How To Build An Online Business If You Are Broke
How Can You Make Money Online Without Spending Money?
You know one of the most often asked questions I have seen in forums and social media groups over the years is: ‘Is it possible to build an online business even if you don’t have money to invest in it?’ I am always tempted to say “NO!” And in all honesty I would have to say it is definitely ‘better’ if you have a few bucks for hosting and a decent WordPress theme at least.But from my own experience the answer is yes!
You can definitely launch and grow an entire Internet-based business without having to spend a single penny for any tools. No Cost Income Stream can help you learn all of the details, but let’s look at a few valuable lessons, and approaches right now.
Choose a No Cost Business Model
You can make money without spending money by promoting products and services. Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money several different ways. Most people are familiar with the more well-known affiliate sites like Amazon, ClickBank and Commission Junction. But there are some profitable sites that you might not be aware of yet. You can look for PLR affiliate programs. This is where you promote content packs for other marketers. You can find them by doing an Internet search for PLR sites and see if they have an affiliate program. You can also become a WordPress theme affiliate. StudioPress, Elegant Themes & WooThemes create WordPress themes and they all have affiliate programs that are free to join.
eCommerce is really huge these days, it seems nearly everyone wants to set up a ‘Dropshipping’ site or to sell physical goods, and you can do this really cheaply with a program like ‘Shopify’, which also has an affiliate program. Woocommerce is one of the better shoppingcarts for WordPress, and it is free, but not everyone wants to build their own!
If you’re part of their affiliate program, you can promote them. If someone buys a theme through your link, you get a percentage of that sale. You’re not just limited to digital products – you can also promote actual physical goods.
You’ll find many of these online. But you can also find them offline. Any store that you can physically walk into could possibly have an affiliate program. Walmart has one! What they pay their affiliates depends on the product category that you promote. Zappos also has an affiliate program. You can promote anything from clothing to home goods. Sears has an affiliate program, too – but they’re picky about who they allow to promote. You have to have a certain amount of traffic each month for your site before they’ll consider letting you sign up.
Here’s a tip for you: if you do decide to promote for a store that has an affiliate program – use contextual links in the body of your blog posts. Don’t just use the banners provided by the store- there is ‘banner blindness’ and folks think they are adverts. If you use pictures of the product on your site, make sure the picture is an affiliate link for you.
So-called ‘High Ticket’ affiliate programs enable you to make fat commissions from highly targeted traffic – this is the big secret behind all affiliate marketing, the more specialized and unique the ‘niche’ the easier it is to make sales IF you go about it the right way. Getting 500 targeted visitors per month on a high ticket affiliate site, with one or two sales can be well worth it; certainly better than 10,000 visitors who all click away after 5 seconds! People worry about the numbers, when they should be concerned with ‘Targeting’ and conversion.
Many site visitors click on pictures and you don’t want to miss out on that commission. Besides affiliate marketing, you can make money online through ‘ghostwriting’.
You can ghostwrite for business clients, for other marketers and for other bloggers. You can write articles, reports and text for web pages. Many of these people who need this kind of work done started out online the same way you are. When they first started, they looked for ways to earn without having to spend money. But now that their business has grown, they have a lot of need for product output without having a lot of time to keep up with the demand of people who want to learn from them.
So they hire ghostwriters. You can help by offering your services to give them more elbow room. You can write everything, from a blog post to a book for a marketer. You’ll be earning money while you’re growing your own business, until one day, it will be you who has the need to hire a ghostwriter. When you ghostwrite, you’re working on products that someone else created through their expertise. You can do the same. You can create products that are your own and actively promote those items.
What you can create will depend on what niche you select, what you have knowledge about, or what you learn about. If you’re into lawns and gardening, you could create a report on how to deal with the most common pest problems associated with lawns and gardening. Anything that successful marketers create, you can create, too. If they’re creating eBooks, you can do the same. It’s wise to study what the competition is doing to see how they’re making their money.
Everyone has something that they’re good at. For some, that’s helping other people make life changes. You may be the type of person who instinctively knows how to guide people to help them see the direction they really want to go in life.
You could get into coaching people.
The type of coaching you can do will depend on whatever it is that you’re good at. If you’re good at knowing how to handle affiliate marketing, then you could turn around and sell your services as a coach in that area. If knowing how to get a lot of site traffic is your area of expertise, then you can do that. Whatever skills you have that help you meet goals in your life, you can bet that someone else may be able to benefit from your insight – and they’d be willing to pay for your knowledge.
You could become a coach based on your expertise in an area that’s a hobby of yours. If you’re good at training dogs, you can coach others on how to do that. Think about all of the skills that you have in your life that you can use to make money. You probably have more skills that others can use than you may think. Another route that you can go to earn money online without spending money is to become a virtual assistant.
As a virtual assistant, you can earn by leveraging skills that you probably already have. Though many people hire a virtual assistant for help in their personal lives, others hire one to handle various tasks associated with running a business.
