There’s no denying that the rise of the Internet changed the business landscape forever. In fact, just a few years ago, only a handful of people could start their own businesses. But nowadays, anyone with a computer and internet access can start a money-making online business. And while before, you would need to invest a hefty amount of money into any business, you can now do it all for virtually free. And best of all? With so many free tools and tutorials available, no technical experience is needed.
From drop shipping to blogging, there are countless ways to start an online business from scratch. However, it can be extremely hard to know where to start, especially if you don’t have any experience with online businesses. Luckily, we are going to help you by taking a look at 5 online businesses that you can start with no money.
1. Drop Shipping
To put it simply, drop shipping is a modern take on normal shipping which aims to make the entire process more flexible and hassle-free. For starters, you don’t have to worry about maintaining an inventory or handling the delivery yourself. As a result, you eliminate the risk and financial cost of ending up with a warehouse full of products that you can’t sell. And since you will never deal with hundreds of items and orders, you won’t have to waste time organizing the storage space. Actually, you don’t even have to manufacture or store any products at all.
As a drop shipping business owner, your job is to find customers and make sales by marketing and using effective advertising strategies. Once you make a sale, the rest is handled by third parties such as delivery companies and manufacturers. Therefore, you only have to spend money on marketing in order to find new customers.
How Does It Work?
While starting your own drop shipping business may look overwhelming, it is much easier than it seems. First of all, you will need to list products for sale on your own website or on an existing marketplace such as Amazon, Etsy, or eBay.
Once someone makes a purchase, you will need to purchase the same product from a third-party website but at a lower price than what you initially sold it for. Then, the third-party website will handle the delivery as long as the shipping address is valid.
In other words, you are simply forwarding the orders from your customers to another store. It’s also worth noting that you can automate the entire process, depending on the platform you are using.
What Are the Drawbacks of Drop Shipping?
Even though drop shipping offers a variety of benefits, it also has a few drawbacks that you need to consider. For instance, the market is extremely competitive, with hundreds or thousands of drop shippers looking to make money. Therefore, the margin, which is the difference between how much you spend on a product and how much you sell it for, is rather low. As a consequence, you will have to sell a considerable amount of products to generate a high income.
Furthermore, since drop shipping is dependent on a third-party delivery company, you have little to no control over delivery times. As a result, you need to carefully research each online shop before you purchase products for your clients. Namely, if your customer expects their products to arrive in a matter of days, you can’t purchase them from companies that take weeks to deliver the order.
You also need to keep in mind that you are responsible for both the delivery and quality of the product. If an order is late or the product is damaged during delivery, your customer will put the blame on you, not the third-party seller. Similarly, low-quality products are your responsibility, meaning that you will have to deal with possible refunds and chargebacks.
Drop Shipping Advice
As previously mentioned, drop shipping is a highly competitive industry that is constantly growing. And while lowering your prices can be a way to attract customers and stand out from the competition, you can adopt other strategies. For example, you can private-label your products using your own company’s brand.
All you need to do is put a label featuring your company’s name over the generic products that you are selling. By doing so, you will stand out from the other drop shippers that sell the same product brand over and over again. This strategy will also make your products seem more attractive and allow you to increase their price.
Drop Shipping Pros
- There is no need for an initial investment
- You don’t need to own large storage spaces for your products
- You can use established marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay
- There is no risk of losing money due to unsold products
- The business is truly flexible, allowing you to travel while handling customer orders
Drop Shipping Cons
- The market is highly competitive
- You need to sell a lot of products to generate high revenue
- Your brand’s name is responsible for the quality of the products and their shipping
- You may have a hard time finding customers when you begin
2. Affiliate Marketing
Although affiliate marketing is similar to drop shipping, there are a few key differences that make the former more appealing. With affiliate marketing, not only you don’t need to maintain an inventory, but you also don’t have to worry about delivery or product quality.
Basically, you need to pick a profitable niche for your business and then find an affiliate partner that sells products in that industry. And while drop shipping only works with physical products, affiliate marketing allows you to make money with digital assets such as ebooks, audio files, and video files.
But isn’t it hard to find reliable and trustworthy affiliate sites? Not at all, especially with big companies like Amazon and Clickbank entering the affiliate industry. In fact, even physical retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot have begun running their own affiliate programs.
