Wanting to start a business online is an awesome, and worthy venture, but how to start to make money online, without paying a lot, from the start takes careful planning and execution.
Take Stock Of Your Skills And Resources
I highly suggest that your first step should be to consider an honest assessment of your skills and how much you can invest in order not bite off more than you can chew.
This step should occur before researching and deciding upon a type of business, or any other planning related to your potential business.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding Upon A Business Type And Strategy:
When asking yourself the following questions, do not think of the answers as potential disqualifying. These questions are meant to clarify your potential direction, and give you an insight into what you have to learn, and what type of books or courses you may want to purchase before jumping into the creation of your business. This will save you money in the long run. It will give you an opportunity to create a potential learning plan, and get the essential tools/qualifications needed, to get started quickly.
- How much energy do you have to invest in your business? Be honest and realistic when considering your energy level, and do not forget to consider all of your other obligations you are already committed to. Will you need to consider getting assistance or delegate some of your responsibilities from the start? Which of your other responsibilities can you outsource inexpensively (such as grocery shopping)?
- What skills do you have that are an asset for starting an online business? Do you know how to set up a website, or do you know how to code? Do you have sales experience?
- What skills are you lacking? If you have never set up a blog or website before, then I would consider creating a free starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate, which allows you to take a free course on how to set up your WordPress website. Keep in mind that most skills (with the exception of setting up your website) can be acquired as you take action. Therefore your list of skills you need to acquire, do NOT require you to run and purchase any course, and book that is out there. To get started, focus on the basic skills needed for now.
- What are your ultimate business goals? How much money do you want to make in the future? Set clear goals now in order to create a momentum, and keep yourself motivated during trying times. Try to create SMART goals, to make them as actionable and achievable as possible.
Start With Affiliate Marketing
While your online business does not need to – and should not, in order to maximise its potential – be limited to affiliate marketing, it is the best place to start for those with limited amount of money to invest, as well as the best way to acquire the skills needed to build an online presence, while working on your business simultaneously.
The low overhead cost – which essentially has to only be the cost of setting up your own website by finding a reliable host – makes affiliate marketing perfect for creating an online business, that eventually can be expanded upon, and for the most part outsourced and automated as well. The growth potential of affiliate marketing is limitless, and additional opportunities – such as adding your own products, working with sponsors and companies, or adding a variety of niche site, gives you a chance to take affiliate marketing as an ideal launchpad.
Building a website, and finding the perfect niche for you to explore, is your first step in starting an affiliate marketing business. Most websites that are now built are WordPress websites, which requires you to find a reliable host – the only upfront cost required – that can also handle potential expansion, for your future endeavors. That is the reason why I use SiteRubix as my host, as it allows me to build up to 25 websites with my own domains for the same price. As you can see there is plenty of room for expansion there, but if you are looking for a reliable web host that you can pay for one hosting service at a time – I recommend HostGator, as a great alternative.
Here is a sneak peek into the SiteRubix set up for managing your websites:
Affiliate Marketing Benefits:
- You can stick to the essentials – you will only need a few tools to start with.
- you do not need to purchase, store and send any products
- it is location independent – you can work from anywhere at any time wherever WiFi connection is available.
- even if you scale your overhead stays low, as you do not need any office, even when you later on hire employees – such as a virtual assistant
Essential Affiliate Marketing Tools You Need To Get Started
- a host for your WordPress blog
- a domain name (available to purchase via HostGator or SiteRubix)
- the know-how on how to build a WordPress site (or an inexpensive course to teach you how to do so)
- a free email hosting service (MailChimp does not charge anything until you have 2000 subscribers)
Continue Reading Below Video
Create A Solid Social Media Marketing Strategy
Once you created your website and chose which affiliate marketing programs you want to work with (I highly suggest that you consider signing up as an Amazon Affiliate) the next step for low cost/ now cost online business creation is to take advantage of social media platforms.
Social media is an effective, yet free tool to reach out to masses. Before placing ads, and spending a lot of money on other marketing tools, you can utilize targeted social media platforms to promote your business.
Be selective in what social media you will use – instead of trying to master all of them, zone into those platforms that fit your specific niche the most
Here is what you should consider when choosing your ideal social media platforms:
- Who is your target audience? If you are looking to connect with business professionals, Linkedin will be your best asset, while stay at home moms, in general, will be more likely to be found on Pinterest. Instagram is great if you have a very visual niche – such as health, food, or fashion.
