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7 Low-Investment Business Ideas You Can Start From a Laptop

Posted on the 29 May 2021 by Nisha Garg @nishagarg21

Hey, you made a good thought! There are several business ideas that you can start right away from your laptop. However, finding the one which requires no or low investment is difficult to gauge.

And myself being an entrepreneur, I have tried every possible/available way to make extra income online. So, as per my experiences and success rates, here is a quick list of low-investment business ideas that would actually help you. These ideas are:

  • easy to understand and follow
  • requires no or very little investment
  • newbie-friendly with no prior experience required
  • profitable for sure.

In addition, each business idea includes references to useful ebooks, courses, tools, and resources. They will help you achieve success at ease.

P.S. - None of the business ideas mentioned below generate quick earnings. You will need patience and dedication to follow each of them.

7 Low-investment business ideas

1. Start Writing

If you have a knack for writing, you should turn it into your profession. Every online business needs content for promotion and marketing purposes.

May it is the website content, blogs, or even social media platforms, content is everywhere. And, if you have the ability to write on a topic in your own words, nothing is better than that.

I am not a professional writer so I mostly hire freelancers and outsource content for my websites. Believe me, I pay them high every month.

A good piece of content costs USD 10-30 per 350 words. So, if you can write around 3500 words a day, you can make USD 300 per day. This approximately results in USD 6000-9000 per month.

Now, the fee varies on the type of content you are writing. It's different for each - website content, blog, social blog, social media platform, and so on.

Writing doesn't end here. There are several ways you can turn your writing talent into a profitable business idea with a low investment.

  • Start your own blog (blogging)
  • Launch your own book (physical or digital)
  • Start doing affiliate marketing
  • Become a freelancer

Let's talk more about these ideas.

Start Blogging

Blogging is quite a lucrative field. All you need is to choose a topic for your blog. It can be related to health, education, information technology, travel, or even food and beverages.

You can start writing about anything you are most interested in. For instance, if you have a good catch on gadgets, you can start writing about various gadgets available. Or, if you like cooking, you can share different recipes on your blog.

For example, since I regularly drink and try different types of green teas, I started my own blog " greentealobby.com ". Initially, I was not sure how far I would be able to take it. However, with time, it has become authoritative.

The main goal is to write/blog about a particular topic. The more you write and share, the more authoritative you become in your industry (also known as niche).

Further, sharing your knowledge leads to more exposure and in turn builds a strong professional network.

Now, how is it a great business idea? With blogging, you can:

  • Monetize your blog by adding third-party references. It can be other's products, services, or even content (more information later). You can even place advertisements that pay per click.
  • Build strong relationships with other bloggers and businesses. Consequently, promote their brands, products, or services as an influencer.
  • Write for others as a guest blogger or ghost blogger. Basically, you write on someone else blogs and get paid. The money is fat with this.
The investment involved?

There are many blogging websites where you can create a blog for free. For example, blogger.com, wordpress.com, and wix.com. However, for long-term business growth, it is best to have your own website.

For this, you will initially need a domain name ($4.99 to $14.99 per year) and a web hosting account ($9.99 per month). Once you have your website hosted, the next step is to give it a design. There are many free website templates available online so no investment is required here.

The next step is to do on-page SEO of your website. However, if you are not familiar with SEO ( search engine optimization), then you will need to hire a freelancer or company to do it for you. SEO is necessary to rank your website on top of Google results. Without it, you may lose a lot of web traffic.

Though no fixed investment can be defined, consider $100 to $200 spending initially. Apart from this, once you have a few pieces of content posted on your blog/website, you must start marketing them.

In my opinion, it is best to hire someone to do this for you. Look for a company or an individual who can do off-page SEO and social media marketing for your website.

Launch Your Own Book

Being creative is a gift as it can support you financially in the long run. You can launch your own book in the market on a topic you are deeply interested in.

Right from picture books and cookbooks to novels and comics, you can get going with anything.

Create book content in a digital format and use platforms that offer self-publishing and print-on-demand publishing. You can even distribute your book in an e-book format.

There are a lot of open avenues for writers and illustrators these days and it is definitely great for those who are truly talented.

How does it benefit? You can sell your books on Amazon and make a profit on the number of books sold. Also, you can create a digital version of it and sell it on online platforms.

Even better, write an eBook with as little as 20 pages and giveaway it for free. Why? Because it is one of the best ways to build a network of targeted audiences and make money through them. Commonly known as email marketing and email list building.

