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zero budget business to start from home

25 Top Zero Investment Home Business Ideas for 2024

Rosie Greaves

Taking the first step of your business journey from the comfort of your couch offers a unique sense of freedom and flexibility. Whether you're seeking a side hustle to boost your income or yearning to break free from the traditional nine-to-five, tons of small-scale business ideas without investment are just waiting to be explored. 

...and we're revealing 25 unique business ideas here!

So, if you're in the following predicament:

'I want to start a business, but have no ideas'...you're in the right place. Let's dive straight in!

1. Dropshipping

If you've not heard of dropshipping before, here's a quick summary (spoiler: this is our favorite out of all the business ideas with zero investment in this list!):

In a nutshell, dropshipping is an online order fulfillment method where you don't have to purchase any inventory upfront. Instead, you only buy the product from your third-party dropshipping supplier once a customer purchases via your online store. Then, the dropshipping supplier picks, packs, and ships the order directly to your customer. As a result, you don't have to handle the inventory yourself.

Launching a small-scale dropshipping startup with zero investment is tricky but possible. 

Utilize free hosting solutions like Infinity Free and set up your online store using a free eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce or OpenCart. There are also free domain name registrars like Freenom.com. Then, all that's left to do is find high-quality suppliers on dropshipping directories like AliExpress and start filling your e-store with products. 

Yes, this takes lots of work, but with some tenacity, dropshipping on a budget could be a lucrative venture in the long term!

Infinity Free Web Host

2. Start a Print-On-Demand Business

Print-on-demand (POD) is very similar to dropshipping (as mentioned above). 

However, the critical difference is that you can customize products with your own design/engraving. 

As such, print-on-demand lends itself to creatives wanting to sell products like apparel, accessories, home decor, and so on, with their unique twist stamped on them. 

Starting a print-on-demand startup without investment requires creativity, resourcefulness, and strategic planning. However, it's certainly possible. 

For example, Ecwid allows you to create a free online storefront (selling up to five products) and integrates seamlessly with Printful, a free print-on-demand service. 

Printful offers over 300 customizable products for you to choose from and sell on your own online store. Then, when a shopper makes a purchase, Printful prints and ships the order directly to your customers. 

Where graphic design is concerned, you can use free software like Canva to get the ball rolling!

Print on Demand Business

3. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing can be both fulfilling and financially rewarding. Depending on your experience, you could turn your pen to writing blog posts, ebooks, email campaigns, website copy, ad copy, etc. 

To kickstart this venture, leverage zero-cost platforms like Medium, LinkedIn, or your own blog to showcase your writing skills and compile samples to show potential clients. 

There are also tons of freelance writer job boards out there. For instance, ProBlogger - when gigs come up that you like the sound of, apply for them offering your services. It's a competitive field, but the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to build your client roster. 

Freelance Writer Job Boards

4. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) offer administrative and organizational support to businesses remotely. For example, responding to customer support emails, social media management, data entry, etc. 

If you like the sound of becoming a virtual assistant, first, you need to identify which services you could provide and then clearly define the scope of your offerings. Organize your skills and experience into attractive packages, highlighting the value you bring clients.

Handy hack: Leverage free tools like Google Workspace to manage your email, calendar, and document collaboration. Trello is also useful for task management, and Canva is helpful for graphic design.

Google Workspace

5. Proofreading

This side hustle is an excellent string to your bow if you're also considering launching a freelance writing or virtual assistant business. After all, it stands to reason that proofreading and writing go hand in hand. 

Of course, you'll need to boast excellent attention to detail and exceptional spelling and grammar knowledge to excel in this venture. 

Pro Tip: Use free grammar and spelling tools like Grammarly to help correct spelling and grammar mistakes in your clients' work. 

 Grammarly for Proofreading

6. Social Media Management

As a freelance Social Media Manager, yes, you guessed it, you help businesses manage their social media presence.

Do you have experience building a social media following? How about running social media campaigns or creating engaging content? If yes, this could be a viable avenue for you. 

To hit the ground running, you'll need to determine your target market and the specific social media management services you'll offer, for example, content creation, scheduling, analytics reporting, strategy, etc.

