Businesses You Can Start for Under $100: Uncover Hidden Gems

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Dreaming of starting your own business but worried about the costs? You’re not alone. The good news is, launching a business doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities out there that require minimal investment, some even less than you might spend on a monthly coffee habit!

From service-based options like freelance writing or graphic design to selling products online, the digital age has made it easier than ever to start a business on a shoestring budget. Let’s dive into some of the most promising businesses you can kickstart with less than you’d think.

Key Takeaways

  • Freelance writing, graphic design, social media management, virtual assistance, handmade crafts, blogging, and e-commerce are viable business options with low start-up costs, often requiring just a computer, internet connection, and specific skill sets.
  • Leveraging online platforms such as Upwork for freelance writing, Etsy for handmade crafts, and Shopify for e-commerce can significantly reduce initial investment and provide access to a global customer base.
  • Identifying a niche and building a strong online presence through a professional portfolio, engaging social media profiles, and effective networking are critical steps for attracting clients and growing these businesses.
  • Diverse monetization strategies, including service rates for freelance and virtual work, product pricing for crafts and e-commerce, and revenue streams like advertising and affiliate marketing for blogging, offer multiple income opportunities.
  • Continuous learning and adapting to market trends, customer feedback, and digital marketing practices are essential for sustaining and expanding your business in the digital age.
  • Success in these ventures relies not only on professional skills and marketing but also on creativity, patience, and the commitment to providing value to your clients or audience.

Freelance Writing

In the realm of starting a business with minimal investment, freelance writing stands out as a stellar option. You’ve probably heard the stories of individuals turning their writing passion into a lucrative business. Let me tell you, it’s not just hearsay. With a strong command of language and the ability to weave words into engaging content, you can kickstart your freelance writing journey.

The beauty of freelance writing lies in its low startup costs. All you really need is a computer and internet connection. From there, it’s about leveraging your skills and finding your niche. Whether it’s crafting blog posts, articles, or generating marketing content, the spectrum of freelance writing is broad.

Here’s a quick rundown of steps to get started:

  • Identify your niche based on your interests and expertise.
  • Create a portfolio showcasing your best work.
  • Register on freelance platforms like Upwork or Freelancer to find your first clients.

The demand for quality content has never been higher. Businesses, big and small, are constantly in search of writers who can articulate their brand message and connect with their audience. This demand translates into abundant opportunities for aspiring freelance writers.

Look at the financial aspect:

TaskAverage Rate
Blog Post (500 words)$50 – $200
E-book (per page)$10 – $35
Website Copy (per page)$100 – $300
Email Newsletter$50 – $150

These rates can vary based on your experience and the complexity of the project, but they highlight the potential to earn a significant income from freelance writing.

As an entrepreneur who started with an online business and continually explores new side hustles, I can assure you that freelance writing is not just a dream. It’s a viable reality for those willing to put in the work and hone their craft. Remember, the digital world is your oyster, and with each piece of content you write, you’re building your brand and laying the foundation for a successful business.

Graphic Design

If you’re drawn to the digital art world, starting a graphic design business could be your calling. This venture requires minimal investment but holds the promise of substantial rewards. With the right skills and a keen eye for design, you can turn your passion into a flourishing online business.

First things first, you’ll need to master the necessary software. Tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are industry standards. While these programs can be pricey, there are free alternatives like GIMP and Inkscape that are perfect when you’re just starting out. Remember, your skill and creativity are what truly matter, not the cost of your tools.

Building a portfolio is your next step. Showcase your best work, even if it’s projects you’ve done for free for friends or nonprofits. A strong, diverse portfolio will be your best asset in attracting clients. Think of it as your visual resume — it speaks volumes about your capabilities and style.

Networking is key in the graphic design world. Start by offering your services on freelance websites. Platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and 99designs are great places to find your first clients. Social media is also a powerful tool for getting your name out there. Create pages dedicated to your graphic design work and engage with potential clients and other designers.

Here’s a quick look at potential earnings in the field:

Design WorkAverage Rate
Logo Design$150 – $850
Social Media Graphics$50 – $200
Web Design$500 – $5,000

These figures are just starting points. As you grow your portfolio and client base, your rates can increase significantly. Graphic design is not only about creating visually appealing pieces but also about solving problems and conveying messages effectively. If you’re passionate about making a visual impact and have a knack for creativity, graphic design might just be the perfect low-investment, high-reward business for you.

Social Media Management

In today’s digital-first world, businesses of all sizes are recognizing the critical role social media plays in reaching their target audience. But not all have the expertise or the time to manage their social media profiles effectively. That’s where Social Media Management steps in as a golden opportunity for you. If you’re savvy with platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can turn this into a lucrative side-hustle or even a full-time business.

