A lot of women today want to be entrepreneurs. However, two constraining factors often limit them. While some don’t know what businesses to start, many others have limited access to capital. In this article, we will discuss 20 low-cost business ideas for women to start.
We have categorized our list of business ideas for women as follows:
- Online businesses
- Service businesses and
- Retail trade
The businesses we identify in each category are businesses that are easy to start, requires low capital and are very profitable. Most of these businesses can also be completely and conveniently run from home.
All you have to do is go through the list and discover which of these business ideas would be suitable for you.
But before we dive into the list of 20 low-cost business ideas for women, here’s a question.
Why Start Your Own Business As a Woman?
Women entrepreneurs have different motivations for starting their own businesses. For some, it could be the need have more time for the children, a desire to run the home instead of leaving it for their maids.
Others simply want to be the boss. They want more empowerment to increase their family income. And depend less on their men. Perhaps they want to achieve certain goals and fell accomplished.
Yet, for many other women, entrepreneurship is just what give them the flexibility they need to balance work, family and healthy lifestyle.
It may also be that they just want to augment income from their full time jobs.
Why is it important?
Being clear about why you want to start a business will help you decide on the kind of business to start. It also helps to know how you go about setting up that business.
Now 20 Business Ideas for Women
Here’s our list of 20 businesses that women can easily set up and run
Internet based businesses keep growing in popularity. And it will get more popular even in post covid era. Here are a few you can do with little or no investment capital.
#1. Content Writing
There is a very high demand for content writers. This is expected as it is said that content is king. There’s virtually no business that does not use content to market and sell its services.
The internet is driven by content.
So if you have a good writing skill, why not set up a content writing service. Even if you don’t have the skill presently, you can learn it easily.
Content writing pays very well and you can do it completely from home. All you need is a damn good writing skill, a laptop and an internet connection. You will also need to set up a website and social media pages as your marketing tool.
Or start by enlisting with freelance writing websites and content mills like guru.com or elance.com and upwork.com. You may not make so much from these sites but they are good ways to start and build your confidence.
Thereafter, set up a website and build a portfolio to showcase your skills to organizations. A very important way of making it in this business is to concentrate on a niche. You could write for corporate organizations, websites/blogs, and high networth individuals and influencers.
What kind of content would you be writing? website content, blog posts, newsletters, ad copies, emails, white papers, company profiles, social media posts, video scripts. The list is endless.
The content writing space is becoming very competitive. So you will find that there are plenty jobs out there but they are only available for the very competent service providers.
After you must have garnered useful experience in content writing service, you can then provide a marketplace to bring users of writing services and writers together.
#2. Start a blog
The very next on our list of businesses to start for ladies with low capital is blogging. Blogging has become a veritable tool for both personal and business expressions. Thus, both individuals and businesses blog.
Above all, it is a highly sort after online business model. This is because being a blogger exposes you to wide range of opportunities. Some bloggers have progressed to building multi-million dollar online businesses.
But blogging is not as easy as it sounds. Many people who started it got frustrated along way. To be a successful blogger requires hard work, patience and consistency.
Do you have a genuine expertise? Then create constant content around that niche and offer value. Make your information entertaining and promote your content, you will make a success out of blogging.
There are many millionaire bloggers around, you too can become one.
There are many ways you make money blogging. Some of the revenue streams include: selling ad spaces, digital courses, eBooks, and specialized consultancy.
In this other post, you will learn how to set up a blog and make a success out of it.
#3. Start a YouTube Channel/Vlog
Everyone knows about Youtube. Millions of people go there daily to learn how to perform simple tasks. Or entertain themselves with music, movies and comedies.
But what many may not only is the YouTube videos they watch make money for the creators. A lot of money, Some YouTube channels makes Millions of dollars for the channel owners.
You can start your Vlog on YouTube today, and you can start getting paid for every view you would be getting.
