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Businesses To Start With 20K Or Less – Turn 20k or Less Into Big Profits

Smart business you can start on the cheap – stretch your startup dollars for maximum gain.

20 Profitable Businesses To Start With 20K Or Less

Are you looking to start a business but unsure about where to put your $20,000 investment? The fact is, there are many profitable businesses that you can kickstart with this capital or even less.

This article will provide valuable insight into twenty low-cost yet lucrative business ideas ranging from green consulting to food trucks and everything in between. Ready for the journey of entrepreneurship? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Green consulting, mobile food services, photo studios, blogging, catering services, gardening and yard work, and food trucks or stands are profitable businesses that can be started with $20K or less.
  • These businesses offer various opportunities for success in different industries like environmentally friendly practices, culinary delights, and creative endeavors like photography and blogging.
  • Other options include event planning, sports retail shops, 3D printing services, laundry services, and pet grooming businesses. There is also potential in senior care services and makeup artist ventures.
  • Real estate investment and digital marketing agencies are additional possibilities to explore for those interested in starting a business with limited capital.

Profitable Businesses to Start with $20K or Less

Here are some profitable businesses you can start with $20K or less: Green Consultant, Mobile Food Services, Photo Studio, Blogging, Catering Services, Gardening and Yard Work, Food Truck or Stand.

1. Catering Services

Catering services are a profitable business option that can be started with as little as $20,000. Caterers offer a variety of food options including meals, snacks, and desserts for events and special occasions.

There is often high demand for catering services, especially during busy seasons and holidays when people need help feeding their guests. Starting a catering business requires obtaining necessary permits and licenses, as well as investing in kitchen equipment and supplies.

With the right planning and marketing strategies, catering businesses can generate significant profits. So if you have a passion for cooking and enjoy creating delicious meals for others, starting a catering service could be the perfect choice for you!

2. Gardening and Yard Work

Starting a gardening business is an affordable option, with a capital investment of $20,000 or less. This type of business can earn money by planting treesgrowing specific produce, and maintaining landscapes.

You can even offer yardwork and landscaping services to expand your profitability. The great thing about starting a gardening business is that you have the freedom to customize your services based on your client’s needs.

With low initial costs and diverse opportunities in the gardening industry, this could be the perfect business for aspiring entrepreneurs with smaller budgets.

3. Food Truck or Stand

Starting a food truck or stand can be a profitable business option that requires an initial investment of $20,000 or less. These mobile food services have the potential to become successful through positive word-of-mouth and customer recommendations.

The profitability of a food truck or stand depends on factors like location, menu offerings, marketing strategies, and customer satisfaction. To ensure success, careful planning, market research, and understanding the target audience are essential.

So if you’re passionate about cooking and want to share your culinary delights with others, starting a food truck or stand could be a great business opportunity for you.

4. Small Event Planner

Starting a small event planning business is a lucrative option that requires minimal investment. With $20K or less, you can enter the industry and tap into its potential for exponential growth.

Franchise opportunities are also available within this budget range. Whether it’s party planning or organizing corporate events, there are numerous profitable event and party business ideas to explore in this field.

So, if you have a knack for planning and coordinating events, starting a small event-planning business could be an excellent venture to consider.

5. Sports Retail Shop

Starting a sports retail shop with a budget of $20K or less can be a profitable business idea. Sports retail shops cater to the needs of sports enthusiasts by offering a variety of sporting goods and equipment.

The success of this business depends on factors such as location, target market, marketing strategies, and product quality. Consider exploring franchise opportunities that have low start-up costs and fees to minimize debt.

With the right positioning and effective strategies in place, a sports retail shop has the potential to be a lucrative venture for entrepreneurs.

6. 3D Printing Service

A 3D Printing Service is a profitable business that you can start with $20K or less. With this type of business, you use special printers to create three-dimensional objects based on digital designs.

The revenue potential for a 3D Printing business can reach up to $20K per month, making it a great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Each 3D printer has its own unique characteristics, similar to fingerprints.

This means that no two printers are exactly the same, allowing you to offer customized and tailored services to your customers. Whether it’s creating prototypes, manufacturing parts, or even printing artwork, a 3D Printing Service can be a lucrative venture with minimal startup costs.

