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95 Low-Cost Business Ideas with High Profits in 2024

May 3, 2021

So many people shy away from starting a business because of unforeseen expenses. 

But starting a new business doesn't have to leave you bankrupt. In fact, there are so many businesses you can start with minimum start-up costs and lucrative profit potentials.

I've narrowed down 95 promising businesses that budding entrepreneurs on a shoe-string budget can start.

I love looking into business opportunities.

I was able to quit my job in 2015 with the lead generation business, still growing the business today in 2020. (Its def low cost & massive profit potential)

As a newbie in business, you want to be able to fail small (low cost) and learn overtime, if you fail too big, you can't play the game anymore.

Before getting into this list, check out marketing guru and best-selling author, Seth Godin talk about the importance of failing small.

Failing Small is the Key in Business
Why Starting with Low Cost Business is Smart

Time for the list!

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Personal Services

personal concierge photo

1. Concierge Service

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, marketing, computer, vehicle with insurance
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, marketing, gas= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $48,000+ annually, roughly $25+ per hour 

A personal concierge/personal assistant helps CEO’s/business owners run their day-to-day lives.

Tasks you can perform range from booking travel to running miscellaneous errands and setting appointments.

Pricing is completely dependent on you, whether you want to charge monthly or hourly. Many concierges can charge anywhere from $20-$100 per hour. 

Expenses include things like gas, car insurance and maintenance, website costs, and self-employment taxes.

2. Personal Chef

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $500-$5,000
  • Initial expenses: cooking tools, food, insurance, license, permit, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: Food, supplies, phone, marketing, transportation= $400-$1,000
  • Profit potential: $48,000+ annually, $25-$100 per hour

Those who love to cook can make a profitable business out of their passion. 

The best part? It will cost you very little to get going.

Food costs and such are reimbursed through your client fees and many times, you can utilize your client’s kitchen and equipment to do the cooking instead of your own. 

Your business is of interest to a variety of sectors like seniors, busy families with children, corporate events, and entrepreneurs.

You’ll want to take advantage of social media platforms and some online advertising to start getting business.

3. Tour Guide Company

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: Under $2,000
  • Initial expenses: marketing, insurance, permit, license
  • Monthly on-going costs:  phone, marketing, internet, transportation= $200-$750
  • Profit potential: $50,000+ annually- $150 for half day tours, $200+ for full day, income depends on tour prices, sales, and frequency.

International travel within the United States is a nearly 2 trillion dollar industry that occupies a significant portion of national GDP. 

Tourists who visit often spend money on gaining the ‘American experience’ by visiting historic sites and going on guided tours. 

Those who live in or near major American metropolitan areas can offer their helpful knowledge of the surrounding areas through a guided tour. 

Like I always recommend, niching down is the way to go, so decide if you’re going to offer bike tours, wine tours, beer tours, or something else you think will drive business.

4. Auto Repair

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $5,000-$20,000
  • Initial expenses: tools, equipment, marketing, insurance, license, permit, vehicle
  • Monthly on-going costs: transportation, phone, marketing, tools = $200-$750
  • Profit potential: $75,000+ annually

On-demand mobile services continue to rise in popularity, due to the huge convenience and accessibility to customers.

Those who enjoy working with cars can join in the hype with mobile mechanic services.

You set your own fees as far as the scope of service you’re willing to offer and traveling costs. 

You can meet customers at their homes, workplaces, and even on the side of the road in case of emergencies.

5. Home Decoration

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$1,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, marketing, computer, graphic design and photo editing software, gas, vehicle with insurance
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, marketing, internet, gas, monthly subscriptions= $150-$500
  • Profit potential: $50-$75+ per hour

Everyone holds a vision of what their perfect home looks like. 

Those with an eye for modern style and design can help others bring their decor dreams to life by starting a home decor business.

Add your magic touch to the kitchen, guest room, living room, and much more!

You can offer your services both locally and virtually through your home office.

6. Organization Services

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$2,000
  • Initial expenses:  phone, computer, insurance, transportation, & marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: Marketing, phone, transportation= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $38,500+ annually, $20+ per hour

Staying organized is a skill of its own and many find that hectic lives lead to disarray in many areas of their lives.

