13 Easy Online Business Ideas With Minimal Or No Investment Needed


Maybe you’re a young boy/girl who wants to start getting dirty in the entrepreneurial side of the business world.

Maybe you’re a college graduate who intends to launch a business instead of looking for a job.

Maybe you’re a cooperate mouse who’s tired of the 9-5 life and is eager to escape the Rat Race.

Or maybe you just want to start a side business to be able to afford some more weekend beers.

In any case, there are so many ways you can turn your interests and skills into real cash online, working from the comfort of your home.

The internet has created a lot of endless opportunities for anyone who’s ready to make use of them.

To some people, making money from the internet usually sounds like a complicated nightmare. Well, I’ll be honest with you:

  • Starting an online based business/store of any kind is hard work.

But luckily enough, a countless number of people from different parts of the world have already done it, and chances are…

You can also do it.

I’m not about to sell you a product that will make you an overnight billionaire; rather, I’ve put together an extensive list of 13 different, relatively easy, online business ideas people are making a living from.

If you’re ready, I am too.

Online Business Ideas That Need No/Minimal Investment

1. Blogging (Minimal investment)

For more than two decades now, people have been making a living from blogs, primarily by delivering free, actionable, entertaining, informative, and educational content on a variety of topics to their audience.

The topics of these blogs can be about anything:

  • Food
  • Fashion
  • Travel
  • Nutrition
  • Pet care
  • Golf
  • Dishwashers
  • etc.

Bloggers can monetize this content via so many ways, including (but not limited to) offering different products/services to their audience (aka affiliate marketing), finding private advertisers, and putting up pay-per-click advertisements.


2. Podcasting (Minimal investment)

Podcasting has become popular in recent times with many people starting up new shows daily.

Luckily, as the business continues to grow in popularity, a lot of podcast hosts are discovering many wonderful ways of monetizing their shows, including landing great deals with advertisers and selling goods and services to their audience.

In the internet marketing space, the moment you mention podcasting, one name that will always come to mind is John Lee Dumas who has built a successful business around his podcast.

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John hosts Entrepreneurs On Fire where he shares lots of helpful information on business and entrepreneurship.

In fact, after running the SML YouTube channel for years, I’m launching my own podcast called #BYOBTalk (Be Your Own Boss Talk).

But again, just like blogging can be about any niche, podcasting can be based around any niche as well. For example, Margaret Jone Davis has a very interesting podcast for dog lovers in her Creative Dog Training blog.

Another wonderful podcast show you might like to check out is the Bodybuilding Podcast.

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As you can see, you can start a podcast in any niche, you don’t need to limit yourself to the business/entrepreneurship niche.

I know you might wonder how to get started as a podcaster. If that’s true, learn how to start a podcast. It will give you all you need to become a super podcaster.

Launch your podcast in 10 minutes

Find out what you’re passionate about and start talking about it!

3. Dropshipping (Minimal investment)

You don’t need a warehouse filled with inventory to run your own business.

Dropshipping is a good way to start your own business on a budget without owning a single product. You just need to get pre-existing products from a supplier and let them take care of everything else, including fulfillment, packaging, and shipping.

With dropshipping, you can run your business from anywhere because you don’t need a warehouse. Your store doesn’t have to stock products in any physical location.

Once someone buys an item from you, you make an order with a third-party on behalf of your customer, and the third-party handles everything else.

The guys at Shopify created a dropshipping business and generated almost $1k within 3 days of its launch.

If you want to learn more about this business model, check out this Ultimate Dropshipping Guide by Shopify.

4. Freelance Writing (No investment)

Freelance Writing
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Let me tell you, writing is one of the most important skills you can have as an online entrepreneur. This is because the majority of the things we do involves writing in one way or another.

I understand that everybody is not a writer, but if writing is your thing, then I have good news for you – you can make a lot of money on the internet.

As a talented writer, you have a lot of opportunities to build a business by offering your writing services in the form of articles, magazines, blog posts, books, editorials, etc. to busy webmasters.

