Personal Finance

What Kind of Business Can I Start with Low Capital?

2022 is a new year, and it’s a new, fresh start for many of us. So what better time to think about starting a business?

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Early data from last year* shows that more and more people are starting new businesses. Thinking about starting your own?

In this article, I will outline what type of business you can start based on various budgets. Let's get started.

What Business Can I Start With 2k?

Dog Walking Service

If you have the time and live in an area where the weather is regularly pretty good, having a dog walking business can be a pretty enjoyable experience. Owning a dog walking business is going to cost almost nothing to start up.

Your costs will go to marketing yourself and advertising, as you can start with people in your local neighborhood or other people you know.

If you don't want to go the full route of starting your own business with no experience, you can sign up for a service like Wag, which allows you to be a gig walker. Meaning, someone can ping you in their local area, and you can go pick up their dog to walk it, and you'll get paid for that.

You'll tend to make a lot more money with your own independent business, though. A quick internet search shows Wag walkers make around $17.50 per walk. But if you have a private business, you can make between $20 and $40 per walk.

So, say you get $20 per walk, and you're doing 5 to 10 walks a day. Not only are you getting great exercise, but you're going to start raking in some serious cash with little to no investment.

Limited Service Landscaping

While you'll need a lot more money to start a full-blown landscaping business, you can start a limited-service landscaping business for very little money.

This would include things like cleaning up leaves, cleaning up debris in yards, throwing down mulch, or just other odds and ends that people need for their lawn and garden that don't cost a lot of money or require a lot of expensive equipment.

I think I paid about $300 last year to have someone clean up my yard of all of the leaves that fell.

If you have a tall ladder, you can clean out gutters, which can cost a couple of hundred dollars every time someone has their gutters cleaned, depending on how large their home is.

So, while a lot of this might be seasonal and depend on where you live, this could be a side hustle or a legitimate business. And it doesn't require considerable investment and expensive equipment.

House Cleaning

Believe it or not, starting a cleaning business can be very affordable. It can also make you a lot of money if you target the right areas and have good clients.

The only costs you'll need to consider are registering your business, opening up a bank account to make sure you can deposit checks, and paying for equipment (such as cleaning tools and other related products).

You'll need liability insurance, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a year, depending on where you live. So, $2,000 should be more than enough to cover this, if not slightly more than that.

ZipRecruiter reports that the average weekly pay for a house cleaner is about $535 a week. That will vary greatly depending on where you live and how often you clean homes, but you can make some serious money cleaning houses.

And using an app like Handy, which is a house cleaning app, you can make pretty good money, too.

As a customer, I looked at what it would cost to clean my house, which isn't a huge home, and it was a couple of hundred dollars just for a one-time cleaning.

So, you can imagine, by doing this over and over and getting repeat clients and not having to work through another company or app, you can make some serious money.

You can even offer additional services such as no-contact cleaning, where you don't even have to see the people who live in the home. Or you can use organic and natural products. A lot of people now prefer to use natural products in their homes instead of harsh chemicals.

Freelance Writer

Starting a business as a freelance writer is going to cost you next to nothing. The only investment you need to make is time.

You can start a blog to showcase some of your writing. Still, you’re going to spend most of your time pitching a variety of different resources and websites to see if they’ll let you write for them.

You might have to do a lot of work for free upfront until you start to make a name for yourself and develop trust with larger brands, but again, there is minimal cost involved upfront.

Now, because of the nature of freelancing, the pay will range greatly. Payscale.com reports that the average rate for a freelance writer on an annual basis is anywhere from $24,000 to $115,000.

Again, a lot of it depends on how much you write, how often you write, who your clients are, among other factors.

From personal experience, I can tell you that it's rewarding as either a side hustle or a full-time job, depending on how much you put into it, especially if you like writing.

What Business Can I Start With 5k?

Bed and Breakfast

You don't have to rent out your entire home to have a bed and breakfast in this day and age. If you have a loft, bedroom, or even a guest house that's available to rent, you can get started.

Plus, if you live near tourist areas, unique attractions, or out in the country, you can rent to people looking to get away and treat it like a bed and breakfast.