Pro Tip: Use free social media tools like Buffer or Later to schedule posts, manage multiple accounts, and analyze performance.

Buffer for Social Media Management

7. Freelance Graphic Designer 

Freelance graphic designers create visual content for clients, such as logos, social media assets, email banners, etc. 

If you have graphic design experience (or are creative by nature!), you could monetize this by offering design services. 

To kickstart a freelance graphic design business without a budget, we recommend utilizing free design tools like Canva or Snappa. Although free platforms like these have limitations (compared to premium software like Adobe Creative Suite), they offer an excellent starting point. 

Pro Tip: Use a free platform like Behance to compile and showcase your graphic design portfolio to potential clients.

Behance for Design Portfolio

8. Online Tutoring

If you have teaching experience (or are an industry expert), consider turning your hand to online tutoring. 

What subjects are you knowledgeable about? Do you have experience in academic subjects like English or science? Perhaps you're bilingual and could school students in a second language? Or maybe you're proficient in a musical instrument, possibly a guitar, and you could teach that?

To jump-start your online tutoring business, utilize free communication and screen-sharing tools like Zoom to conduct your tutoring sessions. There are also plenty of platforms like Tutor.com and Preply where you can register your tutoring services. Platforms like this are excellent for extending your reach without spending a penny!

 Tutor Online Tutoring

9. Sell Handmade Crafts

Do you have a knack for creating beautiful crafts? For example, handmade jewelry? Candles? Artwork? If so, monetize your hobby by selling these goods on platforms like Etsy, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc. 

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for free opportunities to showcase your crafts at local markets. This works wonders for engaging with local customers, building your brand locally, and reducing advertising costs.

Sell handmade items on Etsy

10. Start Your Own Blog

Do you have specialist knowledge about a particular niche, industry, or hobby? Perhaps tech? Fashion? House renovations? Cooking? You name it, whatever you're passionate about, consider launching a blog and monetizing it through ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored content.

Generating an income from your blog takes time and effort; however, with perseverance, there's no reason your blog couldn't succeed. 

To get started with zero investment, use a free blogging platform like Blogger and promote your blog on social media. Share content frequently and engage with your audience to increase your blog's visibility.

Pro Tip: Learn the basics of SEO and optimize your blog accordingly; this is crucial for driving organic traffic.

Create a Blog on Blogger

11. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can overlap with a few other options on this list—predominantly blogging, vlogging, influencer marketing, and podcasting—mainly because affiliate links are often embedded in blog posts, vlog descriptions, social media posts, email newsletters, etc. 

However, as it's such a popular income stream, we thought it deserved its own section. 

For the uninitiated, affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy in which a business rewards you, the 'affiliate,' with a commission for each sale/lead/click you achieve (the exact nature of your affiliate marketing arrangement will vary depending on the agreement you have with the business you're an affiliate for).

Affiliates typically give their followers/prospects an affiliate link containing a unique tracking code that's assigned to them. Then, when someone clicks on the link and performs the desired action, i.e., purchases/clicks/signs-up, this action is traceable via the link, and the marketer is renumerated accordingly. 

12. Language Translation

Do you speak another language? If so, you could put that skill to good use by offering translation services.

There are a few online translation marketplaces out there where you can register your services, such as Gengo and OneHourTranslation.com.

Aside from that, we recommend launching a website using a free website builder like Weebly to advertise and showcase your language expertise and any specialized areas you work in.

Gengo Translation Service

13. Event Planning Services

Do you have any experience in events management? You may have previously worked as a personal or executive assistant and want to flex your organizational skills. Or are you the go-to person for organizing get-togethers for your family and friends?

If any of these apply, an event planning business could be your venture of choice. 

It would be great if you already had a few events you could add to your portfolio. Did you plan the office Christmas party? Did you organize your own wedding? Did you throw a big surprise birthday party for a loved one?

Whatever your experience, be sure to shout about it and showcase your expertise on socials, your website, and free business listings like Yelp and Yell

Yelp Listings

14. Software Training

Businesses use all manner of software to keep operations flowing. However, some team members are more adept at picking up said software than others. This is especially true of larger organizations that regularly recruit considerable waves of new employees. These workers, of course, need training, which takes time.  

