How to Start a Business for Under $500

Many people dream of running their own business but hesitate because of low funds. But not every business needs to involve a large investment. You can launch a business and keep it going with just $500 or even less than that. To launch a start-up with such limited capital, you need to be sure of what you are spending on. Decide on how to promote the start-up and what products or services you will be offering. Once you know for sure, you will be able to figure out what to invest in. This will help you stay within budget and still make your start-up a success! 

In this article we will take an example of some online businesses that you can start with $500 or less. Prepare a business plan and get started.

What do you need for your start-up?

Every business needs certain tools to function. Launching a start-up may seem difficult, but making it a success, especially with limited funds, is a bigger challenge. The only way to do that is to invest in the right tools and services. With just $500 or less, any kind of investment might prove to be tough, but it can be done. Discussed below are a few essentials that almost all start-ups need. Read through this checklist and divide your money accordingly. 

Prepare a checklist to run your business

Almost all businesses need some kind of software application to run smoothly. This is the first investment that you should think about in online business. Figure out what kind of software you need and work out how much you will need to spend. The software you need will depend on the start-up. For example, online sellers will need software for inventory management, while digital artists should invest in graphic design tools. Look for applications that will help in the management and development of services. You can also opt for trial runs to make sure that the software you are purchasing is worth the price.

If you are starting a digital marketing agency then you will need social media management softwares. You will also need SEO backlink analysis tool if you are into off-page SEO optimisation. You can get these tools for $100 or less in monthly subscription.

Get a Business Account at the Local Bank

Every start-up needs a separate bank account. Visit your local bank and find out what you need to do to open a business account. You will need to make a deposit and keep some extra money to cover immediate expenses. A business account is also required for taxes, payrolls, and to keep track of credit. Banks also offer certain perks to business account holders and such additional services can be used to expand your business once you have more capital. Therefore, creating a bank account and keeping a deposit is necessary when launching a start-up. 

Adequate Space 

Every business needs physical space where official work can be done. While technically it is possible to run your start-up from home, you will still need adequate space to perform all functions involved in running the business. If you do not have enough space at home, look for office spaces nearby.

Co-working spaces are available at a low cost and you can easily rent one for your start-up. If you have employees, then make sure that there is enough room for everybody to work comfortably. Investing in an office space can go a long way and it will help you stay organised. 

Marketing and Advertisements

You need to build a brand image that can be instantly recognised. You will also need to promote your brand as much as possible. So, invest in marketing services and advertisements once you are ready to start your business. Reach out to people you know and ask them to spread the word. This, with some additional advertisements, can help your start-up thrive. You can rely on social media platforms for this. Hire the services of social media marketers and invest in promoting your brand. Advertising on social media is one of the fastest ways of reaching your target audience and it can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your start-up. 

Businesses that you can start for under $500 or less

Businesses can be launched with limited capital. If you wish to own a start-up, you can do so with $500 or less. You will just need to get a little creative so that your business thrives even with low capital. Take a look at the start-up ideas given below and choose one that suits you the best!

1. Sell Handmade Arts and Crafts Online

If you are a creative person who loves painting or making crafts, then this can be a potential business idea. You can easily launch a start-up from home with less than $500. All you need to invest in are the raw materials, and cost of packaging, especially if you are just using a social media account to sell the items. If you have enough capital, you can also invest in a camera or a better phone to take aesthetic photographs of your craft.

But you can still make it work without buying any expensive equipment. Post your work on social media to attract potential customers. Handmade arts and crafts can be good decorative pieces for households, and they can be sold for a huge price online. However, you must ensure the quality of the products you are offering. There should be no compromise with the quality.

2. Online Tutorials

You can turn your skills and knowledge into a start-up. If you have a degree in any subject or even professional experience, then you teach that to amateurs online. While online tutorials have been around for a long time, they became more popular in the past year as people started spending more time at home. Online tutorial services require very little capital. You can join any tutorial platform as a teacher or create your own YouTube channel to teach.

Other than investing in equipment like a camera, microphone, and lighting, there are no major expenses involved. Online tutorials are a popular thing at present, and you must know where to pitch yourself to get a maximum number of clients. Your presentation of yourself will help you draw the attention of the students or their parents who would want to hire you for your services.

3. Start a Blog

Blogging as a business is very profitable with very minimal investment. You can start a blog easily without knowing about any technical skills. No coding and intensive computer knowledge is required for blogging. You need two things, first one is the domain name i.e the name of your blog and other is the web hosting server.

