30 Businesses You Can Start With $1,000 Or Less (2023)

Updated: November 4th, 2023

Starting a business is tough, but money doesn't have to be a big obstacle.

Most businesses require a big investment, but if you do your research properly you might be able to find a business you can start with a very low amount of money.

Here at Starter Story, we've talked to thousands of founders, and many of them started with very few resources.

To show you some examples that you can get inspired by, we've put together a list of 28 business ideas that (believe it or not) were able to get started with less than $1,000, on average.

Check them out below:

1. Start an online course sales business ($50.1K)

Based on data from 6 successful online course sales business businesses, the median cost to start an online course sales business is $50.1K.

Do you know you can make money selling what you are passionate about? People are making money creating courses and selling them online. Common online courses include music, cooking, coding, web design, dropshipping, etc.

Thus, you can turn it into a passive income by launching online classes if you have a skill. All you need is to choose a target audience, create the online course and choose an online learning platform where you can sell the course.

The e-learning market is expected to be worth over $645 Billion in the next few years.

How much you can make: $100 — $300,000/month

How long does it take to build: 190 days (?)

For example, Cinquanta Cox-Smith started Cinquanta Cox-Smith in 2009.

They spent a total of $100 to get the online course sales business up and running.

2. Start a men's grooming company ($7.7K)

Based on data from 2 successful men's grooming company businesses, the median cost to start a men's grooming company is $7.7K.

A men’s barbershop just covers basic hair and facial hair needs. However, a men’s grooming service offers other services like waxing, plucking, facial peels, deep tissue massage, and much more.

According to experts, the demand for male grooming products and services will grow at approximately 6% CAGR, to reach $110 Billion in the next few years.

Therefore, 2024 could be the best time to start a men’s grooming business.

How much you can make: $100,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $7,700 (?)

How long does it take to build: 150 days (?)

For example, Doug Geiger started CanYouHandlebar in 2012.

They spent a total of $400 to get the men's grooming company up and running.

Based on data from 10 successful link building service businesses, the median cost to start a link building service is $1K.

Building links is necessary as it helps businesses improve the site’s visibility. However, link building can be overwhelming, so business owners hire experts.

If you are interested in starting an SEO business, anything along with link building can be a profitable venture. To become a link-building expert, embrace learning new SEO techniques, focus on producing valuable content, and network with other content creators.

How much you can make: $8,000 — $50,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

For example, Amit Raj started The Links Guy in 2016.

They spent a total of $200 to get the link building service up and running.

4. Become a game developer ($1K)

Based on data from 3 successful game developer businesses, the median cost to start a game developer is $1K.

Are you passionate about video games and want to turn your hobby into a career? Have you always dreamed of creating your own game and seeing it come to life on the market? If so, then becoming a game developer may be the perfect business opportunity for you.

As a game developer, your job will involve creating, designing, and coding video games from start to finish. This includes coming up with ideas for new games, creating prototypes and mockups, coding the game using programming languages like C++ or Java, and testing and debugging the game to ensure it is functioning properly.

To start and run a successful game development business, you will need a few key things:

A strong foundation in programming and computer science. While you don't need to be an expert programmer, having a strong understanding of programming languages and computer systems will be essential to creating and coding your games.

Creativity and a knack for storytelling. Game development is about more than just coding - it's also about coming up with engaging and immersive storylines that will keep players coming back for more.

Marketing and business skills. Once your game is complete, you'll need to market it and get it in front of potential customers. This will require a strong understanding of social media, digital marketing, and business strategy.

A team of skilled professionals. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire a team of developers, artists, and other professionals to help bring your game to life.

With these skills and resources, you can start and run a successful game development business and turn your passion for gaming into a lucrative career.

How much you can make: $2,500 — $330,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 365 days (?)

For example, Christian Tuskes started Dilly Dally Games (Mexican Train) in 2007.

They spent a total of $500 to get the game developer up and running.

