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30 Low-Cost Businesses to Start in 2023

The post-festive slump can seem to be never-ending as consumers reel from the holidays. How about using this time to think about how you can make this year a financial success? Perhaps by starting your own small business? 

30 Low-Cost Businesses to Start in 2023

One of the biggest drawbacks of starting your own business is the startup capital requirements. But if capital is your only concern, then we’re here to tell you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. 

Today, thanks to the limitless capabilities of high-speed internet, it’s possible to start almost any business, at any time, anywhere in the world, with very little capital. Yes, you can even start a successful business from your backyard in the Kasi.

So, how can you start a business with minimal cash investment? Well, settle in and get ready to take notes, as we give you 30 low-cost businesses that you can start in 2023.

30 Small Business Ideas for 2023

Although you can start a business with very little capital, the principle does not apply to all businesses. Product-based businesses tend to have large overheads as you are required to purchase stock, think about storage, among many other considerations.

So, the majority of our list focuses on service-based businesses that are likely to have smaller overheads. And, as a bonus, most of them can be operated online or from the comfort of your home. Let’s dive in!

1. Content Creation

We are living in an era when digital content reigns supreme. Everyone is either a blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or influencer, or looking for someone with the aforementioned talents.

Creating content for yourself can open many doors. You could sell sponsorship slots on your YouTube channel or podcast, or make money from social media by having engaging content that millions would want to follow.

You could also create content for other businesses and charge a premium for your unique abilities. The possibilities are endless with content creation, so find what interests you and start getting creative!

2. Social Media Consultant

Social media is running rampant! There’s a strong argument to suggest that now, in 2023, social media is part of our very DNA as a vital aspect of our social lives.

Many businesses and individuals either do not grasp social media algorithms or simply do not have the time. By offering yourself up as a social media consultant, you’ll be able to fill a void and help a company reach its desired markets, all while pocketing a decent income.

Want to learn more about using social media to kickstart your dreams? Read 11 Businesses You Can Start Using Social Media.

3. Digital Marketing Services

Sticking with the trend of online businesses, our third offering complements the first two. Set yourself up as a digital marketer and allow businesses to use your services for all their online marketing needs. Understanding how ads work on Google and various social media platforms is a necessity for this line of work.

4. Graphic Design

The need for quality, digital content has made graphic design a highly sought-after skill. Here’s what you can do if you have a talent for creating vivid imagery:

  • Create posters, banners, and adverts for corporations and individuals.
  • Design t-shirts, mugs, and other novelty items that can be printed elsewhere.
  • Draw up templates for social media and sell them to content creation sites and apps.
  • Offer personalised postcards, greeting cards, and holiday cards to willing customers.
  • Make yourself the go-to person for logos, presentation templates, and other brand necessities.
  • Add graphics to photos and videos for content creators who are looking for that extra special touch.
  • Work with game and app developers to see how you can help visually enhance the worlds they’ve built.

5. Photography and Photo Editing

If you have a decent camera and a keen eye for capturing a story in an image, then photography may be your answer to the post-December blues. The world of photography is vast and diverse and you are sure to find those who are willing to pay for your services.

But what if you don’t have a camera? Well, you can use your skills to edit other people’s photos and turn their simple efforts into professional wonders!

6. Freelance Writer

Many of us have stories to tell but can’t quite articulate them in words. And even when we have the right words to say, it’s often difficult to find the time to write them out.

If you are a keyboard whiz and a wordsmith then freelance writing may be your calling. You could write blogs, CVs, articles, social media copy, scripts, and even books as a ghostwriter. Just be sure to bring your imagination along when you set out your laptop and notepad.

7. Proofreading and Editing

There is nothing that gets the teeth grinding and nose flaring quite like misspelt words and clumsy punctuation? Yup, reading that previous sentence was absolute torture. So, become a proofreader and/or editor and save readers from unnecessary pain and authors from avoidable embarrassment.