This is one of the trending aspects of making money online that so many ladies now engage in. Close to 2 million people log in to YouTube on a monthly basis. And content creators upload 500 watch hours of video every minute on YouTube.
So YouTube is a big market for content creators.
The only downside is that it might take a little while before your Vlog can start making money. But like in anything worthwhile, patience and consistency breed success.
All it takes is select a niche, create your YouTube Channel, create and upload engaging content; then monetize. But take not note that before you can monetize your YouTube Channel, you must have at least 1000 subscribers.
You don’t need much to start a Vlog (or video blogging) which is another term You tubing is described. A good smart phone and a free editing software which are available online can help you get started.
Invest a little money on camera and video editing software; and you are on your way to making serious money.
#4. Start an online eCommerce business
Ecommerce is big and will continue to grow. In 2019, ecommerce sales was estimated at USD3.5 trillion globally.
And it is online low-cost business for women. Though every one can do ecommerce.
You can start selling items online. Yes, from the comfort of your home.
Let’s say you want to sell clothes or shoes. You order for these items at a cheaper rate and they get delivered to your house. Then you promote it online using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook now allows to create a free store to showcase and sell your products. Rather than use the platform to chat with friends and family only; or read celebrity gossip, why not monetize your page with a free store.
People order your goods, and you deliver to them.
A very easy and popular way smart entrepreneurs do retail ecommerce is by Drop shipping. With drop shipping, you simply create an online store, install a drop shipping software and start selling other people’s products.
You do not keep inventory and are not involved in fulfillment. The merchant does all that. You only have to promote the product on your store (website), gets the order and receives payment.
The merchant keeps the inventory and ships the goods to the buyer. You get the payment, keep your markup and sends the merchant his own payment.
A drop shipping software like Wooshark automate this process and makes it seamless.
#5. Start online tutoring
Millions of people go online everyday to learn something new or improve upon their existing knowledge. These include students studying to pass their exams as well as working professionals studying for specialized skills.
So if you love to teach and possess some subject expertise, you can start teaching online. Online tutoring is a flexible career and one suitable for women.
Find what exactly you want to teach, something you know people want and will appreciate, then you can start as an online tutor.
To set up an online tutoring service, you need some tools such as a good computer, fast internet access, a webcam and a microphone. You will also need a website, video calling/conferencing software and virtual whiteboard.
This is a business you can conveniently run from home. Set up your classroom in a corner of your home and make sure it screened off from noise.
Not ready to set up fully? No problem! You can subscribe to any tutoring websites available online and use their tools to render your tutoring services. A google search will help you find a suitable online tutoring website to use.
This $3,000 a Month Business Without Capital is very suitable for ladies and sit at home moms. All it requires is for you to introduce securities traders to use this world class trading platform to execute their trades. Sit at the comfort of your home and consistently gross up to $3,000 every single month.
Service Based Businesses
#6. Laundry and Dry Cleaning Business
Laundry is one of the simplest low-cost businesses to start these days. The good thing is anyone can start this business, women inclusive.
All you need is to have a place where you can use. You can make a lot of money from this once you start and master how the business works. This is a low-cost business for women.
At the most basic set up, your major investment after renting a shop for office may be a washing machine. Other tools you need include pressing iron, shelves and hangers, washing basins and buckets. You will also need a good source of clean water and washing materials such as soaps, detergents, stain removers etc.
Laundry and Dry Cleaning business is scalable. Thus, with your small laundry business you can easily grow and expand into industrial cleaning. The opportunity in this space is huge.
#7. Start a Small Daycare Centre
Another profitable business to start is a daycare center. To start this business you need to have a place that people can bring their children to for you to look after.
Parents who go to work usually find daycare centres that can look after their babies while they are away. So if you like taking care of children, then this business is for you.
If you have an extra space in your home and you put it to good use by starting a day care centre. I have come across women who started with day care center from their homes. Today, they have grown their businesses to become full fledged basic schools.
That’s one of the many prospects that awaits you as a daycare operator.