How Does It Work?
As previously mentioned, affiliate marketing has a similar eCommerce business model as drop shipping. Your goal is to advertise products for sale on your eCommerce website, blog, or even social media profile. However, each product has a unique link that is connected to your affiliate account on the platform you advertise for. Once a potential customer clicks on your unique affiliate link, they are redirected to a checkout page already filled with the product he’s looking to purchase. If the prospect ends up buying the product, you will receive a commission that varies between 5% and 50%.
Just like drop shipping, your only job is to deploy effective marketing strategies in order to attract potential customers. As a result, you will only have to invest money in advertising or on hosting your own website.
Affiliate Marketing Pros
- You don’t have to invest any money
- Affiliate marketing is a truly hands-off business model
- The flexibility allows you to travel while earning money
Affiliate Marketing Cons
- The profit depends on how many people purchase the product
- You may need to invest money into advertising and website hosting
- The market is highly competitive
Nowadays, you can turn your passion for a specific subject or field into an income source thanks to blogging. With hundreds of dedicated blogging websites that can host your content for free, it’s easier than ever to start your own blog. And if your host is too restrictive, you can always create your own website and choose a better hosting company.
What makes blogging unique? Simply put, blogging allows you to write everything you want about your interests while also making money from ads. Not too fond of writing? Then you can upload pictures, videos, and links to other websites; you can even repost news or related articles. In fact, as long as your content is engaging, useful, and reliable, anything is fair game.
However, posting and creating content is time-consuming, especially if you are doing it on a daily basis. Not only that, but your content needs to fit certain criteria in order to be ranked by Google and other search engines. As a result, many bloggers outsource most of their content to professional SEO writers.
But how does blogging make you money? Once your blog has amassed enough users, you can use ads, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing to generate revenue. And much as ads are the most common way to make money, the rest are just as effective.
Casually browsing the internet, checking different websites and blogs? Then chances are you’ve seen at least a couple of ads. As a matter of fact, there’s also a chance that most of those ads are being run through the Google advertising network, called Google AdSense.
So how does it work? If you join the Google AdSense program, you allow ads to appear on your blog. Every time someone clicks on any of those, you make a few cents or more. And while you will only get small amounts of money, it adds up, netting you a few hundred dollars or more, depending on your blog’s monthly traffic.
Partnering with Google and allowing ads to run on your blog is one of the most hands-off approaches to online money making. All you need is a code from Google that you place in your website’s source code. Then, ads will automatically appear on your website in specially designed areas. It’s important to mention that Google will only show ads that are related to your content.
Blog Ad Networks
If you don’t want to take part in the Google AdSense program, you can work with ad networks and place ad banners on your blog. Besides banner ads, you can also run video ads to generate clicks. The process is similar to the one Google has, as all you need to do is to insert a code into your blog’s source code.
When it comes to money, blog ad networks usually provide their partners with more money per click. However, most blog ad networks prefer to work with blogs that are getting thousands of users per month or more. In contrast, Google AdSense allows any blogger or content creator to work with them, no matter how big or small their audience is.
As previously mentioned, affiliate marketing allows you to get a commission from each purchase made through your affiliate link. With a blog, you can cater your content toward the products that you advertise. For instance, you can do a product review and include a link to buy the product that you just reviewed. And if your blog focuses on tutorials and how-to content, you can advertise specific products that you use.
It’s true that blogging can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you don’t have advertising or marketing experience. However, there are three main rules that you can follow to make your blog stand out from the rest.
First of all, make sure that your content is engaging and useful to your audience. If your blog is boring or you don’t provide valuable information, you will quickly lose traffic. As a result, you should focus on creating a niche that only your blog can fill. You should also put a personal touch on everything you post, allowing your audience to grow fond of your content and your personality.
Next, you need to understand that people are always looking for new and exciting content to read or watch. Therefore, you should post content consistently, creating a schedule for your readers to regularly come back to. As an example, if you usually make a blog post two times per week, try to stick to this schedule moving forward. However, remember that spam or filler content is a big no for both your audience and Google SEO bots, so don’t post content just to maintain your schedule.
