11 Businesses You Can Start For Free [No Experience or Degrees Needed]

If you have always wanted to start a business, but don't have the money to begin one, you are in the right place.

In this article I am going to share 11 businesses you can start with absolutely no money, no experience and no special degrees or formal education. What's even better is that these businesses can be started on the side and in your spare time.

In other words, anyone can start these businesses if they have the determination and necessary work ethic.

I will also cover some key information relating to each of these businesses, including how much you might be able to earn, and quick tips on how to get started, such as platforms and resources you can use to market your business.

We've got a lot to cover, so let's get into it!

Note: If you prefer a condensed version of this article in video format, check out my YouTube video below.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

1. Dog Walking Business

If you love dogs and don't mind getting in some exercise everyday, a dog walking business may be perfect for you. There isn't a lot that you need other than a means of getting around because the entire business is based on providing a simple service.

No fancy equipment or tools are needed.

How Much Can You Make Dog Walking?

According to Glassdoor, a dog walker earns $44,571 in total compensation per year. Now this is an estimate and actual results may vary. In fact, with all of the figures we cover, that is going to be the case. That being said, this business is scalable and there are people who have turned this into a true enterprise with employees.

According to this Marketwatch article, one dog walker did exactly that and cleared over $150,000 a year after paying his employees.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

In general you do not need any special licenses or permits to become a dog walker, but there are certifications you can get to learn more about best practices and lend more legitimacy to your business.

You can get started marketing your services on sites like Rover.com and wagwalking.com. You can also check out general home services sites like Thumbtack.com.

Make sure you obey all leash laws and pooper scooper laws in your jurisdiction and obtain dog walker's insurance if you want to protect yourself against liability in case one of the dogs injures someone else while in your care.

2. House Cleaning Business

Another great business that doesn't require anything to really get started is a house cleaning business. If you have access to basic cleaning supplies and equipment, you're set.

How Much Can I Make with a House Cleaning Business?

According to Ziprecruiter, the national average income for a cleaning business owner is $55,949 per year. They indicate that salaries can be as low as $16,500 and as high as $137,500.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

Check out sites like Taskrabbit, Thumbtack, and Nextdoor to list your services.

3. Virtual Assistant (or VA)

If organization is your superpower, you have a keen eye for detail, and you have a knack for getting things done, you can start a virtual assistant business.

Again, no upfront costs really. So long as you have a computer and a phone, you are pretty much set. One of the best parts of this type of business is that you can do it completely from home.

How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Make?

According to Ziprecruiter, a work from home virtual assistant can make on average $67,115, with the low end of the range coming in at $15,000 and the high end commanding $130,500.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

There are plenty of options here, but some of the most popular sites you can use to list your VA services are Fiverr.com, Upwork.com and Flexjobs.

4. Errand Running Service

Another business that can be done on a shoestring budget is an errand running service. You are basically doing chores for people who either can't or don't want to do them.

Many errand running services cater to the elderly and take care of basic tasks like grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, making simple deliveries, light housekeeping, and so on.

How Much Money Does an Errand Running Service Make?

According to seniorerrandservice.com, you can make between $25 to $40 per hour, with the national average being $30 per hour.

You may have some modest costs that will eat into that (gas for your car, etc.), but you should be able to keep a decent chunk of that money.

Quick Tips On Getting Started

Check out care.com if you are interested in catering to the senior population. Also, as the name suggests, Taskrabbit is also a fine resource you can use to get jobs for your errand running business.

5. Freelance Writing Business

If you prefer a job that you can do sitting down at a desk, then starting a freelance writing business may be right for you.

You can write books, articles, marketing copy, or even offer editorial services – there are vibrant marketplaces for all of these type of writing assignments.

How Much Do Freelance Writers Make?

According to Indeed.com, freelance writers make on average $23.30/hour. That might not seems as high as some of the other businesses, but bear in mind that there is basically no overhead, so you get to pocket almost all of that money.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

You can offer your writing services directly on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. If you like writing blog post articles, then Problogger can be a great place to offer your services to bloggers who want quality articles written for them.

