How to start a business with less than $200?

Share this story
How to start a business with less than $200?

Table of Content

Starting a business with less than $200 may seem impossible, but it is possible. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can get your small business up and running on a shoestring budget.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Research Your Idea
    When starting a business, the most important step is ensuring your idea has potential. Research the industry you’re entering and determine if you need the product or service you want to offer.
  • Start Small
    You don’t need to start with a massive budget; instead, focus on starting small and expanding as your business grows. Consider things like marketing, advertising and promotional materials that can be done on a smaller budget.
  • Utilize Free Resources
    Take advantage of free or low-cost resources to help get your business off the ground. For example, look into free or low-cost online marketing tools, utilize social media platforms, and consider getting help from friends and family.
  • Cut Costs
    When starting a business with limited funds, it’s important to be mindful of expenses and look for ways to cut costs whenever possible. Negotiate prices with vendors, take advantage of free resources and consider working out of your home to minimize overhead expenses. and family who have experience in business.
  • Leverage AI
    AI has made doing business and the creation process easier than ever. No matter what you do, look for the best and latest AI tools in the area. For example, there are AI editing tools, content creation tools, audio mixing tools, sales software, management tools, and more that you can take advantage of and get ahead of the crowd.

Here are some ideas to help you get started. Just be sure to your creativity and imagination to find a unique version of the below ideas that suit your interests, skills and circumstances.

1. Start a blog or online magazine

Starting a blog is a great way to share your passions with the world and make money while at it. But not all blogs are created equal – some make more money than others.

So how do you start a blog that will make you money? Here are a few tips:

  • Choose a topic that people are interested in
    The key to making money from your blog is to focus on a topic that people are interested in. If you write about something that no one wants to read, you will not make any money. So find a topic that you’re passionate about and that people want to learn more about.
  • Write high-quality content
    If you want people to visit your blog and stick around, you need to produce high-quality content on a regular basis. This means writing well-researched articles, providing valuable insights, and sharing interesting stories. No one wants to read low-quality content, so don’t try.
  • Target high-ticket readers
    Targeting readers with a substantial disposable income can be advantageous, allowing you to market products or services to them in later stages. Take, for instance, The Hustle, a newsletter catering primarily to entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and other high-value customers, which ultimately led to its acquisition for $27 million. Similarly, if you are based in regions such as India or Bangladesh, focusing on readers from economically affluent backgrounds in countries like the USA or Australia could prove strategically beneficial.
    Following the same idea, you can create a blog around golf, luxury items, or some interests that wealthy people have in common. 
  • Create content about something you’re passionate about
    Crafting material about topics that genuinely inspire you not only enhances the quality of your work but also allows you to connect more authentically with your audience. Most likely, to scale your blog and pivot into a business, you will be working on a product/service catering to your readers. So that better be something you like. 
  • Target up-and-coming marketsWhatever niche you select, there already is competition, because well…internet is almost two decades old now. But there are always new trends and ways to package your content. For example, if you want to launch a music-production-related blog, you can write content about AI tools for music production.

There are a few different ways that a blog can make money. One way is to sell advertising space on your website. Another way is to promote products and services to your readers and earn a commission for every sale that you generate. You can also offer paid subscriptions to your blog or sell digital products such as e-books, audio recordings, or online courses. Finally, you can also create sponsored content – articles or videos that are paid for by a third party.

2. Selling handmade jewellery

An e-commerce store that you could start with less than $200 in investment is a store that sells handmade jewellery.

There are many different ways to market your handmade jewellery products. You can create an online shop, post photos of your products on social media, sell at craft fairs and festivals, or work with boutiques to carry your products in their stores.

Before starting your jewellery store, it's important to do some research on your competition. What are they selling? How much are they charging for their products? What can you do to set yourself apart from the competition?

If you're interested in starting a hand-made jewellery business, here are some steps you can take:

  • Develop your skills
    The first step is to develop your skills and expertise in making jewellery. This can include learning techniques such as beading, wirework, and metalworking and choosing the materials and tools you'll need. You can take classes or workshops to learn new skills and improve your craftsmanship.
  • Create a collection
    Once you have the skills and tools you need, the next step is creating a collection of jewellery pieces you can sell. This can include a variety of styles and designs, and you may want to experiment with different materials and techniques to find your own unique aesthetic. It's important to create a cohesive collection that represents your work's quality and craftsmanship.
  • Set up a website
    In order to sell your jewellery, you'll need to have a way for customers to find and purchase your products. One option is to set up a website to showcase your collection and provide information about your business. This can include photos of your jewellery, pricing and purchasing information, and details about your policies and process.
  • Market your business
    Once you have your website set up, the next step is to market your business and attract customers. This can include promoting your website and jewellery collection through social media, participating in craft fairs and markets, and reaching out to potential customers through email marketing or other channels. It's important to be proactive and persistent in your marketing efforts and to be willing to try a variety of tactics to see what works best for your business.