Professional organization can make a huge difference for an office space, garage clean-out, or a cluttered closet.

And you don’t need anything fancy to start fixing up people’s lives, just your marketing efforts.

Research has even shown that an organized space can help reduce stress and give an added boost to productivity and motivation.

organization services

7. Personal Stylist

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$2,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, insurance, transportation, & marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: Marketing, phone, internet, transportation= $100-$500 
  • Profit potential: $25,000+ annually, $15-$100+ per hour

Business executives, television personalities, and big-name folks always seem to look their best inside and outside the office.

Their secret?

A personal stylist who knows what they’re doing.

Personal stylists carefully plan out their client’s daily wardrobe, accounting for season, trends, and personality.

They also understand their client’s personal taste and work with them to settle on the final ‘look’.

You can take on multiple clients of varying influences to build your business and really create a name for yourself in the industry.

8. Car Detailing

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $1,000-$10,000
  • Initial expenses: tools, phone, supplies, insurance, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: gas, maintenance, supplies, marketing= $200-$500 
  • Profit potential: $40,000+ annually, $75-$250 per session, income depends on detailing prices and sales

We rely on our vehicles to get us from point A to point B. 

As new car prices continue to jump each year, at a rate of 4% according to PR Newswire , people are refraining from making purchases and instead maintaining the vehicles they already own.

Thus, car detailing is a good business to start from scratch.

You don’t even need a physical store-front, you can offer mobile detailing services and travel to customer’s homes and jobs.

9. Dog Walker

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $150-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, marketing, computer, dog walking supplies, vehicle with insurance
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, marketing, internet, gas= $150-$300
  • Profit potential: $20,000+ annually, prices vary based on services

63.4 million U.S. households own a pet dog according to statistics obtained from iii.org, and that number is expected to increase over the years.

Pet owners have busy lives filled with work, kids, and bills.

They often don’t have enough time to fit in a daily walk with their furry friends and dogs need plenty of exercise and attention.

Love dogs and the great outdoors?

You don’t need much more than your own two legs to take dogs on adventurous hikes. Start with offering your services in your immediate area.

10. Credit Repair Consultant

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$1,000
  • Initial expenses:  phone, computer, insurance, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing= $150-$400
  • Profit potential: $35,000+ annually

Credit is everything today.

You can’t buy a home, lease a car, or even get some jobs without having your credit history checked.

Many people are unaware of the different factors that make up their credit score and uneducated on the ways to build positive credit history. 

Debt also hurts consumer’s credit scores, with a record-high $13.86 trillion in consumer debt within the United States alone.

Trust is going to be an important factor for your potential clients, so proving your expertise and support through various channels like social media and your website is a must.

11. Tailor/Alteration

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$2,000
  • Initial expenses: sewing machine, supplies, tools, phone, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: supplies, equipment maintenance, marketing, phone= $200-$750
  • Profit potential: $25,000+ annually 

Do your friends and family view you as their go-to tailor whenever they need an article of clothing mended? 

Turn your passion into a business and offer on-demand tailoring services, both locally and virtually.

Alterations always need to be made for tuxedos, dresses, blazers, and everyday clothing as there is no standard one-size-fits-all option. 

Offering additional services like local pick-up and free shipping (factored into your fees) for online customers can help boost your business’s growth.


Marketing

SEO photo

12. Digital Marketing

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $100-$1,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, software and computer tools/subscriptions, marketing, business license
  • Monthly on-going costs: monthly subscriptions, phone, internet, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $48,000+ annually, clients on monthly retainers ranging from $500-$2,500+ monthly

Similar to social media marketing, digital marketers utilize the power of online marketing to help generate leads, sales, and data for their customers.

This can be achieved with SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, sales funnels, and other avenues.

Some software and advertising is needed as far as start-up costs for things like ClickFunnels, SEO tools, website hosting, and more.

Yet these minor costs pale in comparison to the income you can generate from your full-scale digital marketing agency.

13. Social Media Marketing

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, business license, marketing, social media tools and programs
  • Monthly on-going costs: Monthly subscriptions, internet, phone, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $38,500+ annually, clients typically on monthly retainers ranging from $500-$1,500 or hourly around $20+ per hour

Businesses need the online marketing capabilities of social media to maximize their income potential.

