20 part-time profitable small businesses you can start with as low as Rs 20,000

Even if your full-time job leaves you little time during the week, with a few hours over the weekend and investment as low as Rs 20,000, you can kick off any of these side hustles that feed your entrepreneurial soul.

20 part-time profitable small businesses you can start with as low as Rs 20,000

Monday January 27, 2020,

9 min Read

Are you too boxed in by your 9-6 job but cannot say no to the comfort and security it offers even though you itch to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Fear not, with these 20 ideas for small businesses you can live your dream on the side. What more, these ideas require as little as a Rs 20,000 investment.

Here is SMBStory’s list of 20 part-time small businesses that you can start with minimum capital:

Papier-mâché crafts

Paper mache

Papier-mâché craft items are made of pulped paper mixed with glue, and other materials or of layers of paper glued and pressed together. The design is moulded when moist to form various items that harden as they dry.

A papercraft business is one of the least expensive businesses you could start. The raw materials and designing techniques are economical and you don’t need any special tools. What you do need is creativity. Loads of it. 

Papier-mâché crafts include bowls, pendant lights, decorative flowers, and other home decor and gifting items. 

You can sell your creations using social media channels as well through ecommerce portals like Etsy India. These craft items can also be sold in gift boutiques and craft stores. 

Personalised gifting items

Personalised gifts

Quirky, personalised gifting options are a dime a dozen these days, but their appeal never dips. And why should it, since they make such great presents for our loved ones. 

Starting a personalised gifting business is a great option for a side hustle even as you maintain your full-time job. All you need is a creative mind that is abreast with trends and pop culture, and some inexpensive raw materials that can be purchased on bulk.

Social media marketing

Social media

No business today can survive without a strong presence on social media. This has given way for excellent social media and digital marketing gigs that can be done apart from your full-time job.

Starting a social media marketing business is not rocket science if you are clued in on how platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok work and know how to do SEO. Moreover, if you have a personal laptop, you can start up with a small capital of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to purchase marketing tools. 



Are you the best baker in your circle but now dreaming of selling your delicious cakes, cookies, and bakes to a wider audience? You can, right from home. According to reports, the bakery industry is the third-highest revenue generator in the processed food sector. 

The bakery business is a promising one that can be started from your own kitchen with a low investment of Rs 20,000. Harness your social media skills to get the word out!

Needle embroidery

Needle embroidery

If you love embroidery, then setting up a needle embroidery business can be a great side hustle option. A small needle embroidery business can be started right from home. And as the fashion industry continuous to see a boom, it may make sense for you to invest in a needle embroidery machine, which would cost between Rs 14,000 and 16,000. Use your creativity to make beautiful designs and scale up your embroidery business over time.

Hand-painted linen

Hand painted linen

If you are artistic, another good part-time business option is hand-painting linen, garments, stoles, shawls, and more. The business can be started from the comfort of your home where you can let your creativity run wild and make money from it as well. 

You can easily list your hand-painted products either on social media platforms or ecommerce portals to begin initial sales. 

Grooming services


From makeup, hairdressing, to skincare treatments, there is a plethora of options to explore in the grooming and beauty services segment. You can set up a facility at your home or rent out a small space or start as a freelancer. With a small investment for the initial setup, you can get your business up and running.

To scale up, you can even collaborate with various beauty brands in the long run. 

Jewellery selling


Starting a handmade jewellery venture is an ideal small-scale business option with a minimum risk factor. As gold price steadily shoots up, women are increasingly going for costume and inexpensive artificial jewellery. 

The handmade jewellery business can be started with a minimum investment between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 depending upon the product you wish to deal in. You can source the products from wholesale manufacturers to cut out middlemen costs.

Freelance writing

Freelance writing

If you have a flair for the written word, then exploring freelance options for writing is an ideal way to kickstart your part-time pursuits. Apart from the writing itself, it requires little effort apart from setting up a profile on freelancing websites. 

To start a freelance writing business, you also have the option to select your niche in which you wish to write. Investment is little to nothing for this line of work.

Pop-up shops

Pop up shop

Pop-up stores have become more prominent in the last few years. If you wish to start out small with minimum investment, a pop-up store is your best best. You can rent out a small space or a small store that wouldn’t charge an hefty amount.

A pop-up shop can showcase any product. Right from apparels, stationery, toys, beauty products to home decor items, anything that has a good sale value works best in a pop-up store. 

Event planning

Event planning

If you are the go-to person for throwing parties, event planning may just be your calling. To start with, you can begin as a freelance event planner. Be it weddings, small parties, or corporate events, tap into your network of vendors to create events that people will be talking about for weeks. You can start by renting out props and eventually as you scale invest in lighting, props, cameras, and other necessities to run a substantial event planning business. 



Proofreaders read copy and transcripts to check for spelling, grammatical or typographical errors. There are great options for proofreaders to work with publishers, newspapers, and other businesses that rely on perfect grammar. Proofreaders earn well depending upon their capability. 

For proofreading, you can start out as a freelancer and can also create an aggregated platform or agency in the long run. Investment is little to nothing.

Pet food

Pet food

Starting a pet food business requires licensing and other documentation. However, if you want to start small, you can partner with manufacturing units that already have the licence to trade. 

Pet food business is on a rise and setting up a business in this area is worthy. You can start selling on social media and later expand.

Pet accessories

Pet accessories

If you are an animal lover, you would know how fun it is to get your furry friend fitted with colourful accessories. Starting a pet accessory business can be a great side gig and you can work by sourcing from manufacturers. 

The pet accessories business holds good margin ensuring good profits. Depending upon how big or small you wish to start, the investment is minimal. 

Mobile covers

mobile cover

Smartphones are no longer a luxury in India, with cheap handsets ensuring everyone is on the fun. This is why a mobile accessories business is one of the most profitable. Dealing in mobile covers requires low investment and assures you of good returns.

There are a variety of mobile covers available in the market and you can select what you wish to deal in. You can even design and sell customised mobile covers with an investment of not more than Rs 20,000. 

Diaries and notebooks


Even in the digital era, diaries, organisers, journals, and planners are all the rage as busy people still like to put pen to paper to keep their life organised. Become a reseller of diaries by purchasing in bulk from dealers or directly from manufacturers will not require great initial investment. 

Web designing

Web design

Almost every business today has an online presence. As more and more businesses compete for wider markets, help them create standout websites. These days there are many web designing agencies who started small and some even as freelancers. So, if you have the skill set, you can earn well from web designing work that just requires a computer and a few thousands to purchase software tools.



Pottery can be a great skill to pick up just for a bit of a peaceful activity over the weekend, but it is also a viable business option.. 

You can start a pottery business right from home and exhibit the products either at exhibitions or at pop-ups at your home or outside. If you want to go on a larger scale, you can even sell these handmade items on ecommerce portals and social media. 

To start a pottery business, investment required is to purchase raw materials like clay, kaolinite, colours etc., which wouldn’t cost a lot.



Starting a tiffin or a small catering service can be greatly profitable as people are getting increasingly busy and look for good, homemade options. You can see many food businesses in India that started out really small. 

A small tiffin service doesn’t require a big investment and can be easily started with less than Rs 20,000. All you need is your targeted clientele and a bit of promotion. In this business, word-of-mouth is much more prevalent. But the proof is in the pudding, so get what you whip up just perfect in order to grow your business.



If you have expertise in any field, be it in any academic subject, grooming, sports activity, designing, or if you are simply brilliant at math, you can start tutoring adults and children.

You can sign up to provide online tutoring on skill platforms or tutor people right from home. It requires you to know what you are offering to teach but little in terms of investment. 

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)

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