1000 Ways to Start a Business with $1,000 or Less
1,000 Ways to Start a Business with Less than $1,000

So many people today have the misconception that starting a business takes a lot of money. The old saying, “It takes money to make money” has been ingrained in far too many people’s memories. The truth is, it does NOT take money to make money. It takes value to earn money. You must provide others (your customers) with massive value. In return, they will gladly send you money.

So here it is…

1000 ways to start a business with less than $1,000

1. Write a Book. Turn your passion into a mission to educate others - write a book and self-publish it.

That’s exactly what Helen Georgaklis, Founder of the 99 Book Series did!

"This book series, which became the first ever to publish all 13 books digitally was started with 2 things- an idea and determination. I had no money as I had just been left by my ex with a 2 day old. Picked up the phone,starting calling, started networking online, started working the ‘barter" system again and 4 years later, 13 books, another 15 authors writing for us as we work towards international expansion in 2011! Didn’t have a dime to spend- but had heart, desire and ambition. Our first 2 years, we spent zero and we built a site and designed the first original covers! www.99-series.com - For under $1000.00 we created a new trend!”

2. Start a blog with Google AdSense, Chitika ads, an Amazon store, an eBay store, text link ads, or sell your own products or services

3. Become a distributor or representative for a network marketing company or party plan company

4. Start a business selling items on eBay

"I am an eBay Top-Rated Seller and eBay instructor who loves to teach people how to start businesses on eBay.  I started out by selling items around the house and now sell approximately 150 items and $3,000+ per month.  eBay is not a joke.  eBay offers people the opportunity to start their own businesses for very little money — even if they live in rural areas. 

When I’m not selling on eBay, I am a teacher at a local adult school where I help people earn high school diplomas.  I work 30 hours per week at the school and am still able to run my eBay business.  You can start a business, and you can start one today.  The key is to get educated.  If you are interested in becoming an eBay seller, find an eBay Education Specialist in your area or contact me for more information.

For ideas on what to sell, check out my blog, The eBay Life, and my store, Blue Frog Shoes." - Thanks to Miriam Otto

5. Start a business selling books or other items on Amazon.

6. Buy wholesale merchandise and resell it.

You can buy items at a large discount in bulk from a Liquidator and sell them individually.

"It is increasingly easy to start your own business by reselling product from your own website or third party websites like eBay.com or Amazon.com. With a small investment of well under $1,000, you can purchase Wholesale Merchandise from a liquidator, manufacturer or wholesaler, and resell it by the piece online for a profit.

There are dozens of companies out there who specialize in taking over unwanted inventory from the nation’s leading department stores. They stock this merchandise and resell it to start-up companies, retailers or individuals looking to increase their monthly earnings.

These products are generally sold in small (or large) lots and are shipped directly to your home or office. Once you receive them, you can photograph them, describe them and begin listing them online.

Setting up an eBay store or Amazon page is inexpensive. The websites charge you a small fee for listing the items and then a small percentage of the final selling price. Everything above that is profit in your pocket. You can also sell on free websites like Craigslist, or set up your own website and online shopping cart.

The beauty of the online marketplace is that it is global. While you may not have customers yet, listing products on these websites allows you to reach an immense consumer base of people all over the world. These websites do their own advertising so you don’t need to pay anything to get the word out about your business.

As an example, you could purchase 25 pairs of new branded designer shoes or sneakers from a wholesaler or liquidator. You might pay between $10-$15 per pair for items that originally retail for $50-$150 depending on the model and brand.


List them on your eBay store, website, craigslist or Amazon page for $30-$45 or more. You could offer the items to your customers at a significant savings off the original price, and you would be at least doubling your investment, if not more.

Follow these simple steps to get started with reselling wholesale merchandise:

1) Research products that sell well on the websites of your choice.
You may notice that electronic items or household appliances do better than clothing or footwear, for instance.

2) Find a Liquidator you would like to work with. Make sure to look at their Better Business Bureau rating, their customer testimonials and what their reputation is in the industry. A quick Google search should tell you what you need to know.

3) Speak to their customer service reps and make your first purchase. Make sure they offer good service and that you can speak to a human being as well as order online.

4) Once you receive the items, take nice pictures of the products. Pictures speak louder than words so make sure they’re good quality shots from as many angles as possible.

5) Describe the items in as much detail as you can and include the original retail price if possible.

6) List them for a competitive price. See what others are selling similar items for and set your price a little lower than theirs.

7) Offer volume shipping discounts if customers purchase more than 1 item from you to entice them to purchase more, or give them the option of picking up the item in person to save on shipping.

Start small and grow your business slowly. If your starting budget is $1,000, don’t spend it all in one go. Invest $500 to start and see where that takes you. Allow yourself a small margin of error - if a particular product line doesn’t do as well as you thought, leave yourself a cushion to try again with different product lines. Once you determine there is a market for the items you have started selling and you start turning a profit, you can begin purchasing larger quantities and grow your business steadily.”  - Thanks to Via Trading Corporation

7. Start a website to sell products or services or sell Ad Space

One of the most amazing business start ups I’ve found is building an information website using SBI- “site build it”. I’ve had my site http://www.all-about-meat.com for several years and the adsense alone pays for the site. For those on a budget the start up costs are $30 a month or less if you pay by the year.  We signed up with SBI and used the site to promote our book Confessions of a Butcher-eat steak on a hamburger budget and save $$$.