7. Photographer

Starting a photography business is an excellent idea that requires a small capital investment of around $20K. It can be started without any initial investment, making it a low-cost business option.

With the ability to create family portraits or photograph events for people, this venture has the potential to be highly profitable. While financing equipment or studio space may require a good source of income and a solid credit score, proper marketing and networking can help you build a successful photography business that generates significant income.

8. Laundry Services

Starting a laundry service can be a profitable business idea that requires a budget of $20K or less. The laundry service industry is in high demand, making it a great opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses.

With the growing trend of outsourcing household chores, offering laundry services can attract customers and generate steady income. Laundromats, pickup and delivery services, and specialized cleaning services are all options within the laundry service industry.

By investing in equipment and marketing strategies, you can establish a successful laundry service with minimal startup costs.

10. Pet Grooming

Pet grooming is a profitable business that can be started with $20K or less. This industry offers services like bathing, grooming, and styling for pets such as dogs, cats, and small animals.

The demand for pet grooming is increasing because pet owners want to keep their furry friends clean and well-groomed. Pet grooming businesses can also offer additional services like pet daycare or boarding to make more money.

So if you love animals and want to start a business with low startup costs, pet grooming could be a great choice for you.

10. Senior Care Business

Senior care businesses provide essential services and support to elderly individuals. These businesses offer assistance with daily activities, companionship, and healthcare support.

With the aging population increasing and the desire for seniors to stay in their own homes, the demand for senior care services is on the rise. However, starting a senior care business requires proper licensing, certifications, and knowledge of healthcare industry regulations.

It also involves an initial investment for training, marketing, equipment, insurance, and potentially establishing a physical location. Building relationships with healthcare professionals and community organizations is crucial for success in this field.

11. Makeup Artist

Starting a makeup artist business can be a profitable venture for individuals with a passion for cosmetics. With a median salary of $17.19 per hour, makeup artists have the potential to earn a good income.

The investment required to start this business is relatively low, making it accessible for entrepreneurs with limited funds. Makeup artists can offer their services for various events such as weddings, parties, and photo shoots.

As the demand for professional makeup artists continues to rise, there are plenty of opportunities to grow in this industry. So if you have a talent for creating stunning looks and enjoy working with clients, starting your own makeup artist business could be an excellent option!

12. Real Estate Investor

Real estate investing is a popular choice for those who want to start a business with $20,000 or less. With this initial investment, you can lease a property from a landlord and then sublease it to tenants, earning money through rental income.

The real estate market has the potential to generate significant profits, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs with limited capital. So if you’re interested in getting into the real estate game, consider becoming a real estate investor and watch your investment grow.

13. Digital Marketing Agency

A digital marketing agency is a type of business that can be started with an investment of $20,000 or less. This kind of agency helps other businesses promote their products and services online.

By creating effective marketing strategies, such as social media campaigns and search engine optimization, a digital marketing agency can help businesses reach more customers and increase their sales.

With experience in this field, entrepreneurs who have worked at successful marketing services companies can start their own agency and offer their expertise to clients. Starting a digital marketing agency is not only feasible but also profitable for those with a budget of $20,000 or less.

14. Online Business Consultant

An online business consultant is a profitable business idea that requires an investment of $20,000 or less. As an online business consultant, you would provide expert advice and guidance to small businesses regarding their operations, marketing strategies, and overall growth.

You can offer your services remotely through video calls, emails, and phone consultations. With the increasing demand for online businesses and the need for professional guidance in today’s digital world, starting an online business consultancy can be a lucrative venture.

By leveraging your expertise and knowledge in various areas of business management, you can help entrepreneurs succeed and thrive in their ventures while earning a good income for yourself.

15. Life Coach (Remote)

Starting a remote life coaching business is a profitable venture that requires an estimated capital outlay of around $5,000. This type of business has low operating costs and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

If you have expertise and years of experience in a specific industry, it can be advantageous when starting this kind of home-based business. Additionally, the article provides useful information on consulting fees and how much to charge for your services as a life coach.

