When I worked as a web developer, I was always brainstorming part time business ideas with low investment costs.
The reason being was that I wanted a business that I could work on the side in order to free me from my day job.
Many people seek the same thing but cannot afford the start-up costs associated with most types of businesses.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon online businesses many years ago. It wasn’t until a year ago that I took it seriously and have made a consistent income with it.
I’ll share with you that business as well as another online business that have the lowest start-up costs around but with unlimited earning potential.
Why Start an Online Business?
Starting a business online is one of the best things I have ever done. It all started back when I was a web developer and feeling miserable at my job.
I was sending out my resume in the hopes of finding a gig closer to home and to earn a little more money.
Eventually, I got an interview at a company in which the owner had huge success selling an eBook.
The eBook taught people how to make money online through affiliate marketing. I had no idea what any of that was at the time.
I didn’t get the job but I became curious about affiliate marketing. When I learned that people were earning income online with it, I was hooked.
There are so many benefits to starting an online business. Some of my favorites include:
- Low start-up costs
- Flexbility (work on your business while working full-time)
- Unlimited earning potential
- Location independent
- Lifestyle freedom
- Semi-passive income
- Create a full-time income (quit your day job)
Low Start-Up Costs
The low start-up costs are what often attracts people to seek out a business online. The business model I use (affiliate marketing) can be started for well under $100.
An eCommerce business can also be started on the low for about $300 give or take. Compare this to the typical brick-and-mortar business that can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get off the ground.
Running a business online offers a ton of flexibility that you don’t get in a brick-and-mortar business.
You can maintain a full-time job while working on your business in your off time. That is what I did and was able to quit a retail job in a little over a year.
An online business is convenient for those that still need to maintain a day job to make ends meet.
Unlimited Earning Potential
One of the biggest benefits of an online business is its unlimited earning potential. There are no salary caps and you are not limited to one geographic location.
You have the whole internet to market to: 3.75 billion people!
This is another one of my favorite benefits of being an online business owner. I am not chained to any physical location.
I can run my business from anywhere with a WiFi connection. Many online business owners take full advantage of this perk by living abroad and traveling to various locations throughout the year.
This is truly my favorite benefit of an online business. After having worked for different companies over the years, the one thing that bugged me most was not having control of my time.
Time is the one thing that you can never get back. I spent more time at my jobs than I did with my loved ones.
Imagine being in control of your time. No clocking-in or clocking-out. Taking long lunches. Planning and going on vacations without requesting permission for paid time off. It is possible with an online business.
A lot of internet marketers say that an online business generates passive income. It does in a sense but there is always some work to do (at least some maintenance).
I prefer to say it is semi-passive income. For example, I work on my websites on a daily basis for a few hours a day.
However, if I want to take a week off, I can without worry of my online income slowing down. That is what I call semi-passive income.
Create a Full-Time Income
Generating a full-time income from your online business takes time. However, the work you put in up front will reap rewards in the long run.
So much so that many people have created full-time incomes from a business they started part-time.
Now that I have covered the many benefits of an online business, I’ll explain the two models that I like the most.
These two online business models fit the criteria of everything I’ve mentioned above:
- Affiliate marketing
How Affiliate Marketing Works
This online business model is really one of my favorite ways to earn a consistent income online.
It meets all of my criteria, particularly the lifestyle freedom aspect. It makes for an awesome career choice for introverts (which I am).
Best of all, there are zero clients and customer service issues to deal with. You don’t need your own product so there is nothing to buy or store.
You don’t worry about shipping and handling. Your only job is to promote other company’s products and services by signing up to their affiliate programs and sharing your affiliate links.
Here is how it flows:
A defnition of affiliate marketing is as follows:
Affiliate marketing is the promotion of other company’s products and/or services in exchange for a commission when a sale is made using one of your trackable affiliate links.
The particular way I promote affiliate products is by creating niche websites.
I write about a particular topic and recommend products to my audience that I feel would benefit them.
What You Need to Become an Affiliate Marketer
There are only a few things that you need to become an affiliate marketer. They include:
- A niche (target market)
- A domain name
- A website
Those are the essentials to get started. However, there is a learning curve to how to market successfully with your niche website.
I knew this for years but I was hesitant to seek out a legitimate training course because I was complacent in my day job (addicted to the paycheck every 2 weeks).
After being laid off, I could no longer waste any time. I sought out a reputable affiliate marketing training course and put what I learned to good use.
How Dropshipping Works
Dropshipping varies from affiliate marketing in that you have to own an eCommerce store.
It still has many of the benefits of affiliate marketing such as location independence, unlimited income, etc., but it requires a bit more maintenance.
The way it works is by starting with an eCommerce platform (an online store) that uses the dropshipping model.
You then source products for your store from dropshipping suppliers. You do not have to buy any inventory up front so that saves a ton of money.
Depending on the dropshipping eCommerce software that you use, it is simply a matter of importing products from a supplier.
When a customer buys a product, you then buy the product they’ve ordered from your dropshipping supplier.
You also pass along the customer’s shipping details to your supplier who then ships the product directly to your customer for you.
Here is a graphic representation of how it works:
What You Need to Become a Dropshipping Store Owner
As mentioned above, you will need an eCommerce platform that works with the dropship model.
Many new dropshippers start off using Shopify and Oberlo.
I started off testing their platform as well but I preferred using WordPress in order to save on monthly fees (WordPress is free to download and use).
In my research, I discovered the AliDropship plugin.
This is a powerful WordPress dropshipping plugin that transforms a WordPress installation into a fully functioning dropshipping store.
The products are sourced from AliExpress which has almost any product you can think of.
Which is the Better Online Business Model? Affiliate Marketing or Dropshipping?
Affiliate marketing and dropshipping are two awesome part-time business ideas with low investment costs that you can start today.
As far as which one is the better online business model, it is difficult to say. I think it comes down to preference.
Affiliate marketing can be slower to turn a profit as it relies primarily on content creation and SEO (search engine optimization).
However, when your website picks up speed by getting free targeted traffic from the search engines, the income you can earn is virtually unlimited.
Dropshipping can turn a profit much faster but that is due to paid advertising. Most dropshipping store owners market their stores using Facebook ads and Instagram shout-outs.
Once you get your footing with how to use paid advertising, your monthly income is also unlimited.
Personally, I say that it doesn’t hurt to use both business models and create multiple streams of income.
I hope this post has opened you up to two business ideas that fit the criteria of having a low investment up front.
Here my two recommended services:
Affiliate Marketing: Wealthy Affiliate
Dropshipping Store: AliDropship Custom Dropshipping Store
I wish you much success in your online business endeavors!