My 15 yr old son bought an SBI site, played around with it for almost a year and then sold it for $500.  If fact I’m starting up another SBI site soon to promote MyQuietDolls.

Here are some tips to make your SBI experience even more successful. 

1) Buy SBI during the Christmas holidays when they have their buy one get one free sale. Team up with a good friend- you each do one and then support each other. 

2) Buy SBI from a friendly reliable knowledgeable affiliate like me.  If they get a little affiliate kick back then they are willing to answer some questions for you instead of you paying $20 to call SBI for phone help instead of using their free email support. http://services.sitesell.com/butcherswife.html

3) Follow their process to the letter. Choose a profitable topic that you are totally passionate about to avoid burnout and then stick with it! It works!

4) Offer Free Stuff to Download http://freetrial.sitesell.com/butcherswife.html" - Thanks to Vickie Smith, President of Ark Essentials

Here’s another story from Renee Harris:

"I started my business with $100 worth of ingredients, a borrowed canopy
and two handsome young sons. We sold lotion at a farmer’s market. We
didn’t make a lot of money at the farmer’s market, but it was six months
of research and development and making enough to put back into the
business to take it online.


A year later it turned into a family business, with my husband as
project manager of the business. We made over $1000 on Black Friday from
selling online. We found the key to marketing is to look for a target
audience through popular blogs. The blogger reviews our product, we
offer a giveaway, and with the right blogger, a thousand dollars can be
made from one blog mention.” - Renee Harris from MadeOn Lotion

8. Create an eBook or report you can sell online - Information is free to create and people will pay for it if it’s valuable!

9. Turn your hobby into a business - how can you monetize what you do already? If you collect stamps, find out how you can make money buying and selling collectible stamps. Become an expert at what you’re already doing.

"I started my PR consultancy business in 2008 with under $1000 of my own money. I did not get a business loan to start, rather started with some business cards, a website that I made myself (under $100 for two years of domain & hosting), and office equipment that I already possessed such as my computer and printer.

In my opinion it is much easier to start a service-based, B2B business than product-based or B2C business because your “product” is your own skill set and knowledge. I have since offered marketing consulting, copywriting, and editing to my roster in addition to Publicity campaigns because of the education and skills that I already possessed during the years prior to starting my business, and gained along the way.” - Thanks to Sandra Garcia of Middle Child Marketing

10. Start a paper route

11. Distribute products door-to-door

12. Become a consultant and help companies in your area of expertise

Bert Martinez Communications is a Business and Marketing Training company. 95% of businesses fail in the first 2 years because they can’t attract new customers. We focus on helping businesses and sales people attract and
manage more clients.

The company began operations in 1996 from our kitchen table and then a spare bedroom. Today the company has two offices and serves small to Fortune 500 companies.” - Thanks to Bert Martinez - Connect on Facebook.

13. Become a coach or advisor and help people in your area of expertise

14. Build your personal brand and use it to sell products or services you believe in

15. Create your own product or service to help others

16. Create a YouTube video that goes viral

17. Create an iPhone or Android application

18. Create an online newsletter that educates others

"When I started my business I was a broke university student.  I didn’t have money to get going, so I had to start the company with a total of less than $700, which enabled me to get my web site and a few supplies.  Since I couldn’t pay anyone to build the site for me, I had to learn to do it myself.


The great opportunity was that, since it was an online newsletter, I was able to have unlimited product at a very low price, which really extended the lifeline of my company.


Sometimes I would work all week and make no money at all.  When I would sell a few subscriptions, that money was quickly pumped back into the business to plug holes and put out fires.  By this point, even buying groceries was a problem.
However, with little tweaks here and there, I soon was making $300 a month.  Then it became $300 a week.  As the Internet increased in popularity, business picked up even further, and soon enough I was pulling in $300 a day.  

By the beginning of 2000, we had days where we pulled in 20 times that amount, and while the newsletter became more widely followed, it generated coverage from major media, and led to book and infomercial deals.  That is a pretty good return on an initial investment of less than $700.” - Thanks to Peter Leeds of PennyStocks.com

19. Create a Social Media following on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Digg, Reddit, or elsewhere

20. Buy and sell coins, jewelry, antiques or other rare items

21. Create coloring books

22. Create audio books

23. Start a Tumblr Blog

24. Become a representative for a direct sales company like Vector (which would not be network marketing)

25. Buy real estate with no money down - this is called Wholesaling where you get a contract or option to buy a property and sell that contract to another real estate investor for a premium

26. Raise money from private investors and invest in your area of expertise

27. Start a hedge fund (Glen Bradford did - see www.globalspeculation.com)

28. Start a home based cleaning business

“After being told by my boss at the time that I couldn’t take a day off to go to the dentist to have a tooth pulled, I decided to take control of my future and start my own business. I reviewed many opportunities but chose the cleaning business because I could start it on a shoe-string and keep my current job at the same time. This approach allowed me to grow my business as fast or as slow as I desired.

With roughly a $100.00 budget, I started by simply registering my business name and purchasing some basic cleaning supplies. The next step was to tell everyone I knew that I was now in the cleaning business.

