9 Affordable Business Ideas For The Entrepreneur In You

Owning a business and making a living on one’s own terms has been a part of the American Dream since the first colonists arrived in April 1607 (with the exception of surviving the still-wild American terrain). These days, however, many businesses that were, or could still become, are often driven out by large corporations that offer lower prices and plenty of variety in terms of products and Brand labels. Bearing this in mind, American entrepreneurs have begun looking for new ways to continue bringing personalized and innovative products and services to the American consumer. Starting a new business, however, is no easy task, and requires a lot of time, effort, patience, and depending on the business or industry, money. But it is possible.

When you begin, your office can be your garage or living room, and your first clients your friends and family. A good strategy might be to offer first-customer incentives to your friends and neighbors so that they spread the word about your business to their own friends and family and you begin to build a comfortable customer base. Once you have earned a small amount you can begin investing in assets like equipment and a website, and then further advertise around your hometown before potentially expanding further. Again, it will be a lot of work, but it is possible. So if starting your own business has always been your vision of the American Dream, here are nine affordable business ideas for you to consider starting with.

1. Landscaping and snow removal.

Landscaping services are still in high demand all throughout the year: grass trimming and garden maintenance is required in the spring and summer, the leaves need raking in the fall, and the snow needs shoveling in the winter. You can start small with yours or a friend’s truck, your own lawn mower, rakes, shovels, weed trimmers, and other equipment like snow blowers and/or plows. Your biggest expenses at first will likely be gas and fertilizer, so be sure to work out a fee that covers the cost of such materials and gets you a profit to invest back in the business.

2. Cleaning service.

If you enjoy making your house spick and span, opening your own home or office cleaning service may be a great entrepreneurial endeavor for you to undertake. Chances are you already have plenty of material, so your biggest concern will be marketing your new business. Again, you can start with friends and family, but also reach out to local businesses that you frequently visit, or business owners you know on a personal level, and make them aware of your new professional service.

3. Dog walking/pet sitting.

People are always looking for a trustworthy and friendly individual to tend to their pets while they are working during the day. This makes being a dog walker or pet sitter a great idea for a small business, especially considering the low cost of running such a business. If you have a car and can afford some small plastic bags for cleaning up after your clients while you walk them, you are pretty much good to go: food/snacks a leash, and any other necessary equipment should really already be provided by the animal owner, so there is virtually next to no expense for you to get started, with the exception of marketing materials like business cards, flyers, a car sign, and website.

4. Moving services.

This one is also extremely simple if you and a friend or family member have a couple of trucks or vans to use. One nationally known moving company is literally called ‘Two Guys and a Truck’. As long as you can get the word out about offering affordable, same-day moving services, you should have no problem acquiring business: college kids, young adults living in apartment buildings, and home owners all need help moving, even if it’s just taking some furniture to a storage unit. You may want to invest in a dolly and a website, but other than that all you’ll really need are your hands and a reliable set of wheels.

5. Start your own bakery line.

People still love to spend money on sweets and delicacies, so if you have a few secret recipes lying around that you have worked out yourself or that are old family recipes, it may be worthwhile to open your own line of bakery products. Start by making a few unique bakery items (eg your personal spin on the chocolate chip cookie) and pitch your ideas to local restaurants as potential dessert items. Once you have gained a reputable name around town you can consider taking out a loan to open a store and begin providing additional services like party and event catering, large orders (from schools, businesses, ect), customizable items like birthday cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, and in-store home baking classes for your customers. 

6. Freelance writing.

If you have some skill at writing, as well as access to the internet and a laptop or computer to type with, becoming a freelance writer is another great option for you to consider. There are plenty of websites out there dedicated to helping freelance writers get started, and once you have begun to build a portfolio of your work, more clientele is sure to follow. You also never have to deal with assets like a storefront or even a printer, ink, or paper considering everything is done mostly online these days. Having a professional website, some business cards, and a small home office with a desk, however, isn’t a bad idea either.

7. Tutoring.

Home tutoring has always been in high demand and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Tutors can provide services for a variety of educational subjects, including math, history, science, grammar, and even specialized test preparation like ACT and SAT. Aside from some advertising and marketing materials, certification programs are available via online or community college courses, and the more certifications you have the more clientele you can expect to acquire, which obviously means a higher paycheck. So if you have some skill as an educator and enjoy helping others learn and succeed, becoming a professional tutor may be the thing for you.

8. Seamstress/home sewing business.

While designer clothing outlets like Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie, and GAP have the clothing industry on a pretty tight leash, people are always willing to spend a little money on a unique or personalized clothing item. If you can sew and have a home sewing machine, working as a seamstress is another great business idea. The price of wool, cotton, and other materials can be included in your prices and you can offer any number of services including stitching/repairing old clothing and creating your own line of specialty clothes, like winter hats and gloves, spring dresses, personalized Christmas stockings, and even toddler outfits. Sewing can be a little more of a time-consuming endeavor, but if you have the skill and truly enjoy it, it could easily become a worthwhile investment.

9. Web designer.

Considering all of these businesses can see a great deal more success with a functional, user-friendly website, being a web designer is an extremely profitable endeavor in today’s society. This will require some education and the ability to successfully market yourself, but if you have an eye for design and can translate your vision onto a company website, there’s no telling how much you can expect to make as your demand increases.