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How Much Does it Cost to Start an Online Business?

You can do and find almost anything on the internet today. This is one of the greatest things about the internet.


Because I believe that almost anyone can start an online business from the comfort of their home. But what’s even better is the cost of starting and running an online business.

When compared to brick and mortar business, online business is 10 times easier to start, run, and even grow.

In this post, I’ll show you how much does it cost to start an online business, but I’ll also tell you how I started making income online and how much does my online businesses cost me.

Therefore, keep on reading as you’ll find answers to all your questions and then even some resources that will get you started working on your own online business today!

How Hard is it To Start an Online Business?


Most people underestimate the power of a website. One website can represent an online business, whether it is a blog, an online store, or simply a niche site.

Not all online businesses have to be an authority site or be an extension of an existing physical business.

In fact, there are millions of online businesses. But that doesn’t mean that all of them own and sell products. There are many businesses that sell a service or don’t sell anything and rather promote and help other stores out.

Therefore, it’s very simple to start a website, however, it still takes a lot of work, time, and dedication to make it a success.

With the help of various online business models – you get to choose a type of online business that would fit your needs the most.

Down below, I’ll show you some of the most known online business models and tell you the pros & cons of each one so you can decide on one.

Types of Online Business Models


I believe that there are 3 most known (and most common) online business models that have been around for a long time – probably since the beginning of the internet.

These 3 main online business models are:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Freelancing
  • eCommerce

Of course, there are many other business models – but most of the time, they can be categorized under one of these 3 types.

Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start an online business. It can even turn into a passive income.

If you don’t know much about affiliate marketing – I wrote a complete guide on how affiliate marketing works so I highly recommend reading it.

It’s an online business model where you can become an affiliate of any company or marketplace and promote their products in return for a commission.

For example, Amazon has one of the largest affiliate marketing programs that anyone can join.

With affiliate marketing, you can decide on a way to promote the products and reach out to your audience. My favorite way is by building a website, providing value to your readers, and monetizing the traffic of your site.

This is one of the most sustainable ways that will actually help you build an online brand and have a steady online business you can run from anywhere.



Freelancing is more of an active approach to making money online. Even though you might focus on one skill and do everything yourself – but freelancing is actually an online business model.


You won’t only be fulfilling orders, but you’ll also be improving your skill, work on marketing your skills, finding clients, invoicing them, keeping your books, and much more.

Even though you will have to deal with clients and companies one-on-one, the work can be done remotely and is a great way to start making active income online.

It can easily be turned into a business, and it’s up to you to decide how many hours you work in a day, how much money you want to make in a month, and what will your rate be.

I know people who started as freelance writers and have turned their business into a content agency. They hired writers to help them fulfill orders while they focused on the marketing side of the business.

Since the work can be done remotely and most of the work can be outsourced – there is no cap on the earnings you can make by freelancing.



Do you think that in order to start an eCommerce online business, you need to have a product? Wrong!

eCommerce can be done in three ways:

  • Build a store for physical products you own
  • Dropship products directly from the wholesale seller without having to own the product in person
  • Purchase products on wholesale, brand them and sell them under your retail brand

If you are creative and you create physical products, the internet is a great place to market your products and start selling on a worldwide level.

But if you don’t own or create any products, you can always purchase them on wholesale and brand them to sell them under your own brand.

There is also an option to dropship products directly from the seller to your customers. This way, you get to focus on the marketing side and work on getting customers while the wholesale seller will fulfill your orders.

How Much Does it Cost to Start an Online Business?


So how much money does it cost to start any of these businesses? Keep on reading as I break the costs down below!

Cost to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Would you be surprised if I said that you could start some of these businesses for free?

That’s right! A great example is affiliate marketing. You can create a website for free using SiteRubix, find niche & keywords for free using Jaaxy, write valuable content by yourself, and do basic on-page search engine optimization of your site with the help of a free plugin such as All in One SEO.

You could even get free training on affiliate marketing at Wealthy Affiliate.

If you don’t have a budget or you’re on an extremely tight budget – this might be a great way to start your own online business and start working on something of your own that could have a huge potential later on.

However, if you aren’t on a tight budget, you don’t need to rely on freebies.

Instead, you can purchase a quality hosting to host your website, find a premium theme that will make your website stand out, pay for a premium version of any keyword research tool, hire someone to write content for you, or even hire someone to help you optimize your website for search engines.

I wrote many posts on these topics and I’ve linked out to the right in this post – so you can even get a lot of free valuable information right here.

So you’re in the right place if you’re looking to start an online business today.

Cost to Get Started with Freelancing

All you need to get started with freelancing is a portfolio, and that’s pretty much it. You can create your own portfolio for free with SiteRubix, or you can create a temporary portfolio at websites such as LinkedIn, Contently, or even Medium.

There are hundreds of ways to find clients so you won’t even have to rely on overcrowded freelancing platforms such as UpWork or unfair platforms such as iWriter.

Cost to Get Started with eCommerce

If you’re thinking of doing eCommerce the right way – this is one of three business model types that will require some higher up-front investment.

In order to create a store, you would want to use Shopify which is one of the top platforms that helps sellers create a store online.

Along with the Shopify fee, there will be an additional cost for some plugins that will help you design your store, and then there will be the most important investment.


With affiliate marketing, it’s a fairly simple process to rank your site in search engines and acquire free organic traffic (even though it’s a long way).

The easiest way for store owners to acquire traffic that will have an interest in their products is by running ads on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram.