6. Blogging Business

Speaking of blogging, let's move on to my favorite business that you can start for free. Blogging is, in my mind, one of the best businesses you can start because you can do it at home in your spare time and you can eventually generate passive income from it.

You have no physical location, no employees, no inventory, no customers, and basically no hassles. Plus, it is so easy to grow the business. Just write more good articles. In most cases, the more articles you have, the more traffic you will generate, which translates into more ad revenue for you.

How Much Can You Make Blogging?

According to Indeed.com, bloggers make on average $37,073 per year. Of course, that can vary based on the size and authoritativeness of your blog, how much traffic you get, how well you monetize your blog, and a host of other factors.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

If you want a completely free option, check out Wix.com.

They offer an easy to use platform that costs nothing. The free option is very basic, but it will work and you can make money with even that basic website.

But if you have grander plans for your blog, I would start your blog on an independent hosting platform like Siteground or Bluehost. That way, you can own you own domain name and you will have far greater flexibility to grow your site.

If you want to learn how to start a blog from scratch, I have a step by step guide that I have written for beginners. Check it out here.

7. Online Tutoring Business

If you have a knack for teaching, you can become an online tutor.

All you need is knowledge of a particular subject, a desire to teach it to others, and a computer.

How Much Do Online Tutors Make?

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a private tutor is $24.86 per hour. How much you will actually make will hinge on a number of factors, including how much you can charge for your services and how many hours you work.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

With the emergence of large online tutoring platforms like tutor.com, learner.com, and skooli.com, there are plenty of ways to get freelance tutoring jobs.

Note: Some platforms will require that you have a teaching certification, but not all of them will.

If you a native English speaker and want a really low-key way to make some extra money, then you can sign up to chat with someone who wants to improve their English. You can offer to be a tutor while you are at it, but there are ways to do this without offering formal tutoring services – all you need to do is be willing to chat with someone.

If you want to learn more about this low-key approach to making money, check out my full article on the topic here.

8. Ebooks Business

If you like writing, but blogging is not for you, you can write an eBook and get royalties from selling it online.  You don't need to be submit manuscripts to huge publishing houses and wait in agony for the onslaught of rejections that authors usually had to endure in the past.

You can bypass all of that and just self-publish. We'll talk about how to do that easily using some of the options below.

How Much Money Can I Make Writing E-Books?

There does not seem to be a lot of consensus data on how much someone can make writing ebooks, but if you go on empireflippers.com and look at some of the Amazon KDP businesses that are on sale, you will find relatively new ebook businesses that are making thousands of dollars a month.

As of the date of this article, I found 24 businesses for sale, with revenues on the lowest making around $1,816 per month and the highest making $49,286 per month. Almost half of them were making over $10,000 per month.

Now bear in mind that almost all of these businesses had multiple ebooks (and audiobooks) in their portfolio, with some having dozens of books.

So if you want to scale, you may want to consider hiring talented ghostwriters to help you build your ebook business.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

As mentioned above, there are some great resources to self-publish your ebooks. The best part is that these platforms are free to use (although they will take a cut of your future earnings).

Amazon KDP (which stands for Kindle Direct Publishing) is the market leader.  Another fine option is Apple Books.

All you need to do to get started is just hop on your computer and write. Once you are done, you can create an attractive and compelling title for free using canva.com. With cover and book in hand, you can them go to Amazon KDP and start selling your Ebook.

Like with blogging, once written, the book can continue to provide you with passive income for years. 

If you don’t like writing but do like the idea of receiving royalties on eBooks, you may want to consider creating “low” or “no” content books and selling them on Amazon KDP.  These can be journals (diaries), coloring books, guest books, music composition notebooks, planners, quote books, etc.

If you want a complete guide to making money with eBooks, check out my article: Making Money [Passively] Writing eBooks: A Simple 5-Step Guide.

