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The internet is the great equalizer. In business 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: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. 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. 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 make money online with little or no cost at all.

business money

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 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. Instead, you work with a company that specializes in drop shipping. Here’s how it works:

  1. You list products for sale on your website or a platform like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy.
  2. When one of your customers makes a purchase, you purchase the product from a third-party company (the drop shipper, usually a manufacturer or wholesaler) for a lower price. This process is as simple as forwarding the order from your customer, a process that can actually be completely automated.
  3. Your drop shipper then 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.

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. Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. 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.

Blogging

If you have the expertise or a passion or interest for a subject, you’re ready to start making money with a blog. With a service like Blogger (www.blogger.com), you can start up your blog totally free. You can also create your own site and secure your own hosting for a low price. You may think blogging is all about writing. And it can be if that’s what you want to do. But written blog posts are just the start. You can post photos, videos, and links to other sites, repost news and other articles… anything is game, really, as long as it relates to your niche. You make money in a variety of ways-Google AdSense, blog ad networks and affiliate marketing.

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 1 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, a talking-head video on a topic of interest to people interested in your niche…the sky is the limit.

Information products

When you have an internet business, it doesn’t have to be about selling physical products. In fact, digital information products are one of the easiest and quickest ways to make money. There’s no shortage of ways to create information products, but the most popular formats include:

  • Audio: a recorded teleconference, interview, course, or some other spoken-word product
  • Video: a recorded webinar, a how-to, an interview
  • Text: an ebook, an instruction booklet of some sort, a travel guide

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: How To Fund Your Startup Without Venture Capital

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