Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’d love to start my own business, but I just don’t have the capital to get it off the ground”? If so, you’re definitely not alone, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on the idea of being your own boss and building your own business. First of all, lots of entrepreneurs start with little to nothing in the bank. Many of them get funding for their businesses through angel investors and venture capitalists, but if you’re not quite sure about pitching to an investor yet, you have some other options, as well.

Whether you want to build some entrepreneurial experience before approaching investors about an idea that will cost some money to launch, or you just want to get started right now without investor capital, here are a few of the best ideas out there for businesses that don’t come with huge startup costs.


Are you good with people? Want to set your own schedule and work in an industry that you really enjoy? Sales consulting might be the job for you. As a consultant, you can choose the field you work in and the brands you represent. You can mix and match brands and products to come up with a portfolio of complementary products and/or services that you can sell to distributors and retailers. Plus, because it’s a self-paced business that depends entirely on you, it’s a great way to dip your feet into the entrepreneurial lifestyle.


Not every startup business has to involve a brand new idea or innovation. Sometimes it can just fill a market need. For example, if you have a background in education and you work well with kids, you might want to start a tutoring or mentoring service. If you’re a talented writer, you could start a business writing blogs and web content for people who want to improve their businesses’ online presence. If you speak a foreign language, you could work as an interpreter.

The options for selling your talents as a service are endless. Consider what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, and do some research to find out if there’s a market for your services in your area (or online).


Until just a few years ago, if you wanted to create your own line of cool T-shirts and hoodies online, there was a pretty significant cost involved. You would have to create your designs and then order them in bulk. Then you’d have to take care of all of your inventory management, shipping and handling, and all of the other details associated with selling clothing on your own. And, of course, you’d have to figure out how to create an e-commerce store on your own or with the (expensive) help of a web designer.

Today, though, thanks to the rise of print-on-demand sites, you can create your designs online, choose the brands and styles of shirts and other apparel they’ll be printed on, set your prices, and create an online store—all in just a few minutes. And most of the sites that provide this service also take care of all of your inventory, shipping, and handling services, as well. In other words, you don’t have to buy anything at all to start out. You just have to point and click to create your products and then do some marketing and advertising to get people to see your online store and buy your products.

These are just a few of the many businesses you can start with little to no startup funds. Check them out and see if one of them is right for you.

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