Starting a business requires a huge chunk of initial capital investment amongst other things, especially when you are going into industrial production and the like. Naturally, there are a lot of costs associated with such startups ranging from registration fees with the CAC, employing new staff, to leasing(or even buying) the machinery and other physical structures needed for the business. These costs have crippled a lot of businesses at their inception.
So what if you have this great desire to go into business and do not have a ton of money at your disposal? In this article, I’ve compiled a list of business ideas you can start with little or no money in Nigeria.
Although, most of the ideas listed below will require you to at least have the skill, to begin with. Before going into any business venture, it is necessary to have some level of expertise in a skill, especially a digital skill.
However, getting skilled these days is as easy as anything, particularly because of technology. Simply go to sites like Coursera, AltSchool, or Udemy to access comprehensive materials that will guide you at your own pace to mastering any skill you want.
After that, you’d need to work on building a portfolio that will present you as a professional to any potential client. Then you’re ready for business!
The good part is, you mustn’t have a lot of cash before starting any of the ideas here. They are flexible, work-from-home businesses. No need to rent an office space, yet!
Let’s dive right in.
What's in this guide?
Business ideas you can start with no money
1. Digital products creation
Digital products once created, can last for a very long time and do not require any extra effort on the part of the creator except for making timely upgrades. In this digital age, crafting things like online courses, podcasts, YouTube videos, and eBooks, only needs some thorough research on the part of the entrepreneur to bring them to life.
The trick to this is finding a subject people are really interested in or problems of an existing product which are people’s pain points. Then your job is to create solutions to these problems in the form of digital products.
One easy way to find out what people are interested in knowing is by reading up the comment section of related topics on blogs, websites, and youtube videos. From there you should have an insight into what is troubling your target audience. It must be something they will be happy to pay for its solution.
2. Information marketing
This is the information age therefore, information products are highly in demand. Similar to the first point but this is simply packaging information in an understandable format that can be easily accessed by anybody.
In doing this, you can monetize any knowledge or skill you possess at your convenience. What are you really good at? Which knowledge do you have that you can share with the world at a price? You can choose to turn it into an ebook to be sold on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (Publish your book at no cost), blogging, run your own website, etc.
3. Affiliate marketing
This is a great way to start a business with no money. You are basically selling other people’s products to earn a commission from them. Stores like Amazon and Jumia have affiliate programs that you could sign up for and earn per each sale made through your unique link.
Another way to become an affiliate marketer is to promote other people’s courses and products on your social media pages and earn a small commission per each unit of sales they make through you.
Starting a freelance business is one of the most underrated businesses in the world. It requires zero capital to start up. There are professional freelancers who earn seven (7) figures monthly. In addition, you have work flexibility as well as being able to determine your work hours as a freelancer. You could also choose the class of clients you render your services to.
This can be a side hustle as well as full-time employment. Basically, all you need to be a freelancer is a laptop (or smartphone, as a beginner), a good network, and sufficient data supply.
There are certain platforms where you can easily get clients and build your portfolio as a freelancer such as Freelancer.com, Upwork.com, fiverr.com, and many others.
Skills you can freelance include content writing, graphic designing, doing voiceovers, video creation and editing, translator services, copywriting, the list is endless.
It is important to note that, being a good freelancer requires being really good at what you do, because your clients will pay you based on how they rate the quality of your services.
5. Become a virtual assistant
If you’re a really organized person who loves to put things in order and help others achieve their objectives then you should consider starting a virtual assistance outfit.
Busy business owners and executives of companies do not have the time to keep track of their business itinerary and also manage their calendars. Being a virtual assistant requires you to work remotely from the shelter your comfort zone and it also costs little to set up.
Required skills for this role are excellent communication, editorial skills, organization, and at least basic computer skills.
6. Social media manager
As of 2021, there are 4.48 billion people on social media. Some of these ‘people’ are official business accounts, busy company executives as well as entrepreneurs who just want to focus on their businesses.
You can apply to manage their social media handles for a fee by regular content creation and posting, handling page engagement, and driving organic traffic to their websites. This is a business you can start without a dime, all it takes is some good knowledge of major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
As a social media manager, you are concerned about the public image of the business whose account you’re managing. Sometimes, you might need to put some marketing strategies to work so as to boost their sales turnover.
Whatever service you choose to offer, it must make the life of your client very comfortable, reduce their work stress and increase productivity. This is your major selling point as a social media manager.
7. Homeschooling children
If you have a knack for teaching you could consider starting a private home tutoring program. This costs very little to set up and it can pay up to 6 figures monthly depending on your bargain price with the parents.
You can start this business by telling parents in your neighborhood about your trade, as well as printing and distributing promotional flyers to attract a wider audience. Also, you can sign up as a tutor with sites like www.cheggs.com.
8. Become a writer
Many people need help with writing their cover letters, business plans, or even editing and proofreading their literary work. If your passion is writing, you can consider setting up an online writing and editing agency.
You could also, ghostwrite for busy people with great ideas but who do not have the time to develop their ideas into a book. Your business will ease the burden of such people by bringing their ideas to life. Content writing, YouTube script writing, etc.
You could also write your own books, journals, and other literary materials for free publication through online publishers like Amazon’s kindle direct publishing. Amazon will print your book in hard copy when someone places an order and voila, you get paid!
9. Monetize your audience
All you’d have to do is post ads and general information for these businesses on your page to increase their conversion rate and voila, you get paid.
You could also become a paid influencer on social media. That requires you to build an audience you can sell to, in the long run. This is done by sharing valuable content consistently on your page as well as taking page engagements as top priority.
10. Become a consultant
Another way to earn money with little startup capital is to offer professional consultancy and life coaching services to people who are willing to pay. Your area of specialization may be based on personal experiences or your area of academic expertise.
This is another untapped goldmine globally that is not even limited to a specific niche or category. Just be really good at helping people achieve the success they desire through your services and your business will market itself.
In starting a small-scale business, you must be prepared for long hours of dedication and commitment which will, in turn, help your business grow sooner than later. Also, be patient, the business might be slow when starting out but with time and perseverance, you will see results. This list is in no way exhaustive of all the small business ideas you can start without capital. In all, just be creative and try to see opportunities where others see problems.