Businesses you can start with little or no money


It’s Monday morning, 7 am, and your alarm is buzzing. You hit the snooze button too many times, rush through your morning dress ritual, and then rush out the door to your job. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like your job, because all that matters is that you receive your paycheck.

What if you arrive at work one day and you are notified that your company has to downsize and your job will end in two weeks? What will happen to you and your family? Have you planned for that?

In this economy, jobs are not guaranteed no matter how hard you work. Let’s face it: You need a second stream of income along with savings for a rainy day.

Your steady paycheck is what gets you up every morning. The fear of not having a paycheck keeps you locked into the daily grind of going to work. Strike out on your own and still keep your job.

There are a number of businesses that require little or no money to start. They all require hard work and the dedication to launch and maintain the business. Let’s examine different businesses that may be right for you.

Are you athletic? Do you like working out? If so, become a certified personal trainer. The hours are flexible, and you can charge per hour. Your basic start-up cost will cover certification fees and a gym membership.

Many busy professionals have a limited amount of free time, and a personal trainer who can streamline their workout and make it effective is of value. Personal trainers make on the average of $50 to $200 per hour, depending on the client.

Do you have expertise in a particular area? Are you outgoing and comfortable around people? Starting a consulting business is one way of utilizing your expertise and your problem-solving skills. It’s a popular and potentially lucrative avenue for individuals who have spare time to advise others outside of their daily occupation.

There are consultants in marketing, business development, education — the list goes on. It’s an industry where one can earn up to $400 per hour depending on the work and location. Generally, office equipment and stationary are your basic start-up items.

Are you organized? Are you fashion conscious? A personal shopper, a fashion stylist, or a closet organizer is a great second stream of income that requires very little start-up cost. A personal shopper and fashion stylist usually charges hourly on the average of $20 to $150 per hour. A closet organizer charges according to the size of your closet. Prices range on the average from $200 to $700 per closet.

Some of the most lucrative businesses involve performing tasks that others do not want to do themselves. You could launch a part-time cleaning service. Depending on the amount of free time you have, you can choose whether or not you will need to hire employees. Your main task would be to secure the work and manage your employees.

You may have dreamed of becoming a writer. Imagine having a rewarding second stream of income that pays you to write. You can write a book or become a freelance writer. Popular freelance writing careers are writing newspaper articles, magazine articles, speeches and blogs.  You could also choose a specialization such as copywriting, autobiographies, and writing business plans for start-up companies.

The writing opportunities are infinite. The hourly fee in this area varies and the salaries can be very rewarding. The icing on the cake is that you are paid to do something that you are passionate about.

We have only examined a handful of opportunities, and there are more to come in my future articles. Start thinking about what you are interested in and passionate about. One of the best feelings in the world is getting paid to do what you love.

As an attorney who represents business owners and who helps individuals start their companies, I know from experience that doing what you enjoy fuels your energy to work hard in growing your business each day. Next time, let’s examine other popular start-ups that you can launch for that second stream of income and review the basic licensing and insurance that you may need.

If you have a passion, a talent, or simply a desire to have your own business, then this column is just for you. I look forward to our continued journey on the pathway to your financial success.


Kimberly Slay Holmes is an attorney who has been practicing law for over 25 years and has represented businesses and their owners throughout her legal career. She has her own law firm in Maple Grove, Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is delighted to receive your responses to or 763-553-2000. You can follow her on twitter @ks_legal or view her website at