In Summary
  • Offer a paid mentorship programme in your area of technical expertise.
  • Teach children about art and crafts during their school holidays and over the weekend.
  • Teach sign language to individuals.
  • Do you have questions for the writer? E-mail:

If there’s anything you’ve picked up over the weeks of pitching tent here every Monday, it’s that I strongly advocate for a side-hustle.

You know, an activity that generates income while you’re at your regular 9-to-5. It works while you work. Then, at the end of the month, its income sits in the same pot as your salary.

I’m about to share 50 business ideas you can start with less than Sh50,000.

I’ve compiled this list from my personal engagement with businesses, ideas I’ve harboured myself for a while, businesses that are still running online, some I’ve seen people give a shot, and from sitting across tables with folk who’ve had a first-hand experience with the ideas.

Remember this: it’s one thing to have a business idea in your hands, and another thing to build a business out of that idea. It’s yet another thing to turn that business into a sustainable and thriving enterprise.

Ideas turn into businesses, which turn into sustainable enterprises.

Grit and talent is what matures one into the next.


A few ground rules to remember about these ideas and the businesses birthed from them:

a) You’ll advertise and market your business through social media, not traditional media. That’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. You need to be adept with social media tools. Including how to create and manage social media campaigns.

b) Distribution is one of the major headaches for small businesses. Distribution here means delivering your goods to your customer’s door. Figure out early how you’ll get it done. Whether you’ll have a rider you pay by the deliveries per day, or whether you’ll have him on retainer.

c) You don’t need any technical skills to get these businesses off the ground – what you need is your brawns and sweat. We call it sweat capital. Actually, a business that requires less than Sh50,000 of starting capital has a high demand for sweat capital.

d) Remember also to be exclusive. If you’re buying stuff for resale, be known as that guy, or that chick, for particularly that item. Don’t be a jack of all trades – so don’t stock denim jackets this month then next month it’s skirts for cucus and the next month flowered bowties for the androgynous.

e) Lastly, use the skills you already have within your reach.

Suggested 50 ideas

Here goes:

1.     Buy and resell second-hand baby clothes

2.     Buy and resell second-hand sweaters for young millennial girls (20 to 24 year olds)

3.     Buy and resell second-hand pants for older millennial women (28 to 37 year olds)

4.     Buy and resell second-hand dresses for older millennial women (28 to 37 year olds)

5.     Buy and resell office and casual shirts for men (working men)

6.     Buy and sell second-hand crockery (dinner and tea sets)

7.     Buy and sell second-hand antique cutlery

8.     Become a personal shopper for urban men

9.     Become a personal shopper for urban women

10. Write and publish an e-book on motherhood for dummies

11. Write and publish an e-book on fatherhood for dummies

12. Write and publish an e-book of select motivational Bible verses

13. Write and publish an e-book of ‘365 days of positivity’

14. Offer classes that teach vernacular. Say Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Dholuo etc

15. Offer classes that teach a foreign language, say French, Spanish etc

16. Supply a variety of imported fruits

17. Supply locally grown vegetables

18. Supply locally grown organic fruits and vegetables

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