10 Businesses You Can Start for $500 or Less

    With technology and a bit of ingenuity you can launch a successful business venture for around $500. These businesses might not take a lot of capital to get started but if you nurture them and do the little things right they can take you from having a nice side hustle to turning in your notice at your 9-5 and working for yourself full-time. 

    Keep reading to see if you can turn your hobby into a profitable business with one of these seven businesses. 

    1. Photography

    If you already own a camera and enjoy taking pictures the start-up costs for this business can be very minimal. With some investments in memory cards, photo shop editing software and possibly some classes you can make this pastime pay for your next camera upgrade.

    One of the easiest ways to show off your craft is to build a website with an online portfolio that showcases work you have completed. Start by offering some free shots for friends and family to give you some practice and samples and then follow and interact with companies and social media pages that your ideal clientele will be following to give your business some more exposure. 

    Start with several categories but as you begin to pick up business, you will want to start honing in on a specific niche and become the best at your craft so that you stand apart from the competition. 

    2. Amazon Seller

    When most people look to buy products one of the first places they go to is Amazon. The opportunity to sell products through their website gives you an automatic global audience with a solid reputation. This also gives you some security when it comes to scammers and other issues that pop up when selling products on the internet. 

    After you get some products rolling out you can always upgrade your plan with Amazon and can even do a Fulfill by Amazon (FBA) option instead of having to ship the products yourself. There are more costs involved in this step but the time it saves you could end up balancing out. 

    3. Running Social Media and YouTube Ads

    If you have a knack with technology and enjoy marketing starting a business that helps other businesses run their social media accounts and YouTube Ads can be extremely lucrative. With the majority of businesses needing to advertise and have a presence in this space it opens up limitless amounts of opportunities for this business niche. 

    Find the niche that you are the most knowledgeable in. Use the social media channels that are the most popular with the clients for that niche. Learn what makes them click “Add to Cart” or the ad that will make them click and go to the company’s website for more information. Search through public pages and forums and build relationships and connections with potential customers. Get paid to do all of this online and often from your own home. 

    4. Property Manager

    Real Estate is a business with many other opportunities intertwined in it’s web. Individuals who have a knack for organization and have superior managing skills they can use to keep properties running smoothly for real estate owners that might not live in the same area as their properties or may just not have time to keep up with the daily tasks that need done. 

    This does take some certifications depending on where you live, and some property owners prefer their property managers have a real estate license, but those costs will seem fairly minimal if you can find success in this business. 

    5. Fitness Instructor

    Do you already enjoy fitness and use it in your daily life? Do you enjoy working with people and helping them also gain a love for fitness? Fitness instructors are in high demand as many people are learning to incorporate fitness into their routines but don’t know where to start and are overwhelmed with all of the choices available.

    With many different fitness niches it is important to focus on one area and become the best to get clients that will want to work with you. This could be Yoga, Crossfit, HIIT, Kickboxing, Running, Weightlifting, Jiu Jitsu, or a variety of other styles of fitness. Get your proper certifications, find a local gym that is looking to expand their class offerings and turn your love of fitness into a solid business that will also help others build healthier lifestyles. 

    6. Home and Office Cleaning

    Starting a home and office cleaning business has some of the lowest startup costs of all of the businesses we have went over. With many products you will need already sitting under your kitchen sink you can put your cleaning skills to work, literally. 

    Start small with offering your cleaning services to friends and family and use those referrals to expand your clientele. You can choose to work only with residential clients or pick up some commercial opportunities as well. The main expenses will be retaining business insurance, licenses and permits. 

    7. Online Reseller (eBay, Poshmark, etc)

    The old saying that “Everything is for sale at the right price” is what comes to mind for the online reseller business. You can get started in this niche by simply going through your home and selling products you no longer use. 

    After you gain some success and have solid customer reviews for your fast shipping and accurate product descriptions you can then start building up an actual stock of inventory and reselling it for profits. Using sites like eBay and Poshmark to start this type of business is your best bet.

    8. Clothing Line (Print on Demand)

    Selling clothing online has been a very lucrative business model during that past decade. With Instagram and TikTok’s rise, small brands have been able to attract and audience and sell their items directly to their customers. Now, with print-on-demand available to anyone, you can start a small clothing line without much upfront capital. A print-on-demand business is a type of business that allows the owner to offer merchandise such as t-shirts, bags, coats, and mugs with custom designs. However, the owner does not print these items and does not hold any inventory.

    Instead, the manufacturer prints the merchandise once it has been sold and then ships the items to the customer. You can begin your clothing line business with a few uniquely designs shirts and expand to other items as your business grows.

    9. Graphic Designer

    If you have an artistic eye and can learn to use programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Gimp, Photoshop and other software, you may want to consider starting a graphic design business. Graphic designers’ roles have expanded over the last several years.  Many businesses not only need logos and branding, they need social media and website graphics.  Because of this, graphic designers are still very much in high demand.

    10. Social Media Management

    Recently, businesses prefer to outsource their social media management to freelancers or other companies to ensure they reach their audience without needing to hire a full-time employee. Social media management covers the process of managing someone’s online presence by strategically analyzing audiences, creating and scheduling content for their profiles, monitoring performance, arranging collaborations with social media influencers, etc., to create opportunities for growth in the number of followers and increase income using marketing strategies.

    This is an easy business to start as all you will need to do is become familiar with the different features of each social media platform. As your client base expands, you may decide to increase your rate or, perhaps, hire an assistant. There is very little upfront cost to start a social media management business. However, it is a good idea to take courses on the management of the different platforms so that you become an expert in your field. Check out our article on how to start a social media management company for some more tips.

    Katie Budd on Instagram
    Katie Budd

    Team Writer: Katie Budd is a full-time 8-5er in the commercial insurance industry and works on building her freelance writing business. She enjoys creating engaging content for people to read. She also enjoys working out at home doing Street Parking programming, encouraging her kids to chase what they are passionate about, and spending as much time on the farm with her extended family as possible. Follow along with her on her blog and Instagram as she continues to put thoughts into words.

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