So if you’re looking to start your own remote life coaching business, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to share your knowledge and help others achieve their goals.

16. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a great business option if you have $20,000 or less to start. With dropshipping, you buy products from suppliers at wholesale prices and then sell them on your website, e-commerce platforms like Shopify, e-Bay, or through social media.

The best part is that you don’t need to handle inventory or shipping yourself. This means you can focus on marketing and customer service instead. It’s important to do it right and be consistent for dropshipping to be profitable.

But if done correctly, it can be a successful venture for entrepreneurs looking to start an online business without the hassle of inventory management and order fulfillment.

17. YouTube Influencer

A YouTube influencer is someone who creates videos on YouTube and has a large following of subscribers. They can make money through ad revenue, brand partnerships, sponsored content, and merchandise sales.

Starting a YouTube channel requires minimal investment, with most expenses being camera equipment and editing software. Being a successful YouTube influencer involves creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience and consistently engaging with your viewers.

It’s important to focus on building your brand, growing your subscriber base, and collaborating with other influencers to increase visibility.

Overall, becoming a YouTube influencer can be a profitable business venture for those who are dedicated and passionate about creating video content.

18. Green Consultant

green consultant is a smart choice for a business to start. This job focuses on helping other firms be kind to the earth. The aim is to lessen waste and use resources well. You can earn a lot in this field, sometimes even more than a billion dollars! It’s also an area that keeps growing.

So, if you care about our plant and have $20K or less, think about starting up as a green consultant.

19. Mobile Food Services

You can start a mobile food service with 20k or less. It’s a business where you sell food and drinks from a vehicle. This could be at music shows, parks, street corners, and many other busy places.

You need to buy the truck or cart before you start selling.

Mobile food services are hot now. Many people go to them for quick lunches or snacks. The key is finding good spots where there are lots of customers who like what you serve. Some have also turned their mobile food services into franchises for more money.

20. Photo Studio

A photo studio is a good business to start with 20K or less. It offers many ways to make money. You can take pictures of families, schools, and companies. Real estate photos are also in high demand.

With solid skills and the right gear, you can build your business fast. You don’t need much more than cameras, lighting equipment, and a space to shoot to get started. If you add unique services like digital editing or video production, you might grow even quicker!


Blogging is a great business to start with $20K or less. It’s a step-by-step process that can be done quickly, and it offers the potential to make money in 2023. You don’t need a lot of cash to start a successful blog.

I set up this blog for example, as a repository of the lessons and experiences I had when I started my personal development journey.

Factors to Consider Before Starting a Business with $20K

To increase your chances of success, there are several factors you need to consider before starting a business with $20K. This includes developing a solid business plan, conducting thorough market research and analysis, evaluating competition in your chosen industry, and devising effective marketing and advertising strategies.

1. Business plan development

Developing a business plan is an important step when starting a business with $20,000 or less. A business plan is like a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections.

It helps you understand your target market, and competition, and how to position yourself in the industry. By conducting market research and analysis, you can identify potential customers and their needs.

Additionally, analyzing your competition allows you to differentiate yourself and find unique selling points. Your business plan should also include marketing and advertising strategies to promote your products or services effectively.

2. Market research and analysis

Before starting a business with $20,000 or less, it is crucial to conduct market research and analysis. This step is essential because it helps identify low-cost and low-maintenance business ideas that have the potential for profitability.

By conducting thorough research, you can identify in-demand small businesses that can be started with a limited budget. Additionally, market research and analysis can help you find low-cost business ideas that require little to no initial investment.

Overall, by understanding the market and analyzing trends, you can make informed decisions about which business opportunities are worth pursuing within your budget constraints.

3. Competition analysis

Before starting a business with $20k or less, it is important to conduct a competition analysis. This involves researching and understanding the other businesses in your industry. Find out who your competitors are, what products or services they offer, and how they position themselves in the market.

By analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can identify opportunities for differentiation and develop strategies to stand out from the competition. Understanding your competitors’ pricing, marketing tactics, and customer reviews can also help you refine your own business plan and make informed decisions about your target audience and unique value proposition.

So take the time to research and analyze your competition before diving into any new venture.

