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Low-Cost Business Ideas for Black Entrepreneurs

August 8, 2023
Low-Cost Business Ideas for Black Entrepreneurs

Now that you know how to determine your startup costs, let's look at some low-cost business ideas to help you brainstorm ideas for new side hustles you can take on.

Freelance Writer

A freelance writer is someone who completes writing projects for multiple companies as an independent contractor, instead of working as a full-time employee for just one employer. If you have a talent for writing and have honed your creative process enough to publish multiple times per week, then a freelance writing business could work for you. If you have a computer, stable internet connection, and a passion for writing, you’re on the right track!

As a Black freelance writer, there are lots of communities and resources for you to choose from. One of those resources is Black Freelancer, a website for Black technical and creative freelancers to connect and find paid gigs. Another is the Black Writers Collective, a membership-only community (they also have a free version) that provides a safe space for Black writers to create, take workshops to build your skills, and find paying gigs. To put yourself in the best position to get hired, make sure you have a portfolio of work you’ve done to demonstrate your capabilities—think of it as a “visual resume”. Once you’ve got a good portfolio going, you can also find clients on freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, or WriterAccess.

Startup costs for freelance writing are usually minimal, ranging from $0 to $500, depending on the equipment you already have. According to ZipRecruiter, freelance writers can make an average of $30 per hour, but if you choose to do project-based writing (meaning, you’re paid per item that you produce), the sky is the limit for what your income could be. Also, if you have a particularly niche skillset or knowledge of a specific subject that’s in high demand (such as health care), then you could make significantly more than the average. If you could picture yourself writing for a living, give freelance writing a shot!

Virtual Assistant

First off—what’s a virtual assistant? Think of it as a secretary or office manager for hire. As a virtual assistant, you can give administrative support to businesses and entrepreneurs from the comfort of your own home. If you’re someone who is very organized, has experience doing administrative work for companies (for example: managing calendars, coordinating travel, ordering materials, etc.), or if it’s already your day job and you’re ready for multiple clients, then starting your own business as a virtual assistant could be for you.

Does this sound like you? If so, check out Black Virtual Assistants, the first Black Virtual Assistant directory. Not only is it a space for Black virtual assistants to get hired by clients, but they also offer coaching services and resources to support Black virtual assistants in knowing and communicating their worth. If you’re creating a website to promote your services, take a look at Melanated Audacity. She does a great job of outlining her services, and demonstrating the results potential clients can get.

To be a virtual assistant, startup costs are minimal, ranging from $0 to $500 depending on the equipment you already have. According to ZipRecruiter, virtual assistants can make an average of $20 per hour, but depending on your level of experience and niche skillset, you could potentially make up to $50 per hour.

Social Media Freelancer

Does being on social media excite you? Do you have a gift for relating to other people? Do you find yourself coming across social media posts or advertisements and thinking “I could do that!” or “Wow, that post was not even good. I could do it better.” If so, then becoming a social media freelancer (also called an “independent social media contractor”) could be for you. Brands worldwide are looking for skilled people to manage their social media profiles. Being a social media manager could include anything from solely posting on social media (meaning, they tell you what to post, and you post it), to determining the strategy behind the brand’s social media presence (meaning, you set the plan and execution of their entire social media presence). Depending on your level of comfort and skill, you could find lots of potential clients looking for exactly what you offer, and who are willing to pay a pretty penny for it.

As a Black freelancer, you could have a unique offering. Many brands are looking to expand their reach to include more diverse audiences, and social media is often a place for them to do that and show results (growing their number of followers, etc.). Black-owned and Black-centering companies are also often looking for people who know how to speak the language of their audience. Companies like Afrofreelancer provide a community of Black freelancers, including social media freelancers, to get hired by clients. If you have a skill for staying on top of social media trends, giving “hot takes” that attract the audience you’re looking for, and have opinions on what posts work and which ones don’t, then this could be the business for you.

Being social media savvy is a great start, but the more you learn about the social media landscape, the strategies that work for different industries, and tools that can help you do your job better, the more experience you’ll gain, and the better the chance that you can make more money doing it. To start, Hubspot has free articles, courses, and even certifications in learning social media. Having these certifications on your resume could help you to land more, and higher-paid, jobs.


Starting a new business doesn’t always have to break the bank. When you have a limited budget, a business with low startup costs can help you take the next step to becoming the entrepreneur you want to be.