No Startup Money? Explore These Low-Cost Gigs for Independent Contractors

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

If you’re itching to launch a business of your own, but your savings are thin, explore some opportunities that require little to no money for startup costs. With any luck, you may already own some of the tools needed to get going. For some ventures, experience may not be necessary; for other endeavours, you may be able to capitalize on knowledge and experience that you’ve gained over a lifetime. You don’t always need specialized skills to jump in and start earning money. Much of the time, success depends on persistence, initiative, and the desire to be your own boss. The following gigs won’t break the bank on the front end and just might pad your pockets on the back end.

House Painting

More than likely, you’ve tackled an interior painting project in your home or apartment. In addition to the paint, all you needed were some old blankets, a stepladder, and a brush and a roller handle. Starting out as a weekend warrior, you may be able to earn some significant dollars painting rooms for people who don’t want to do it themselves. You can buy all the tools you’ll need for less than $100, which might include a professional drop cloth, a putty knife, and some roller covers. Contracts can be written so the homeowner supplies the paint, preparation, and patching materials, and you perform the labor. As profits build, you may want to transition to higher-paying commercial work.

Translation Services

If you can speak more than one language, parlay that gift into a budding career. If you own a laptop and have internet service, there are multiple options to make money through online transcription and translation services. Depending on the platform, multilingual contractors might earn anywhere from $10 to $45 or more per hour by translating documents or interpreting speech. You can market services to many non-virtual businesses, too. Schools, large corporations, and government facilities frequently require translation services. Even without a personal computer, startup costs might be limited to marketing efforts in your local geographic area.

Personal Shopper

Some people hate to shop, and some people love it. Personal shoppers venture out into the retail world to buy items that busy or apathetic customers need but don’t have the time or desire to purchase. Most personal shoppers lean toward interior decorating or fashion, possessing a strong sense of what’s in style. Catering to a high-end clientele, you don’t need a ton of money to get started, but you will need an exquisite fashion sense and an elite network of prospects. Only high net worth individuals will pay a premium for a task they could reasonably find time to perform themselves. Don’t let a lack of funds keep you from pursing the dream of owning a business. Starting out on your own may lead to a larger scale operation, complete with an office, a few employees, and an income stream that meets all your expectations.

References & Resources

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