15 Best Business Ideas You Can Start Today with No Money

by Timothy Ronaldson

Updated

Running your own business is something that many people dream of but are hesitant to because of the cost required.

Luckily, there are many business ideas you can start today with no money.

So, if you’re looking for the freedom that comes with being your own boss, you can rest assured there are plenty of businesses you can start today.

Here are some of the best business ideas with no money.

1. Pet Services

dog-in-office

If you love pets, you can make a good amount of money starting a pet services business.

It could include pet walking and sitting, taking pets to veterinarian appointments or even grooming.

This is one of the business ideas you can start today with no money that is great for lovers of pets.

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Potential Income: Up to $57,000 per year (howtostartanllc)

Estimated time investment per job: If you’re walking pets, you can expect maybe one hour per job including travel time, but more in-depth jobs may take a few hours.

Potential Customers: Homeowners who travel a lot or work outside of the home; new pet owners who can’t be home during the day to train their pets; older pet owners who have trouble walking for long distances.

How to get started: Marketing your services will be key to your pet services business. You can post ads for your work on social media and on flyers around your town. You could even partner with local vet offices or animal shelters to get the word out.

Trends on the Rise

It may be hard to believe, but the dog walking services industry reached a market value of $979.2 million in 2021. An increase in pet ownership in the United States and other countries has driven this high value. So, if you’re looking for the best business ideas with no money, pet services could be a great avenue.

2. Freelance Editor or Writer

If you have skills and experience editing and/or writing, you’re in luck.

There are plenty of companies nowadays that are looking for people to help them generate or edit content that they use for marketing purposes.

You could write opinion pieces, educate consumers on products or services, or just edit someone else’s work — and it takes no money at all to start.

Whether you want to earn extra money as a teenager or as a retiree, this idea can work for anyone who is willing to put in the work.

Potential Income: $61,280 per year (blog.contena)

Estimated time investment per job: Depending on the complexity of the job you are taking, you could expect to need a few hours per writing job and an hour or so per editing job.

Potential Customers: Businesses with a strong online presence or those looking to build an online presence; new companies looking to build a brand; business leaders looking to tell their own story

How to get started: There are many websites dedicated to connecting freelancers to people looking to hire freelancers. Writing and editing jobs are very prominent on these sites, so start there. You could also advertise your services through your own website and social media channels.

Tactics for Success

  • There are a lot of people who claim to be great writers and editors online today. The sheer amount of people you’re competing with could make it challenging to find good jobs at first.
  • A great way to start is to offer to do jobs for a lower rate than you’d normally do. Once you’ve completed a few jobs and received positive reviews, you can increase your rate to what you really want.

3. Graphic Designer

graphic-design-trends

If you have good Photoshop skills, you could make a nice living for yourself as a designer.

Image design companies are businesses you can start today with little or no upfront investment at all.

It’s a great way to make money with art skills and express yourself creatively, too.

Potential Income: $58,903 per year (glassdoor)

Estimated time investment per job: Simple jobs such as designing logos may only take about an hour, while more complex design jobs could take a day or more to complete

Potential Customers: Businesses looking to redesign their look; newspapers, magazines and other media companies that don’t have graphic designers on staff; groups or organizations that design flyers; political campaigns

How to get started: A great starting point for graphic designers is to create an online portfolio of your past work. This will be a great reference point for potential clients. Then, you can browse open job postings online and connect with clients through freelancing websites.

4. Web Designer

There are many ways for people to design websites on their own nowadays, but that doesn’t mean they can do it well.

If you have good working knowledge of online coding and design, this could be one of the best business ideas you can start today with no money.

Although it’s one of the most popular side jobs for software engineers, plenty of people get started from different professional backgrounds.

Potential Income: $65,159 per year (thinkful)

Estimated time investment per job: Less complicated jobs may take a few hours, while more complicated jobs may take a few weeks

Potential Customers: Any business; organizations and political campaigns; friends, family or colleagues who are starting a business

How to get started: Create an online portfolio of sites you’ve designed in the past, or create a dummy website to serve as an example of your work. Then, market your services online or reach out directly to local businesses you know could use a website refresh.

