5 Online business ideas without investment

“I have a proposal. If I can find a business you can start online for free or as close to free as humanly possible, will you get rid of all this stuff?” I asked with saddened eyes as I stood in one place, barely able to move more than a foot in any direction. I stood there, trying to take in the endless stacks of boxes and clothes that filled the home.

You see, I have this sweet neighbor who locally sells clothes, antique dishes and everything in between. Most months, she barely turns a profit and worst of all, her relationship is suffering. But not because of the lack of profit. 

My neighbor, who actually has a masters degree in finance, owns a gorgeous house with breathtaking lakefront views from practically every point in her home. But it’s almost impossible to enjoy those Instagram worthy views because her home is filled to the brim with stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. The thing is, she sees dollar signs everywhere, but her partner? Well, he sees nothing more than clutter and filth. Which is why her relationship is on thin ice.  

So being the good neighbor I am, I offered to help. My job was to brainstorm some business ideas that she could pursue to help her bring in at least $500 per month. But the caveat? She didn’t have any extra money to invest.

Maybe your home isn’t sidelining as a thrift store, but you’re here because like her, you want to find out what kind of online businesses you can start with no money or at the very most, $150 to invest.

So I put together this list of 5 online businesses that fit the bill.

So without further ado, let’s get into the list.

1 of 5 Online business ideas without investment

Or a very small investment of less than $150.

(1) Blogging.

Let’s kick things off talking about blogging for money. This one is a bit more time-intensive than the other stuff I’m going to recommend. Meaning it will take some time to get going before you see a profit. Obviously there are ways to streamline the process by running ads, however, we have a $150 budget and you’ll need all of that to get up and running.

If you have no idea what blogging is, in short, it’s what I’m doing right here on Brazen Panda. I write helpful articles and post them to our website. 

Now obviously that’s the simplified version of it. You can’t just write random stuff and post it on a blog and hope to make money.  I wish it was that simple. Blogging for money has to be strategic. 

You pick a topic (also known as a niche) and a target market (a group of people) and you create content that helps solve a problem. You don’t want to just pick a niche and run with it. It has to solve a problem. 

Why? Put simply: people buy answers to their problems. So if you can provide a solution to a specific problem? You’ll make money. For example, the goal of Brazen Panda is to help you start an online business with no tech skills. We meet so many people who want to start an online business, but don’t have the required skills to get everything set up. So they spend months kicking tires or paying people who do subpar jobs. They take course after course, only to find out the course creator sends them to Google to figure out the technical aspects of setting up an online business. 

We found a need and provided an answer to your problem. Hence why you’re here. You’re our target market.

So always remember this. If you want to make money online, solve a problem.

So other than Brazen Panda, what are some examples of niches and target markets? 

Here are three ideas for using blogging as one of the online business ideas without investment, that’ll get your brain going:

(1) Health and wellness. Maybe you’ve been a fitness trainer for years, or maybe you have a passion for taking care of your body. You could easily decide to start a fitness blog. But it doesn’t stop there. Remember we said to make money, you need to solve a problem. So let’s think about a specific problem this audience has and build your blog around that. So in this case, you could start a keto blog that focuses on helping women who need to lose 50lbs or more. Or maybe you help people use meditation to relieve anxiety and stress. Creating blog posts about these tips would be ideal.

(2) Relationships. Let’s say you want to create a relationship blog because you’ve been in a committed relationship longer than most or maybe you’re a marriage counselor by day. You can start a relationship blog where you help couples get through rough times. Or if you’re passionate about preparing couples for life after marriage, you can niche down by focusing on solving the problems that come with moving in together. And trust me, there are so many. Just ask any newlywed that never lived with their spouse prior to marriage.

(3) Fashion. Just look up fashion blogger and you’ll find so many blogs out there focused on fashion. The problem here is that the fashion space is super crowded. To stand out, you’ll definitely need to choose a niche and a target market beyond just blogging about fashion. In this case, let’s say you live and breathe fashion and happen to be a woman over 5’10 and it’s been a struggle to find clothes that fit right. This is a real problem y’all! So you can start a fashion blog that specifically helps women with long legs find stylish clothes that no longer fit like Steve Urkel’s high waters. You can write about outfits that will flatter their sexy legs and command attention wherever they go. 

 

via GIPHY

 

The more specific you get, the sooner you can make money. 

Hopefully, you’re seeing the patterns here. You find a problem and solve it. Boom: you’ve got yourself a money-making blog. Okay, there’s more to it than that, but that’s a start. 

But how does a blog make money? 