Talking about the selling price, it can be between $2.99 to $29.99 per book on Amazon and $9.99 to $19.99 for an e-book. And, if you can sell 5 copies a day, then making $2250 a month is easy.

The investment involved?

It depends on whether you are publishing your e-book on Amazon or self-publishing it. If it's on Amazon, there is no cost involved. Simply upload your e-book and start selling. Amazon, however, does keep 30% per sale.

For self-publishing a book, it may cost $500 - $1000.

Start Doing Affiliate Marketing

One of my favorites low-investment business ideas! Affiliate marketing is something where you make profits by promoting and selling someone else's products.

By product, I mean service, a product itself, a course or training program, an audio series, and even books. Basically, you refer your audience or readers to thirty websites or products and make a percentage commission for referring them.

For example, when writing a product review about a course, I place links to the official website within my content. When the reader on my website clicks on that link and further buys the course from the official website, I qualify for a commission.

Here, the official website is called a merchant, and referring readers to the official website is the publisher. Commonly known as an affiliate marketer. And, the referral links are known as affiliate links.

So, if the merchant has set a commission of 50% per sale, any purchase made through my affiliate link will generate a commission. Normally, the commission percentage varies and depends on the type of product. It may range from 1%-100%. However, make sure you avoid some common mistakes affiliate marketers make.

So, how does it benefit? Of course, you being a blogger can:

The investment involved?

There are several ways to do affiliate marketing. You can create a blog, and monetize it with affiliate links as mentioned above. In addition, you can run email marketing campaigns. It is one of the best ways to make money with affiliate marketing.

You will need a domain name - costs $4.99 to $14.99, a hosting account - costs $9.99 to $29.99, and an email autoresponder account - $9 to $99 a month for a starter account. Overall, consider a total investment of $50.

Become A Freelance Writer

As I mentioned earlier, I myself have a team of freelancers who write for my websites. So, having yourself as a skilled content writer can make you big profits.

There are many freelance websites like Upwork, iWriter, and freelancer where you can simply register and get started. All you need is to find a suitable job and send a proposal to the client.

Here, the client is the person who posted the requirement and the job is the requirement posted on the freelance website. Sending a proposal simply means sending a message to the client mentioning your interest in his/her job posting.

Once the client accepts your proposal, you can start writing. Again, as mentioned above, the writing fee depends on the type of content you are writing.

Also, the working hours are flexible mostly. You can work hourly, daily, or weekly depending on the client's requirement.

The investment involved - Your time!

Tools and resources
  • Book creator tool
  • Top freelancing websites - Upwork, Writer, and Freelancer.com (I personally do not recommend gigs type websites like Fiverr)
  • Courses on freelance writing.

That is it! Overall, there is a lot more ahead but this is the minimum you would need to commence your blogging journey. Start marketing your content and start monetizing it.

2. Start An E-Commerce Business

People are shopping online like never before. This has brought a great business opportunity for start-up businesses. With e-commerce, you can reach more customers, track their buying behavior, and work towards more sales.

Statistics show that by 2023 global retail e-commerce sales will reach 6.5 billion US dollars. So, it is the best time to start selling products and make maximum profits.

Here are the best low-investment business ideas for starting an e-commerce business. Make sure you always keep up with the latest e-commerce trends.

Sell Print-on-Demand Products

Print on demand is a business model where you print custom designs on different products and ship them to customers. These products can be t-shirts, mugs, bags, phone covers, hats, mousepads, and a lot more.

Print-on-demand business can be started with a low investment. You don't actually have to print the products yourself. Many third-party suppliers handle the printing, packaging, and shipping of the product to the customer directly.

With print-on-demand, you get the product printed only when you get an order. So, you don't have to worry about the stock.

The best thing is you don't have to maintain any inventory. In addition, you can play around with unique designs and colors.

A lot of people love having personalized products these days. If you are good at retaining customers, they would likely purchase more of your merchandise. They would even recommend your products to others.

However, though the investment is low there are low-profit margins in this business. Also, you have less control over the product quality and shipping.

The investment involved

Though e-store can be made live without your own domain and hosting, you should have your own. Creating an e-store costs $29 - $499 a month. In addition, you need a custom logo for your website.

There are many free sites like Canva, where you can create a logo. It is simple and easy to use. Apart from this, you will need to pay for SEO and paid traffic. Overall, being a start-up business, consider a total investment of $200.