For example, if you rent a space for $200 a night, even just on the weekends, that's a substantial amount of money you can make over a year.

This will require some initial startup costs, such as decorating the room and the ongoing recurring cleaning cost. But if you use a website like Airbnb, you can list it and start getting people to rent your place right away.

Alternatively, if you already have a rental home or a piece of property you can rent out that you don't live in, you can use that as well. And $5,000 can be more than enough to furnish a place and get it ready for vacation rentals.

Know that this could quickly turn into a significant investment, so if you're looking to purchase additional properties or do this on a larger scale, I'll talk about that slightly below.

Doggie Daycare

Starting a doggy daycare business requires almost nothing in startup costs. You will have to have some credentials to watch other people's dogs, but that shouldn't cost too much.

You should also have experience in owning or caring for pets. If you don’t have a dog, this probably isn’t the best bet for you.

Other than that, startup costs include:

  • Places for the dogs to sleep
  • Dog food
  • Installing a dog run (so dogs can run around outside)
  • Expanding space in your backyard for the dogs to roam free

Outside of that, you will have to pay for some marketing costs to get the word out, and you'll need to become bonded this is considered "honesty insurance." And it ensures that clients can trust you and that you're not going to steal their dog (yes, this happens) or their valuables, especially if you're coming to their home to watch their pets.

Car Detailing Service

If you know your way around a vehicle and like to keep things ultra-clean, starting a car detail business can be lucrative. Essentially what an auto detailing service does is clean people's cars exceptionally thoroughly.

So, if you're a parent who has kids, for example, you may have gunk stuck on the seats or dirt underneath the benches in the back of your minivan, or the car is just filthy. Sometimes a car wash just doesn't do it and you need someone to go in there and scrub it with a fine-tooth brush to make it look brand new.

Typically, these services charge anywhere from $200 to $300 per detail. It takes a reasonable amount of time to make it sparkling clean. Still, customers will pay good money for this.

So, if you have the space to accommodate vehicles, whether that's a big driveway or a wraparound driveway that goes into your backyard, or just an additional rental space where you can park cars and clean them, this would be a massive opportunity for some people.

Affiliate Marketing Website

Affiliate marketing is when you refer others to products. You get a commission if and when they purchase that product or service. For example, if you have a blog that talks about gardening supplies and someone clicks on a link for a product you recommended and goes to Amazon and buys that particular product, you would get a commission.

With $5,000, you can get a website set up and a superior site design with a premium theme for WordPress. You could even probably pay some people to write some articles for you to get started.

Once you start getting traffic, as you recommend products and services to your readers, they will click those links and purchase your products and services through, say, Amazon, giving you a commission.

Know that you won't make hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight. This can take a couple of years to start gaining traction. But with $5,000 to start and a little hard work, either full-time or on the side, you can begin to make some money pretty quickly.

What Business Can I Start With 10k?

Image Consultant

If you have an eye for fashion and photography, image consulting can be an incredibly lucrative business. In some cases, image consultants will help someone taking professional photos choose the right outfit, choose the right background, and have the right look to come across with the brand they intend.

Say, for example, there's an article written about a local CEO. They want a photograph taken and want to appear in a certain way. As an image consultant, you may help them choose the right outfit, a fitting backdrop, and the proper mannerisms to come across showing the brand they want.

It may sound silly, but people will pay huge money for the right type of service, especially if it's all-inclusive.

With a $10,000 investment, you not only can market your business, but you can start to make contact with other people. Professionals like hair and makeup designers, fitness trainers, PR consultants, and anything else that your clients might need to allow you to act as a general contractor for those types of services.

Using the CEO example, say that the CEO wants to get on a podcast or do an interview at a local news station afterward, you can connect them with the appropriate services to do that, all three of the umbrella of your business.

A great resource to check out is the Association of Image Consultants International for more information.

Personal Trainer

Considering what we saw in 2020 when people were closed up in their homes and couldn't get out much and tended to avoid places like gyms, being a personal trainer can be not only a lucrative business but also a tremendous addition to your local community.

There's no requirement to have a certification to be a personal trainer. However, you should seriously consider becoming certified to make yourself more credible and learn anything you might not already know.

