How to Start an Online Business with No Money: 8 Ideas to Test Right Now

How to Start an Online Business with No Money: 8 Ideas to Test Right Now

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A micro business costs approximately 3,000 dollars to set up, the US Small Business Administration reports. For a home-based company, you’ll need anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 dollars to get started.

Are you wondering how to start an online business with no money? if so, you’re not alone. Many people seeking the financial independence that their own business will provide lack the funds to make those initial steps.

Various ideas for online business development require minimal capital in the first stages. There are even some online business ideas you can carry out without spending anything in the very beginning.

Today, we’ll learn how to start an online business with no money. Here are a few of the best ideas to test out in 2019 and beyond.

A Dropshipping Business

If you’re looking for exciting online business ideas you can develop without (a massive) investment, dropshipping is one of the definite concepts to try.

In the case of dropshipping, you run an ecommerce website without maintaining inventory. In fact, you partner up with a wholesaler or a manufacturer who will be responsible for order processing and shipping products to clients.

This means you don’t need money to acquire warehouse space, to maintain and manage inventory, to ship and track orders to your clients.

To make dropshipping work for you, it would still be important to build a quality website, to focus on marketing and search engine optimization. Most of these can happen organically when you optimize texts on your website and you build large communities on social media.

You can run an occasional paid campaign on Facebook or via Google AdWords to grow your popularity. The amount you’ll have to dedicate to internet marketing, however, is small and you’ll see excellent returns.

Dropshipping is even possible to do without a website when you utilize a platform like eBay and Amazon. In fact, you may want to test out the business concept this way before moving on to develop your own website.

To develop your own website, you’ll need solely a domain name and hosting.

A domain name can be acquired via GoDaddy for as little as 11.99 dollars for a .com domain.

Affordable hosting options are also readily available.

Bluehost packages start at 5.95 per month and you’ll also get a free of charge SSL certificate, one included domain and unmetered bandwidth.

When you’re ready to move on to the next level, you can opt for a serious and incredibly reliable solution like BigCommerce. BigCommerce comes with a 15-day free trial, giving you a chance to explore its most prominent functionalities. This ecommerce platform frees you from having to get hosting and it provides an array of important tools like effortless website building, multiple payment integration options, app integration, eBay and Amazon integration, social media marketing tools, SEO tools and the ability to effortlessly run loyalty programs.

Choose your BigCommerce package here to take your dropshipping business to the next level.

Let’s sum up the pros and cons of dropshipping to help you determine if this is the right business model for your needs:

Pros of Dropshiping:

  • Much more affordable than launching a standard ecommerce website
  • A huge range of potential partners to choose among
  • Can be initiated free of charge (via Amazon or eBay, for example
  • Very scalable, you can add new products as you go

Cons of Dropshipping:

  • Marketing and SEO experience will be required to attract a clientele
  • The project needs constant work and some time will be required before you earn anything
  • If you want to turn it in a serious business, there will be some expenses

A Blogging Business

Making money blogging can be a lot of fun because you’ll be pursuing a topic that you like. You also have a lot of freedom in terms of seeking blog monetization options.

Blogging is one of the first online money making methods that I experimented with. If you have a passion for writing and you want to learn SEO, digital marketing and website development, this is the opportunity to pursue.

You can start blogging without spending anything. A WordPress-based blog is a great choice because you don’t need to spend on hosting and you will also get free design templates.

Just like in the case of dropshipping, you can move on to a paid domain name and a hosting package if you see the potential for growth.

Blogs can make money in the following ways:

Selling products via the blog (ebooks, courses)

This is another business that can grow exponentially through the passage of time. Blogging isn’t one of the ideas for online business development that will yield immediate returns. You need the right niche and you need to create a lot of useful content to grow your audience. Some marketing can also be beneficial and it will speed up the process.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a blogging business:

Pros of Blogging:

  • Very easy to get started with
  • A great choice for those who enjoy writing
  • Multiple monetization options are possible
  • Eventually, multiple blogs can be created to generate a lot of passive income
  • Zero investment required to get started

Cons of Blogging:

  • It takes time to start seeing returns
  • Success is heavily dependent on the selection of the right niche
  • It’s possible to face stiff competition
  • Many people lack the patience and the commitment to continue creating content until they see results

How to Start an Online Business with No Money by Writing Ebooks

Writers have many options when it comes to starting an online business with no money. eBook writing is another great choice.

Self-publishing takes out publishers, editors and other intermediaries. Numerous self-published authors have gone ahead to make serious amounts of money this way.

What does it take to run a successful ebook writing business? Once again, you need to find the right niche. Doing a bit of research on Amazon will give you some idea about the best-selling books and what people want to read about.

You need a niche that’s prominent but that’s not excessively competitive. If you have niche knowledge or a specialized idea, you can attract a smaller targeted audience that will eventually become quite loyal.

