65 Businesses To Start With 10k (Or Less)

Many people dream of starting their own business, but don’t want the risk of high startup costs or big loans with even bigger interest rates.  Fortunately, there’s never been more businesses to start with 10k than there are right now.  With more business models going digital every day, startup costs are lower than ever and side-hustles can take off with serious results.

Here are our top 65 businesses to start with $10k or less.  Many we’ve tried out personally and will give you the pros and cos as we see them.

1. Print on Demand (POD) T-Shirts

If you have an eye for what’s trending in T-shirts or fashion and want to rock your own brand, starting your own POD business can often cost less than $1,000 to start.  You can literally take any high-rez design and put it on a shirt. (that isn’t already copywritten!) Even if you’re not a design wiz, you can easily hire a designer to do it for you and still be way below the $10k mark. Don’t know how to make t-shirts or do screen printing? That’s the good news: With a print on demand means all manufacturing & shipping are done by another company.

  • Pros: This is a model we have done well with and can vouch for.  As an add-on to our main businesses we’ve been able to generate well over $200K in sales. It is also dirt cheap to start. With POD you hold zero inventory, have low/no startup costs and let another company do ALL the work.
  • Cons: While startup costs aren’t expensive, it can take anywhere from 25 – 40 tries before hitting a design that sells well.  Once you nail a winning design, it can often make sense to bring the production in house so you can earn more profits.  It’s not required but it can increase your cash significantly.

2. Digital Marketing Consultant

If you have a knack for marketing on Social Media or with Search Engines like Google, then you can make additional income helping other companies sell online. All you need is a laptop and internet!

  • Pros: We’ve done A LOT of this over the years and earned A LOT of money! If you have a knack for putting out helpful content, are willing to grow an engaged email list and audience, you can bring in TONS of clients fairly easily.
  • Cons: Because this is an easy business to start there can often be A LOT of competition. A smart play is to often start local and scale upwards. You may also want to combine this strategy with the next one to really crush it…

3. Niche Fan Blogger

If there’s a niche topic you’re passionate about and love to write informative posts, blogging can be a great way to turn a hobby passion into a career. It’s even possible to grow it into an industry news site and score press passes as well as interviews with your favorite artists, stars or creators. It’s not an overnight slam-dunk, but you can start for very little cash. All you need is a laptop and internet connection. You can start by finding your audience on social media and once you’ve built a reasonable following, sell basic ad space to earn a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month.  You can even grow your earnings through affiliate links. Not a fan of writing?  You can use simple speak-to-text software and even hire out freelance writers. (We’ve done both!)

  • Pros: This is a model we have done MANY times starting in 2011. Over time we’ve spun woven our sites into a multi-million dollar ecosystems. One of the properties even sold for 6 figures on its own!
  • Cons: Getting started isn’t hard but it can take a minimum of 3-6 months to break in because ranking on Google isn’t instant. If you’re not patient and willing to put in at least 5-10 hours of work each week, this may not be for you.

4. Charcuterie Board Business

You can have zero cooking skills and still rock a healthy, 6-figure charcuterie business with relative ease. (Because charcuterie has NOTHING to do with cooking!) In the past 4 years this form of “food artistry” has exploded into the mainstream. Because of the steadily upward trending popularity this market is still totally wide open for the taking with low start up costs. Many small businesses are starting to crop up all over the world and some are earning 6 or even 7 figure incomes quickly.  With over 755K “charcuterie” related searches in Google every month, check out the International Charcuterie Association for more info on this massive new market.

  • Pros: In nearly 20 years of building businesses I have never seen anything like this until my wife started her own.  I added in my marketing skill sets and together we’ve brought in over $2.4million in sales in less than 4 years.  Because the searches are all locally based, the opportunity to take top rankings is massive and wide open.
  • Cons: While you won’t have to invest a ton to get started, you will probably need to get licensed and certified. Even though the classes are affordable and easy to attend, many find that small effort to be too much and decide never to grow beyond the “cottage industry” size.

5. Pet Grooming

businesses to start with 10k

Love cats and dogs? Help the people in your area take care of their furry friends by bathing, brushing, and clipping them. Pet grooming doesn’t require a degree or a license, so you can apply that money to your supplies. You can work out of your basement or home office, but consider going mobile as mobile grooming has exploded in popularity.

