In today’s world of unemployment, lay-offs, and scarce jobs, many Kenyans are looking for a way to supplement their salary, if not earn a living. But starting a business in Kenya almost always requires some kind of investment. Then again, an investment doesn’t always have to be in form of money. In this guide, I’ll highlight 32 creative ways to make money in Kenya by pursuing simple business ideas that don’t require capital to start.
Many Kenyans start their own businesses in the hopes of making some extra cash. Still, others do it to make it their full-time job. Both ways can work when you know what you are doing and have the drive and persistence to make it pay off.
If you don’t have the money to invest in a business, the best place to start is by assessing the market. Identify what’s missing in your area, then gauge that against your own skills. With a clear niche in mind, branch out into your own network and start growing progressively.
Business Ideas in Kenya that don’t Require Capital to Start
A good percentage of unemployed Kenyan youths are college and university graduates. This often means two things: they are educated, and they can comfortably work on a computer. With so much academic content, it makes sense to earn a living off of it.
Academic writing, though sometimes considered illegal, is a thriving industry that will only continue to grow. Online tutoring and remote learning have become a norm in developed countries, and students often seek help from Kenyans. The stereotype is true – Kenyans are sharp, and language barrier is not a problem for us. We speak English just fine.
Start with a computer and an Internet connection, and be on your way to making money in no time. Best of all, it will be right from the comfort of your own home.
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Become a Local Translator
Kenya is one of the most attractive African countries for investors. Every day, 500-fortune companies are venturing out into the Kenyan market with hopes of expanding into the country. This creates lots of opportunities for literate Kenyans to offer translation services to foreigners who can’t speak English/Swahili.
Chinese, German, and French are some of the hottest languages to learn. If you can master any of these, the opportunities for making money from translation are literally endless. There are also websites like Translate and Conyac also pay a decent rate for online translation services.
Litter Removal Business
Waste management is a huge problem in estates, rental apartments, and gated communities. This creates a perfect business opportunity for litter disposal at a fee.
Depending on your location, you may have to talk to the city council about the dumpsite, but usually, the main job involves keeping the estates clean for a fee. Obviously, you must be willing to get your hands a little dirty, but the money makes it all worth it.
On-demand is the new way of doing business. People want services when they want them. Rather than open a physical salon business, you can pack up your toolkit and move around estates offering your service.
It might be hard at first, and quite frankly, you might look a little crazy. But that’s ok. You only need to get your first customer, and your growth will come organically from there. Referrals are powerful in the service industry, and with your traveling salon, you escape rental charges, tax, and other miscellaneous expenses like electricity bills.
Popup Beauty Stations
Speaking of on-demand, the manicure and pedicure business is also a lucrative business to venture into. But again, you don’t need a premise to get started.
A good place to start as a makeup artist is in college hostels. Students are almost always idling in hostels. So you can pick a day every week to move around college hostels doing makeup and nails. You just have to be affordable enough to capture the attention of students. It’s easy to scale your business with enough customers.
Forget the Jumia delivery service. Forget Glovo. Forget Uber Eats. There are thousands of Kenyans selling clothes, electronics, and even food from home. All these sellers have one problem – delivery.
Start with sellers around you. That water dispensing business, or gas cylinder business… almost anything that can be delivered conveniently to the buyer. If you can ride a bicycle, that’s even better for you. The important thing to remember is that we all start from somewhere. In a world where online shopping exists, delivery services will always remain relevant.
Offices, apartment corridors/staircases, churches, etc. will always require cleaners. You can offer to do this at a fee, either alone or as a team. A team always seems more credible and will probably open more doors for you.
Gardening and Landscaping
Most homes have flowers and flowerbeds that require regular trimmings. You can offer to do this, say on a monthly basis, and you can combine the service with things like trimming the fence, mowing the lawns, etc.
With time and referrals, the name “Joshua wa Maua” can easily catch on in your estate, and you will become everyone’s go-to guy in gardening and landscaping.
Start a Fruit Mart
Fruits are one of the best ways to offer people a healthy living diet while still making money from it. Office people are known to be peckish when it comes to pudding and blended juices. So a good place to get your first customers would be around government office areas. If you are lucky enough, they might allow you to deliver the fruits to the offices on a regular basis.
Natural Yoghurt and Exotic Porridge
People are going back to exotic dishes now more than ever. Two of the hottest drinks to sell right now are natural yogurt and porridge. The reason is simple – they are affordable and chemical-free.
On a good day, a small yogurt and porridge station could get you up to Ksh.4000 in profits. Matatu drivers and conductors are your ideal customers for porridge. Almost everyone around you is a potential yogurt customer. If you don’t mind working late, distributing coffee to late-night workers could also potentially boost your business.
Handmade Craft Business
The demand for arty craft as a service is bigger than you can imagine. With the right skills, you can mold literally anything into a piece of art. Creativity is key here. A good place to get inspiration (and some DIY skills) is Pinterest.
Floating art gallery
Speaking of art, if you are an artist, you can participate in floating art galleries around the country. The Nairobi Museum often hosts such events, and you can land some big clients just by displaying your art there. Other places you try showcasing your work include Kenya National Theatre, “calm” streets, and malls.
Home tutoring has also become huge in Kenya, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. More parents are embracing homeschooling for their kids and this presents a good opportunity to put your academic skills to work and make some money. Home tutoring pays an average hourly rate of Ksh.1000 – Ksh.5000
Adult Education Center
In Nairobi, there are schools established for adults who are willing to go back to school and start all over. Usually, most students are usually foreigners looking to learn a new language or adults who never went to school at all.