The beauty of starting a social media management business lies in its low overhead costs. Essentially, all you need is a good internet connection, a computer, and your existing social media know-how. You’ll be helping other companies grow their online presence, engage with their customers, and drive sales—all tasks they’re more than willing to pay for.

To get started, you need to:

  • Identify Your Niche: Specializing in a specific industry can make you more attractive to certain clients.
  • Build Your Own Presence: Show off what you can do by curating your social media profiles.
  • Offer Packages: Create a range of service packages for different needs and budgets.

Here’s a quick rundown of services you might offer and potential monthly rates:

Service OfferedAverage Monthly Rate
Basic Management$300 – $500
Content Creation$500 – $1,000
Full Strategy & Execution$1,000 – $2,000

Remember, success in social media management comes down to staying updated with the latest trends, algorithms, and best practices. Moreover, showcasing your success stories and building a strong portfolio will help attract more clients. Networking, both online and in-person, can also open doors to new opportunities.

Given the ever-growing importance of digital marketing, social media management offers you a real chance to build a sustainable business by helping others grow theirs.

Virtual Assistance

Diving into the world of online businesses, you’ve likely realized the immense opportunities that require minimal financial input. Virtual assistance is a prime example, and it’s not just about answering calls or managing emails anymore. This field has evolved, allowing entrepreneurs like yourself to offer specialized services based on your unique skill sets. Whether it’s social media management, content creation, or administrative support, the demand is high, and the entry barriers are surprisingly low.

Starting as a virtual assistant (VA) means you’re harnessing the power of the internet to work from anywhere, at any time. That’s freedom that few traditional jobs can offer. Plus, the startup costs? They’re almost negligible. All you need is a reliable computer, a good internet connection, and the drive to succeed. Most importantly, the average rate for virtual assistants can be quite attractive.

Here’s a quick glance at the potential earnings:

Service OfferedAverage Hourly Rate (USD)
General Administrative Support$15 – $30
Social Media Management$20 – $40
Content Creation and Management$25 – $50
Technical Support Services$30 – $60

To kickstart your venture into virtual assistance, identify the services you’re most passionate about and qualified for. Then, build your online presence. A strong, professional LinkedIn profile can be a great starting point, complemented by a simple, yet effective website showcasing your services and past projects.

Networking is key in this business. Start by tapping into your existing contacts, let them know about your new venture, and don’t shy away from using social media platforms to reach potential clients. Remember, every successful business solves a problem, so focus on how your services can address specific needs within your target market.

By staying updated with the latest digital tools and continuously improving your skill set, you’ll not only attract clients but also retain them. Virtual assistance offers a scalable business model that grows as you grow, both professionally and financially.

Handmade Crafts

Starting a business in handmade crafts taps into your creative spirit and connects you directly with customers looking for something unique and personal. In a world where mass-produced items dominate, the demand for one-of-a-kind, handcrafted products is rising. You might already be crafting as a hobby – why not turn it into a profitable venture?

First, consider what type of crafts you’re passionate about. Jewelry, home decor, personalized stationery, and artisanal skincare products are just a few categories that have seen success in the handmade market. Your unique touch and the story behind your products can become your brand’s strongest selling points.

Marketplaces like Etsy and ArtFire are great platforms to kickstart your business with minimal upfront costs. These sites cater to a global audience, instantly broadening your potential customer base. However, setting up your own website gives you complete control over your brand, allowing you to stand out in the crowded market. Platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce make this easier than ever, even for those without technical expertise.

Pricing is crucial. Research your market thoroughly to ensure your prices cover materials, time, and a profit margin while staying competitive. Remember, undervaluing your work not only reduces your earnings but also undermines the perceived value of handmade crafts as a whole.

A snapshot of average startup costs and potential earnings:

ItemCost RangeEarnings Potential
Raw Materials$100 – $500
Online Storefront$30 – $300/month
Marketing$0 – $500

Networking plays a significant role in the handmade craft scene. Engaging with your community, participating in craft fairs, and leveraging social media can help you build a loyal following. Collaboration with other crafters and shops can also open new doors for your business.

Remember, patience and persistence are key. It might take a bit of time to find your footing, but once you do, the satisfaction of creating and selling your own crafts is unparalleled. Keep honing your craft, listening to customer feedback, and experimenting with new ideas to grow your business sustainably.


Starting a blog is like planting a seed. It might not look like much at first, but with time, care, and dedication, it can grow into something substantial and rewarding. If you’re passionate about a topic, whether it’s fashion, finance, or food, sharing your insights and experiences can not only become a fulfilling pursuit but also a profitable one.

The beauty of blogging is its low entry barrier. Initially, your primary investments are time and creativity. You can start a blog with platforms like WordPress or Blogger without spending a dime. Yet, choosing a domain name and getting a hosting plan can give your blog a more professional touch for under $100 a year.

