Building Your Business Without Breaking the Bank


Entrepreneurship has been the lifeblood of America, from its early days. This country was founded by brave souls who wanted to make a better life for their families. It’s not surprising that with all the job losses, company shut downs and other economic problems that have plagued the nation in the past few years, there has been a major boom in the numbers of average citizens who have decided to start businesses on shoestring budgets. With small businesses representing 99% of the 2.7 million businesses in the USA currently, it’s no wonder that many have started with regular everyday people with big dreams. If you have the desire to reshape your financial future, here are just a few of the many home based businesses you can build for next to nothing.

Household Services

With the challenges that the housing market has faced, it’s only natural that some enterprising folks would capitalize on the increase in homes up for sale by starting household service companies. In addition to standard housekeeping and home repair opportunities, entrepreneurs can set up shop in a wide range of other household services. These can include home décor updates, move-out and construction cleanings, home inspections, home staging, house sitting and more. In most cases, with a very small budget to buy supplies, a business license and personal liability insurance – anyone with ambition and the desire to make homes beautiful can be in business for himself for a few thousand dollars as a household services contractor.

Consulting Businesses

For the expert in you, starting a consulting business may be just the ticket. In this information age, people are looking for consultants to provide the expertise and advice in just about any topic, from personal to professional interests. Nova Yeoman-Forrestall, owner of Mi Local Perks, a customer service consulting company, developed a fully online coaching and online training program based on her extensive background in the customer service arena that spanned 20 years of experience in the hospitality, restaurant and automotive industries. Nova now trains everyone from entry level agents and students to seasoned managers on the concepts of customer service that help produce superior results. Her company was founded on a sincere desire to help businesses grow on a global scale, yet her overhead costs are less than $2,000 annually to maintain.

Bookkeeping and Accounting
Good with numbers? Then a home based business as a bookkeeper or accountant may be the right fit for you! While this may require a CPA in some regions, most of the time if you have a background in accounting and know how to use basic accounting and bookkeeping software, you can start assisting other small businesses in your neighborhood in very little time. Many business owners do not have the staff to handle their books on a regular basis, so working as a part time or freelance bookkeeper can allow for flexibility in a financial career. This is especially true as tax season approaches. To get started, check with the local Chamber of Commerce and find out who may be interested in using your services as an accounting specialist, then charge by the hour. Most accounting professionals who work from home can expect to earn as much as $25 an hour.

Web and Graphic Design

For creative people, there has been a boom in working from home as web and graphic designers in recent years. Traditional marketing methods have moved aside for online marketing strategies and most companies today are looking for skilled web designers and graphic artists who can create a brand image for them online. Add to that the emergence of social media, and you have a recipe for success if you can learn how to create great looking graphics, websites and blogs by using low cost software applications and web-based platforms like Wordpress. Try setting up your own website first, then offer to do some low cost websites for other small businesses in your network to get started in this rewarding career. Web and graphic designers generally earn about $50-80 per hour.

Virtual Administration
If you are a highly organized person who enjoys office work and juggling multiple projects, then perhaps a virtual assistance business may be your ticket to success? Virtual assistants or VA’s as they prefer to be called, are skilled administrative specialists who support other businesses by taking on special projects and duties, which free up the owners to manage other areas of their business. These duties can range from errands, memo writing and checking emails to taking phone calls from clients. The virtual administration role is so varied, that there’s never a dull moment. All this can be managed from home and the initial investment will generally consist of a computer, a phone and basic office software to get the job done. Home based VA’s can expect to make as much as $25-35K annually.

Small Motor Repair
Love to tinker around in the workshop and fix things? Perhaps a home based career as a small engine repair person could work for you. There’s always been a need for skilled people who can fix things like household appliances, lawn mowers, bicycles, go-carts, and more. As families grow, things like this seem to get worn out and it’s often cheaper to repair them than to buy new ones. A small motor repair shop can easily be built right in your own household garage and can be managed on a part time basis, for the mechanically inclined. While there may be some small upfront costs, for a business license and tools, this is a relatively cheap way to start a business today. Small engine repair technicians may earn as much as $30 per hour.

Pet Care and Sitting

People in America love their pets! That’s why pet care and sitting companies have become so popular in the past few years. This relatively easy to start up business has many perks, including being able to work a highly flexible schedule and play with animals all day. Pet sitters range from college kids to retirees who agree to watch pets while the owners are away on vacation, or for daily visits to feed and walk pets when owners are at work. Oftentimes, this includes other pet services such as bathing and grooming, and pet play groups, which enrich the lives of pets and gives owners peace of mind. If you love animals and can see yourself doing this for a living, check with your local pet sitting association and see what licenses and insurance may be required to start a pet care business, but expect to earn about $18 an hour. 

Landscaping and Lawn Care
Another huge need in most communities is a landscaping and lawn care service. While there are people who do this part-time during the peak summer months, there are very few who offer this year round to upkeep yards and properties, which helps them to stay looking their best. This is a bit more costly to start up, as a professional lawn mower, weed-eaters, and debris removal equipment, plus a trailer to haul them to worksites must be purchased. However, if you are frugal you can generally find used equipment in the classifieds section of your newspaper or check at auctions for deals on gently used lawn care needs. Get a license and liability insurance too, so you can be sure to provide professional service to your customers all year long. Look for full time earnings of about $35-45K annually with this career.

Business Writing

Love to write and think you can handle business writing full time? This lucrative career can literally be started for next to nothing, thanks to the Internet and a demand for original content. Google has stepped up the playing field for all writers by demanding that all website content and marketing copy be high quality. That means businesses and web developers are looking for strong writers who can produce top notch copy for a variety of business projects. Start out by offering to write articles, advertisements and newsletters for local businesses to promote them. Over time, once your work is published online, it’s best to invest in a simple website to showcase your work – which will help you to land more paid writing opportunities. Seasoned business writers earn approximately $50K annually.

Computer Repair

If you’ve been interested in computers all your life, or have a knack for building them in your spare time, a computer repair business may be just what you need. Computer repair specialists know the in’s and out’s of computer hardware systems and software applications. These folks can help anyone, from college students to businesses, who rely in computers to get the job done. Computer repair can also branch out into other areas of technology, such as software development, networks and computer security work. The possibilities are limitless when you start a home based business as a computer repair expert, an investment that depends on what area you get into. Generally a business can be started for under $5,000 and earnings can be as much as $70K per year full time.

About the Author

Tess Taylor

Tess C. Taylor is a Web Copy Writer and Business Consultant from Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to being a 15 year veteran in Human Resources, Tess has had over 2,000 articles published on various small business, online marketing, green lifestyle, entrepreneurial and career topics around the globe.

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