4. Marketing and advertising strategies

Marketing and advertising strategies are crucial for the success of any business. It is important to create a strong brand identity, reach your target audience, and promote your products or services effectively.

One effective strategy is to utilize digital marketing platforms such as social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). These methods can help you reach a wider audience at a lower cost compared to traditional advertising channels.

It is also essential to track and analyze the results of your marketing campaigns to determine their effectiveness and make necessary adjustments. Additionally, networking and building relationships with potential customers or clients can be an effective way to generate leads and referrals for your business.

Tips for Starting a Business with $20K or Less

Minimize costs and expenses by finding affordable alternatives, such as using shared office spaces or outsourcing tasks instead of hiring full-time employees.

1. Minimizing costs and expenses

Starting a business with a limited budget of $20k or less requires careful consideration of costs and expenses. By opting for cost-effective options like starting a franchise, you can minimize initial investment and ongoing expenses.

Additionally, choosing businesses that have low startup costs, such as food trucks or online consulting services, can help reduce overhead expenses. It’s also important to develop effective budgeting and financial management strategies to ensure that every dollar is wisely spent.

By keeping costs in check and making strategic decisions, you can maximize your chances of success without breaking the bank.

2. Utilizing online platforms and digital marketing

Online platforms and digital marketing are essential tools for the success of many profitable businesses that can be started with $20k or less. These platforms provide a cost-effective way to reach a wide audienceincrease brand visibility, and generate leads.

With social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, entrepreneurs can create engaging content to attract potential customers. Additionally, digital marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and content marketing help businesses drive traffic to their websites and convert visitors into paying customers.

By leveraging the power of online platforms and digital marketing techniques, aspiring business owners can effectively promote their products or services without breaking the bank.

3. Networking and building relationships

Networking and building relationships are crucial for entrepreneurs looking to start a business with $20,000 or less. By connecting with others in the business community, entrepreneurs can gain support and access opportunities that can lead to success.

Building relationships with like-minded individuals and industry professionals can provide valuable advice, mentorship, and partnerships. It also opens doors to potential customers or clients who may be interested in their products or services.

Furthermore, networking can help entrepreneurs find potential franchise opportunities with an investment of $25,000 or less, providing them with a proven business model and support system.

4. Effective budgeting and financial management

Effective budgeting and financial management are key components when starting a business with $20k or less. It is crucial to carefully plan and allocate funds to ensure that the startup costs and ongoing expenses can be met.

By creating a detailed budget, entrepreneurs can have a clear understanding of where their money is going and how it will be used to support the growth of their business. Alongside this, smart financial management practices, such as minimizing costs, and utilizing online platforms for marketing, networking, and building relationships can further contribute to the success of the business.

With careful planning and strategic decision-making around finances, businesses started with $20k or less have great potential for growth and profitability in 2023.

Best Businesses to Start With 20k or Less – Final Thoughts

Starting a profitable business with $20,000 or less is possible. From green consulting to food truckspet grooming to online businesses, there are plenty of options to choose from.

With the right planning and execution, entrepreneurs can turn their small investment into a successful venture. So don’t let limited funds deter you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams – take the leap and start your own business today!


1. Can I start a profitable business with 20K or less?

Yes, you can start a profitable business with 20K or less by exploring low-cost startup ideas and being resourceful in your operations.

2. What are some examples of profitable businesses I can start with 20K or less?

Some examples of profitable businesses you can start with 20K or less include online freelancing, home-based baking, tutoring services, handmade crafts, and dropshipping.

3. Is it risky to start a business with limited funds?

Starting a business with limited funds does come with some risks, but careful planning, market research, and cost-control strategies can help minimize those risks and increase the chances of success.

4. How long does it take for a business started with 20K or less to become profitable?

The time it takes for a business to become profitable varies depending on factors such as industry, target market demand, marketing efforts, and overall execution. It may take several months to a few years before seeing significant profits.

What do you think?

Written by Michael Allsworth

One Comment

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  1. Thanks for a well thought-out article. It would be better if you can expand on more of these businesses and how to actually start them, that would make the article eeven better. It’s just my recommendation

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