13 Businesses You Can Start for $1,000 or Less

NEWS & TRENDING - JOBS & CAREER NEWS
Starting a small business can mean more work satisfaction and money for you.
Updated May 9, 2024
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Small businesses are the heart and soul of our local towns, cities, and communities. 

Necessary services like dry cleaners, bakeries, coffee shops, and tailors may not be the most exciting businesses, but they are businesses that you and your neighbors rely on.

Owning and operating a small business is hard work, but it can also be very rewarding and even lucrative. Here are 14 small businesses that you could start now and tap into a new source of income.

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Online course creation

Надя Ветрова/Adobe online content creator vlogger

Online course creation is one of the smartest forms of passive income. If you’re an expert in any particular subject — from marketing or sales to teaching a musical instrument or cake decorating — you can make a how-to video course and sell it to consumers.

There are a number of websites and platforms, such as Udemy and Skillshare, where you can develop and showcase your course. You’ll teach others valuable skills and make money doing something you love.


Dropshipping

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe influencer holding container with cosmetic cream

Dropshipping is a form of e-commerce that doesn’t require you to keep the products on hand. 

You choose which products you want to sell, promote them through your own e-commerce website, and receive orders from customers.

When a customer places an order, you notify the supplier or manufacturer to send out the item, and then let the customer know their order is being processed. 

Most dropshippers aim for a 15% to 20% profit margin, but it can be higher if you choose products that are in demand.

Social media manager

Indiloo/Adobe Chalkboard - social media icons

Social media marketing is now a viable career, with positions open in Fortune 500 companies as well as small firms. And it’s also a small business you can start if you have the right skills.

A social media manager helps businesses and individuals promote their products or services and grow their online presence by using social media. You’ll need copywriting, visual, and SEO skills to succeed.

According to Indeed, the average pay for a social media manager is about $21.79 per hour.

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Graphic design

REDPIXEL/Adobe female graphic designer using creative pad to draw logo on monitor at work

Graphic design is as important as words when it comes to marketing a product or presenting a business. 

If you are a skilled designer, you can create brochures, publications, websites, logos, and branding materials for clients. You’ll need to be a pro with tools like Canva and Photoshop as well as photography and video. 

The average pay per hour for a graphic designer is about $21.86, but as an entrepreneur, you may exceed that with hard work and creative flair.

Personal fitness training

Thanumporn/Adobe sporty girl doing weight exercises with personal trainer

Becoming a personal fitness trainer can be rewarding both personally and financially. If you’re already into personal fitness and wellness in your own life, why not help others achieve their fitness goals?

To establish a solid small business, you should become a certified personal trainer via organizations like the International Sports Sciences Association or the National Personal Training Association. These certifications will add credibility to your venture and help instill trust in your clients.

While you may not need a license to be a personal trainer, you may need to be certified in order to get business insurance.

Real estate

BullRun/Adobe realtor with contract and happy couple sealing deal

Real estate may be one of the best ways to earn extra income that can eventually become a full-time business. 

You could become a licensed real estate broker to market and sell residential or commercial real estate; you could purchase a commercial or residential property and lease it to tenants; or you could buy a property, improve it, and flip it for a profit.

In addition to the income you could earn as a landlord, there may be good tax benefits to owning and renting a property.


Web design

PureSolution/Adobe web design template

A good website is crucial for any business, and a well-designed site will assist your customers, whether it’s an e-commerce venture or an accounting firm.

If you’re crafty with design work, why not take this skill and create your own small business designing websites for other businesses? 

The average salary per hour for a web designer is $25.49, according to Indeed. As you build your client list and perhaps hire other designers, there’s potential to create a very good small business.

Pet care

DoraZett/Adobe woman with cats

If you’re already a pet parent who loves to groom your pet or board your friends’ and family’s pets, this might be the right small business for you. 

Some states require permits to board pets, so you’ll need to know your state’s rules before entering this line of work. 

And, of course, you’ll need to determine your business structure, how much insurance you need, and so on.

Whether you run a doggy daycare, go to a client’s home to care for their pets, or keep pets overnight, the cost to start this business may be significant. For starters, you’ll need kennels, plush dog beds, and pet care supplies, like brushes and dog shampoos.

While not usually required to open a business, a grooming certification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) may help you attract customers.

Freelance writing

AboutLife/Adobe young screenwriter working indoors

Are you a prolific writer, whether for your own pursuits or in your full-time job? Then consider creating your own small business as a freelance writer.

Freelancing gives you more control of your time and the potential to earn more than a traditional 9-to-5 job would pay.

A number of websites have freelance writer listings that can help you build your portfolio. If you have expertise in a specific topic, such as insurance or health, your skills may command a higher pay rate.

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Business coaching and consulting

Monkey Business/Adobe two businesswomen working on computer in office

Perhaps you already run your own small business, or maybe you work in a large corporation and have valuable business advice for others.

If you know how to run a successful business already, why not help budding entrepreneurs?

Business consultants generally make just above $30 per hour, according to Indeed. You can set your own rate for coaching and consulting sessions, helping others improve their operations and profitability. 

Not only will you earn money, but you’ll also be making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Organizing services

kostikovanata/Adobe woman in pajamas neatly putting folded linens into cupboard

Some people just have a knack for organizing and decluttering. If this is your personality, there’s a booming market for your skills, especially as the baby boom generation downsizes.

To get started, talk to local moving companies or resale shops to get to know your market. Consider helping someone you know and then use their testimonial to build a client list. Or get referrals from people who live in retirement communities.

Cleaning services

Konstantin Yuganov/Adobe woman cleaning the house

Are you a neat freak? Is your home or apartment always spotless? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then providing cleaning services to others may be your calling.

Before you start offering your services, check with your state to get a license or business registration you may need. Then you can let your local Facebook group know that you’re available for cleaning services. 

Once you get your first gig, ask that client to tout their experience in the Facebook group. Referrals go a long way.


E-commerce store

Kannapat/Adobe young businessman using smart phone with shopping cart icon

E-commerce stores can be profitable ventures. 

Even after the pandemic, online shopping and consumption are at an all-time high. And getting your store established is easy compared to starting a brick-and-mortar store.

You might try selling products online as a way to alleviate some money stress at first, tapping into a global market with minimal overhead costs. 

But before you do, take the time to explore what types of products consumers are buying now, how much you will pay for the merchandise, and what your profit margin is. 

Once you begin making a steady income, you may be able to make this side gig your full-time job.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe man standing in front of plants

Small businesses play a crucial role in the development and growth of local communities. They create jobs, contribute to the economy, and add character and vitality to neighborhoods.

Running a small business can be a lucrative venture, providing entrepreneurs with an opportunity to earn a substantial income while pursuing their passions. 

With the right business idea, solid planning, and hard work, you can start a small business that will improve your financial fitness and make a significant impact on your community.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.

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