But most business owners are already overworked, handling all of the front-end and back-end logistics. 

Implementing an effective social strategy takes work.

Someone who specializes in the social media marketing sphere is a highly valuable asset to the majority of companies- so this is where you can really capitalize. 

Most social media management services charge monthly retainers, ranging anywhere from $500-$2,500 per client.

If you’ve got 5 clients, you’re already making more than the average American.

14. Social Media Consulting

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, business license, marketing, social media tools and programs
  • Monthly on-going costs: monthly subscriptions, internet, phone, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $48,000+ annually, clients billed per audit or session typically hourly $25-$50+ per hour

Slightly different than social media marketing, social media consultants analyze a client’s social presence and advise them on how to implement different strategies to reach their goals. 

They don’t take over complete management of the client’s platforms, rather they guide them and check in on progress periodically to make any necessary adjustments.

A cohesive and consistent strategy can make all the difference when it comes to leads, sales, and customer engagement.

15. Sell and promote digital products on Clickbank

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: computer, sales funnel subscription, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: internet, subscription, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual effort and sales

Digital products are awesome because you can essentially create a product once and collect profit on it for years and years without having to maintain inventory or change anything else. 

Clickbank is a great platform to leverage when you’re just getting started and want to sell your e-book, course, video, and more.

You can also make money off of other people’s products by promoting them with your affiliate link and receiving a commission when a sale is made.

I've dabbled in affiliate marketing and have managed to generate extra income each month using this business model. 

To start making money on ClickBank, you’ll pay a one-time $49.95 charge along with payment processing fees.

16. Copywriting

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: computer, business license, computer software and programs, monthly subscriptions, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: internet, monthly subscriptions, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $58,000+ annually, clients pay either by retainer (varies) or hourly typically $30+ per hour.

This has got to be the most lucrative area of writing you can enter.

Yet it also requires talent, tons of practice, and knowledge of marketing and psychology.

Copywriting entails producing copy (or text) for marketing/advertising purposes. 

These writers are employed in all types of industries and their skillset is incredibly valuable for profit generation for the companies they work with. 

Salary earnings fluctuate massively, as Neville Medhora demonstrates from the large pool of income data he’s gathered. 

17. Content Writing

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: computer, computer software programs and tools, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: internet, marketing, monthly subscriptions= $150-$500
  • Profit potential: $2,000+ per month

There are blogs on pretty much anything these days, from how-to magic card tricks to helpful marriage advice.

So if you’re good at throwing words together, there’s a content writing opportunity out there for you.

The vast opportunities for content writers include gigs like writing long and short-form articles, short stories, and more.

18. Copy Editor

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: computer, computer software programs and tools, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: internet, marketing, monthly subscriptions= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $28+ per hour

Can you easily spot the msitake in this sentence? Are grammar and punctuation near and dear to your heart?

You could help out businesses by proofreading their copy and supervising the copy process to ensure everything is up to standards.

Though you don’t need formal education, many copy editors gain experience working as freelance copywriters and content writers prior to branching out.


Education

online course creation photo

19. Online Course Creation

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $200-$5,000
  • Initial expenses: computer, computer software and programs, marketing, recording equipment and software
  • Monthly on-going costs: marketing, monthly subscriptions, internet= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $0-$1M+ launches, income depends on individual efforts and sales

Got some knowledge to drop? 

If you’ve seen success in one of your ventures, such as investing, starting a successful business, or even saving a large amount of money, then creating a course might be the next best move for you.

Time will be your biggest investment, with some additional costs like the course platform, video/computer software, and advertising.

The potential ROI can be massive, with some people generating $1 million within a year of launching their course.

20. Online Music Teacher

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$5,000
  • Initial expenses: computer, webcam, computer software and programs, marketing, musical instruments
  • Monthly on-going costs: marketing, internet, monthly subscriptions, equipment maintenance= $200-$1,000
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income varies based on lesson prices and frequency

The variety is out there for music teachers!

There are so many paths you can take when you start an online music lessons business, and getting started won’t break the bank.

You can create your own course or use a site like Udemy or Skillshare to publish it.

