4 Online Businesses You Can Start With No Money

June 21, 2023

4 online businesses you can start with no money in 2023:

  • Digital marketing
  • Freelancing
  • Dropshipping
  • Affiliate Marketing

Starting an online business is a good way to make extra money or generate passive income on the side while working full time. Here are some key stats that show us how common online businesses are in this day and age:

  • Around 14 million businesses in the world have their own eCommerce website on the internet.
  • In 2022 alone, the online digital marketing agencies collectively generated close to $321 billion in revenue.
  • There are approximately 1.57 billion freelancers all across the globe.
  • There are close to 28,000 social media managers in the US alone.
  • As of February 2023, the affiliate marketing industry is worth over $17 billion and is recognized globally.
  • The eCommerce industry was worth over $5.2 trillion in 2021.
  • As of 2023, 29.7% of businesses in the US are purely online, while 71% of businesses all around the world already have an online presence.

Not only is the online business industry massive, it is expected to keep growing, especially since we are already in the golden age of technology. Today, you can even run an online business without having to put up any money or pay for any initial costs.

However, no matter how good your online business idea is, it isn’t a surefire way to attain financial freedom and stability, even when you don’t put up any money or startup capital. Sure, you’d be able to make thousands of dollars during the first few months, but how far is it really gonna take you? Most businesses won’t be sustainable unless you put in some form of investment or even a little money. The best way to make money online is to actually find a business model that has reasonable startup costs.

If you’re looking to invest your hard-earned money in an online business that’s going to give you insane profits and will last for years, check out local lead generation. Local lead generation is the process of creating and ranking a website using search engine optimization, allowing local businesses to generate leads through your website, and making money for each sale.

Local lead generation also requires little to no maintenance, which makes it a significant source of passive income that’s stable, sustainable, and profitable. You can be an online business owner that makes thousands of dollars on a monthly basis while still enjoying other things in life.

4 Businesses You Can Start With No Money (And Their Pros & Cons)

1. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the process of using online marketing methods to connect companies with their potential customer base. The tasks required of a digital marketer or digital marketing agency often include:

  • Running Google ad/s geared towards a specific target audience.
  • Conducting market research and coming up with a business plan or strategy.
  • Social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
  • Designing a marketing campaign that includes website articles, promotional videos, advertising photos, and interactive advertising schemes.
  • Profiling consumers in order to efficiently identify which audiences to target.
  • Analyzing user engagement data, conversion rates, website traffic performance, and more using tools such as Google Analytics.
  • Creating and presenting reports that provide an overview of existing marketing campaigns, progress towards goals, remaining budget for ad spend, and many others.

As a digital marketing agency, your only job is to build an online presence for your client. You don’t have to put up any startup capital since all you need is a computer, a stable internet connection, and some software tools. Simply put, they pay, you play. You can even go the extra mile and take digital marketing courses to further expand your knowledge in this particular space.

Starting a digital marketing agency opens up a wide range of opportunities, especially since more and more businesses understanding the importance of having an online presence. However, despite the potential that lies within launching a digital marketing agency, there are several disadvantages that need to be considered before you launch your own agency.


It's in demand

Running a business in this day and age almost always requires an online presence due to the vast majority of people who use the internet daily. As of January 2023, there are over 5.16 billion internet users all across the globe, which accounts for more than 64% of the world’s entire population. Not only is this an indicator of the how massive the digital marketing industry is and the high demand that it has, it is also a reality check that shows the importance of digital marketing services for business to thrive and survive.

You have full control over your time

Unlike most 9 to 5 jobs where you have to sit in an office and clock out at the end of the day, being a digital marketer gives you the power to work anytime and anywhere. You can set your own hours and enjoy a work-life balance that allows you to pursue other interests and hobbies.

The earning potential is limitless

Starting a career in an industry where almost everybody on the planet is your clientele also opens up limitless earning possibilities. As mentioned earlier, more than half of the people in the world use the internet regularly, which makes digital marketing a very lucrative business. Once you’ve developed the necessary skills and knowledge, you can even charge higher fees for niches you specialize in.


The competition is fierce

The digital marketing industry is a gold mine of clients that are in need of online marketing services. Unfortunately, just like any other gold mine, it’s a gold mine that everybody wants a piece of. You’ll have to go up against thousands of competitive freelancers and established digital marketing firms and find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

It is an industry that always changes

Just like any other business or industry that’s based on the internet, digital marketing is always shifting and evolving. You will be required to not only be updated with the latest trends and technologies, you must also try to innovate and develop a competitive edge if you want to stay in the game.

You will be required to work long hours

As a digital marketer, you will be in charge of handling the online presence and reputation of a business or company. Apart from running ads, you will also be handling marketing campaigns, promotions, and many others. Clients can also be very demanding as they will be expecting returns from ad spend, fast turnaround times, and high-quality work.