This is also another perfect opportunity to put your academic skills to work and make some extra cash passing on knowledge.
Sign up to become a Taxi Driver
Services like Uber and Bolt have made the taxi business huge in Kenya. While they charge extremely high commissions for the drivers, they have still created lots of jobs for the unemployed.
Many car owners in Kenya hire taxi drivers and only ask for a fixed amount per day. You can sign up for this job as a way of making easy money. Since the car is not yours, you only need to hit your daily quota to pay the owner. Any extra amount you make is yours. Taxi services like Uber have made it easier for drivers to find customers 24/7.
Car Wash Service
Most car wash services start from simple cleaning services that operate beside a river or pond. Over time, you can save enough money to purchase more sophisticated car cleaning equipment and machinery.
Business Plan Writing Services
Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. But this is usually one of those “easier said than done” things in life. One of the best ways to help people with their entrepreneurial spirits is by offering to prepare business plans for a fee.
Sometimes, you don’t need to have the skills to make money. Sometimes, knowing the right people for the job is enough. If you are good at making pitches and convincing potential customers to order services, you can collect jobs and subcontract them to other companies.
At Qodewire, we work with many subcontractors around the world who make money by just outsourcing jobs to us.If you are interested in partnering with us, just drop us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
Build an Audience you can Monetize
The internet has made it easy for content creators to make money from their content online. Content can range from blog content, YouTube videos, Twitter jokes, Memes, and the list goes. If you can garner a good following online, there are many ways of monetizing that audience. I believe the name they use is “Influencers”
Rental house search services
For people who are looking to relocate to new places, you can offer to help them look for apartments and houses to rent for a fee. Rental property searchers along Thika Road charge Ksh.500 for this service.
This is a fairly easy job since there are lots of rental properties everywhere you go. So the only thing you need to do is look for vacant rooms and give directions.
Sell digital courses and ebooks
Many Kenyans working from home are making easy money by selling ebooks and digital courses online. Preparing these courses is fairly easy. You can sell content like cooking recipes, novels, marketing guides, etc.
Real estate brokerage services
Property brokerage is a really hot business in Kenya that requires no starting capital whatsoever. The only thing you need to do is locate property owners (land, vehicles, etc.), and then look for customers while quoting a higher selling price to cover your troubles.
Every successful sale can get you up to Ksh.100,000 in profit depending on your selling skills.
Unlike academic writing, SEO article writing often involves a more professional approach to content writing. You can target companies and marketing agencies and offer your good SEO writing skills as part of your content marketing strategy.
You can also find article writing jobs online via websites like iWriter, Truelancer, and Fiverr. If you are a real professional content writer, you can try more advanced websites like Verblio. On a bad day, you can make up to $200/day on Verblio. You should probably get a VPN to mask your IP address before signing up for an account though.
Transcription jobs in Kenya
Transcription is an extremely lucrative way of making money online if you know where to find jobs. Websites like GoTranscript and TranscribeMe pay at least $15 for a short audio clip!
Become a brand ambassador
Many companies in Kenya hold public marketing events almost every week to market their services. Safaricom is particularly notorious in this area.
This presents a good opportunity for unemployed Kenyans to make passive income as brand ambassadors while still having fun. Other companies you can look up include Tusker, Moko Home, Jumia, and Telkom.
Offer company registration services
Most investors and aspiring business owners in Kenya are too lazy to go through the hassle of registering their companies. You can offer to do the service for them for a fee. On average, you can make up to Ksh.50,000 for every successful company registration.
Become an Event planner
Organizing any event is often stressful. Optimizing the budget, mobilizing attendees, sending invites etc. are things only a few people can do perfectly. With so much going on around the country every day, you can offer to plan events such as weddings, baby showers, birthdays etc. for a fee.
Become a personal shopper
Did you know that you can get paid to shop for people? This is common among pregnant mothers who are too tired to move around. You can offer a personalized shopping experience to such people for a certain fee. However, you might want to keep your charges reasonable here.
Making and selling laundry detergents
For every mom, cleaning is an important part of raising your family. But the high cost of detergents and cleaning soaps has created the need for more cost-effective options. Luckily, you can easily make your own laundry detergents from home and sell them at a way cheaper price. This video should be enough to get you started.
Food delivery to offices
Office workers often struggle with the high cost of buying food. In highly corporate areas like Upperhill, Community, and Kilimani, most office workers often settle for cheaper options like pudding or simple snacks for lunch.
You can take advantage of this hungry market by offering to deliver full-sized meals to offices at a cheaper price. A small plate of rice and stew costs around Ksh.300 in Upperhill. You can get the same plate of food at Ksh.80 in Nairobi town. See where I’m going with this?
Babysitting and Daybug jobs
With more women embracing corporate jobs, the traditional stay-at-home mom jobs have been left unattended. Or not? Babysitting and daybug jobs are in demand, now more than ever. Daybug jobs in Kenya pay an average rate of Ksh.400 – Ksh.800 per day.
TV Mounting Service
People are obsessed with large flat-screen TVs. But there’s always the risk of cracked screens, especially if the units are not mounted properly. As a business idea, you can start offering a TV mounting service. All you need is a drill, which you can rent for only Ksh.200 per day. The best part? There is very little competition in this area.
If you have been thinking of starting a business, but are nervous to do so because of starting capital, these ideas should help you decide on a path to take without any risk.