Start With Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model where you sell someone else's product and get to make a profit for yourself. In this business model, the order is passed on to a 3rd party supplier who ships the order straight to the customer.

The difference in the price you charge from the customer and what the supplier charges you is your profit.

You don't have to invest in the stock, maintain inventory, pay the rent of warehouses, and bear overheads. It is less of a hassle for you as an e-store owner because it is the supplier who fulfills the order for you.

So basically, with dropshipping, your main focus is the sales and marketing of the product. You create an e-store, list third-party supplier's products, promote them, and make profits.

However, dropshipping requires a lot of work from your end. Due to its rising popularity, the competition is high and you need a large audience.

Moreover, since the suppliers handle most of the work, they hold maximum profits (of course).

The investment involved

Firstmost, you need a domain name, web hosting account, and e-store builder (Shopify recommended). Then you will need to look for third-party suppliers and order a product you are selling from each supplier for yourself.

This is required so that you know the quality of the product the supplier will be sending. In addition, you will know how long it took to be delivered and how is the final packaging.

Apart from this, you will need to buy traffic or run paid campaigns. Overall, to start a dropshipping business, consider the total investment of $500-$1000.

Sell Handmade Products Online

If you are someone who likes to make handmade products, then you should show off your creativity. Handmade products are gaining popularity as they are unique and not commonly available.

You can create your own e-store, list your products there and start selling. Even better, you can sell them through Aftcra, Artfire, Amazon, and Zibbet. But selling on other platforms requires some stock and inventory management.

Also, they have a fee which may not lead to profits for your work. So, you should have your own website. In addition, there are many other websites where you can list your handmade products.

For instance, you can create your own business page on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. These social media platforms are best to sell handmade items.

The investment required is the material you will need to prepare the handmade items and the packaging material. In addition, if you are offering free delivery, you will have to bear the delivery charges. So, consider a total investment of $100-$500 depending on the items you are selling.

Tools and resources

3. Start Online Coaching and Training Programs

Online learning is quite sought-after these days as people want to do everything from the comfort of their homes. If you are a knowledgeable person and feel that people would want to learn the skills you possess, it is possible to get started with online coaching.

No much investment is required. It is just your knowledge and effort that can fetch you a great monetary reward. You only need to streamline the material to teach.

Now, you can either start your own coaching program, create a course based on your skillset, or even teach a language. The choice is all yours! Let's talk more about each idea.

Start One-to-One Coaching Program

1-on-1 coaching is a private virtual class where you train a person based on your expertise. It can be about anything you are skilled at.

It can be a fitness class, a customized cooking class, or even a language learning. Even better, it can be related to online marketing business, affiliate marketing, website/graphic design, or handmade items.

You give highly personalized attention to individuals so they can achieve a specific goal. 1-on-1 coaching requires complete guidance and encouragement.

In my case, I offer three coaching programs. One is related to affiliate marketing, the other is website creation, and the third is SEO coaching (search engine optimization).

The money is big in online coaching. You can charge around USD 499 to 2,999 per person. The classes can be conducted hourly, daily, or weekly based on the nature of your business.

Basically, you work as an expert mentor. And if you can coach 6-10 students a month, making USD 10,000 to $30,000 (per month) is not difficult at all.

Another option is group coaching. The benefit is you can coach multiple people in one session. While with 1-on-1 coaching, you can only coach one person at a time.

Group coaching is less expensive and a great option to start your online coaching business. Once people start recognizing your skills and teaching capabilities, they can become word-of-mouth for you. Moreover, they themselves can enroll in your 1-on-1 coaching.

The fee you normally charge for group coaching ranges between $50-200 per hour per person. The more experienced you are, the more you can charge.

The investment involved - It majorly required your time and expertise! In addition, you will have to create a sales page that will enlist why people should join your coaching program.

Creating a sales page is really tricky and overwhelming. It is the main page where people will actually decide whether they should enroll or not. The sales page contains the coaching material, students' testimonials, and payment options.

Apart from this, you will also have to spend on paid advertising. Consider a total investment of $100-$300 initially.

Create Online Courses

If you have expertise in a topic, it is best to showcase it in the form of an online course. It is one of the most profitable businesses online. You can create a course on guitar learning, English speaking, or even yoga. There are thousands of areas to choose from.

Creating the course outline, preparing the material, and recording the videos (not necessarily showing your face) may take time. Be patient. Conduct market research and analyze what other course creators are offering.