6. Photographer

If you’re good with a camera and digital editing, you can make a good living photographing weddings, birthdays, and events. This business requires really good people skills and your photography must be amazing, because most people won’t accept anything less. But if you’re good, you’ll make an easy living in this high-demand field.

Pro: Because of how fast customers can be reached on social, you can easily get in front of potential clients.  This is also a low cost startup that will often run far less than $10K to get going.
Cons: Because of how low the barrier to entry is, there is a lot of competition. You will want to network with people like event planners to help increase the flow of your business.

7. Knitting Classes

Knitting and crocheting is making a crazy comeback with Millennials and Gen Z. Many of them want to learn but don’t know how to start. That’s where you can shine as a knitting or crocheting instructor! You can do it all online from your couch with the use of video classroom software such as Zoom.

8. Tutoring Services

If you’re good at any school subject and like helping kids, this is a great cost-efficient business you can do yourself. You can even do it online using platforms like Upwork and TutorAround. Check your local area for any required certifications.

9. Green Business Consultant

If you’re passionate about lowering your carbon footprint, then you could be the perfect consultant for companies that are looking for help with theirs. Licenses and costs vary depending where you live, so do your homework.

10. Resume Service

If you’re a wordsmith who likes helping people, this is the perfect business idea for you. All you need is a computer.  For most people, finding the perfect words to describe their experiences, special skills, and interests is enough to leave them feeling defeated, which is why there is a high demand to hire someone else to do it for them. Get started on LinkedIn right away.

11. Personal Shopper

Love shopping? It might surprise you to learn that a lot of people DON’T. Or they simply don’t have time. Or they’re elderly and can’t physically manage it. Whatever the reason, it’s good news for you because you can get paid to shop for someone else.

Pros: With services like Instacart achieving massive popularity, there’s a great opportunity for you to piggy back off that.  The biggest frustration high end clients have with personal shoppers is that the folks working for the app aren’t allowed to think for themselves.  If you show initiative and knowledge you can offer your services directly.
Cons: Just like everything else, you’ll want to work the market in order to stand out. This can take a while but it can be very worth it if you live near a wealthy area.

12. Alterations Service

If you have sewing skills, you can offer alterations from a home office. While tailoring isn’t as popular as it once was, there is still a strong need for it in wedding and event spaces. With the right connections and innovation, you could go far in a field that has little competition.

13. Personal Chef

Love to cook but hate the idea of spending a fortune to start up a whole restaurant? Cook more intimate meals for two (or for a family) in their kitchen. You can cook for as many clients as you wish to take on with virtually no start up costs. You will have to travel on the job, but this business model also allows for a lot of freedom.

14. Online Researcher

This used to be called “information brokering” but the name changed as the job switched to digital. If you have a talent for digging through Google and love organizing data, try this business on for size. You’ll be delving into government and business reports to find the information your clients need. On average you can charge $25 to $35 per hour.

Pros: You can often “outsource” nearly all the work to folks you find on Fiverr or Upwork, edit/transfer their findings to your own letter head and make a killing.
Cons: You’ll want to make sure you work with high quality people if you are planning on handing this off. Sending second rate data will mean the loss of a client.

15. Social Media Management

businesses to start with 10k

All businesses today need some kind of social media presence. But many business owners don’t know how to use social media and don’t want to spend all their time updating their social media presence. That’s where you come in! Get paid to run their social media for them. The best part is there’s no end to how many clients you can take on – local or global!

Pros: There is virtually zero barrier to entry with this. If you have past successes make sure to show it off on your own clean, professional site and keep growing your own social following.
Cons: Because there is zero barrier to entry, you’ll have a lot of competition.

16. Children’s Party Service

Love party planning? Parents are spending more money on their kids’ birthday parties than they did a generation ago. There are many ways you can go about it. Go mobile with your own party supplies and set up at your client’s location. Or host parties at various rental spaces and parks. The possibilities are endless.

Pros: When we had our pop-up restaurant my wife discovered how big the market is for this. You can rank locally and do really well.
Cons: You must be organized and great with people. Remember, you’re dealing with the parents not the kids!

