Starting a business is an exhilarating action filled with potential, and you might be searching for businesses to start with 20k. It’s a thrilling challenge that encompasses the outset of a journey filled with triumphs, learning experiences and growth. For aspiring entrepreneurs, who believe the myth that hefty investment is necessary to start a venture, I’m here to unveil the reality. Over my 20+ years of business coaching, with certificates in Digital Marketing, SEO and more, I’ve witnessed numerous profitable businesses being established with a budget of just $20,000. Together, we will break through the financial obstacle that may have been a deterrent in your entrepreneurial journey.

Moving forward, this blog post aims to provide you with the insights on the 14 best businesses to start with 20k. We will uncover low-cost yet high-reward opportunities that will pave the way for your entrepreneurial success. This will serve as a map, offering a comprehensive guide towards achieving your entrepreneurial dreams on a modest budget.

Understanding the significance of your aspirations, the article encapsulates not only viable business ideas but also practical steps towards realizing them. The businesses listed here are the culmination of my first-hand experience and extensive knowledge, making this the essential resource for your future entrepreneurial endeavours. It’s time to strengthen your resolve and turn your dreams into reality!

Female Entrepeneur opening first business

Why Starting a Business with 20k is Feasible

Starting a business doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Many stunningly successful businesses began with just a few thousand dollars in startup costs. It’s my firm belief, borne out of years of experience and evidence, that businesses to start with 20k are not just a dream but a realistic aim for aspiring entrepreneurs.

There’s a common myth that you need hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to start a business. In my experience, small business owners can, and do, start and grow profitable ventures with far less. Whether it’s an online business that generates money online or a more traditional brick-and-mortar setup, many businesses can be launched on a shoestring budget.

Maybe it’s a side hustle you’re hoping to turn full-time or perhaps you’re plunging straight into self-employment. Either way, careful planning, a clear business plan, and a solid understanding of your market can make 20k go a long way. It’s all about strategic use of resources, smart cash flow management, and having the right skill set.

Businesses to start with 20k abound across sectors, and many are in high demand. With the right approach, your modest investment can morph into a thriving, successful business.

I am going to guide you step-by-step on this entrepreneurial journey, sharing low-cost business ideas that could be your perfect fit. Whether you’re right out of high school or looking for a bit of career change, remember this – Starting a great business with 20k is not just possible, it’s within your reach.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Business Idea

As a seasoned entrepreneur, I can’t emphasize enough the weight of landing on just the right business idea. To start your expedition into entrepreneurship with a $20,000 budget, you first need to distinguish the businesses to start with 20k that align with your passion, strengths, and marketplace demands.

When choosing from diverse business ideas, it’s pertinent to reflect on your skill set and business opportunity that they present. As a rule of thumb, the best business to kickstart is often embedded in what you’re already experienced in. In a landscape teeming with all sorts of dazzling opportunities, it’s easy to get enticed by a shiny business model—however, if it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll likely struggle to gain traction.

The type of business you opt for will play a crucial role in yoking your success potential. Whether you plan to engage service providers or aim to share your own know-how, your business opportunity should be scalable, profitable, and, above all, something you’re ardently passionate about.

I assure you, landing on the correct business idea is not always a walk in the park—it requires deep introspection, market research, and often some trial and error. But, when you do finally find that golden nugget, it propels you towards success and prosperity on your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Dropshipping Business

If you’re looking to enter the world of ecommerce, one of the best businesses to start with 20k is a dropshipping business. As an experienced digital marketing coach, I’ve seen countless entrepreneurs thrive in this model.

Dropshipping refers to an online store model where you sell products directly from a manufacturer or a third-party supplier, without having to handle inventory or logistics. When a customer purchases an item from your online store, the product is shipped directly to the customer from your supplier. This way, the dropshipping model gives you the freedom to focus on marketing and scaling your business.

The potential profit margin in dropshipping is another enticing perk. Due to the low operational costs, you can maximize your profits by curating a catalog of high markup items.