Within a few months this strategy paid dividends as I had several profitable cleaning accounts under my belt. The income from these accounts was then reinvested back into the business, which resulted in even more customers.

The best advice I could provide to anyone just getting started is to make every effort possible to provide knock your socks off service to each client. Nothing in the world will grow your cleaning business faster than a bunch of highly satisfied customers”. - Tom Watson from Cleaning 4 Profit

29. Manufacture a product at home and sell it (Please consult an attorney and your city’s zoning laws before doing so.) This is how I started my first business at age 13! My dad and I started manufacturing SAD Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder in our garage at home. If I can do it, you can do it!

30. Start a Squidoo Page about whatever you want and earn money from the ads and product sales - or just donate it to charity!

31. Create an Online forum or social network using a site like Ning where people can connect and talk about their favorite hobby - which just might be your favorite hobby!

32. Create instructional CD’s, DVD’s, videos, or programs to educate people

33. Create instructional retreats, seminars, or conferences to educate people and sell tickets

34. License a patent or technology that you or someone else invented to a company that can commercialize it. Universities all across the United States and the world have millions of uncommercialized patents and processes that you can create a business with - with little or no cost. Just call up a university and ask for the Technology Transfer Office - then ask for all the patents and processes they have for sale in the area of your interest.

35. Write and/or record a song

36. Write a play, movie script, or theatrical performance

37. Create a business with options or other financial contracts

38. Become a professional photographer and charge people money to take good pictures of them

39. Join an Affiliate Program and market other people’s services and products - all at no cost to you, and you get paid whenever someone buys through your affiliate. It’s like a join venture with a massively successful company such as Amazon or Squidoo or thousands of others.

40. Become a tester or reviewer! People get paid to test video games, review movies, test consumer products, cars, new products, websites, and just about anything else you can dream of. If you love something or have a hobby you’re passionate about, consider being a tester or reviewer in that area.

41. Import products. There are so many high quality, low priced products in other countries. Find a way to import them and sell them! When I traveled to India back in 2006, I saw so many incredible crafts and products that were incredibly cheap. Anyone could import them and sell them at a 100% markup easily in the United States. Why aren’t you doing that?

42. Become a book reviewer. You can review books on Amazon.com and build your personal brand. Some book reviewers on Amazon have such a following and have built up so much respect for themselves that they get free books all the time sent to them and their opinion and reviews can make or break the sales of a book on Amazon.

43. Sell Commodities. No I don’t mean futures contracts. I mean sell commodities! Ever heard of gratitude rocks? People actually just pick pretty stones and sell them as gratitude rocks for $5, $10 or even more. Not only are they earning money, they’re helping educate others about the importance of gratitude in their lives. What are you grateful for?

44. Write Software. Write software that people want, that people can use that will help them and sell it online.

45. Turn your job into a business. If you have a job now, see how you can turn your job skills into a business. If you keep the accounts accurate for your employer, you could start hiring your accounting and financial consulting services to other businesses in the area.

John Schulte wrote a book on the subject of starting a small/home business. “The Direct Marketing Toolkit for Small and Home Business” http://www.nmoa.org/directmarketingtoolkit/

He writes, “My input is that for a person to start a biz on a shoestring ($1,000) they must first outline their skills/abilities and what they have on hand already to start. With a $1,000 you can “start” almost any business, but it’s not enough to sustain most things and get yourself some cash flow going unless you have some kind of base to work from.

Service businesses are the best bet to start on a shoestring.

For example, a laid-off carpenter would most likely already have tools and building skills, so it would be wise for him to come up with a business in that area and use the $1,000 for working capital for supplies and promotion.

The key would be having a narrow focus.

For example:

- General Handyman
- Building Picnic Tables or Outdoor Furniture
- Building Dog Houses
- Building Bunk Beds
- Building Garden Trellises, Raised Planting Beds, Planting Benches

The other type of business for a carpenter would be to buy and sell tools to other carpenters. He already has the knowledge of what tools are good and needed in the eyes of other carpenters, and also the pricing area of tools. This could be both used and new. Of course, the carpenter would have to have some social people skills needed for selling.” - Thanks to John Schulte

Another good story of someone turning their job skills into a business:

"As Two 50 year old women we couldn’t find reasonable employment so we looked at different businesses and industries. The fastest growing business opportunity with the most potential long term growth and revenue was New Media or Internet Distributed Radio and Video. 
It was inexpensive to get into (gear and platform and all) and we had experience.
My background in radio and video production and my biz partners background in starting and growing international businesses - Internet Media Broadcasting was a perfect fit!” - Thanks to Kathryn Mullen of www.newfuturenetwork.info

46. Make crafts and sell them. Kids do it all the time with things like bead bracelets and bead animals. You can learn how to it online at various websites like www.craftsforkids.com

Bead Animal

47. Community Education

48. Jewelry Making

49. Bread Baking

50. Selling Eggs. Just buy chickens, build a coop, feed them mainly on your lawn and scraps and sell their eggs for $3 a dozen. - Thanks to Christine Shuck of Creative Solutions for her entrepreneurial spirit and contribution for business ideas #47 - 50.

51. Publishing Consulting Business. This is pretty cool - I’m quoting here from Shel Horowitz (@ShelHorowitz) of www.guerrillamarketinggoesgreen.com

"29 years ago, I started the home-based marketing and publishing
consulting business I still run. Total startup was $200, of which $12 
went to marketing, $12 for office supplies, and $176 for a very used
IBM Selectric typewriter I bought at a school auction.