And finally, you must avoid making marketing pitches to your audience all the time. People visit your blog for your personality and your content, not to be constantly pushed toward making a purchase or clicking an ad. Ignoring this rule will most likely turn off your readers and reduce your overall traffic.
- There are virtually no starting costs or initial investments needed
- The schedule is flexible, as you can post whenever you want
- The hands-off business model allows you to earn money passively
- It may take some time before you start making money
- Creating engaging content is time-consuming
- You could lose visitors in a matter of minutes
4. Video Content
Have you watched any YouTube videos recently? If the answer is yes, then you already know just how popular and widespread YouTube content is. In fact, according to statistics, over 2 billion people watch hundreds of millions of YouTube videos each day. And since the majority of videos have ads on them, their creators are raking in cash. So why not try to get a piece of the pie by becoming a YouTube content creator?
How Does It Work?
You might be thinking that in order to get money on YouTube, you have to create a viral video and have it be seen by millions of people. And while that is a best-case scenario, you can take a different, albeit more reliable path. Similar to blogging, you can cater your content to a niche or subject that people are interested in. You could do anything from tutorials or reviews to personal stories or podcasts.
If you want to give YouTube a try, you first need to create your own channel and upload videos. Then, you should have the option to allow monetization of your content by changing your YouTube account settings. By doing that, you are allowing Google to display short AdSense ads during your videos. And just like blog ads, when viewers click on them, you get paid a small amount of money.
Another way to make money on YouTube is by accepting paid sponsorships, which provide different amounts of money depending on the size of your channel. However, you need to have a sizable audience before companies even consider you suitable for partnerships.
Video Content Advice
Before you give YouTube a try, you must understand that the quality of your videos is extremely important. As a result, you will need to make sure that you use high-quality equipment and professional editing software. Luckily, most modern phones have a reliable camera that you can use to record your videos. And when it comes to editing, there are a variety of free or trial versions of professional editing software.
Additionally, you can share your videos on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not only will that increase your reach, but it will also make potential sponsor companies aware of your content. And once you start amassing a large number of viewers, you can redirect them to your personal blog or website, where they could read your product reviews and use affiliate links.
Video Content Pros
- No initial investment needed
- You can use your existing phone to record videos
- You can create any content on any niche you want
Video Content Cons
- Recording and editing are time-consuming
- You will get demonetized if you don’t follow the YouTube guidelines
- It may take some time before you start earning money
5. Digital Products
Even though most online businesses deal with physical products, you can earn money by selling your own digital content. What kind of digital content? It can be anything from audio files such as interviews or courses to text files such as ebooks, travel guides, and instruction booklets.
How Does It Work?
If you want to sell digital content, you will need to find a niche and create content catered toward it. What makes this so appealing is that, once you find your niche, you can create any type of content that involves the subject. You can be as creative as you want, as long as the content is engaging and useful.
Afterward, you will need to put the content up for sale on your website or blog. And since the products are digital, potential customers can buy them at any time automatically. In other words, you don’t have to deal with checking orders and preparing the products for shipping. In fact, selling digital content is one of the most cost-effective online businesses, as you don’t have to waste money and time on delivery services. As a result, this business model provides a truly passive income, meaning that you can make money while you sleep, travel, or do other jobs.
However, it’s important to check your website once in a while and see what kind of content is popular among customers. Doing so allows you to understand the market and adapt your future content to your customer’s needs. Additionally, once you start making a steady revenue, you can buy the rights of other people’s digital products and sell them on your market.
Digital Products Pros
- The selling of digital products is one of the quickest ways to earn a passive income
- You don’t have to deal with shipping
- Reliable and effective once you have a backlog of different products
Digital Products Cons
- Creating engaging digital products takes time and effort
- You may need to invest some money into advertising your goods
- The revenue is usually inconsistent, as the amount you earn depends on how many goods you sell
Overall, it’s easy to see why online businesses are getting increasingly popular each passing year. Not only do you not need to invest any amount of money to create your own, but it’s also a quick and effective way to generate revenue. And while starting your own online business can seem overwhelming, it is much easier than it seems. In fact, as long as you find a profitable niche, you can create any type of business around that subject. If you don’t know where to begin, there are countless online tutorials that can help you jumpstart your business.
So what are you waiting for? Start your own business and earn money without the hassles of a traditional business.
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