Overall, starting a hand-made jewellery business involves developing your skills, creating a collection, setting up a website, and marketing your business. Following these steps, you can get your business off the ground and sell your beautiful handmade jewellery.

3. Create and sell digital products.

It is a good idea to start learning to create and sell digital products because it does not require a lot of investment. You can make a website for your product and sell it on online marketplaces. Plus, there are many different types of digital products that you can create, so you are sure to find one that you are interested in and good at creating.

Using AI to Create and Sell Digital Products

AI tools can assist in generating content for digital products, such as automated writing for eBooks or articles, ensuring efficiency and creativity in your creations. AI-driven tools can also improve graphic design elements, making your visual content more appealing, which is crucial for products like digital art or marketing materials.

You can use Chat GPT and other LLM tools for descriptive content creation, copywriting, social media posts, etc. Additionally, you can use Figma, Canva, Microsoft Designer, Dall E, Midjourney, etc., for graphic design.  You can also implement AI algorithms to analyze user behavior and provide personalized recommendations, enhancing the user experience for digital products like online courses or subscription services

Some examples of digital products that you could create and sell are:

  1. E-books on popular topics like cooking, gardening, or self-improvement.
  2. Graphic design templates or stock photos that creative professionals could use in their own work.
  3. Templates for productivity tools like Notion, Excel/Google Sheets, etc. 
  4. AI Prompts for ChatGPT for different niches. Eg: Best AI Prompts for Data Scientists working on Python.
  5. A course on making your own jewellery, starting a blog, or coding in HTML and CSS.
  6. A tool or app that helps people with specific tasks, like tracking spending or improving productivity.
  7. A collection of digital files like music, movies, or e-books that people could purchase at a discount price.

Some popular platforms to sell your digital products through are:

  • Creative Market
    A platform for designers to sell their digital products, including fonts, graphics, templates, and more.
  • Teachable
    A platform for creating and selling online courses.
  • Shopify
    A platform for setting up an online store.

4. Sell products on consignment.

When you sell products on consignment, you're essentially selling them on behalf of someone else. The person who owns the products still technically owns them, and they're responsible for collecting payments and handling any returns. You'll typically receive a commission on each sale and be responsible for marketing and selling the products.

There are a few different ways to find products that you could sell on consignment. One option is to reach out to local businesses and ask if they're interested in selling their products in your store. Another option is to browse online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy for products that you could sell on consignment. Finally, you could also reach out to local artists and artisans and ask if they're interested in selling their products in your store.

If you're interested in starting a business selling products on consignment, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Choose a location
    The first step is to choose a location for your business. This could be a physical storefront, an online store, or a combination of both. It's important to choose a convenient location for your customers that provides an appropriate setting for the products you will be selling.
  2. Find consignment partners
    The next step is to find consignment partners who are willing to allow you to sell their products on your behalf. This can include artists, craftsmen, or other businesses that produce high-quality products that fit your location and target market well. You'll need to negotiate the terms of your consignment agreement, including the percentage of the sale price that you will receive as your commission.
  3. Set up your business
    Once you have your location and consignment partners sorted out, the next step is to set up your business. This can include creating a business plan, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, and setting up the appropriate systems and processes for promoting and selling the products.
  4. Promote your business
    The final step is to promote your business and attract customers. This can include marketing your products and services through social media, email marketing, and other channels, as well as providing excellent customer service and creating a welcoming environment for your customers. It's important to be proactive and persistent in your marketing efforts and to continually look for ways to improve and grow your business.

Starting a business selling consignment products involves choosing a location, finding consignment partners, setting up your business, and promoting your products and services. By following these steps, you can get your business off the ground and start earning a commission by selling products on behalf of others.

5. Rent out a space in your home for business purposes.

If you have extra space in your home, you can rent it out to other businesses for a monthly fee. This can be a great way to make some extra money, and it can also be a great way to build connections with other businesses in your area.

To rent out a space in your home for business purposes, you'll need to create a lease agreement, which will outline the terms of the rental agreement. You'll also need to create a contract that outlines the responsibilities of both you and the tenant. Finally, you'll need to set up an appointment with your local zoning board to get permission to use your home as a business space.