5. Become a social media copywriter ($1K)

Based on data from 3 successful social media copywriter businesses, the median cost to start a social media copywriter is $1K.

A social media copywriter business involves creating engaging and compelling content for social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This content can include captions, posts, and hashtags and is often used to promote a brand or product.

To run a successful social media copywriting business, it is essential to have strong writing skills and a deep understanding of social media platforms. It is also important to stay up-to-date on current trends and best practices for social media content creation.

In addition to writing skills, a social media copywriter must have strong communication skills to communicate with clients and understand their needs and goals effectively. Having strong project management skills is essential to keep track of multiple clients and projects at once.

To start this business, it is helpful to build a strong online portfolio and network with potential clients through social media and networking events. It is also a good idea to offer competitive pricing and flexible packages to attract and retain clients.

A social media copywriter business can be a rewarding and lucrative opportunity for those passionate about writing and social media. With solid writing skills, a deep understanding of social media platforms, and strong communication and project management skills, any entrepreneur can succeed in this line of work.

How much you can make: $10,000 — $20,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 54 days (?)

For example, Mahamud Hasan started Zovo Team Ltd. in 2019.

They spent a total of $200 to get the social media copywriter up and running.

6. Become a graphic designer ($1K)

Based on data from 7 successful graphic designer businesses, the median cost to start a graphic designer is $1K.

Graphic designing involves creating sketch designs and materials for corporate clients, advertising agencies, public relations firms, and publishers. Besides, graphic designers provide visual solutions to specific company images, log design, and branding problems.

Graphic design is an excellent career for creative thinkers who enjoy using their talent and artistic skills combined with technology and communication abilities to come up with unique solutions for their clients.

How much you can make: $8,000 — $81,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $1,000 (?)

How long does it take to build: 165 days (?)

For example, Vaibhav Kishnani started Content-Whale Private Limited in 2017.

They spent a total of $35 to get the graphic designer up and running.

7. Start an apartment cleaning business ($800)

Based on data from 5 successful apartment cleaning business businesses, the median cost to start an apartment cleaning business is $800.

With today’s lifestyle, cleaning service is in huge demand and continually expanding. Investing in a cleaning business is tapping into an enormous market with plenty of clients.

If you plan to start an apartment cleaning business, remember cleaning is a straightforward occupation, and you need to ensure proper customer service and meet the demands of your customers.

How much you can make: $100,000 — $600,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $800 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

For example, Neel Parekh started MaidThis Franchise in 2013.

They spent a total of $800 to get the apartment cleaning business up and running.

8. Become an IT consultant ($800)

Based on data from 13 successful IT consultant businesses, the median cost to start an IT consultant is $800.

Are you an IT graduate still looking for that dream job? Then becoming an IT consultant might be the right choice for you.

An IT consultant is an external analyst in charge of evaluating a company’s IT systems and helping them meets its business objectives. IT consultants analyze and diagnose a company’s IT infrastructure, understand the client’s needs, and design solutions to help companies’ IT problems.

How much you can make: $2,100 — $100,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $800 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

For example, Andy Cloke started Data Fetcher in 2020.

They spent a total of $100 to get the IT consultant up and running.

9. Start a cosmetic store ($800)

Based on data from 2 successful cosmetic store businesses, the median cost to start a cosmetic store is $800.

The cosmetic industry is growing rapidly. Starting a cosmetic shop can be highly profitable, but only if you stock trendy, skin-friendly products.

If you are passionate about the beauty industry, consider starting a cosmetics brick-and-mortar shop.

Cosmetic shops sell products ranging from anti-aging, aromatherapy, lotions, beauty spa, cosmetic store, and even make-up.

To start a cosmetic store, research the market and source products from well-known brands in the beauty industry.

How much you can make: $8,500/month

How much does it cost to start: $800 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

For example, Alexis Evans started FBI Cosmetics Inc. in 2021.