However, just like any business, dropshipping requires investment and risk. It is essential to consider costs related to building a website, advertising, and purchasing a business credit card for seamless transactions.

Starting a dropshipping business with 20k provides you with an ample budget to cover all these costs and even a bit more for unforeseen expenses. For more insights into ecommerce, here’s an article I’ve written that might help: ecommerce-business. Ultimately, while I haven’t personally run a dropshipping business, based on my vast experience with clients, I believe it’s certainly a viable and profitable business model.

2. Affiliate Marketing

A remarkable option amongst the list of businesses to start with 20k is undoubtedly, Affiliate Marketing.

Affiliate Marketing is an innovative online business model that allows you to earn through commissions paid based on the products or services sold as a result of your referral efforts. From my experience as an online business coach and successful entrepreneur, the power of word of mouth should never be underestimated, particularly when it comes to driving traffic and sales.

Having implemented this strategy on my blog, I can confidently express that generating passive income through affiliate marketing is not only entirely feasible but also reasonably profitable; given the right methodologies.

There’s no need to develop your own product or service, all that’s required is your unique affiliate code for an existing product, and your job as an affiliate marketer is done! The incredible potential of affiliate marketing indeed makes it one of the top businesses to start with 20k.

Notably, to ensure that you maximize the profitability of your affiliate marketing efforts, it’s crucial to incorporate an effective strategy that includes the promotion of products and services relevant to your audiences, such as subscriptions, which add a recurrent income stream to your business.

For more information on the mechanism of affiliate marketing, check my detailed post on affiliate programs. Stay driven and remember, every successful entrepreneur started somewhere!

3. Digital Marketing Consultancy

If you’re browsing through viable businesses to start with 20k, let me share one option that has immensely worked well for me – launching a Digital Marketing Consultancy. Drawing from my personal journey, it’s one of the most profitable online businesses today.

As a digital marketing consultant myself, I help digital businesses grow by creating effective strategies tailored exclusively for their needs. Digital marketing encompasses various techniques, including SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is critical for driving online traffic, increasing visibility, and eventually, enhances revenue growth.

The essence of this business model revolves around leveraging my knowledge and skills in SEO, growth hacking, and digital marketing to boost the online presence of other businesses. Primarily, it involves assessing their digital marketing strategies, identifying areas needing improvement, and subsequently offering solutions to enhance their ROI.

In my experience, the expertise required for a digital marketing consulting business can be learned, enabling you to offer a wide range of services to your clients. You can check out my comprehensive guide on growth marketing here.

In conclusion, if executed correctly, a digital marketing consultancy can be a promising venture amongst businesses to start with 20k. It is a path worth exploring if you have the passion for helping businesses thrive in the digital world.

4. Online Course Creation

Enter the dynamic world of online course creation! With just $20k, I assert with confidence that starting an online course related business is not only feasible, but also a profitable business model. Considering today’s digital age, the desire for new knowledge and skills is soaring high.

As an entrepreneur and coach, I noted a myriad of businesses flourish through this venture. Online course creation can leverage your skill set, enabling you to share expertise with millions globally. Notably, various providers facilitate the entire process, effectively reducing the burden on course creators.

Creating an online course does require strategic planning. Opting for a step-by-step approach is crucial for maximizing success. Start with content creation, translating your skills into bite-size, digestible information chunks. Next, ensure your course is thorough, incorporating online assessments or quizzes, and continue to refine it over time.

I recommend checking out this comprehensive list of the best online course platforms to guide you through the different providers available. Although I have never started this business, firm trends indicate that businesses to start with 20k can hugely benefit from this growing sector.

Doing so allows you to embark on an exciting path in entrepreneurship, transforming lives with your unique online course creation. Act now, harness your potential, and start your journey to success.

5. Blogging with Monetization

If you’re scouting for profitable businesses to start with 20k, consider unlocking the potential of blogging. With an initial set-up cost that’s far from prohibitive, blogging offers a business model that is easy to start and sustain, provided you have the right skill set and grasp of the domain.

