Steve Osman/Getty Images
One way to incorporate more freedom and flexibility into your life is to go into business for yourself.
There are many benefits to starting a small business. In many cases, you’ll have more control over the hours you work and the jobs you choose to take on. However, starting a small business isn’t always easy; some fields may require expensive equipment, inventory, insurance or licensing before you can get going.
Here are six ideas for small businesses with low start-up costs so you can launch your business without breaking the bank:
Students of all ages need help tackling their schoolwork or preparing for tests and exams. If there’s a particular academic area you excel in, consider offering your services to people who struggle with that subject.
Students may also need extra assistance as they prepare for tests such as the SAT or MCAT; if you’ve achieved high scores on any of these tests, that’s a strong selling point that you can help others do so as well.
Check out our small business loan calculator to help you get your operation off the ground.
If you’re a responsible person who has a rapport with animals, then pet-sitting for owners who are away from home might be a good fit. The work may entail everything from taking dogs on walks to providing twice-daily injections to a cat with a medical issue. Experience caring for animals is a plus, as are references who can testify to your trustworthiness.
Vacation rental management
An increasing number of people now offer their homes as vacation rentals on platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO, which means that managing those rentals is also a growing small business opportunity.
Managing vacation rentals may include everything from keeping online listings updated to communicating with renters to making sure the property is properly cleaned between guests. This small business idea may be particularly appealing if you live in an area that attracts many tourists and visitors.
A business line of credit can help you expand your operations.
The online auction house eBay is a marketplace where people sell everything from vintage clothes to furniture to antique jewelry. Many people have built up successful small businesses by using eBay to sell household objects that they no longer need or want.
You can also scour estate sales and thrift shops for objects to resell online at a higher price. You’ll have an extra advantage if you concentrate on an area where you have some expertise, whether that’s old records or car parts.
Personal or virtual assistant
Many people are so overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done in a day that they turn to personal assistants to help manage their lives. If you’re organized and efficient, you may find success by offering your services as a personal assistant.
Though some people may want help that can only be provided in person, such as organizing paper files, there’s also a growing market for virtual assistance. If your small business offers remote personal assistant services, you may find yourself booking flights and sending emails on behalf of someone you’ve never actually met in person.
As more and more people do their shopping online, e-commerce—that is, online sales—is an increasingly viable small business option. If you’re passionate about creating something, whether it’s photographic prints or jewelry or dog toys, you can likely find a market for it online.
Setting up a business can be as easy as creating a website to display your wares. Online craft marketplaces such as Etsy can make it easier for you to connect with potential consumers, and can help facilitate financial transactions.