Starting an Online Business for Fun and Profit - picture of hands on laptop keyboard
Blogging and Freelance Writing

Starting an Online Business for Fun and Profit

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So, you’ve decided that you want to go into business for yourself? Awesome! We love people with initiative. However, you must realize that going into business can cost a ton of cash.  But, never fear! There are ways to start a profitable business without mortgaging your home or promising the bank your first born child. In fact, you may not even have to spend much money to get off the ground at all – even for a start-up. How’s that, you say? It is simple – start an online business.

Starting a business today is easier than it has ever been. The age of the internet has made it easy to make money doing all kinds of different things. In fact, it is pretty simple to even turn a hobby into a money making machine especially if it is online. Heck we did it, and now Holly is totally working in her pajamas at home. Here are four reasons why we believe starting an online business is preferable to starting a brick and mortar business any day of the week.

Low Overhead

Whether you are starting a blog or an online store, or selling some sort of service, making the internet your main base of operations is a lot less expensive than starting a traditional business. Think about it.  You don’t have an additional rent or mortgage payment, no utilities, and no additional property taxes.  The list goes on and on. Rather than taking out a loan to cover thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars in start-up costs, you can basically start an online business for less than $100. Yes, you read that right. You can start a business for less than $100! Here is how:

  • Start by reading this post: Quit Your Day Job: How to Start a Blog.
  • Create and buy your domain name: This will usually cost you about 10-$20/year, depending on the company you use and the domain name selected. We like to use GoDaddy.com to buy our domains. There you can find domains for as little as $2.99!
  • Hosting: Once you have a domain name, you need to find somebody to host your website. Typically, a hosting plan will cost you between $5-15/month. We have recently changed hosting companies, and now all of our websites are with Big Scoots. (We’ve got a review coming soon!!!) They have extremely low downtime, increased our website speed, and their customer service is top notch. Before the switch, we had always used Hostgator to host our websites. They have great low pricing (which starts at $3.95/month), and I’ve found their customer service to be very good. Furthermore, they allow you to create a WordPress site for free. If you click on our link or type “CLUBTHRIFTY” in the coupon code to save an additional 25% (or 9.95/year). I’ve also hear good things from other people about Bluehost, though we have never used them ourselves. Go Daddy also provides hosting, but we prefer not to let one company hold too much control over our sites.
  • Create Your Website: There are a lot of companies that can help you develop the look and feel of your website. You can find free templates and themes on any of the major providers – such as WordPress, Hostgator, Bluehost, or GoDaddy. You can find a lot of good stuff here, although their functionality can be somewhat limited. For more functionality, you may consider a using a premium theme for a one time fee of about $50-100. If you are looking for a wide array of great looking themes, I suggest looking at StudioPress. There are dozens of different templates from which to choose, all of them able to be changed to fit your needs. We use the Prose theme as it is simple to use, yet allows us to customize it as needed.

Flexibility

Running an online business gives you a ton of flexibility. You can run your business full or part-time. You can live in your hometown or in Jamaica if you choose. You can work in the evenings, mornings, or whenever works best for your family. Letting Holly quit her job was an awesome move for our family, mainly because she is now available for the kids whenever we need her to be.

Little Customer Interaction

Are you tired of dealing with people? Running an online business can help you with that. Since your business is online, most of your dealings with people will happen online as well.

Low Inventory

Don’t have room or the money to hold on to a bunch of inventory? No problem. Create an online store where other people store the inventory for you. You can create an entire store by selling things from other people’s warehouses. For instance, you might create a bookstore entirely from books sold by Amazon. Each time you sell a book, a Amazon pays you a commission on the sale. Pretty sweet, huh? Not only can you take advantage of resources that are already available to you, you can make money doing it!

While the mechanics of starting an online business are easy, don’t be fooled into thinking that the money will just start rolling in. Just like any business, creating a successful online venture takes a lot of time and effort. However, creating an online business can help you succeed by avoiding one of the most common reasons for business failure: too much debt.

Have you ever thought of starting an online business?  If so, what kind?

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17 Comments

  1. I’m in the process of building up my online freelance writing business – and as you say, it’s really simple to set up – although a bit of work involved in drumming up business.

    I’ve also got an online store selling salsa shoes and that was also pretty easy to get going. Both businesses give me great flexibility in terms of when I work on it. Although I’ve found that the results you get definitely reflect the amount of effort you put in.

    Good luck to you and Holly on the biz!

  2. Well, I think you know my answer to your question haha. I wrote a post about how blogging is the ultimate side hustle and included many of the reasons you mentioned in this post. My next venture is another content website focused on a health-care related topic. It’ll be a challenge to build it up from nothing, but it definitely is the ideal side hustle imo.

  3. Online is the way to go! It’s crazy how inexpensive it can be to create a business these days. Doesn’t mean it’ll be successful, but you certainly don’t have to blow all your savings.

  4. Nice beginning stages post Greg!

    I have a few web properties that generate a tiny sum each month and I plan on expanding those blogs to make more. Making a decent income online is not easy, as you all know, but it is definitely do-able over time. Like any other business it takes commitment, discipline and pure faith in your product or writing.

    Thanks again Greg and take care. My best to all and have an awesome weekend!!

    Lyle

  5. I can say that blogging is cheap to start up, but an e-commerce store is not. I did that years ago and it cost money. The website, advertising, commissions, fees, security, and all of that jazz costs money. I wouldn’t recommend people starting that if they want to go low cost.

  6. I have a friend who told me about a website he is starting that is very niche focused and more like an online magazine. He knows nothing about blogging or anything, and told me he spend 60k on it already, and its not even live! I nearly had a heart attack. I wish he would have talked to me first because it’s SO cheap to start something like that. He got royally screwed!

  7. Great post and yes I have thought of starting an online business. It does take a lot of work as running a blog is good experience to begin an online venture. I will look into using studio press for my next online theme.

  8. I’m fairly new to the blogging community but I’ve really enjoyed developing content and creating a blog so far. I am hoping to learn how to monetize over the next several months. It’s been really inspiring to read about you success!

  9. Low overhead and the ease of getting started make an online business an awesome choice, but it’s still a lot of work to get established and start making some real income.

  10. I have a blog but I have yet to make anything significant from it even after two years, so I consider it more like a hobby. I have freelanced in the past and that has been the most lucrative when it comes to side businesses (however it was stressful dealing with all those clients!).

  11. I’ve kicked around the idea for an online business, but I think the farthest I’d go now is possibly monetizing the blog. A drop ship business is tempting, but I haven’t found a niche that appeals to me yet. Great tips though: I love the low cost and (possibly) low hassle aspects of an online business.

  12. The low overhead and flexibility are the best things to me… It makes it so easy, and the fact that if you “fail,” all it means is that you found one thing that doesn’t work, but it doesn’t hurt you too much. To me, that is the best part of starting an online business!

  13. I love the idea of a drop shop, or online business, but it really is a lot of work. I had no idea a blog was so much work before I started that. But, as I’m always looking for ways to earn additional income, this is definitely something I’m going to consider in the future. Plus, and I hate to think negatively, but if it did fail, there would be a lot less lost in an online shop than a retail one.

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  15. Greg, I appreciate your comment about how the internet allows people to start businesses and sell things so easily today. I like how you mentioned that the internet also makes it possible for you to work comfortably from home. If someone were trying to start the best online business, I would suggest they look for someone trained in implementing these ideas to help them start.

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