#8. Become an interior designer:
Ladies love designing. And there’s a lot of low capital business opportunities here too. So if you love beautifying homes, you can set yourself out and become an interior designer.
Interior designers help people designs their homes, choose and arrange furniture, install curtains, and so on. You will work with building contractors, engineers, architects, etc.
#9. Become a Tailor of fashion designer
Many fashion designers are making a lot of money today. You too can become one. Starting from the common tailor we all know down to big fashion designers, you can find a spot suited for you.
This is also a business that we rank as very profitable if you have the skills.
#10. Start baking or catering
Do you love baking, or catering in a nutshell?
Then this might be just the right business for you. Everyday people buy cakes for different occasions: Weddings, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, children parties, etc.
The consumption of other pastries types is also huge, People buy meat pies, doughnuts, sausage rolls, etc. These snacks are in high demand. Both children and adults eat them.
Produce these things and sell within your neighbourhood. You will be shocked at how lucrative it can be.
And the good thing is that even if you can’t bake at the moment, you can easily learn and get the skill within a short period of time.
There are government agencies that give baking training for free as part of their empowerment programmes. Find out one around you and go learn this high income skill.
#11. Become a make-up artist:
Make-up artists are still making it big.
If you know of any make-up artists try to see how much they are making. They are making a lot of money. However, you need to be good in the art or you will find it hard to make money.
It is a growing sector offering enormous opportunities for practitioners.
In case you don’t know, a makeup artist is someone who uses cosmetics and cosmetic processes to enhance the body look.
Makeup artists are highly sort after in the entertainment industry. entertainers, models, movie producers, independent video content producers, comedians, etc need them. Makeup artists prepare these people for the set.
Housewives and generally, ladies also need the services of makeup artists to dress them up for special occasions, Smart makup artists add the skill of tying gele to go along the services to render to house wives and party goers.
It is increasingly becoming competitive, so you must be very skilled in what you to do to succeed in this business.
#12. Clean houses and offices for people
Cleaning business is one business that you may not need any capital to start. Or you need very little.
You can work as a cleaner for people and they will pay you well for it. Why this might not be a suited job for many, it also stays as one of the surest and easy to get jobs.
Position yourself as very reliable within your neighborhood and you will soon have more job than you can personally handle. Then employ young school leavers to work for you when your clientele base grows.
Apart from basic cleaning materials and a good organizational skill, you will need to market your business vigorously.
#13, Become an Event Planner
Event planning is growing in sophistication, so much so that there exists professional institute that train and certifies practitioners in event management
Event planning is an activity that deals with the management of events of diverse nature. This can be corporate meetings, conferences, conventions, wedding receptions, AGMs etc.
The role of the event planner is to make sure that the event is successfully held
Particularly the concern of event planner is to make sure that an event is successfully organized.
If you are good at planning events then you can start an event planning business. You must be very organized and have attention to details. You also need to market your business seriously because
#14. Open a Shop to Sell Items and Accessories
Opening a shop could be the best for you, if you love trading. This is one of the low-cost businesses for women.
There are a lot of things you can sell: from groceries to house hold items. You can retail cosmetics and beauty products, children and adult clothes, shoes, hair extensions, etc.
In retailing, your major investment may be the cost of renting a shop. With a shop located in busy environment, you can start to stock it gradually. A budget of NGN500,000 can get you conveniently started in your retail business.
However, if you are not able to afford a shop, you can start some of this business from your home. I know of a woman who sell minor electrical parts from the boot of her car. Another retail clothes in the same manner. And they are both doing very well.
Without having to rent a shop, you can start your retail business with as little as NGN50,000.
You need to search for what kind of things would sell the most in your area. Buy them in bulk or where it is sold cheap and you are on the way to making plenty gains from this business.
#15. Start Selling Clothes or Open a Small Boutique
This involves buying clothes at cheaper rates and re-selling at a profit. So many ladies who started this business are now making a good living for themselves. It requires little to nothing to start.