I’m still home-based, but now have clients on three continents. And I
still run on a shoestring.

Today, assuming I already had a computer and a broadband connection,
I’d be able to do it for $9 (the cost of a domain), using methods I
talk about in my books, including Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green:
Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet
. Using
social media takes only time, not money. Setting up a website can be
done for nothing with WordPress (and many Internet service providers
include room for a small website). Payments can be accepted with no
upfront cost using Paypal and Intuit Payment Network. Yes, it is
possible to skip the domain, but I wouldn’t recommend it; just last

month, I was all set to explore doing some business with someone and then I noticed his website had a Tripod address—FAIL!

Pretty much any consulting business that doesn’t require specialized
equipment can be started at basically no cost. Information marketing
can also be started on this budget. Neighborhood-oriented services
(e.g., pet sitting, in-home cooling, personal shopping) might even be
able to get away without the domain, at least for a little while.”

52. A Property Management Company. Quoting here firm Matt Landau, Owner of Los Cuatro Tulipane,

"Regarding [starting a business with $1,000 or less], with around $500, I started whats now the most successful property management company in the historic district of Panama City in the Republic of Panama. The start-up costs involved contracts with owners, building a website, and some grassroots PR while perhaps most importantly identifying the right niche (considering at that time, there were no accommodations in our neighborhood — a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Casco Viejo). Running the operation like a hotel (focusing on nightly vacation rentals), we kept overhead and only hired staff (maintenance, cleaning, guest services) when demand required it."

53. Decorate homes for the holidays. Everyone wants to have a pretty home for the holidays - lend a hand and earn some extra money doing it.

54. Decorate yards for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

55. Start a dog walker, pet sitter, pooper scooper business (Only if you love dogs!)

"Some specifics about starting dog walker/sitter business - these are in huge demand right now! You can start with $100 of flyers and post at local vets, and pet retailers, also post on facebook/twitter,church,schools etc. Most people charge 15-$45 per dog per walk, so when you see somebody walking down the street with 10 dogs they can be pulling down $100 per hour.

Many homeowners hire walkers to come 3 times a day. With modern social networking and an industry that has exploded to 50 billion a year, it’s an in demand business and easy to launch. The pet industry has grown double digits yearly even through the recession. And the demand for this is outpacing supply - so take your fair share and help those people with dogs!” - Thanks to Harrison Forbes of www.harrisonforbes.com

56. Start a Renovation Company. Are you an auto mechanic or computer geek? Then you probably have all the skills necessary to buy and sell used and renovated cars or computers.

57. Start a tutoring business! Teach another language, musical instrument, computer, cooking, chemistry, whatever you have to offer.

"I started my SAT prep business, Study Smart Tutors Inc, from my college dorm at USC in 2007 for WAY less than $1,000.


At the beginning, I spent about $50 on some SAT books on Amazon, found some cheap business cards online, and made a really terrible website myself. All in all, I spent about $175 total.

With such a low start-up cost, my business was profitable literally on day one and we have yet to look back. Now having been in business for three years, I still take this same bootstrapping approach to spending, and therefore maintain huge margins on all our services.


I highly recommend a tutoring or other personal service business for those looking to start a low-investment yet high-margin business!” - Thanks to
Jack Friedman of www.StudySmartTutors.com

58. Start a massage business

59. Start an aromatherapy business

60. Start an intuitive counseling business - Thanks to CeliaSue Hecht for contributing ideas #53-60. Learn more from her and download her E-Guide to getting cold hard cash in your wallet at http://sites.google.com/site/celiasueink/

61. Start a Lawn Mowing or Landscaping Business. Thanks to Roman Price of www.LifePulp.com, quote,

"I started my lawn cutting business for under 1,000. Bout a small trailer 400 bucks, lawn mower, 250, blower and strimmer 250 and had 100 dollars left over for business cards.

I charged 20 dollars a cut, front and back and a turn-up of the soil in the gardens. I was able to do 2 houses as long as they were on the same street and averaged $40 per hour. Not bad for a 17 year old kid.”

62. Start a Marketing Communications Business

"Back in 2006, I launched my business of providing marketing
communications—with no money. I had a computer already and Internet
access, which is about all that’s needed to be a writer. Even if the
person had nothing, buying a phone, inexpensive computer, and Internet
access would definitely be less than $1,000. That means low overhead
moving forward, so better profits!”

All the best,
Amanda Collins
Chief of Staff, The Grammar Doctors (www.grammardocs.com)

63. Become a Registered Investment Advisor.

"I was able to start my business as a Registered Investment Advisor for less than $1,000. Let me know what questions I can answer for you.

Start up costs included:

Series 65 Exam Fee -$135.00 

Domain Registration and Web Hosting Fees -$141.17 

LLC Filing with State of Georgia -$100.00 

Georgia Investment Advisor firm Registration -$250.00 

U4 Filing for individual as an Investment Advisor Representative -$50.00 

Fingerprint card from local police department -$10.00 

FBI Federal Criminal History Report -$18.00

Total Cost: $704.17.”