You must be in peak physical condition and know how to train other people, so the experience is necessary.

But with a $10,000 investment, you could start to market your business on social media or in online advertising and purchase equipment that a lot of people don't usually have, such as kettlebells or specialized equipment for older adults or disabled people.

You can have that on hand, so those types of people will contact you for personal training, and you'll already have the equipment that's needed.

If you market yourself appropriately, you should gain a strong customer base because people don't necessarily want to go to gyms right now. Still, they would instead work with a certified trainer who knows the ins and outs of personal training, fitness assessments, and things like nutritional coaching.

You can wear a mask and go to their home, you could meet them in a public place, or you could even open your fitness studio that is completely sanitary and clean.

A key here is to differentiate yourself from every other personal trainer or one you might find at your local gym.

Be different, focus on a high-value service for a different type of client, and you'll start to get business. If you're serious about this, two resources I would recommend looking into are the National Federation of Professional Trainers and the International Fitness Association.

Repair, Repurposing, and Refinishing Business

Many people now like repurposed materials for their homes. So, things like old doors that have been refinished or furniture that has been repaired and repurposed. You could take old materials people either donate or materials you buy from salvage yards and refinish them, restore them, and repurpose them into something new.

For example, things like doors, furniture, desks, and kitchen tables are popular to be refinished. And there's a massive market for this type of work because it's more custom made, and people want to see unique pieces in their home.

You'll need a source for the salvaged materials, whether that's accepting donations of items people are throwing away or having contact with people who are getting rid of stuff, say, refurbishing homes or a local salvage yard.

You need to have a constant source of materials you could repurpose. You also need to market your business well and showcase some of the pieces you've made.

Additionally, you're going to need a space to do the repurposing repairs and refinishing, so having a large area or somewhere you can do work like cut, sand, hammer, and assemble larger pieces.

You'll also need a place to store these items as they're getting ready for sale. That could be a physical store or a warehouse.

You can always start small by working on pieces you can keep in your home until your business grows, but it is something else to consider.

If this sounds like something you have the skill and equipment to do, check out the Restoration Industry Association for more information.

Commercial Cleaning Business

If you don't mind working nights and weekends, a commercial cleaning business might be an excellent option for you. Commercial cleaning businesses do pretty much the same thing as a residential cleaning business except on a much larger scale.

You'll be cleaning places like office buildings and larger commercial properties at night when employees aren't there. Commercial cleaning businesses also add in services like window cleaning, changing the garbage, changing the soap in the bathrooms, deep cleaning bathrooms, and other things you typically wouldn't do with a small residence.

At this particular moment in time, many people are still working from home. However, businesses are making sure they stay clean for those that do come into the office.

And at some point in the future, people are going to start going back into the office again, at least to some degree. This would make a commercial cleaning business a pretty good investment.

Cloth Diaper Service

If you don't mind a dirty job, a cloth diaper service might be a great business idea for you. Some of the most successful businesses surround a product or service that is just part of life that people tend not to do away with.

That being said, people have kids, and kids need diapers when they're babies. Most estimates will say that babies typically use between 2,000 and 3,000 diapers per year. The cost can be high, as well as the environmental impact, so many people choose to use cloth diapers.

Cleaning cloth diapers isn't anyone's favorite pastime, especially when you do it yourself at home. Suppose you have enough money to get started. In that case, you can do a complete end-to-end cloth diaper service, which would include supplying the diapers, delivering the diapers, picking up the dirty diapers, and cleaning them. You would rinse and repeat (pun intended).

This would be a complete service for people who didn't want to deal with buying their own cloth diapers or handling any part of the process at all. If you don't want to spend as much money, you can just do delivery and pick up service and then find a commercial laundry service to do the cleaning for you.

Depending on which option you choose, you might have some money left to start marketing your business. Your primary customers will be parents who care about the environment and want a sanitary and eco-friendly solution for diapers.

What Business Can I Start With 20k?

Bespoke Tutoring Services

Regardless of whether your child goes to public or private school, most schools offer a small number of additional services.

This would cater to parents who are open to paying any kind of dollar amount so their kids can have a competitive edge with their academics.