We have published a lot of guides on getting started with freelance writing opportunities. Here are some hand-picked resources:

5. Launch An Online Course Or Membership Site (No investment)

Building and selling online courses is an excellent way to generate passive income.

You just need to make a video tutorial where you’re teaching people a subject you’re familiar with. Then, you can host it either on your own blog or on an online course platform like Udemy.

Recommended reading:

Although it’s one of the most challenging ways to make money online, if you’re able to create a popular, value-filled, and informative video tutorial, you will be making money from it for a long time.

To launch your own online course, you first need to think of a good topic you understand very well and can easily teach someone from scratch. It could be anything – list building, bead making, mobile app development, web development, dog training, etc.

The next thing to do is to get a video editing app like Camtasia which makes it easy to create professional looking videos.

After that, all you need to do is upload it somewhere and promote it.

Here are a few more platforms which offer free plans and will help you host your videos and content for free:

  1. Thinkific
  2. Teachable
  3. New Kajabi

A good example is from ShoutUniversity which teaches users like you how to blog and how to make money from blogging.

Shout University
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But again, the “blogging” niche is not the only niche where this will work.

For instance, entrepreneur David Henzel launched Managing Happiness to target both the entrepreneur and relationship niches.

Just find your niche and go from there.

6. Ghost Writing (No investment)

A lot of bloggers and internet marketers are super busy with other areas of their business and do not have the time to write blog posts for their blogs.

As you may know, writing is only one side of building a successful online business; there are so many other tasks that need maximum attention.

However, experienced webmasters understand the benefits of content marketing, and they know that they cannot wholly abandon it.

The busiest marketers are always on the lookout for good writers who can be ghost writing for them.

As a ghostwriter, your job is to always supply the marketer with quality content which he/she will eventually publish on his/her blog under his/her own name.

Keep in mind: This does not involve only article writing; someone can also pay you to write a full page eBook which will still be published under their name.

Therefore, your only job is to write really well. No marketing, no SEO, and no social media campaigns… just write.

A good example of someone already making a living from this kind of work is Michael Chibuzor from the Content Marketing Up blog.

Try to identify some busy marketers in your niche and see if they’re hiring ghost writers.

7. Virtual Assistant (No investment)

Virtual assistant
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There are so many important yet time-consuming tasks that marketers often want to delegate to capable hands.

This is where a virtual assistant comes in.

Some of the tasks a virtual assistant can handle include:

  • Travel arrangements
  • Social media marketing/promotion
  • Link building
  • Calendar management
  • Email management
  • Blog posting
  • Audio/video editing

As a virtual assistant, it’s your duty to handle some (or all) of these tasks based on your specific specialties.

A good person I can mention that’s making money from this method is Hannah O’Brien.

If you want to start being a virtual assistant, check out this post.

8. Website Flipping (Time-consuming, minimal investment)

Real estate is not the only business that involves purchasing, renovating, and selling – we also have “online real estate”.

Website Flipping
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This is the process of buying an existing website, redesigning/rebranding/remarketing it, and then flipping (selling) it for more profit.

A lot of people have been making some big bucks doing this. However, this one is not one of the easiest online business ideas, though it has great potential to make huge amounts of online money.

You can also try to build a website yourself and then sell it… if you know how to do that sort of thing

When you’re ready to sell, you can employ the services of sites like Empire Flippers.

The guy behind Upfuel (Chris Guthrie) recently wrote an article on how he generated $50,000 in 20 months from a single website flip.

9. Online Book Publishing (No investment)

Online Book Publishing
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You may have thought of publishing a book someday.

While seeing your name listed on the best sellers list might seem like a daydream, it’s actually easier than you think.

Whether it’s a fiction novel, a romance novel, a child’s picture story, or a marketing guide, you now have many different options for self-publishing your book.

You can release your writing as an eBook and sell it on your site, or you could publish it on the Kindle store. Or you could use an in-demand printing service such as CreateSpace.

The good thing about self-publishing your work is that everything is taken care of automatically, from printing to storage to delivery. You just carry out the initial work of uploading it to your chosen platform, and the rest is on auto-pilot.