- Which social media platform are you already familiar with? If you are already on one of those platforms – for example on Facebook – and it fits with your niche, build upon the skills you already have, and create a presence there. You do not have to build all of the platforms that are valid for your niche at once, instead deepen the skills you already have by purchasing a few CURRENT books on the individual platform (get Kindle Unlimited membership in order to have access to large list of free ebooks on various subjects including social media marketing), taking advantage of the completely free lessons available from Facebook via their learning platform Blueprint https://www.facebookblueprint.com/student/catalog and utilize learning platforms such as Skillshare to get more info on Twitter or Instagram management.
- What are the best posting times for the individual social media platform of your choice? Each social media platform has ideal posting times, which you should consider in order to maximize your earning potential and reach. This information is readily and easily available via a quick google search, and completely worth your time.
Develop A Brand To Build On Early In The Process
Keep the long game in mind when creating a brand.
As I mentioned in the beginning, affiliate marketing has the potential of being your base for a larger online business enterprise. An example of this type of business model is Pat Flynn, who started small, and with affiliate marketing, and has now built a large business that includes the selling of courses, as well as books to a wide audience of online business people.
But in order to expand, spent a significant amount of time, focusing on your overall money making strategy and brand.
Try to find money making ideas that fit together, so that they can build upon each other – for example, if your dream is to sell health bars and products, then start your affiliate marketing business in the health niche and promote products that are complementary to what you want to sell eventually. Select your future second niche to be similar than that of the first – so that you can link the information together and create a larger overall brand.
Create a solid customer base via your affiliate marketing site for scaling to fit your particular interests – may it be selling your art, products you have listed on Etsy, Amazon or anywhere else, or by selling courses, and even writing your own books. The potential is endless and can allow you to scale your potential business.
Your website’s look, logo and overall theme should reflect the brand and niche you are trying to work in, as well as your personality. You can make a logo for free using Canva.
Keep your ideal customer in mind – what do they like, what is their preferred aesthetic, and what kind of visuals do they relate to?
Don’t Fall For Scams – Be Selective What You Purchase
There are a lot more scams out there than there are legit programs, so be very selective in what programs you purchase and use. Here are a few tips on how to avoid scams when making your selection:
- know exactly what you are looking for in a program or resource before beginning your search
- do your research on every platform or learning program that you decide to join. Include in your research the person behind the program
- Be wary of products that seem to have only 5-star reviews, these type of reviews tend to be bought by the company, or created by affiliates with questionable ethics
- try to only use programs that allow a test or trial period
Related Article: Don’t Fall For Get Rich Quick Scams!
Develop An Expansion Strategy
Set goals and or milestones that you have to achieve in order to move on to the next stage of expanding your business. For example, I had set a goal of making 200 Dollars minimum a week from my Affiliate sites consistently for a month and had saved 1000 Dollars before I invested into purchasing products to sell via Amazon. Now I knew I could afford to take the money I made to move into products.
Your indicators for scaling may look completely different than mine where, depending on your business, your cash flow, and other overall goals, but the importance is to have one. Place triggers into your expansion strategy, and do not forget to reward yourself for reaching each milestone!
Use Profits To Expand Slowly
- if your goal is to sell Amazon FBA, use the affiliate marketing profits to purchase high-quality products in small quantities to get started, and only after having done thorough research.
- don’t be afraid to use the website or sites you have already build to expand your offers beyond affiliate marketing. As I have mentioned before, Pat Flynn is a great example with that. I highly recommended that you take a detailed look at this website, which allows you a very transparent insight into how he scaled and continuously scales his business.
- once profitable, begin to automate. Start small, by hiring Virtual Assistants for small, individual tasks, or by using the services listed on Fiverr. You can outsource tasks that are easy to teach – such as social media management to start with, with. Once you have made more money, and feel comfortable with the delegating progress, you can use services such as Habilis the to hire a freelancer and virtual assistance to assist you when needed.
Be willing to adjust your goals and your approaches if necessary
Because, the experience can and will teach you best what works and what does not work, be flexible with your approach in reaching your ultimate goals, but do not be easily deterred. It is easy to get discouraged from time to time, when building an online business, especially without a large upfront investment, and therefore it can seem that you might never reach those goals. As long as you are willing to adjust your tactics from time to time, making a profitable business is possible.
Also ready to change your approach if your market changes, which is why it is very important to stay connected. Your target audience needs may change over the months and years that you are working on your business, so staying connected and moving with them is an important strategy to keep in mind.
It is possible to make money online without a large monetary investment. It does, however, require you to be willing to invest your time and skills, and build upon them to reach the potential you are seeking.
Claudia aka Miss Fiercely Independent.