Last updated on December 7th, 2022
When it comes to business, $20k is actually not a lot of money. On average, businesses need between $30k and $40k for their first business year. This means that trying to start a business with only $20k can be a real challenge.
However, there are some businesses that can take off with as little as $15k and a third start with only $5k – so starting your own businesses with less than $20k is not impossible.
It’s simply a matter of choosing the right kind of startup, keeping costs low, and doing everything you can to secure more funding.
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As I’ve had a lot of requests to talk about starting a business with low funds or no money at all (check out my other article on that topic here), here are my thoughts on how to start a business with just $20k.
Types Of Startups You Can Try
Starting a business on just $20k is not impossible but you need to choose the right type of startup. The more adventurous your startup business is (the more resources it needs, the more staff, the more equipment, the more marketing), then the more costly it will be.
So, here are some startups I have found to be low in costs so it’s easier to begin with funds under $20k.
69% of US businesses start out at home, from garages or spare bedrooms. So, as long as you have a computer, you can start your own business from the comfort of your own home. One great way to do this is by starting a blog.
Starting a blog is not as easy as it may first sound because it takes a lot of work and continuous effort.
First, you have to build your blog, optimise it for search engines, create plenty of content, link it to social media accounts and regularly post on those platforms, market to your audience, and more. I should know – I run one!
Luckily, starting a blogging business does take a lot of time, but not a lot of money. The average cost for starting a blog is between $30 and $2k depending on the type of blog you want to run.
Here are some examples of costs you will face when starting your own blog:
Hardware – You will need a computer to run your blog from and while you can do this for free by visiting your local library, it’s much more convenient to have your own. So, be prepared to pay up to $2,000 for a high-quality computer or laptop to run your blog from.
The website itself – You can use free website building tools like Wix or WordPress to build your website, but it’s a good idea to install plenty of plugins or splash out for some professional themes.
Some plugins help make your website run faster, improve its security, or make it easier for your users to use – and all of these can help with your SEO (see also, ‘How to Become an SEO Expert?‘). 38% of internet users will leave a website if it’s designed poorly and 40% will not wait more than two-seconds for a page to load.
So, don’t be afraid to spend some money on plugins and templates.
Hosting – Web hosting is something that catches out a lot of blog owners when they first start. It’s basically your publisher for your website. Without one, your website won’t be accessible. Some web hosts offer free but limited services while paid hosts offer better security and stability.
Content – Your blog needs content and while it’s tempting to try and make it all yourself for free, it can be seriously time consuming and difficult to keep up with relevant keywords. However, you can outsource your content to content writers – but for a fee.
Marketing – 97% of bloggers use social media as their main form of marketing, but 66% also use email marketing.
While you can set up social media accounts for free, email marketing will require you to spend money to set up automated emails to run campaigns and build meaningful relationships with your subscribers (see also, ‘How to Delegate Tasks in Your Marketing Campaign?‘).
So, running a blog is not completely free but it’s still one of the most inexpensive ways to start a business!
If you have some important and useful skills to offer, then you can always make yourself a business by going freelance! 36% of the US labor force work freelance, meaning that there are over 70 million freelancers in the US!
When I graduated from university, I worked as a freelance website creator and now I am a freelance digital marketer. For years, I have been offering my skills and services in return for a fee and this has helped me become my own boss.
Cost-wise, becoming a freelancer all depends on the kind of freelance work you will be doing.
As a freelance digital marketer, I just need a good computer and a couple of additional services to help me with SEO, data management, and audience research.
However, if you want to become a freelance plumber, you will need funds (see also, ‘How do I Start a Startup With No Money?‘) to spend on marketing, equipment, maintenance, and transport.
So, think about what skills you have and what you can offer in terms of freelance work.
The most common type of freelance work is art and design with 77% of freelancers offering this kind of job function.
Other popular types of freelance work include marketing (58%), computers/mathematics (53%), construction (52%), personal care/wellness (48%), and transportation (39%).
Develop An App
If you’re more of a programmer and you have the skills, then developing an app is affordable and easy. Some fees that come with developing an app include fees for a server, a domain name, and (of course) marketing.
However, there’s good money to be made by developing an app. In 2020, 218 billion apps were downloaded by users and total app revenue is projected to reach $430.90 billion by the end of 2022.
Conclusion: My Tips For Keeping Costs Down
38% of businesses fail because they either run out of cash or fail to raise enough capital, so it’s vital that you secure as much funding as possible. 77% of small businesses use their personal savings, but other sources of funding include bank loans and loans from family or friends.
Once your business is up and running, my best advice to you is to try and keep those costs low. This way, you can generate more profit and re-invest more into your business. This in turn will help it grow!
So, how can you help keep the cost of your business down?
The key is budgeting. I always have a budget for my businesses and I also use bookkeeping softwares to help me clearly see what I’m spending and where it’s going. This way, I can cut out tail end spending and manage my funds a lot easier.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a ton of resources to help you set up a budget, and also offer resources for funding too. So, I seriously recommend you check them out!
So, I hope this article has helped you consider what type of business you should start up with just 20k. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask! Thanks for reading!