Thanks to Alex R. Foster, Registered Investment Advisor, of AF Capital Management, LLC

64. Start a Public Relations Business

"I started an online PR company that specializes in social media marketing and online copywriting services. My partner, Joan Barrett, and I started our company on less than $1,000 and so far we’ve been very happy with our success. Here’s how we did it:

We had our web designer build our website off of a WordPress template. It cost us $500 total

We find our freelance writers on Craigslist, where we can post ads for free

We use Project Bubble to manage our projects/freelance work, which we spend $19/month on

We use Hootsuite to manage our clients social media accounts (it was free when we started, but now its $5.99/month)

We write our own web content and blog posts (free)

We use Skype to talk to clients/share screens (free)

Since all of our work is done remotely, we each work from home (or meet up at coffee shops, which costs no more than $100/month)

We bought a couple of books to hone our skills ($100, used on Amazon)

Our SEO keyword research tool costs $50/month

All told, we came in well under $1,000. Since we started in October, we’ve grown from three freelance writers to 33, and now we have three editors and two interns. Its taken more 15-hour days than I care to admit, but we’re on track to make more money this year than we ever have before.” - Thanks to Kari DePhillips of The Content Factory

65. Start an Event Planning Business


“I started my PR/Marketing and event planning firm in 2008 for next to no money. I designed my own website with a free template and pid $9.99 for my domain name then $4.99 a month for hosting. I used vista print to buy marketing supplies such as shirts, key-chains, fliers, postcards, and hats with all under $300. I created company introduction letters that I mailed to prospects.

I placed my website link on various sites for free with a reciprocal link on my site. I also volunteered my expertise on Micro Mentors which also helped build a base and show my company as a matter expert.”

Thanks to Cynthia “Cyn” M. for ideas #64 and 65
Publicist
President/CEO
1CCU PR-Media & Marketing
www.1creativeconceptpr.com

66. Start a Stand-up Comedy Business. Don’t you enjoy making others laugh?

"I invested $250 in a class on standup comedy, and this has turned into a phenomenal business. I now fly around the world doing comedy not only in the States, but Canada, UK, India, Netherlands, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, etc.! I performed at the Democratic national convention as well as three Obama inaugural events. Last Christmas I performed for Donald Trump. Also, I appeared in an Apple commercial last year.

A little background - I was a senior engineer with Intel Corporation. My job was to travel the world with Chairman Andy Grove, doing technical demonstrations on stage at events, and I was incredibly nervous about speaking on stage. I took a comedy class to get over the fear, and the comedy kind of took off.”

Dan Nainan
Comedian/Actor/Voiceover Artist/Computer Genius
www.nainan.com

67. Become a freelance Commercial Writer.

"My name is Peter Bowerman and I’m a self-published author of four award-winning books in the "Well-Fed" series (including 3 in "The Well-Fed Writer" family about freelance commercial writing - writing for businesses (projects like marketing brochures, ad copy, newsletters, web content, case studies, etc. - in short, any written material a company would have to create in the course of communicating with prospects, customers, and employees. I have coined the term "freelance commercial writing" for this field. It’s also known as copywriting, but the term "copywriting" is often used to denote ad copywriting, which is actually only one tiny sliver of the whole commercial writing world.


For those who know they’re good writers, it’s a bona fide low-investment, home-based business opportunity, and a little-known but lucrative writing direction, where practitioners can routinely earn hourly rates of $50-125+. And assuming someone has a computer, this opportunity has far less than a $1000 startup cost - perhaps half that or less. But it will require a lot of “sweat equity.”

I invite you to visit http://www.wellfedwriter.com for more information.

It is not a get-rich-quick proposition, but unlike most “freelance writing” opportunities which offer, at best, dubious financial prospects (i.e., writing for online-based content mills for maybe $5-10 per article), this is a professional writing direction whose practitioners are valued for the expertise they bring to the table and are compensated commensurate for that expertise, per the rates noted above. Hence, the name of my book - “The Well-Fed Writer” - to draw a clear distinction between this field and other “starving writing” opportunities.

Ideal candidates to excel in commercial freelancing are those who they have solid writing skills (though not necessarily brilliant talent) with broad-based experience and background in a particular industry who focus on pursuing writing opportunities within that field. That’s the beauty of the field - virtually any past career/industry/educational experience can be leveraged to build a business, making it a legitimate direction for those long-term unemployed looking for a way to capitalize on their deep knowledge of a field.

I’ve just released the updated edition of my first book, The Well-Fed Writer (originally an award-winning Book-of-the-Month club selection) - a heavily updated combination of that first book and its 2004 companion, TWFW: Back For Seconds.

The book has won four awards and is considered a how-to “standard” in the field.”

Thanks to Peter Bowerman of www.wellfedwriter.com

68. Start a Painting Business. Thanks to Ilene Davis, CFP, MBA of Cocoa FL

69. Sewing and Alterations

70. Computer Repair


71. Drain Cleaning


72. Direct Mail Preparation for Bulk Mailings

73. Order Taking and Fulfillment for Small Direct Marketers - Thanks to John Schulte for business ideas #69-73 (see #45 for more from John)

74. Start an Insurance Business.

"It’s not glamorous or exciting or even terribly creative (how many businesses really are?) but you can start a one-person health, life, annuity, long-term care and disability insurance agency for less than $1000. Of course "starting" and "succeeding" are two different concepts!!!" - Thanks to Alan N. Canton from Fair Oaks, CA http://www.ancins.com

75. Home staging business

76. Maintenance and landscaping company for foreclosures or bank owned properties

77. Toy Cleaning and Repairing Services

78. Reminder Services

79. Motor Vehicle Transportation Services

80. Roommate Referral Services. - Thanks to Christian Brenneman of
www.ethos360.com for business ideas #75-80

81. Start a Workout Class.

"So many folks think they need tons of money and capital to start a business.  I dont.