Trends on the Rise

Almost 70% of all web traffic happens on mobile devices. The rise of smartphone and tablet usage plus the proliferation of high-speed internet around the world has fueled that. So, if you design websites, keep in mind how they look on smartphones.

5. Tutor

If you have significant knowledge on a specific topic, you could serve as a tutor.

Former teachers would be great at subject areas for high school students. In fact, it’s a very popular alternative career for teachers.

online-tutoring-pros-and-cons

Musicians would be great at teaching people how to play musical instruments.

Potential Income: $46,000 per year (work.chron)

Estimated time investment per job: Expect that each of your tutoring sessions will last approximately one hour.

Potential Customers: Elementary school students; high school students preparing for college testing; older adults looking to learn a new skill

How to get started: If you’re looking to tutor students, a great idea is to get the word out by trying to partner with local schools. You could even post advertisements in school newspapers. If you want to teach music, you can post flyers in stores that sell instruments.

6. Virtual Assistant

Companies are always looking for administrative help.

With all the technology available today, this help doesn’t have to come with an on-staff employee.

For a while many people wondered is a virtual assistant worth it? In the age of internet businesses, they’ve never been more valuable to teams.

how-can-a-virtual-assistant-help-me

Being a virtual assistant is one of the businesses you can start today with no upfront money.

Potential Income: $67,115 per year (ziprecruiter)

Estimated time investment per job: Most virtual assistants will need to dedicate a few hours per day to each client.

Potential Customers: Business executives; entrepreneurs; Human Resources departments at various companies

How to get started: Some virtual assistant jobs are posted as freelance or part-time positions online. You could create a full-time virtual assistant business by cobbling together multiple jobs this way. Once you get a client or two, you could also ask them to refer you to their friends, colleagues and family who might need your help.

7. House Cleaning

If you like to clean and are good at it, then you could start a cleaning business with next to no money.

You’d only have to purchase some basic cleaning supplies to get started, and market your services.

The great part is your job is always in demand, and it doesn’t take a lot of experience or “on-paper” skills.

Potential Income: $55,949 per year (ziprecruiter)

Estimated time investment per job: Each cleaning job should take you about 4 hours, depending on the size of the home.

Potential Customers: Wealthy homeowners; busy professionals; condo associations or apartment complexes

How to get started: Much of the legwork involved with starting a house cleaning business is marketing. You’ll need to get the word out about your services and explain why you are better than other companies.

Tactics for Success

  • New clients may want to see examples of your work, but that can sometimes be hard to come by for house cleaning businesses when they are just starting.
  • One great idea would be to clean your own house and take really great pictures. That could serve as your examples, while also giving you a clean home in the process!

8. Event Planner

stadium

If you love to plan parties, then being an event planner could be a great idea for you.

It’s an industry likely to be on the rise, too, as 83% of people in Generation Z have a strong desire for interactions in-person.

This could lead to a huge rise in demand for event planners.

Potential Income: $50,600 per year (USNews)

Estimated time investment per job: Expect to spend at least a few hours before the event, a few hours during the event and a few hours after the event.

Potential Customers: Couples getting married; businesses holding events; organizations holding fundraisers

How to get started: Host a party for yourself or throw one for friends, and take video and photos of it to serve as an example. Then, create a website and social media pages to promote your business to potential customers. You can also create partnerships with venues to drive business your way.

9. Concierge

Like to run errands and want to make money doing it?

You could make an entire business out of doing so for other people in what would be called a concierge service.

A concierge can do everything from going to the post office to shopping for groceries. Although with services like Whole Food Delivery, ordering groceries online is worth it to do yourself for many people.

Potential Income: $41,500 per year (howtostartanllc)

Estimated time investment per job: On average, each job may take about an hour to complete.

Potential Customers: Business owners and other executives; families with children; small businesses with no executive assistants

How to get started: This job is all about getting the word out. You’ll need to market yourself online to a large amount of people. Give people ideas of what you could do for them, as they may not even be thinking about needing a personal concierge.

10. Social Media Manager

social-profile

Social media is so powerful that every business wants to get on it to draw in new customers.