Depending on where you live and the types of tutoring that you're offering, you can make some serious cash with this type of business. Tutoring services that provide a customized curriculum to supplement the existing learning the student is getting in their public or private school can bring in serious money, depending on where you live and the type of learning you're creating.

$20,000 is more than enough money to get started and build a legitimate business. Your highest cost will be marketing, but you'll probably want to invest in some type of credentials to present proof you're offering a legitimate service.

It also helps if you have a background in teaching, coaching, or some other type of training for teenagers or children.

And where you'll make big money is the bespoke part. By creating a very customized and specialized program for students they can't get anywhere else, you might end up being the only game in town.

For example, a big market right now is specialized tutoring for SATs for high school students. Suppose you can develop a creative and highly specialized program and charge a premium for it. In that case, it could be a very lucrative business for you.

Again, you may not even need $20,000 for this type of business. Still, I recommend it in this category because I think you should invest far more in marketing for this business type.

Food Truck Owner

Food trucks are becoming more and more popular in today's day and age. Unlike restaurants with colossal overhead and costly rent, a mobile food truck can go pretty much anywhere, and you're also not limited to selling things like plain hamburgers and hotdogs. You can get super creative. Many big food franchisors are dispatching food trucks to get their gourmet foods out there to people.

Believe it or not, the cost can get pretty high with a mobile food truck. So, $20,000 will be on the low end of what you need to get started. The highest cost is more than likely going to be licenses and a vehicle you can use as your mobile food cart.

Outside of those two costs, you'll want to spend money on marketing your business, especially considering the competition in this space. Depending on where you live, you may also want to spend extra money on a liquor license to sell alcohol from your food truck.

When looking for a food truck, especially when you're first getting started, you should get creative and look to buy used whenever possible.

For example, last year, I was at an event for my local animal shelter. One small business made a gourmet coffee food truck out of an old Airstream trailer that had just been repurposed.

And it was up to code, they painted it to look cool, and I'm sure the cost was relatively low. It also helped them identify their brand, which was a gourmet coffee shop that did things by hand, so they used older fonts and pastel colors on their truck.

Depending on where you live and how active you are, you can make some pretty good money with a food truck, especially if you have food or drinks that are unique and market yourself well.

Consignment Shop Owner

A consignment shop is where you sell other people's items, and you take a cut of whatever the sales price is. So, you don't have a massive inventory cost because you're reselling other people's items.

Your highest costs will be rent for an actual place to accept, store and sell the items people bring in, and marketing.

If you can find a storefront in a good location with a low cost of rent, you can spend the rest of your $20,000 on marketing to get the word out about your new business.

The cool thing about consignment shops is it allows the business owner to express their creative side by putting together custom outfits and designs by essentially repurposing things that people don't want anymore. Still, it also allows people to make some extra money by bringing items they want to clear out of their home to your consignment shop to sell.

Home Staging

As a home stager, you will purchase and store unique pieces of furniture you can fill empty homes with. Like you see on HGTV, when a home goes up for sale, sometimes the sellers bring in a staging company to place furniture and decorations around the house, so it looks like someone is living in the home.

Now, depending on how crazy you want to get, you can buy all sorts of things, but you can also start small and partner with a local realtor you might know.

This is an excellent add-on service for realtors to offer to their customers as they sell their home, especially if they plan to move out of the house before they sell it.

Few people want to see an empty home because they won't envision what it could or should look like once they move in. Staging helps bring color and ideas to different spaces and can increase the value of the home.

With $20,000, you'll spend a lot of the money on different furniture pieces and decorations to stage with. Still, you'll also need a place to store those items, like a storage unit. You'll also want to spend some money on marketing with this business.

What Business Can I Start With 50k?

Buy an Existing Business

This option is intentionally somewhat vague, but with $50,000, you're now moving into space where you can consider buying an existing business. This might be a physical store that sells products. It might be a consulting company, and it might be one of the other options on this list.

But with $50,000, you can seriously start to look at local businesses that are already existing, already have a brand, already have an audience, and already are generating revenue that you could purchase.

Now, with $50,000, I wouldn't expect to buy the next Apple, but you can buy a business owned by someone looking to retire, or maybe they're not running it as well as you could.