17. Furniture Flipping

If you love antiquing, browsing flea markets, or shopping at garage sales and have a good eye for furniture pieces, then flipping used furniture can be an excellent business to try.  Start with a few pieces you can turn around and sell quickly from high-end locals areas on the “free” craigslist postings and flip using your local FB marketplace. Stick to areas that are hyper local to you and get to know what people are looking for. Niching down to certain kinds of items can also help drive business.

Pros: Gary V has talked about stuff like this for years and he’s 100% right. If you want to make money simply turn one persons trash into your treasure.
Cons: Transporting & storing goods can sometimes be a pain. It can take a little while to gain the knowledge of what’s valuable to others.

18. Music Teacher

If you can play an instrument, then you can teach others how to play it too. Offer classes in your own home office or at an established music store.

Pros: Having done this back in my youth I can attest that it’s a great way to monetize a skill you may already have. Consider offering virtual options as well.
Cons: Many potential clients will be looking for you to come to them. Make sure you have reliable transportation.

19. Pet Sitting Service

With apps like Rover it’s never been easier to start a pet sitting service. Most pet owners prefer a sitter who will go to their house and keep their fur babies company while they are at work or on vacation.

20. Teach A Language

More companies are interested in hiring bi-lingual employees than ever before. And more Americans are willing to learn a second language to land their dream job and make themselves available to more clients.  Even if the only language you speak is English, as long as you have good people skills, you can teach conversational English to non-English speaking employees via Zoom.

21. Backyard Nursery

Got green thumbs and a backyard? You can make thousands of dollars a year growing and selling trees, shrubs, garden plants, and even house plants.

Pros: If you plan on monetizing online, consider combining this with #3. You can build your audience by becoming an influencer, selling directly or selling ad space.
Cons: You’ll want to do your homework before diving in to make sure the market you’re looking at has existing search traffic as well as current demand.

22. Business Plan Service

It may surprise you to know most small businesses don’t have a business plan. To start such a service, you should have experience with business planning and be able to conduct the research and running projections based on real market data.

Pros: Often focusing on a single area of niche expertise can help you stand out. Combining this with #3 is one way of making sure you have a unique voice for yourself.
Cons: There are a lot of nation-wide companies offering this service. To stand out, you can demonstrate you are more hands on and focused.

23. Copy Writing/Ghostwriting

If you’re a solid writer and don’t mind putting in the work, this could be a massive ticket to solid income.  We’ve worked with ghostwriters for years now and have seen how well they can do.  We’ve even helped some generate multiple 6 figures from their words.  From blog posts to full on fiction novels, you can often negotiate salary AND payouts generated by your earnings.  This gig can also involve writing short text for websites, advertising, print marketing materials, press releases, radio commercials, catalogs, and more.

Pros: If you network you can easily locate tons of work without too much hassle. While there is a lot of competition, most of it comes from non English speaking  countries and so the language can leave a lot to be desired.
Cons: Writing is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. You’ll want to make sure you have a contract in place which includes milestones where the client will send you payment before you move onto the next phase.

24. Fashion Accessories Designer

If you’re crafty, you can sell your own handmade jewelry, bridal veils, handbags, shoes, belts, belt buckles, scarves, or anything else you come up with. Even if you don’t know how to sew, as long as you can come up with design ideas, there are numerous POD (print on demand) fashion accessory manufacturers that will make your designs under your name.

25. Taxes Preparation Service

Note, this is not the same as filing taxes or being an accountant. Tax preparation is just that; preparing.  But you’d be surprised how many people hate doing even that step.  Especially small business owners that don’t have time to organize all their receipts. You can do this step for them and make money while charging much less than an accountant would. Some states require licensing, so be aware and check the requirements for your area.

26. Making Your Own Essential Oils and Soaps

businesses to start with 10k

Selling handmade soap and essential oils from home is a unique business opportunity that will appeal to eco-friendly entrepreneurs. You can start from your kitchen for far less than $10k and sell your products online or at craft fairs and home parties. Find your niche & build a rabid fan base.

