A majority of people would say that owning an online business is an easier option to succeed than owning a traditional offline business. Well, maybe they have a point, indeed it is a cheaper option.
If you are familiar with running an offline business you may be under the impression that opening an online business will be a walk in the park. Look at some of the advantages:
- No staff to hire
- You can work from home, no time lost driving to work
- No rent to pay
- Your business will be open 24 hours a day every day and available to people from all around the world
- No cleaning bills
However, an offline business in a prime position, city center or shopping mall, with the approach of “build it and they will come” will work. On the internet, use this approach and you will have no visitors, customers or income.
The prime position on the internet is to be on the first page of Google. Getting there is possible you just have to learn how to do it.
As we said the costs incurred in setting up and running an online business are far less when compared to a traditional bricks and mortar business. But to start, spending some money is probably a good plan.
In this article, we’re going to look at the costs in setting up an affiliate marketing business. This is my preferred online business model. So, let’s get going!
I’m hoping you are already in possession of a working computer and a good internet connection. If not, please ensure you include them in your expenses. Working from a public library computer to run your online business isn’t really an option. Although, later when your business is established you will be able to use internet connections from any location, which means you can work while traveling which is pretty cool.
The expenses I strongly recommend for you.
Online internet marketing training
My first recommendation is to get an education. You may think you can avoid this step and just set up a site write a few articles, include a few affiliate links and wait for the visitors.
It’s true that’s the basics of what an affiliate marketing business is all about, but unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.
You need to learn other things like:
- Keyword research
- Choosing your niche
- Search engine optimization
- Calls to action
- Writing content and reviews
- Creating landing pages
- Pay per click advertising
- Using WordPress and many other skills
Yes, it’s possible to find this information yourself online and for free. But this will take lots of time and often the information you will find will no longer be up to date. Also, you won’t proceed in any logical order. You will probably skip from one task to another either when you remember it or when something is suggested in an article you are reading.
I won’t say it’s impossible to set up a business like this, but it will take a lot longer and you will probably make many mistakes along the way. Furthermore, you will be on your own. When you have a problem you will have to search again for the answer. More time lost!
That is why I suggest using an online training program. You will learn how to do things correctly the first time, everything you need is in one place and when you need help you ask.
The program I recommend is Wealthy Affiliate. You will find all the training that is necessary to start your business. The training is step by step, in a logical order, that’s very easy to follow. This is a one-stop solution because not only do they provide the training but also all the tools you need to get your business up and running. In addition, they provide excellent support to help whenever you have a problem.
The cost of the program
It’s free to join for a 7-day trial to see if it’s right for you and then the price is $19 for the first month and $49 per month onwards. There is an alternative of pay yearly which is $359, this works out at just under $30 per month.
What you get
As a free or starter member
You get 2 free websites, you have access to the first 10 lessons which show you the basics of how to set up your site, choose your niche, you also receive initial instruction in keyword research and creating content.
Now if you think you can build your business from this base, you can stay as a free member. You can keep your 2 siterubix subdomain websites and carry on building your business.
Alternatively, you may decide you don’t want to pay a monthly fee but you want to buy your own domain name. In this case, you would have to find your own hosting and carry on alone.
This could be doable, but again you have only the initial training you will be missing out on some vital training. You will probably spend more time searching the internet for information than working on your website.
As a paid member
On the other hand, if you prefer to follow the lessons and have your own .com domain which is recommended, you will need to upgrade to a premium membership.
As a premium member, you will have access to 5 levels of certification training for promoting any products and 7 levels of Bootcamp training if you decide to promote Wealthy Affiliate.
The paid membership also gives you the chance to host up to 25 websites with your own domains and 25 free siterubix sites. This is managed WordPress hosting that gives you more security, extra speed, and excellent support.
You also have access to a keyword tool, different methods of support, you can ask for comments and feedback on your website, 24/7 technical support and live video classes.
It’s worth noting this isn’t a get rich scheme but takes much hard work and time. Your first sales and commissions will probably happen after a number of months. If you need to earn money faster you will need to find a different sort of business.
The cost of my first option is free for 7 days, then $19 for your first month and after that either $49 per month or $359 per year. Plus a domain name $14 per year.
Annually this works out at:
- Hosting, keyword tool, training, support + much more. 12 x $49 = $588 or pay annually $359 per year
- Domain name including WhoisGuard $14 per year
- Total either $602 per year if you pay monthly or $373 per year paid annually
The other option is to do it yourself
If you think you are capable or you have some experience of earning money online, you can try to create your business on your own. Here’s what you need to start.
There is an option for free hosting. It could be by hosting a blog with blogger.com, wordpress.com, wix.com or weebly.com. These may seem a great option when you start but with time you will realize you are limited in various ways.
