5 Ways to Start a Low Cost Online Business

At a certain point, the need to start making money instead of trying to save more becomes inevitable. The good news is that the old addage “You have to spend money to make money”, no longer applies in the online world. All of these ideas do take effort to get started initally and can make crazy amounts of money or just supplemental income. Obviously results will vary widely depending on a ton of variables, but regardless, it is possible to money “almost” passively with these strategies. Interested in making some money? keep reading.

1. Blog with Adsense

Starting a blog is the absolute easiest way to start a low cost online business. All it takes is knowledge on a subject and the ability to discuss it and effectively “teach others” about it in plain english. [pullquote-right]Starting a blog is the absolute easiest way to make money. All it takes is knowledge on a subject and the ability to discuss it and effectively “teach others” about it in plain english.[/pullquote-right] Adsense is the easiest, most passive way of making money with a blog, but it also may not be the highest earning strategy available. Regardless it takes very little effort to get set up and get running and depending on your traffic you can make money almost immediately.

How? Adsense has two main types of ad models, among them are Cost per click(CPC), and Cost per impression or Cost per Mille(CPM). CPM basically means Cost per thousand impressions, So a CPM of 1-2 dollars is pretty normal and a very low CPC of maybe fifty cents will get you started estimating income. The problem with these numbers is that they vary wildly depending on what your content is about.

Google is smart enough to know that if your blog is about programming, a predominately male career, showing ads about women’s fashion probably is not going to to help anyones bottom line. The point here is that you’re going to earn alot more from adsense if your niche is product related. If people can attempt to sell what your blogging about, your going to make a lot more from adsense.

Luckily there are others way to make money for those of you not looking to blog. Let’s move on.

2. Selling a Product

Selling a product online used to be the job of big business because of all the security issues you have to deal with, add in customer support, and it really can be quite the handful if you’re not prepared to deal with these issues. This is definitely not a passive business model, but if you have a product that you make in your free time that people will pay money for, there is absolutely no reason you can’t sell it to anyone these days.

How? Well, it depends on the product.

Digital Products

If you’re wanting to sell a digital product you can use that as added monetization for your blog and follow the steps above to set it up, if its protected content you want to sell, or video courses, [highlight]I highly recommend a wordpress blog and using hostgator[/highlight](Use coupon code “btjpersonalfinance” to get 9.94 off or use “btjpersonalfinance25” to get 25% off your purchase at signup) for hosting and domain purchases.

I also recommend buying a membership for wpmudev as they have everything from ad serving, digital courses, and protected forums, all of which can be monetized and protected. I encourage you to look through their plugin list, the best part about signing up for an account with them is that you can pay for a month, download all of the apps and cancel your subscription. They are okay with this, check their FAQ page and you can always sign back up if you need support or updates.

Tangible Products

Back to wpmudev, they also have an ecommerce platform called Marketpress that I highly recommend using, the problem with this solution is that you have to pay for hosting, pay for a membership and you still may not sell any product.

So what should you do? Start a low cost online business using pinterest. But pinterest doesn’t offer that ability? Yeah I know, the thing is, there are thousands of people selling their products like this. It gets you major exposure if you can take good photos of your products and it literally cost nothing. Couple pinterest with paypal as your payment platform and you have an absolutely zero cost, made to order business model.[pullquote-left]Couple pinterest with paypal as your payment platform and you have an absolutely zero cost, made to order business model.[/pullquote-left]

This is incredibly simple, post photo’s of your product on pinterest with a nice description, including price and your email address and see if any orders roll in. When they email you, you have a friendly conversation about when you can ship it, what the cost is, and how to pay via paypal and boom. You can start making money with no cost to you. To keep product cost even lower, you can make everything to order(if applicable). Meaning you don’t start making the product until they pay you for it. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

When you’ve decided you need to step it up, go back to the top and visit wpmudev. You will need an SSL certificate for any domain where you want to sell products, so that is usually a small additional cost you can get from your hosting or domain provider.

3. Affiliate Programs

I would never post an affiliate link that I don’t believe in or have not used myself and been extremely satisfied with. You can browse my site and see how I use these, they are always in connection with the topic at hand, and are included as an attempt to guide my readers to use something that I KNOW works.

Affiliate programs are usually strictly reserved for monetizing blogs, because most affiliates require you to have a website url to start selling stuff. Basically an affiliate is an online retailer or service provider that pays you for referrals. Amazon has a great one that I suggest you look into. Affiliates are really a fantastic way to add earnings to blogs and shops.

Review a product and if it was a good review, post an affiliate link to the product, bad review? post an affiliate link to the product you recommend over it. Either way if people are looking for product reviews, they are almost always considering buying the product or something close to it. Why not get paid for helping them choose.

Affiliates are not just about products, in an attempt at full disclosure here, because I don’t ever want my readers to be deceived, I have affiliate links all over my site. Some of them are hostgator, wpmudev, and creditkarma. I am in this to make money as well as help you succeed in what I am constantly trying to do, which is make a little extra money.

4. Freelance

This one is probably the most work intensive, but its still a way to make money. Do you have a skill you use at your day job all day that others are willing to pay for? I’ll bet you do. People outsource everything these days. Even if your dayjob is not something you can outsource in your off time or on weekends, you can still do just about anything, clerical work, administrative work, people outsource everything and its free to set up an account and get going on any freelance site. elance.com, odesk.com, etc.

5. Create an ebook

Does hosting and maintaining a blog sound like too much work? if you are knowledgeable on a subject matter and are considered a subject matter expert, there’s no reason you can’t create and sell an ebook. Amazon allows you to sell them there for free, of course they do take a cut so be aware of that.

It’s worth a shot if you are looking at making a little bit of money on the side. It might be that you in fact need a blog to market the ebook and display your intelligence on the subject before others will purchase it. Regardless, this is a solid method and people make tons of money each year on it. If your going to go this route and still don’t want a blog, you can always be a guest writer for other blogs on the topic to drive traffic and hopefully sales to your ebook.

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