So, if you're proficient in a specialized software program like QuickBooks, HubSpot, Google Analytics, etc., you could run workshops or private sessions for companies looking for a quick and easy way to familiarize their employees with their ever-growing tech stack. 

15. Bookkeeping 

This might be surprising, but you don't need to be a qualified accountant to become a bookkeeper. 

So, suppose you have a head for numbers and have experience executing basic accounting tasks. In that case, there's no reason why you couldn't offer bookkeeping services to small businesses. 

More specifically, you could help with the following:

  • Keep the company's preferred accounting software and filing systems updated
  • Issue financial statements
  • Prepare tax returns
  • Create balance sheets
  • Process payroll

...These are just a few examples, but hopefully, you get the gist. 

Pro Tip: If you want to pursue bookkeeping and are based in the US, you'll likely need to establish an LLC.

Again, we encourage you to use social media to promote your services. Take inspiration from Zeal Bookkeeping. They're a great example of using Instagram Reels to establish themselves as an authority in their niche.

 Instagram profile

16. Vlogger

Like blogging, Vlogging is somewhat of a slow burner, so don't expect to make money overnight. However, if you're passionate about a specific topic and enjoy being in front of the camera, then vlogging could be a great business idea!

To begin with, all you need is your smartphone and access to free video-editing software like Canva. 

Then, as your business grows and you have more money to invest, we recommend upgrading to a more professional camera, AV equipment, and premium video-editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro.

You can post your vlogs to YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram and upload them to your website. As previously mentioned in this round-up, Weebly is a free website platform, so that's worth considering. However, it imposes a video upload limit, so you may quickly outgrow it. 

Once established, you can monetize your venture by offering advertising space on your website, inserting affiliate links in your videos/video descriptions, attracting video sponsors, and/or registering an account on a funding platform like Patreon.

Patreon Monetization

17. Sell Used Items

The worldwide secondhand market is forecast to almost double by 2027, totaling a staggering $350 billion, so as no investment businesses go, selling secondhand goods could be a lucrative option!

So, suppose you enjoy thrifting and have an eye for designer gear. Why not head to your local charity shops, collect boujey items, and then sell them for profit via your own website or on specialized marketplaces like Poshmark and Mercari?

Sell used items on Mercari

18. Sell Photos Online

Selling photos online is competitive. However, that shouldn't stop you from submitting your pictures to well-known marketplaces like Adobe Stock, iStockPhoto, or Shutterstock

Stock photo websites will license your photos to anyone looking to use them commercially and give you a revenue cut.

Earn with Adobe Stock Images

19. Become a Virtual Personal Trainer

Personal training is a $14 billion industry. If you have qualifications and experience as a PT, market your personal training packages on social media (particularly Instagram) to target people interested in home workouts. For inspiration, study Courtney Black's journey - she's absolutely smashed it!

Instagram professional profile

20. Freelance Web Development/UX Designer

Creating stunning websites has never been more straightforward, thanks to website platforms like Wix and Squarespace. 

However, despite these platforms' intuitive interfaces, some businesses have a precise vision they can only achieve with coding know-how. 

In addition, businesses are always looking for ways to boost website conversions. So, if you have UX design and development experience, you could also upsell these services to your clients. 

Pro Tip: If you're the creme de la creme of web developers, it's worth applying to Toptal. They only work with the top 3% of web-developing talent and aim to connect freelancers with global clients, potentially leading to a steady stream of work for you.

Freelance Gigs on Toptal

21. Self-publish Kindle books

Have you secretly always wanted to be an author? Thanks to Kindle, you could transform that dream into a reality. As a self-published author on Kindle, you can earn up to 70% royalties on your books.

Kindle Direct Publishing

22. Podcasting

As with blogging or vlogging, consider launching a podcast if you have expertise in a specific niche. Again, podcasting is a slow-burning revenue stream, so don't expect to make money overnight. However, the more content you create, distribute, and repurpose, the higher your chances for growth.