Some bloggers complain of having blogs deleted with or without warning from some of these services. Wordpress.com has some strict rules concerning their blogs they term as free and earning money.
On the contrary, if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, for example, you may do as may wish with it. What I’m trying to put across here, is you will have limited control over your website as long as you rely on free hosting.
Additionally, a self-hosted blog can be given the look and functionalities you desire or need. With a free website, there are limited options for you to choose from.
I’m pretty sure you won’t like a majority of those free hosting companies because they will take advantage of the free offer and run ads on your site making it look unprofessional. In some cases, there will be minimal security options for you.
Paying for your own hosting is necessary but not too expensive. About $8 – $10 per month
2. Your own domain name
A domain name of your own, in the long run, will be far easier for people to remember than one given by one of the free hosting companies. Domain names are quite cheap too, you will probably pay around $16 per year including WhoisGuard to protect your privacy at most registrars.
Your site will also look more professional if you acquire your own domain name. It shows you are serious in what you are doing and it creates an impression that your business can provide quality products and services. Most customers I believe, will have more confidence in your site when they see a .com, .org or .net domain
What looks better to you mysite.wordpress.com, mysite.blogspot.com or mysite.com?
3. A keyword tool
To find those low competition keywords you will save a lot of time if you use a keyword tool. There are some free tools but you don’t get all the information you need. So using a keyword tool that provides all the required data in a few clicks is definitely worth it. A good keyword tool will cost around $19 – $25 per month.
You can see my recommended keyword tool review here.
Cost of doing it yourself
- Hosting $8 – $10 per month say $108 per year
- Domain name $16 per year
- Keyword tool $19- $25 per month say $228 per year
- Total $352 per year
Comparing the 2 options
You will save a little money by setting everything up yourself. However, if you follow the Wealthy Affiliate training program and can afford to pay yearly you will only pay $21 extra. When you consider all the training, hosting for up to 25 premium sites and the support you receive this is a no brainer.
If you pay for the training program monthly there is an extra cost of $250. This may seem like a lot but I still believe it’s good value. The training will save you time from mistakes you would have made. You can ask questions if you have a problem and the hosting support is the fastest and most helpful I have ever seen.
Another alternative would be to follow the lessons for a few months and then if you decide to leave for whatever reason you could transfer your website to another host.
My recommendation is to try the FREE membership and see what you think.
Other expenses you might have later
Although you can start with the expenses as mentioned above, after a few months or when you start to earn some money you might decide to make some other investments.
Although WordPress provides you with many great free themes, after a while you may decide to buy a premium theme to improve the look or certain functions on your site. A premium theme can cost between $19 and $99.
If you decide to get into email marketing which is recommended you will need an autoresponder. An autoresponder replies when someone opts into your list or sends out emails at preset intervals. The prices range from free to $19 per month.
Advertising or marketing
How are you going to get the word out about your business? There are free ways to do this, such as guest blogging – writing articles about your topic and allowing other websites to publish them, but as a rule, the free marketing options take time.
Well-done pay per click advertising can be highly effective, as can other forms of advertising. This is an area where knowing whether or not you are getting a good ROI is vital. If you are not attentive enough, you can easily spend your money on ineffective ads. So, watch out!
As your site grows or you create other sites you will probably find you haven’t the time to write all your own content. Finding freelancers to work for you might be the solution. Outsourcing doesn’t stop at writing you can get help with many different tasks such as graphic design, SEO, translation or social media management.
You can set up an internet business for nothing if you choose free hosting with a sub domain name. But will you get very far? I don’t think so! You will soon be lost and you won’t have all the tools you need.
It’s much better to be realistic and admit you will need help. If you opt for an online training platform you will speed up the time it takes to get your business earning. You will give yourself a much better chance of succeeding.
When I started trying to earn money online, my first attempt was to follow a video course. Although the course wasn’t bad and not expensive, it didn’t work for me. I was left to implement everything myself without any support. In the end, I had to admit I had wasted my money and time.
From there I joined Wealthy Affiliate and loved the training. Following the step by step training was so easy, most people seem to enjoy the lessons. You go at your own speed and go back over anything you don’t understand as often as you wish.
I wish I had found this platform much sooner and I’m sure you will feel the same.
After paying a little money for the training and hosting etc, the biggest investment is your time. Succeeding as an online business person requires a lot of time and much hard work. You’ll need to come up with articles, product descriptions, do your keyword research, optimize your site for the search engines, keep up with what’s happening in your industry… many tasks that will keep you busy.
Don’t be put off, when you receive those first sales commissions everything will seem worthwhile. If you work hard and don’t give up you will soon be earning a passive income.
