6 Businesses with Zero Startup Costs

This article may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.

There are a lot of advantages to having your own business. If you’ve been following along with my journey over the past few years, you may know that one of them is being able to earn far more money being self-employed than working for someone else.

Not to mention the tagline of my site, which is basically that being your own boss means making money doing what you want when you want to do it.

From personal experience, I can tell you that there are some disadvantages as well. For example, there may be times when you still struggle with work-life balance. Plus, running a business means being able to manage your business money separate from your personal money as businesses have their very own set of expenses.

Being able to afford to start and grow a business is something that holds some people back from taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. Even with an online business, there are usually at least a few startup costs to consider.

Nevertheless, if you’re serious about working for yourself, here are 6 businesses with zero startup costs. This means you can earn a profit from day one!

1. House Sitter

You’ve heard of babysitting, but housesitting may be even easier. Plus, house sitting is a business with zero startup costs! You may even be able to do it as a side hustle while still working at a regular job.


Those who hire house sitters sometimes do so to have care for house-bound pets, plants, and other small tasks that may need to be completed, like bringing in the mail. Another reason is security.

The pay will differ depending on whether you stay there or come and go. Additional factors that affect pay are the number of duties you perform, your reputation, and the location of the home.

Market your housesitting business for free by telling others about it through social media and word of mouth. You can also post flyers and get referrals from friends or relatives.

2. Become a Freelance Writer

Becoming a freelance writer is another business that you may be able to start without spending any money. While you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in writing or communications, it does help you have good writing skills.

As far as supplies for this business, you will need a computer. Although computers cost money, most people already have a computer, thus they won’t need to buy a new one to get started.

To find paying freelance jobs, you can post your services online via social media. Cold pitching to businesses and bloggers is also a good way to find your first client without spending any money.

(I don’t recommend using job boards!)

To build up a portfolio of writing to show to potential clients, you may have to do a little work pro bono. Just don’t get caught in a rut doing work for free over the long term. Once you’ve built your name with a few free and lower-paying projects, you can begin charging more for your work.

There’s really no limit to how much you can make as a freelance writer. As you gain experience you will be able to charge more for the services you provide.

3. Become a Virtual Assistant

Another business with zero startup costs (if you already have a computer!) is being a virtual assistant or VA.

Virtual assistants basically provide support to entrepreneurs or companies. The tasks vary from client to client depending on their needs and your own skills. Some of them include scheduling social media posts, handling accounts receivable, answering emails, blog management, and more.

There are plenty of VA jobs to be had because every entrepreneur, business owner, and blogger has things that need doing behind the scenes. That’s where a VA comes in!


When it comes to how much you can earn as a VA, it depends on your skills and experience, but there’s really no limit. Being a VA is my main source of income.

4. Start a Cleaning Service

Another zero startup cost business is to start your own cleaning service. There is almost always a need for it and you can start with supplies you already have on hand.

A good way to get started is to clean for a friend or family member. Then, ask them if they will provide a referral before you approach others. You could even ask them to fill out a short satisfaction questionnaire to use for your advertising.

Next, post flyers, post on Facebook and send out emails to prospective clients. Get the word out that you are available to be hired. You could also offer to clean for others with the first hour free or discounted to generate clientele.

What you charge depends on who provides the supplies, how large the area is, and how dirty it may be. To make sure you make a profit, always view the customer’s site before you quote a price.

5. Become a Tutor

A great business with zero startup costs you can do from home is tutoring others. If you are good at math, English, or other subjects you may be able to profit from it.

You can make good money from parents who want their kids to excel and do well in school. But, you can also make a real difference in young people’s lives when they are struggling.

Marketing can be done by many of the same methods mentioned above. You might also let schools and colleges know you are available. If they have announcement boards, you might be able to advertise your services there as well.

6. Errand or Delivery Service

Busy managers and business owners will pay you a nice fee to do easy but time-consuming errands. As an example, you might get their groceries and dry cleaning, wash their car, or do other errands they request.

You really don’t need much in the way of skills, but you might need a car to do some of the things they ask. To determine how much to charge, consider the complexity of the task. You should also consider your time and resources, such as gas for your car.

Advertise by one of the free methods mentioned above. Again, you can get referrals from friends or family members to establish your reliability.

Don’t let the idea of expensive startup costs hold you back from starting your own business. It is possible to start a business with little to no startup costs so you earn a profit right away.

Have you started a business with zero startup costs? If so, what was it?


  • What I like about these ideas is that many of them don’t require a physical location either. Thanks for the reminder about house sitting. I have been intending to look into this for a while and this year would be a great time to start house sitting.

    • Yes, I think house sitting could be kind of fun! It might even be a way to take your own vacation while getting paid to stay there instead of shelling out hundreds for your accommodations.

  • I’ve done all of these except cleaning service! I think we both know that freelance writing and being a VA are my favorites though lol.

    • I think it would be interesting to try out being a house sitter even if I didn’t do it on a regular basis. To just do it once or twice, like to vacation where I house sit, would be kind of cool.

    • I agree! Zero start up is the way to go because it gains us a larger profit margin.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top