation business. The industry is among the world’s fastest growing, forecast for stunning 300% growth by 2028, when it will be worth nearly $100 billion. Many companies turn to lead generation firms when entering new markets or expanding their presence in existing ones. 

If you’re able to use digital marketing and other online strategies to create valuable leads, you could be invaluable to countless major firms and make a great living providing them with this crucial business service. You’ll need to decide which lead generation strategy works best for you, whether it’s online advertising, content marketing, social media or another tool. You’ll also need to hire a solid team to support your work and establish a foundation for a strong business. 

One of the most important early steps will be getting references and recommendations from previous clients who have been satisfied with your work and your leads. Those testimonials are likely to be crucial in getting your first clients for your new business and putting you on the road to success.

11. Consulting Business

How to start a consulting business

Business is revving back up as the pandemic recedes, and one of the industries best positioned to take advantage is consulting, which is worth more than $250 billion in the US and recorded strong growth in 2021. If you have an area of expertise — finance and budgeting, technology, HR, operations, management — you could start your own consulting firm and help businesses improve their efficiency and profitability while making a good living. 

Starting a consulting business is difficult, and will require hard work and determination. Beyond building up a strong network and reliably providing value to your clients, a key element of your success will be understanding what sets you and your firm apart from your competitors and finding ways to promote that message to your target market and deliver on your promise. Accomplish this and you’ll soon build a reputation and, with a bit of luck, seven-figure revenues.

12. Concierge Business

How to start a personal concierge business

Many top-ranking corporate executives, celebrities and other VIPs outsource routine and time-consuming tasks to concierge services providers. As economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic, busy work schedules resume and disposable incomes improve. These drive demand for concierge services, which are expected to see steady 5% annual growth through 2025. So why not start your own concierge business? 

A concierge assists clients by running errands, booking hotel and restaurant reservations, arranging transportation services, performing administrative functions, and undertaking other tasks. Which of these services will you offer? You’ll have to determine your capabilities and identify your niche from the start. You don’t need hefty investments to start and you can choose whether to set up an office or go digital. Focus on providing exceptional services and you’ll find it easier to find clients, gain their loyalty and grow your business.

13. Graphic Design

How to start a graphic design business

Strong graphic design is a crucial element of nearly every business’s branding and marketing strategy, which is why it’s always in great demand. After years of steady growth, the US graphic design industry is worth nearly $14 billion and offers real opportunity for the bold entrepreneur. You could start your own part-time graphic design business from home, generating good money.

You will, however, need to have a strong creative streak and some skill and experience with graphic design software and tools. If you don’t have a related degree, you could brush up on your graphic design skills by taking courses at an online platform like Udemy. Next, it’s a good idea to research the market, see what sort of graphic design is trending lately, and keep an eye out for a market gap that might fit your skillset. 

Understanding and clarifying what you will offer, which businesses you are targeting and how you’ll stand out from the competition will be crucial elements to your success.

14. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping

You probably think bookkeepers and accountants do largely the same work, and in some areas their work does overlap. But for the most part, bookkeepers perform the minute recording of day-to-day financial transactions, while accountants use bookkeepers’ data to create financial statements and review a company’s financial standing. The work of bookkeepers is, in fact, crucial to financial stability, which is why the US is home to 1.5 million bookkeepers and a growing $55 billion industry. 

If you’re hard working and good with numbers, you could start your own bookkeeping business and grab a share of that market while helping countless companies keep better track of their financials. What’s more, you could work from home to start, and market your services to clients around the world. 

Keep in mind that you will need to become a certified bookkeeper, which requires a good deal of training and experience. But once you’ve cleared that hurdle and begun building a reputation through great service, you’ll be well on your way to success.

15. Tree Trimming

How to Start a Tree Service

If you are thinking of a business that involves nature, starting a tree trimming business may be the perfect fit! Tree trimming services are largely seasonal and highly dependent on weather, but stable growth in utilities and residential construction is fueling increased demand. The US market is projected to grow modestly and reach nearly $30 billion in 2022. 

Tree trimming services include pruning dead or excess branches to preserve the tree’s health and shape, as well as tree felling, stump removal, and transplanting. Before you start marketing your services, check out your state’s regulations and comply with insurance requirements.

There will be challenges and risks, so it’s important to strictly observe safety measures. You will need to make an initial investment to get yourself a truck, chainsaw and other equipment, and safety gear. It’s a competitive market, so think of ways to differentiate yourself and provide added value to your services.

16. Gutter Cleaning

How to start a gutter cleaning business

Gutter cleaning is often a dirty business, but somebody’s gotta do it. Demand for gutter cleaners has spiked as more people stayed home in recent years. The US gutter services industry has grown steadily and is expected to earn more than $700 million in 2022. 

There are many ways to get started. You’ll need to buy tools and cleaning supplies. You’ll also want to research the market and check our your competitors’ rates and services. You can differentiate your business by offering eco-friendly cleaning products and automated solutions. 

Once you’ve decided on your niche, start marketing on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and seek referrals. Offer discounts to attract clients and provide additional services like painting over graffiti, or snow shoveling in the winter. Starting your own business can be a daunting task. But with a bit of research and planning, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

17. Resume Writing

How to start a resume writing business

You might be surprised to hear it, considering the popularity of work-related social media platforms like LinkedIn, but resume writing is still big business. Countless college graduates and established professionals alike remain unable to create an appealing, strongly written resume and are willing to pay good money — up to $300 or more — for a quality CV. If you’re a perfectionist with strong writing skills, you could start your own part-time resume writing business and help people find the jobs of their dreams while helping yourself find some serious success. 

You could start by reviewing some of the countless free online resume writing courses and brushing up your skills. Then you could reach out to a few friends and acquaintances and offer your resume writing services for free, or at a steep discount. Then, assuming you deliver quality work, they’ll provide you with testimonials and positive reviews and you’ll be on your way. Just be sure to keep your rates reasonable at the start, then you can increase as you build your brand, establish a reputation and add more and more skills.

18. Virtual Assistant Service

How to start a virtual assistant business

The job didn’t even exist 20 years ago, but now, thanks to new technologies and the sharp increase in remote work during the pandemic, the virtual assistant industry is booming. After years of strong growth, the market is expected to be worth more than $4 billion by 2025. That means now is a fantastic time to start your own virtual assistant business, even part-time.  

To be clear, we’re talking about a human, not a digital or AI-powered, assistant, who provides administrative, technical, and creative services to clients remotely, via the internet. If you have a strong business skillset, you can get started with a minimal investment and run the company out of your own home while serving clients anywhere in the world. You could also add more skills over time, increasing your revenue streams and the rates you’re able to charge. 

With hard work and a bit of luck, you’ll soon be helping businesses run more smoothly and efficiently while making good money for yourself.

19. Roadside Assistance

How to start a roadside assistance business

As much as we love our cars, they do regularly break down, forcing us to call in the cavalry to save the day. Anyone who’s ever been stranded on the side of the road knows just how important roadside assistance can be. That’s why roadside assistance is a growing $11 billion industry. If you enjoy driving and are good with cars, you could start your own roadside assistance business and make good money while helping countless people out of jams. 

The main expense is the down payment on a tow truck, which should run about $7,000. If you’re not already trained, there are online courses to become a tow truck driver in just two weeks. Once you’ve got the proper licensing and permits, you’ll just need to stock up on supplies to help your stranded customers, such as tools, snacks and blankets, and create a marketing strategy that seeks out clients. Sooner or later, the calls will start coming in. Just be sure to deliver great service and you’ll have a success story on your hands.