YouTube and social media provide further routes for promotion of your services and possible monetization. The fees you charge students for lessons is left entirely up to you.

21. College Planning Consultant

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, marketing, transportation
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing, transportation= $150-$500
  • Profit potential: $77,000+ annually, consultants charge anywhere between $40-$150+ per hour. Some even charge a flat fee per session.

As secondary education has become the norm in the United States, parents scramble to prepare their children as much as possible.

Tutoring, test prep, college application workshops, financial aid-- everything can be difficult to navigate.

This role works closely with students and parents either in-person or virtually, guiding them through every step of the process and aiding with comprehension. 

Consultants can suggest extracurriculars and classes for students to take and help parents navigate resources for financial aid.

22. Test Prep

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $750-$3,500
  • Initial expenses: phone, marketing, computer, test prep materials
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $58,000+ annually, $30-$100+ per hour

The SAT/ACT is perhaps one of the most important exams in a high school student’s career.

Often, it can determine what college choices are most viable based on the score received.

Students and parents seek out the best classes and books to best prepare for these rigorous tests.

If you’re well versed on the exam material, you can offer your knowledge through in-person or online classes. 

23. Online English Tutor

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$1,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, webcam, teaching materials, marketing, supplies
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing, supplies= $150-$500
  • Profit potential: $38,500+ annually, $20+ per hour

English is widely spoken, not just here in the United States, but also globally. 

Countries like China have demonstrated high interest in learning the English language, growing the demand for online tutors to fill the shortage of English teachers within China itself.

This is a great opportunity for new online platforms to enter and offer personalized webcam tutoring sessions for children and adults.

Online platforms dedicated to teaching children are booming right now, with front-runner VIPKid raking in $3 billion in revenue.


Retail

etsy seller photo

24. Etsy Seller

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $100-$1,000 depending on what you sell and how much volume you initially produce
  • Initial expenses: supplies, computer, phone, marketing, Etsy listing fees
  • Monthly on-going costs: supplies, phone, internet, marketing, Etsy listing and transaction fees= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales

Etsy is the place to go for most homemade and hand-crafted items which can include anything from jewelry to monogrammed items.

Perfect as either a side hustle or a full-time business, Etsy makes it super simple to get set up.

While some sell items as a side hustle or hobby without the intention of making much money, many Etsy sellers have managed to break six figures and beyond.

Etsy is completely free, save for a $0.20 per listing and a 5% payment transaction fee per their site.

25. Ecommerce Store

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $50-$2,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, marketing, ecommerce platform, business and seller's license, inventory, packaging, shipping
  • Monthly on-going costs: Marketing, phone, internet, inventory and supplies, packaging, shipping= $150-$1,000
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales. Kylie Jenner's Shopify ecommerce store is worth nearly $1B.

Anything you want to sell online, there’s a very very high chance that someone will be interested in buying. 

While many people still tend to shop in-person, according to Digital Commerce 360 60% of millennials (ages 23-38) prefer to shop online.

Products and services targeting this demographic have the potential for insane profit.

You can start your store for less than $20 per month with ad-spend and shipping costs thrown in.

26. Dropshipping

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $0-$500
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, ecommerce platform, computer software and programs, testing products, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing, monthly subscriptions, testing new products= $200-$1,000
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales. 

Unlike a traditional ecommerce store, a store centered around the dropshipping model holds no overhead and typically doesn’t deal with shipping costs. 

Customers pay you for the product and you then pay the wholesaler to ship it directly to your customer, keeping whatever’s leftover as profit.

These factors help make dropshipping an appealing business model.

You can sell virtually anything using this model and ensure quality by carefully choosing your wholesaler. 

Social media and online marketing play a big role in your marketing efforts and make up the bulk of your starting investment.'

Side note: I initially found success through the dropshipping model. I scaled a shark onesies store to $48K revenue in a single calendar month.  

However, I've since stepped back from dropshipping and here's why.

27. Recycle Scrap Metal

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $500-$2,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, equipment, containers, vehicle, storage, marketing
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, equipment maintenance, gas, marketing= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, profits vary based on metal type

Going to the scrap yard can be a money-making venture if you’ve got a pick-up truck.

