11 Low cost business ideas you can start online

low cost business ideas
(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

If you are looking for a business idea, the good news is there are plenty of ideas that can be started with very little capital.

A lot of people think you have to have a lot of money to start a business but this isn’t true at all. There are many different ways that you can start a business with next to nothing so let’s take a look and see what they are. And this is even more possible today because of eCommerce.

Read these and find business ideas that suit your skills and interests.

List of low cost business ideas 

These are business ideas you can start in India without spending a lot of money. We have also given examples of brands that are successfully running them.

Service businesses

Starting a service business requires little to no capital because there’s no inventory involved.

There are two main ways to start a service business online: If you have an in-demand skill, you can either offer it as a service or teach the skill.

For example, if are well-versed in graphic designing, you can find clients that need graphic designing services. You can also start doing training sessions for amateur designers and artists. Here’s how Sumouli Datta shares her knowledge through online workshops on her Instamojo website Woodle Doodle:

woodle doodle store teaching online
Woodle Doodle online store

There are many highly valuable services you can offer and build a business. Here are a few you can consider:

  • Fitness instructor
  • Realtor
  • Writing service
  • Designer or illustrator
  • Bookkeeping
  • Photography

While some of these require a certification to get started, there are a few skills you can pick up and gain experience. Here’s an article on the top service business ideas and how to get started.

Sell handmade products online   

Is making craft products your hobby? Do you make candles, home decor, embroidery, or other products in your free time? If yes, then this might be a great business idea for you.

In a handmade products business, you will only need to spend on the raw materials required. Customers pay for the value of the product. Since product development i in your hands, you can set a price accordingly and bring in a good profit margin.

Related read: Best handmade products stores on Instamojo

The biggest investment you’ll have to make here is the time, energy, and of course, ths skills — you may need to gain more knowledge on your craft.

online store themes
Source: Madraskarri

Many merchants who use Instamojo started handmade products businesses as a part-time online business. Stay-at-home moms, and full-time job holders started handcrafted product businesses and some of them grew it to a great scale!

Daycare for kids 

A daycare for children in smaller localities in India begins at home as parents may initially prefer smaller, more intimate settings to leave their children while they are away at work.

Besides regular babysitting, you could also provide value-added services’ ranging from support with their homework, providing nutritious food, or teaching them new skills such as dancing, craft, painting etc. – all dependent on the parents’ paying capacity. 

Online fashion boutique

If you’re into fashion and love sharing your style with others, this is a good option for you.

You can source products from manufacturers or suppliers and sell them under your brand name. Start an Instagram or Facebook account and start creating content around the clothing products that you sell.

Related read: How to sell clothes online

If you have tailoring skills, you can offer personalised clothing wears. Akshara Closets, an online business on Instamojo, offers tailor-made clothing to ethnic wear-lovers. Check out their online store here:

ethnic wear store on instamojo
Source: Akshara Closets

When starting a fashion boutique, the major investment will be procuring the products and getting an online store. With Instamojo, you can get a basic online store for free and then upgrade to premium plans when you need more features.

Create your online store

Online classes based on your skill sets

When we mentioned kids wanting to learn all the time, we should have mentioned it applies to adults too, maybe even more now. Setting up an online class is easy, all you need to work on is the branding part.

Related read: The online teaching guide you need

Establish a small network via WhatsApp or social media channels to get your online classes started. Our suggestion: In order to attract your first set of students, offer a Pay what you want’ feature to your audience. If they like the class, they can pay a higher amount. This helps you build a network of loyal attendees. Host regular webinars, podcasts and promote your future workshops, LIVE sessions etc.

For example: Sneak a peek into Shreya Sharan Pawar’s online classes to empower women entrepreneurs. Shreya is an online marketing strategist and business coach. She started her business to help other entrepreneurs find their calling. A simple, yet effective online business.

Home-based food business

Starting a tiffin service or baking business based out of your home will involve minimal expense: you don’t have to spend money on inventory space, office, or hire many workers. You can get started with the cooking equipment you already have at home.

Home-made food is always in-demand. You can start by creating a WhatsApp group and collect orders. Collect payments via UPI. For a more streamlined process, you can ask customers to place orders on your online store.

The costs here other than ingredients and equipment is delivery, which you can charge a delivery fee separately.

If you enjoy baking or want to be a home chef, give this business idea a try!

Related read: How to sell food online: the complete guide

Financial consulting

There are many individuals and businesses who struggle with handling finances and the nuances of tax saving.

So if you are a certified professional with a financial qualification that can help other businesses sort out their finances, keep your CV, website and best suit ready.

You can also provide your financial expertise to people who like you, want to set up a business from scratch. Being a consultant is one of those low-cost business ideas that also requires zero setups. If it’s your existing 9-5, you can simply do some freelancing on the side before your business takes off.

Sell digital products online

Creating and selling digital products is a low cost business idea because upfront costs because you’ll be creating them based on your expertise. The only cost involved is you’ll need to host it on a landing page or website to collect payments from customers. Once you create a digital asset, it can be bought infinite number of times!

The most common digital products that are sold online are:

  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Courses
  • Digital art
  • Photographs

Here are some resources to help you with selling digital products online:

Sell print-on demand products

Print-on demand is a business where you create customisable products after an order is placed. These products include t-shirts, phone covers, coffee mugs among other things.

Since you only print products after an order is placed, you won’t need a big inventory It’s a great low-cost business idea if you can design the items yourself.

website branding
Source: TrueCasuals

Here’s a guide on how to create a successful t-shirt business where you can learn more about print-on demand business.

Freelance services

If you are a technical architect with a niche specialisation, set up a profile on a job site like Fiverr or Linkedin and offer your services to companies who might need it for a quick project.

Freelance services can range from offering DJ services for a party to creating chatbots for startups (which is a rising trend). Be sure to mention your skills across social media, job platforms and through your network.

Related read: 5 secrets of making money as a freelancer

You can use a landing page to showcase your portfolio and sell services. Instamojo landing page builder allows you to create and launch one in minutes.

Become a creator and grow your audience

In today’s world, a creator is someone who creates content online on to entertain or inform. Social media influencers and YouTubers all come under this category because they rely on content creation to make money.

The creator economy has grown rapidly and has become a major tool for brand marketing over the past few years. In fact, the influencer marketing industry alone is work 16.4 billion dollars, as per latest reports.

Becoming a creator is financially lucrative — you can start with your smart phone, an internet connection, and the willpower. However, growing an audience online which you can monetize will take lots of time and patience. It’s a great idea if you have a passion to create content and share your experiences.

Final words: launch your low-cost business online

Low-cost business ideas can be profitable. What takes time and effort is building your skills and getting your products out there. You can start selling to an online customer base without spending a lot of money.

With Instamojo, you can create an eCommerce website for free. Sign up today and get started.

Start your online store