6. Offer freelance services.

Freelancing is a type of work where individuals offer their services on a project-by-project basis rather than working as an employee for a single employer. Freelancers are self-employed and can work for multiple clients at once, often choosing the projects they want to work on and setting their own schedules. Freelancers typically have a particular skill or expertise, such as writing, web design, or programming, and they offer their services to clients who need that particular skill set. Freelancing can be a great option for people who want the freedom and flexibility of being their own boss, and it can be a good way to earn extra income or transition into a full-time self-employed career.

If you're interested in becoming a freelancer, there are a few steps you can take to get started:

  • Identify your skills and expertise
    The first step is to identify your skills and expertise as a freelancer. This could be a particular trade or profession, such as writing, graphic design, or programming, or it could be a more general skill, such as customer service or data entry. It's important to have a clear idea of what you can offer to potential clients so that you can target your marketing efforts and find the right projects.
  • Build a portfolio
    As a freelancer, your portfolio is a key part of marketing yourself and attracting clients. This can include examples of your work, testimonials from satisfied clients, and any relevant certifications or qualifications. You can use your portfolio to showcase your skills and experience and to demonstrate why potential clients should hire you.
  • Find clients
    Once you have sorted your skills and portfolio, the next step is to find clients needing your services. This can be done through various channels, such as job boards, social media, networking events, or personal connections. It's important to be proactive and persistent in your search for clients and to be willing to put in the time and effort to build your client base.
    Fiverr, UpWork, Freelancer, and Linkedin are some of the best platforms for freelancers. Based on your niche, there must be more platforms that you may need to research on.


  • Set your rates and terms
    As a freelancer, you'll need to determine how much you will charge for your services and what terms you'll offer to clients. This can include factors such as the scope of the project, the deadline, and any additional services you'll provide. It's important to set your rates and terms in a way that is competitive and fair and that reflects the value of your services.

Overall, becoming a freelancer involves identifying your skills and expertise, building a portfolio, finding clients, and setting your rates and terms. By following these steps, you can start building a successful freelance business and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working on your own terms.

7. Create and market a new product or service.

One way to create and market a new product or service for less than $200 is to use online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money for your project. These platforms allow you to create a campaign page to share information about your product or service and then ask people to donate money to help make your project a reality.

The best way to create a new product or service from scratch is to research and learn as much as possible about the subject matter. You can read books or articles, take classes or workshops, or join online communities or forums where people discuss the topic. Additionally, it's important to consider who your target audience is, and what needs they might have that aren't currently being met. Once you understand the topic well, you can start brainstorming ideas for a new product or service.

It's also important to consider how you will market your product or service. One way to do this is to create a website or online portfolio that showcases your work. You can also use online marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr to find clients. Finally, you can reach out to local businesses and ask if they're interested in collaborating with you.

8. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a business model where a retailer doesn't keep products in stock, but instead buys them from a third party and has them shipped directly to the customer. This means that the retailer doesn't have to deal with the hassle of storing and managing inventory, which can be a big advantage. The retailer can focus on marketing and selling the products, and the supplier takes care of the rest. This can be a great way to start an e-commerce business with a low upfront investment.

There are many different products that can be sold using the dropshipping model. Some examples include clothing and accessories, home goods and decor, electronics, and health and beauty products. Because the retailer doesn't have to keep these products in stock, they can offer a wide variety of products without worrying about storage or inventory management. This can be a great way for an e-commerce business to offer a diverse range of products to their customers without incurring a lot of upfront costs.

To learn more about dropshipping, you can read books or articles on the topic, take classes or workshops, or join online communities or forums where people discuss the topic. Just like any other business, it's important to consider who your target audience is and what needs they might have that aren't currently being met. Once you understand the topic well, you can start brainstorming ideas for a new product or service.

Starting a dropshipping business can be a great way to enter the world of e-commerce with a relatively low upfront investment.

Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Choose a niche
    The first step is to decide what products you want to sell. It's often a good idea to focus on a specific niche or category of products rather than trying to sell everything under the sun. This will make it easier to target your marketing efforts and build a loyal customer base.
  2. Find a supplier
    The next step is to find a supplier who can provide the products you want to sell. This can be a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer willing to dropship their products to your customers. Make sure to do your research and choose a reputable supplier who can provide high-quality products at a competitive price.
  3. Set up your e-commerce platform
    Once you have your niche and supplier sorted out, the next step is to set up an e-commerce platform to sell your products. Many options are available, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Amazon, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Choose the platform that best fits your needs and budget.
  4. Start marketing
    The final step is to start marketing your products and driving traffic to your website. This can be done through various channels, such as social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, or paid advertising. The key is to find the right mix of tactics that work for your business and help you reach your target audience.

