20 business ideas with low investment for extra income

Published: January 3, 2021 at 10:34 am

Last Updated on January 3, 2021 at 11:00 am

All of us are aware of the stability brought by a stable side income source in our financial lives. It reduces reliance on our day job and brings in additional income, which makes it easy to work towards our financial goals. In this post, we discuss 20 business ideas that would need no investment or at the best very minimal initial investments which all of us can afford.

About The Author: Rakesh Singh has completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and works with a top eCommerce company as a Product Manager. He is interested in Fintech, Personal Finance and enjoys reading non-fiction, travelling for food and playing a game of chess. Also, by Rakesh: Five ways to save money when shopping online and What I learnt from freelancing since the age of 19

When you think of starting your own business, you may feel that you might require significant investments to make. However, in today’s world that is powered by technology, it should not be a huge concern. These ideas are meant to quickly give you a side income in replacement for your time and effort. If you would like to lay the foundations for passive income – something that would grow and last a lifetime, try our new course: Earn from Skills

#1 Content Writing It is one of the easiest part-time businesses to start without any initial capital whatsoever. You need to have good command over writing and researching. With the tremendous growth in websites and blogs, there is a demand for good content writers always. You can try contacting bloggers asking for work or try your luck on freelancing job boards like Upwork, Freelancer, etc. 

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#2 Tutoring (Giving Tuitions): Conducting classes is a good way to make some extra income. You can teach skills which you are good at- academic or non-academic.  During the days gone by, it wasn’t easy to advertise your tutoring business. Still, now, it has become much easier, thanks to platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook. 

#3 Virtual Assistant: You need to have a phone, a computer and internet access to start a business as a virtual assistant. It is one of the hot new business ideas that can be started at a low investment. The actual work may be different based on individual clients. However, you need to ensure you have the necessary expertise of the tasks required of you. 

#4 Graphic Designing: If you are an artist, you can invest your talent in creating logos for businesses. The business can either be started as an online or offline business. You can start with a template and customise it to meet your customer needs. If you do not know graphic designing, it might be good to learn it from various online tutorials and courses and do this business.

#5 Home/Office Cleaner: Home/Office Cleaners are always in demand, but people do not know where to find them in times of need. You can start cleaning business with low investment in buying supplies and marketing. You do not need office space, and the client can supply cleaning supplies. 

#6 Selling Homemade Chocolates: Chocolates are always in demand throughout the year and are loved by everyone. This is another business idea with low investment for which you can use most of the equipment already in use in your kitchen. Delicious homemade chocolates of various types command excellent prices in the market. The raw materials like moulds, packaging, cooking ingredients are also easily available in the market. 

#7 Selling Products Online (Website/Social Media): One of the most common and popular business ideas is to sell products online. You can leverage your social network, contacts, etc., to find some early customers. Based on what you earn, you can scale up the business ahead by starting your eCommerce website and running paid advertisements to get orders from across the country. 

#8 Pet Sitter: If you are an animal lover, pet sitting, and dog walking services can be a good option. It doesn’t need any investment. If need be, you can invest in a website, few marketing materials like flyers and running paid advertisements. 

#9 Accounting/Bookkeeping Services: If you have a flair for numbers, you can start a bookkeeping business. If you have any accounting/bookkeeping career background, see if your previous employers can outsource some work to you. Small businesses are always on a lookout to outsource bookkeeping/accounting services.

#10 Social Media Marketing: Most of the companies today have a presence on social media, and they intend to scale their business online. You can take up the work of managing Social Media channels and handling paid marketing for various brands. It involves almost zero initial investment.

#11 Data Entry: This is one of the most searched for extra income idea in India. Companies pay you for doing data entry. Try this only if you can find the work through some trusted or genuine source. Do not fall prey to online scams promising data entry jobs.

#12 Candle Making:  Artisan or luxury candles are in high demand these days. You can start making such candles at home with limited investment. Use social media and Whatsapp to get orders. You can also look at bulk orders from corporate, hotels, etc.

#13 Personal Shopping Assistant: This is an excellent business idea for people who love shopping. Suppose you have good knowledge of shopping places in your area, good fashion sense and negotiation skills. In that case, you can work as a personal shopping assistant for others.

#14 Babysitting:  Babysitting or nanny service can be a great low investment business for those of you who love kids. You might have to hire a few more people to help you as your business expands as you need to keep an eye on children.

#15 Senior Citizen Support/Care Service: This is another excellent business opportunity. It has a tremendous scope as nowadays the trend of nuclear families is increasing where there is no one to give helping hand to senior citizens. 

#16 Garden/Lawn Care:  This business involves taking care of peoples gardens and lawns. The initial investment may include marketing material, equipment required and labour charges. You can also look at corporate tie-ups to scale up your business

#17 Translation Services:  If you are fluent in multiple languages, it can be a great option to launch a translation service business. Find jobs online or find translation jobs offline in your city. Lawyers, MNC’s are some of the institutes have regular translation work.

#18 Event Planning Services:  Love planning events or parties? This business idea is for you! With people hosting parties for multiple occasions and spending lavishly on them, this is a good business to get info. This may require initial investments in buying materials and few contacts of reliable suppliers like decorators, caterers, party venues, etc.

#19 Home-based Tiffin Service: This is an evergreen business idea if you enjoy cooking. Working professionals, bachelors, older people are always on the lookout for home-cooked, hygienic and nutritious food. This can be a very lucrative business since no special investment is necessary. If you sign up customers for weekly/monthly tiffins, you will get a fixed recurring income source.

#20 Transcriptionist:  Transcription can be a great option for a home-based business. You need to convert the audio and video files sent to you into text files. You can try looking for work on freelancing job boards like Upwork, Freelancer, etc. or with specific companies hiring remote transcriptionists.

Summary: These are some of the in-demand and trending small business ideas which you can start with low or minimal investment.  It contains a mix of offline and online business ideas which you can begin immediately without a large setup. Take up one activity after a careful selection, put your hard work, and you are bound to succeed. Remember, a stable additional income source can do wonders in achieving your financial goals faster and with ease!

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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