Businesses to Start With Little Cash

Updated on September 3, 2018
L.M. Hosler profile image

Linda has worked several businesses on her own. Some have been successful and she has learned a lot and made many new friends.

The American Dream

I think everyone, at some time, has dreamed of being able to work for themselves. I know that has always been my dream and I tried every one of these businesses and I know it is possible to start any of them with very little cash.

Wouldn’t it be nice to work the hours you choose, not have to worry about what clothes or uniform you might be required to wear to work? And how about some of those horrible bosses we have all had to deal with? Best of all wouldn’t it be nice to make enough money to live comfortably? Well, there are ways of achieving that dream. Now that doesn’t mean you are not going to have to work hard to make that dream possible. And it doesn’t mean you are going to get rich, but are you going to get rich working for someone else? That is highly doubtful.

What Will You Need to Know or Learn

There are many businesses that you can start with little money but they do require your time and effort. You will need to consider many things before you take that final step and give up your regular job.

  1. Consider what your interests are, what skills you have, and what skills you may be lacking. Will you need to further your education?
  2. Determine what your goals are. A small family business? Or do you have goals that are much higher?
  3. Can you start your business from home?
  4. Will you need a license or certification?
  5. How much help will you need? Can you do everything on your own?
  6. Are you good at details such as bookkeeping and taxes, or will you have to hire others to handle those areas of your business?
  7. How much time can you give your business, part time or full time?
  8. Your family. Will you have their support and will they be able to help with the business? Will you be able to support your family financially till your business becomes profitable?

Businesses to Consider:

1. Writing

2. Baking and catering

3. Caregiving

4. ebay

5. Direct selling

Writing

Do you have a passion for writing stories, poetry, or articles? Have you dreamed of seeing your name on a book cover? Consider writing if you think you would enjoy writing as a career. This is something you can begin with very little cash investment. Paper, pen and ideas can get you started by putting your ideas and thoughts on paper. Of course, you'll need a typewriter or even better a computer. Computers and printers are available in most libraries if you are not able to afford them right away. you will need to research how to market and sell your writings. There are many opportunities online, with newspapers, magazines and newsletters as well as copywriting and proofreading opportunities. Pick a subject you have some experience with, read everything you can, do the research and start writing.

Consider taking some writing courses. Maybe try to do some writing workshops. And of course, start by writing and publishing articles on HubPages. You will find, as I have, that other writers on HubPages are very willing to help and offer advice to new writers. You will find that HubPages is a great learning experience for aspiring writers.

Writing can pay well if you are a good and disciplined writer. Will you write the next best seller? Probably not, but you can make a living writing if that is what you enjoy doing.

Opening a Bakery or Catering Business

Do you enjoy being in the kitchen and experimenting with new foods and recipes or is baking your thing? Or maybe you love to do both. I love to do both and at one time I made homemade candies from my kitchen. I made some extra money but I also put several extra pounds on, because, well, I love candy. Years later people are still asking me if I will make candy for holidays.

Baking can become a good business for you to start right from home. But do your research on this one. Do you need a food license and is it legal to do this from home? Different states and cities have different laws, so it is always best to check out all legal aspects of this venture. Once you know what is legal, you can move ahead with planning your bakery from home and start advertising. Your friends and family already know that you are a great cook and baker so have them spread the word and start taking pie, cookie and cake orders. You might consider taking a cake decorating course which would be quite helpful. Be sure to take pictures and create a portfolio of your work so people can see what nice wedding cakes you are capable of making.

If you love cooking and creating new recipes you might think about the catering business. People are always looking for good food to be served at weddings, birthday parties and other social events. Catering is your chance to be creative.

Baking and creating beautiful wedding cakes can be a good business.
Baking and creating beautiful wedding cakes can be a good business. | Source

Becoming a Caregiver for the Elderly and Disabled

Our baby boomers are now becoming America’s elderly citizens and many of them need assistant with every day chores. Some of the everyday things they may need help with include:

  1. Personal care such as showering
  2. Cooking
  3. Cleaning
  4. Transportation
  5. Shopping
  6. Medicines
  7. Using the bathroom
  8. Walking
  9. Assisting with financial matters

I wish I had gotten started in this business long ago but I have only been in this business a few years now. But I love helping the older people, listening to their stories and just being their friend. Many times I am one of their very few friends they have because their former friends and most family members are gone. For a writer, their stories are priceless to me if I can only find the time to write their stories.