If you understand the metal market well enough and scope out the best scrap yards, demolition sites, and auto repair shops, you can turn up on some quick and hefty profits for little down.

28. Storage Auction Reseller

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $50-$1,000+, there are so many different unit sale prices it's best to always budget for more
  • Initial expenses: storage unit sale, vehicle with insurance, garbage bags, gloves, gas
  • Monthly on-going costs: gas, storage unit sales= $500+ 
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales. This reseller reports 100-600% return on investment nearly each time!

When storage unit owners default on payment, the facility will wait a short time before auctioning off the contents of the unit to the public.

The highest bidder wins the auction and becomes the proud new owner of everything they find.

The bidding process makes pinpointing expenses tough since the going price is completely up to the crowd’s interest. 

Yet many storage unit flippers report making as much as 100-600% of the sales price which are crazy figures for any business. 

reseller photo

29. Online Reseller

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $100-$750
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, merchandise, website listing fees, marketing, packaging, shipping
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, listing fees, marketing, packaging, shipping= $100-$500
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales. For reference, Natalie Gomez runs 2 successful reselling sites and earns roughly $100,000 yearly.

The clearance rack is going to become your best friend. 

Online resellers are always on the hunt for a bargain--perusing retail stores, thrift stores, and even ecommerce sites for popular items.

Popular sites like eBay and Amazon make reselling fairly simple while providing legitimate backing.

Amazon FBA is a reselling business that can net some serious profits when done right. I covered some of the best courses that teach you how to start here.

You’re not really limited to what you can sell. Baby clothes, dog toys, workout gear-- you name it, you can sell it.

30. Mobile Retail Pop-up

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $1,500-$10,000
  • Initial expenses: rental space, gas, marketing, inventory, CC processing system
  • Monthly on-going costs: rental costs, gas, inventory, marketing= $450-$1,000+
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income varies based on pop-up frequency and product sales

As consumers turn to more convenient ways of shopping, offering another means of shopping only helps to boost potential revenue and expand your customer base.

People love the ease of browsing and shopping on their own time, which is why online shopping is so popular.  

Why not go directly to where your customers spend their downtime (shopping plazas, outdoor markets, etc) and bring the shopping experience with you?

You can start a mobile retail pop-up selling thrift-store finds and clearance rack items.

You don’t need a van right away--you can set up a tent or outdoor pop-up to display your items until your business starts to bloom and it’s time to upgrade.

31. Meal Kit Delivery

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $500-$5,000
  • Initial expenses: phone, computer, marketing, online payment processor, food supplies, equipment, packaging, shipping
  • Monthly on-going costs: phone, internet, marketing, food supplies, equipment maintenance, packaging shipping= $350-$1,000+
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on meal kit prices and total sales. For reference, meal kit giant Blue Apron earned nearly $668M in 2018 alone.

Who doesn’t want a home-cooked meal after a long day at work?

Of course, everyone does-- but not all of us have the time, foresight, or patience to whip up a nutritious meal when we’re already so exhausted.

Meal kit delivery services offer the convenience and consistency that busy customers need. And they’re growing in demand, with the market size expected to double to $11.6 billion by 2022.

Make sure to narrow your target audience and decide what niche you’re going to enter, whether it’s low-carb, paleo, gourmet, vegan, or another area.

32. Monthly Subscription Service

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $500-$5,000
  • Initial expenses: computer, marketing, packaging, shipping, products, business license, inventory
  • Monthly on-going costs: marketing, monthly subscriptions, payment and accounting software, inventory= $250-$800
  • Profit potential: $0-$10,000+ monthly, income depends on individual efforts and sales. For reference, makeup subscription box ipsy netted $500 million in revenue in 2019.

Receiving a new product in the mail every single month is both rewarding and satisfying for consumers. 

They’re seriously obsessed with monthly subscriptions--Forbes calculated that the business model has seen an 890% growth since 2014.

Those numbers don’t lie.

You’re left to your own creative devices if you want to join in this growing industry.

From yoga pants to makeup, consumers enjoy the ‘surprise’ element when a new box launches. Pick a niche and run with it.

33. Home Bakery

Costs & Profits

  • Start-up costs: $500-$2,500
  • Initial expenses: baking supplies, equipment,