Starting an online business is easier than ever. In fact, you can start an online business with no money.
The days of having to locate wholesale products, buy inventory, rent storage space, and other overhead costs are long gone.
You can create an online business selling products without having to handle any products at all. That means no buying, storing, or shipping.
I’ll explain two great ways in which you can learn how to start an online business with no money.
Two Types of Online Businesses You Can Start for Free
There are two types of online business models that you can start without having to spend any money.
- Drop shipping
- Affiliate marketing
You can get started with both models free of cost. They both involve promotion of other people’s products. You do not have to buy any inventory and you do not have to ship anything.
The one major difference is that with drop shipping, you will have to deal with customer service in terms of handling complaints, returns, and refunds.
Affiliate marketing is hands off because when users buy products, they are referred to the company’s website in which you are an affiliate.
That is only one of the reasons that I prefer affiliate marketing over drop shipping.
Not having to deal with customers is often enough of a reason for many people to choose to be an affiliate marketer versus a drop shipper.
However, there is no reason why you cannot do both if that is what you desire to do.
How Dropshipping Works
Drop shipping is simply the process of you receiving orders on your store and forwarding those orders to your supplier.
Your supplier then ships the order from their warehouse to your customer.
You can inform your supplier that you are drop shipping and not to include any advertisements.
Your profit is the result of the difference between your mark up of the product price and what the supplier charges for the product plus shipping.
It’s a really awesome process when you consider that you do not have to do any of the shipping and handling.
Finding Dropship Suppliers
Finding product suppliers that will drop ship isn’t has difficult as it used to be. One of the most popular drop ship supply websites is AliExpress.
AliExpress is an online marketplace for small businesses (primarily in China) that sell their products for super cheap.
Most of these companies will sell their items individually (meaning you do not have to buy in bulk.)
A majority of these businesses do not have a problem with drop shipping. So long as you pay for the products and provide a shipping address, most do not even include any ads or promotions.
Opening Your Own Online Store
Opening your own online store is a must if you plan on drop shipping. You’ll want to be able to display a wide variety of products in your store.
You’ll also want a way to accept payments and an online store such as Shopify will process the payments for you.
I have experimented with opening a drop ship store using Shopify and it was extremely easy to do.
In fact, I recommend using Shopify and Oberlo together to import products from AliExpress right into your store.
Pros and Cons of Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a great online business model but it is not without its flaws. The upside is that you do not need to buy any inventory up front.
That alone lowers your start-up costs significantly. The downside is that you will have to rely on your drop ship suppliers to ship the products for you.
That means there may be times when they may not process an order or even run out of a product you’ve already sold.
You’ll also have to handle all customer service issues such as returns, refunds, and any complaints.
That can take up a lot of your time unless you outsource customer service to a virtual assistant or hire someone local to handle it for you.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Affiliate marketing differs from drop shipping in many ways. One of the biggest differences is that you do not have to deal with any customer service.
Affiliate marketing is simply promoting a company’s products or services in exchange for a percentage of the sale (commission) when someone makes a purchase using your affiliate link.
You do not have to buy any inventory, affiliate programs are free to join, and there are tons of products that you can promote.
Similar to drop shopping, it doesn’t cost anything to get started with affiliate marketing. One of the easiest (and often very profitable) ways to get started is by creating a niche website.
What is a Niche Website?
A niche website is a site that caters to a particular group of people interested in the same thing.
Niches are everywhere and you can even find niche ideas using AliExpress.
You can create a niche website on any topic you like.
If you have a genuine interest in a particular niche, the more fun you will have with creating your niche website.
Here are some niches that websites have been created for:
- Stand-up desks
- Football snack helmets
- Induction cookware
- Harry Potter fans
- Cat inspired jewelry
- Women’s fashion
- Potty training
The list can go on and on. There are affiliate products to monetize any niche you can think of. The niches in the list above could all be monetized using Amazon’s affiliate program.
Learn Affiliate Marketing for Free
Both drop shipping and affiliate marketing are great online businesses to start. However, both have a bit of a learning curve.
There are many paid drop shipping courses I have come across. I have yet to try one but it is something I’d like to learn in the near future.
As of now, my primary focus is affiliate marketing. I have been doing affiliate marketing off and on for years.
It wasn’t until after being laid off from my previous job that I decided to take it seriously. That is when I found Wealthy Affiliate and it has changed everything for me.
In the past, I made the same mistakes over and over and never made any real progress. Wealthy Affiliate gave me the tools and training I had been in desperate need of.
Best of all, I was able to start for free. Click here to learn what Wealthy Affiliate teaches about online business.
I believe that everyone should have multiple streams of income. Starting an online business is an awesome way to do so.
Drop shipping and affiliate marketing are two good options to choose from. Which online business model interests you?