The Internet is the great equaliser. It has levelled the playing field, especially for businesses. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. No technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—although this in itself is a great skill to leverage. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule.
It’s a truly democratic medium for entrepreneurship.
However, perhaps the best thing about the Internet is that unlike a brick-and-mortar business, you don’t need a lot of start-up capital. In fact, you can get many Internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For example, you can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress.
Let’s consider five of the top ways to make money online with little or no cost at all.
1. Drop Shipping
Basically, the idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers sometimes. You don’t have to worry about: inventory, warehouse or even manufacturing.
Instead, you work with a company that specialises in drop shipping. Here’s how it works:
You just list products that are for sale on your IG page or if you can get a website up. After listing, customers order for a product, which you in turn order from Jumia at a cheaper price, Jumia will handle the shipping and delivery for you and you will not have to break a sweat.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar to drop shipping but with some key differences. With this model, you again don’t maintain an inventory of your own products, and you don’t have to worry about shipping products to customers.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Clickbank.com is of the more popular sites.
You offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission that’s all, no worries!
If you have the expertise or a passion or interest for a subject, you’re ready to start making money with a blog. With a service like Blogger (www.blogger.com), you can start up your blog totally free. You can also create your own site and secure your own hosting for a low price, which is generally the route I recommend.
What sort of content should you provide? Anything that is engaging to your prospect. How-to topics, top-10 lists, commentary on trends in your niche, tips and tricks articles—basically, you need to provide useful content. There’s no shortage of ideas for your blog.
You can make money from a variety of ways in blogging
- Affiliate Marketing
- Google Adsense
- Blog Ad networks
- Customised ads from clients
4. Online Video
Have you watched a YouTube video lately? Of course, you have, after all, YouTube is the third most visited website in Nigeria according to Alexa!
You can leverage YouTube’s reach to make money online. No, you’re not trying to create a viral video, so to speak, although if it does go worldwide and is seen by millions, that’s a good thing.
Instead, you’ll be creating useful content…something engaging that people want to watch. It could be a how-to video, a talking-head video on a topic of interest to people interested in your niche.
Or you could go the Lasisi and Maraji way, posting funny clips frequently.
You make money with ad revenue. You can enable magnetisation on your YouTube settings. Basically, this gives Google the go-ahead to include short AdSense ads with your videos, which you’ve seen if you’ve watched a YouTube video. When viewers click on those ads, you get paid.
Another opportunity to make money with a YouTube channel is through paid sponsorships. Build a large enough following and companies will be more than happy to pay you to promote or mention their products and services in your videos.
5. Information Products
When you have an Internet business, it doesn’t have to be about selling physical products. In fact, digital information products are one of the easiest and quickest ways to make money. Outside of affiliate marketing, it’s probably one of my favourite ways to make money online.
There’s no shortage of ways to create information products, but the most popular formats include:
Audio: a recorded teleconference, interview, course, or some other spoken-word product
Video: a recorded webinar, a how-to, an interview
Text: an ebook, an instruction booklet of some sort, a travel guide
In each of these categories, you can really get creative and make any type and format of content, as long as it’s engaging and useful.