23. Become an Influencer

Suppose you're launching a blog, vlog, or podcast. In that case, you may find that becoming a social media influencer goes hand in hand with these endeavors with the more content you distribute on your socials. 

However, if becoming an influencer is your primary aim, you have to choose your niche first. Beauty? Fitness? Cooking? Whatever it is, pick something you're passionate about. When motivation is lacking, being passionate about the content you're creating will make it easier to get to work!

With that said, here are a few tips for building a following:

  • Jump on social media trends relevant to your niche
  • Use trending audio clips
  • Post regularly
  • Discuss issues your target audience actually wants to hear about.

Once you've started to amass a following, you can begin charging for sponsored content.

24. Resume Writing 

Job seekers often apply for hundreds of jobs each week. However, resumes aren't a one-size-fits-all deal. Usually, job seekers need varying resumes emphasizing their different skills depending on what the role they're applying for requires of them. 

This is where a resume writer comes in handy. So, if you understand what makes an engaging resume, consider offering this service.

Here are just a few ways to market your resume-writing business with zero budget:

  • Create a portfolio website (and add client testimonials as you receive them)
  • Advertise through social media
  • Start a blog about resume advice and related topics

25. Freelance Data Analyst

It's not enough for entrepreneurs to be passionate about their business; they need data to back up their decisions. However, data analysis takes time and skill, which is often best outsourced to the pros. 

So, if you're a talented data analyst looking for the best business without investment, going freelance could be the right move for you.

Ensure you have a concise and compelling value proposition on your website that explains what you do, how you do it, and how you differentiate yourself (preferably backed up by results you've achieved for previous clients). This will go a long way to building trust with prospective clients.

Are You Ready to Launch Your Zero-Investment Business?

After reading this blog post, we hope you have a better idea of your options for launching a business without investment.

If we had to pick a favorite opportunity on this list, it would, of course, be dropshipping. 

Dropshipping isn't a get-rich-quick scheme, but you could kickstart a lucrative business with time, research, and perseverance. In fact, the global dropshipping market is forecast to reach $1,253 billion by 2030 - so now's the time to jump on the bandwagon. If you have any questions about how Spcoket could help you launch your own dropshipping business, contact us today!

That's all from us; let us know in the comments below which business with zero investment idea you like the look of, and don't forget to tell us how you get on!

Frequently Asked Questions About 0 Investment Business Ideas

We hope we've provided enough information to inspire you to research some of the above zero investment business ideas further. 

But in case you have a few unanswered questions, we'll endeavor to answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:

What Are the Best Business Ideas Without Investment?

The best zero investment businesses from home will vary from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, depending on their expertise, skills, and experience. 

Most of the above ideas center around your knowledge and passions. So, a good starting point is to list everything you know a lot about and then see where your talents best align.

What Are the Best Business Ideas for Students Without Investment?

Students need to balance their coursework with their jobs, so running a business where you can set your own hours would be a convenient way to generate income while studying. 

That said, students usually need to generate income quickly. This discounts some of the business ideas mentioned above, like dropshipping, print-on-demand, blogging, podcasting, etc., as these tend to take a while to 'take off.'

Alternatively, students might be better suited to online tutoring (especially if they've already achieved good grades). They might also want to consider launching their own freelancing business, especially if that's something they're studying—for example, offering graphic design, writing, or other marketing services. 

What Are the Best Online Business Ideas Without Investment?

Fortunately, you can execute most of the above business ideas from home. You just need an internet connection to hit the ground running. As mentioned above, examine your interests, passions, and hobbies and then marry them to a potential business venture. For example, are you an avid yogi? If so, you could look into launching a dropshipping store selling yoga equipment and apparel. 

What Are the Best Part-Time Business Ideas Without Investment?

First, you need to determine what you mean by 'best.' For instance, are you looking to work on a side hustle that might not pay immediate dividends, like launching a dropshipping or print-on-demand store, but might prove fruitful in the future? 

Or do you want to start making money a bit quicker? If so, offering a freelance service in an area you already specialize in might be a better bet.

In either case, calculate how much time you can dedicate to your business, assess your skills, passions, and goals, and then use these insights to fuel your venture.

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Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.

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