$50,000 gives you a lot of options to buy an existing business. You can check your local small business association or a site like BizBuySell.com. This marketplace lists local businesses for sale.

Buy a Franchise

This one is also intentionally vague, but it's slightly different from buying an existing business. Buying a franchise means you're buying the rights to be a "subsidiary" of another larger company.

The money you invest typically gets you access to the products and services, training, marketing materials, and everything else you need to get started right away.

The benefit is the path to success tends to be a lot faster with a franchise because it's an existing business that already has revenue and brand awareness. The downside is that you will pay franchise fees that can cut into your profits.

All you have to do is a simple Google search to look up franchises that sell for less than $50,000 to get an idea of what you can do.

For example, Rooter-Man, a plumbing drain, and sewer cleaning business have a startup cost of under $50,000.

You can also look at things like NaturaLawn of America, which is organic-based lawn care; Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax, which is an insurance and tax preparation service; Jet-Black, which is an asphalt maintenance company; Champs Chicken, which is fried chicken, fried fish, and sides; and H&R Block, which you know is a significant tax preparation service.

Full-Service Landscaping

Earlier I mentioned limited-service landscaping. But with $50,000, you can begin to form a company that offers full-scale landscaping services. You might even be able to buy an existing landscaping business, to my first point in this section.

With $50,000, you can buy the heavy-duty equipment that you need, such as a commercial-grade riding lawn mower, a truck, a trailer, a snowplow, and anything else that you need to do full-service landscaping, which includes more than just cutting grass.

Hardscaping, for example, is putting bricks and barriers around people's yards in a decorative manner. You might be asked to construct small things like pergolas.

Landscaping can be unique depending on where you live and what the customer wants. So, you'll want to make sure you have the right equipment to do the job.

With whatever money is left over, you'll want to put that into marketing your business since the competition in many areas is very high.

Mobile Pet Grooming

Believe it or not, a mobile pet grooming business can cost upwards of $50,000 to start because you'll need to purchase the right equipment in addition to a vehicle that can house all the equipment.

You'll also need state licenses, insurance, and any other tools and resources to groom a pet at someone else's home.

That said, there is a considerable upside here for people who not only love pets but love taking care of pets. And because people love their pets so much, they are willing to spend whatever it costs to make sure they are taken care of.

So, not only is there a huge market, but there's ample opportunity for this.

Considering what happened in 2020, where many people weren't physically going into stores, this might be an excellent option moving forward for people who don't want to bother with taking their pet to the groomer and having them cleaned and groomed.

You can come right to their house and do it all there. The trick is also finding a vehicle that can accommodate a grooming salon within it.

So, you'll need to have access to water and ample space to groom the pet, either in or near your vehicle. Some statistics estimate that mobile pet groomers can earn up to $100,000 per year.

What Business Can I Start With 100k?

Full-Service Consulting Firm

Having $100,000 to start a business is an excellent start for a small consulting firm that can do any type of work for major companies. Your most significant expenses might be the appropriate licenses to do business, hiring people, and marketing your business.

With consulting, the hardest part is getting in the door and selling yourself. Companies are willing to pay top dollar for premium consulting services on strategy, operations, leadership, and more.

But you need to compete against other, sometimes much larger consulting firms. Having a smaller consulting firm can be a more superior value because it's more customizable and high-touch than a large consulting firm.

There is some risk in this, like any other business, because you might end up hiring people and not have any business.

It might be best to determine your core competencies as a consulting firm, begin to market to see if there is an appetite for the types of services you can offer, and then hire independent contractors to start and see if and how your business grows.

Either way, consulting firms can offer a lot of value to people looking for flexibility and doing the work they love to do.

Property Management or Rental Homes

$100,000 isn't going to buy you many properties. You can still buy one or two small properties in certain areas that you could immediately rent out and start generating some monthly income.

$100,000 may also be enough to leverage a larger loan, which could get you into several more properties or better properties in better areas.

Additionally, one thing to look at is partnering with someone willing to chip in an equal amount so that you can scale your business.