In this business, you will have to consider the needs of the people you are caring for but you can still have a great deal of flexibility with your time. Some clients may only need nominal care which can mean only a few hours of your time, while other clients may need full time hours. In some cases, overnight care may be required. Overnight care is great if you can be flexible and if you are a night owl type of person. At times this business may require some lifting and assisting people with standing and mobility.

Make up some flyers with your contact information and any experience you might have then pass those flyers out. I don't even have to do that anymore as my name is on a list of local caregivers and I get calls for more work than I can do.

Photo of an elderly woman who may need an aide to assist her with personal care and taking care of her home so that she can stay in her home instead of a nursing home
Photo of an elderly woman who may need an aide to assist her with personal care and taking care of her home so that she can stay in her home instead of a nursing home | Source

Selling on eBay

At one time I used to sell books and other items on eBay and I did make money. My main problem personally was buying items, then having no place to store them till they sold. My second problem was the high shipping costs and getting things to the post office quickly because the nearest post office was thirty minutes away.

This is an easy and quick business to get started with very low start-up cost. However, you will need a computer and an internet connection to get started. Then check your home for items you no longer need or want. List those items on the eBay site and you have started your own small business. Now check out yard sales, estate sales and anywhere else you can find items that will sell and make a profit for you. There are some good wholesale sites online that offer good products in large quantities at low prices. eBay is the undisputed champion of online marketplaces and there are many success stories of people creating big businesses on eBay. You could be one of those success stories. The only downside of this business is the high shipping costs, which does affect any business that requires items to be shipped.

This is a picture of a book I listed and sold on eBay a few years ago.  Books are very easy to sell on eBay.
This is a picture of a book I listed and sold on eBay a few years ago. Books are very easy to sell on eBay. | Source

Selling on eBay

Direct Selling

Direct selling can be done with no fixed physical location and with little or no inventory on hand. This means you can pretty much sell a company’s products in whatever manner that works for you as long as you follow the company’s policies. Many direct sales companies now provide their representatives with an online website or store, so you can make many of your sales online. Another selling method is to host home parties for your friends and relatives while encouraging them to do the same. If they do host successful parties they are usually rewarded with free company products and special incentives.

Most direct sales companies make it easy to sign up to become a representative or consultant. Generally speaking, most companies have a low investment cost of less than $100 and that usually includes a kit containing necessary start up materials. Many also provide catalogs, business cards, flyers and other advertising materials, which of course, you will be responsible for buying.

You never know just who your customers may be. I have one friend who never burned candles in her home. However, she bought a few candles from a direct sales representative and loved the candles so much that she made the decision to become a representative for that company and managed to make some extra money for her bills. She also convinced me to become a representative for that company. I loved the candles and I loved selling them. Did we become rich? No, unfortunately this particular company decided to merge with another company and neither of us were happy with the new company.

Popular Direct Sales Companies

  1. Avon
  2. Pampered Chef
  3. Tupperware
  4. Jamberry Nails
  5. Jordan Essentials
  6. Mary Kay
  7. Scentsy
  8. Paparazzi Jewelry

Just do the research on any company you are interested in. Consider all the costs that will be involved. Talk with other representatives of these companies to get their inside opinions and information.

Is a Business Right for You?

I spent years wanting to work for myself. In fact, I tried all of these businesses on a part-time basis while working full time. At that time, I never had the nerve to leave the security of a regular paying job. However, now that I have retired I do work as an aide taking care of elderly people and I am successful at running my own business. My regret is that I did not have the courage to do it sooner.

I am not suggesting that anyone should run out and quit their job on a whim. Running your own business is not for everyone. Building your own business is hard work, requires discipline, and research. It also requires that you keep your own records, pay your own taxes and insurances. You may also most likely at some point require the services of a good lawyer and accountant. Consider all aspects of starting and running your own business carefully. For myself, I don’t ever want to work for anyone but myself. I am the best boss I have ever had.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 L.M. Hosler

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