2020 exposed how vulnerable many of us can be to nationwide job insecurity and unemployment. Overnight, the idea of entrepreneurship and launching a side business went from a passive daydream to a necessity for the future that requires immediate action steps. 

While starting a business seems exciting, it still requires time, strategy and capital. But there are some business ideas that call for less risk, overhead and traditional costs (like rent, warehousing and manufacturing). Explore low-investment ventures that provide easy access to beginners, side hustlers and those who are already in a financial bind.

Here are examples of business ideas you can start on your own with little to no investment.

  1. Freelance web developer

If you have a technical skill set, you’re in luck. Building, launching or updating websites for companies is in high demand right now. Even the smallest and most local of businesses can no longer deny the importance of online marketing. Needless to say, you’ll need to first launch your own website to showcase your capabilities as a professional web developer. For long-term success, listen to your client’s needs, and be sure to set and meet all your deadlines.   

2. Personal Trainer

As gyms shuttered across the country, many turned to home gyms and workouts to stay healthy. If you have a flair for fitness, you can obtain a certification and launch a personal training business. Upgrade your services by offering additional consultations, nutritional coaching and exercise regimen programs. Don’t stop with one-on-one classes, consider community boot camps and group workouts to scale. Here, having both a social media and established digital presence is critical for promoting your workout brand. A website with multimedia assets can upgrade you from a personal trainer to a multidimensional, holistic health guru, so consider creating quote cards, free exercise videos, and healthy recipes.

3. Graphic designer

This is an ideal freelance job as it offers more independence and flexibility compared to other gigs. Because new logos and web design projects are usually long-term and pre-planned, you can set your own hours, choose which projects speak to your creative soul and build a portfolio that suits your freelance career. 

4. Life / career coach

Are you a certified life or career coach? Do you have a unique career path or rich experience in executive leadership? Helping others strategically navigate career, personal changes and major life transitions can be your next calling. In a time when many are in need of more guidance in our personal and professional lives, this calling can be a rewarding one. 

5. Video producer / editor

As mentioned, business owners are more aware than ever of the importance of online marketing. Video is an important aspect of this, as it adds a new way to connect with customers, including local customers. Video is a great way to get creative and tell your story. Learn or leverage how to operate the latest videography equipment and/or editing software. Create a website featuring a sizzle reel that features your best work.  

6. Photographer

Weddings may have been cancelled last year but with vaccination rates up and restrictions lifting, many expect to carry out their dream day in 2021. The same goes for graduations, family reunions, as well as maternity and newborn photo shoots. Whether it’s an intimate party or a big celebration, couples will want a talented photographer to capture the day. The wedding industry isn’t the only field in need of visual artists. As people continue to innovate and launch small businesses, they will need product photo shoots or headshots. Find your market. 

7. Freelance writer

If you’re a journalist or creative writer, reach out to the appropriate digital publications, magazines, and local newspapers with relevant pitches. 

Freelance writing can of course take on many forms, from resume writing, to blogging, copywriting, and grant proposals. The key is to have a website portfolio with proven clips. It’s okay to be versatile but have at least one website tab showcasing rich experience and specialization. If you don’t have published clips on hand, it’s up to you to craft unique pitches and prepared drafts to showcase your writing skills.

8. Interior designer / landscape designer

The time spent indoors made us realize how important it is to create a meaningful space. While we reemerge from the winter and lockdown, and back to the great outdoors, we still cannot abandon household projects and what home really means to us. 

Cater to the homeowner’s needs with your eye for design, be it reimagining a new living room, organizing one’s home office, or transforming an outdoor patio. 

9. Caregiver

Work from home culture may be here to stay for the long-term, and with that many people are juggling caregiving and their full-time careers. Many parents could use an extra hand tending to children, housekeeping and tutoring services. Platforms like Care.com to UrbanSitter can help you find families in need. Children are not the only ones in need of care. Many need help with senior citizen care as well as those undergoing physical therapy. 

10. Virtual assistant  

From platforms like MyTasker to Belay, there are many virtual assistant companies aiming to match you with a business owner, executive or entrepreneur in need of support. These professionals need help with a variety of tasks ranging from scheduling appointments, handling emails to social media management and customer support. 

Whether you go the VA route or personal training or photographer extraordinaire, it’s important to showcase your best work on a website that professionalizes your work and tells your entrepreneurial story.