To succeed in this type of business you must develop sound a sound strategy for product sourcing and marketing. You will also decide whether to sell new clothes or used clothes.
Selling pre-used clothes is a very lucrative business. In Nigeria, we call it okrika. However, selling of used clothes is not peculiar here.
That’s actually what thrift stores do all over the world: they sell used clothes, bags and some other items. Thrift store business is a big industry that’s estimated to worth USD17 billion in the USA.
All you need is to get clothes where they are sold cheap and re-sell at a profit. You can buy from people who import used clothes in bales, dry-clean and neatly display them in your boutique.
Clothes are always high in demand because they are one of the primary needs of man. So this is one business in which you will never go wrong if you do it properly. It will pay you to get some mentoring. That way you know how to source your clothes, treat the materials and price your products.
#16. Start Frozen Food Shop
Selling frozen food is easy. You will be selling things like frozen chicken, fish, turkey and other types of meats. Food business is generally profitable.
Again, you have to know how and where to source your products. Your major investment is a deep freezer and a generator. This because your products must be frozen at all times.
#17. Start a Cosmetic and Skincare Shop
Like food, the beauty industry is a very big and lucrative one. Women spend money to look beautiful. Men too take their grooming very seriously.
A very critical sub-sector in the beauty and personal care industry is cosmetics and experts estimate the sub-sector to worth USD603 billion. By 2025 the global cosmetics market will worth over USD700 billion.
This industry will continue to grow even in economic downturn. This is because demand is near inelastic as women of all generation will always want to look good. It is called the “lip-stick” effect. This theory proposes that when times gets hard, most consumers will continue to spend on little luxuries like prestige cosmetics.
You will a sell a wide range of beauty products or niche down your market for effectiveness. Sell from your home and develop your market. Deliver door to door or sell from your shop.
#18. Start a restaurant business
Food is a daily need for humans. Oh yes, there might be many food shops around, but you can still start your food restaurant and start making money
This kind of business however is for people who know how to cook very well. So consider if this is best for you and start a restaurant business.
#19. Start Akara Business
Many are sure to look down on this business as one reserved for poor women. Or illiterates. But akara business is lucrative. And one that any woman can do irrespective of status.
Akara sells fast especially early in the morning. If you know how to do this very well, you can make money for yourself. You just need to find a good spot where you can fry and sell beans cake or what is commonly known in Nigeria as Akara.
Start it up like a quick service restaurant or a cafe. Decorate your restaurant and present your akara balls very neatly in show glasses. Offer quick breakfast along with oatmeal, pap, tea, coffee and omelette.
#20. Distribute Bread
Bread supply and distribution is a gold mine that many may not know. The market is massive because bread is a staple food that virtually everybody eat.
Even the health conscious individuals still eat bread, one made from wheat. So if you are bread seller, you will always have customers.
As a distributor or supplier, what you do is buy in bulk from bakeries around you and supply to store owners who retail to consumers.
You will need a vehicle to effectively do this business. You may not need a shop because you will not likely be keeping inventories.
Develop and cultivate your customer base including retail store owners or corners shops around you, super markets and quick service restaurants.
It is important to identify your customers and take their orders before you take supplies from the bakeries. The reason has a short shelf life. So you have to sell quickly to avoid losses from spoilt stocks.
Here you have it: 20 low-cost businesses for women. As I always advice, starting a business requires very careful planning. So don’t just jump into any business because your friends say it is profitable. Do your research carefully and ensure you have a personal fit for the business.
Finally, engaging in an activity you have passion for is a first step to successful enterprise. This is because when everything fails or the business is going the way you projected, what will keep you at it is your passion.
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with others here.
Buchi creates content and leads the Team at Stalwart Investment Partners; a business development and investment consultancy firm. He provides strategic advisory to help SME's, small business owners and HNI's grow profitable business and make informed investing decisions.