6 Home Business Ideas You Can Start for Free or Cheap

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Looking for home business ideas you can start with no money? Read on….

When I started my first home business, I spent a fortune on the business opportunity, call center answering service, and more. Even in 1998 when I started Work-At-Home Success, I spent $22 a month on hosting and $70 for two years for my domain.

Today, starting a home business for nothing, or nearly nothing, is possible. Further, a home business started on a tiny budget can still grow to be very profitable.

With that said, while you don’t have to spend a ton of money to start a successful home business, you do need to make a plan and invest the time.

If you’re ready to start creating an income from home either as a side-hustle or you have the goal of turning it into your regular full-time income, here are some great home business ideas you can start quickly with little to no money.

Amazon and/or eBay 

The great thing about getting started on Amazon and eBay is that it doesn’t require upfront expenses. Everything you pay to access these gigantic online stores is done AFTER you’ve made money from a sale. Further, you don’t need to buy items to sell to get started either. Simply go through your home, garage, and storage to find things to sell. This not only cleans your home, but also, it will help determine what items sell well, so you can take your profits to invest in more inventory.

As you grow, you’ll want to invest in Amazon’s and/or eBay’s store options, as well as tools and resources that can help you find the best low-cost items to sell for a profit.

If you’re like me, and don’t much like the packing and shipping aspect of selling items, you should consider Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon service. You list the products and then ship them all to Amazon’s warehouse. Amazon takes care of the selling, packing, and shipping, but you get paid for making the sale. There are many people making up to 6-six figures through Amazon, and many started with nearly nothing.

Free Amazon FBA Course

If you want to learn more, I recommend you take this free 7-Day Amazon FBA course by Jessica Larrew, who not only makes a great living through Amazon FBA, but helps others do so as well. 7 Day Email Course: Everything You Need to Know to Start Selling on Amazon

Affiliate Marketing

Did you know you can start a home business in affiliate marketing without a website? While it’s true that most successful affiliate marketers make the big bucks through a blog and/or email, which costs a little bit of money (see below), you can actually start for free.

The basics of affiliate marketing is that you promote another company’s products or services using a special link, and the company pays you each time you make a sale. Most companies with affiliate programs let you sign up for free. Once you join, you’re given your special tracking link, and you can begin promoting.

You can share your link on social media, but instead of blasting out the link, you might consider setting up a Facebook page or link, doing Facebook Live or Instagram TV. These options allow you to provide some value to people who see your link. Most people won’t click on a “Hey, buy this” message, but they might if you did a brief testimony, tutorial or other information about how great the product it.

Another option is to set up a YouTube channel around a topic and do videos that include affiliate products.

Note that social media and videos that only push products won’t be very popular, so you want to make sure you mix in info that offers value or interest in between the ones that push a product.

While these free methods can work, you should put profits into investing into an email service as the very least. The truth is, the most successful affiliate marketers make the big bucks through their email lists. MailChimp has free services up to about 2,000 subscribers, but the costs beyond that are a bit steeper than some others. Many people have moved to Convertkit which has a free trial, and has an easy-to-use system for creating campaigns and segmenting your list by topics. I’ve been tempted by Convertkit, but have decided to stick with Aweber for several reasons. For one, I’m lazy and don’t want the hassle of moving. But more than that, in the long run Aweber offers the best pricing, and it too allows you to create campaigns and list segmentation, although it’s a little more complicated than in Convertkit.

While I’ve long blogged to earn affiliate income, my more recent affiliate income projects have involved a two-page funnel with email. I have a free Affiliate Funnel Planner if you’d like to see and learn how I do it.

Check out Affiliate Marketing 101 for more information and resources on how to get started.

Blogging

It is possible to start a blog for free through resources like Blogger. This can be a great way to test out your idea and if blogging is right for you. However, the majority of people making big bucks in blogging use self-hosted blogging platforms (i.e. WordPress), which costs a few bucks.