Pros: Many companies cropped up when beard oil became popular and the market is still booming.
Cons: For best results, you’ll want to combine this with #3 in order to stand out. Content can take time but that time can be very worth it.

27. Vintage Clothing Dealer

Got any eye for fashion and love shopping at flea markets? You’ll need to know how to do your own repairs (such as removing stains) or be ready to hire someone to do it for you. But as long as you’re knowledgeable about the value of different clothing brands, how much to pay, and how much you can mark them up, this business is easy, fun, and will net you a good living. Sell the items on eBay to keep costs low and returns high.

Pros: You can niche yourself down, focus on a certain market and really do well.
Cons: Getting traction can often take 6-12 months and you’ll need to hold some inventory for that time.

28. Image Consultant

Get paid to help people look and feel their best. CEOs, celebrities, people preparing for a job interview, singles getting back into the dating scene, patients recovering from an illness or injury are all looking for someone to help them with things like updating their wardrobe, etiquette training, communication skills, posture and handshake skills, and developing a new image or social media presence. Building a clientele requires very good networking skills so be prepared to be among the people as often as possible.

29. Non Medical Homecare

These services can include companionship, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping duties, laundry, running errands, trips to appointments, and shopping for groceries and other personal needs. In addition to seniors, nonmedical home-care workers can also provide similar services for new moms, people with disabilities, and people recovering from injury or illness. You must be insured to work in this field, but the start-up costs are nearly non-existent especially if you work through an agency.

30. Coffee Bar

We’re not talking about a full-blown restaurant, which is beyond the budget for this article. But you can open a small place that has a nice selection of coffees and teas, and maybe some pastries and snacks. The key is keeping it small so as not to need a lot of room. That way you can rent space in a pre-existing building or store. Think seriously about the visibility of the location, though, because foot traffic will be vital to the success of this business.

31. Virtual Staffing Agency

A lot of jobs can be done remotely these days, but employers still need workers! A virtual staffing agency can be done two ways:  Connect employers of remotes jobs to resumes of potential employees, or build your own team of workers to provide commonly needed services such as web design, data entry, seo optimization, and more.

32. Makeup Artist

It can seem like makeup artists today only want to make YouTube videos, but the industry is so much bigger than that. With the right skill set, you can do anything from work at a salon, to Bridal makeup, to New York Fashion Week. Even costume makeup for film, magazines, commercials, and so on. All while being your own boss and setting your own hours. Cosmetology school technically isn’t required, but having the proper training and credentials will help you go further in this business.

33. Furniture Repairs

This business is perfect for novice and expert carpenters alike. If you have a van, you can go mobile and do the repairs on site at your client’s home or place of business. Or you can open a small repair shop in a rented space or garage.

34. Bicycle Repairs

Bicycling is on the rise in the U.S. as more and more of the population turn to eco-friendly transportation and are becoming more health-conscious. But not many people know what to do when their bikes break down. If you do, then you’re in luck. Bicycle repairs can earn you $25 or more per hour.

35. Child Care

Child Daycare is constantly on the rise in the U.S. With the cost of living increasing, most families require two full-time incomes to make ends meet. Which means someone else needs to take care of the kids while Mom and Dad work. Keep startup costs low by starting a home based daycare. The number of children you can take will be limited by the size of your house, but you can always expand to another facility later. Proper certification and licenses are required.

36. Pet Photography

Who wouldn’t want to work with animals all day? If you’re good with a camera, this business won’t even feel like a job. Get creative with pet costumes and themed backdrops to really make your customers happy. Boost earning potential with products such as keychains, tshirts and mugs that you can easily transfer a picture to. Be repaired though. Not all pets are furry and cute. There may be some bites, scratches, and potty accidents along the way.

37. Cloth Diaper Cleaning Service

This business idea might be the easiest one on the list, but will YOU do it? A single baby can use as many as 3,000 disposable diapers per year. Many eco-conscious and budget-conscious parents are interested in using cloth diapers but are often overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning those diapers. That’s where you come to the rescue. Get paid to pick up, wash, and return the diapers.

38. Expense Reduction Consultant

Great budgeting skills and business experience is all you need to start an expense reduction consultant service aimed at small business or global corporations. Assist business owners with things like developing long and short term budgets, analyzing fixed and variable overhead, increasing employee productivity, and more.