As an entrepreneur myself who has ventured into blogging with monetization, I’d recommend it as a potentially high revenue generating online business for any aspiring entrepreneur. If done right, the profit margin you seize could far surpass the initial investment.

The model revolves around creating engaging content and monetizing it in various ways. One method I’ve found highly successful is affiliate marketing. By recommending products or services that resonate with your audience, you can earn commissions from the sales generated, thereby boosting your income.

This pathway doesn’t require a significant initial capital but primarily relies on your ability to generate traffic and convert your visitors. With a determined focus on improving SEO skills, you can easily drive high volumes of traffic to your blog.

In conclusion, if you have an enticing way with words and the ability to connect with an audience, blogging can be one of the most profitable businesses to start with 20k. To dive deeper into making it profitable, visit How to make money with Blogging.

6. E-Book Publishing

Given my vast experience in the digital industry, I’m well aware of the profitability and ease of starting an online business such as e-book publishing. Indeed, e-book publishing is one of the excellent businesses to start with 20k.

Turn your expert knowledge, creative idea, or unique skill set into a profitable e-book and sell your e-book. The beauty of this business model is its scalability and revenue potential. The key to success in e-book publishing lies in the quality of content you provide, the marketing strategies you employ, and choosing the best providers for e-book publishing tools.

Not all providers are created equal, and some offer more value than others. Therefore, ensure you conduct a thorough analysis before making a decision. For brilliant online functionality, you might want to visit the best website builder, a jewel I personally recommend.

However, it’s crucial to state that while e-book publishing is a profitable venture, success does not come overnight. Patience, consistent effort, and solid marketing strategies are critical to making a big hit in this market.

I strongly believe that e-book publishing can be a significant next step for any aspiring entrepreneur looking for businesses to start with 20k.

7. Web Development Agency

In my experience as an online business coach, one of the most lucrative businesses to start with 20k is a web development agency. The digital era we live in demands every brand or business, irrespective of scale and industry, to have a robust online presence. With this growing need, starting a web development agency can yield significant profits if managed intelligently.

Building a web development agency doesn’t necessarily require you to be a coding whiz. It’s more about gathering the right team with an extensive skill set. You could collaborate with freelance developers and designers initially while gradually growing your in-house team.

Your agency would focus on creating bespoke websites that align with your clients’ business vision. Depending on your capabilities, you could offer a wide range of services, right from basic web design to complex development solutions.

Having the right tools is crucial for running this kind of online business. I highly recommend investing in robust hosting providers and landing page builders to streamline your work. You can explore some of the top hosting providers here and find stellar landing page builders here.

Keep in mind, your business model would play a pivotal role in your agency’s success. Depending on the industry and client requirement, you could offer project-based pricing, retainers, or even a hybrid model. Ultimately, understanding client needs and delivering exceptional results is the key!

8. SEO Consultancy

As an experienced SEO and content marketing consultant for startups and online businesses, I strongly believe that starting an SEO consultancy is one of the most impactful businesses to start with 20k. With my extensive background in digital marketing, I can confidently say that SEO is a skill set that many businesses are actively seeking out from reliable providers.

An SEO consulting business involves helping businesses improve their online visibility by ranking higher on search engines like Google. This business model requires an in-depth understanding of SEO strategies, content creation, and analytics. But with the right knowledge and resources, it’s a venture you can successfully launch with a 20k budget.

Given today’s digital landscape, businesses are increasingly recognizing the value of strong SEO strategies in enhancing their online presence. Thus, the demand for SEO consultancies is expected to rise. My own SEO consultancy has experienced this growth firsthand.

But beyond SEO, digital marketing encompasses other crucial areas such as email marketing. Offering these additional services can drastically boost your revenue and solidify your reputation in the industry. In my case, providing email marketing services has greatly complemented my SEO consultancy.

To sum up, I can assertively recommend SEO consultancy as a promising option for those looking for businesses to start with 20k. The potential for growth and profitability in this field is massive, particularly if you’re passionate and knowledgeable about SEO and digital marketing.