This might take some creativity with only $100,000, but I've seen and heard people do this with a lot less. All you need to do is scour your local market for properties you can get for cheap that can also be rented out.

Another more unique option is to buy an investment property through Roofstock. With Roofstock, you can buy properties anywhere in the country online, even without seeing them.

Sanitary Coworking Space

You may have thought coworking spaces have all but been flushed down the toilet after the 2020 coronavirus pandemic forced many people to work from home. However, there is still an opportunity to open a co-location working space that focuses on being energy-efficient, sterile, and allows for some level of social interaction while still staying safe and within COVID guidelines.

For example, maybe you have offices with clear glass windows so that everyone can see everyone else, but perhaps they don't have to meet face-to-face.

Or maybe you have barriers around desks that prevent germs from being spread. Perhaps you mandate masks be worn, which as of this writing, is required. But maybe you still mandate masks to be worn even after those guidelines are lifted.

Either way, you can get pretty creative here because, at some point in time, people are going to start going back to work, which means co-location/coworking spaces are going to become a thing of value once again for people who either work from home, own their own business, or just want a place to work.

I think, again, a unique angle here can be tailoring it to a sanitary and energy-efficient way. Your costs will go to having a location and all of the equipment that goes into the location and marketing.

Mobile Restaurant

Instead of buying a physical restaurant where people come in and eat, why not cater to the market that's already ordering takeout or having food delivered to their home?

Ideally, you can buy a location that can house all of your equipment for whatever type of restaurant you want to run, whether that's a pizza shop, a burger joint, or anything else. It doesn't have to accommodate people coming in and sitting down. It can just be a large kitchen.

Your primary focus can then be takeout orders and delivery orders. It saves you a lot in hiring staff to serve as well as furniture and decorations. Plus you're already catering to an audience that wants their food delivered this way.

The main startup costs are going to be the appropriate restaurant licenses and marketing materials, as well as the equipment for your restaurant.

For example, suppose you want to own a pizza shop offering only delivery or take out. In that case, you'll have to buy a large pizza oven and anything else you'll need to make pizzas, but you won't have to purchase equipment like tables and chairs.

With $100,000, it needs to be a super unique idea in 2021 and beyond as people's preferences for how they get their food change.

What Business Can I Start With $1 Million?

Authority Website

It's 2021, and I think people need to come around to the idea that buying a digital business or a website is the wave of the future. So, you can buy a blog to make money from display ads; you can purchase a subscription-based business, you can buy a company that sells a specific product or service, or one that dropships other products.

Either way, owning an authority website can be an incredibly lucrative and cost-effective business move, especially with a million dollars to invest.

A great place to start would be to go to EmpireFlippers.com and look at some of the existing listings. Typically, you'll see valuations anywhere from 35 to 40x of the monthly revenue that the business generates.

And they have all types of businesses to look at and choose from. So, suppose you're serious about investing a full million dollars. In that case, you can buy an authority website to generate a significant amount of profit for you if managed correctly. And you can do this all from the comfort of your home.

App Development Company

With a million dollars to invest, you can hire some of the brightest minds in the business who can code and develop apps. If you have an excellent idea for an app that can generate revenue, hiring the right people to help you code and develop an app and get it advertised and marketed could be incredibly valuable.

This example is extreme but take Tinder, for instance, which is a dating app. As of July 2019, Tinder is one of the most profitable and top-grossing dating apps in the world, generating close to $75 million in gross revenue.

And all of this started with an idea to build a dating app. Now, you might not be the next Tinder. Still, you can undoubtedly create an app that generates a significant amount of money with a strong group of people working on the app and a lot of money to invest.

Commercial Real Estate

With a million dollars to invest, you're still scratching the surface on commercial real estate investment. Still, it can get you in the game, especially if you partner with other investors. Investing in office buildings, storefronts, and other types of commercial buildings can make a ton of money from recurring revenues.

There's a lot more to learn about commercial real estate than there is with renting traditional single-family homes, so you'll have to do your research. And if you partner with someone, you'll need to make sure you're partnering with the right people.

But suppose you pick the right business partners and invest in some of the right deals. In that case, you can exponentially increase your investment by owning and managing commercial real estate.