You could lend your hand in cleaning up essays, books, articles, blog posts, and anything else with capital letters and full stops. If you are a perfectionist, this is one job where everyone will be grateful for your attention to detail.

8. Data Entry

Keyboard magicians, please remain seated, as this one is also for you. As the world continues to move from physical to digital, many companies are scrambling to digitalise all their records and information. Through data capturing, you’ll be able to provide an imperative service while earning money from home. Perfect for the Kasi freelancer.

9. Translator

Globalisation is in full swing as the internet has closed the gap between borders. But there is still a need to understand each other across language barriers, and that’s where you come in.

Translating serves all audio, visual, and written formats. And in a country like South Africa with nine official dialects, if you can effortlessly switch between multiple languages, this will be easy money. 

10. Affiliate Marketing

This performance-based marketing strategy allows businesses to pay affiliates for their marketing endeavours. You, as the affiliate, will promote their brand and products and will be paid according to the number of sales made directly from your efforts.

So, if you already have a social media account or, even better, a podcast or YouTube channel, then you can advertise for brands and wait for the money to hit your account after a sale.

11. Professional Reviewer

Calling all foodies, movie lovers, book readers, art consumers, and anyone else who is willing to broaden their horizons. Businesses are constantly looking for feedback on how they can improve their brand, product, or service.

You already review whatever you consume by tweeting, posting Instagram food selfies, rating items on Google, and giving recommendations to friends and family. Take it one step further and turn this hobby into a money-maker.

12. Virtual Assistant

From business executives to restaurant owners, everyone needs a little extra help. Assist companies and hardworking individuals with admin and other menial tasks, and watch that bank balance grow. If you have a vehicle, take your show on the road and become a personal assistant, it will help add a zero or two to your pay cheque.

13. Concierge

While assistants mostly handle administrative tasks, a concierge takes care of admin and everything else under the sun. You could do the shopping for busy clients, plan vacations and business trips, make entertainment bookings, organise transportation, and quite literally anything else you could think of. Just make sure that your pay matches the given task.

14. Event Planner

Planning an event can feel like a headache on top of a migraine that is riding a rollercoaster of fatigue. If you have a cool head and can think clearly under pressure, then try your hand at managing events. Again, events happen in almost any industry, so you’re bound to find something that you enjoy and make money from.

15. Home Organiser

Most parents are great at this job, albeit begrudgingly and out of necessity. But some homeowners are too exhausted to wade through the chaos and would rather pay for someone else to do the dirty work. All you need is an eye for design and a healthy dose of organisational skills.

16. Personal Chef

If you can whip up a storm in the kitchen like a mother from Durban working on a fresh pot of breyani, then being a personal chef could kickstart your year in the best way.

The upside: all the ingredients are bought for you and you can try out new techniques and recipes.

The downside: you don’t get to eat and enjoy your tantalising creations (unless your employer allows you to, of course.)

17. Online Health Instructor

Gym instructor, yoga guru, meditation advisor, and healthy meal planner are some of the health-related jobs that you can do online and from home. If you are giving out health advice, however, make sure that you have the right qualifications and training to do so.

18. Online Courses, Tutoring, and Consulting 

Education is never to be undervalued, and there are many people waiting for the right person to deliver key information that is vital for their life’s progress. Without leaving your house, you could:

  • Offer online courses and classes in the subjects that you are trained and qualified.
  • Provide professional advice to young employees.
  • Give extra lessons to those struggling to grasp certain concepts.
  • Deliver music lessons to the future Brenda Fassie’s of this world.
  • Educate on issues regarding sustainability.
  • Build relationships by giving online dating advice.
  • Give fashion advice to those wanting to reignite their look.
  • Teach people how to use certain software and other technologies.

Again, when it comes to the lessons and advice that you can give online, you are only limited by your imagination.

19. Bookkeeping Services

If numbers are your forte and you have upskilled in the necessary areas, then you could offer bookkeeping as a service to anyone, wherever they may be in the world. We can almost guarantee that making the numbers make sense will be greeted with gratitude by any prospective employer. 

