Starting A Free Online Business, Step by Step

Every day, thousands of people search for information on starting a free online business. They are looking at online business systems, searching for free online business opportunities, and basically looking for legitimate home business ideas so that they can work from home.

That's what I do, and I love it. That's a photo of me above. It was actually taken several years ago - this is my 12th year working from home. And it was taken at a friends house too. I love being able to work anytime, anywhere!

Anyway- yesterday I had opportunity to meet two such ladies who were searching for that very information, and who happen to live in my town. They found me on MySpace, so we talked there and then decided to meet for lunch and discuss what it takes to start an online business.

I'll share the same details with you here that I shared with them over lunch, which were simple steps for starting a free online business. I cant share the fabulous spinach salad, or the great conversation we had, but hopefully this will prove useful to you if you are searching for internet business ideas yourself...

Home Business Ideas

There are so many home business opportunities and internet business ideas, that it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where you should start. We talked about a few of the different business models - from ecommerce sites that use wholesale dropshipping, to offering a service or starting your own blog.

You can make money online in a variety of ways. Just a few examples include: sell your own product, offer services, sell advertising on your website or blog, or promote other people's products and/or services.

That last option is called Affiliate Marketing. It's basically commission-based sales, and I compare it to the offline model of selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. When you make sales, you make money. You can sign up as an affiliate for a company and they will give you an Affiliate Link. You promote that link, and anyone that goes through your link to make a purchase will be tracked - resulting in a commission to you for that sale.

This is the internet business model that I focused on during our conversation over lunch yesterday. I actually use a variety of internet business models to make money online myself, but Affiliate Marketing seemed to be a perfect match for my new friends.

Some business models are active, while others are more passive. An active business model requires a more active role on your part. A membership site for example is high maintenance. If you offer services, then you need to interact with clients and take phone calls on a regular basis. I prefer passive income models, which allow you more freedom and flexibility.

That's not to say that active business models cant be incredibly profitable and successful, just that something more passive seemed like a good fit once I got to know her a bit.

To clarify, when I say passive I dont mean that you wont have to work at it. I think we've all kind of figured out by now that "get rich quick schemes" dont really work. And we were discussing real, legitimate ways to make consistent income online. Not spotty one-off ways to make a few bucks here and there.

We discussed the realistic investment of time and money, and I confessed that I put a lot of time in upfront to get each of my internet business models up and running (some more than others). I explained that you could invest money to get sales rolling in quicker, or you could invest time (up to 6-12 months even) to get your sales up to a good level on a consistent basis. You'll make money along the way of course, but geting that consistent income is the key.

Going that route, you can get started for less than $10. Yes, literally.

The passive part comes in after you have your affiliate site up and running - once you've done that groundwork. With affiliate marketing the merchant is handling orders, shipping and customer service. All you have to do is send them traffic through your affiliate link.

Once your site is up and running, you've set up your systems (such as a newsletter, blog, or whatever fits your model), and you're driving traffic to the site... most of the "work" from there can be automated, and maintained in very little time. For example, I can usually run a site like that in as little as 5 hours a week. That frees you up to create more just like it, and duplicate your income πŸ˜‰

Starting a Free Online Business

I mentioned above that you can get started for less than $10. I know that a lot of people are interested in starting a free online business, but this small investment is well worth it. Especially if you are serious about making a consistent income with a real online business.

You could actually spend a lot more than ten bucks, but if you take my advice you'll save a lot of money - and still end up with a solid internet business model.

What are the steps in creating an online business?

Your first step is to decide what niche you will target. Meaning: what are you going to sell, or what topic is your website going to be about? You might start with the product, or you might start with the topic - it doesnt really matter as long as you get that initial idea.

To help you, here are some of my own mini-tutorials on keyword research. Keywords are simply the words or phrases that people are searching for online. If you read through the links on that page, you'll have a much better understanding of how you can research keywords to choose topics or products.

Once you decide what your website will be about, you'll need two things: a domain name and a hosting account. The domain name is your website address (like is mine) and the hosting account is the space online where you will put your website.

