It has never been easier, simpler and cheaper than now to set up a business with genuine, realistic potential of creating extra income or even of making you rich never mind where you start from. The trick is to know where to look for the answer. As you are here, you already know one part of the answer – yes, it’s an online business.
Now to the real headache:
How much capital do you need to start your own Internet business?
This is the hurdle where most people turn back with tail between their legs and complain that they can’t afford the cost. This is a crying shame because to start an Internet business you do NOT need any starting capital.
What you need is very simple:
- Internet access
- customer service point
Let’s assume you don’t have any of the items on the list. No problem.
Here is why: you can get access to a computer and the Internet either for free, for instance, at your local library or at college or university if you are a student, or from around $2 (or £1) an hour at an Internet cafe.
You can get a free laptop with a wireless broadband contract that in the UK will cost you £25 per month for 5GB monthly data usage (that’s quite a bit) or for £40 per month for 15GB monthly usage (that’s a lot!). In other words, for the equivalent of about 6 hours per week at an Internet cafe you can have your own laptop.
Of course, once you’ve made your first $100 on the Internet, all this is paid for.
Now you need software. Again, no problem: Lots of professional standard software is either free or very inexpensive.
For basic office productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation software) use The OpenOffice suite, an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office. What’s more, it is MS Office compatible and you can download it for free.
What about email management software like Outlook Express or Outlook that come with MS Office? Use Thunderbird, the email solution from the people who gave us Firefox, the alternative to the Internet Explorer. Both, Thunderbird and Firefox are free, of course.
You get the picture. Virtually all productivity tools for a budding Internet entrepreneur are available free or at extremely low cost. They are easily accessible and provide solutions to fully professional standard.
An online business needs a website, and a website needs to be hosted. But that doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Registering your domain will cost about $10 for a .com domain or as little as $0.99 for a .info domain. A hosting program for unlimited websites can be as little as $7 per month (for instance, at Gogaddy.com). Or get your domain name and hosting for your website in one single package for £9 from one.com for the first year.
Naturally, as an Internet entrepreneur, you have to have a blog. Blogger.com and WordPress.com will host your blogs for free. WordPress.org allows free downloads of its blogging software for installation on your website if you wish to host your blog on your own site.
A customer service point allows your clients to contact you by telephone. No, you don’t need an office nor a call centre contract for your customers to be able to reach you. Use Skype. You can get a Skype-out number that looks just like a fixed line number plus Skype voicemail for £1.95 plus tax (in the UK) per month. This solution even has the advantage that you can choose an easily memorable telephone number for your Internet business.
Of course, you can’t have a business without a product. But the beauty of the Internet is that you don’t need your own product to get started. You don’t even need an idea for a product. Here is the solution:
Become an affiliate (free), set up a website (which is free if you have selected the right hosting account), upload your sales material to your website (which again is free as most affiliate products come with sales material for your website), drive Internet traffic to the website (which can be done for free) and then pocket your affiliate commission.
Many of the underground Internet millionaires started like this. No capital, no product, no technical expertise, no experience. So why isn’t everyone an Internet millionaire? The answer is simple: There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you don’t pay the money, you have to put in the time. Not a lot, but sufficient AND persistently. These are the foundations on which Internet fortunes are built.