They use a VA to answer their email and handle running their social media sites. Sometimes they might want to hire a VA to do the research involved with a certain project.
You could be hired to perform one big task or several smaller ones. A virtual assistant keeps others organized and accomplishes what has to be done. Many virtual assistants got their start simply because they put the skills that they had in marketing to good use. No Cost Income Stream is a good guide that can help you learn how to use affiliate sites.
Make the Most of Free Tools Available to You
MailChimp allows you to build your own email list for free. You can have up to two thousand subscribers on your list and you can email them throughout the month with information about your business. When you sign up for an account with MailChimp, you get to create a mailing list. After you do that, take the sign up code and add it to your widgets section in WordPress or Blogger – or Wix/Weebly e.t.c
Having an email list filled with subscribers is important for the success of your online business because a list can help you grow your customer base. When you’re first starting your list, you should email your subscribers with useful tools and information.
MailChimp will even let you split test your emails. You can use the A/B testing to determine important things like what time of day is best for sending, which subject lines convert best, and what type of campaigns are the most productive. There are some other free Email platforms, with autoresponder tools- InInBox is a good one I have used in the past.
If you are a WordPress site builder there are some excellent free Email systems available in the form of plugins: Mailpoet is one I have used to great effect, it has an ‘Autoresponder’ module that you can use with either your own Cpanel hosting, OR a third party delivering service. Free plugin.
There is a long list of free digital business tools on this site, keep this in mind.
By tweaking one thing at a time, you’ll learn what types of content your audience responds to. You’ll want to make sure that you have good keywords in everything that you write because keywords help your potential customers be able to find you online. It’s important to use short tail and long tail keywords. You don’t have to rely on your own expertise to be able to figure out which words to use. You can get help from a keyword tool – and there are some good free ones.
Ubersuggest.org is one of them. You simply type your word into the query box and you’ll get a list of keywords broken down by some random suggestions the site pulled from the alphabetical list and the rest will be listed under the alphabetical letter.
For example, if you type in ‘gardening’, you might get “gardening tips” at the top, but if you scroll down to the “t” section, you’ll see not only “gardening tips” but “gardening tool set”. If you click on “gardening tool set” the keywords are broken down even more.
The Google Keyword Planner will allow you to see the volume of people searching for certain keywords. But it will also let you know what kind of competition you’ll be facing by choosing certain keywords. For example, if you choose to use “gardening,” you’ll see the monthly searches and you’ll see that the competition for that word is fairly high. But if you add the word “organic” to make it “organic gardening,” then you’ll see that the competition is lower.
The reason that using a keyword tool is important is because you’ll be able to see what kind of website traffic is estimated for those keywords and you can choose the ones that will bring visitors to your site.
Graphics are an important part of an online business owner’s arsenal. The right graphics can help you promote your product or services and make you look like a professional.
There are plenty of resources to help you grab professional graphics for free. SmashingMagazine offers a freebies section. This section frequently features graphics like icons, social media buttons, and vectors. You also have the option of creating your own graphics using a range of Saas graphic platforms-see that free list on this site.
You’ll be able to use many of these freebies in both personal and commercial projects – including services you offer or products you create. But you’ll have to read the guidelines carefully because there are a few icon sets that have restrictions.
The site pixabay.com is really great for license free photos and images,and this one Pexels.com is also fantastic for web developers and bloggers. But photos aren’t all you can download for free. There are also free audio clips, free video clips, and free illustrations.
You can use these images for free, provided you credit the photographer. If you can’t credit the creator, then you can purchase the image for a few dollars and use it freely. Next, you want to make sure that you have a blog for whatever business you have. Many businesses use free blogging sites when they’re first starting out so that they can save on the cost.
Which blog service you choose should depend on how you plan to use it. If you plan to do affiliate marketing, don’t use WordPress.com. Their terms of service prevent you from including affiliate links in your posts. You’re also not allowed to sell any type of product using a blog from WordPress.com.
Blogger is a better choice if you’re interested in affiliate marketing. Many people have successfully used Blogger to earn money through affiliate programs. You’re even allowed to include ads on your Blogger site through AdSense.
If you’re looking to have a shopping cart on your blog, then you should try Weebly instead of Blogger. Weebly has its own blog structure and comes with a shopping cart option.
Using a free Weebly account, you can sell up to ten products. These can be digital or tangible products or a mix of both. If your site grows beyond ten products, you can always upgrade your account later.
Promote Your Products and Services for FREE on the ‘Net’
Thanks to social media, advertising has gotten easier than ever. Social media can allow you to connect with customers in other countries that never would have heard of your business otherwise. There are several popular social media sites that you can use to promote your online business. Facebook is one of the most popular social media networking sites.
For your online business, you should set up a fan page. When a Facebook user likes your fan page, they’ll get updates from you in their feed. You can also use it to interact with your customers and build a fan base.
