When Brian Hooks and his daughters Emma and Lily started their business, ScreenMend, they had big dreams but not much to show for all their efforts. With a small investment and just over $4,000 in sales, the future seemed dim. However, after securing an investment from Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner, the company quickly grew and currently has over $1,000,000 in sales. As unrealistic as it may seem, you CAN start and grow a business with a small investment. In this article, we’ll review 6 strategies to start a business with a $5,000 investment.

1. Start a Blog or Affiliate Marketing Website

Have you ever asked yourself how bloggers earn enough money and manage to make a living? Blogging (or vlogging – video blogging) on a professional level asks for new content almost every day, and blogs can be used as marketing tools for attracting customers to your (or someone else’s) business.

If you open up a blog and sign up for Adsense, Google will place relevant ads on your website so you can earn money when someone clicks the ad. Simple as that! If you have decided for an affiliate marketing website, the formula is the same. Visitors have to click through your website and buy products, for example, a book on Amazon. Have in mind that choosing Adsense does not mean that you have to forget about affiliate marketing option. Most of the time, blog owners do both!

Generally, it is a good idea to start writing about things you know, and you can easily start more than one blog if things work out as you planned and do it on a full-time basis! Time is the largest investment when starting this kind of business, as you’ll have to spend a lot of time creating content - written, visual, or video. You can then leverage your investment to buy Facebook ads which can be relatively inexpensive, or to gain visibility for your blog.

Once your site has built a wealth of content, reach out to large brands and offer to become a brand ambassador. You’d be surprised at the many brands willing to pay to have bloggers out there talking about them.

2. Start a Consulting Firm or Online Education

Depending on your expertise, you can work from your home office, but you won’t have any employees (besides yourself, of course), and thanks to computer and the internet, you can start pretty much immediately.

Informational products can be extremely lucrative. You spend a lot of time creating content, but then you can resell your content over and over again.

Mort Fertel, owner of Marriage Max, created a Tele-Boot camp over 10 years ago, which he sells over and over again to couples looking to improve their marriage. To customers, he sells the course, consulting, and a downloadable product. His one-time investment in time has yielded years and years of revenue.

3. Invest using Fundrise

Do you want the opportunity to invest in million-dollar real estate deals? Consider using crowdfunding platform Fundrise, which allows you to make a small investment towards large deals. You would then own a percentage of the projects you’re investing in. “Fundrise is hoping its crowdfunding technology will do to traditional investment banks and Wall Street what the internet did to the travel, publishing, and taxi industries — make them obsolete.”

Sign up for Fundrise and carefully evaluate the different projects, with a keen eye on the projects that show the most potential for growth. You can build a low-fee portfolio with high-yielding real estate - the best of both worlds.

4. Get Certified as Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer

As interest rises for alternative lifestyles, the demand for instructors in yoga, nutrition, weight consultants, post-natal exercise specialists haveas increased. Certification is the key component for this business and can cost from $250 to $600.

Many associations offer home study courses - check the American Council on Exercise, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, the American Fitness Professionals and Associates, the National Federation of Professional Trainers or the International Fitness Professionals Association.

Besides marketing skills (no, you can’t skip your marketing tutorials on Youtube), you will have to have great interpersonal skills and know how to deal with people.

5. Music and Photography as Professions

Businesses that once required tens of thousands of dollars became accessible for practically anyone, including music production equipment and DSLRs. On the one hand, now it is a lot easier to sell music (TuneCore, CD Baby, Reverb Nation) or photos (Shutterstock or iStockphoto), but there is so far more competition and the payment makes it harder to earn a significant profit. However, there are niches that will always stay profitable, for example taking pictures at weddings, sports events, reunions, portraits, or playing in churches.

6. Become a Programmer

Besides graphic designers, programmers are probably the most sought professionals today. Learning Java or C# is not an easy task, but as a freelance programmer, you can develop software, apps or video games for either yourself or other companies.

To conclude, before you can think seriously about starting your own business, you need to make sure you are ready for such a big step. It is of utmost importance to assess your skills and aptitude realistically and see how they compare to the business idea you have in mind. Managing your expectations becomes even more important, as $5k might not seem like a lot of money to start a business, but depending on your skills they can be a good start.