They spent a total of $1.5K to get the cosmetic store up and running.

10. Start a niche accessories brand ($550)

Based on data from 7 successful niche accessories brand businesses, the median cost to start a niche accessories brand is $550.

Niche accessories make excellent small business ideas. The profit margins in these businesses are pretty significant because of the product markup. You could have a small Etsy store or sell them through marketplace sites such as Amazon, Facebook, and eBay.

The niche market for custom accessories is estimated to be nearly $473.46B by 2020 and it contains a variety of product categories ranging from jewelry, handbags, and small leather goods to house decorations and small fashion apparel accessories. Niche accessories are currently enjoying strong growth, projected to continue during this decade.

How much you can make: $600 — $1,500,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $550 (?)

How long does it take to build: 44 days (?)

For example, Braxton Manley started Braxley Bands in 2017.

They spent a total of $20 to get the niche accessories brand up and running.

11. Become a Facebook ads consultant ($550)

Based on data from 11 successful Facebook ads consultant businesses, the median cost to start a Facebook ads consultant is $550.

Facebook ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website. If you run Facebook ads and promote the right products, it will bring you many customers. Knowing how to manage campaigns successfully to obtain the best results is essential.

Facebook ads consultant business is one of the favorite types of new businesses to start. Facebook ads consultant businesses are popping up all over the place. More and more consultants are finding success in this arena.

Starting a Facebook ads consultant business can make you earn an extra passive and predictable income. But the amount of money you can make depends on your niche, ad budget, and other factors.

How much you can make: $35,000 — $8,000,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $550 (?)

How long does it take to build: 45 days (?)

For example, Dylan Ogline started Ogline Digital in 2017.

They spent a total of $100 to get the Facebook ads consultant up and running.

12. Start a bookkeeping service ($515)

Based on data from 1 successful bookkeeping service businesses, the median cost to start a bookkeeping service is $515.

As the nature of business changes, bookkeeping is an essential function that is on-demand across all business sectors.

Bookkeeping services support businesses by handling their accounts receivables, creating and sending invoices to the correct accounts, and processing accounts payable to ensure business owners settle them when due.

To become a bookkeeper, pick the niche market, choose a bookkeeping software, and set up the necessary business infrastructure. You need a website, an address, client database software, and file-sharing tools where your clients can access records on demand.

How much you can make: $8,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $515 (?)

How long does it take to build: 7 days (?)

For example, Yarty started A4E in 2018.

They spent a total of $1K to get the bookkeeping service up and running.

13. Start a digital magazine ($500)

Based on data from 2 successful digital magazine businesses, the median cost to start a digital magazine is $500.

A digital magazine is an electronic publication that takes a digital format rather than printed on paper.

Ideally, digital publications and traditional print magazines are not all that different. The only difference is the medium of delivery. To start a digital publication, decide the publication’s goals and pick a topic or theme. Then, create a content strategy and choose the right software.

How much you can make: $50,000 — $800,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 52 days (?)

For example, Drew Williams started SWAGGER Magazine in 2007.

They spent a total of $500 to get the digital magazine up and running.

14. Become a virtual magician ($500)

Based on data from 5 successful virtual magician businesses, the median cost to start a virtual magician is $500.

Magic is timeless! If you love entertaining people and performing at corporate or social events, you can become a virtual magician.

Virtual magicians spice up events and provide fun diversion in an otherwise busy environment. As a virtual magician, your business is to entertain guests at family and corporate events.

To become a virtual magician, you will need a computer, a stable internet connection, and great creativity, so you always leave your audience amused.

How much you can make: $1,000 — $20,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 1500 days (?)

For example, Daniel Chan started Dan Chan Presents: Virtual Magic Shows in 1999.

They spent a total of $100 to get the virtual magician up and running.

15. Start a catering business ($500)

Based on data from 4 successful catering business businesses, the median cost to start a catering business is $500.

