5 Businesses You Can Start With Zero or Very Little Capital

Updated: March 3, 2024

During times when markets are down, and your investments are all in the red, it’s important to focus on things that you can control.

As individuals, we can’t do much to reverse the falling stock prices. However, we do have a lot of control over our cash flow. Specifically, how we spend and how we earn.

And speaking of how we earn, one of the best sources of income is, of course… starting a business. Which begs the question, given these difficult times when we’re strapped for cash, how do you even put up a business that requires zero or very little capital?

The Reality of Starting a Business with Zero Capital

A business would always require capital. If not at the start, then at some point in the immediate future. It is necessary for it to become stable and to grow eventually.

Thus, it’s important to save your initial profits and then re-invest them back into the business. Because if you don’t, then your venture won’t become sustainable for the long term.

Another fact is that businesses that don’t need a lot of startup capital usually begin as freelancing gigs. Thus, hard work, resourcefulness, and long-term plans are necessary if you want to convert your hustle into a full-fledged business eventually.

5 Businesses That Require Zero or Little Capital

1. Reselling Business

The most straightforward way to make money without capital is to simply resell stuff. Of course, with a little cash, you can buy a starting inventory. But it’s very possible to get a consignment or affiliate deal from a supplier and begin selling.

Perhaps you can look around your home and find something that you can sell to have initial funds.

This was how I started with my past venture of selling computer parts online. I took out the working parts of an old computer we had at home and sold them in forums. I also emailed friends and posted about it on my social media accounts.

2. Service or Skills Provider

Another way to make money without cash is to offer your skills and sell a service.

A friend, who has a graphic design firm, started by sending messages to Facebook business pages and selling his services to create professional cover photos for them. This got him several clients, which provided him with the capital to build his formal business.

Meanwhile, another person I’ve met got started with his events business by hosting the weddings of his friends. He networked hard during those times until he was able to build enough contacts and cash to do a full-time business.

3. Consulting and Coaching Business

Much like being a service or skills provider, working as a consultant is a good stepping stone towards eventually building your own firm.

The Internet has also provided the opportunity for individuals to sell online courses and consultancy sessions. Someone I know earned hundreds of thousands of pesos from doing one-on-one mentoring over Skype as a life coach.

Moreover, another friend created language tutorial videos at home with her smartphone, which she sold online as an English-learning course. Eventually, she started hiring other tutors and built her own tutorial center.

4. Content Creator

Social media is filled with influencers who regularly make money online. However, digital marketing professionals are saying that the next big trend online in this field would be content creators.

Influencers are mostly aspirational, but content creators lean more towards being educational. And those who can use social media to create informative, entertaining, and educational content will soon be at the forefront of digital marketing.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to start a blog, create a video channel, or develop a podcast that you can eventually monetize. And the good news is there’s still a lot of space in the Philippines for content creation, particularly in underserved and specialized niches.

Fun Fact: You may know Mikey Bustos as a comedian and Internet celebrity. But did you know that one of his biggest income earners is his YouTube channel and online shop about ant-keeping?

5. Sharing Economy Business

Lastly, another business that you can start with zero or little cash is to capitalize on today’s sharing economy.

If you have a spare room at home, or an unused condo unit or apartment, then list it on AirBnB. Looking for extra income while you drive around the city, sign-up as a provider for a ride-sharing app like Owto and Hirna.

Take some time to search for these kinds of apps or websites, and see if there’s something you have, that you can offer. Additionally, it’s quite common for enterprising individuals to eventually scale up and turn this side gig into a business.

Final Thoughts

The five types of businesses mentioned require little or no capital to start, but they also don’t really begin as a business.

Rather, it’s mostly a freelance venture, above anything, during its initial stages. The key to success is to save your early profits to scale your operations until you graduate from doing everything and growing towards outsourcing and hiring staff.

Starting a business with zero or little capital is possible. But it will take hard work, resourcefulness, and a good long-term plan to succeed.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. One of the fun things I did with my kids on our hobby farm was to “grow a business.” We were nestled in between several lakes in Northern New England in the USA. There were a large number of retired folks not able to do as much as they would like and in need of a little help from time to time as well as “helpless” city folks who really did NOT know how to live when modern conveniences failed. Simply by building a reputation as the guy who can do it, we had all the extra work we could ever want. Word of mouth was our free advertising and often the phone would ring with a new customer asking if “are you the guy that ……..?” Technically speaking, there was capital tied up in some of the equipment we used to earn money but those items were necessities for running our hobby farm and remaining independent. We used what we had and only replaced expendables like fuel, oil etc. We had a number of great experiences. A simple job using my chainsaw to remove a tree dangerously overhanging the winding driveway of a widow’s home needed to be removed. She offered us the saw log if we wanted to haul it away. Then, this nice older lady asked if my son would like to have her husbands old pickup truck that had been sitting idle a few years since his passing. The truck looked rough but had been well cared for over the years. We accepted the truck and after working it over a few weeks in his spare time my son registered it. That was how he learned to dive on public roads. The widow received a load of cut and split firewood (delivered from the very same truck she had given to my son) for winter emergency use and use at family gatherings each year for many years after as we appreciated the gift of the truck so much. If you wanted to work, there were year round opportunities doing house checks on the summer homes and snow removal to prevent roof collapse. You could also open up the summer homes and prime the water pumps in spring time as well as close down the homes and drain water from the plumbing system before the freezing weather set in. That was a very happy and productive time for me and for my family.

  2. In this world that opportunity present itself to those who are prepared, in starting a business either small or big you should believe that you can do it and you are half way there. Opening business is not for those half hearted person.

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