I started Broadway Bodies in nov 2008 - the fun way to workout - with $700.   Broadway Bodies is a dance workout class choreographed to show tunes, movie musicals, and pop videos.   To start, we needed a flyer, a facebook page, a website, and sweat equity.

My first thought was in order to get people to come to class - we needed a website - websites are 1,000s of dollars or you can make one on your own or you can find a student to do it for you.  Our first site was $350 to get up and running - we have since added bells and whistles.  We need a graphic designer - you can find those on fiverr or i hired a guy for $50 to design our logo.  found in a networking directory.   next - we needed flyers and cards - vistaprint - cheap easy and fast.  etc….

As a professional and certified life and business coach - my enterprise is aptly named Fun to Fortune - I work with people on how they can discover their passion with very little capital and create a business.  I have broadway bodies to prove its really possible - revenues grew 60% in 2010 and its a great business model - i love to share that story and help others find a fun business that they can start with little risk, lots of passion and desire, and under $1,000.” - Jeff Vilensky

Thanks to Jeff Vilensky of www.broadwaybodies.com

82. Start a Virtual Assistant Business.

"You can start a virtual assistant business for less than $1,000 if you already have a computer.  In general, here’s what you’ll need to get started (Prices are estimated):

* Up-to-date computer (Hopefully, you already have this and wont have to spend any money buying a new one.)
* High speed internet access (about $50 per month)
* Phone with low cost, preferably unlimited, long distance (about $30 per month)
* Website and domain name (About $500 to set up and $10 per month for hosting)  

If youd like to learn more, go to www.expertvatraining.com.” - Thanks to Kathy Goughenour

83. Create an Art, Jewelry or Clothing Store on Etsy.

"I started my part-time business with less than $1000 cash. I have a store on Etsy, which is an on-line handmade marketplace featuring work by artists, crafters, clothes designers, jewelry makers (etc). I make children’s portraits, and work from home.

My start-up costs were quite low - around $900. The costs included developing my product (around $700) and paying for some design work for a business card and stationary (around $200). Being able to have a store on Etsy eliminated the need for me to pay for an personal website and I got free advertising for my store by getting features on some large blogs such as Apartment Therapy and Cool Mom Picks. Etsy also has its own built in support community and forums which give wonderful advice to people beginning their business.” - Thanks to Emma Corcoran of www.bluedaydesigns.etsy.com

Another Etsy story:

"I made jewelry years ago, and didn’t make much money at it. However, now with Etsy, it is easy to create handmade items of all kinds and sell them over the Internet. Etsy charges fees out of the back end, so if you don’t sell anything, you don’t have to pay a listing fee. This is a win-win for Etsy and the handcrafter." - Thanks to Christine Shuck

84. Teach Community Education Classes.

"I started teaching community education classes on home organizing topics. This led to several other organizing classes and eventually, to a wide variety of classes.

Basically, what I know, I can teach. This means I make about $5,000 a year teaching classes on everything from life change to gardening and cooking, to crafts and organizing. I recently learned how to make my own facials and scrubs and turned it into a class a month later. It brings value to the community, and I make some side money for a few hours of talking about something I enjoy doing.” - Thanks again to Christine Shuck

85. Bake Bread and Sell it

"I actually started making bread, taking orders, and hand-delivering to my active cleaning clients. Weird but true! The same people who are too busy to clean are often in the market for home-baked wholesome foods and willing to pay a premium.

I charge an average of $5 for a baguette and $7 for a loaf of organic, multi-grain specialty breads. I will also be delivering fresh, organic eggs for $3 a dozen once my layers start producing in mid-summer. The initial investment on the chicks was $100, plus supplies and feed during the winter months and a chicken coop, all for about a total of $500.” - Christine Shuck of www.cs-creativesolutions.com 

86. Start An Online Gift Services Company

"With zero funds, I started what’s now the most rewarding career for myself selling customized care packages online. The primary reason I needed no monies to start is that I developed my own website using a free template-based software from Webnode.com (back when their sites didn’t include advertising to “free” memberships). I then started a word-of-mouth chain of events by contacting “friends & family” via email – then through social marketing like Facebook and Twitter.

My other FREE form of advertising is having “Mommy bloggers” review my service on their oh-so-popular blogs. I started my home business, Personalized Parcels, for two reasons. Firstly, I love sending care packages to people. I always have. My first memories of doing this go back to mailing a special package off to my friend from summer camp when we were back home. I wanted her to know how important she was to me, so I put together some of her favorite snacks, a book I thought she’d like, a photo of us together at camp, a small bottle of a perfume I thought she’d like, etc. Her reaction was priceless! She still mentions it every once in a while. No doubt we’re still in touch today because of meaningful gestures like her “personalized parcel.”