Even eCommerce can be done on a budget – however, it’s highly recommended that you have a certain budget set aside for eCommerce.

So how much does it cost to start an online business? Not a lot of money – and once you start making money, you can re-invest it into the business.

How I Started Making Income Online?


When I looked for ways to start making money online – the first thing I came across was affiliate marketing. At that point, I already knew about blogging and how bloggers are able to make money with their sites.

However, I didn’t know a lot about affiliate marketing. I started learning everything there is about affiliate marketing on an educational platform Wealthy Affiliate.

I’ve started with two sites that picked up pace pretty good, however, I got impatient. I needed income due to my personal situation in life.

I found out that freelancing could help me generate active income online. I successfully sold my two affiliate sites and I got into freelancing.

Today, I run a successful content writing & marketing business, and I got back into affiliate marketing to work on my passive income.

I’m happy to be able to make full income online, work on my own terms, and have no cap on the earnings I can make.

However, I am not stopping here. I am improving my skills, improving my sites, and continuing to look for ways to re-invest revenue into my businesses.

What I found out is that the beginning is always the hardest. But once things pick up – it all snowballs from there.

Therefore, I highly recommend you pick one online business model (all of the mentioned models work, no worries there), and do your best to stay consistent with it.

If you’re looking to generate active income online – freelancing is the best step to make.

However, if you have a full-time job and you’d still like to create an online business on the side, no matter how long it takes – then affiliate marketing is a good choice.

But if you have a budget and you’d like to invest in a start-up online business, eCommerce might be the best way to do it.

Cost of Running my Online Businesses

The great thing about my online businesses is that they don’t cost a lot to run at all!

I cover the following:

  • Website hosting
  • A couple of domain names
  • Wealthy Affiliate premium membership

I think that this is pretty much it. Occasionally, I spend some money on other business-related things. However, these are the main on-going costs of running my online businesses.


If money is stopping you from starting an online business – there’s definitely no more excuses! It’s very simple to get started, and anyone can do it.

However, the hardest part is follow-through, stay consistent, and not give up along the way.

Just because it is online – that doesn’t mean that it can be done overnight. In fact, if you come across an “opportunity” that promises you to make thousands of dollars overnight – don’t fall for it!

If it’s too good to be true – it probably is a scam. Therefore, decide what are you looking to get out of your business, how much time do you have, and how urgent it is for you to start making money as soon as possible.

This will help you choose one of the business models mentioned above, and once you make the choice – stick to it and don’t give up!

Did you ever try to start an online business? Are you still wondering how much does it cost to start an online business?

Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below. If you don’t have any questions, I’d appreciate it if you would share this post on social media!

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10 thoughts on “How Much Does it Cost to Start an Online Business?

  1. An online business is much much easier to start than and of line or brick and motar business. There are so many advantages to starting and online business and the benefits are really great.

    However to have success with this type of business requires time and much work but once you stick with it you can become a success.

    1. Hey Norman,

      I couldn’t agree more! Your comment is on point.

      Just because it is an online business – it doesn’t mean that success is going to happen overnight.

      Stay safe!


    1. Hey Joseph,

      I appreciate your comment, thanks a lot! I’m glad you found the post helpful!

      Did you take any action to start an online business?


  2. Great way to put online businesses into 3 simple categories. I agree that affiliate marketing is one of the lowest investment and risk for online business especially if you are brand new to it all. I love the Wealthy Affiliate platform because it provides the all-in-one system plus the training and community to ensure your success along the way.
    Thanks for this helpful article on how much it cost to start a business.

    1. Hey Chloe,

      thanks for leaving a comment! I’m glad you like the categories. I couldn’t agree with you more – Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best educational platforms if you’re interested in taking advantage of affiliate marketing.

      You’re welcome!


  3. An online business is definitely something that I recommend to anyone who wants to escape 9 to 5 and reach financial freedom.

    Personally I started with Wealthy Affiliate and I can say that this is the best decision in my life so I recommend everyone to try out the free training.

    I wouldn’t recommend freelancing if you want to be totally free because you are still trading time for money. Affiliate marketing and e-commerce are the best options in my opinion.

    1. Hey Ladia,

      I couldn’t agree more! The internet allows a low-entry barrier, and even though it’s online – it still takes time but it reduces the financial investment & risk required for anyone to start a business online.

      Wealthy Affiliate is a great platform, I’m glad you’ve mentioned it. I’m also a member and I’ll see you inside the platform!

      I agree. Freelancing can definitely tie you down, but it can help generate active income and allow remote working with a lot of other benefits. Affiliate marketing is for sure the best way to create a sustainable online in the long run that can generate passive income.

      Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your opinion! I appreciate it.


  4. Hi Dario,
    It is amazing how I just can’t get enough of your work!
    I love reading it!
    Your words are always so clear, concise and spot on.
    You smartly choose each topic knowing that it will appeal to just about any audience.
    I enjoy that not only your content speaks but your use of imagery does as well. Your articles are always eye-catching, very appealing and never overdone or overwhelming.
    This particular article has captured every essence of what starting and online business is all about.
    You have included all the important aspects that everyone should know when setting out to create their own online business.

    All the best to you, my friend!
    Have a great week ahead!

    1. Hey Barbara!

      Thank you very much for your kind comments. I appreciate it, they mean a lot.

      I’m glad I covered the topic really well, thank you for your feedback. I’m also glad you enjoyed my post and even my other posts.

      Keep checking in for more content! I’ll keep working hard.


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