Whether you are looking to make a full time income working from your home, or simply supplement your job with some extra income, starting a business online is a great way to turn something you are passionate about as a hobby into a way to pay the bills. Anyone can get started making money online without spending a lot. You don’t need an MBA, loans, or employees, either. Assuming you already have a working internet connection, getting started only costs about $6 a month. Here’s what you need to begin making money online.
Your Basic Costs: Web Hosting & A Domain Name
Every business can benefit from a strong online identity. Having a domain (i.e. “dot com”) and a website for people to visit doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, either. A domain name typically costs about $10 per year, and for a brand new website, web hosting shouldn’t run you more than $5 per month. That’s about $70 per year or just under $6 per month. Try to pick an easy to remember domain name that’s easy to spell and verbally communicate. While it’s not required that you have a website and domain, it is the single best investment you can possibly make in a new online business venture!
Free Tools Are Everywhere
Most of the best tools for your business don’t cost a dime. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites are incredibly valuable to engaging your audience, and are all free. Google Analytics, a traffic monitoring and marketing tool, is also free. WordPress, the software that hosts this blog (and millions more) is free, too.
Free Advice Is Everywhere
There are a wealth of free forums available where you can read internet marketing discussions, and see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll encounter many sales offers for e-books; most of the information they contain can be found just by using Google search.
Selling a Product (eBay)
If you’re a new seller, you can get your feet wet by selling some of your own unwanted items online, then grow your business toward buying merchandise to resell, and selling for others. It’s free to become an eBay seller. eBay bills you for their fees (up to 10%) at the end of the month. You will need packaging materials & tape, though having a scale will come in handy if you don’t want to bring all your packages to the counter at the post office. Printing your own labels through eBay and PayPal will save you money on the postage.
Selling a Service (Fiverr)
Fiverr and other “gigs-for-money” websites connect you with buyers who will pay for your skills. You have to compete globally, so it pays to offer expertise or uniqueness. There is no cost to sign up, but they will take approximately 20% commission on all of your sales. While this is much higher than eBay, you make your fortune in the follow-up. As you become a reputable seller in their marketplace, you can offer up-sell items on your gigs, potentially boosting your sales.
Blogging, Ad Networks and Affiliate Marketing
You don’t need to sell a product or service to make money online. Blogging to make money online is more than writing a journal, though. To gain traffic you need your blog to be full of articles about topics people are searching for on Google, Bing and other search engines. Once your blog has ample content, you can expand your audience by guest blogging and linking with other popular blogs in your niche. Pick something you’re passionate about, and write about it regularly. Ask yourself what other people would be searching Google for, and devote one blog entry to each of those keyword topics.
There is no cost to start a blog; you can do it for free on sites like Blogger and WordPress. Having your own domain/hosting will give you more credibility, though. Sites like Google Adsense can provide paid advertisements for your site, though targeting affiliate programs to your audience can often be more lucrative. Applying to advertising and affiliate programs and networks doesn’t cost anything, either.