It's difficult to scale

Scaling a digital marketing agency is not impossible, but it is also not an easy task since it relies mostly on skill and creativity. You can hire and train individuals with the intention of growing your business, but this in itself is already challenging and time-consuming. You also have to consider the possibility of having conflicts and creative differences with people you hire and work with, which could ultimately hinder the growth and development of your agency.

2. Freelancing

Freelancing is a business model that involves doing jobs for one or more clients and being paid for each task that you finish. Unlike regular full-time employees that work 9 to 5 jobs, a freelancer has the freedom to work anytime and anywhere.

Some common freelancing jobs include:

  • Freelance writing or content marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Video editing

The beauty of freelancing is it allows you to not just become a freelance writer or graphic designer. Instead, you can become both at the same time, which is why it’s a very popular business idea for people from all walks of life. However, freelancing has its fair share of risks that you need to think about before you begin looking for freelance clients.


Work anytime, anywhere

The idea of becoming a freelancer appeals to a lot of people, mostly because of the flexibility it offers. Not only will you be able to set your own hours, you’ll also be able to work anywhere. Unlike full-time employees that have to file leaves to be able to go on vacations, freelancers can work while being on vacation. Check Online Money Maker to start your freelancing business. 

You can earn as much as you want

Freelancing allows you to work for multiple clients, which means you get to make as much money as you want. Freelancers can also set their own rates and pricing plans once they gain enough experience and credibility. According to a study by Upwork, freelancers can make anywhere from $40,000 to over $100,000 annually.

Not only do you make the same money as full-time employees, you could potentially even earn more than them while also enjoying more time and freedom.

You can work in different jobs

While this might sound more like a con than a pro, working different types of jobs can be beneficial, since it helps you develop and acquire a wide range of skills. Being skilled in different areas puts you in a position to be more competitive in the labor force and inevitably opens up more job opportunities for you.


There are thousands of other freelancers in the world

As discouraging as it may seem, freelancing is an industry where there are hundreds of thousands of other individuals who are doing the same exact thing you are, if not better. No matter how skilled, motivated, or passionate you are, there will always be someone who is potentially more skilled and motivated than you.

You can either come up with a competitive advantage that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd, gain as much as work experience as possible in order to build your portfolio or reputation. Unfortunately, this might mean applying for low-paying jobs at the beginning of your freelancing journey.

Work or income might not always be available

While freelancing gives you the power to work for multiple clients at once, getting clients isn’t always easy. You’re not a full-time employee that’s guaranteed to receive a paycheck every month, nor are you under contract to work with a company for a specific amount of time. While regular employees don’t have as much free time as you do, you don’t have a steady source of income that they have.

Employers don’t give benefits

Most, if not all, freelance employers do not provide benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings. Most traditional companies typically take care of this for their employees. Unfortunately, freelancers are solely responsible for their own benefits, which can be very difficult and time-consuming.

3. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is the process of sourcing products from a manufacturer directly to a customer. Unlike traditional retailing, where you keep stock of your products and ship them out every time someone places an order, dropshipping allows you to sell without actually storing any inventory. As a dropshipper, your only responsibility is to serve as a middleman between a manufacturer and a customer, which means you never actually touch the product in the whole process.

This business model is perfect for anyone looking to generate income without actually having to put up any money, especially since you can source products every time someone orders from you. The manufacturer also handles shipping and logistics, which makes it even easier to run a business like this.

You can also begin a dropshipping business with the help of any online course that teach you the basics of starting one. There are paid courses, courses that teach you how to dropship on Shopify, courses that talk about eBay dropshipping, and many others. 

Dropshipping can be a very promising venture that has the potential to become a successful online business for anybody, but it still has its downside and limitations that could be detrimental if left unchecked.


You can start with absolutely nothing

Starting a dropshipping business does not require you to purchase any products before you can start selling, which means you can begin operations with absolutely no money. You also won’t be needing any infrastructure such as a warehouse or a delivery truck, which typically costs thousands of dollars to set up. You won’t even have to pay for a single cent to launch your online store since Shopify offers a 3-month trial period before fees start kicking in or until you purchase a domain name.

You can sell almost anything

Once of the best things about dropshipping is being able to sell almost anything. Here are examples of the most sold products online:

  • Baby products
  • Car accessories
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Beauty products
  • Electronics and gadgets

The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to the types of products you can offer to your customers. However, be careful not to sell illegal items or anything that could put you in a lot of trouble.

You’re your own boss

As a dropshipper, the only boss you’ll ever have is yourself. You set your own hours, you dictate what products to sell, and most of all, you keep all the profit and revenue. You can even work from anywhere in the world, which gives you more time to attend to other things that really matter to you.


The market is very saturated

Before dropshipping became a thing, people were already trying to sell anything they could get their hands on. From everyday household products to rare items you can only find on the dollar store, almost every product known to man has already been sold or is already being sold. Unfortunately, dropshipping isn’t any different, which is why searching for a profitable product might be harder than you think.