20. Babysitter

All parents need five extra pairs of hands, but most will be happy with just one. Become a babysitter and give busy parents peace of mind as they go about their daily activities.

Some people consider their pets as children, and honestly, some pets do act as if they are in their terrible twos. Offer to watch pets while their owners are away, and excel at your task to own the pet-sitting monopoly in your area.

21. Pet Services

Speaking about our furry companions, a great business idea is offering a variety of pet services. You could have a grooming service, dog walking, and the aforementioned pet-sitting. If you have an affordable supplier, selling pet accessories is also a guaranteed money-maker!

22. House and Garden Handwork

If organising is getting down and dirty then handwork is digging in the trenches. It requires a level of physicality and skill and it’s not for all of us. That’s why it’s the perfect service to offer if it’s up your alley.

You could assist with wiring, plumbing, and other household fixes. Take a step into the backyard and service the pool, maintain the landscape, and plant carefully researched trees and flowers. Being physically fit is not the only requirement. You also need to make sure that you are trained to complete the job you are called to do.

23. Cleaning Service

One of the few industries that will never be too saturated is the hygiene sector. From cleaning materials and equipment to the people who clean themselves, there will always be a job for the person who is willing to pick up the broom.

Start a cleaning service and approach home and business owners to put you to work. If you begin to get overwhelmed with the workflow, it’s the perfect opportunity to hire help of your own and build a company from the ground up.

24. Car Wash and Detailing

Ah! The good ol’ car wash. We don’t have to convince you that this is a great business idea, the evidence is all around. You can keep your services cheap and still make a decent profit as the demand is only on an upward trajectory. Just find that little special something that makes people leave their precious metal babies in your care, and not with Jimmy’s Car Wash around the corner.

25. Delivery Service

If you are lucky enough to have a metallic cruiser of your own, then make good use of it and start a delivery service. You could deliver anything that fits between your four wheels, with petrol costs and wear-and-tear as your main concerns. Also, make sure that you are licensed to carry the goods that you transport.

26. Domain Investor

We begin the countdown to the end of our list with a cheeky little offering. A domain investor is someone who buys domains in the hope of selling them for a profit. Now, this requires some long-term planning, acute research, and a ton of patience. But, if you own the correct domain name, you could be sitting on an instant gold mine.

27. Dropshipping

This one is for the Kasi entrepreneur with big ideas but little capital. As a dropshipper, you would be selling items to willing customers online. The catch: you don’t stock any inventory nor handle shipping and delivery because that’s done by a third party. You just sit in the middle between the buyer and supplier and watch the money pour in.

28. Warehouse and Storage

For the kings and queens with property and no way to use it, listen up close. Unlike the huge costs of converting a space into something habitable, using your empty space as a storage facility merely requires a lock and key.

The bigger your space, the more it can hold, and the higher your chances of earning big bucks. However, be careful with the type of items you accept in your warehouse. Expensive items may attract attention and you’ll end up needing to spend on extra security.

29. Amazon Seller

Amazon is a juggernaut, and it’s now more possible than ever to become a part of the beast. The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) programme allows individuals and businesses to outsource the shipment of orders to Amazon. This means that Amazon will collect, pack, ship, and deliver your inventory to your customers. The drawback is in the inventory itself and having adequate space to store it.

30. Write a Book

To cap off this extensive list of profitable businesses you can start in 2023, we encourage you to look inward. As we mentioned earlier, all of us have a story to tell, and writing a book is more a labour of love than it is impossible. So, if you have the time and a story bursting from within, write a book and make it available online and on Kindle.

The best part about writing a book is that you could still be earning royalties from it when you’re old and grey chasing your grandchildren around the house.

2023: The Year for the Entrepreneur in Me

There you have it. 30 business ideas that, if implemented, will make your year one to remember. Well, what are you waiting for? Go out there and start your business today! We have no doubt that you and your business will be a success in 2023, and beyond.