18 Best Side Hustles With Little or No Start-Up Costs

Krystal Smith

If you are considering starting a side hustle but are worried about the cost of setting it up, there are many low-cost options. We take General through 18 side hustles with little to no start-up costs.

Sell Handmade Crafts

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Online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon allow those with a creative fair to sell their wares. Some platforms charge per listing, while others have monthly subscription fees or a combination of both. The cost can vary depending on the platform, listing duration, and features included. As a maker, you should explore the various costs and choose the best platform to suit your budget. 

Freelance Writing and Editing

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Being a freelance writer or editor comes with both freedom and responsibility, and the costs involved can vary significantly depending on your experience, niche, and preferred work style. You can create a profile on free or small-fee platforms like Upwork or Fiverr or reach out directly to businesses and individuals needing content creation.

Graphic Design and Illustration

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If you are thinking of a side hustle in design as you can create logos, social media graphics, and website mockups, for example, there are many low-cost options. Like writing freelancers, you can advertise on platforms such as Upwork or showcase your creative skills by designing your website. You can pick up a good deal with plenty of website hosts when you shop around. 

Online Tutoring and Teaching

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Another side hustle that offers free platforms to find clients is online tutoring. Sites like VIPKid connect you with students learning languages, or you can offer specialized tutoring in your area of expertise. Teaching is a side hustle you can carry offline if you have a spare room to see students face-to-face in your home. 

Consulting and Coaching

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Consulting and coaching businesses offer incredible flexibility and the potential for high income. This side hustle has a competitive market, and while there is little equipment to invest in, you will need to invest most of your start-up money in advertising your services and training to further your skills. 

Blogging and Vlogging

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You can share your hobbies, expertise, or life experiences through a blog or YouTube channel to make extra money in your spare time. Some blogging platforms will have a small fee, but once you grow an audience, you can monetize your work through ads, sponsorships, or affiliate marketing.

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

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As well as the usual start-up costs of registering a business, pet sitters and dog walkers need liability insurance to protect themselves from potential accidents or injuries to pets in their care. Costs can vary based on coverage and provider, but expect to pay around $129+ monthly. While you wait for business to pick up, you can advertise for free on social media sites and gradually save money to create your website. 

House Cleaning and Organization

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You will need to pay business registration fees and monthly insurance fees or around $200 per month, but most of your start-up fee will be on purchasing equipment. You will need to stock up on essential cleaning supplies like sponges, mops, vacuums, cleaning solutions, and trash bags, and once you earn money, upgrade to professional tools. 

Errand Running and Personal Shopping

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Starting an errand-running and personal shopping business involves various costs, some essential and others optional, depending on your approach and goals. The essential cost is securing reliable transportation to reach clients and complete errands.

Social Media Management

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You’ll need scheduling, content creation, analytics, and communication tools. Consider platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, Canva, and Sprout Social and expect costs ranging from $0 to $500+ per month, depending on features and several clients. This is in addition to the usual start-up costs of registering your business and advertising.

Virtual Assistant

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A reliable computer and internet connection is the most essential workhorse outgoing when setting up a virtual assistance side hustle. Expect to spend $500 to $2,000+ depending on quality and needs. If you already have this equipment, you will need the usual business costs, such as registration and insurance.

Data Entry and Transcription

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Reliable equipment and an internet connection are necessary when working remotely, so these will be essential start-up costs. You will also need basic office software like Microsoft Office or Google Suite for most data entry tasks. Transcription software might be needed for specialized projects, ranging from $0 (free options) to $100+ monthly.

Music Lessons

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If you are a music fan, you will likely have most of the equipment you need at home, so your main outgoings will be rental costs for a space to hold your lessons and advertising your business to get it off the ground. 

Fitness Coaching

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Aside from registering your business and creating a solid online presence, certification is the main cost of starting a fitness coaching side hustle. Consider nationally recognized certifications like NASM, ACE, or ACSM to attract clients. Costs can range from $300 to $1,000+ for training and exams.

Language Translation

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If you’re bilingual or multilingual and want to start a freelance translation service, there must be more in the way of start-up costs. As no training is involved, your main start-up fees will consist of having reliable tech to teach online and a healthy advertising budget to attract students. 

Renting Out Unused Items

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If your time for a side hustle is limited, you can earn passive income by renting out clothes, furniture, or equipment on platforms like Turo or RentLend. The Main outlay at the beginning of your renting journey is to build up an inventory of desirable items. Costs can vary significantly depending on the type and value of items you wish to loan. 

Participating in Paid Online Surveys and Focus Groups

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The good news about sharing your opinions and earning cash or rewards is that there is no start-up fee. If you have a device to complete the surveys and a reliable internet connection, you can proceed immediately. Some in-person focus groups might require travel expenses, though many reimburse participants for transportation or offer virtual options.


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It’s a popular e-commerce business model where you sell products you don’t physically own. When a customer orders something from your store, the supplier directly ships it to them, saving you the hassle of inventory management and fulfillment. Costs of an e-commerce platform, such as Wix, Shopify, and BigCommerce, start from around $9 per month. A significant amount would also be invested in advertising to get your website off the ground. 

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