Another option here is to use a platform like CrowdStreet, which allows you to leverage crowdfunding to invest in large-scale commercial real estate projects.

Don't Start a Business at All, Invest It

This last recommendation is a little bit off the wall. Still, those of you who have read my articles before can understand why I'm recommending them. If you have a million dollars to invest, an option is to not start a business at all and instead invest it in stocks and let it ride and let your money grow.

Whether you invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, mutual funds, just make sure you’re broadly diversified and stick to an investment account and let it sit. At this rate, you could take advantage of Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE), and retire early, living on a smaller amount.

What to Do Next

Now that you have some ideas percolating, I want to make sure I provide you with some helpful additional resources to get you started. Here are a few categories of things that will help your business move a lot quicker.

Find the Right Bank

Choosing the right bank for your small business is critical. Here are two that I recommend:

Lili

Lili is a mobile bank designed with freelancers in mind. Freelancing is one of the easiest businesses to start and requires little to no capital, depending on what you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a good bank to help.

Lili has very few fees and doesn’t charge a monthly fee or overdraft fees. It also comes with some useful features, such as the ability to automatically set aside a portion of your freelancing income to handle taxes. Lili will also help you maximize your tax deductions by tracking and tagging your expenses from the account, which is helpful if you don’t have the cash to hire a tax professional.

You can read more about the bank in our Lili review.

NorthOne Bank

NorthOne is a digital bank designed for small businesses. You can open an account in just three minutes, and you never have to step into a bank branch again. With NorthOne Bank, you can send paper checks, get a business debit card, and you make deposits anywhere.

One of the things I like about NorthOne Bank is your ability to create sub-accounts for payroll, taxes, rent, and pretty much anything else that allows you to keep clean records for all of your business expenses. NorthOne Bank does cost $10 a month, but outside of that, there are no hidden fees, there's no commitment, and there are no minimum balance requirements. Plus, you can cancel at any time. To learn more about NorthOne, check out our NorthOne Bank review.

Bluevine

Bluevine offers free business checking accounts with no minimum balance requirements, no monthly maintenance fees, flexible funding options, and unlimited transactions. You can get a debit Mastercard but also pay for business supplies with a check, ACH, wire transfer, and digital wallets. Plus, if you need access to additional funding, Bluevine has invoice factoring and a revolving line of credit available. You can read more in our Bluevine review.

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Do You Need a Business Loan?

If you're a growing business or you're anticipating needing to scale pretty soon, check out Bluevine. Like I mentioned above, Bluevine offers a couple of different options for getting loans for your business.

The first is invoice factoring. Invoice factoring is when you sell your unpaid invoices to a company, in this case, Bluevine, and you can sometimes get up to 85 to 90% of their total value. So you're able to fund unlimited invoices up to the limit of your credit line with Bluevine. Your client will then make their outstanding payment directly to Bluevine, at which point the bank delivers the additional 10 to 15% of the invoice value minus the small fee that Bluevine charges. It's like getting an advance on your unpaid invoices.

The second option for funding with Bluevine is their revolving line of credit. As long as you have a 650 FICO score and you show consistent revenues of at least $40,000 a month or more, you can get approved for a Bluevine credit line, which usually takes less than five minutes. Bluevine offers credit lines from as little as $5,000 up to $250,000. Once you get funded for the loan, you can set up fixed weekly or monthly scheduled payments between six and 12 months.

Related: Best Small Business Loans

Don't Forget About Taxes

Let's not forget that even if you own a small side hustle business, you still have to think about paying taxes. So here are the tax software services I recommend.

H&R Block

H&R Block has been around for a long time, and historically, they’ve had offices where people go in and have their taxes done for them. However, over the past several years, their online business has been picking up. H&R Block has software you might recognize as being similar to something like Turbo Tax. It’s a pretty slick interface, and doing your taxes online with H&R Block is easy.

They also offer an online assistant service. So as you're going through doing your taxes, you can add on the online assistant for an additional $40 to $60, and that allows you to get help from tax experts like CPAs. I think this is a valuable addition if you're a small business owner because sometimes business taxes can get complicated.

