Got $500 spare and wondering how to level up your life? Maybe you’re wondering how to turn your passions and skills into a successful business? Luckily it’s possible to start a business with huge potential with just a few hundred dollars!
There is plenty of room for creativity in the field of entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to finding ways around established ideas and long-held assumptions.
So let your creativity and determination guide you, and get ready to turn your dreams into reality with these 12 inspiring business ideas that can be started with $500 or less.
1. Set up a ghost kitchen
A ghost kitchen is a restaurant that operates solely for delivery, with no physical storefront. Ghost kitchens are becoming increasingly popular as more people turn to online ordering platforms for their food. If you have experience in the food industry and are comfortable with online ordering platforms, you could start a ghost kitchen with a small investment of under $500.
To get started, you will need to rent or purchase a small kitchen space, purchase basic kitchen equipment and supplies, and set up a website or use an existing online ordering platform to receive orders.
Another thing to bear in mind with setting up a cost effective ghost kitchen is that you will need hygiene certifications, and most likely insurance too. Oh and a good system of food hygiene. After all, food poisoning doesn’t win repeat clients.
And keep it simple with the menu to start with. Focus on a select range of dishes you can create easily and to a high standard, and scale up from there. Setting up this business under $500 is tricky, but not impossible.
2. Virtual event planner
A virtual event planner is a professional who specializes in planning and organizing virtual events, such as webinars, conferences, and workshops.
With the rise of remote work, there has been an increase in demand for virtual event planning services. If you have experience planning events and are comfortable with online tools and platforms, you could start a business as a virtual event planner with a small investment of under $500.
Obviously you will need internet access, and ideally a background in event planning and management in the real world. But this can be a fun and rewarding role for someone organized and experienced with running events online such as virtual conferences, webinars or gaming.
With careful planning and marketing, it is possible to set up a successful virtual event planning business for under $500.
3. Home organizer or declutter service
If you are organized and have an eye for detail, you could start a business offering home organizing services to local clients. Think decluttering and helping people to embrace minimalism.
A home organizing business can be started with a small investment of under $500, and it can be a fulfilling and rewarding way to help people declutter and streamline their living spaces.
Of course, you will need to be well organized and good with systems for clearing and sorting. It may also help if you have a background in cleaning, removals or even life coaching. And you will also need to be patient as people who want decluttering often need gentle coaxing to let go of their hoarde.
Think you could be the next Marie Kondo? You can try and help people live an uncluttered life with an investment of well under $500.
4. Personal stylist/online shopper
If you have a keen eye for fashion and are comfortable with online shopping platforms, you could start a business as a personal stylist or home shopper. And yes, there is a demand for online personal stylist for men and women…
A personal styling or shopping business can be a fun and rewarding way to help people improve their personal style and wardrobe. Of course you will to have great style yourself, and ideally have a good social media following as this is where you are likely to find core clients. You may also want to invest in a few marketing materials such as business cards, websites and brochures – although these may be good to add later in your business journey.
Although this is a business you can easily set up for under $500, you will need to invest time in building a potential client list and online presence.
5. Social media manager
Starting a business as a social media manager can be a rewarding and flexible way to help businesses and individuals improve their online presence. Not only that, you can easily set up as a social media manager for well under $500.
To get started, you will need access to social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer. And in addition to basic social media management skills, it can be helpful to have a strong understanding of copywriting, video creating or editing, content strategy and general digital marketing principles.
To attract clients, it is important to build your own social presence by creating a strong, professional profile on social media platforms and regularly publishing high-quality content. You can also use your own social media accounts to promote your services and interact with potential clients. In addition to managing clients’ accounts, you may also want to offer additional services such as social media strategy development, content creation, and advertising management.
Your biggest outlay will probably be the software tools, but they will be very important to the smooth operation of your fledgling social media management company.
Wanna be a Linkedin pro? Check out this course from Linkedin master Justin Welsh.
6. Voice over artist
Are you the owner of a clear and articulate speaking voice? Well, you could set up as a freelance voice over artist for under $500.
Voice over artists are in demand for businesses of all types, for creating ads, instructional videos or even adding the voice to YouTube channels. And it can be a good paying job too!
To get setup, you will need a quiet place where you can record your voice, with good acoustics and no background noise. Ideally you can hire a recording space for a low monthly rate in many places. You will also need a decent microphone and a set of headphones, both of which should set you back under $100 in total.
7. Blogger/content writer
Yes, you can setup as a content writer for under $500. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. And yes this is also a potentially lucrative space for those with the abilities and the marketing skills.
And this is a key point. Success as a content writer means a lot of self marketing and being a cut above the rest, There are a million, probably more, freelance content writers out there competing for very low paying jobs. How are you going to rise above that?
OK, I’m playing this one down because I am a content writer and I know how challenging and heavily saturated the industry is. But if you’re looking to start a business with $500 or less and you have the skills, go for it…
8. WordPress developer
The most used website building software, by far, WordPress developers are in big demand. And the thing is, this is a job that can pay really well if you spend a few hours doing a few online courses and learning some skills.
Of course you’ll need a decent understanding of WordPress development and web design principles. In addition to building and customizing WordPress websites for clients, you may also want to offer additional services such as plugin development, theme customization, and website maintenance.
To attract clients, you can create a website or use an existing platform such as social media or a marketplace to promote your services.
Although this is a business you can start for under $500, most of this will likely go on learning (if you’re not already up to speed). Check out sites like Udemy to learn your WordPress skills.
9. Pet sitter and dog walker
Love dogs? Or pets? Plenty of people will pay good money for you to take care of their pooch while they’re at work. Or, go to their home and feed cats, goldfish and snakes(!) – or even water their plants while they’re on holiday.
As a local service it will help if you live in a big city or area with people willing to pay for this service. But it’s an easy business to start for well under $500, wherever you are.
10. Personalized gift baskets or gifts
Creating personalized gift baskets can be a fun, rewarding and creative way to setup a business under $500. Don’t assume these baskets are for special occasions… You can put together weekly fruit baskets for local offices, corporate gifts for B2B clients (for example branded drinks and snacks delivered to a clients office), wedding hampers, personalized picnic hampers and obviously hampers for Christmas and birthdays.
To get started, you will need to invest in basic supplies and packaging materials, such as baskets, tissue paper, and ribbon. You will also need to source a variety of items to include in your gift baskets, such as food, drink, and other small gifts.
To attract clients, you can create a website or use an existing platform such as social media or a marketplace to promote your services. However you could also approach local business to let them know about your offer and run paid ads too.
Although this is a business you can start for under $500, it will depend on how you put the hampers together. Build relationships with local suppliers to get a great price for wholesale.
11. Personal coaching
Coaching is a broad term, but setting up as personal fitness, business or finance coach can be lucrative. Plus it’s an easy job to start with only a little bit of money.
Most of you investment will be spent on marketing yourself, for example on social media. But you can attract clients by can offering free consultations or sample sessions.
12. Start an online publishing empire
Starting blogs and online magazines is a fun and creative outlet, plus its cheap to get started. But filling your sites with regular content can get expensive, especially if you’re aiming for quality. Although AI tools can make this easier, they still require time and effort to edit and optimize for search.
Once you start getting traffic to a website, you can optimize it with ads, affiliate links and more. And, crucially, this is a business you can start for well under $500.
We hope you’ve got some ideas for a business to start under $500 from this list. Let us know if we missed any really good ideas down in the comments.