8 Small Businesses You Can Start for Less Than $10,000

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Many Americans have turned to creating their own businesses, putting an emphasis on setting their own schedules and leaving more time for family and leisure.

See: What To Do If You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS

If you’re thinking about making a major change and starting your own business, tap into one of these ideas for turning your work experience or hobby into a profitable venture.

8 Small Business Ideas To Turn Into Dollars

Every small business idea can yield great success if it fills a need. Check out these business ideas that can make you money in 2023:

  • Consultant
  • Home stager
  • Pet services
  • Digital art and design
  • Coworking office space
  • Web design and development
  • Online courses
  • Event planning

1. Consultant

  • Experience level: High
  • Startup costs: Under $1,000

Companies or individuals could be willing to pay a lot of money for the expertise you’ve gained throughout your career. Consultants work in a variety of specialties, including financial, human resources, career and management. And the startup costs are minimal if you’re not incorporating.

Most of the costs go toward legal fees. At the very least, you’ll need a contract specifying the scope of your work, the time to complete it and your compensation. According to internal data from ContractsCounsel, the average cost of having an attorney draft the contract is $850.

While you can spend money marketing your business, try network marketing first. As an established professional in your field, you likely have enough contacts to start building a book of business within your own network.

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Management consultancy is expected to have a $329.9 billion market in 2023, according to business research firm IBISWorld, which could make this business one of the most lucrative you can start on a shoestring budget.

2. Home Stager

  • Experience level: Low
  • Startup costs: $5,000

Homes for sale that are “staged” give prospective buyers an idea of what a home can be. After homeowners have packed up their belongings and have reduced the home to bare bones, stagers reposition furniture and accessorize to maximize use of the space.

Experienced home stagers invest in furniture and accessories to use in homes, but you can start with a smaller inventory of small furnishings and accessories and make use of the sellers’ existing stuff, as long as it is in good shape. Another option is to rent furniture and accessories, although that eats into your profits.

Unless you’re a professional interior designer, you’ll need training to learn how to properly stage a home. Trade organizations like the Real Estate Staging Association offer in-depth courses that also teach you how to start and build your business. Tuition for virtual courses is about $2,500.

3. Pet Services

  • Experience level: Low
  • Startup costs: $1,000

According to a survey from the American Pet Products Association, 66% of U.S. households own a pet as of 2023. That has opened the door to a variety of pet-related services, including dog walking and pet sitting.

A business that provides pet sitting, walking and related services is inexpensive to start. According to Time To Pet, the basics run about $1,000 for the following:

  • Business license
  • Membership in a professional organization like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
  • Insurance
  • Pet first aid and CPR certification
  • Basic pet supplies
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4. Digital Art and Design

  • Experience level: Low
  • Startup costs: $0 using your own designs

If you’ve got artistic talent, you can use it to create innovative designs and upload them to your preferred print-on-demand platforms. When a customer purchases one of your items, the platform prints it to order and ships it out on your behalf.

Popular platforms include Redbubble, Fine Art America, Zazzle, Society6 and Printful, all of which offer a huge variety of products to customize with your designs.

Your designs can do double duty if you sell them as digital files through your own store — an Etsy shop, for example, where customers buy your designs and download them to their own computers for printing.

5. Coworking Office Space

  • Experience level: Moderate
  • Startup costs: Under $10,000

With the ongoing, and in many cases permanent, popularity of remote work, you can create a contemporary coworking space that solves pain points like the cost of renting office space, reduced productivity and even loneliness.

Rent an accessible site in a central location and outfit it with highly desired features, such as high-speed internet, a meeting space and plenty of work surfaces, plus extras like a printer and microwave. You make money by charging remote workers and visiting businesspeople for use of the space. HotDesks SBY in Salisbury, Maryland, for example, gives customers a choice between paying a per-use fee or subscribing to any of several membership levels.

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6. Web Design and Development

  • Experience level: Moderate to high
  • Startup costs: Under $3,000

You can start making cash by designing or developing websites for small businesses or individuals. Depending on your skill level, you can build sites using templates and widgets on platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace 一 or up your game by learning how to code sites from scratch.

Collaborate with an experienced copywriter to boost your product line and your chances of grabbing a new client.

Assuming you have the hardware and most of the software you need, plan to spend up to $3,000 for permits, insurance, the cost of having an attorney prepare a contract, and file hosting services.

7. Online Courses

  • Experience level: High
  • Startup costs: Under $1,000

If you are a professional in a specific field, you can start developing and teaching online classes. Create educational content in videos or other available formats. Then choose a platform like Udemy or Skillshare to post and sell the content.

Startup costs are under $1,000 for equipment like a camera, microphone, lighting, screen recording software and presentation software to create the course yourself. The cost climbs quickly if you need to outsource the work.

8. Event Planning

  • Experience level: Moderate
  • Startup costs: $3,000

Create an event planning service in your area and specialize in specific types of events, like weddings or company meetings. A network of reliable vendor contacts will make you more successful.

Entrepreneur estimates startup costs to be a minimum of $8,000 including equipment, but you can whittle that down to $3,000 by renting equipment at first. That $3,000 includes things like insurance, legal fees and advertising.

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Takeaway

Choosing a business idea that can make you money is a personal decision, but the above business ideas will help you get started. However, before venturing into one, you need to ensure there’s a demand for what you plan to offer.

Jami Farkas, Cynthia Measom and Lydia Kibet contributed to the reporting for this article.

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