H&R Block has a variety of different plans, from free to self-employed. Now, if you're running a small business, you're going to want the self-employed option, which gives you the correct forms to do your business taxes. H&R Block has excellent security, excellent mobile accessibility and phenomenal customer service. To learn more, read our full H&R Block review.

TaxAct

TaxAct is another online tax software that has a variety of different levels for doing your taxes. They start at free, then they go to deluxe plus, premier plus, and finally self-employed plus, which starts at $74.95. As I mentioned above with H&R Block, if you’re self-employed, you will want the self-employed plus package.

TaxAct makes it easy to go through and do your taxes step-by-step. Like other online tax software, they walk you through each step in the process, so you don’t miss anything. As a small business, this is helpful.

TaxAct also has excellent customer service that's available every day of the week. So if you have any questions as you're doing your taxes for your business, you can just give them a call, and they can help you out.

One of the other things I like about TaxAct is their full list of life events you can choose from that might have tax implications. Such things as moving, having financial hard times, being a foreign national, dealing with the IRS, or just major life events you may have experienced that aren't as clear cut as they should be when it comes to taxes. TaxAct can help you a lot there.

TaxAct is also mobile-friendly. So if you want to do your taxes from your phone, you can, although I don't recommend it. To learn more, check out our TaxAct review.

TaxSlayer

TaxSlayer has four different options like the others on this list, from free up to self-employed, but they also have a military offer, which allows you to get your taxes done for just $29 if you are in the military. For this article, though, I want to focus on TaxSlayer’s self-employed package.

For the self-employed package, you can get the federal return done for $47 plus $29 for each state return that’s filed. The self-employed packages unique features have included access to a tax pro with self-employed expertise, Schedule C expense maximization, a deduction finder, year-round tax and income tips, quarterly estimated tax payment reminders, and 1099 income guidance. To learn more about TaxSlayer, check out our TaxSlayer review.

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Find the Right Business Credit Card

Last but not least is having a business credit card. It's essential to have a business credit card to build business credit and pay for other goods and services that you may not want to pay for using a debit card from your checking account. There are two that I recommend right now.

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is one of the best business credit cards you can get. First of all, there is a $750 bonus cash back offer after you spend $7,500 on purchases within the first three months of your account being opened.

You’ll also get a 0% Intro APR for 12 Months from the time your account opens on all purchases (After that the standard rate applies). This is great. If you need to purchase something large, you’ll have a 0% intro offer available to you.

All purchases earn a 1.5% cash back reward. You can redeem your cash back for gift cards, travel, or just straight cash all through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is what I would consider a top-tier business credit card. It’s expensive with its $695 annual fee, but it comes with many perks, primarily if you use it often.

First of all, there’s a Welcome Offer. Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.

There are additional perks that you’ll find, like up to a $400 Dell Technology statement credit (up to $400 annually). You’ll get 5X Membership Rewards points® on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com and 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per $1) on eligible purchases at US construction material and hardware suppliers, cloud system providers and electronic goods retailers and software, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

All other eligible purchases will earn 1X points per dollar spent. American Express also offers a Pay Over Time option based on your creditworthiness as determined at the time of account opening.

Related: Best Small Business Credit Cards

Bottom Line

Well, there you have it, a pretty extensive list of different businesses you can start at various price points.

Keep in mind that some of these businesses will require far less, and some will require far more than I've recommended here. Each category is recommending businesses with a general starting point you can expect as a beginning investment for that business.

Also, know that this is not an exhaustive list by any means. In each category, I recommended four options. There are way more options than you can consider for different price points, so I would encourage you to do your research and make sure you find the right business for you and for the amount you're willing to invest.

And don’t rush into things. If you have $20,000 to invest in a business and you’re not sure what business to choose, why not invest that money and wait until it becomes $50,000 to open up your options a little more?

Lastly, as I finish the article, if you have a million dollars that you’re sitting on, I would seriously consider investing that money and retiring early instead of starting a new business. The option is yours. And kudos to you for having this amount to invest, to begin with.

*According to a study done in March 2020 by Statista, 804,398 businesses are less than 1 year old, an increase from the 2019 figure of 770,609.

Chris Muller

Chris Muller

Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He's also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter @moneymozartblog.


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