12 Businesses to Start with $500 or Less

If you want to start a business and have only $500 in your pocket, you might want to check these ideas.

There are plenty of cheap businesses you can start on a tiny budget, just like our founder Peter started his Amazon FBA business.

From cleaning business to blogging, these 12 businesses can become a six-figure business without hefty investment.

Creative Business Ideas That Don’t Require Much Money

So, let’s get down to it! Here are easy-to-start businesses that don’t need large investments. With $500 or less, you are good to go!

Freelance Writing

Let’s face it; some people are just more blessed with a way of words than us. If you are that person, then you are a step ahead to starting your own freelance agency. 

With the demand for quality content ever skyrocketing, freelance writing has great potential for future growth, so long as you are willing to be patient.

Freelancing doesn’t need setting up any physical location if you can’t afford that. In fact, you can start it from your bedroom! All you need is a computer, a working space, and a good internet connection!


What is dropshipping in the first place? This is where you have your online store, selling different products from a third party, say Amazon.

You don’t keep the products by yourself, but when a customer buys from your store, you purchase the item from a third party and provide the customer’s shipping details so the product gets shipped directly to them. 

With this model, you don’t have to worry about shipping costs, storage costs, and much more! Besides, a customer has to purchase from you before you buy from the third party!

Sounds good, right? That’s not enough! The beauty of dropshipping is that you set your own prices, thus controlling your profit margins!

Social Media Management

In the current world, every business, whether established or new, needs a social media account.

The good thing for social media managers is that many business owners don’t have the time or expertise to manage their accounts. And that’s where you come in.

With just a basic understanding of a social media platform, you already have an idea of what you will be doing.

Tutoring Services

If you have the ability to explain complex subjects to people using simple terms and make them understand better, then you might consider starting tutoring services as a business.

Tutoring is a great opportunity to turn your knowledge into a business with $500 or less. 

For a start, to further keep the costs down, you can start tutoring online, at the comfort of your home. The good thing is that there are always students looking for these services. 

Cleaning Services

Starting this type of business is quite straightforward. All you need is the willingness to put in the work, attention to detail, and a passion for tidying up.

There will always be demand for cleaning services, whether from businesses, homes, or apartment dwellers. So, you will always find customers.

Depending on your pricing structure, the number of clients, and the industry you are servicing, expect to make between $20,000 to $30,000 in the first year. This amount is expected to increase as you expand your customer base.


Believe it or not, starting a website can cost way less than $500. With a unique voice and niche, you can attract a dedicated readership. Platforms like WordPress and Blogger offer affordable ways to launch your site.

Monetize through ads, affiliate links, or sponsored content, and watch your passion project grow. In time, a blog can become more than just a hobby—it can be a substantial income stream.

Personal chef

With many health complications surfacing, many people are looking for healthier meal options, but don’t have the time or skills to prepare them.

You can earn a reasonable income as a personal chef, preparing meals for clients based on their dietary needs. All you need is the skill to prepare delicious and nutritious meals, and a little bit of marketing skills to get the word out there.

Other clients will ask you to provide some form of certification. Be sure to have this, since it’s the only way to prove to them that you got some training and are qualified. 

Pet Sitting

If you have a thing for animals, and just love spending time with them, then pet sitting could be the perfect business for you. Plus, most of the skills needed for pet sitting business are basic, and you probably have them.

Pet sitting involves feeding, grooming, walking, or playing with pet(s) while the owner is away from home.

Use flyers and posters in your local areas to advertise your services to new clients, and remember to register your business once it gains traction.

Car wash

If you live in busy urban areas, you can easily start a car wash and detailing business with very little cost.

You will need basic cleaning supplies, a basic water source, a water tank, and a good location. If it’s expensive to rent a specific location, you can opt for mobile car wash services, and provide these services at your client’s doorsteps!

If permits and licenses are required in your local area, you should make sure to get them in order to stay on the safer side of the law.


Do you have a green thumb and a love for plants? Then it could be much easier for you to start a gardening business.

This is a great chance for nature lovers who prefer working outdoors to make money. You just need to have knowledge of different plants or learn the ropes with time.

And here’s a tip: there are ways to get free seeds to kickstart your gardening business.

After you purchase the necessary equipment, which should cost less than $400, you are good to go!


Flipping isn’t just about making a quick buck; it’s about seeing the potential in overlooked items. You can find treasures in furniture, old clothes, gadgets, or even domain names just waiting for a new lease on life.

Places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or thrift shop down the road are full of hidden gems. With a good eye and a bit of know-how, you can turn yesterday’s cast-offs into today’s hot ticket items.

Language Translation

With the rise in globalization, the world has become like a village, but full of people speaking different tongues.

You have an advantage if you can understand different languages. This is a business opportunity to work as a translator! You don’t need a physical office to get started. 

All you need is to get found! And, for this to happen, you need to set up a professional freelance profile on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr and advertise your services there.

Highlight the languages you are good at, and your previous translation work if available. If you find several clients, you can start a translation company and hire different freelancers to help you!

What’s the Best Way to Start a Business with Just $500?

With $500, there are dozens of business opportunities. You can start a blog, open a car wash, clean homes, or help businesses with their social media. Each idea has its perks!

Some of these might be easier or earn money faster. But a smart move? Try a mix of them!

Think about what you like doing and how much time you’ve got. With some hard work, that $500 could be the start of something big.

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