39. Medical Claims Billing Service

Doctors must bill insurance companies and Medicaid for all services performed, and the bills must be prepared to exacting standards with the proper codes for each item. While doctors can be great at treating patients, they may not be patient with submitting such paperwork. You can charge to do the filing for them. You will need to obtain certification which is usually available from your local community college where you will learn the coding system and software required by the medical industry. There is a fairly steep learning curve, but good money can be made if you are able to work in bulk volume.

40. Firewood Service

Many people love using their chimneys in the winter, but don’t have the time or the physical ability to chop their own wood. You can chop and deliver wood for them!  Don’t want to chop wood all day? No problem! You can actually source firewood from all over the country and just get paid to deliver it.

41. Self Publishing Consultant

Help writers realize their dream of publishing as a self-publishing consultant. You can offer numerous services such as editing, proofreading, designing, marketing, and distribution. Knowledge and experience of the publishing industry is a plus.

42. Aerial Photography and Videography

businesses to start with 10k

If you have a drone and a camera, you can start a business in the aerial photography trade. Potential clients include colleges, property developers, corporations, amusement parks, golf courses, outdoor-event organizers, resorts, mining and forestry sites, sporting-event organizers and basically any person or business that wants an aerial photograph or video of their event or property. As a bonus, you can also offer photo/video editing services. Be aware of all local and federal laws concerning drone policies.

43. Vacation Property Rental Agent

This can be especially lucrative if you live in an area with high tourism. Whether a beach, an urban hotspot, or a popular outdoor reserve for skiing, hiking, or kayaking. Many people purchase vacation homes in popular areas with the intention of renting them out when not in use. But these people can live thousands of miles away and underestimate the amount of work needed in promoting their rental property. A rental agent would be the person they hire to find a steady stream of renters and do some light house clean up in between.

44. Apartment Preparation Service

Help busy landlords prepare an apartment for rent by making sure the space is in good condition. Services can include painting, carpet cleaning, trash removal, and other minor repairs.

45. 3D Printing Service

The sky’s the limit with 3D printing. The size of the 3D printer is what will limit what you can do with it, so think about the types of products your potential clients will need before purchasing. For example, if you plan to work primarily with jewelry makers, then you likely won’t need a very large printer. Because 3D printing is still a pretty new concept, part of building a clientele will include educating your clients on everything they can do with a 3D printer including printing prototypes.

46. App Developer

Whether you do the coding yourself or outsource, if you have a great idea for a new app, you can make it happen. The biggest challenge here is not getting lost in the ocean of other apps already available, so make sure you have a great marketing plan and budget set aside.

47. Marketing Consultant

Most business owners have a great product or service, but don’t know how to get customers in the door. Especially now that everything is digital and seems to come with a steep learning curve. If you have experience in marketing, it’s never been a better time to be a marketing consultant. Services include developing marketing plans, establishing budgets, hiring and training salespeople, developing advertising, and anything else a client might need.

48. Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is similar to a personal assistant, but a V.A. works remotely. Services will vary largely depending on the needs of each individual client and which field you specialize in. But in general you would be working on a computer for most of. Some examples include customer support, calendar management, website upkeep, travel arrangements, bookkeeping, data entry, photo editing, email campaigns, and managing social media. Basically a jack of all trades online.

49. Lawn Care

Whether you do the labor yourself or hire out, startup for this business can be done for less than $1,000 because you can start small and build up as you grow your client base. To start, offer services based on the tools you already own. As your income grows, set aside a budget for new tools so you can offer more options to your customers.

50. Personal Trainer

If you’re a gym rat and love working with people, a career in personal training helping people to reach their fitness goals could be perfect. Certification can cost up to a few thousand dollars depending where you live, and insurance is required. However, you don’t need to own a gym. Start by working with an already established gym or travel to your clients’ home gym.

51. Commercial Cleaning

You and a partner can make a good living vacuuming, moping, and wiping down windows for commercial property owners. All for the low cost of cleaning supplies.