A catering business is responsible for providing food & beverage-related services for vast types of events.

Catering businesses are known to be more flexible than other businesses because they don’t have to worry about location or pricing and can even work 24/7. They can cater anywhere and offer any price point that they want.

However, starting a catering business requires a lot of planning.

To start a successful catering business , you'll need to plan and prepare menus, manage budgets, handle clients, and more.

In addition, catering allows you to meet more people and show off your cooking skills.

How much you can make: $4,000 — $20,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

For example, Nestor Nidome started Elegante Catering in .

They spent a total of $500 to get the catering business up and running.

16. Start a party rental business ($500)

Based on data from 2 successful party rental business businesses, the median cost to start a party rental business is $500.

A party rental business helps people get the products or the services they need to make their party a fun-filled event.

Party rental businesses can include:

  • Photo booth rental
  • Renting wedding clothes
  • Party boat rental
  • Sound equipment rental
  • Outdoor equipment rental
  • Cake structure rental

To start a party rental business, begin with what you know much better. Then as you gain experience, you may diversify to renting other party accessories or partner with experts in different fields.

How much you can make: $35,000 — $400,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 15 days (?)

For example, Akshay Patel started Simply Decor and Events in .

They spent a total of $500 to get the party rental business up and running.

17. Start a fashion accessories business ($550)

Based on data from 9 successful fashion accessories business businesses, the median cost to start a fashion accessories business is $550.

If you love fashion and clothing design, you may want to start a fashion accessories business. As a fashion accessories consultant, you help clients develop and adapt personal and professional styles.

Fashion accessories are decorative items that supplement one’s outfit. They include jewelry, gloves, belts, scarves, watches, sunglasses, bow ties, leggings, suspenders, and tights. To work as a professional stylist, collaborate with clients to understand their needs, and tailor styles and aesthetics to each individual’s preferences.

How much you can make: $1,985 — $190,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $550 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

For example, David Lindahl started Rainier Watch in 2018.

They spent a total of $300 to get the fashion accessories business up and running.

18. Become a life consultant ($470)

Based on data from 1 successful life consultant businesses, the median cost to start a life consultant is $470.

A life consultant or a life coach is a professional who aids clients in clarifying their goals, identifying different obstacles, and coming up with strategies to overcome such obstacles.

As a life consultant, you have exceptional opportunities to work with clients, helping them become a better version of themselves. Besides, you interact with different personalities, and get an opportunity to learn from them.

How much you can make: $150,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $470 (?)

How long does it take to build: 360 days (?)

For example, Roy Kiessling started EMDR Consulting in 2013.

They spent a total of $500 to get the life consultant up and running.

19. Start a freelance writing business ($300)

Based on data from 14 successful freelance writing business businesses, the median cost to start a freelance writing business is $300.

Freelance writing can be a good career choice if you are looking for a flexible online job.

Working as a freelancer gives you the flexibility to define your work schedule. You can work from home at any time. Freelance writers work across various niches, writing about various topics assigned by the client,

To earn good money as a freelance writer, you need the following personal qualities:

  • Strong writing skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Stay on the cutting edge
  • Be a self-starter
  • Be up-to-date with the current writing tools & writing trends
  • Proper communication skills

How much you can make: $700 — $320,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $300 (?)

How long does it take to build: 41 days (?)

For example, Vaibhav Kishnani started Content-Whale Private Limited in 2017.

They spent a total of $35 to get the freelance writing business up and running.

20. Start a hair blog ($375)

Based on data from 2 successful hair blog businesses, the median cost to start a hair blog is $375.

Are you a professional model or a beauty expert looking for a potential business idea? Starting a hair blog can be a great business opportunity for hair and beauty experts.

Through a hair blog, you teach your audience best practices for keeping their hair tidy and in perfect shape throughout. You can cover the best hair care tips and discuss different hair extensions available to them.

