Starting your own business is an exciting prospect, but it can also be daunting if you don’t have a lot of capital to invest upfront. The good news is that with some creativity, passion, and hustle, you can get many types of businesses off the ground for less than $100 initial investment. I’ll explore five great low-cost business ideas that you can launch on a shoestring budget. Whether you want to start a side hustle or build a full-time business, these opportunities allow you to get your feet wet as an entrepreneur without taking on a lot of financial risk.


One of the easiest businesses to start with minimal cost is offering your skills and expertise as an independent consultant or freelancer. If you have experience in areas like marketing, accounting, web design, writing, translation, or specialized technical fields, you can market your services to other businesses and clients who need the help. All you really need to get started is a laptop, phone, and internet access which most people already have. Then you can connect with clients through your network, cold emails, LinkedIn, and platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Focus on building up your portfolio and reviews to attract more work.

Handmade Crafts

If you have a talent for arts, crafts, or making handmade goods, you can tap into the thriving handmade market online. You can sell products like jewelry, candles, artwork, crocheted blankets, woodworking, baked goods, and more. Initial supplies like craft materials and baking ingredients may cost you $50-$100 to have inventory. Then focus on setting up accounts on places like Etsy where you can list products. Use social media and local craft fairs to promote your business. As sales pick up, reinvest the profits into more inventory.

Resale Arbitrage

For those with an eye for finding valuable items at thrift stores and garage sales, reselling items online can make for a lucrative business that only requires time and effort upfront. Scout your local second-hand stores, estate sales, and Craigslist for undervalued items to buy low. Then do some research online to identify items that can sell for a higher price on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. As little as $50 can get you started with enough initial inventory. Use any profits to expand your inventory and scale up over time.

Affiliate Marketing

If you enjoy writing, reviewing products, and have a knack for marketing – affiliate marketing could be a great low-cost business for you. Choose affiliate programs related to your interests and niche. Then promote affiliate products and links through product reviews, how-to articles, YouTube videos, social media posts, and your own website or blog (which can be started for less than $100). You earn a commission each time someone clicks your link and makes a purchase. While it takes time to build traffic, affiliate marketing can become highly profitable over time.

Virtual Assistant/Administrative Services

Finally, you can start a virtual assistant or administrative services business with just a phone, computer, and internet connection. Many small business owners and executives need help with administrative tasks like data entry, email management, scheduling, travel arrangements, and more but can’t afford full-time staff. After developing your services and rates, connect with potential clients through sites like Upwork and Fiverr or by reaching out directly. As you build your client base, expand the services you offer.


Starting a successful business doesn’t have to require big upfront investment or taking out massive loans. With some strategic thinking and hustle, you can launch many viable businesses for less than $100 initial investment. Focus on providing valuable skills, products, or services, connecting with the right customers, and reinvesting profits wisely. Use these low-cost opportunities to lay the foundation for a larger company down the road if you desire. With passion and dedication, a small initial investment can go a long way towards building your dream business.