Once you start blogging, you can make money as a consultant or coach where you sell your knowledge to help your audience reach a goal. Another way is selling your own info products which we are going to talk about shortly. Then there is affiliate marketing which you sell other people’s products for them through a link you put on your blog. And lastly, a common oldie but goodie and that’s through putting ads on your blog (usually through Google Adsense).

We’ll talk more in detail about how to go about specifically making money in a later post, but for now, that’s a simplified version of how most bloggers make money.

To get started, your startup cost will be about $150. That’s about $84 for your domain and hosting (this is your yourblogname.com and hosting is what you need to make it live on the web) and another $59 for a theme for your blog (which is how you’ll design your blog yourself for cheap). All this for a grand total of about $150.

As you can see, you can take blogging in many directions. In fact, blogging is the backbone of most of the other business ideas we’re going to cover in this post. It’s just that powerful.

Speaking of being the backbone, let’s talk about another online business you can start with zero dollars. That is starting a consultancy.

Five online business ideas without a large investment

2 of 5 Online business ideas without investment.

(2) Consultant or Coach.

When I first started my auto relocation consultant business, which now runs on autopilot, I didn’t set out to be a consultant. It kind of happened by accident. A real case of supply and demand. There was demand for people wanting to learn how to start and run and auto transport broker business and I became the supplier. I bridged that gap for them.

My blog became the hub for attracting clients and I started teaching them through one on one phone sessions and charged $997 for three one hour sessions. Now I’m at $997 per hour. But as you can see, I had a specific knowledge to a specific problem and I charged for it.

You can see this in action through many business coaches, health coaches or life coaches today. Or if you’re new to the internet world, let me break it down for you:

(1) business coach. A business coach helps business owners solve a specific problem. Brazen Panda fits into this category as well. We help you break through the tech barriers so you can start an online business. There are business coaches that help people launch 5 figure online businesses. There are business coaches that focus on helping you use Instagram for marketing. Business coaches come in all shapes and sizes.

(2) health coach. A health coach can be a nutritionist who now helps people change the way they eat and charges them for ongoing sessions. Or maybe a fitness trainer who helps people lose weight and offers personalized training sessions you can do at home. My favorite example is Massy Arias. She helps women through her fitness program. You can check her out here.

(3) life coach. Life coaching is a broad specialty. There are so many different things a life coach can help you with. They can help you break free of the self-doubt you have and help you go after your dreams. There are life coaches who help you get the clarity you need to move forward in life. Tony Robbins is my favorite example of a life coach. 

These are just a couple. There are so many fields for coaches and consultants from finance coaches to marketing consultants. If you have a skill or experience in something, chances are you can leverage that to build your own consultant or coaching business. 

And the best part? 

You don’t need a ton of money to do it. 

via GIPHY

Just like blogging, you can buy a website and a theme for your blog for about $150 total. 

There are tons of free options for all the other stuff you’ll need to run this business and we’ll cover it in another post. The point here is you can leverage your painful experiences of going to work in a crappy job with a crummy boss for all those years, to make you money online.

Not so much doom and gloom after all. 

How to start an online business for free- 5 online business ideas without investment

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(3) YouTube.

Let’s say you’re a rockstar on camera and you’d love nothing more than to show the world what you’re made of. Or maybe you‘re a rocket scientist and you want to do experiments and record what happens when you mix oil with fire. 

You can create a YouTube channel and get paid. 

Whether that’s through a comedy channel, a tutorial channel, a learn Spanish channel or a channel that reads F1 tweets, memes and gifs like this guy who I’m a huge fan of.

Yep! All of those funny skits, makeup tutorials and videos of children playing with slime, are people who are making money by posting videos on YouTube.

In fact, there’s a 7 year old kid named Ryan who’s made $22 million dollars last year playing with toys on YouTube! Yeah, it hurts I know. It took me a lot longer than I’d like to admit to get over that burn.

When it comes to making videos, just like blogging, you need to choose a topic. Why? Let’s see if you’ve been paying attention…

If you said it’s because it’s the cool thing to do? I’m sorry to say but that’s not the answer. But close. It’s because there are so many people trying to compete for the same attention. To stand out, you need to choose a focus and the crush it! 

So if YouTube sounds appealing to you and you have something interesting to talk about or share, then jump on board. The best part, it won’t cost you anything to get started.

And if you can’t afford a great vlogging camera like this one? Then just use your phone’s camera. And if you don’t know what vlogging is, it’s the video version of blogging. 

We’re going to be talking about this a lot in-depth in the future, so be sure to sign up for the mailing list so you know when we release new articles including the one about using your phone to record videos. 

