Top Low Cost Business Ideas With High Profit Potential

The UK boasts millions of entrepreneurs who’ve taken the life-changing step of setting up their own business. The majority of these are very small businesses – in fact, it’s estimated that around 74% of UK businesses only have one employee: the owner themselves.

This statistic underscores an important and inspiring point: that setting up a profitable business all by yourself doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. What’s more, you don’t necessarily need a lot of starting capital to turn the dream of self-employment into a reality.

It goes without saying that certain types of businesses do require a lot of upfront investment. Think, opening a physical shop or restaurant, or founding a tech company which relies on lots of research and development.

However, many business opportunities don’t require you to have a hefty amount of savings, or to take out a business loan. By keeping your running costs to a minimum, you can both minimise the personal financial impact if your business should fold, and maximise your profit margins throughout the life of the business.

Being savvy and seeking out low or no-cost business tools can make all the difference to your bottom line. One such tool is the free business account from SumUp, which makes it a cinch to track exactly how much you’re spending and making.

High profit, low startup cost business ideas

There’s certainly no shortage of low cost, high return business ideas out there for you to weigh up. Whether you want to get out there and meet customers, or are wondering how to make money from home, there are plenty of options to consider.

As there are quite a few listed below, we’ve grouped them into five categories so you can jump straight to the low capital, high profit business ideas that appeal the most.

Online creative

If you’re creative by nature, there are multiple ways to turn your talents into a business that’s based online. And, since your main “raw material” is your own imagination, your running costs will be naturally kept low.

Let’s look at just some examples of online creative businesses that may fit the bill, whether your skills run to design or telling compelling stories.


Podcasts really started to surge in popularity in the wake of the global success of the true crime series Serial. This popularity is showing no signs of slowing down, with the number of UK podcast listeners expected to reach 28 million by 2026.

Creating your own podcast will require a flair for storytelling and strong research skills. If those are your strong suits, and you are prepared to carry on doing your existing day job while your podcast grows, then this may be one of the most enjoyable and creatively satisfying businesses to get into.

To forge a successful podcast you’ll need to:

  • Pick a subject you have a real interest in – while true crime podcasts are all the rage, almost every subject can attract droves of listeners if it’s written and performed in a compelling way.
  • Take your time crafting quality scripts – this step is perhaps the most important, so don’t rush it. Even if your podcast is an improvised, freewheeling “chat with friends” style show, it helps to have a good outline in place.
  • Invest in the right equipment – this will include a high-quality microphone, noise-cancelling headphones and a shock mount.
  • Find the right music – a quality soundtrack will give your podcast a polished, professional feel, and you can source tracks from royalty-free sites like Bensound.
  • Create cover art – you’ll want a good logo or “cover image” to accompany your podcast listing online, so if you aren’t a designer you should hire one from a cost-effective marketplace like Fiverr.
  • Research podcast hosting sites – prominent examples like Buzzsprout and Libsyn also provide tools for monetising your podcast and putting it out on top directories like Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Social media influencer

Substack writer

Substack has fast become one of the world’s most talked-about online content platforms. It allows anyone to publish blog posts and newsletters for paying subscribers, meaning that you can generate revenue from your writing without needing the approval or help of editors and other traditional media gatekeepers.

Practically any subject can make for a hit Substack. Successful writers on the platform write blogs and newsletters on everything from politics to food to stock market speculation to conspiracy theories. So you can absolutely pursue your own passion and get paid for it.

Graphic designer

Rumours of the AI-fuelled death of the graphic design industry have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, the global graphic design market is expected to reach a lofty $76 billion before the end of this decade.

Both large and small businesses will always require skilled designers of posters, logos, social media posts and the like. So, if you have creative prowess and are well versed in tools like InDesign and Photoshop, you can carve out a slice of the market for yourself.

Running an online business is a great option if your budget is tight. After all, you won’t have to spend money on work premises. And, depending on the kind of work you do, your overheads will be limited to one-off purchases of software. Remember, the lower your overheads, the bigger your profits.

You can also enjoy the sheer freedom of being able to work virtually anywhere you like. One day you can clock in at your dining table, the next you can mix things up by working in a favourite café. Here are some of the most profitable business ideas that provide this kind of flexibility.


Copywriting is arguably one of the lowest-cost business ideas of all. Armed only with a word processor and your own talent for prose, you can potentially create all kinds of content for paying clients.

The fact is that many companies large and small need high-quality editorial content in order to reach out to their customers, and you can cater to this demand. It will undoubtedly take time to build up clients, but once you have a few under your belt then word-of-mouth may help you secure more revenue streams.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a booming industry. A survey of UK businesses conducted in 2022 found that almost half expected to spend more on affiliate marketing in the following year. On a global level, the affiliate marketing industry is anticipated to reach $15.7 billion in value by 2024.

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll create content which is embedded with links to other companies’ products and services. You’ll then earn a commission whenever your readers engage with those links – for example, if they make a purchase, or sign up to a promotion.

Social media consultant

While using social media is an invaluable promotional tool, many businesses don’t have the in-house resources to maintain an active presence on sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

As a social media consultant, you may be hired to handle one or both of the following:

Web developer

Even as the world becomes ever-more digitised, the tech industry is still hampered by a stark shortage of web developers. This can present a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in coding, and who likes the idea of helping businesses and organisations create and test websites and apps.

If you don’t have a techie background, it may seem like a daunting industry to enter. However, it’s actually very possible to learn code in your own time without spending a fortune.

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