9. Virtual Event Planning

In the digital era we live in, an exciting business to start with 20k is virtual event planning. This online business model is accessible and lucrative, opening doors to multiple opportunities. I believe wholeheartedly that this option is deserving of a place on this list.

With the right skill set and strategic planning, you can thrive in this sector. You’ll be responsible for crafting unique and engaging virtual experiences for various clients, from corporations to personal parties. It covers a wide range of events, including webinars, virtual conferences, live-streamed concerts, and more.

A crucial step in the journey is to choose reliable providers for the technical aspects. Specific platforms cater to different types of events, such as this list of the top webinar software I put together to help guide your decisions.

One noteworthy aspect of this business model is the low overhead costs. Much of the work can be done remotely, saving you substantial amounts in rent and utilities.

Let me assure you, stepping into virtual event planning could be one of the most exciting and rewarding business adventures you embark on and is indeed a brilliant business to start with 20k.

10. Print on Demand Store

Starting a print on demand store is among top businesses to start with 20k. I believe that this online business model is not only profitable but also allows for creative expression. With a decent profit margin, it is an avenue well worth exploring for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What excites me about a print on demand store is the fact that your skill set can truly shine here. Are you a talented graphic designer? A witty slogan writer? Your strengths will dictate your store’s unique selling proposition. The beauty of this venture is its flexibility. You can start small, minimizing your risk while simultaneously building your skill set and understanding of the business.

Another aspect that I appreciate about this business model is the fact that you can often do it part-time. This allows you to keep your day job if needed, reducing the pressure on your print on demand store to turn a profit immediately.

You will need to invest in a suitable website and potentially some photo editing software to bring your ideas to life on different products. Luckily, I’ve written a guide on some top-performing photo editing software here: Additionally, depending on the platform you choose, several Shopify apps can also assist you in managing your store effectively, which you can read up on here:

Remember, launching an online business like this doesn’t just require a financial investment. It needs your time, creativity, and commitment as well. But with the right approach, it can indeed be a lucrative venture among businesses to start with 20k.

11. Social Media Influencer

Social media Influencer is an excellent option among businesses to start with 20k. When I think about this increasingly popular online business model, I believe it significantly rests on one’s personality and skill set. Mainly, you attract followers on different social media platforms and leverage your influence to promote products or services of various providers.

As a social media influencer, you will have the liberty of resonating with your audience on a personal level. In my opinion, authenticity, consistency, and engagement are at the core of this business strategy. You will need to create engaging content that is both impactful and relevant to your followers’ interests.

Even if I have not personally become a social media influencer, my extensive experience as a digital business coach and entrepreneur gives me insight into how this business model operates. Additionally, I can share from conversations with successful influencers about their journey and also from my continuous interaction with the digital marketing landscape.

For an in-depth guide on how to make money online as an influencer, you can check out this article. Also, here’s a resource to assist you in your journey to become an influencer.

So, becoming a social media influencer is indeed a viable and potentially lucrative business to start with 20K.

12. Ecommerce

Establishing your own ecommerce business is indeed a lucrative venture to consider among the businesses to start with 20k. The beauty of ecommerce is that it allows you to benefit from a scalable business model and offers a considerable profit margin. If executed correctly, it can quickly grow into a sustainable and profitable enterprise.

In my experience as an online business coach, I’ve seen numerous entrepreneurs achieve remarkable success in ecommerce. It’s a great way to maximize your presence in the digital sphere and reach a broader audience than traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

You’ll need to select a niche that isn’t overly saturated but still has a substantial consumer demand. Then, by creating an appealing website, offering top-quality products, and delivering unrivaled customer service, you can differentiate your brand from the competition and retain a loyal customer base.

I recommend that you use a robust and user-friendly ecommerce platform to kickstart your online store. To help you make an informed decision, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of top-performing platforms in this blog post.

Remember, what makes a great business isn’t solely your initial investment, but also your dedication, strategy, and the value you bring to your customers. Having made an investment of 20k can initiate your ecommerce dream, but building a successful ecommerce venture takes much more than just financial capital.