I hope this post gives you an idea of what it will ultimately cost you to start your business. Have an awesome journey online!
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If you have started your own internet business: how did you get started and how much did it cost you? Please share your stories in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
Excellent and accurate assessment on how much it costs to start an online business. I was playing around with this number with my online business not too long ago.
It came out to $3.14 cents per day (like 95usd/mo). I think that’s pretty amazing considering my site makes full time income and is somewhat on autopilot.
I also really like your recommendation of Wealthy Affiliate. This is where I did basically as you recommended, but a couple of years ago.
I took all their courses and took action on everything I learned. It took me a while to make any money, then it started to happen gradually and as you keep building, you keep growing.
All of the sudden a post goes viral and you steadily increase your daily visitors to the point where you’ve got yourself a little online shop.
I use Wealthy Affiliate still due to the numerous benefits of being a member, Jaaxy Keyword research tool, and Aweber. That makes up my $3.14/day.
Great advice for anyone who wants to get started into the online world.
Yes, I still find it incredible how cheap it is to set up and run an online business. Once you have done the work and written a whole lot of content your site can almost run by itself. Of course, it’s always better to keep adding posts but not essential.
Glad Wealthy Affiliate worked for you and you raise a good point about it taking time to start earning money. This is where many beginners to internet marketing make a mistake, they think they will start earning money very fast. I would say give it at least six months or even better a year.
You and I have both built a business after following the training on WA, so what they teach does work, I don’t think there’s a better place to start!
Nice to have your insights as always, Todd,
I’ve wanted to run an online business for years, but it is only really in the past 2 years that I have worked at it really seriously. I was drawn to working at home because I didn’t want to have a boss or be stuck working with other people that I don’t like. In normal jobs, often we can get stuck working with people that annoy us in some way, and it’s a shame because you end up spending a lot of time with them.
Running an online business can be one of the cheapest ways to start a business, especially if you go down the affiliate marketing route. All you need is a computer connected to the internet, and a small amount of money to pay for websites and your own training.
I hope you’re making good progress with your business. I know what you mean about working for someone else. Before becoming self-employed almost 40 years ago I worked for someone and although I quite enjoyed the work some of the people you work with can be a pain.
Working online or offline for yourself is a much better option, at least it is for me. With an online business if you’re patient, determined and ready to put in the work you can be successful. As you say, you need very little to start, both in terms of money and equipment. Although I think it’s a good idea to get some good training. This will only push your costs up very slightly but will save you a vast amount of time.
All the best,
When you work the costs out of joining Wealthy Affiliate with a dot com and all the training and support rolled in as your figures represent this is one heck of a deal.
Before I got involved in affiliate marketing I had a shop and the rent per month equated to this yearly figure.
On top of rent comes the insurance, stock, utility bills, waste and staff wages and that’s before you get going making any money.
If you decide to purchase premises, this takes your outgoings into another league altogether whereas a dot com costs Â£13.99 per year.
This really does put things into perspective to me. I’ve done the old method of renting shops and this is far less of a headache.
All this job entails really is determination and a bit of hard work, like any job but without the huge expense.
Great article, certainly got me thinking back,
Couldn’t agree more Simon, when you add everything up joining Wealthy Affiliate is a great deal. Creating your own online business is certainly a far cry from the bricks and mortar businesses we have both owned. The expenses of an offline business can be enormous, compare that to owning and building an online business. The total cost you need to fork out every month is just $49 that includes everything you need even training. I have one regret, that is I wish I started online sooner!
Thanks for your visit,
Wealthy Affiliate does provide a really affordable platform that has everything under one roof. It makes it so much more convenient for people to learn and get started. Starting an online business is a no-brainer because the cost is minimal compared to a traditional business model. Thanks for sharing this great info. Cheers!
Starting an online business is a great opportunity. It’s so cheap and you need no special equipment to get started. Wealthy Affiliate provides everything you need, you just have to put in the work. People should know that building a niche site is a lot of work but if you create a niche site about one of your passions this can be enjoyable. The only downside is it may take a while before you start earning any money, however, if you don’t give up you will succeed.
Thanks for your visit,
When considering how much it costs to start a non-online business e.g. purchasing stock, renting premises and paying staff, starting an on line business is far cheaper. WA has made hosting a website very affordable.
This is particularly true when paying up front for the year.
My pick is to pair this with having a wordpress blog. Their services are excellent.
You’re right, online businesses are really cheap to start, sometimes I wonder what we’d be doing with our time if we weren’t building our businesses. Probably wasting our time watching TV! Creating a WordPress site is so easy these days and when coupled with the great training at WA, you should be on your way to making an online income.