Bloggers make money in a variety of ways including affiliate marketing, contextual ad feeds (i.e. Google AdSense), and through selling their own products (such as ebooks and courses) and services.

While blogging is a fantastic way to make money on a topic you really enjoy, it’s not necessarily fast or automatic. Success in blogging requires providing great content people want to read, and helping them find you through marketing. All this can be done for free, but it does involve time and actions focused on finding readers.

If you start free, but find you enjoy it, you should invest in a domain name and webhosting, and move your blog to WordPress. This will give the ability to customize your blog and make it uniquely yours. It will also be easier to add a variety of bells and whistles, and extra value to your readers.

Even better, don’t start for free, but instead, invest in your blog business from the get go to get the best start. You can buy a domain name for $12 a year (I use Godaddy), and web hosting for $5 a month ($60 a year) (I love Momwebs). WordPress is free and offered through most web hosts.

Read Blogging 101 to get more information on starting a profitable blog.

Writing

If you can string words together coherently, you can get paid to write and getting started is free. There are many types of paid writing including content writing for blogs and websites, article writing (magazines, newspapers, newsletters), copy writing (sales letters, ads, etc), ghostwriting (reports, books, articles, blog posts), grant writing, technical writing, business writing (i.e. business plans), and more. You can even write and self-publish books for free.

Tons of businesses are hiring freelance writers and buying written pieces, and yet, it can be hard to break in, and develop a steady income.  Even if you write and self-publish, you need to find people to buy the book. This is where hustle and tenacity comes in.

I primarily make money through words by combining and integrating blogging, freelance writing, and book publishing all online. I think it’s an ideal way to build a solid income through writing.

Check out Make Money Writing Online Plus a List of Writing Job Resources

You also might like: The Beginner Writers Guide to Finding Work

YouTube

You might be surprised how many people are making significant money through a YouTube channel. Basically they’re blogging through video, earning income through affiliate marketing, Google AdSense (you have to meet a video viewing threshold to be in this program), and sponsorships/advertising. Chances are you have all the tools you need to create and edit video already on your computer or smartphone.

Like blogging, success on YouTube comes from providing quality content on a regular basis. Head over to YouTube to search any topic you’re interested in, passionate about, or want to learn, and chances are, someone is doing videos. You can do beauty and fashion, care repair, frugal, golfing tips, entertainment (sing, comedy, etc), and more.

A good book on how to get started making money on YouTube is Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmittauer.

Service-Based Business

One of the fastest and cheapest (even free) ways to get started in a home business is to provide a service. If you already have the skills, experience, and equipment to provide the service, the only thing left to do is find clients. Nearly any talent or skill you have can be offered as a service business. Ideas include house or office cleaning, bookkeeping, child care, errand runner, virtual support, web design, writing, landscaping, and on and on. For the most potential profit and stability, you should consider offering a business-to-business service (a service to businesses).

While investing in a website is something you should plan for at some point, you can find work quickly through networking on LinkedIn and/or through freelance job sites such as Upwork.

Starting out, you may need to offer your services at a slightly lower cost, depending on your skills and experience, but one problem many service business owners have is in undervaluing their service. You have to make sure you charge enough to make a living.

Check out How to Start a Service Based Business Quickly and Cheaply

Need more home business ideas?

These are just a few great ways to start a home business quickly and cheaply, but it’s certainly not all the ideas. If you didn’t see an idea you like or are still stuck, check out What Business Should I Start?, which will guide you through the process of determining the best home business idea for you.

If there are specific ideas you’d like to know more about, please let me know in the survey box below:

Create your own user feedback survey

Be sure to check out Home Business 101 which has a list of other great home business start up articles such as deciding what to name your business, getting a business licence, and more.

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1 Comment
  1. Neil Dimapilis says

    Thank you for this post! been doing service-based work since october of last year (graphics design) and it has been good so far, there are times that sales are low and there are times that sales are super okay

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