5 Online Businesses You Can Start With No Money

The internet is the great equalizer. In 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. Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is a business model where a seller does not keep the products they sell in stock. Instead, when a seller sells a product, they purchase the item from a third party and have it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly or hold inventory, making it a low-risk and potentially cost-effective way to start an e-commerce business.

Drop Shipping
Drop Shipping

The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory (or any inventory whatsoever) of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world.

In fact, you don’t have to manufacture or store any products at all.

How It Works

  1. List products for sale on your website or a platform like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy.
  2. When a customer makes a purchase, buy the product from a third-party company (the drop shipper) for a lower price.
  3. Your drop shipper sends the product to the customer.

Easy enough, right? With drop shipping, you can offer a wide range of products, so the operating expenses for your business are super low.


  • Requires very little startup capital.
  • No need to maintain inventory.
  • You can leverage established marketplaces with existing customer bases.


  • You can be blamed for your drop shipper’s mistakes.
  • The market is very competitive.
  • You must sell a lot to generate a substantial income.

One way to stand out is to private label your products, putting your own brand on them to face less competition.

Anyone considering a drop shipping business should seriously consider leveraging Amazon.com to grow their business, as it’s an established marketplace with an existing customer base.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based online marketing strategy where businesses reward affiliates (partners or publishers) for driving traffic or sales to the merchant’s website through the affiliate’s marketing efforts. In simpler terms, affiliates earn a commission for each sale, click, or lead generated through their referral.

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar to drop shipping but with some key differences. With this e-commerce model, you again don’t maintain an inventory of your own products, and you don’t have to worry about shipping products to customers.

How It Works

  1. Pick a profitable niche for your online business.
  2. Find an affiliate partner with products available in that niche.
  3. Offer the products for sale on your blog or e-commerce website.
  4. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner.
  5. When a prospect clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you receive a commission.


  • Low risk: No initial investment required.
  • Hands-off business model.


  • You’re responsible for driving web traffic to the affiliate link.
  • May need to spend money on advertising and marketing.

The key difference from drop shipping is that the business model is even more hands-off, with your affiliate partner handling everything post-click.

3. Blogging

Blogging is a form of online content creation where individuals, known as bloggers, regularly publish articles or posts on a specific platform, often a blog website. These posts typically include text, images, and sometimes multimedia elements, with the purpose of sharing information, opinions, or personal experiences with an audience.


If you have expertise or a passion for a subject, you’re ready to start making money with a blog. With platforms like Blogger or your own site with secure hosting, you can start up your blog for free.

Monetization Strategies

  1. Google AdSense: Earn through pay-per-click ads on your blog.
  2. Blog Ad Networks: Work with networks like Blogads to run banner ads.
  3. Affiliate Marketing: Integrate product links for commissions.


  • Very low start-up costs.
  • You may work on your own schedule.


  • May take a long time to begin making money.
  • Creating and posting content can be time-consuming.

Remember to provide useful and engaging content regularly. Google AdSense and affiliate marketing can be lucrative, and maintaining authenticity is crucial for building trust.

4. Online Video

Online video refers to the creation, sharing, and consumption of video content over the internet. It has become an integral part of digital communication and entertainment, allowing individuals and businesses to share information, entertain, and engage with audiences globally.

Online Video
Online Video

Leverage YouTube’s reach to make money online. Create engaging content in various niches, and enable monetization on your YouTube settings to include AdSense ads with your videos.

Monetization Opportunities

  1. Ad Revenue: Earn from clicks on AdSense ads.
  2. Paid Sponsorships: Companies pay for product mentions in your videos.


  • Use your existing smartphone or computer.
  • Works across several different niches.


  • Creating and posting videos can be time-consuming.
  • It may take a while to begin making revenue.

Post videos on multiple platforms to extend reach, driving traffic back to your website for additional revenue streams.

5. Information Products

Information products refer to digital or electronic goods that provide valuable information or knowledge to consumers. These products are typically created and distributed in digital formats such as ebooks, audio files, video courses, or other downloadable content. Information products serve as a means for individuals or businesses to share expertise, insights, or educational material with an audience, often for a fee.

Information Products
Information Products

With an internet business, it doesn’t have to be about selling physical products. Digital information products, like audio recordings, videos, or ebooks, are one of the easiest ways to make money.

Popular Formats

  1. Audio: Recorded teleconferences, interviews, courses.
  2. Video: Webinars, how-to guides, interviews.
  3. Text: Ebooks, instruction booklets, travel guides.


  • Can bring in passive income.
  • Can be a quick way to make money.


  • Creating a product takes upfront work and time.
  • Initial investment may be needed.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to just one e-commerce opportunity. Start with one and add new revenue streams as you grow. Stay updated on trends and consider what’s popular on platforms like Amazon or social media.

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.

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