I use to register my domain names. For hosting, I use HostGator - they allow you to host multiple domains or sites on the one account (saving you money when you start duplicating!) and they have tons of cool features that save you time & money too.

The domain name will cost you $8.95 for the first year. The HostGator account is $9.95/month, but I have a coupon code you can use to get your first month free. And that's all you really need upfront to get started - so start up cost is actually less than $9, and then 9.95/month.

So you've picked a topic for your website, you registered a domain name, you set up your hosting account... now you need to create a website. (This is the hard part for most people)

It might be tempting to just hire a web designer, and that's certainly an option, but you really want to learn some things yourself if you are going to be running an internet business. Creating your own website will also save you a lot of money.

You'll find some tools in your hosting account to help you develop your website. You can also find all kinds of free resources online by doing a search. If you decide you need some help, consider hiring someone to design a template for you - not an entire website. Its much cheaper to just outsource the template design and do the rest of the work yourself.

You're going to run into questions along the way. But dont let that stop you! I have an online business discussion forum where you can stop in and ask any questions you have, and get help from others who have already gone through these steps themselves.

Go back through the steps and check out some of the links. Read my keyword research tutorials, and then join us at the forum if you have any questions before you get started.

Next, see: Starting A Home Business? Read this...

If you liked this tutorial, be sure to sign up for my free weekly tips. It's the best way to get the current scoop on free resources, and new online business tips!


p.s. Also See: Online Jobs - Work From Home

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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Mark Harbert says:


    Another incredibly powerful post, you are giving some serious ideas here. I find a combination of two is a good thing. I love marketing on the internet, its not only fun, but its Anyway, great post my friend.

    Mark Harbert

  2. Virginia Nolan says:

    Hello everyone. I just stumbled across this page whilst looking to build a website. I agree that you should have a go yourself at doing this web building. I am in the process of developing a product, but until then, affiliating seems to be the initial way to go and learning how to write articles to promote those products. I have spent 18 hours a day just learning about the terminology, and know that this will not happen overnight. If I can learn this at 66 years of age, then all you younger ones out there can also. Just takes perseverence I suppose. If I earn one dime, I will have succeeded because I know this is just the beginning.

  3. Even if you dont have a blog or website, you can still earn money online by having a free blog space from or and then promote product that offer affiliate commission.

  4. Billy Young says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your post. Very imformative....And yes, building your own website takes time--it doesn't happen over night.

  5. Thanks for the information about starting a free online business.It a great article to read.

  6. Affiliate marketing is a dream come true for those who want freedom from the dreaded JOB. I've been working and making money online - from my work at home ideas site - a similar length of time as yourself Lynn and love it. Nice article!

  7. Fred Foreman says:

    Finally, someone who is really trying to help others with good information without asking for money. Thank you for the time you take to help others with your sound business advice. If we could talk a little, please sent me an email, have some other Q & A.

  8. Chris Clark says:

    I see of lot of articles on this subject and the assumption is that people can "do it yourself" and be successful. The statistics prove otherwise.

    While some people have the tenacity to work through the plan until they are actually making anything online, the vast majority over my 12 years of experience give up at some point and never see any income from online efforts.

    Getting inexpensive but effective coaching and help is valuable. Being a "jack of all trades" usually makes you a master of none. Better to spend a little money and actually succeed than try so hard to do all things for "FREE" and never really get off the ground.

    I've made as much as $3,000 per day online so I'm speaking from real world experience. Trying to help family and friends isn't easy. They want the results as cheap as possible but then don't follow through.

    My advice is simple ... get help getting off the ground with at least your first successful online enterprise before you start cutting any corners. It's not as expensive as you my think.

  9. Michael says:

    Wow, I just found your blog, very useful information here. I started my online business a year ago and I am so glad that I did because I really enjoy it. If there is one benefit that I have learned from having an online business and working from home, is the freedom to work and live anywhere in the world.

    Thanks for sharing your post its really important for people who are considering starting their online businesses have a mentor to help and support them. Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

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