Secondly, I kept reading about and hearing about great new business ideas and e-commerce websites doing well with simple little ideas based on individual’s talents and ingenuity. I thought to myself – What do I like to do that I can turn into a home-based business? When I was pregnant and working full-time, I realized it was “time” to start my own business part-time in order to grow it at home while caring for my newborn baby.

Putting parcels together for my clients is so much fun for me. Some clients know exactly what they want and others want lots of ideas from me. Either way, it’s a true pleasure to put together customized care packages - knowing that the people on the other end of them will undoubtedly have a big smile on their face when they realize the special thought someone else put in for them to receive their gift!

I start with the person’s likes and hobbies – and, of course, the “occasion.” It might be a college student who needs some homemade treats. It might be a spouse who needs being reminded how special they are. It might be a corporate client needing “just the right gift” for a prospective customer.

I work with my client – coming up with ideas on what to include – and the two of us collaborate on the parcel until we think it’s ideal for the recipient. I email a photo of the parcel contents to my clients when parcels ship so they see exactly what their recipients are opening up when they receive their package. Most parcels typically include items like music, magazines, specialty food items like teas and candy, personal care products, books, stationery, etc. I’ve even made homemade cookies for some clients.

Special items might include a customized gift like a handmade ornament with a photograph of a house on the front signifying a new home purchase. In fact, I did this recently for a wife who was thanking her husband for helping her family get into their dream house. What fun!” - Thanks to Dez Stephens, founder of Personalized Parcels

87. Start an eLearning Business

"You could start an eLearning business if you have three things: a website, eLearning software (there’s free ones out there like udutu.com), and the ability to write curriculum.


Udutu even has an almost-free way to house your courses using Facebook. It’s called Udutu Teach and Udutu Learn. So many people want to teach others and using free or nearly-free platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Graspr, you can teach millions.” - Thanks to Holly Landau of Landau Leadership

88. Start an English Immersion Program in the US for Foreigners

"I came up with this Business idea well traveling to japan to visit a Friend, who is now my partner in this business. Well there i was watching him teach English and practicing his Japanese. I was very intrigued by this and how much fun he was having! So i started thinking, ‘How come there isn’t a place that teaches English and brings people back to the US to be emerged in our culture and have to practice their English?’

When i brought this idea up to my friend he was speechless! We began browsing the web to see if there is anything like it already. We found nothing of the sort. I was in Japan for 2 weeks with no prior knowledge about the culture or how to communicate. After my first week I caught on quite fast to the language and learned a lot about the culture.

   I’m 21 years of age and i have no prior education in Business. About 2 years ago i opened up a Hot Dog stand (Senor Bobs Hot Dogs ) in beautiful Sedona, AZ. I did have the pleasure of growing up out here and very grateful for it! With owning this business i know everybody in this town so it was an easy jump off point toasking questions about Hotels, Restaurants, Jeep tours etc. I came up with a solid agenda with a resort out here where my other business is located .
Starting this business just took a lot of dedication and not accepting ‘No’ for an answer. I leave The First of January to Really get this all started and going . My expenses are minimal. Starting off with plane ticket, website, Advertising, and all the books and videos on Sedona was approximately  $730.” - Thanks to up-and-coming entrepreneur Christopher Nimtz

89. Start A Knowledge-Based Business With No Start-Up Cost

"I took my sideline business (which was originally started with absolutely no start-up cost), full-time as my Plan B when I was laid off from the Corporate World for the second time, realizing my prospects to get a position commensurate with my experience and talents in my field were limited. This was easily done as my business was knowledge-based—original content infopreneuring—which is making money by creating original information products and services based on your unique knowledge on just about anything that people would value knowing about.  A knowledge-based business, where one monetizes and markets what they uniquely know, is one of the easiest, lowest cost businesses to start.

Examples of information products are e-books, audios, videos, and some examples of information services include coaching and training others by teleseminar or webinar. These can all be created with no cost or extremely low cost—easily for under $100—and a top quality offering can get that investment back in even just one sale. An important thing to note is many people will say that their business is an e-book they made. That’s not a business, that’s a product. If you create a full information product and service line that is backed by a plan and good ongoing marketing, that’s a business.

More specifically, an e-book can be created with a Word processing program, some royalty-free artwork (free, or low cost from a source like IStockPhoto.com) and access to Adobe Professional to turn the final product into a PDF (a free PDF conversion program trial is offered at Adobe.com). An audio can be created with a borrowed mike or an inexpensive one, and edited using the free program Audacity. You can do a teleseminar or webinar training with a free conference line (e.g. freeconferencecall.com) or a free or $1 trial of more extensive services like Instant Teleseminar or GoTo Webinar.” - Thanks to Melanie Jordan, Author of What You Know Is Worth More Than You Know! 

90. Start a Genealogy Business

"I started my family history research business on far less than $1,000
cash. I had 30 years experience doing research, and five years ago I
put a free ad in the newsletter of an organization I’m a member of. I
got my first client from that ad less than a month later. So far all
my advertising has been free. I joined the Association of

Professional Genealogists, and that is my primary ongoing expense.” - Thanks to Janice M. Sellers of Ancestral Discoveries


91. Start a Windshield Repair Business

"Windshield repair is a service with an estimated $500,000,000 annual market  and can be easily scaled to fit the amount of time you have to dedicate. This can be a full-time occupation or a side business to generate extra income. Basic start up costs are under $1,000 which includes equipment, business licensing, and general liability insurance.