9. YouTuber

In addition to my blogs, I own and operate multiple YouTube channels.

I started with basically no money (in fact, I did not even buy a camera). As you can see at the top of my article, my YouTube videos don't require one. Now I will say that I did use a paid canva.com subscription (which is pretty affordable) to access the full library of stock images and videos to create all of my YouTube videos.

But you don't need to do that.

If you have a decent phone with a camera, you can record YouTube videos basically with no upfront costs. YouTube doesn't charge you anything to start a new channel. You can just record upir video, edit the video with a free video editor like DaVinci Resolve, and load it onto YouTube.

How Much Does a YouTuber Make?

The numbers are all across the board here, but there are some creators who do very well (like millions or even tens of millions of dollars per year), while others make nothing.

It really will depend on how well your videos do. To even qualify for monetization through YouTube's partner program, you will need at least 4,000 watch hours over the past year and 1,000 subscribers. My channel got monetized in 2 months, thanks to a video that went viral, but I got lucky. Your results may vary.

I would say that most creators don't make a lot of money, but if your videos find the right audience and resonate with them, you can do very well.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

There's not much to say here. Why not try it? Open up a YouTube channel through your YouTube account and start loading videos.

It doesn't cost much to get started (other than your time and energy). It will require a bit more effort than blogging over the long term because you want to be posting videos regularly or you may slowly lose your audience. A standard schedule is one video per week.

That doesn't sound too bad, right?

10. Freelance Social Media Manager Business

If you are a whiz at social media and understand how popular platforms like Facebook (now Meta), Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and other social media channels operate, you can make decent money freelancing as a social media manager.

As with the other options on this list, there are no set requirements to break into this space.

You'll be asked to represent your client's business on the desired social channels. Tasks may include responding to comments, creating campaigns and developing content for upload to the social channels. You may also be asked to monitor performance and provide reports to assess how things are going.

How Much Can I Make Being a Social Media Manager?

According to Ziprecruiter, the national average income for freelance social media managers is $50,834, with the low end coming in at $12,000 and the high end coming in at $100,000.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

Getting started is pretty simple. Just jump onto sites like Fiverr and Upwork, sign up, and begin offering your services.

11. Affiliate Marketing Business

Affiliate marketing is another popular way to make passive income. 

The concept is simple.  You are basically a salesperson for a particular product that you want to promote.  But instead of knocking on doors or calling people up, you “sell” the product online. 

A common method of affiliate marketing is putting affiliate links on your website.  This is one of the two primary ways you can make money as a blogger (the other is putting ads on your website).

When someone comes to a page that has your customized affiliate link and they click on it, you will earn a commission if the person buys the product (or takes some other qualifying action, like signs up, etc.).

How Much Money Can I Make With Affiliate Marketing?

According to Ziprecruiter, the average income for an affiliate marketer is a whopping $154,700 per year. That's the national average, so of course, individual results will vary. That being said, there is a lot of potential money to be made here.

Quick Tips on Getting Started

If you have a platform to put in a link, then you can get started right away.

Your platform can be a blog, a YouTube channel or even your social media accounts (like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).

Where can you get affiliate links?

Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs out there.  They are especially well-suited for beginners because they have easy qualifications, carry almost every product you can imagine, and are a highly trusted source for customers wanting to buy stuff.

Love a particular product and want to write about its benefits?  Drop an amazon affiliate link in your article to the product you are recommending and make money every time someone clicks on the link and buys it. 

Of course, Amazon isn't the only game in town. 

There are many other affiliate programs out there.  Just Google any product or company you want to promote and add the words “affiliate program” to the end.  You’ll find that many already have an affiliate program in place.  All you have to do is apply. 

You can also find tons of affiliate programs for your affiliate marketing business through platforms like awinflexoffers.com, cj.com, clickbank, and Rakuten.

Conclusion

So there you have it – 11 great businesses you can start with no money. If you want to learn about some great passive income ideas that you can start for less than $500, check out my article on the topic here.

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