One of the great advantages of starting a business on the internet is that the startup costs are low. It doesn’t really cost very much at all, which means that anyone with a little bit of money can start a business.
If you don’t have any spare time and you have no spare cash at all it will be very difficult to set up your business. So, you will need a little money and some spare time, but compared to an offline business it is much less expensive and much less risky.
In this article, I’m going to answer the question: How much does it cost to start an online business?
However, this depends to a large degree on what your online business actually does and at what stage the business is considered “set up”.
You might be considering starting an e-commerce store, if so, check out this step by step guide on how to start an online store.
Basic Hardware and Internet Access
As you are reading this article, I will assume that you already have a computer and a connection to the internet. If you don’t have either you will have to add these to your setup costs.
It is possible to get started on the internet for free using WordPress.com, Tumblr or Blogger, but these platforms are more aimed at people who want to create personal blogs and not for running a business.
So, you will need a domain name – a name for your website. A domain name will cost about $10 per year
You will need to make your website available to everyone that uses the internet. Your website must be connected to the internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week via a computer called a server. This is called hosting.
There are several different levels of hosting starting with shared hosting, where you share the same server with several other sites, to having your own dedicated server, which is much more expensive.
When starting shared hosting is sufficient for a cost of $60 – $100 a year. If necessary you can upgrade to another hosting plan at a later date as your business grows.
Minimum set-up costs
Now you have a computer, internet access, a domain name and web hosting you can start building your site you don’t need to spend any more money at the moment.
The cost to start your online business is $10 for the domain name + $60 – $100 for website hosting for a year.
This is really the strict minimum and unless you already know something about starting an internet business you will probably need to spend a little more money. Your site will be on the internet, but who will be able to find it. Without visitors to your site, you won’t make any sales. So, I would say it is certainly a good idea to invest a little more.
Additional costs – Here is a list of some of the extra things you may need.
Training and Education
This, I would say is the most important extra cost that for me is absolutely necessary. Although the cost might be relatively expensive it is vitally important to learn and follow a step-by-step course that teaches you how to start your online business.
If you’re new to the online business world without the knowledge and support you will not succeed, you are almost certainly doomed to failure.
Depending on your budget there are several programs that can help.
I would recommend Wealthy Affiliate, an online course where you learn about starting an internet business. At Wealthy Affiliate, you get training, support, services and tools. Everything is in one place. Although the cost is $47 per month or $359 per year you do get hosting for unlimited websites and the training is excellent.
If your budget is really tight you could try the N0 Cost Income Stream, which is a course of training videos that will help get you started. The cost of this program is a one-off payment of $37.
If you are looking for the easiest and fastest way to build your website I would suggest that you use the WordPress platform.
With WordPress, there are thousands of themes both free and themes you can buy (premium themes)
Although there are some very good free themes you might be tempted to buy a premium theme. Some of the advantages of premium themes are:
- quality – designed and coded by professionals
- uniqueness – premium themes are used by fewer people
- functionalities – premium themes contain more functionalities making them easier to use
- support – good premium themes will include support from the developer
- updates – with the feedback they receive from users the premium theme developers fix bugs and add new features
If you intend to build a client mailing list you will need to use an autoresponder that collects email addresses and automatically sends out emails to your list. AWeber the leading autoresponder currently costs $19 per month or $194 per year.
It is possible to run a website just with free traffic from the search engines. This is quite feasible, but you will have to put in a lot of time optimizing your site and writing much quality content. Doing thorough keyword research to find low competition keywords will make the task of getting good search engine positions much easier.
This again will be an extra cost or you can use the free keyword tools like Übersuggest or Google’s keyword planner. A good keyword tool like Jaaxy will cost $19 per month. The great advantage of using a keyword tool is that it will save you hours of work and the results you get are first rate.
In addition to the natural traffic from the search engines, you may want to generate extra traffic by advertising. With Pay-Per-Click advertising, you can choose your daily budget so I won’t give you a figure for this. But be careful it can get expensive!
If running your business is too much for you, it is possible to outsource some of the tasks, such as article writing, again this will increase your costs.
Conclusion – how much does it cost to start and run an online business?
As you can see it is possible to start an online business for very little outlay per month.
The minimum costs I gave above was $10 for the domain name + $60 – $100 a year for the website hosting. Personally, I think if you are just starting it is necessary to have some good training and you will also need a good keyword tool.
The training, support, website hosting, a great number of WordPress themes and a keyword tool are all included in the monthly fee of $49 ($359 per year) at Wealthy Affiliate. You just need to pay for the domain name. It’s even free to sign up and take a look to see what you think.
The other items – the autoresponder, advertising and outsourcing you can get or do as and when needed after your site is making some money.
The way I started was with Wealthy Affiliate, I signed up for the free trial and after being most impressed by the training and the community I upgraded to become a premium member after a few days.
So for me, my monthly costs were $49 per month and I bought my domain name for $11. If you were to pay the subscription annually the cost would be reduced to just $30 per month.
Do you have any experience of setting up your own internet business? How much did it cost you to start your online business? If you have any comments or feedback I would love to hear from you.
To your online success