The Cost of Running An Online Business

Online Business ownerI had a comment on another blog post where a visitor was duped by a popular biz-op company into paying nearly $2000 just to get a website up and running. She knew nothing about making money online and wanted to get into online business.

Here’s a part of her comment:

“Hi I am a 20 year old college student who was just looking for an online opportunity for the summer. I wanted to start my own business and was very naive and [suspect company] was able to lie and deceive me into thinking that any online business cost almost 2,000 dollars to fund and keep going.”

Saying that “ANY online business costs almost $2000 dollars to fund and keep going” is far from the truth and this company is either misinformed or just trying to sell their service to the unsuspecting by straight out lying. I’d want to believe it was the latter.

The Most Affordable Online Business

How much it costs to get an online business up and running depends on what type of business you’re going to run. Some can indeed cost more than $2000 to set up and maintain but by far the most affordable to start is an affiliate marketing business.

Affiliate marketing is where you would sign up with merchant websites and enter into an agreement to promote their products on your own websites or through your own means and be rewarded with the commissions you make on each referred sale.

It costs absolutely nothing to be affiliated with merchant websites since you more or less act as an advertising agent for them. The more affiliates a merchant has spreading the word about their products, the better.

Costs Nothing To Get Started

One of the many benefits of running an affiliate marketing business is that it costs very little to fund initially. You can get started for under $100 and as little as zero dollars.

Affiliate marketing can net you substantial amounts of money and many affiliates earn full time incomes and are able to quit their jobs. Some affiliates even make in excess of one million dollars per year.

Before I go into how you can get started, lets stick to the topic a bit and allow me to outline the 6 most important costs of starting and running an online business.

(1) Training and Education

The most important cost of running an online business is getting the knowledge you need to run your business. Just like its important to go to college so that you can earn a degree to get a high paying job, its also important to learn in a structured and step by step way how to run an online business.

Without knowing what you’re doing, you’re certain to fail so much emphasis should be placed on getting thoroughly trained and knowledgeable on various affiliate marketing techniques.

I would recommend the Wealthy Affiliate University, which isn’t a real university but an online affiliate marketing training ‘school’ that has been churning out successful affiliate marketers since 2005.

(2) Domains

.comTo run your own website, you’ll need to buy a domain name. The domain name is name of the website that you type into the address bar so that the site comes up.

For example, is Facebook’s domain name. This site’s domain name is Domains usually end with .com and other common variations such as .net, .org and .gov.

Although you can make money online without a website, you wouldn’t be running a business and I would only suggest you do so if you don’t have any other means to fund your online business. A domain name only costs about $10 for a whole year.

Please do not buy a domain if you don’t know what to do with it. Get educated first (cost #1).

(3) Web Hosting

For the world to be able to see your website, you’ll need to run your domain name on a web hosting server. This is like a big computer that shows your websites files whenever someone types in your domain name.

With website hosting, you can use it to easily install a site like the one I’m using which doesn’t require me to build or buy website. All I do is provide the content and publish it for the world to see.

Web hosting is very affordable and doesn’t cost more than $10/month. You can get web hosting for as low as $3.95 per month although it is important that you choose a good hosting program based on a number of factors.

As a sidenote, you get free web hosting as a member when you join the Wealthy Affiliate training site I mentioned above.

(4) Autoresponder

An autoresponder is a program you would use that allows you to manage email campaigns if you choose to promote your affiliate programs via email.

This, of course, is optional and you only need it if email marketing is part of your marketing strategy.

Email marketing is used by every successful marketer that I know because it helps you build a relationship with the people who are interested in buying the products you promote. An autoresponder makes the job easier and although you can get by without it, you would be making a lot less than you could potentially make.

Autoresponder software costs as low as $19.99 per month from providers like Aweber and GetResponse.

(5) Advertising

I’m pretty sure you knew this was going to be one. After all, what is a business without advertising.

In order to get the word out about the products you’re promoting you have to advertise.

Paying for advertising is one option but you can use other forms of advertising that do not cost you anything at all. I know several people who make a full time income without paying for any type of paid advertising at all which is why I put this so low on the list.

If you have more money than you have time then by all means you’ll probably benefit from paid advertising. However, if you have more time than money, you will still be able to use the free techniques in your promotions.

(6) Outsourcing

Once you manage to get to a point where you’re making money on a consistent basis, you may find that you don’t have enough time in  a day to grow your business the way you want all by yourself.

And you may also find that you’re not good at some things and it may be better to get someone who knows (more than you do) how to manage a particular task.

For example, if you’re not good at writing articles for your site, you may prefer to hire it out. This is called outsourcing and you obviously have to pay for the task to be done.

Although this is optional since you could do everything for yourself, you could use this to your advantage and many of the super affiliates do this.

These are the six major costs involved with running an online business and together they certainly do not cost anywhere near $2000. Some of these are optional and you do not have to use them all at once. Also there are other costs that you may incur, but they’re mostly optional.

The point here however is that funding and maintaining an online business doesn’t have to be expensive and it isn’t.

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