Overall, starting a dropshipping business involves choosing a niche, finding a supplier, setting up an e-commerce platform, and marketing your products to potential customers. By following these steps, you can get your business up and running and start selling products online.

9. Product for GPT Store

OpenAI is set to launch the ChatGPT store, allowing developers to profit from custom GPT agents. The potential is vast, with over 100 million daily active users.

Easy Creation of GPT Agents

Building a custom GPT agent is remarkably simple. By visiting MyGPTs, developers can create a new agent, provide instructions and conversation starters, and possibly upload custom data files.

Profitability Model

The revenue model involves convincing 1% of the user base to pay $1 per month for a custom agent. The guide suggests that achieving this goal could lead to substantial earnings.

Low Entry Barrier

The ease of entry into the GPT store may fill the platform with various agents quickly. Developers are encouraged to take advantage of this early opportunity.

Speculation on Competitors

While Google's B Advanced screenshots suggest a potential pay tier, it remains speculative. OpenAI's ChatGPT may face competition from other platforms in the future.

Revenue Split and Leaderboard

The revenue split on the ChatGPT store is uncertain, but a leaderboard is expected. Developers who create useful agents have the potential to earn significant income.

Ideas for Agents

The guide offers several agent ideas, such as a smart home controller, a stock broker providing investment advice, and an AI personal trainer. However, the creator suggests the best approach might be to adapt trendy AI SaaS products for the GPT store.

Example Project: Spellfire Library AI Agent

The guide introduces an AI agent for the open-source Spellfire library, capable of remotely executing code. This project leverages ChatGPT actions (formerly plugins) to interact with an API.

Building an API

To create a custom GPT agent, developers need to build an API. The guide recommends using Nitro, a TypeScript option that supports file system routing and easy deployment.

Open API Spec

GPT understands APIs through the OpenAPI spec, a standardized format for documenting RESTful APIs in YAML or JSON. The guide emphasizes the importance of making sure GPT comprehends the API.

Testing and Deployment

Once the API is built and its OpenAPI spec is defined, developers can deploy it and start testing. The guide concludes with a humorous remark about having one's "artificial slave" for potential profit.

10. Start An Online Course (Or Offline Teaching Work)

Embarking on the journey of starting an online course or engaging in offline teaching work can be a fulfilling venture, providing an avenue for sharing your expertise and earning income. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to initiate this endeavor. 


Identify Your Expertise

Begin by identifying your area of expertise or the subject you are passionate about teaching. Whether it's a professional skill, academic subject, or a creative pursuit, clarity on your niche is essential.

Define Your Target Audience

Understand who your target audience is. Consider their skill level, interests, and the specific knowledge they are seeking. Tailoring your course to a specific audience enhances its appeal and effectiveness.

Create Course Content

Develop a structured curriculum for your course. Outline the topics you'll cover, create engaging learning materials, and plan assessments or activities to reinforce learning. Ensure that your content is well-organized and accessible.

Choose an Online Platform

If you opt for an online course, choose a suitable platform to host and deliver your content. Platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Coursera offer user-friendly interfaces and reach a broad audience. For offline teaching work, explore local community centers, adult education programs, or private tutoring opportunities.

Set Competitive Pricing

Determine the pricing for your course or teaching services. Research similar courses or tutoring rates in your niche to establish competitive yet reasonable pricing. Factor in the value you provide and your target audience's budget.

Build a Teaching Portfolio

Create a teaching portfolio that showcases your qualifications, experience, and the benefits of your course. Include any relevant certifications, testimonials, or examples of your work. A compelling portfolio can attract potential students or clients.

Market Your Course or Teaching Services

Implement a robust marketing strategy to promote your course or teaching services. Leverage social media, create a website, and use email marketing to reach your target audience. Highlight the unique aspects of your course and the value learners will gain.

Utilize AI Tools for Course Enhancement

Incorporate AI tools to enhance your online course. AI can assist in creating interactive content, providing personalized learning experiences, and automating certain administrative tasks. Explore tools like ChatGPT for interactive discussions or AI-driven assessments.

Engage with Your Audience

Encourage student engagement through discussions, Q&A sessions, and feedback mechanisms. Foster a supportive online community or create an interactive classroom environment for offline teaching. Respond promptly to inquiries and create a positive learning experience.

Share this story