Domain name will cost your around $10 and a good web hosting server will cost you $20 a month. You can setup your blog with the help of tutorials shared by web hosting companies.

You need to write content or hire a writer to write the content for your blog. Blogging will easily give you $1000 a month after 8 months.

4. Home and Office Cleaning Services

Many people hire cleaning services for their homes or offices. You can start a cleaning business with just a few people and slowly build up your clientele. Try to launch the start-up before the holidays, as that is when most families hire professionals to clean their homes. Offices that throw parties might also hire cleaners right before the holidays.

Therefore, business will be good. You can also offer daily services and get companies to sign up for long-term cleaning services. All you need to buy is a vacuum cleaner, mops, and detergent liquids. You might want to invest in other cleaning products, but if you buy in bulk, it will take much less than $500. You can start small, so that you do not need a large group of employees and slowly expand as the business grows.

5. Social Media Manager

Social media is one of the primary spaces for advertising and marketing. With more and more brands relying on social media platforms to reach people, the job of a social media manager is quite lucrative. Every brand has a social media page that needs to be updated and kept functional. If you are skilled in social media marketing and understand how a brand can help from these platforms, you can offer your services.

It can easily be a one-member, and you can work from home. It is one of the most low-cost start-up ideas as all you need is a website advertising your work and a stable internet connection. Know your job well, learn the nitty-gritty of social media marketing and sell yourself well as a social media manager and get hired by influencers and famous personalities for a huge pay.

6. Property Rental Business

Individuals and companies often look for rental spaces to store goods or provide services from. If you own property, you can rent it out at a particular rate. It is a good start-up idea that needs less than $500, as long as you already own the property. If you have a large space, you can turn it into a warehouse and rent it to a delivery company. If you own two homes, you can easily rent one to other individuals or families or turn it into a hostel. Apart from advertising, there are no immediate expenses involved.

You might have to spend a little on renovations, but that will all easily be within budget. Furnishing is also an essential part of such rentals. You might not need any fancy furniture but some good quality furniture to serve the basic requirements of the tenant is necessary.


$500 may not seem like a large amount when it comes to launching a start-up, but it can help your business take off when used diligently. Think about long-term plans and invest in things that are necessary for your business. Do not end up spending too much on costly tools or unnecessary advertisements. There are numerous start-up ideas to choose from. So do your research and figure out a game plan. Once you have done that, all you need to do is take the plunge!


1. How much capital is needed for starting a business?

Depending on the type of business, starting a business can usually be done for less than $500. This can include legal costs for registering the business, website domain and hosting fees, business cards, and more.

2. What are the most important steps in starting a business?

The most important steps in starting a business are determining the business structure; registering the business; obtaining funding or investment; determining pricing; and developing a business plan.

3. What are the benefits of starting a business on a budget?

Starting a business on a budget can help you get started with minimal money and allow you to keep operation costs low. It can also help you to assess the potential success or failure of a business idea before investing large amounts of money into it.

4. What are some tips for starting a business for under $500?

Some tips for starting a business for under $500 include making use of social media for marketing; using online resources and tools to save money; creating a website or online presence; and networking with others in your industry.

5. How can I fund my business if I don’t have any money?

There are various ways to fund your business if you don’t have any money including taking out a loan or seeking grants and investor funding. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are also great options for raising money.

6. Is it necessary to have an office space to start a business?

An office space is not always necessary when starting a business. A lot of entrepreneurs are opting to work remotely or make use of co-working spaces.

7. What kind of legal documents do I need to register my business?

The kind of legal documents required to register your business depends on the specific business type, but generally you will need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and file the appropriate documents with the state in order to form the business.

8. What are the best online tools for starting a business?

1. Shopify – Shopify is the go-to online business platform for entrepreneurs who want to quickly launch an online store and start selling. It offers a wide range of features, including product management, payment processing, marketing tools, and more.
2. Google My Business – Google My Business is a free tool that helps small businesses create an online presence and manage their digital presence on Google. It allows businesses to create and manage a website, manage their Google Maps listing, and more.
3. Wave Accounting – Wave Accounting is a free accounting and bookkeeping software designed for small business owners. It offers features such as invoicing, expense tracking, financial statements, and more.
4. Hootsuite – Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps businesses manage their presence across multiple social media channels. It offers features such as scheduling, analytics, and more.
5. AWeber – AWeber is an email marketing service that helps businesses create and manage email campaigns. It offers features such as list segmentation, automation, and more.

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