You are allowed to have a targeted domain on Facebook. Instead of having a random URL, you can have one that’s specific for your business. If you sold chocolates, you could have that in your URL by having something like Facebook.com/JanesChocolates.
Twitter is a social media service that lets you share updates in 140 characters or less. These updates are called tweets. You can embed media like videos and photos in your tweets.
Providing a steady mix of content will keep your followers interested in what you have to say. But don’t constantly use it to get into someone’s face with a BUY NOW type of tweet. Interact, but don’t be pushy.
YouTube is a social media site that’s centered around videos (no shit Sherlock). Users can post videos, comment on other users’ videos, and create playlists. This may surprise you, but YouTube is a popular search engine. Many visitors go to YouTube and type in a keyword like “dog training.” If you have a video on dog training that has a good description, your video might appear in the search results. YouTube is in fact a free ‘University’ where you can learn how to do a crazy amount of things.
You can use YouTube to drive traffic to your website, or you can use it to promote your services. Again, make sure you follow their rules or you might find your video account shut down. Produce videos which actually provide value, don’t expect people to respond to blatant sales messages because they just won’t!
The social network site Pinterest is an easy way to share pictures. Users ‘pin’ images to various boards. This allows users to find their favorite products or website again.
It’s a great social networking opportunity – especially if you’re in a field that relies heavily upon design such as an artist or web designer. Infographics go over well here, and users often Share pins, helping your posts go viral.
Don’t forget to join Google Plus. This is the social media network that the search engine, Google created. Google Plus allows you to add users in circles. These circles allow you to choose which of your followers see your status.
You could have a circle for family and one for marketing. Your status about your cat’s antics could be restricted to family while your blog post about a new product could be viewable only to your marketing followers.
Prep Yourself to Level Up By Investing in Your Business
Once you’ve learned the tips found in No Cost Income Stream, you can leverage that into a bigger financial turnaround for your business. The more money that you invest in your business, the more money you’ll be able to earn. While all of the free tools that are available can be a big help when you’re first starting out, many of them do have limitations and you certainly don’t want to limit your earning potential.
If you start out using MailChimp, eventually, as your business grows, you’re going to outgrow the amount of subscribers you can have on there. So you’ll need to switch to another autoresponder and you’re going to want to pay to get a good one. Aweber is an autoresponder that – while it’s a paid one – is still pretty inexpensive, and you get a lot of features with them. You get customizable templates for crafting email or to use on your website.
If I’m honest though I have to say I prefer Get Response as a paid email platform, I have used both and Get Response has a much higher ‘open rate’, is easier to use and has much more modern templates and graphics to use. But either are good – you will have to decide!
But you also get email tracking with the use of their analytics programs. This lets you see what’s happening to the email you send out. You’ll get follow up tools and tools that allow you to specifically target subscribers with information that’s relevant to them.
After you can afford it, you’ll want to invest in paid keyword tools because you’ll be able to access more information that will help you draw in more traffic and build a bigger customer base.
Market Samurai is one of the paid keyword tools that is actually very good. Among the features that it offers is the ability to identify the best places to promote your website. It also teaches users how to monetize your website.
With keyword use, it’s one of the best programs you can buy. It shows users how valuable a keyword is – both through organic use as well as with paying venues. There are many paid tools that each deliver valuable keyword insights.
You can use graphics on your minisites for different tasks – such as to help you sell a product or to get someone to subscribe to a list. These graphics are used to get the customer to take a specific action.
For example, like a big, red sign up arrow with a Buy Now button. You can start out free and then upgrade to paid graphics using a professional site designer.
Your lowest paid graphics might come from Fiverr, but then as you make more money, you’ll be able to invest with a professional designer who has complete packages.
When you want to put money into your business, you’ll want to look at paid traffic, too. This is traffic that comes to your sites through the use of means you pay for-such as Facebook ads (the best paid traffic on the planet for many business areas), or Google Adwords, or YouTube paid ads.
Facebook, while it’s a free social networking site, also has paid ads. So you might post to your Fan Page for free, you also have the ability to “Boost” that post using a paid advertisement, but I always use the ‘power editor’ and craft a ‘Dark Post’ – this is a post which is linked to one of your Facebook pages, so it looks like an ordinary post, people respond to it like an item of interest. The big trick here is to put together a ‘funnel’ once your dark post has captured the visitor’s interest you need to go to work and provide value – a video/ebook/article which creates even more interest and impresses your customer. Direct your traffic, use the opportunity.
According to Gary Vaynerchuk, Dark Posts are the best value for advertising money currently available. I happen to agree.
Starting out on a shoestring budget (or no budget at all) is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people have done it and gone on to create thriving Internet-based businesses – this is completely true, look I would not lie to you, read up on Google about them, just type in:’ people who have internet businesses who started with no money’. You can do this, you just need to try and keep on trying.
Contact me with any questions, Good luck!