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Did you know you could start a successful business without spending any money?
For a long time I’ve dreamed of owning my own business but every business idea I had required a lot of start-up cash, which I didn’t have. I also didn’t have any experience in starting or running a business. Right before giving up on my dreams of financial freedom I stumbled upon the concept of internet marketing also known as starting and running an online business and I fell into that trap, I just had to try it.
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The term “online business” scares a lot of people away; some automatically assume it must be some sort of scam, others say: “How can I make any money online? There is no way I can compete with Google and Amazon” – I can assure you that both assumptions are completely wrong.
When I started my first online venture back in 2007 which eventually failed due to my own negligence (I will keep that story for another post) I was completely astonished by the fact that I could start a real business without spending a single penny. As time passed I started understanding how things work and I decided to invest $100 or so (yes, one hundred dollars) to make my life easier but even this amount is completely insignificant compared to the costs involved when starting a traditional brick and mortar business.
The No-Investment Online Business
I should mention that prior to earning any money online I have spent several hundreds of dollars buying every new shiny “Make a Million Overnight” program – to only understand that 99% of it was complete junk. Eventually I purchased an e-book that talked about Adsense and it seemed worth a try. At the very beginning I learned that I could make money by displaying ads on my website (which I didn’t know how to make). After watching a dozen of YouTube-How-To videos I was ready to “build” my own website, actually it was a free blog using BLOGGER.com. I do not remember the subject of my blog, however I remember that I wrote a few posts, added some Adsense ads and started promoting my new blog on local ads sites like Craigslist. And the money started rolling in, I felt like a king making $1-$2 per day.
I created a few free blogs, some made money some didn’t. There is a catch though… Free blogs aren’t very keen on the idea of you building blogs with the goal of making money, they are very picky on the traffic you send there and the banners you use on them. Some of my blogs were shut down and taken away from me which means all my efforts were lost which leads me to the next point.
Conclusion #1. You can start a income-earning online business without any money.
The $100 Investment Online Business
After 3 months and about $120-$140 earned from this blog I decided I had to expand and find a way to earn more money and do it faster, I also had to find a solution to building my OWN website so blogger and others wouldn’t be able to take it away from me whenever they please. It was quite obvious that there was money to be made online, now the question was in making the process more efficient. The e-book I mentioned earlier was very basic and didn’t have much detailed information so I went on looking for another hot e-book that would teach me how to start and grow my own successful internet business. This time around I was very careful though and decided to do a lot of research before getting scammed again – however all the products I found on the internet were full of scams and were making incredibly urealistics claims (and this is coming from a naive guy).
Eventually I stumbled upon this Travis guy who made a few interesting videos and who was promoting Wealthy Affiliate University. This program seemed more honest than many others simply because it didn’t make outrageous promises so I decided to take a chance and spend $30 for one month of membership (starting 2013 the basic membership at WAU is completely free). I swore to myself this was the last thing I would try and I knew I would quit internet marketing if this was another scam.
I signed up to this so-called “Affiliate Marketing Training Center” where I started learning the ins and outs of internet marketing and soon enough I realized that investing a few bucks would actually help me make more money. My first big purchase was a hosting plan. I don’t recall the exact price but it was around $70-$80 for the whole year. The next purchase was 2 domain names – 8$ each making my total investment just a few dollars shy of a 100. More training and How-To instructions from WA – I now had my own websites – and things started to pick up. Just a few month later I was making low 4 figures – which was incredibly amazing since it was more than I ever made at normal jobs.
- Hosting –
$70 per year(free hosting with WA)
- Domain name: $8 each, per year
- WA Business Training :
$30/month. Update: Free basic membership!
Conclusion #1. When you start earning money online you should consider investing back into your online business.
Growing The Internet Business
As my online marketing business grew so did my expenses. I set-up an e-mail marketing account with Aweber and started building my subscribers list. I started buying ad-space on Google with Adwords and on Yahoo with Yahoo ads, I started paying people design my new websites and re-design the old ones, I paid for keyword tools and many other services that I can’t even remember anymore, I paid for professional to write my press releases, I have tried to outsource as much as I could – all of these expenses were actually investments that made my business easier and smoother to run.
There is no spending limit here. Just remember – the more time you spend on boring, time consuming and/or unimportant tasks – the less time you spend on growing your business and earning more money.
Final Conclusion: Yes, you can start a real online business without any startup money. Yes, this business could turn into a multimillion dollar operation over the years (although you will need to re-invest some of your earnings back into the business). There are 2 Billion people with Internet access. This means you have a shop that’s open 24/7 and can be accessed from any part of the world with two Billion potential customers – and this is what makes an internet business much more attractive over the good old brick and mortar business.
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