Business ideas you can start for peanuts

Think earning extra dosh whenever it suits you? Sounds too good to be true? Think again. Here are the 30 best businesses to start with little money – all of which can be home-based businesses. With all of these ideas, you’ll be struggling with what business to start.

30 part-time businesses you can start for peanuts

1. Trade on eBay

Figure out what’s selling on eBay, then invest in setting up a professional-looking eBay shop from £14.99 a month.

Once you’re ready to go, check out our tips for selling on eBay here.

2. Sell stock photography

Sell good quality digital photos to sites like, and But be warned: this is quite the slow-burner. If you dream of becoming a freelance photographer, check out our free guide here.

3. Personal chef

Invest in a good cookery course, then start offering your services to friends of friends in need of dinner party assistance. If you want to make it big in chocolate, check out these great tips.

4. Become a cookery writer

As above – then publish your own cookery book through Sales will come in from the site, and you can sell yourself to new prospective clients by saying you’re also a cookery author.

5. Antiques trader

Do some serious homework on cheaper pieces – invest in an encyclopaedia and read mags like this one. Buy a few items to hedge your bets, then sell to antiques dealers and shops.

6. Virtual assistant

Sign-up to a site like (£2.95 to post a listing for 12 months). Invest in a secretarial or touch typing course to give you an edge over other candidates. More advice here.

7. Personal trainer

Proper training courses are several hundred pounds at least (recommended ones here), but if you’re a marathon old-hand or a gym-bod you could entice some clients without. Pick up part-time work in a gym to find clients.

8. Snack stall

You can buy a stall for around £100 – £150 (from somewhere like this). Make sure you comply with all health and safety regulations and get a license from your local council if you’re selling alcohol, hot food between 11pm and 5am and/or food from a stall/van on the street.

If you’re looking for more tips, check out our guide on how to start a market stall here.

9. Late-night alcohol delivery

Supply the midnight masses and charge a premium on booze, and snacks delivered after pub closing time. You’ll need a personal license to sell alcohol, which costs £37 – get it online from your local council.

10. Cleaning company

Start this business with no overheads by using clients’ cleaning products. Pay for Disclosure and Barring Service Checks (£26 each) for yourself and any other members of staff to reassure new customers, once you have some money coming in. With these top tips, starting a cleaning company is the easiest way to change a chore into a business.

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