The point here is that there are millions of people using YouTube to make money. They do this by getting brand deals, earning commission checks from Google for playing ads in their videos, by using affiliate marketing to link products or they go on to create their own digital/physical products. With this route, they then leverage their YouTube audience to sell those products.

If making Youtube videos sound appealing to you, this might be your golden goose egg for making millions online.

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(4) ONLINE COURSES.

An online course is exactly how it sounds. You take your experience and skills, you package it into a training program and you sell access to it. The number of people embracing and buying into the e-learning industry is staggering. According to an article on Forbes, the e-learning industry is climbing to $325 Billion by 2025. Yep. Billion. Three hundred, twenty-five to be exact.

Remember when we spoke about consultants and coaches?

Well the way that coaches can scale their business and have it running on autopilot, is by creating an online course. I do this with my auto relocation consultancy. Although I charge $997 per hour, I’m selective about the clients I take on. Instead, I lead people to my online course where they can learn at their own pace and for a fraction of the price they’d pay if they bought my one on one sessions.

Online courses are nothing new.  I was taking online college courses back when I was a senior in high school. Today it’s more common than ever in the college arena and becoming extremely popular for everyday people like you and me, who have knowledge that we want to share and make money doing it.

Similar to blogging and consulting, you’ll need to pay for a website that’ll host your online course. Now there are free/low-cost online course platforms like Teachable, but it’s still advisable that you have a blog as well. The purpose of the blog is to attract people and showcase your knowledge so they will get to know, like and trust you. Then you can push them to your paid course for more in-depth training.

Creating an online course may not necessarily be for you. But if it is, I can tell you from experience that it’s a great way to earn money while you sleep. Okay, you’ll still have to do some work, but once you have a system in place you’re well on your way to making mucho dinero.

I have so many business friends who make 7 figures a year running an online course. Obviously, the more time you put into it, the more you stand to make.

It’s all about being strategic about how you approach the business, and similar to blogging, you need to choose a niche or topic that solves a specific problem. 

5 online business ideas without investment

5 of 5 Online business ideas without investment

(5) eCommerce store.

Saving the best for last. I’m only half kidding. Recently, one of our friends started an eCommerce business selling t-shirts. The great thing about how they did it, was that they used something called dropshipping which meant they had almost no upfront expenses that come with running a traditional store. You know, things like inventory.

What exactly does dropshipping mean? I’m sure you’ve watched a YouTube video where the opening ad was from someone telling you they’re making $50k a month through dropshipping. If not, no worries you’re not missing out on anything. 

Basically dropshipping is where you sell a product on your website but you have a company that either creates and ships the product or in the case of regular merchandise, they just ship it for you. There are so many companies that drop ship custom products like t-shirts and coffee mugs, but the trick is to find one you like and trust.

By starting an online store (also known as an eCommerce business) that relies on dropshipping, you won’t need to pack your home with a million and one products like my lovely neighbor. 

You can design your own products or pay someone to do it for you. Then all you need to do is find a dropshipping company who will handle the rest. They take their cut and you’re left with pure profit, no rummaging through dusty boxes. 

But like blogging, you’ll need your website, an eCommerce theme, and a way to collect payments. Or you can skip all that and use an all-in-one platform like Shopify. Either way, you’ll have to pay out some money to get going but you can do it for less than $150 which is why it makes the list.

The other great thing about dropshipping companies is that most are print on demand. They get the order in and they print. No unnecessary product lying around waiting for the day when it’ll finally get to meet Mr. Trashman. Win-win.

An eCommerce store that uses dropshipping is great for someone who wants to create products but doesn’t want to keep a warehouse full of inventory. Maybe you want to start a t-shirt business or sell pens. Or maybe you’re obsessed with stickers and find that the ones on the market suck and you want to create your own. You can definitely start an eCommerce business.

It’s also worth noting, that if you’re a seamstress, crafter or an artist, you can still start an eCommerce business. All you’ll need is a website where you can sell your products. Then all that’s left is to take great photos and write amazing product descriptions or hire someone who specializes in writing unique, high converting product descriptions.

Generate some traffic and you’re well on your way to having a profitable online business.

In conclusion.

Whew! If you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back. 

As a quick recap, the 5 businesses you can start with less than $150 were:

  1. Blogging 
  2. Coach or consultant 
  3. YouTube
  4. Online course
  5. eCommerce store 

Now I want to hear from you. If you had to choose one of these five to start, which one sounds most appealing to you and what would be your niche? Leave it in the comments below.

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