The next essential for running a successful ebook publishing business is generating multiple titles. You cannot rely on a single book to bring in sufficient income (unless your one title becomes a viral hit). Numerous books enable effortless cross-promotion and the creation of a portfolio that will help you grow.

Distribute your ebook via multiple channels for optimal results.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a good starting place because Amazon obviously is the leader when it comes to digital books.

Don’t underestimate the power of other bookstores, however. Services like Draft2Digital allow for effortless access to multiple marketplaces like Barnes&Noble, Apple Books, Scribd, Rakuten Kobo, Tolino, Playster and OverDrive to name a few. Print book and audiobook creation are also possible.

Sign up for a Draft2Digital account here and begin utilizing multiple ebook marketplaces.

Pros of an eBook Business:

  • A great choice for writers
  • Books don’t need to be large in order to sell
  • A large portfolio will allow for passive income generation
  • There are multiple marketplaces to target

Cons of an eBook Business:

  • You will need to be patient and write multiple books for best results
  • Marketing will be required
  • Self-publishing has contributed to intense competition
  • You’ll need to format your books and create cover art (or pay for such services)

Affiliate Marketing Business

One of the online business ideas you can easily develop from home and without cash is affiliate marketing.

Do you want to know how to start an online business with no money? Expand your social media reach.

Social media influencers are either contacted by companies or they do affiliate marketing via their profiles on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Many of these young “entrepreneurs” are so successful that they’ve turned their social media presence in a full-time job.

Affiliate marketing allows you to advertise numerous products and earn a percentage of each sale that results from your referral.

To be a successful affiliate marketer, you need a big audience that’s tailored to the needs of a specific advertiser. Building an Instagram profile dedicated to beauty and makeup, for example, is a pretty obvious choice for niche audience creation.

Some companies that have affiliate programs allow advertising via social media or email. You can share affiliate links in forums and communities, as long as you’ve already managed to become a valuable member that people already trust.

If you have a blog, you can do affiliate marketing both through your website and your other forms of online presence.

Coming across good affiliate marketing programs is relatively easy. There are numerous affiliate marketing platforms out there but I find the following options to be the best ones:

Keep in mind that some affiliate programs will be readily availables while others will require an application process. The larger your audience is, the easier you’ll find it to get approved.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing:

  • Very easy to get started with, especially if you have a well-established social media presence
  • Multiple affiliate marketing programs to choose among
  • You don’t need a website to get started
  • Some programs offer excellent commissions and additional perks

Cons of Affiliate Marketing:

  • Limited monetization potential without a large audience
  • It may be difficult to get approved for some of the best affiliate marketing campaigns
  • Some companies don’t allow advertising via social media or online channels (you’ll need a website or a blog to join such programs)

Sell Stuff Online without a Website

Can You Make Money with Clickbank

There isn’t one single answer to the question how to start an online business without money. in fact, the answers could be several for people who want to do one and the same thing – for example, sell stuff online.

If dropshipping isn’t your thing, you can sell items in your possession for cash or you can make things (paintings, jewelry, accessories) and sell those via an online portal. The first option doesn’t cost you anything and the second one allows you to capitalize on a hobby.

eBay is a great choice for selling stuff you have at home. You can sell just about everything – from your childhood train collection to a brand new set of linens that you’ve never gotten to use.

Such sales are a great choice because they allow you to test multiple niches and to determine whether you’d like to eventually start your ecommerce store in the respective field.

Specialized web portals also exist for the purpose of selling things.

Decluttr is an online platform that ensures immediate payouts for qualifying items. Some of the stuff you can sell via Decluttr includes CDs, DVDs, games, books, cell phones and other tech, as well as your Legos.

Decluttr works in a very simple way. You have to provide information about the type of item you want to sell and its condition. Based on this information, you’ll be provided with a valuation. The valuation remains valid for a period of 28 days, giving you a chance to look for other selling options.

If you’re happy with the valuation, send your item to Decluttr for free. In case the condition of the item is identical to what you described, you’ll receive your payment.

Payments are made via PayPal, direct deposit or check.

According to the official Decluttr presentation, the site has paid over 250 million dollars to more than four million people who have decided to sell via the platform.

Get started with Decluttr here to sell your old items and eventually expand your activities to start an online business.

Just like Decluttr, other specialized sites allow you to sell a wide array of things. If you have a website to sell, for example, you can rely on Flippa for the purpose. In fact, developing websites and selling those can quickly turn into a lucrative, highly scalable business.

Pros of Selling Online without a Website:

  • It’s easy, you can begin immediately
  • There are numerous specialized platforms to choose among (eBay, Etsy, Decluttr, Flippa)
  • A good choice to test a specific niche before you invest in growing a business
  • No cash or experience required to get started

Cons of Selling Online without a Website:

  • When you’re not using your own ecommerce website to sell, you’re not in charge of the terms and conditions
  • Commissions and fees may apply
  • The price you get may not be the best one for the type of product you sell
  • Limited monetization potential if you don’t buy more stuff to sell

An Online Investing Business

An online investing business provides multiple opportunities for income generation.

