The internet is the great equalizer. Online businesses specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: virtually no technical experience is needed. Today there are plenty of tools you can use to build an online business that makes the technical work a lot easier than it was in the past.
You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either. It’s a truly democratic medium for entrepreneurship.
Best of all, unlike a brick-and-mortar business, you don’t need a lot of startup capital. In fact, you can get many internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For example, you can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress. Or you can leverage a third-party site like Amazon or eBay to sell goods with no inventory costs. You use their selling platform in exchange for giving them a cut of your sales.
And this is just the start of the many available no-money e-commerce startup solutions. Let’s consider five of the top ways to start an online business and make money online with little or no cost at all.
1. Amazon FBA
How Can I Make Money With Online Arbitrage On Amazon?
I can read your mind. The question you have right now is:
How in the world can I actually make a profit from this? Can’t everyone else just go to the other site and buy the item I am going to buy? This seems too good to be true.
I 100% understand this question. It’s the exact same question I had when I got started with arbitrage on Amazon.
The answer? Well, it all comes down to consumer loyalty and lack of information and time.
Think about a typical consumer. When they are ready to buy something online, where is the first place they head? For most, the answer would be Amazon. Some head to Amazon because they know they can find what they are looking for and don’t need to look elsewhere.
Others head there because they can get their items quickly with Prime shipping. Others head there because it’s the app they have handy on their mobile device. People are willing to pay a premium for convenience and customer service.
Do you think they want to spend hours searching online store by online store just to save a few bucks? My guess would be no. They want what they want and they want it now. Plus some of the consumers would never even think to look on another website for the same item.
As someone who finds products at the right price for online arbitrage, you are trained to look everywhere. You are trained to know how to stack promo codes or use discounted gift cards. You are trained to find the deals.
Most normal people are not. This is why online arbitrage works and this is why you can bank money by doing it.
Before you get all excited, I want to make certain to stress that online arbitrage is not a “get rich quick scheme”. It might sound easy, but there is actually a lot of work that goes into the searching for flips and managing of your Amazon account.
If you are willing to put in the work, you will find that you can make some dough. In addition, there are some risks involved when you have to purchase inventory (items not selling, returns, and damaged products).
You can minimize your risk by making educated purchasing choices and by taking additional steps to protect your investment.
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2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar to drop shipping but with some key differences. With this online businesses model, you again don’t maintain an inventory of your own products, and you don’t have to worry about shipping products to customers.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business , and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. Many big name companies and brands like Wal-Mart and Home Depot run their own affiliate programs.
With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. Commission amounts vary depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either. Just like with drop shipping your only costs will be marketing and advertising to drive traffic and generate the sale.
The key difference between this and drop shipping is that the business model is even more hands off. All you have to do is provide a link for the customer to click on and the merchant handles everything; billing, order fulfillment, customer service, etc.
All you have to do is handle the marketing to get your prospects to buy (through social media, email marketing , blogging, or whatever method you choose). But after they click the affiliate link, it’s out of your hands. You don’t have to ship products or handle any customer service questions. And you certainly don’t have to maintain an inventory.
All you have to do is focus on paid and free ways to market your online business Affiliate marketing really is one of the most “hand-off” types of online businesses you can start.
3. Online Video
Have you watched a YouTube video lately? Of course you have! This is one of the world’s most popular websites, with more than 2 billion users watching hundreds of millions of hours of video each day. And it’s not all cats doing funny things, by any means.
You can leverage YouTube’s reach to make money online . No, you’re not trying to create a viral video, so to speak, although if it does go worldwide and is seen by millions, that’s a good thing.
Instead, you’ll be following a proven strategy for maximizing views of multiple videos on a regular basis. You’ll be creating useful content something engaging that people want to watch. And it works in many, many different niches. It could be a how-to video or a talking-head video on a topic of interest for people in your niche the sky is the limit.
You make money with ad revenue. Your first step is to create a YouTube account and start uploading videos. Then you enable monetization on your YouTube settings. Basically, this gives Google the go-ahead to include short AdSense ads with your videos, which you’ve seen if you’ve watched a YouTube video. When viewers click on those ads, you get paid.
Another opportunity to make money with a YouTube channel is through paid sponsorships. Build a large enough following and companies will be more than happy to pay you to promote or mention their products and services in your videos. Some tips to create professional-looking videos (no expensive pro equipment needed):
You can use your smartphone or a simple video camera.
But make sure the lighting is good so that everything in your video is clear and easy to see.
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Make sure the audio is clear.
You don’t want an air conditioning hum, construction noise, or other distractions.
Use simple editing software like iMovie to put titles at the beginning of the video and to edit out any flubs.
Above all, remember that your videos can be simple and don’t have to be slick. Just provide useful content and be engaging and interesting. Funny helps, too.
And to extend the reach of your videos, be sure to post them on your Facebook business page , Twitter, your blog, and other channels. Let people know you’re in the video business now.
In addition to ad revenue from YouTube videos, you can also use your YouTube channel to drive traffic back to your website, where visitors can read your product reviews, click on the ads on your website, or even get onto your email subscriber list where you can make multiple sales with your email list.
Putting It All Together
The trick with any online business is to make sure you’re in a profitable niche market . So be sure to keep an eye on trends, check out bestseller lists on sites like Amazon, and consider what people are discussing on social media.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one of these e-commerce opportunities.
Start out with one and get it going. Then add new revenue streams as you’re able. That will grow your income and ensure that you have something to fall back on should one business start going south.