In the past 2 years, I have made more than $25K by selling my books on both the ShoutMeLoud store and Amazon.

Here are 3 of my books which are currently on Amazon:

Harsh Agrawal Books
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If you wish to publish a book online, here are few guides to help you get started:

10. SEO Consulting (No investment)

SEO Consulting
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The majority of website traffic today still comes from Google. People cannot possibly ignore the importance of search engines. Hence, search engine optimization (SEO) is still a valuable and in-demand skill set that anyone can have.

This usually takes about 4-6 months to learn enough SEO to start offering it as a service to others. Over time, you can open your own SEO agency.

It may sound like a far-fetched idea, but all you need is the internet and some zeal to learn to become an SEO expert. You can take online courses on CreativeLive, or find a digital marketing course which also includes SEO.

If you wish to start learning for free, you can browse our SEO section. It’s unstructured, but you will find enough free information to learn the basics.

11. Affiliate Marketing (No investment)

This is one of the best methods of earning online, and even if every other business idea mentioned here should fail (which is not possible), affiliate marketing will still be here for years to come.

Affiliate marketing is considered one of the easiest online business models today. You just have to recommend someone’s product/services to your audience, and once a purchase is made, you earn a commission from your referral.

Subscribe on YouTube

Isn’t that simple?

Affiliate Marketing Stages
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The good thing about this model is that the barrier to entry is often minimal; you don’t need to have lots of capital to get started. Even with an empty pocket, you can start making money with affiliate marketing because most of the affiliate vendors on the internet are free to join.

Check out ShareASale and Commission Junction.

This is one of the methods I’ve been using to make lots of money over the years.

If you wish to learn about affiliate marketing, this is the best book to help you get started.

12. Facebook Ads Consulting (No investment)

Once a proper campaign is designed and implemented, Facebook ads can be extremely effective.

However, the constant shift of advertising rules and technology by Facebook is making it tough for most marketers and business owners to profit from it, which is why honing your Facebook skills and becoming an expert in the field and then offering your services as a consultant could prove to be a very lucrative business.

You just have to learn the program and master the rules.

To find out more about Facebook ads, visit this blog post from the Buffer blog.

13. Amazon Associates

Just like affiliate marketing, Amazon has a very profitable commission program where publishers can earn a massive amount of money by simply referring people to their website.

Amazon Associates
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You just have to set up a website where you’ll be reviewing individual products based on your chosen category, and join the Amazon Associates program. If a user clicks on one of your affiliate links, you’ll be getting a cool little cut if a user completes the purchase on Amazon.

The reason most marketers don’t like the Amazon Associates program is that the commission is relatively small, however, considering the fact that their conversion rates are always high, people are still making a mouth-watering sum from the program.

This is how sites like Thank Your Skin, Home Products HQ, Here Pup have been making money.

For more on Amazon Associates, check out this post.

Here are a few hand-picked articles to learn more about starting an Amazon affiliate website:

13 Easy Kinds Of Online Businesses

If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own home-based business, now is the right time. Stop procrastinating and get to work.

All you need to do is take the first step, and you will be amazed at how easy every other thing will be.

Just pick one of the ideas here and get started now on your journey to financial freedom.

Which one of these online business ideas are you going to try? Have any other ideas that are not on this list? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Like this post? Don’t forget to share it!

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

46 thoughts on “13 Easy Online Business Ideas With Minimal Or No Investment Needed”

  1. Parth Mayn

    Just Wowwwww!! Thanks a ton for sharing this..Its going to help me alot to setup my online earnings or business 🙂

  2. Amit chaudhary

    Although I have been reading posts especially on subjects similar to this, yet this guide is the most valuable I’ve ever gone through. It is another very worthy material out of you Mr Harsh. You gave me 3 unique ideas specially with logic and details. Keep writing …. Thank you a lot.

  3. Syed Ahmad Abbas Kazmi

    For Students this Article is best. Because they always want to know methods to start small business and online making money. I love the article.
    Thank you Sir.