To get started you need to select the equipment you want to use, learn how to do windshield repairs, form your business, and market the service. Professional quality equipment starts at around $800 and goes up from there. We market a Delta Kits system which includes enough supplies to complete 100 repairs, enough to generate about $5,500 in revenue.

Once you have the equipment and have learned how to use it, you need to market your service. This skill is relatively easy to master. Free videos and hands on training classes are available from reputable windshield repair equipment suppliers.

Marketing can be as simple as advertising on websites like www.WindshieldReferral.com (a free site) to radio and print campaigns in your market. A more direct approach like making sales calls on car dealerships or companies with vehicle fleets is also effective.

Delta Kits, a Eugene, Oregon company, has been in providing professional grade windshield repair equipment since 1984 and is one of the pioneering companies in this industry. We take pride in helping people understand the business before making a commitment and welcome your questions.” - Thanks to Danny Miller of Delta Kits

92. Start a Mobile Information Service

"I started Motivation To Your Mobile for under $500.00. The essentials were a domain name, website and subscription building software. It all started when I took advice from a friend. Ty was writing daily quotes and suggested I do the same. I kept reading about how many mobile users there are and jumped at the chance to design a service.    

They key ingredient to make Motivation To Your Mobile work is when I searched and found Mobile Us to partner with so my quotes could go straight to cell phone users at the push of a button.” - Thanks to Derrick Hayes of Motivation To Your Mobile 

93. Start an Educational Events Business

"I feel creating an events based company is the cheapest start up as there is little cost involved with getting people together who will pay you for tickets. After your first event you build your email list as well. All you really need to do is create compelling content that people are willing to pay for to see.

I recently hosted a conference called “Rocked The Recession” and worked out an agreement to pay the venue 10% of my profit so no up front cost. All the speakers agreed to do it for free. I used my dining room chairs for the speakers and did not rent speakers to keep it intimate. We were able to secure a few sponsors and the event was a success with over 100 people in attendance and this was my FIRST event.” - Thanks to Jess Loren of Mix Media Solutions

94. Start a Vlogging (Video Blogging) Business

"I am a vlogging and modeling mama for my site mamamodel.com. I first started vlogging during my pregnancies because I had so many friends always asking me for diet and lifestyle advice. I was also doing maternity modeling and thought it would be a good way for companies to see me and what I was about before hiring me. Almost instantly I began receiving comments from people wanting to hear more and even began getting free goodies in the mail from companies.


Excited and encouraged, I decided to take it up a notch. I spent about $50 in website domains, $75 on a wordpress theme that I am in the process of tweaking myself (luckily I know some CSS coding tricks), $40 toward website tracking software, and invested $400 on an iPhone so I could respond promptly to inquiries at all times. Eventually, I also spent $3500 on an HD video camera to get commercial quality film. 


After I established a better network in my new home state, California, and made friends with local media mavens, I created all-inclusive packages for companies who need new marketing images and videos but don’t want to spend precious time and money casting through craigslist or agencies. Instead, they come to me and based on their budget, I can give them HD videos, High Res professional model images, and access to my  existing network of avid readers and buyers. All the company has to do is send me details, products, and payment and I take care of the rest!  The only catch it is must be a product or service I approve of: natural, eco friendly, and awesome, because I am very real with my viewers. My babies and I have also been booked as “real clients” and spokesmodels for various companies who saw me off of my pages.


I have been leveraging CastingNetwork, Facebook, HARO, and Craigslist for all my jobs and media connections with great success. Now, my next step is to hire a PR firm who handles SEO, red carpet events, press releases, magazines, etc. in order to go to the next level of success. This will cost about $2000/month, which is far less than most retail rents and is the only monthly expense over $50. For very little risk and expense, blogging and modeling is the most thrilling and fulfilling job I could ask for and I am being paid handsomely for it.” - Thanks to Mama Heather of MamaModel.com

95. Start a Content Creation Business

"For a grand or less, anyone can start a consulting or freelance (e.g., content creation) practice. From marketing and finance to education and tech support, using your expertise to advise, create for or even teach others can be managed with just a phone line (land or mobile) and internet access.

Chances are you already have a client base—people you’ve been advising for free or creating content for because you enjoy doing so. Offer to do the same for an hourly or a flat rate. The difference is you’ll be getting paid to do what you enjoy most.

Your expertise and proven success will create awareness via word-of-mouth and therefore, increase sales.  As your income increases, allot monies from each sale to cover marketing expenses like business cards, Google or other ads, and a website. A website may be created and easily maintained for next to nothing via major email providers. Ecommerce providers like PayPal charge nominal per transaction fees, which means you, can expand your client base regionally and nationally without limiting your cash flow.  

Does your consulting or freelance practice have an international target audience? Do you provide a service where meetings are essential for business? Do you have to work with others on an assign? Video conferencing platforms limit the need for in-person meetings while “putting a face to a name”. Video conferencing also allows you to do business internationally at a fraction of the cost of using a landline. File and desktop sharing limit the need to report to an office and increases efficiency.

Add a viable product with exceptional customer service and the return on your $1,000 investment is more than guaranteed.” -Thanks to Isha Edwards, EPiC Measures LLC

…to be continued in the next post.

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