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10 Businesses You Can Start With Little Capital

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10 Businesses You Can Start With Little Capital

By smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
Published: August 26, 2010 Updated: May 23, 2016

A recent study by the SBA found that when unemployment is high, the number of sole proprietorships goes up. Some people who are laid off from their jobs decide to start small businesses.


If you find yourself in such circumstances -- out of a job and thinking about starting a business -- chances are you won't have much money to start up with.


So here are 10 businesses with potential for growth in 2010 and beyond that require little startup capital. In many cases they can be run out of a home office. Most require minimal equipment beyond a computer, phone, printer, a few tools, and perhaps your car or truck. You won't need advanced degrees or highly specialized training beyond what you may already have or can learn on the job.


  • Consulting for your former employer or in your old industry - Just because your former employer downsized doesn't mean all the work you used to do disappeared miraculously. Stories are legion about employers rehiring as consultants the very people who used to work for them as employees. Don't underestimate the value of your skills on the open market. Use your industry contacts, online networking and freelance marketplaces like Upwork* to find opportunities.


  • Web businesses - Publishing ad-supported content websites; affiliate marketing; SEO consulting; ecommerce sites; and eBay sales are just some examples of Web-based businesses that growing numbers of entrepreneurs thrive at.


  • Virtual assistant - With so many people working virtually, and the volume of email and other correspondence growing, the need for virtual assistants will grow.


  • Online social media consulting; online content production - To say that social media has exploded in the past year is an understatement. But social media, and the content that goes along with it, is time-consuming for many businesses -- they will need help.


  • Convenience services for consumers - As we come out of the recession and pocketbooks open up again, the little conveniences (think 'dog walking' or 'house cleaning' or 'gourmet coffee') are affordable luxuries that consumers look for.



  • Kids products or services - Today you can find kids' online communities; spas just for kids; even entrepreneurial support programs for children and teenagers.


  • Mobile apps development and mobile consulting - There are four times the number of cellphones* in the world versus computer (4 Billion vs.. 1 Billion) and 20% of all U.S.. households are now 'mobile-only'. Businesses are jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon and will need help to navigate the road and reach their target customers.


  • Specialty foods - Consumers are more health and wellness conscious today, driving demand for specialty foods (example: gluten-free baked goods). Do check into FDA and state inspection/licensing requirements for food businesses.'s 'Permit Me' tool is another good resource as is this article with tips on starting a home-based food production business.


  • Landscaping and handyman services - Homeowners and businesses seem to always need help keeping up their premises. Handyman and landscaping businesses are relatively easy to start. Now (before the weather breaks) is the time to get started marketing through flyers and door to door visits.


As always when starting any business, do your due diligence. Research the business and your market to make sure there is demand. Write a business plan. There's nothing like putting a business plan down on paper to force you to think of issues you might have overlooked. offers business planning guidelines here.


Also, if you are receiving unemployment benefits, first check with your local unemployment bureau. When you start earning money from your new business, it could make you ineligible to continue receiving unemployment assistance. Check into any state or local business licenses required, too, for a business.


But assuming you've done your homework, the above list can trigger ideas for what could become the next stage of your career - your own business.


*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.


* * * * *


Anita Campbell is the Founder of Small Business Trends, an online publication and community serving small businesses.

About the Author:

Anita Campbell

Guest Blogger

My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and, a small business social media site.


There are many freelance markets, other than upwork. I am working at 5 of them; this way, I get plenty of work everyday. Here is a page that contains links to some top freelance sites:
Web Business is a very good example. You just need a small website and a lot of time. You don't need much money to invest, except you want to open a big online shop. I have some friends who have succeeded building their own web business just from scratch.
Staring new businesses like needs Virtual assistant, Web based business, Online social media consulting; online content production etc only a very low capital, the income you can produce by these activities are really very high. They not only increase your income, but also you will get some spare time to have fun with your family. Starting a business of your own is a very good idea. Thanks for your blog.---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
petshop- why not?---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
This literally opens up a world of opportunities for those who are out of job and are trying to start something on their own. Great to know the potential of virtual assistant business. Sean Abraham---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
I agree that starting a web business may seem to be something that doesn't require huge investments. But if you consider the time it takes to learn basics of online business and its setup, efforts to promote your site among other competitors, custom modifications (which will require professional help) to improve usability, etc... in the end it will become quite a project. So, starting a business and making it work is two different things. And making an online business work will take quite some investments, be that time or money.
There has never been a better time to start an online business. There are so many free tools and sites and even online communities which can help you start selling your own products and services using your own website. @ChristineL : In regards to it being expensive to market online - that is only true if you choose to go sown the paid advertising route. It is very possible to rank highly in the search engines easily with little outlay just some time and effort - this can result in masses of free traffic to your webpage. Gluten Free Cooking---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
We commented on this a year ago and we have had only a small increase in business for our pet supply ecommerce website. Yes it takes little capitol to start, however it does take investment as you go along. I have added two subdomains to our site which are and and have spent over $3,000 in products, supplies, advertising, fees, etc and now we are still not breaking even.
I have numerous friends in the marketing business who have made the switch to consulting completely and totally within the social media marketing niche. They have abandoned all other business models and are now focusing exclusively on creating social media campaigns for large corporations. Be Part of the Conversation is the new black!Daniel Tetreault.
Web based business that make money from visitors is cheap to start up but can be very expensive to market if you need to buy in the expertise to market your site. However, selling goods over the web or on ebay does mean you do not need a store or buy in too much stock. NewagerNew Age Blog---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.


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