Running an ecommerce store is a proven idea among the businesses to start with 20k, but success will ultimately boil down to your execution strategy. Dive deeper into the realm of ecommerce by visiting this link.
In conclusion, if you want to make the most out of your $20,000, ecommerce is a significant business opportunity to explore.

13. Podcasting

Starting a podcasting venture is one of the most promising businesses to start with 20k. This online business model is growing rapidly and lots of entrepreneurs are capitalizing on it. I believe that if you possess a unique voice and a captivating storytelling skill set, you’re already halfway there.

Here is the deal: The initial cost of setting up a professional podcasting studio can definitely fit within your budget. Essential equipment like high-quality microphones, mixers, headphones, and soundproofing won’t cost more than a few thousand dollars. If you’re unsure, I’ve compiled a thorough step-by-step guide to assist you with the process.

The primary cost in running a podcasting platform comes from podcast hosting providers. However, there are plenty of affordable options out there. For a comprehensive list, check out my article on the best podcast hosting platforms.

Remember, having a content strategy in place is crucial for you to succeed. Audience engagement and listenership should be your key metrics. Once you start getting considerable traction, monetizing your podcast with sponsorships, Ads, and merchandise can turn it into a profitable online business.

I feel strongly that podcasting is a business worth exploring if you have the passion, the skill set, and the right budget. Now, it’s time for you to take the mic.

14. YouTube Channel

One of the highly viable businesses to start with 20k, that I have personally tested and can vouch for, is starting a YouTube channel. YouTube offers a unique business model, giving aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to build a sustainable online business. This business model allows for a significant profit margin, with minimal overhead costs once the initial investment in equipment and software is covered.

Starting a YouTube channel incorporates leveraging your unique skill set. Whether your abilities lie in education, entertainment, or direct communication, YouTube is a platform that allows you to harness your skills to create valuable content.

With years of hands-on experience, I can affirm that merely starting a channel isn’t enough. You need to understand the nitty-gritty of building up a channel’s success. Making it profitable requires strategic planning and steps that I have detailed in these articles: How to become a YouTuber, How to make money as a YouTuber and even The Best Video Editing Software.

Remember, having the right skills and the willingness to learn would drastically increase your chances of success. As someone who creates YouTube channels to monetize, I can certify that it’s a fantastic income avenue worth considering among the businesses to start with 20k.

Why This Blog Focuses Solely on Online Businesses

Embarking on a business venture with a budget of 20k might seem daunting, especially when we think of industries like real estate. While a rental property, food truck, or starting a local business in sectors like Amazon selling or food business might be the first thoughts that come to mind, the upfront costs and potential risks often exceed the budget. Take real estate, for instance: acquiring property as a new business requires significant capital beyond just a 20k investment. Similarly, launching a food truck involves not just the vehicle, but also licenses, marketing materials, and inventory.

Contrast that with online enterprises, where domains can be secured for as little as the cost of a dinner, web hosting for less than the monthly pick up coffee habit, and social media management tools that are often free.

Moreover, businesses like being a virtual assistant, bookkeeping, pet sitting, or even selling t-shirts have low entry barriers and don’t require massive upfront investments. The rise of social media also offers a lucrative target audience for personal trainers, planners, and more to market themselves without the high costs of traditional advertising. When you compare the potential returns and scalability, starting your own business online makes it easier to set up, manage, and expand without the hefty initial outlays that traditional local businesses demand. Thus, if you’re looking to get the best bang for your 20k buck, the online realm is where you should be venturing.


After careful analysis and informed comparisons, starting businesses to start with 20k is an achievable goal for any aspiring entrepreneur. I’ve observed many ventures, with varying degrees of complexity and potential for return, lending credence to the belief that this budget range is viable.

From my perspective, given the right industry choice, a solid business plan, and dogged determination, success is within reach. I believe that a $20,000 budget, strategically invested, can yield profitable businesses.

However, while the opportunities are numerous, it’s crucial to remember success also hinges on diligent research, steadfast dedication, and tireless execution.