A majority of hair blogs make money through affiliate marketing campaigns. Cover fascinating topics and share the posts on social media to get traffic to your hair blog.

How much you can make: $6,000 — $8,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $375 (?)

How long does it take to build: 30 days (?)

For example, Delilah Orpi started The Holistic Enchilada in 2017.

They spent a total of $250 to get the hair blog up and running.

21. Become a freelance app developer ($350)

Based on data from 5 successful freelance app developer businesses, the median cost to start a freelance app developer is $350.

A freelance app developer is a programmer who creates mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. Freelance app development business targets creating various apps that give a user-friendly experience.

To become a freelance app developer, first, touch up on your skills. There are several courses available online. Once you obtain the certification, choose your niche and focus on your skill set.

Then the best way to showcase your work is to build a portfolio website where you will display your skills, projects, and testimonials. Another way to promote yourself is to create your brand and blog. This will, in turn, build a network, and you will be able to connect with people and attract more clients.

How much you can make: $10,000 — $91,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $350 (?)

How long does it take to build: 60 days (?)

For example, Mahamud Hasan started Zovo Team Ltd. in 2019.

They spent a total of $200 to get the freelance app developer up and running.

22. Build an API ($500)

Based on data from 6 successful API businesses, the median cost to start an API is $500.

API is the acronym for “application programming interface” and is a software intermediary connecting applications.

More and more companies are adopting a digital business strategy to streamline their operations and provide better customer service.

Many benefits come with using an API, and we’ve compiled a list of the best API businesses today.

How much you can make: $3,600 — $90,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $500 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

For example, Ervin Ruci started Geocode.xyz in 2016.

They spent a total of $10 to get the API up and running.

23. Become a cake decorator ($300)

Based on data from 1 successful cake decorator businesses, the median cost to start a cake decorator is $300.

Becoming a cake decorator can be an enjoyable and uncomplicated venture to embark on, particularly if you have a passion for baking and creativity. It enables you to explore the thriving bakery and wedding industries while showcasing your artistic abilities.

This business involves designing and hand-decorating specialty cakes for various events and occasions, using your artistic abilities to create beautiful, custom-edible works of art.

To start a successful cake decorating company, learn proper cake decorating techniques, purchase quality ingredients and equipment, build a portfolio to showcase your skills, and implement good marketing tactics to attract potential clients like wedding planners, event companies, bakeries, and direct consumers.

How much you can make: $4,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $300 (?)

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

For example, Amanda Bradford started Bradford Bakery in 2020.

They spent a total of $500 to get the cake decorator up and running.

24. Become a blogging coach ($275)

Based on data from 6 successful blogging coach businesses, the median cost to start a blogging coach is $275.

Are you a successful blogger looking for new ideas or a starter looking for how to make money online? How about becoming a blogging coach?

Start by creating blogging courses in any field, and teach your audience different blogging tips.

Blogging coaches teach different topics, including but not limited to:

  • How to build successful business blogs
  • Tips for choosing successful blog topics
  • How to optimize conversions
  • Repurposing and promoting blogs online

With businesses and individuals embracing blogging as a content marketing strategy, there will be a demand for blogging coaching. Therefore, with the right approach, you stand a great opportunity to make huge profits from the business.

How much you can make: $3,000 — $68,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $275 (?)

How long does it take to build: 30 days (?)

For example, Tracie Fobes started Tracie Fobes in 2016.

They spent a total of $150 to get the blogging coach up and running.

25. Start a job board ($250)

Based on data from 7 successful job board businesses, the median cost to start a job board is $250.

Starting a job board can be a lucrative way to make money online with little to no start-up costs. The global online job board market size was $28.68B in 2019 and is projected to reach $43.39B by 2027.

It's no secret that finding a job can be tough. In today's job market, it can be tempting to give up on job hunting, but here's another option: start your own job board.

How much you can make: $1,500 — $1,500,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $250 (?)

How long does it take to build: 70 days (?)

