In the popular book, The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris talks about the many ways you can leverage the internet to take away the risk of starting a business.
There are many tools available online that give you the ability to test your idea without going in to debt or even having it available for purchase.
It’s basically as simple as putting up a website with your solution, (whether you have the product ready or not) sending traffic to it, collecting payment or contact information for it and measuring the results. You are essentially spending little to nothing on market research that most big companies spend 10s of thousands of dollars to conduct.
Not all businesses can be started with little or no cash though. You may need a factory, or a warehouse, or software development. In cases like those you’ll likely need to go in to debt or pitch to investors if you don’t have the money already in the bank.
In this post you will discover various online businesses, that are traditionally offline that you can put into action and start getting clients with a $100 dollar bill or less.
What will $100 pay for?
Here is an example of a diversified marketing budget. (As you can see I went over the $100 limit slightly but budgets can be adjusted as needed to fit under the budget):
- Come up with a name and purchase domain name ($2.99 at GoDaddy)
- Create social media headers and business card design in Canva (Free)
- Sign up for PayPal, Stripe and Squareapp so you can accept any form of payment online and offline(Free)
- Order some business cards from VistaPrint: Starting at $5 for 100 ($92)
- Create a Facebook page for your business (free) and run some targeted ads to build an audience of people you know and people most likely to do business with you: $25 budget to get started ($66)
- Create or edit your LinkedIn page and add what you do in the first line of your name (Free)
- Come up with an irresistible offer and put out 7 local ads on Craigslist: Free ($66)
- Place an ad in the local paper: $10-$25 ($63)
- Go to Fiverr and order an animated how-to video explaining the benefits of your business $10 ($53)
- Sign up with Mailchimp to start collecting emails. (Free)
- Create a website with a free theme and professional emails: $42/year at Alavon Hosting ($11)
- Flyers to hand out: 50 for $10 ($1)
- Time, smart work, hard work and determination
What NOT to do with your $100
- Incorporate your business (LLC vs C Corp vs S Corp) without speaking with a tax or legal specialist ($100-$750 depending on your state, required licenses and business model)
- Trademark your business name or idea. ($5,000+)
- Spend it all on fancy business cards. Hard to measure the ROI on a physical card (that is unless you put a qr code on it!) but they don’t need to be fancy at first
- Place ads in the Yellow Pages
- Procrastinate, delay or wait!!!
Here are 30 business ideas that you can start with under $100 dollars. For this post I’m only going to cover the ones that are legal. 🙂
- Grocery Delivery Service *Growing Market*
- Creative Freelancing (Writing/blogging/Designing)
- “Green” Home Cleaning (Using only environmentally friendly products) *Growing market*
- Landscaping/Snow Removal
- Affiliate Marketing
- Selling an Ebook
- Network Marketing
- Avon, Mary Kay or other direct marketing and selling
- Selling your Best Dish at the Farmer’s Market
- Creating ‘meals to go’
- Selling your art Etsy, Cafepress or Zazzle
- Selling your art at Farmer’s Markets
- Selling On Auction Sites
- Creating an online course *Growing Market*
- Child Care Services
- Senior In-home Care *Growing Market*
- Social Media Consulting or Operating
- Event Planning
- Handyman (or woman)
- Repairman (or woman)
- Window Washing (There’s always a dirty window needing washing)
- Pet Walking, Sitting or Other Care *Growing Market*
- Drop Shipping
- Graphic Design
- Blogging/Vlogging (about any of the above services that you’d like to offer for example)
- Domain Name “flipping”
- Virtual Assistant
- Internet Research Services
- Driver Services (Lyfe/Uber) *Growing Market*
- Makeup Art
Early on the key is to hustle, get in front of potential customers and sell yourself and your solution. It is also important to niche to a specific segment of the market. You want to be looked at as the only viable option in your particular field. For example, teaching an online Yoga course for seniors, starting Paleo dessert blog or event planning for non profits in your city.
What other business ideas can be started with $100 or less? Share with us in a comment below!