52. Hauling Service

If you have a truck, you’re pretty much set to start a hauling service. People accumulate a lot of junk they no longer want – from old furniture and scrap metal to lawn clippings. But most don’t know what to do with it or have the right vehicle to move it. Depending on your area, you may need to obtain a special license. You also want to establish a relationship with your local junkyards and recycling centers. Get to know their rules, business hours, and if there are any fees.

53. Home Staging

Selling a house is a challenge for even the best real estate experts. Home staging goes a long way in shortening the amount of time a house stays on the market. If you have an eye for interior design and enjoy the idea of sprucing up spaces before they’re shown to the public, this fun and easy business model could be for you.

54. Deck Builder

Handymen (and handy ladies) who enjoy working outdoors can make a good lucrative income building/installing decks for others. It’s way easier than doing any kind of home renovation and you likely already own all the tools you’ll need. Enhance the experience by offering other outdoor service too, such as repairing broken siding or cleaning gutters.

55. Locksmith

There is always a market for someone who can help people who have locked themselves out of their cars or homes. Training is required and can be done through your local community college or, in some areas, via an apprenticeship.

56. Dent Removal Service

You’ll first need to learn the fine art of removing car dents without causing or requiring the need for a new paint job. But if you can manage it, there is a high demand for someone who can do good dent removal jobs for a price that is lower than your average mechanic shop. If you can fill that role, you can earn $70k – $200k a year according to this article. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/dent-removal

57. Teach An Art Class

Share your artistic passions with the world by teaching others to paint, sculpt, stain glass, or craft. You can offset some of the startup costs by requesting the use of a room at your local library or school and have students bring their own supplies. As you grow, you can rent a more permanent space later. Another great option is to host your class online through Zoom or YouTube Live.

58. Outdoor Adventurer

If you love hiking, being outdoors, and discovering great scenic spots, you could get paid to share your passion with a group of like-minded people by leading them on an outdoor adventure. Tourists love this sort of thing and being an expert on your local area’s natural assets can lead to a big pay off. Keep in mind this business isn’t as easy as taking a walk in the park. You must be able to organize trips, work with groups, be flexible, and be willing to take risks.

59. Yoga or Pilates Instructor

Training and certification are required, but once you’re certified being a yoga instructor can be a very lucrative business. Begin by working through a pre-established gym before striking out on your own. This can also be a great skill set to add to a personal training business.

60. Massage Therapy

businesses to start with 10k

With the popularity of Eastern and alternative medicine on the rise, it’s no surprise that so many people are flocking toward massage therapy for things like pain relief and muscle repair. Check to see if your state requires any certifications. Keep startup costs low by renting space within an already established spa or gym. Add additional services such as aromatherapy and reiki to boost your income.

61. Computer Repair

Let’s face it, computers have become vital to our most basic function in today’s world. Yet they still break down all the time. And most people have no clue how to fix their own technology. While IT training and experience is a good idea before kicking off this type of business, it’s not actually required in most states. And you can start from home before renting a commercial space.

62. Port-o-Potty Rental

Bet you didn’t think of this one! Human beings will always need somewhere to “go” and portable toilets are essential to any outdoor event. From weddings to festivals to construction sites. The closer you are to an urban area, the higher the demand will be. But even rural areas need their temporary toilets!

63. Airplane Cleaning

Regular detailing is needed to properly sanitize and maintain the cleanliness of an aircraft. Your company can step in and provide the service that airlines need to exceed guest expectations. You’ll want a business partner for this one – or plan to hire out – because a single airplane can require 2-4 workers to get things done in a timely fashion.

64. Ice Cream Truck

Believe it or not, your local ice cream truck earns an average of $300 to $1k PER DAY. Of course, this depends largely on your area and the season. Your biggest expense will be obtaining a truck with a proper freezer unit. The ice cream shouldn’t cost more than $1k to stock your entire menu as you can score good wholesale deals for ice cream.

65. Vending Machine Rental

Most corporate and commercial businesses like having a vending machine or two in their building and it’s a surprisingly lucrative business. In addition to delivery and installation, you’ll also be in charge of collecting the money and restocking inventory on a regular basis.

Which of these 65 businesses to start with $10k inspired you to make your dream a reality? Let us know in the comments.

Like this post? Check out this Case Study: From $7k to $279k In Under 90 Days