For example, George started Loopcv in 2020.

They spent a total of $200 to get the job board up and running.

26. Start a personal development blog ($225)

Based on data from 5 successful personal development blog businesses, the median cost to start a personal development blog is $225.

Personal development blogs teach readers activities designed to improve their talents, potential, employability, and wealth.

Here are important tips to help your personal development blog stand out:

  • Create a catchy title
  • Be truthful to your audience
  • Expect and know how to deal with criticism
  • Market your blog on social media
  • Post new content often
  • Plan your content ahead

How much you can make: $4,000 — $120,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $225 (?)

How long does it take to build: 18 days (?)

For example, Marjolein Dilven started Radical FIRE in 2018.

They spent a total of $180 to get the personal development blog up and running.

27. Become a sports blogger ($200)

Based on data from 4 successful sports blogger businesses, the median cost to start a sports blogger is $200.

The sports blogger business involves creating a website or platform where you write about various sports topics, share insights, and engage with an audience interested in sports.

To start this business on a budget, you’ll need a computer, an internet connection, and basic writing skills.

Begin by choosing a specific niche within sports (like a particular sport, team, or type of content) to focus on.

Consistently create high-quality, engaging content and promote your blog through social media and online communities to build an audience over time.

Monetize your blog through methods like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and advertising once you have a steady flow of visitors.

How much you can make: $250 — $18,400/month

How much does it cost to start: $200 (?)

How long does it take to build: 10 days (?)

For example, Craig Calcaterra started Cup of Coffee in 2020.

They spent a total of $200 to get the sports blogger up and running.

28. Start a finance blog ($200)

Based on data from 19 successful finance blog businesses, the median cost to start a finance blog is $200.

A finance blog is a feature appearing as part of an online publication relating to finance and consisting of articles or personal commentary. A finance blog earns income through sponsored content or simple marketing programs. To succeed in business, a finance blogger should:

  • Have a good writing background
  • Understand the industry from a concept or fundamental standpoint
  • Be passionate about the topics
  • Be well organized and maximize the work schedule.

Starting a finance blog involves a low financial investment, while there is a considerable possibility for success. There are minimal overhead costs, saving you time and money. Therefore, starting a finance blog is an incredible business opportunity.

How much you can make: $2,000 — $3,000,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $200 (?)

How long does it take to build: 30 days (?)

For example, Sayan Neogie started Prosmartrepreneur in 2018.

They spent a total of $4 to get the finance blog up and running.

29. Become a ghost blogger ($125)

Based on data from 2 successful ghost blogger businesses, the median cost to start a ghost blogger is $125.

A ghost blogger is simply a writer who specializes in producing blogs for other people.

As a ghost blogger, you can earn between $300 and $1,500 per week, depending on word count and topic.

Ideally, the ideas and knowledge contained in the article originate from the publicly named author.

Therefore, as a ghostwriter, your role is to put the ideas into words.

How much you can make: $450 — $24,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $125 (?)

How long does it take to build: 62 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 5 hours/week

For example, Lacy Boggs started The Content Direction Agency in 2011.

They spent a total of $50 to get the ghost blogger up and running.

30. Start a book club ($75)

Based on data from 2 successful book club businesses, the median cost to start a book club is $75.

A book club consists of several people who read and talk about the books based on the topic or an agreed reading list.

Setting up your book club can be a great way to enjoy books and meet new people.

More importantly, a book club is a well-paying side hustle idea. Therefore, figure out who you invite to your book club and define the purpose.

Do you want to learn something new, or do you just want to bond with other book lovers? Having a defined purpose helps you reach like-minded people to keep the book club close-knit.

How much you can make: $4,000 — $13,000/month

How much does it cost to start: $75 (?)

How long does it take to build: 30 days (?)

Time commitment per week: Min. 5 hours/week

For example, Heather Caliendo started Book Club Chat in 2018.

They spent a total of $50 to get the book club up and running.

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.