June 12


How To Start An Online Business With No Money: 23 Free Or Dirt Cheap Ways

By Hanson Cheng

June 12, 2023

  • minute read
  • How marvelous would it be to get ideas on how to start an online business with no money?

    A carefully chosen list of proven tactics that inspire you to launch a booming business, make tons of money, and live life on your terms.

    All this with zero (or very little) financial investment.

    Best of all, how useful would it be to get the marrow of each business type, learn its pros and cons—plus also find a resource guide for every idea so you can dig deeper and get started fast?

    That’s exactly what you’ll get here today.

    Let’s begin.

    Why Start An Online Business?

    Online gigs have exploded over the last decade, and for good reason. Here are five benefits of starting an online business to inspire you.

    1. 1
      Supplement your income: A profitable side gig can significantly boost your regular income. 
    2. 2
      Create your dream life: Starting a side business helps you live your dream lifestyle.
    3. 3
      Secure your financial future: Running a side hustle shields you from financial ruin in case you lose your job or an unforeseen disaster like Covid-19 turns messes up your finances. 
    4. 4
      Reach a worldwide market: Setting up an enterprise online opens up a global market of 1,8 billion potential customers for you.
    5. 5
      Low barrier to entry: Starting an online business only needs a laptop and stable internet connection—no rent, no utilities, no building repairs.

    Now that you’ve seen the benefits of starting an online business, let’s move on to the factors you need to succeed.

    Things You Need To Start An Online Business (Hint: Money Isn’t Part Of The Equation)

    Anyone can succeed with an online business. All it takes is for you to have these four qualities:

    1. 1
      An unshakeable will to succeed: Online ventures are not for the fainthearted. Up to 21,5% of businesses fail in the first year. By the fifth year, the failure rate shoots to 50%. To succeed, you must have a steely resolve and focus.
    2. 2
      A viable niche idea: Because of the allure of bumper online riches, it's easy to dream up out-of-this-world business ideas. Don’t yield to the temptation of running with the first idea that comes to mind. Research your idea. Get a second opinion. Most importantly, test it before going all in.
    3. 3
      A laptop and an internet connection: To rake in internet riches, you must be on the internet, right? So a laptop and a stable Wifi connection are a must. Next, let me sum up where we are going.
    4. 4
      A valuable product/skill and a market that wants it: Here are the three things you need to win in business. A valuable product or service that fills a need on the market.

      A specific target audience that wants the product/service. A unique set of skills that enables you to deliver the product/service to the target market.

    Starting An Online Business: The Cliffs Notes

    Before we get granular, let me give you a bird’s-eye view of how online business works. Let’s go through a few questions that may bug you about this online business thing.

    Do I need a company to sell online?

    Nope, you don’t need a formal company to trade online. You can get started and do the paperwork like company registration, employer’s permits, or professional licenses later when your venture has gained traction.

    What is a good business to start with no money?

    Freelance writing is hands-down the easiest business you can start online. With the exponential growth of content marketing, companies have an insatiable appetite for content to feed the ferocious content beast. Every industry you can think of desperately needs content.

    What business is good for beginners?

    If you are a beginner, starting an online business can sound daunting. Here are three low to barrier entry online business ideas for beginners.

    1. Coaching and consulting: allow you to leverage the knowledge and experience you already have.

    2. Courses: like coaching, online courses require little. All you have to do is to package your expertise into a palatable course format, and boom you have a product. 

    3. Affiliate marketing: you don’t have to scratch your head developing a product from scratch. Your only duty is to find a hungry market for a product that’s already there. 

    What are the successful online businesses?

    While there are many online business ideas, these seven models consistently rank on top.

    1. Affiliate marketing.

    2. Freelancing.

    3. Blogging.

    4. Ecommerce store.

    5. Courses and info products.

    6. Amazon FBA business.

    7. Coaching and consulting

    How can I start an online business from home?

    Technology has made starting a business from home easy.

    1. Discover your niche—a slice of the market that suits you.

    2. Research your target market’s needs and desires.

    3. Establish a product-market fit.

    4. Spy on your competitors to spot gaps.

    5. Develop or source your product/service.

    6. Price accordingly and perfect your product fulfillment system.

    Now that the fundamentals are out of the way, let’s dig deeper. 

    23 Ways To Make Money Online With (Or Little) Money Investment

    It’s time to reveal specific online money-making ideas, a whopping 23 of them. I will describe each idea and show you its pros and cons. Plus, I will also give you the best resource on the topic for further study and so you get started quickly.


    Let’s dive in

    1.Create and Sell eBooks

    $16,647 million.

