Interested in branching out beyond rideshare driving? There are plenty of opportunities outside of rideshare driving, and today guest contributor Choncé Maddox Rhea shares top 10 businesses you can start for under $500.
Many rideshare drivers who participated in our rideshare drivers survey shared that they value flexibility and the ability to earn money on their own time as some of the top reasons why they drive for companies like Uber and Lyft. However, there are plenty of other opportunities outside of rideshare (plus the ability to earn even more while rideshare driving). Starting your own business can be exciting because it comes with many perks like the freedom to set your own schedule and choose who you work with.
Unfortunately, some people put their dream of working for themselves on hold due to start-up costs. Luckily, there are still plenty of affordable options to consider thanks to the internet and tech companies. If you’re looking for an affordable way to start a business and aren’t married to an idea yet, here are 10 easy businesses you can start for under $500.
1. Rideshare Business
Okay, you probably already are doing this one but in case you aren’t, this is a great business option if you have a car and enjoy interacting with people. You can sign up for Uber or Lyft (if you haven’t already) and start driving as soon as your driver account has been verified and your car is inspected.
Don’t have a car but still want to rideshare? Check out Fair, which is Uber’s rental car program. This is a newer service that allows you to pay one weekly price to rent a vehicle that you can use to drive for Uber.
You can cover the weekly cost of $185 (plus taxes) by completing at least 70 trips if you’re in California. Then, you can earn bonuses and income from additional trips. Read our review of Fair for Uber/Lyft drivers to learn more about how it works.
Don’t forget, you can also start your own driving business and promote your services. You’ll need business cards which can be ordered online using Vista Print. You’ll also need a payment processing system like Square, so you can accept customer payments
2. Start a Blog
Running a blog can be way more than just a hobby – just look at The Rideshare Guy. When you treat your blog like a business, it could start earning money like one. Produce quality content and focus on serving your readers. Then, you can start to monetize your blog with ads, helpful products, affiliates, sponsored content, and more.
First, you’ll need to choose a topic that you’re passionate about and set up a self-hosted blog so you can monetize it. We recommend Bluehost for web hosting because it’s affordable and easy to get set up. Bluehost has hosting packages as low $3.95 per month. Aside from hosting, you may need to pay for a theme and while some basic designs for blogs are free, others range between $50 and $150.
Also, having an email list is a must and we recommend using ConvertKit because it’s user-friendly and integrates well.
While running a blog will come with some monthly expenses, you can get started for much less than $500 and it’s a relatively affordable business to run overall.
3. Share Your Home
Rent out your extra room or your entire home with sites like Airbnb and VRBO. If you have a spare room or a guest house, you can list your space for free on these sites so travelers can book a stay.
Airbnb lets you list your home for free but charges a 3% fee when someone books a stay. This fee helps cover the costs of processing their payment. VBRO charges a flat fee to hosts and does not charge a commission for each booked stay.
When you create your listing, share a clear and detailed description of your space and consider hiring a photographer to take high-quality images.
Best of all, if you’re rideshare driving, you can offer tourists your Airbnb information (consider making a business card or flyer) and advertise that way through word of mouth.
4 Handy Person
Are you a handyman or handywoman? Monetize your skills and start your own business. You advertise your services online or in your local area to find gigs. Or, use sites like TaskRabbit to pick up jobs.
Use the tools and supplies you already have or consider renting some in the beginning to save money.
5. Online Reseller
Selling items online is one of the easiest ways to make extra money but you can also make a business out of it. Go to thrift stores, garage sales, and even online consignment shops to buy items and that you can flip and sell for a profit.
Remember you can find great deals online too. Rakuten is a cash back and coupon site that you can use to save money on your online purchases so you can make a profit reselling them.
If you don’t have much inventory to start with, begin by selling old items from around your home. Sites like Amazon and eBay will charge you a small fee to sell your items online. However, you can sell items locally via Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace and skip the fees altogether. The Facebook Marketplace makes it easy to sell things online locally and communicate with potential buyers.
6. Start Consulting and Answering Questions
Did you know that you can actually get paid to answer people’s questions? Just Answer is a site that pays experts to answer questions for users online.
If you have experience in a particular area, you can sign up to answer people’s questions and receive compensation each time you help someone. You can even take it a step further and start your own consulting business to help others. You’ll need a website and some business cards to do this, but you can find client leads on sites like LinkedIn or by networking and attending events.
Monetize your skills by setting up a Fiverr account. Millions of people use Fiverr for services ranging from graphic design and video editing to content writing, voiceover work and translation.
When setting up your account, be sure to provide a detailed description of your service and lots of examples of your work. Here’s a great example of detailed service package descriptions for a custom logo designer.
If you don’t have reviews yet, you can still post images of your work.
8. Mechanical Turk
Only have a little time to make extra money? Consider using short task sites like Mechanical Turk. This is an Amazon site that pays you to complete small and short tasks whether it’s finding an image, light research or captioning a video.
9. Sell a Course
The online course business is booming. The great thing is that anyone can turn their expertise into an online course and help others. Sites like Udemy and Teachable allow you to set up your course, create a sales page, and college payments.
All you’ll need to do is work on the marketing end and gain prospects which could involve building an email list or doing some paid advertising.
When Harry first started driving, he realized no other rideshare driver course existed out there that answered the questions he had – so he created Maximum Ridesharing Profits, a course for rideshare drivers to get better at driving rideshare, maximize their incomes and more. Think of something that you know better than almost anyone (or can explain better than anyone) and consider turning that into a course!
10. Photography Business
Your photography skills could be worth a lot of money. If you own a good camera and enjoy taking pictures, consider taking people’s headshots for a fee or shooting weddings or family photos.
You can also monetize your everyday photos by selling them online to stock photo companies who will pay you a commission whenever someone on their site downloads the image. This list of stock photo sites will pay you for your images.
You don’t need thousands of dollars or a fancy business loan to become an entrepreneur. Instead of letting money hold you back, allow your creativity allow you to push forward when it comes to starting your own business and working on your own terms.
These 10 ideas have low start-up costs and can be launched in as little as one week or less. Narrow down your skills and interests to find the best business idea for you. Then, list out any potential expenses along with things you can do for free whether that involves signing up for one of the websites listed above (Fiverr, Uber, Mechanical Turk, etc.), or DIYing some of your initial tasks (setting up your website, writing your own website copy, making business cards, etc).
Let us know what your favorite business idea is in the comments below!
Choncé is a freelance writer who’s obsessed with living well on a budget and loves encouraging people to make extra money so they can meet their financial goals. She happily married to one of the best Uber drivers in the Chicago metro area who currently has 2,800+ trips under his belt.
Earn More with RakutenWant to help your passengers save money and maximize your income while driving for Uber or Lyft? Check out Rakuten, where you'll get $25 for every referral you make. Sign up for Rakuten here.
-Choncé @ RSG
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