In addition, read the reviews their students have left. Then draft the course outline covering all the topics other courses may have missed.

It is also best to look at sites like Quora where people of similar interest may have asked questions. Try to cover those points too.

Your main motive should be to resolve the problems a person may be facing related to the topic. Try to teach something new and different from others.

For example, when I created a mini-course on Amazon affiliate marketing, I thoroughly researched where most affiliate marketers failed.

I went through many discussion forums, read other course reviews, and then prepared my course material. I recorded a few videos, created a few PDFs, and provided some written material.

The main goal is to pick the pain points where they struggle and make the course content interactive.

Coming to the price you may charge, it completely depends. You can charge from as low as $7 to as high as $2999. However, in my opinion, it is better that you start selling for an amount less than $50 initially.

It is your first course and you are yet to build audiences. Once you have experience how stuff works, you can move ahead with advanced options.

The investment required

To create an online course you need a domain name, a hosting account, an email autoresponder, and paid traffic. In addition, you will need a membership site plugin or software, video recorder, and video hosting software.

The membership platform is required to build a member's area where registered users can access the entire course. Consider a total investment of $350-$1000 for building and marketing an online course.

Tools and resources

4. Become A Consultant

In simple language, a consultant is someone who is an expert in a particular field. Basically, he works as an advisor and gives suggestions based on the client's concerns or requirements.

You can start a consulting business as an accountant, advertisement campaign manager, career counselor, or insurance consultant.

Even better, you can become a business consultant who advises towards business growth. You can prepare business plans for companies, give taxing advice, and much more.

The major benefit is the flexibility in choosing the work. You learn new stuff and communicate with different people.

In my case, I became an affiliate marketing consultant and advised clients about their niche scope.

All you need is to be an expert in your field. Analyze how and what your competitors are charging. Make sure that you calculate all your expenses, the time that would be required for a particular consultation, and so on.

You can charge from USD 50 - 500 per hour depending on the requirement and type of client. But you have to be sure that is worth the consultation. If you cannot deliver as per the fee, it may not last long.

Moreover, see what other consultants with similar services charge. Don't hit the fee top names charge. Be optimal and realistic.

Coming to the cost required to start as a consultant (at the individual level), you need to market yourself! Create banners, run paid ads on Facebook, and participate in forums relevant to your field.

For instance, before starting as a consultant, I participated in a few discussion forums and on Quora to build my identity. Then, after a month, I started sharing my one-page consultation website. I also mentioned my services to those who I felt might need them.

Gradually, I got banners created and asked a few marketers to add them to their websites. Also, I ran Facebook paid advertising to drive targeted traffic.

Overall, consider a total investment of $50-$100 initially.

5. Start a Virtual Assistant Business

To be precise, a virtual assistant is a person who provides services to other businesses remotely at a fixed fee. However, it is different from a consultation business.

While a consultant act as an advisor and develops a plan for a business, a virtual assistant implements it. More specifically, a consultant tells the possible things you can do, whereas virtual assistance actually does it.

For instance, assume I am handling multiple tasks like social media marketing campaigns, content creation and management, and company operations. Each task involves a lot of time and effort. So, to make things easier, I delegate some tasks to a virtual assistant.

The virtual assistant then follows my instructions and performs a particular task sitting at a remote location.

Therefore, a virtual assistant is someone who actually provides services to companies, consultants, or small business owners. Now, it can be administrative, technical, or creative services.

To name a few,

  • participation on social media platforms and discussion forums
  • customer support
  • content creation and marketing
  • administrative work
  • translator
  • managing company employee records, travel arrangements, and event expenses.

It could be anything that makes a business owner/entrepreneur's task easier. Moreover, you don't necessarily need any skills or have to be an expert.

Coming to the fee, initially, you can charge $10-$30 per hour and gradually increase the rates. Yes! You make less per hour being a virtual assistant. However, with experience, good reviews, and feedback, you can increase your assistance rates.

In my case, as a virtual assistant, I recruited affiliates and managed affiliate marketing programs for different companies. It was quite an interesting task and expanded my professional network. Also, I learned and found new business opportunities.

The investment involved

As per my experience, you should spend on your personal branding and run paid advertising campaigns on Facebook. It is not easy to get found. You will have to make your online presence.

Join virtual assistant forums, create your freelancing profiles, and list yourself on job sites. Virtual assistants are normally hired from a reference. Like, my friend referred me to his co-manager who was looking for a virtual assistant.

