11 Side Businesses You Can Start with Less Than $100

Starting a business can be one of the most beneficial tasks you undertake to improve your financial life.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a busy stay at home mom or even someone who is retired, starting a side business can generate some extra cash to help you reach your financial goals.

When many people think of starting a business, thoughts of expensive equipment or pricey advertising might come to mind. However, that’s not always the case. Many businesses cost less than $100 to start. I’ve listed 11 of them below.

Table of Contents
  1. Dogs Walking / Sitting
  2. Furniture Flipping
  3. DoorDash Delivery
  4. Tutoring
  5. Blogging
  6. Homemade Meal Business
  7. Babysitting
  8. Etsy Store
  9. Website Designer
  10. Auto Detailing
  11. Personal Concierge/Personal Organizer
  12. Calligrapher

Dogs Walking / Sitting

Do you like dogs? If so, there are plenty of dog owners who need people to walk their dogs during the day. Or board their dogs when they go on vacations or long weekends. It’s a great business if you are good with pets.

The hard part about this business is finding clients and dogs you like. Fortunately, you can get started by joining a site like Rover. On Rover, pet owners can find people to walk, dogsit, or even board their dogs. You can do those things too!

Set your preferences on the type of dog (age, size, etc.) and the site will offer you jobs as they match your preferences and timing. You get the flexibility of working when you want and the site will give you a nice flow of jobs to get this business off the ground. The best part is that Rover also offers insurance and 24/7 support that includes vet assistance, just in case.

Learn more about Rover

Furniture Flipping

Furniture flipping is a really fun business. I’ve dabbled in this myself a time or two, and it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks if you don’t mind putting in the time. What you do is scour garage sales, Craigslist, or even the side of the road on trash day looking for furniture that needs a little TLC. Then, take the time to fix, refinish, or paint the furniture, and resell the furniture it for a profit.

This is a really good guide on how to flip furniture. It covers everything from moving the furniture to restoration best practices to getting the best price for your restored piece. It covers pretty much everything you can think of.

I’ve even been able to re-sell furniture I bought at garage sales and antique stores for a profit without updating them at all. It all depends on the price you can get it for!

DoorDash Delivery

Most people have heard of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, but you may not want to drive all around town (or farther!) and taxi people around. What if you could just deliver food? You often don’t have to drive as far since people tend to order from places near where they live, and you don’t have to deal with people. Drunk people, annoying people, rude people, whatever – food is always polite. You can read about one semi-pro Dasher’s experience on the platform or try it out for yourself.

Learn more about DoorDash Delivery

You can also deliver groceries too through Instacart – instead of driving hot food, you deliver cold groceries!


My husband and I tutored as side hustles while we were dating and still in college. We both used to help kids with math on the weekends and evenings. Sometimes, we’d get paid as much as $40 per hour especially if we traveled to another town to help kids. This was a nice amount of income for college students, and it allowed us money to go on dates and even save up for a few trips. If you like teaching and helping others, this is a great, low-cost business to start.

VIPKID is a tutoring service where you teach English to Chinese students. You teach from the comfort of your own home, entirely online, to a single student. You can make up to $17-$22 an hour in 25-minute appointments, with no minimum times.


Blogging is a business that costs very little to start but does take some time to grow. I had my blog for two years before I even made a dime from it, but many other bloggers learn how to produce a full-time income in 6-12 months.

You can learn everything you need to know by reading about blogging online. Some other bloggers take courses to accelerate their learning process. For me, I just learned as a went and only added on courses and the extras once I started making an income from my site.

Homemade Meal Business

When I lived abroad and started freelance writing as a business, someone I knew also started a business where he sold delicious homemade meals. He catered to students at the local medical school who didn’t have time to make dinner but didn’t want to order pizza for the third night in a row.

He would take orders in the morning for lunch and orders at lunch for dinner, and his business flourished. He was a private chef except he cooked for a group of people instead of just for one family. It was a great way for him to make an income while living abroad.

Related: How to Pay Yourself as a Business Owner


This is probably the oldest business idea around, and it stays popular because it works. I can’t even tell you how much money I’ve spent on babysitters the past three years, but it’s a lot!

If you start babysitting when you’re younger and gain experience, you can charge more. Parents love to be able to go out to dinner and know that they’re leaving their kids with someone trustworthy. Start small by offering to babysit your friends or neighbors’ children and then make sure you advertise your services on Facebook as well. Do a great job, and your business can grow simply by word of mouth.