This is one of the online businesses without investment that will appeal to financially-savvy individuals. The good news is that multiple tools and platforms can be used for the purpose of revenue generation.

One simple option to test out is Acorns.

You don’t need cash to make the most of Acorns because it allows you to invest spare change.

Even if it’s just five dollars per month, Acorns allows you to invest responsibly the spare change from basic purchases. The Acorns platform of retailers consists of over 350 brands, which means you can buy the things you need each day and use the spare change for investment purposes.

if you want to make your first steps in the world of investing, try One Billion Signals. There’s a 10-day free trial you can utilize to determine whether this investment platform is the right one for your needs.

One Billion Signals gives you access to Forex news and notes, daily signals for smarter investing, daily technical analysis, live market prices and important notifications for immediate decision making.

A final option you may want to test out is cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency investing tends to be riskier but some experts predict that prominent cryptocurrencies like bitcoins will continue appreciating in the long run.

You can make your first steps in the world of cryptocurrency by acquiring bitcoins for free. The goal can be accomplished in a couple of ways. Many bitcoin exchanges have affiliate programs you can promote in order to get free of charge cryptocurrency.

Pros of Online Investing:

  • You can use platforms to invest small amounts of money (microinvesting)
  • Various investment options are available (Forex, cryptocurrency, precious metals)
  • If you go out at the right time, you can generate high returns
  • Suitable even for those who don’t have investment knowledge (through managed programs)

Cons of Online Investing:

  • Some investment options like real estate will require a larger investment, thus you have limited options to test out
  • There is always some risk of losing money, if you choose the wrong investment option or you don’t know what you’re doing
  • Managed investment platforms come with certain fees and charges

Online Course and Digital Product Creation

eBook writing isn’t your only option if you want to learn how to start an online business with no money.

Digital product creation is very versatile and all you need is a computer with the right software installed. Reliable internet connection is the final prerequisite.

Platforms like Udemy are an excellent choice for online course creators because you’ll be provided with all of the essential tools for the creation of an educational material people would want to buy. Several other platforms can be used for the purpose of publishing and selling courses – Teachable and Podia are popular choices.

Eventually, you can start selling courses and elearning products via your own website. The same applies to podcasts, visuals, slideshows and even videos.

Pros of Selling Digital Products:

  • Very easy, you need only a computer and the right software
  • Courses and digital products can be created on the basis of all kinds of knowledge (from business mentoring to origami creation)
  • A lot of versatility when it comes to the type of digital product you can make
  • As your portfolio grows, you’ll start earning passive income

Cons of Selling Digital Products:

  • You will need specialized knowledge to craft a successful course
  • There’s a lot of competition already
  • Some platforms you can use to sell your digital products charge commissions
  • You’ll have to work a lot to create a product and the payout will not be immediate
  • A portfolfio of products will be required to earn a sufficiently high income

Start an Online Digital Marketing Agency

If you have digital marketing and SEO knowledge, you can easily launch your agency without having to invest a lot of money in the process.

This is one of the best ideas for online business development with no money due to the high demand from clients. Small companies, startups, family businesses and large enterprises have all started understanding the importance of building a sound digital presence.

You can acquire clients through platforms like Upwork and Guru. For the purpose, you need to have a well-developed portfolio that you can show to the prospects. Having your own website or blog will be even more beneficial.

The only expenses to keep in mind include those linked to setting up your business. Please check with a local accountant or a corporate lawyer to learn what needs to happen for you to be offering services legally.

Pros of Running a Digital Marketing Agency:

  • Significant customer demand
  • You can get started immediately if you have the knowledge
  • Multiple venues can be utilized for client acquisition
  • If you’re good, you can easily ensure repeat business
  • You’re in charge of setting a price and interacting with clients

Cons of Running a Digital Marketing Agency:

  • There’s already serious competition from around the world
  • You need to do a lot of networking and you need excellent communication skills
  • Some freelancers and agencies out there will be doing price dumping that you’ll have to counter

How to Start an Online Business with No Money: A Few Final Tips

Starting your online business without investment requires creativity and a lot of strategic thought.

An income can be created in numerous ways – through photograph sales, by developing apps or becoming a virtual assistant. You can even create your specialized website that offers a membership service (like an online job board). Many people earn 50 dollars, even 100 dollars per day through such opportunities.

Turning a money-making opportunity into a business, however, requires long-term strategic thinking.

To launch a successful business, you have to identify a market niche and you also have to choose an activity that you can commit to in the months and even years to come.

While the ideas presented here require no investment, you will be spending a lot of time on bringing the concept to fruition. Having a source of income in that period is going to be essential because you’re probably not going to start earning immediately. You’ll probably have a day job and you’ll also have to work on your business project. If you’re not 100 percent committed, you’ll get tired of the hectic routine very fast.

Would you like to learn a bit more about starting an online business? The following articles may come in handy:

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