Can you start a small business online for free?

You sure can!

But let’s be honest… Nothing is really free…

Which means that by choosing to not pay with your money you’ll pay more with your time.

Having understood this, let me explain how you can start a small business online for free.

First, you need to choose the kind of business you’d like to build, opting for the free route limits your options.

If you have no budget at all, I recommend starting with a blog.

Most people instantly think of blogging as a hobby but rest assured, there are plenty of bloggers earning millions. The most famous being ProBlogger.

Later, we’ll go into monetization, but for now…

You need a website!

Building Your Website

To start blogging, you’ll need a website where your readers can come and read your words.

This will also be an essential tool to create revenue.

There are a few ways to start a free website, but in order to earn money, the best one is definitely The Wealthy Affiliate.

You can create a free account for as long as you want with which you’ll be able to build two websites and you’ll have access to one of the best beginner video training tutorials out there.

Join Wealthy Affiliate for Free!

Of course, if you wish to access all the training in the platform you’ll have to upgrade your account to premium, but for now and for the purposes of starting a free online business you don’t need to.

The downside of a free website is that it won’t live on your branded domain, it will be a subdomain of another domain name.

If your head is spinning with that, let me explain…

A domain is your address on the web, what people have to type to reach you, as in this website (this is my branded domain), if I hadn’t purchased this domain and instead chose to host it for free on the WA platform it would use the subdomain – In this case, would be the domain and my name – creteandearn – a subdomain.

Who Will Your Clients Be?

You have a website for your business, now you need clients.

You’re probably thinking you need something to sell first…

That’s a common misconception…

You won’t even need to sell anything in order to have a profitable business, more on that later.

Let’s focus on your clients then, in this case, readers.

Who would you like to write to?

It’s easier if you think about what you’d like to write about first and then find your ideal client in that Niche.

If you need help, you can read my in-depth tutorial on how to create an Ideal Client Profile to Start a Business [A Beginner Friendly Tutorial].

Once you know what you’d like to write about and to whom, you can start creating helpful content (blog posts) to your readers.

Content You Love or Content That Helps?

You can and should do both.

In order to have a business, you need an audience, which means that you need to write for them, not for yourself.

However, it’s important that you like the subject, in order not to burn yourself out.

The emotions with which you create your content will also engage your readers more.

So what exactly should you write about?

You need to write about what people are searching, you should be answering questions and solving problems.

How do you know what people are looking for?

Through something called keyword research, which you can learn about through the Wealthy Affiliate training I mentioned earlier.

WA - Online Entrepreneur Certification (Screen Capture)
Online Entrepreneur Certification

In Wealthy Affiliate you’ll also find exceptional keyword research tools such as Jaaxy – one of the best KW tools out there, which also has a free plan.

The objective of this article is to guide you on how to start a small business online for free, so here is another great free tool, my favorite for keyword research: Ubersuggest.

Knowing what people are searching for will give you subjects to write about and make your content discoverable in search engines.

But before you start writing random articles with the keywords you found, you need to understand the user intent behind them.

This will help you choose the most profitable ones.

Not All Keywords are Created Equal!

When a person types a search term in a search engine like Google, there is an intention behind that search.

The user might be trying to learn more about a subject or a product, looking for product reviews, or simply looking for a direct answer to a question…

Each of these searches will identify the different stages of a user’s journey.

For example, someone looking for “Online Businesses” might just be curious to know which kind of businesses there are, whilst the person looking for the term “Start a Small Business Online for FREE”, in this case, probably has a very clear idea that he wants to start a business online without spending any money.

Since your objective is to start a business, you’ll need to monetize it, so the best keywords are the ones that identify users who are already looking to buy something.

The best kind of content you can create to get paid is reviews and comparison articles.

Does this mean you should only target this kind of user and write only review blog posts?

In my opinion, you should also write informative content, but I’ll leave that explanation for another article.

For now, I recommend writing 50/50 reviews and information posts, targeting both people looking for information and people looking to purchase something.

I will also explain in later posts how to turn one into the other.

You’re probably wondering now…

“How will any of this earn me money?”

Easy, it’s called affiliate marketing.

The ‘what’ marketing?

You affiliate (associate) with the sellers who will pay you a commission when someone you recommend makes a purchase.

These companies can pay commissions as high as 50% or more in some cases. Typically, digital products pay higher commissions.

It sounds too extreme, I know, but think about it…

With traditional advertising, you pay x$ not knowing if you’ll ever turn a profit, whilst paying 50% to an affiliate who already sold the product still leaves you with a guaranteed 50%.

Since the company only has to pay you a commission once the product is sold, they have nothing to lose and the rest is absolute profit.

So let’s recap…

You find an audience interested in your niche, who are looking for a particular product, write an article about that product which leads some of them to buy it and once they do you get paid a percentage of that sale. Simple!

So how can you find products to promote for free?

Much easier than you might think, and the first answer lies in the giant of online shopping – Amazon.

With their program of Amazon Associates, you will be able to promote any product on any of their websites and get paid for it.

Amazon Associates Join Page
Amazon Associates

The downside of Amazon Associates is that the commissions are on the lower side (usually less than 8%), but the upsides are very interesting:

  • You’ll get a commission for any product the person buys on Amazon during the next 24h after clicking your link. – i.e. If the user spends $1.000 on their website that day you’ll get a percentage of all of that.
  • You can find almost anything to promote on Amazon.

Another Affiliate network with no special requirements to start with is ShareASale. They have a lot of reputable brands in every niche you can imagine.

Some brands also have their own independent affiliate programs, a good rule of thumb is to Google the brand name with the word affiliate and 80% of the times you’ll find an affiliate page.

You can learn a lot more about affiliate networks and the right ways to promote products through content with the Wealthy Affiliate trainings.

In Summary – How to Start a Small Business Online for Free?

Four Steps:

#1 – Build a Website

#2 – Choose a Niche and research it’s Audience

#3 – Find Keywords to target with content

#4 – Write Content that will help your audience make a purchase decision

#5 – Get Paid!

Final Advice to Start a Small Business Online for FREE

It’s worth repeating that you’ll find all the information you need, the resources and tools as well as a community of 100s of 1000s of other entrepreneurs walking the same journey and ready to help you with any problem you encounter within the Wealthy Affiliate platform.

You can join Wealthy Affiliate here for Free and enjoy a good amount of its resources.

With the WA Premium Membership, you’ll have everything you need to create a highly profitable online business if you dedicate enough time and energy to learn and apply that knowledge.

With a bit more effort you can also make it work only with the free tools provided at WA.

If your intention is to start a small business online for free, I highly advise you to start in wealthy affiliate with the starter (free) membership and learn as much as you can and start doing.

There’s no faster and more efficient way to success than trial and error. And with the right training and following others who’ve done it, your journey is assured to be faster and smoother.

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Your Feedback can Help Others

If you’ve followed the tips in this article and found them useful, I’d love it if you could leave a comment below so others can learn from your experience which might be different than mine.

To Your Success!