25 Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Start in Your Spare Time

If you're looking to make extra money on the side or thinking of going into business for yourself full-time, check out this list of seco...

If you're looking to make extra money on the side or thinking of going into business for yourself full-time, check out this list of second startup business ideas. If you are running low on capital but high on ambition and passion, you need business ideas that can be got off the ground with minimum to no initial investment. 

20 Low-Cost business ideas to start today

1. Local Business Consulting.


If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. 

25 Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Start  in Your Spare Time
2. Lawn care 

This is a seasonal job that can be lucrative if marketed to time-crunched homeowners who have better things to do on their days off than mow their lawns. It is a good job for someone who likes to be outdoors and can be started inexpensively with fliers, business cards, and a lawnmower. Also, it's a business that you can quickly scale into a bigger operation.

3. Property Manager.


Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their assets. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on the side with relatively little work on your part. From collecting rental checks to managing repairs and improvements, or simply being on call for emergencies, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors.

4. Babysitting 

Babysitting isn't a teenager's job anymore. If you like children, then this could be a side business for you. Network in your community and be prepared to be available for work at night and on the weekends. 

5. Cleaning services 

Where there are people, there will be a need to clean. Whether you focus on cleaning houses or go after business from companies, this second startup business idea will cost as much as supplies and the fliers needed to get your name out in the community. The hours for the cleaning service could dovetail nicely with a regular Monday through Friday job—businesses usually want their buildings cleaned at night and on weekends.

6. Portrait Photographer.


If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to make a side income. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea.

7. Catering

If you like to cook and can plan out a meal from beginning to end, this could be a side business for you. Offer party catering as well as business lunches as a way to keep business opportunities available. Build a customer base by creating relationships in your community and ask for client testimonials as a way to show potential new clients what you have done at past events. Costs would include making fliers and possibly having samples of your cooking available for tasting by future customers.

8. Fill Out Online Surveys.


It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but online surveys do pay out, believe it or not. Just don't expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income and turning to surveys in your downtime.

9. Errands

If you like helping people, you may like running errands for people in your community. Market to those in your community who don't have a lot of time for chores or may be housebound.

10. Ghostwriter.


Ghostwriting pays pretty well, and if you're talented at researching and creating great content within a certain subject domain, you can quickly build a roster of high-paying clientele. Writers like Jeff Haden have built very lucrative careers for themselves by writing for business executives and CEOs.

11. Baking.


It’s funny how much baking can relate to making money. Start bringing in some side income by kneading flour, mastering the oven, and appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth. While some experts have already turned baking into their sole “bread and butter,” you need not leave your day job just yet. Depending on your experience, you can start by doing something simple on the side like Grandma’s nostalgic cookies before heading on to offer excellent artisanal fare.

12. Instagram Marketing.

Build up a following on your Instagram account, and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram. If you have hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post or more—which makes for a very profitable side business idea. Check out this Fashion Instagrammer on ThePennyHoarder, making a significant income from brand sponsorships. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.

13 . Handyman

If you can fix a rain gutter, do simple electrical repairs or know how to spackle, turn those home-improvement skills into a side business. Make sure to check with your state about any possible permits or licenses needed to work. 

14. Virtual assistant 

If you like organizing things, weeding through e-mails, posting to social media and keeping people on a schedule, market those skills to small-business owners who are too busy growing their own businesses to take care of those things themselves. The costs of starting this business could include a computer and stable Internet connection to maintain contact with your clients.

15. College Application/Financial Aid Planning Consulting Business

A financial aid planner helps parents get the lowest possible price for their child's college education, thus saving them money. Tapping into financial aid resources is not just about being smart. It is about being aware of the resources that are available. 
This business involves advising parents and high school students on selecting a college, filling out the application and financial aid forms, providing tips for writing the college essay, advising parents about tax implications on college savings plans, and negotiating the best possible financial aid package when a college offer is received. 
A sound knowledge of higher education institutions and a thorough understanding of financial aid options are necessary. Market your services to secondary schools, libraries, private tutorial centers, and universities.

16. Consultant 

Maybe you've changed careers during your working life. Offer your skills to that former industry as a paid consultant. Since you worked in the industry, you already have contacts you could market to as being available for hire.

17. Match Making or Wedding Planner

It is said that marriages are made in haven but celebrated on earth  So to celebrate/enjoy marriage many people today go for the wedding planner. In today’s scenario match making or wedding planner is the good business option to start with.

18. Snow removal 

This seasonal business can be lucrative but is dependent upon the weather. When looking for potential customers, think houses as well as small businesses. The costs for starting this business can be as little as the price of fliers, business cards, and a shovel—or higher with more equipment.

19. Web Design.

Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. 
There are always new sites popping up in need of professional web design, and foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don't Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is a viable side business idea for you.

20. Online content production 

If you have a knack for grammar and love to write, content production for websites could be a second business startup for you. The cost to kick off this business includes a computer and an Internet connection. Market your skills on sites including elance.com, where potential employers look for contract workers.

21. Pet sitting and walking 

Combine a love for animals and a love of the outdoors. Many people leave their pets at home alone most of the day while they are at work, but are willing to pay people to check on their pets and walk them during the day. The cost to start this business would be marketing materials and a reliable car to get from client to client.

22. Ghost story writing

Ghost writing is an excellent pursuit for freelancers looking for money and willing to forgo a byline. Websites are always on the lookout for quality freelancers, too. Create a website to promote your freelance writing business.

23. Delivery service 

Do you like going to different locations through the day? A courier company may be a good fit for you. Market your services to businesses.

24. Investing Your Money.


If you keep your money hidden in the attic or earning close to nothing in a savings account, you might want to consider putting it to better use through smart investing. Sure, there are plenty dangers to look out for, but most personal finance experts will advise you to start learning about the stock market if you want to grow your wealth.

25. Modeling.

If you've got the attitude, there should be a product or service out there looking for the right model to promote their brand. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modeling gigs as an independent talent. Since modeling is a complex field, get all the advice you need before jumping right in and find a mentor who can guide you through some of the early challenges before establishing your brand. 
Depending on your preference, you can specialize in a single media format such as video or still images, to build a compelling portfolio.

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