Top 10 Small Business Ideas – Low Start-Up Costs and Easy to Scale

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Whether you’re a student, a parent, a hustler, or someone just looking for a side project to get off the ground, you’ll need a little spare cash to get started. But there are some great small business ideas that are a whole lot cheaper than you might have imagined. And some of them can be done in your spare time in between other obligations. 

True entrepreneurs muster the guts to turn a passion into a business. And the lucky ones can turn a small side project into a real thriving business for years to come.  

Today, we wanted to come up with a list of the top 10 small business ideas that can be started during spare time. Whether it’s just a temporary way to make some extra money or it turns out to be a lifelong business, getting started with any of these is relatively easy without dramatic up-front costs.

an infographic with 10 easy small business ideas

1. Social Media Manager

People are creating entire careers out of social media, and so can you. Nearly every small business owner needs a strong social media presence to reach a larger audience and grow their brand. And very few of them are good at it themselves. If you enjoy creating content for your own social pages, think about the types of companies that you could translate your skills to. 

Again, the costs of getting started are low. And once you have a handful of clients, you can start outsourcing some of the artwork, design, or custom images/edits to other agencies. This allows you to scale this type of business at a slow, but significant, pace.

2. Moving/Courier Business

Helping people get things around town is a valuable service, particularly in bigger cities. There is a constant demand for personal moves, office moves, or parcel deliveries. And again, the start-up costs are relatively low. Marketing is cheap and all you need is an appropriately-sized vehicle for whatever it is you’re transporting.

The hourly rate for these tasks is again surprisingly high. Depending on what you’re moving, the rates can become borderline outrageous.

3. Start a Podcast or Blog

If you’re charismatic, have some great ideas, and think that people might want to listen to you, starting a podcast or blog may be a great way to build a small business. A lot of individuals are now monetizing their content through their blog, social media channel, YouTube account, Patrone, or even TikTok.

The more you grow, the more you can charge for each sponsorship. It’s a great way to start small at a minimal cost.

4. Ghostwriting

The gift of putting words together beautifully is a lot more valuable than you might think. Ghostwriting services are growing in numerous types of industries. You could start a custom writing service that offers online help to students who struggle with their assignments.

On the more professional end of things, news publications, editors, celebrities, or small businesses require ghostwriters. Growing the business into this realm can hone your skills and lead to higher-paying gigs down the road.

You can start by offering your services to friends and family – you’d be surprised how many people could use assistance with their writing. Once this channel is exhausted, check out Fiverr and UpWork for more work.

5. Cleaning Services for Residential Properties

If you like clean spaces, then this could be a great place to start. You really don’t need much in terms of capital. Basic materials are cheap enough to come by and introductory marketing efforts are affordable. Social media, Yelp, and more niche review sites are free to maintain a presence. 

Lean on your contacts and the local community, too. Word of mouth marketing is invaluable. And once you get started, ask for testimonials and reviews to build your referral marketing. 

This is the type of industry that you could easily grow and hire a small staff. It’s a growing industry and one that is charging high hourly rates in more cities.

6. Dropshipping

Manage a retail business without the massive inventory headaches that come with running a brick & mortar or eCommerce store.

The process of dropshipping is pretty simple: a third-party retailer warehouses and ships products in the name of your business. You simply have to do the marketing and maintain the supplier relationships necessary to facilitate each transaction.

Because there are no inventory overhead costs, this is one of the cheapest ways to start a small business. It also gives you great versatility to offer different products based on your customers’ requests.

7. Simple Apparel

It’s easier than ever to print t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and more. If you have a great idea for some new designs, you can print in bulk at affordable rates.

For entrepreneurs who already have an eye for design, some good ideas, and a decent social media following, this is a great way to get a new business off the ground.

Think about your target audience and what types of clothing they would appreciate. Start with quality printers and materials so that the products last. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for custom designs on clothing that can handle more than a few washes.

8. Photography Business

Ideally, anyone getting into a photography business has a strong background in the medium. But rapidly improving technology has allowed amateurs to enter the fold. And there are plenty of areas of photography that many trained photography professionals despise. Family portraits, weddings, engagements, etc. are some of the most common types of photography for newcomers to jump into.

Still, you certainly need to have a knack for it to get started. It takes a lot of practice and, typically, some expensive equipment. Think about a need that your community has and go from there.

9. Handmade Goods

There are so many third-party sites (not just Amazon!) that now serve as platforms for homemade goods. Entrepreneurs of all ages, selling a variety of different products have found success in reaching a far larger audience than their local farmers’ market provides.

Soap, candles, salsas, pies, calendars, prints, clocks, jewelry, and bags are just a handful of the items that thousands of people have found massive success selling online.

And, to take it to the next level, it’s also easier than ever to set up your own shop with a simple eCommerce store.

10. Make It a Membership

Finally, think about business ideas that you turn into a membership. Subscription services have become increasingly popular for a reason. They cascade into a rapidly growing income as new subscribers join. Instead of selling a product once, you’re selling a long-term relationship with each customer.

Again, there are many ways to launch this type of business. Online tutoring, podcasts, yoga, exercise, music lessons, and pet classes are just a few.

Which Businesses Are Easiest to Start?

Most of these businesses on the list are relatively easy to start. Though starting any new small business takes hard work and some ingenuity. Overall, it’s probably easiest to start small digital businesses. Social media management, content writing, SEO, graphic design, and simple software engineering are some of the top businesses to start.

What Are the Most Profitable New Small Businesses?

This varies widely and success depends on how much time and energy you put into your business. There are a lot of different ways to turn a new small business into a success. Some of the most successful are tutoring, handypersons, child care, gardening shops, IT support, software development, and web design.

There is a new face to starting small businesses. Entrepreneurs have new opportunities in the digital realm that weren’t options a few years ago. These include consultants, online sellers, drop shippers, online tutoring, courier services, app developers, website designers, cleaning services, copywriters, translators, digital marketers, and food trucks.

KORONA POS has been a huge game changer for my overall profitability. Implementation was seamless and painless! The support staff is great and always ready to help. Had I known it would be this easy, I would have made the switch sooner!

-Kristen L.

Launch Your Small Business with the Right POS

To do it all seamlessly, you’ll need a small business point of sale. Look for a solution that will help you scale, add customers to your loyalty program, and allow you to sell online. It needs to be as versatile as your business.

To learn more about how KORONA POS can help you get started click below.

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Written By

Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.