Monetization is where the excitement really starts. There are several paths to turn your blog into a revenue stream:

  • Advertising: Platforms like Google AdSense offer a way to earn money through ads on your blog.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Recommending products and earning a commission for every sale made through your link is a great way to leverage your content.
  • Selling Products or Services: Whether it’s eBooks, courses, or consulting, your blog can be a powerful platform to sell directly to your audience.

Remember, blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires patience, consistency, and engagement with your readers. Networking with other bloggers and being active on social media can also amplify your reach and influence.

What truly sets successful bloggers apart is their commitment to providing value. Always be learning and evolving to keep your content fresh and engaging. Attend workshops, webinars, and use analytics to understand what resonates with your audience. Your passion is the fuel, but your willingness to adapt and grow ensures the journey is both thrilling and fruitful.

So if you’ve got something to say and a desire to connect with an audience, blogging could be your path to not just sharing your vision, but also paving the way to an exciting side hustle or even a full-time career.

E-commerce Store

Starting an E-commerce Store is an incredible way to dip your toes into the world of online business without breaking the bank. Imagine having the ability to sell products to anyone, anywhere, 24/7, while you’re possibly even asleep. It’s not just a dream; it’s a very attainable reality. With platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy, you can launch your store with minimal upfront costs. These platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and a host of tools to get your business off the ground.

Firstly, focus on finding a niche market with high demand but low competition. This could be anything from eco-friendly household goods to specialty fitness equipment. Once you’ve honed in on your niche, it’s about crafting a brand that resonates with your target audience. This includes everything from your store’s name and logo to the tone of your product descriptions.

When it comes to sourcing products, dropshipping is a fantastic low-cost option. This business model allows you to sell products without ever handling them yourself. Instead, when an order is placed, the product is shipped directly from the supplier to the customer. Not only does this cut down on initial investment and risk, but it also simplifies logistics.

Marketing your e-commerce store is another critical component. Utilize social media platforms, SEO strategies, and email marketing to draw in customers. Remember, engagement and consistency are key. Provide value through informative and entertaining content that encourages followers to visit your store.

Let’s not forget the power of customer reviews and word-of-mouth referrals. Make it easy for satisfied customers to leave positive feedback and share their experiences with others. A solid reputation can significantly boost your store’s visibility and credibility.

Start-up ComponentEstimated Cost
Domain Name$10 – $15/year
Hosting$5 – $20/month
Inventory$0 (Dropshipping)

Costs are approximate and can vary.

By leveraging online platforms, focusing on niche markets, and utilizing dropshipping, you can start an e-commerce business with low upfront costs. Remember, success in e-commerce comes from understanding your market, being patient, and persistently optimizing your strategies.


Stepping into the entrepreneurial world doesn’t have to drain your savings. With the ideas shared, from graphic design to e-commerce, you’ve got a plethora of options that won’t break the bank. Remember, success in these ventures hinges on identifying your niche and connecting with your audience authentically. Leveraging platforms like Shopify and Etsy can kickstart your e-commerce journey with ease. And don’t underestimate the power of solid marketing strategies and the magic of positive customer feedback. It’s all about starting small, dreaming big, and scaling wisely. So pick your passion, plan meticulously, and dive into the exciting journey of business ownership. Who knows? Your small investment today might be the foundation of your financial freedom tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What low-cost business opportunities does the article suggest?

The article recommends several low-cost business opportunities, such as graphic design, social media management, virtual assistance, crafting handmade items, starting a blog, and launching an e-commerce store.

How can one start an e-commerce store with minimal upfront costs?

Starting an e-commerce store with minimal upfront costs is feasible through platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy. These platforms allow easy setup with low initial investment, making them ideal for new entrepreneurs.

What is critical to success in e-commerce according to the article?

Success in e-commerce, as per the article, hinges on finding a niche market with high demand and low competition, creating a resonant brand, and employing strategies like dropshipping to minimize sourcing costs.

How does dropshipping work as a low-cost sourcing option?

Dropshipping allows you to sell products without holding inventory. When an order is placed, the product is directly shipped from the supplier to the customer, minimizing storage and upfront product costs.

What marketing strategies does the article advise for e-commerce businesses?

For e-commerce success, the article advises focusing on social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, leveraging customer reviews, and utilizing word-of-mouth referrals to attract and retain customers.

Why are customer reviews and word-of-mouth referrals important?

Customer reviews and word-of-mouth referrals are crucial as they build trust and credibility for your e-commerce store. Positive feedback can significantly influence buying decisions of potential customers and enhance brand reputation.

What are the estimated costs for starting an e-commerce business?

While the article suggests that costs can vary, starting an e-commerce business typically involves minimal upfront investment, especially when using platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Etsy and employing dropshipping for product sourcing.