So, advertise yourself to get the work. Anyway, the investment required for branding and advertising can be between $100-$500 initially.

Tools and resources

6. Become a Youtuber

Youtube is an amazing platform to showcase your talent and abilities. A lot of people are into it but to survive, you must create appealing content (ie, videos). It is fun!

You all need to do is create videos that are unique and provides additional information when compared to the existing ones. Though most YouTubers in a particular field share almost similar content, creating yours too will expand your video list.

If not different, at least you will have one that covers a topic for your subscribers.

Apart from this, monetizing your Youtube channel requires at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months.

On average, as a YouTuber, you can make $3-$5 per 1000 views. However, it depends on the channel to channel. If you are new, you will need to wait to hit those numbers.

In addition, you need an AdSense account. You also need to meet the terms of YouTube's policies and guidelines.

Once you are all set with the above, you can earn well from Youtube. However, you need to keep creating good content so that your success remains afloat. Also, traffic and views are important. If you are not able to increase views to your videos, earning high can be difficult.

The investment required

A video recording software is all that it needs initially. Once you have enough videos, you can start spending on marketing. You can run YouTube sponsored Ads. Consider an investment of $100-$500 for marketing your Youtube channel.

Tools and resources

7. Become A Social Media Influencer

No skills, no degree, and no experience required! Social media is everywhere. And if you can post, share, participate, and influence people towards your recommendations, nothing is better than it.

A social media influencer is basically a person who has the capabilities to influence others to share or buy something. For example, celebrities, a media person, bloggers, etc.

Influencing your followers to buy a product or service is what makes it a perfect platform. You can choose any social media platform like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and so on.

It is okay if you are active on all the platforms, however, being more on one can make your profile stronger. For example, if your interest is mostly in the fashion industry, then it is better to be on Instagram or Pinterest.

Streamline what would you be sharing, how will it benefit your followers/audiences, and how you would go along with it. The more you share and are personalized with your audience, the more they will be influenced.

To give an example, I watched a movie where a social media influencer frequently shared her travel behavior. Wherever she goes, she takes a selfie and shares it on her timeline with a few words. Her followers then like and comment on her status.

The more she shares, the more influence she makes on the followers. Also, it gradually starts building trust towards her.

However, it is important that you not just post about yourself. Make sure you talk about other people too. Be realistic. Additionally, share informative content. Share a mix of text, videos, audio recordings, live streaming, photos, and products.

Now, how is it a good business idea? Though it is not easy to build your brand and become an influencer right in the beginning, it is really worth it. There are several ways to make big money through social media influencing.

Make sure you engage and share regularly. I am not saying once or twice a day, instead, post after every few minutes or an hour.

You can make money by sharing products with your affiliate links (as mentioned earlier), offer consultation or coaching sessions (if relevant), and brand campaigns.

The more followers you have, the more companies will contact you for branding their products and services. They pay for branding.

Now, every social media channel has its average earning rates. For instance, if you have 100k -500k followers, you can on average earn up to:

  • $5000 per post on Instagram
  • $6000 on Facebook
  • $12000 on YouTube
The investment involved

Honestly speaking, it takes a lot to become an influencer. Initially, you will have to promote your social media profile; the one where you will be most active on. Then, pay for boosting a particular post you shared.

Make sure you select your target audiences, locations, and demographics carefully. You are paying for clicks/likes/followers, so do not risk your money.

Also, you can pay other influencers for a mention. That is, you pay other popular influencers (no big names) to mention you in their posts. That is it. Consider, a total investment of $500-$2000 initially.

Tools and resources

P.S. - Make sure you read the recent guidelines set for influencers on social media by ASCI.

Conclusion

Nothing can be better than working for yourself in the comfort of your home. You can work whenever you want and from wherever you want without the bossy burden.

The above list of low-investment business ideas can help you start your own business. All you need little skills in a particular field, a laptop, and an internet connection.

However, it will take time initially. There is huge competition and everyone is trying to start their own online business.

In addition, there are more investments you may need to run your business. Like payment gateway (you can use Paypal though) to accept payments, make refunds, charge a recurring fee, and so on.

Consequently, there are a few things you are responsible for. To name a few, calculating and paying taxes on your own, buying health insurance, and retirement plans.

No one is going to do this for you. The more you earn, the more you will have to pay attention to. And, though it is okay to work without a business name, it is always better to have one if you are making good money.


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