Can You Start a Business with Less Than $1,000? 6 Ideas for Solopreneurs

The “experts” say you need to spend money to make money.

They say there’s no way to start a profitable business—even a side-gig—without investing a ton of money first. 

It depends on what exactly you’re trying to do, of course, but here’s the good news: You absolutely can start a successful business and find work you love with very little start-up costs. 

Whether you have a bit of money saved up or want to invest your COVID stimulus money into starting a side-hustle, this post will tell you how to start a business with less than $1,000. 


How to start a business with less than $1,000—6 ways to make money affordably

Depending on the route you decide to go, it may take a bit more time and effort to do things on your own—but you can find work opportunities that are enjoyable, profitable, and affordable. 


1. Write a book

Whether you simply love to write or you have specialized expertise to share with the world, you could write a book.

And you don’t have to go through the gatekeepers of the traditional publishing world to get your work in front of readers. With strategic marketing, even indie writers are earning a good living, with some making more than traditionally published authors. Even some well-established authors—like Jeff Goins, Pat Flynn, and James Altucher—prefer the perks of self-publishing over traditional publishing. 


2. Start a YouTube channel

YouTube isn’t just a hobby. For some people, it’s a lucrative career

You can create interesting, informative content based on nearly anything. Creators make videos based on: 

  • Their opinions
  • Product reviews
  • A skill they can teach
  • Parodies 
  • Challenges

(Note: If TikTok videos are more your style, you can create a profitable side-gig there as well as YouTube.)

To create videos people will want to watch, you’ll need the following equipment

  • DSLR camera (the most popular camera amongst YouTubers)
  • A camera lens
  • Lighting equipment
  • A microphone
  • A tripod
  • Video editing software

Watch a video of your favorite YouTuber talking about their equipment and you might find that their camera alone is up to $2,000. Thankfully, you don’t need such an expensive camera to get started. You can get a good quality camera (and other equipment) for around $150. As you earn money, you can upgrade your equipment as needed. 


3. Become a Patreon artist

Another option is to create a Patreon account

Patreon is a platform where people pay you a monthly membership or subscription fee for unique content perks or privileges. Subscribers get exclusive access to your work. Or they can get a behind-the-scenes look at your creative process. This could also include early bird access to a new creation where fans are able to provide their input. 

For example, one Patreon member, Amy Landino, was going to release her second book. Premier subscribers were able to read the rough draft and offer ideas about how to make the book even better. Ms. Landino also offered premier members her time in the form of a regular live Q&A session.


4. Social media management

Do you love social media? Do you have a knack for creating content that people respond to? Then, you might consider offering your skills to businesses as a freelance social media manager

You’ll focus on a brand’s social media strategy, as well as manage their social media channels, which can include one or more of the following: 

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • TikTok

Your job would include:

You would ensure brand voice consistency and help followers fall in love with the brand, hopefully turning them into loyal customers. 


5. Professional organizing

If you’re the person your friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances turn to for help organizing their homes and schedules, you might have a future in professional organizing. 

You don’t need to have specific training for this side-hustle opportunity, though there are online courses you can take to sharpen your skills. 

To set yourself apart from other professional organizers, it might be wise to niche down a bit. For instance, if you have a background in finance, you can use your knowledge to help people organize their finances and financial records. You can market to individuals, independent contractors, and small businesses who might need some extra help in this area of their life or business.


6. Dog walker and/or pet care

A great work-from-home opportunity for animal lovers is to start a dog walking or pet care business. The national average hourly rate for dog walkers is just under $15. In some areas, dog walkers can make double that.

In addition to walking dogs, you can also offer other pet care services such as: 

  • Pet sitting
  • Feeding
  • Dispensing medicine
  • Grooming

To get started, you’ll need: 

  • An insured vehicle
  • Pet business insurance (which can cost between $400 and $800 per year depending on the size of your business)

Joining a professional organization can add credibility to your business, too. The annual membership fee to join Pet Sitters International, for example, will cost around $160. 


Can you start a business with zero up-front costs? 

You’ve learned how to start a business with less than $1,000. Let’s take it a step further and see how you can make money with zero investment costs

The answer is: Vector Marketing

In addition to being one of the few companies that provides quality training to their independent contractors, Vector also requires no startup fees. We loan our contractors a sample Cutco set for their customer calls, though if they’re doing virtual presentations from home, they don’t even need a sample kit.

We want you to succeed. Vector is committed to helping you start a side-gig quickly and easily so you can start making money right away, while doing work you love. 

Are you interested in a low-to-no-cost startup business? Contact Vector to schedule an interview.