Etsy Store

Etsy is a great marketplace to sell your crafty goods. My sister started an Etsy store a few months ago and already earns between $1,000-$2,000 every month. She is doing a great job growing her business, and it’s helping her pay for extras like date night or new outfits for her kids.

If you have an aptitude for crafts, you might want to read about how to start a successful Etsy store. With a small investment in materials, you could be well on your way to earning a few extra hundred dollars a month!

If you think printables, which do well on Etsy, is where your talents lie – there’s a great Etsy Printables course co-taught by Julie, co-founder of Gold City Ventures. She opened her store in 2017 and has had over a thousand sales. She started by selling temporary tattoos and expanded into a variety of other printable products like checklists. She is co-teaching a self-paced five-module video and text course that includes weekly coaching via Facebook Live so you can ask specific questions.

Website Designer

Designing a website requires some upfront knowledge and skill. However, you’d be surprised just how much you can learn in a short amount of time. There are numerous courses on Udemy and even free tutorial videos online that can teach you the basics. If you have a knack for design and love being creative, this could be a great budding business for you.

Auto Detailing

Detailing cars is a great way to make a few extra dollars. You can start this business with a few supplies and some networking. You can start in your local neighborhood, advertise on Facebook, and offer discounts during the holidays. This is a great gift people can give new graduates or dads for Father’s Day so be sure to mention this when trying to sell people on your service.

Personal Concierge/Personal Organizer

Having a personal concierge, personal assistant, or personal organizer isn’t just for the rich and famous anymore. Many people are busy and need someone to help them organize their closets, run errands, or help them book flights. A great place to advertise this service is on Facebook on Mom-to-Mom group boards in your city.

Related: Bonsai Review: How to Run Your Entire Business from One App


Being a calligrapher is becoming a more popular side hustle because people want to hire someone to hand address their wedding invitations, cards, or create beautiful, custom hand-lettering art.

To start a calligraphy business, you’ll likely need specialized pens, and if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll likely need to take courses to learn the trade. Luckily, there are many free guides available online as well as many affordable video courses you can watch.

When it comes to calligraphy, it comes down how many hours you’re willing to put into practicing and of course, spreading the word about your business.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to start a side business. The 11 ideas above only scratch the surface of the types of side business you can start to make extra money. Plus, who knows? You might even be able to turn your side hustle into a full-time career today. Start small with an equally small investment, and see where it takes you!

And if things do start to go well, make sure you keep your finances separate! It’s important to keep a separate bank account for your business for many reasons, and we recommend you check out Lili. It’s online business bank account works well for any type of small business, including freelancers, solopreneurs, LLCs, multi-member LLCs, and S Corps.

Do you have a side business? What type of business is it?

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms. She founded her award winning personal finance blog, www.CatherineAlford.com, in 2010.

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  1. Grant @ Life Prep Couple says

    Love the tutoring idea. I love teaching and it would give me an excuse to brush up on all that math I had to learn in engineering school. I would be all about it if I could get $20-40 an hour.

    • Kelsey A says

      I think that’s a pretty typical rate actually. I used to teach for an SAT tutoring company and I got paid $20/hr. I’m sure the actual cost to the students/parents was significantly more than that.

  2. Pellrider says

    Tried Etsy with handmade goods. But burned out fast, since listing fees were not covering my income. The shipping costs high in Canada. Blogging is rewarding with pennies.

    • Jim Wang says

      If you want to make money, you’re going to have to work, innovate, and do more than “start” something. There have been people selling products on Etsy for years, to think you can just jump in and earn a living isn’t realistic. You’ll have to work towards that. (same for blogging)

  3. Rachel says

    A homemade meal business not operated out of a commercial kitchen is a health code violation and will earn you a hefty fine…

  4. Sagar Nandwani says

    Tutoring service is a business that is exploding as wealthy parents are spending more money on ensuring their children have competitive grades. Entrepreneurs can pick their best subject and get familiar with the curriculum in their city. Some tutors are even doing this nationally via video chat. How much can be made: $35 to $125 per hour.

  5. Margaret says

    I tried to start a Homemade Meal Business, but it didn’t work. I don’t know what I did wrong. OK, I’m not a professional, but I think my cupcakes were delicious and beautiful! 😀

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