Not everyone knows how to use it well, though, providing you with a great opportunity, and making it one of the best business ideas you can start today with no money.

If you already know what it’s like working in marketing because you’re a marketing professional, this will probably be the easiest business to start.

Potential Income: $71,220 per year (builtin)

Estimated time investment per job: You may only need 30 minutes for smaller jobs like posts, or an hour or more for bigger campaigns.

Potential Customers: Small businesses without a marketing department; executives looking to build their own brand; influencers looking to reach more people

How to get started: A natural place to market your services would be on social media. Reach out directly to businesses or executives to explain how you propose to improve their brand and reach.

11. Translator

If you can speak a foreign language, your services as a translator could be in high demand.

You could easily create a nice niche for yourself in business by starting a translation company.

Potential Income: $71,590 per year (USNews)

Estimated time investment per job: Small jobs could take you less than an hour, but larger jobs might take a full day

Potential Customers: Colleges and universities; businesses looking to reach foreign markets; individuals hoping to learn a new language

How to get started: Look for businesses that serve a diverse population, one that especially speaks a language that you speak. Then, directly market your services to them as a way for them to reach new customers.

12. Bookkeeper

You don’t have to be a certified public account to be a good bookkeeper. You just have to be decent with numbers and be very organized.

Companies today are always looking for bookkeepers who they don’t have to carry on their payrolls. In fact, this is one of the most popular extra ways to make money for accountants.

Potential Income: $40,240 per year (accounting.com)

Estimated time investment per job: Expect to spend at least a few hours per week for each client.

Potential Customers: Small businesses; non-profit organizations or charities; churches and other religious institutions

How to get started: You can find a lot of these jobs on freelancing websites. Start to build your client base there, and then you can market your services to customers directly through social media and a website you create for your business.

13. Affiliate Marketing

You can make an entire business today out of referring people to different products or services.

Companies will give you a cut of all sales they generate from referrals you give them. That’s why this is one of the best businesses you can start today.

Potential Income: $65,800 (taboola)

Estimated time investment per job: Expect to spend a few months building your online following at least, and then a few hours per client

Potential Customers: Apparel businesses; home food deliver businesses; florists and other home designers

How to get started: The first thing you need to do is build an online brand and following for yourself. If you don’t have a lot of visitors on a regular basis who trust what you say, it’ll be hard to get them to buy products you’re pushing. Then, connect with businesses through affiliate marketing programs that you can find online.

14. eBay Seller

shipping-books

People are always looking to sell stuff they no longer need or want. eBay is a great place to do so, but not everyone has the know-how to get it done.

Make sure you start out on the right foot, and target the best things to resell.

Potential Income: $34,710 per year (ziprecruiter)

Estimated time investment per job: It should take less than an hour to list each product for sale

Potential Customers: People selling their houses; businesses moving to a new location or downsizing; friends and family looking to de-clutter

How to get started: Market yourself to people you know first, telling them how you can help them make money on the stuff they want to get rid of. Then, build yourself an online following on social media to market your services to a wider audience.

15. Podcaster

If you have ideas you want to share and love to talk, you could start your own podcast.

This is an extremely popular way to make money, as the podcast industry is expected to generate $1.33 billion in advertising revenue in 2022.

Potential Income: $87,274 per year (ziprecruiter)

Estimated time investment per job: You’ll need to spend a few hours before each episode preparing, an hour or so recording, and then a few hours after to edit, post and market each episode

Potential Customers: Techies if you talk about technology topics; foodies if you talk about food topics; sports fans if you talk about sports topics

How to get started: Start by coming up with a niche you want your podcast to be about. If you want to separate yourself from the thousands of other podcasts out there, you’ll want a unique angle. Then, start recording episodes and marketing them to the specific audiences you want to target.

Wrapping Up

Anyone can be their own boss with so many business ideas you can start today with no money.

So, if you have a special talent and the desire to work on your own, try one of these businesses you can start today.

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About the Author

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Tim is a classically-trained journalist who loves to share knowledge and information with others. In the past, he has worked in TV, online and print media, and currently works with companies to help design, create and strategize their messaging.