  4. Suhaib Hassan

    Hi Harsh,

    This is an amazing post for anyone who wants to start online work. This suits well with a college or varsity going student too because she/he often runs short of fund.

    Above all, thanks for helping a ton of people who wanna invest a little or nothing.

    Suhaib Hassan

  5. Mayank

    I have been reading your blog for some time now and finally started my first blog (to become full-time at it. It’s a new one at reloadyourwallet.com.

    Thank you, brother, for inspiring a new breed of young India who is thinking beyond 9-5.

  6. Ranvijay

    Though I have been reading articles especially on topics like this, but this article is most valuable I have ever gone through. It’s another very worthy content from you Mr Harsh. You gave me 3 different ideas specially with details and logic. Keep writing …. Thanks a lot.

  7. Vaibhav Kulkarni

    Hello sir I tried affiliate marketing but it’s not making money I am unable to figure out what is issue what i can do now.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Few important things that you need to take care of:

      1) Right kind of traffic
      2) Right kind of audience
      3) Right kind of products (Relevant to audience intent)

      Take care of these 3 points & that should fix your issue.

  8. Satish Kushwaha

    Amazing articles..Few ideas are known to me but then too I came to know something interesting.
    Thank you Harsh sir for this amazing article..Keep posting

  9. Nisha

    Harsh, You always write some very interesting topics that give boosts to the reader. Now days everyone wants to be his/her own boss and want to start up a new business but most of them have no investment. You have written some amazing ways for the new bees to make money without investing. Its a great help! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sonal Diwan

    Hello Harsh Agrawal,

    Thank you for sharing this awesome information with us!!!
    It is very useful for me to setup my own business without any investment .
    Keep updating.

  11. Ashutosh singh

    Great options are also available in the market its be nice to knowing that. It is upto the depend on that person what they like to do for me I like the Blogging. please keep up share like this post. Thank you

  12. hardik

    amazon affiliate or amazon niche site can be a better option of adsense and cpc ads if you have someproduct niche based blog.

  13. tushar sharma

    Thanks for sharing this article as this is what I m looking earlier. Lot of people want to know about the business ideas with the proper guidance that contains in this article. Keep sharing and keep up the good work.

  14. shivam chaudhary

    Wow. I have to say that this is an entire list. If I’d seen this a couple years back then “blogging” would not be my sole profession.

    I wanted to begin online classes where I would readily sell my Ebooks in blogging, SEO and visitors manners but using a platform was an issue.

    Thanks once more and I do not understand if true. . But am discovering a deference on your comment box.

  15. Rupesh Kumar

    There are myriads of options available to earn money online. Not many people know about it. So first of all congratulations to you on publishing such a nice post around online business ideas.

    I personally like Blogging and Online Course as viable option to me. Other channels are also lucrative. But you need to pick one or two from this list. You can be jack of all trades. Every online business channels has a steep learning curve and will take patience and perseverance to grow.


    1. akinola

      Yes there are many options to make money online with no investment as stated by the article but i really like affiliate marketing

  16. yasir Khan

    i will go for SEO consultant 😀

    Thank you Harsh ^_^

  17. Prince John Okosun

    Wow. I must say this is a complete list. If i had seen this a couple of years ago then “blogging” wouldn’t be my only profession.

    I always wanted to start online courses where i would easily sell my Ebooks in blogging, SEO and traffic ways but having a platform was a problem. Thanks to this post i just signed up for thinkific.

    Also over the years of blogging, i could have also be a freelancer and a ghost blogger because i always post amazing contents and finding a good audience was always a problem.

    Thanks once again and i don’t know if true.. but am noticing a deference in your comment box.

  18. Saurabh Dubey

    Hello sir,
    Is a entertainment news website can be one of them ?
    Like BuzzFeed .

  19. Ram

    Awesome sir all the time your’s new ideas boosts youth to start a startup from themselves without depending upon their boss or Parents. If it comes about me i’ll give my entire credit to you only sir

    Thank you a’lot for your support

  20. Dinesh Yadav

    I have been trying in freelancing and tips you have given is very useful, virtual assistance is one thing i would like to try first. thanks for the article.

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