    That’s the net worth of the eBook market, according to Statista. Simply put, books can make you bucks, and big bucks at that. Tap into the deep reservoir of your competencies and accomplishments to come up with a marketable ebook.
    • Charge what you like.
    • Effortless to create if you run a blog with a lot of content.
    • You keep a bigger portion of the sale.
    • Selling ebooks is hard work.
    • Low prices because the market is flooded.

    2.Create A Paid Online Course

    You can strike it rich with online courses. Studies reveal e-learning courses will be a $325 billion industry by 2025. If you have unique skills that can solve a problem worth paying for, you can create a highly profitable business based on your experience and expertise.

    • Very lucrative, make anything from $50 to $1000+ per student.
    • Easy to test the validity of your idea
    • Superb passive income generators.
    • Course creation is slow, arduous work.
    • Needs heavy marketing to take off.

    3.Become An Affiliate Marketer

    Do you know the biggest hustle of starting a business from nothing?

    Developing an excellent product that fills a market need. 

    Affiliate marketing does the hard part for you because you sell someone else’s product. The product is already there. All you have to do is find a market for it.

    • Zero or very little financial investment to get started.
    • Potential for huge earnings if you sell high-ticket products or already have a lot of traffic.
    • A wide choice that covers every conceivable industry. 
    • Driving the right traffic to your affiliate pages can be hard.
    • Earnings aren’t guaranteed—no sales, no income.


    To sell physical products, you don’t need a vast warehouse to keep your stock.

    How then do you operate?

    By adopting the drop-shipping model. Drop-shipping allows you to run an online business by taking orders from customers and letting your third-party supplier ship the product.

    • Super easy to get started.
    • Suppliers do most of the work.
    • Broad product selection since storage space isn’t an issue.
    • Poor customer service from suppliers hurts your earnings and reputation.
    • Low-profit margins.

    5.Become A Freelance Content Writer

    Have you always enjoyed writing since childhood?

    Do you have a knack for communicating through the written word? Then start an online business as a content writer. Because content makes the internet marketing world go round, job opportunities are plenty.

    • You choose your rate.
    • Free writing training readily available online.
    • All industries are desperate for skilled writers.
    • Inconsistent work—the dreaded feast and famine cycle.
    • Lousy pay in some circles.

    6.Copywriting Services

    Companies exist for one purpose only—to sell.

    Copywriting is words that sell. If you master copywriting, companies will pay you hundreds to thousands of dollars for a single sales letter or other sales copy. Thousands of copywriters earn $50k+ per year comfortably.

    • You only need a laptop to start.
    • Anyone can learn copywriting.
    • Covers every niche on the planet.
    • Labor intensive.
    • Landing initial clients is hard.

    7.Paid Webinars

    These days people will pay decent money to access helpful info. Monetize your expertise by coming up with top-notch webinars to help people or brands grow. As long as you serve premium content that meets a need people will pay for, you are in business.

    • You charge what you want.
    • Work once and get paid many times.
    • Easy to set up through webinar platforms.
    • Only works for those who are comfortable speaking.
    • Technical glitches can mar your presentation.

    8.Virtual Conference

    Like webinars, virtual summits are another cheap online business idea you can explore.

    Hosting paid virtual conferences is a great fit if you are well connected to the top dogs in your industry. Invite them to come and speak on your chosen topic. Charge potential customers for access to the meaty talks.

    • Speakers do the heavy lifting.
    • You can sell the recordings again and again.
    • Easy to kick off if you have a powerful network.
    • You need an impressive lineup of speakers to pull it off.
    • Some people prefer face-to-face live events.

    9.Google AdSense

    If you have a blog, Google ads are one of the easiest and zero-input ways to monetize it.You display ads that are related to your site’s topic. Whenever users enter a search query on the search engine, land on your ad, and click on it, Google pays you for it.

    You can make up to $100+ a day through Google ads.

    • Big rewards for big well-optimized sites.
    • You earn money while you sleep.
    • Easy to set up.
    • You don’t have control over your earnings.
    • No clicks, no cash.

    10.Sponsored Content

    Do you own a blog that’s getting decent traffic? Then you can make money through sponsored content. Charge companies to publish content on your site so they increase brand awareness. You can earn anything from $50-$1000 per post depending on the niche, traffic, and your site's domain authority.

    • Decent earnings if you own a high-authority site.
    • Maximum gain through minimal effort.
    • You get quality content for free.
    • Only works for those with established sites.
    • Erratic earnings if not marketed well.

    11.Virtual Assistant

    Running a successful business involves doing a ton of administrative tasks. These duties can become overwhelming pretty fast.

    Make money as a virtual assistant by doing part of these admin duties for companies as a virtual assistant.

    • Earn a cool $20 to $80 an hour.
    • Specialize to earn more.
    • Wide range of gigs to choose from.