Competition is at an all-time high

As of December 2022, the number of dropshippers around the world is estimated to be at approximately 100,000, and that number isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon. Keep in mind that you will also be battling against retailers and big companies that sell the same product as you, which could be overwhelming for any aspiring dropshipper.

You have no control over your products

The idea of being able to source products without actually storing is naturally appealing, even to someone who doesn’t plan on starting a dropshipping business. However, reality sets in pretty quickly once you realize how difficult it is to ensure the quality of the products you’re sourcing. How will you be able to guarantee that your clients are getting high quality products? How will you even make sure that your clients are getting what they ordered?

You also won’t be able to manage deliveries, which can be very stressful when there are delays in shipping.

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest types of businesses which involves promoting someone else’s product or service and earning commissions every time a unit is sold or a service is availed. Today, some businesses even have a dedicated affiliate program created specifically for affiliate marketers.

To help you understand this better, here is a simple explanation of the affiliate marketing process:

  • An affiliate marketer reaches out to a business and offers to promote their product/s in exchange for commissions for each sale.
  • The business creates an affiliate link that the affiliate marketer can use. An affiliate link is a link that redirects to a website or landing page that contains the product or service.
  • The affiliate marketer promotes the link on their blog, personal website, or social media platform.
  • Every time a customer clicks on the link and purchases a product, the affiliate marketer earns a commission.

This business model is slightly similar to Google AdSense because it also allows website owners to make money through their published content. However, with affiliate marketing, you don’t owe Google a portion of your commissions. Not only is this business model easy, it also does not require any money. All you need is a computer and a stable internet connection. There are also tons of affiliate marketing courses that can help you fully understand the ins and outs of the industry.

However, even though affiliate marketing might seem like a good idea for any aspiring small business owner, it is crucial to identify the drawbacks of starting an affiliate marketing business and determine whether it is worth all the time and effort.


It’s passive income

All you have to do is set up your affiliate marketing campaigns and make extra cash passively every time someone clicks your link and purchases a product. You don’t have to actively maintain or manage any of your campaigns once you’re done setting up.

You can promote as much as you want

Being an affiliate marketer means you can promote almost anything that's being sold on the internet, whether it be a digital product, item, or service. You’re not limited to just one product or niche, which means you could potentially make money from multiple incomes streams.

It requires no skill or expertise

If you know your way around the internet and can navigate with ease, affiliate marketing will be very easy for you. All you have to do is obtain an affiliate link or code and promote it on your blog, website, or social media platforms.


Lots of people are doing it already

Affiliate marketing isn’t something new, which means a lot of people are doing it already. If you’re completely new to this industry, it can be very difficult to gain traction, especially in a world where there are thousands of experienced affiliate marketers all over the world vying to be noticed. Your best bet is to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and stand out.

Commission rates can be very low

There is no guarantee that the commissions you make are going to be, at the very least, decent. Even though it might seem like you’re helping a business by promoting their product, it’s not as easy for them to pay affiliate commissions since it decreases profit margins. Be prepared for rules and conditions that offer unreasonably priced commissions. You also have to consider the possibility of making lower commissions on lower-priced products.

It's almost impossible to scale and expand 

Unfortunately, affiliate marketing is a one-dimensional business where all you can do is promote products and earn a commission for each sale. There’s no room for growth, development, or scalability since it doesn’t require much skill, nor is there a demand for it.

If you're into online business, you can check my review article about the Startup Society. It has a lot of online business recommendations. 

Conclusion: Should You Start An Online Business With or Without Money?

Starting an online business without money can be very promising. There are plenty of online business ideas you can start without putting up any startup capital, thanks to tools and resources that are available on the internet. You can even run an online business from the comfort of your own home, which can be perfect for individuals who want to spend more time with their families.

The idea of starting an online business with no money can be very enticing, especially for individuals who are looking to make some extra cash or attain financial stability. However, keep in mind that most businesses won’t be profitable or sustainable unless you invest some money. Generating significant revenue lies in finding business models that have reasonable startup costs, which can ultimately lead to high profit margins and passive income. If you already have a business and want to rank it higher in Google, check Ranking Academy. It helps you improve the visibility of your business online. 

Why Local Lead Generation Is the Best Online Business

If you’re searching for a business that has reasonable startup costs but has the potential to generate significant returns, you might want to check out our local lead generation course. Local lead generation is the process of building a website and ranking it on Google organically, without using paid ads. Once it’s ranked, you can start allowing local companies and businesses to generate leads through your website and make money for each converted sale.

Local lead generation also does not require any maintenance, which makes it a stable source of passive income. I have sites from I created in 2014 that are still making me over $2000 every month, and I don’t even have to touch or visit them. 

Local lead generation

If you’re looking for an online business that’s profitable, sustainable, and will help you attain financial freedom in the near future, local lead generation might be the answer you’re looking for.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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