How to Start a Small Business Online with No Money: 8 Methods

Do you want to make money from the internet? Let me show you how to start a small business online with no money. At least with very little of it.

And I’m not talking about just any business online. I’m talking about proper online businesses that can potentially replace your current income.

Sound good?

So when a lot of people think about creating an online business they think they need to find the best product and have the perfect business plan. 

The truth is far from it. When I started building my websites to create an income online so I can do the things I love like traveling, I didn’t start knowing everything. I actually had very little knowledge of starting a business. Everything I learned about websites, writing content, SEO, was in my spare time while working in another job. And since my online business didn’t need a ton of money to launch or to keep it running, it didn’t affect my wallet much if it failed or not. 

You see, time is the major investment of this. That could be your weekends or after work hours or early mornings. 

If you are ready to sacrifice some of your time to learn something worthwhile, listen up!

1. Leverage Your Skills

One of the best ways to start a business is to leverage the skills you already have. Because you need very little of anything else. You don’t need any equipment or inventory and have very little overhead.

Before you write off thinking that you don’t have any skills that you can use to make money as a business.

Think, what are you known for?

See how the skills you gained from your profession can be put to a service based business.

Let’s say you are an IT person, see how your problem solving skills can be used as a service.

If you’re good at yoga, you can set up a website and advertise classes

If you have planned your friend’s parties and know a thing or two about planning a great party – you can use that to start a party planning service.

What about social media? Do you know how to manage social media accounts to gain followers and improve a brand presence? – Another great online business opportunity.

The list can go on…

2. Become a Freelancer

Similar to creating a service-based business, freelancing is a great way to get started online with no money. 

Some Popular Freelancing Services Include:

  • Graphic Design
  • Article Writing
  • Video Editing
  • Virtual Assistant
  • And 100’s more

There are even some very popular platforms you can use to host and advertise your services. 

These are the companies that I personally use for freelancing services:

3. Sell Handcrafted Goods

I know some of you have the talent for creating little handcrafted items. These can be jewelry, home decor items, pet toys, etc.

There’s a huge market for handcrafts, so if you have the skills, put them to a good use by creating an online business around it.

Some popular platforms you can utilize to start your own crafts store are:
Amazon Handmade

4. Become a Video Content Creator

Video is definitely the future. That doesn’t mean other content forms will cease to exist but, the market share for consuming videos is definitely on the rise.

It’s no secret that if you can build a YouTube channel with 1000’s of followers you can earn money.

This costs hardly any money because you don’t really don’t need anything else other than a smartphone camera, an internet connection and a good idea.

You can create a channel on just about any topic. Be it gaming, woodworking, playing instruments. Best thing about it is that if you are fluent in another language other than English, you can create a channel in that language where the market still has space for.

Remember you just need a smartphone camera, all the other tech items can come later.

5. Resell Things Online

Reselling things online is also a great way to create your first online business. Although this does require you to have some funds upfront for you to get going.  It’s not in the $1000’s so I decided to include this method in this post. 

The best way to get started is at your local thrift shops and garage sales. Look for things that you know can be sold at a higher price than what you are buying them for. These places sometimes have things that you can buy for a few dollars that can be sold at a handy profit online. 

It’s best if you know about a category already. Be it clothes, shoes, jewelry or electronics. If you buy things that you “think” that can be sold at a certain price is not a good way to do this business. You should have that knowledge beforehand so that you don’t buy things that don’t sell.

But, nothing that you can’t learn, right? If you’re willing to do the research and learn then it’s still a good way of making money online.

6. Write a Course

Writing a course is something that is on my mind for a few months now. I have knowledge of making websites, creating content, SEO, and much more. I write these blogs from the knowledge I already have and some research. 

I can create a complete course on all these and put it out there for people to purchase. In the future, look out for my course. 🙂

Now, about you…

Here are some example topics you can create a course on:

  • Hiring and managing people
  • Photography
  • Editing videos
  • Playing the guitar
  • Interior design
  • Public speaking
  • Drawing

You get the point…

7. Build a Drop Shipping Store

The key selling point for dropshipping is that you don’t have to manufacture any product or keep any inventory. It also requires little upfront investment. 

The way it works is:

  1. You sell an item advertised on your website to a customer
  2. Once the customer makes a purchase, you place that order to a third party who stocks that item. 
  3. The third-party company ships that product
  4. You deal with customer service

You will have some costs though. This is mainly for advertising. You have to get the product in front of people so most drop shippers use paid advertising to achieve this. So an ad budget is required. Although it is possible to use organic traffic methods as well.

Dropshipping works and some earn a considerable income doing so. But there is a learning curve. You will need to learn how to choose the right products and create good quality ads that sell. You can get a company to do all this for you as well but that costs money – something most of us don’t have when we are putting the foundations to a business.

Keep in mind that choosing a good supplier is the key to the whole thing. The customer sees you as the seller and you will be held accountable for the timely delivery of their products. If your supplier takes a long time to deliver or doesn’t have the products in stock that they claimed they had, it will affect your brand and you are the one that deals with customer service.

Also, profit margins are low compared to stocking your own inventory and you probably will have to deal with other marketers selling the same thing and undercutting you on price.

But, there are ways to deal with all these. For example, private labeling your products and paying attention to packaging to differentiate your products from the rest.

8. Build an Affiliate Website – My Personal Favourite

If you asked me, “out of all these methods what would be the best method for a beginner to build a business on?” My answer would be: Creating an affiliate business.

What is an affiliate business?

Better known as affiliate marketing, it is somewhat similar to dropshipping.

Affiliate marketing is a method of earning commission for selling another company’s products.

Where affiliate marketing differentiates itself from dropshipping is that affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to do anything other than to refer the customer to the product page of the company you are affiliated with. And if the customer buys the product – you get the commission.

Anyone can learn how to start an affiliate marketing website. It’s something I learned from scratch.

Why Do I Recommend an Affiliate Business?

  • You don’t need to manufacture a product
  • You don’t need to buy and stock any inventory
  • You don’t deal with customer service
  • You don’t handle the shipping
  • You don’t need an ad budget 
  • You can utilize content marketing to get free traffic to your website
  • Hardly any funds required to get going

What you do need and should get is a course that teaches you how to do it properly. A place where there are people who are doing the same thing that you can ask questions from and a place where you have all the tools required to build your business in one place.

That place is Wealthy Affiliate. I’ve been a member of that community for many years now and It’s still the number one recommended place to learn affiliate marketing.

If you would like to read more detail about Wealthy Affiliate, I have written a full review right here.


That’s it folks, these are the best methods of creating a small business online with no money. All these methods can be scaled to give you a full-time income. But, the key to do that is in your hands.

Not everyone succeeds in doing so, but the ones that do aren’t any different from us. They just have the drive to learn something new and to never give up until they succeed.

Do you have what it takes?

As always, leave your feedback on this post below. If you found this post helpful, share it with people you love. What better way to say I love you than showing them the paths to creating their own online business. 🙂

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