14 Businesses You Can Start for Less Than $100

start business with 100 dollars

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One good way to make extra money in your spare time is to start a side business, particularly if you need a lot of flexibility or want to work at home with small children. Many people think you need to make a big investment and spend thousands of dollars to start a business. While there can be a significant investment needed for some types of businesses like those that rely on a large amount of inventory or require purchasing or licensing a pre-existing business (like a franchise), there are many businesses that can be started for next to nothing.

Here are some startup business ideas for less than 100 dollars that may take a skill or talent you have and turn it into a moneymaker.

1. Cleaning houses.

You may need to purchase some cleaning supplies and maybe get business cards made, but cleaning houses is mostly elbow grease. Word of mouth should net you your first few clients from among your circle of friends or social media contacts, which you can then use to get referrals for more people who need or want their homes cleaned. If you’re willing to put in some hard work, you can definitely start a business with 100 dollars or less.

2. Tutoring.

If you have any educational training, or even if you just have an education, you can start a business for under $100 tutoring children or adults in subjects you enjoy and they need help with. There are even online sites where you can sign up to be a tutor, often to foreign students who need help learning English as well as tutoring in other subjects. You can tutor in your own home or in the students’, and startup costs are minimal for this business.

3. Online selling.

No list of startup business ideas for less than 100 dollars would be complete without online selling. While some online sellers do need to buy inventory before they can get set up, others may be able to start by selling off items they have sitting around the house and build up from there. My mother invested significant time and money in a business selling vintage jewelry and other items, but eventually found that an eBay store was more effective at selling volume (though the prices she could get for each item were lower).

eBay stores start at about $25 a month, but you don’t need a store to sell on eBay, just an account, which is free. Once you have some sales volume under your belt, you can evaluate and decide whether you need a store. You can also invest a small amount of money in buying items from garage sales to resell at a profit, then reinvest the profits to build your inventory.

4. Selling crafts.

You can sell crafts you make, both in person at craft fairs or retailers and online through shops like Etsy. It takes some careful materials-buying to get this off the ground for under $100, but you may have a stash of craft items from previous projects that you can use to start off. If you do have to buy materials, be sure to use the frequent coupons craft stores offer, or order items wholesale through eBay or other online sources.

Craft fairs may also charge a fee to have a table, but you can start small and work your way up to the more expensive fairs as you make money on the smaller ones. Crafters I know have also teamed up and shared a table when their inventory is more limited.

5. Dog or pet sitter/walker/cleanup person.

If you love animals, you can get started as a caretaker through sites like Rover for free just by creating a profile, which is then advertised to those who use the site to find a sitter for their pets. The site will take a cut of your earnings, though, so set your rates accordingly. Working with pets can be the ideal business to start for 100 dollars or less.  My friend has over a dozen faithful clients whose dogs she takes care of in her home while they vacation or travel for business, and it has become quite a profitable business for her.

6. Freelance writer/marketer.

There are a number of different sites that accept freelance writers and aim to match them up with clients that need blogs, ebooks, or marketing pieces written and don’t have the skills to do it themselves. iWriter is one platform you can use to find jobs, or you can create some services at Fiverr, including ones that can end up earning you far more than five dollars (people can buy the services in multiples, like five 100-word blocks of writing if they want a 500-word blog post or piece of website copy). You can also pitch your services to local businesses where you have a connection. I have been freelance writing seriously for about six years now, and I make more than the average full-time professional working about 30 hours a week.

7. Web developer/website designer.

If you have coding skills and can make websites, you can find work on some of the same freelance writing platforms, but typically get paid more for your additional skills, which are very much in demand. This can be an ongoing job since websites need frequent updates and new content added.

Woman surrounded by packed cardboard boxes.
Selling items online can be a good side business.

8. Ride-share driver.

Ride-sharing services like Lyft are always looking for new drivers, and even offering hefty bonuses if you commit to a certain number of hours of driving. You can set your own available hours for these jobs, and make extra money instead of sitting at home in your pajamas, binge-watching Netflix.

9. Virtual assistant.

Do you have what it takes to answer calls all day and cater to virtual demands of your boss? You should give Answer1 a shot! This business doesn’t even need a $100, just one pair of headsets that do the required deeds. You can earn as much as $20 an hour by being an Answer1 representative. Give it a try!

10. Bookkeeper.

Businesses need help keeping their books and taking care of things like payroll and taxes. If you don’t already have the skills to be a bookkeeper, you can get them through the Learn to Be a Bookkeeper website for less than $100 and be well on your way to a business that pays well and helps people.

11. House sitter.

Housecarers is a site that allows you to sign up to be a house sitter, either long-term or just for a week while the owners travel and vacation. According to some stories on the site, some people have managed to avoid paying rent or a mortgage altogether by housesitting, and are holding down jobs while they also get paid to house sit as well.

12. Interior Designer/Organizer/House Stager.

Whether someone needs help organizing their stuff, decorating their home, or staging their house as they get ready to sell it, those with expertise in these areas can make it a business. With little more than business cards and maybe a basic website and your honed skills, this is a good business for 100 dollars or less.

13. Handyman.

For homes that need repairs or other help that goes beyond decorating, a handyman can be just what the homeowner needs. While this business can certainly cost you more than $100 to get started if you don’t have any tools, you will most likely have everything you need to tackle basic home projects, since you have probably already done them at your own home before.

14. In-Person Assistant/Errand Service.

If you have time on your hands, you may be the perfect person to get paid to run errands for those who don’t. You just need to find the people who are too busy to run their own errands, or maybe can’t do so because of a disability or other limitation. These services can also include services like personal shopping if you have the skills. This will only work for under $100 if you already own your own car unless you are in a very close and congested city area where you can do everything on foot or with public transportation.

While you can get started with any of these businesses for under $100, don’t forget that you may need to spend more money down the line to upgrade your business tools, equipment, or even your own skills. You should also keep in mind that you will need to prepare to pay taxes on your income at the end of the year as well as track your income and expenses for that purpose. A service like Hubstaff that tracks your work time may also come in handy when you are charging people by the hour or trying to figure out your effective hourly wages.

You may even find that your side business becomes your full-time job. I love working at home as a freelance writer and couldn’t be happier that what started out as a hobby that earned me a few extra dollars from time to time has become a full-time profession that I truly enjoy.

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