7 Lucrative Online Businesses You Can Start for Cheap

If you want to see significant returns but can't make a substantial investment, here are seven lucrative business ideas with low startup costs.
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Lori Ballen is a member of the Amazon Associates Program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Posts contain affiliate links that benefit Lori as well.

With the consumption of goods and services across industries going digital, there are more opportunities than ever to make money online

No matter your personality type, expertise, experience, or interests, you can start a business that serves a target customer. 

If you want to see significant returns but can’t make a substantial investment, here are seven lucrative business ideas with low startup costs.

Online Courses

Hi there, I’m Lori Ballen.

Content Creator and Coach

I’m a 6-figure blogger, real estate agent, affiliate marketer, trainer, and coach. I share top digital marketing strategies to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses grow their brand, website traffic, and database.

If you can teach people how to do something you’ve done before, or share the training you’ve received from school or a job. 

3 girls have their laptops open and are building courses on teachable

Schedule video streams for your students to attend live or upload pre-recorded lessons and generate income from your course passively. 

On a shoestring budget, record your videos using your smartphone and a free video editing app

Spend less than $50 on a high-quality microphone and record yourself teaching each lesson.

Create a logo or digital book cover to brand your course. You can use a site like Fiverr to outsource your graphic design needs for a professional look. 

Use the design to brand your course on social media, your website, and on the course page or portal itself. Use content marketing and social media ads according to where your target students spend time online. 

If you can afford a monthly subscription and want a platform that will also collect customer payments, check out teachable or thinkific.

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I send regular tutorials, ebooks, checklists, guides, and event information.

Virtual Tutoring

Virtual tutoring enables you to do what an in-person tutor would do to help students succeed but from the comfort of your own home. 

Set up your profile on LinkedIn with your resume, including tutoring work experience. Websites like WyzAnt, Skooli, Chegg Tutors, TutaPoint, and TutorMe generally accept new tutors to their platform who can verify they have a college degree. 

Through these virtual agencies, you can connect with students and get secure payments. 

You can also promote your virtual tutoring service on listing sites like Craigslist and on social media. 

Tutors who specialize in language learning, a subject they majored in, or tutor students for a college entrance test can generate highly lucrative business through tutoring. 

Lori Ballen holding a gopro

Check out my Youtube Channel

I teach everything I know related to blogging, search engine optimization, social media strategies, affiliate marketing, WordPress, and more.

Freelancing Business or Agency

As the workforce continues to grow into a “gig economy,” there’s plenty of opportunities to provide a deliverable service to businesses. 

As a solo freelancer, you can work gigs for clients based on your skills and experience you can show in a digital portfolio. 

Alternatively, you can start an agency and work with multiple freelancers to service clients.

For example, a digital marketing agency might hire copywriters, graphic designers, and video editors and streamline all the work into one service for clients who need marketing help. 

You can also make money writing on Medium.

Other examples are social media advertising agencies, copywriting agencies, and website development agencies. 

Macbook pro and a desktop mac are on a desk featuring a wordpress website

WordPress Websites and Marketing Services

My brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin offer WordPress Websites for bloggers and entrepreneurs. They provided content, and marketing services as well.

Affiliate Marketing Business

Affiliate marketing is the online promotion of other brands’ products to earn commissions from sales. 

I earn 6-figures in affiliate marketing myself.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to promote the products and distribute your affiliate links. 

Creating helpful, authentic content for the targeted consumers, such as product reviews videos and instructional how-to articles, can help generate affiliate sales. 

The more you create content and generate traffic, the better your affiliate business can earn you income on autopilot. 

In the beginning, it takes a lot of content creation and experimenting on different platforms, from YouTube to Pinterest, to promote products to targeted customers. 

If you’re interested in retail or sales but have no startup money for your brand and product line, affiliate marketing is a great place to begin. 

Focusing on a smaller number of products targeting a particular niche audience is your best strategy. 

Learn Affiliate Marketing

Whether you are just getting started, have some experience, or are an ultra-successful affiliate marketer, this forum is made for you!

Print-on-Demand Merchandise Store

Print-on-Demand retailers like Redbubble and Teespring let you upload your designs to products and sell them on your stores within their marketplaces. 

Cricut's family of machines cut predesigned and custom shapes and letters out of paper, vinyl, fabric, and so much more. You can even cut custom window clings; dry erase labels, and iron-on shapes!

Printify is a print-on-demand service you can connect with your Shopify store to automate product creation and fulfillment for you when you upload your designs. 

Amazon even has a print-on-demand opportunity called Merch by Amazon. 

If you’re not a graphic artist or designer, you can hire one to help you out with the designs. 

Or purchase licensed designs from stock image websites and create your designs using Canva or other simple graphic editing software

Once your product designs are complete and uploaded, you can start sharing your product pages on social media. 

Start Instagram and Pinterest accounts for showcasing each of your products in its own post. On Instagram, you could even start an account for each demographic category, such as men, women, and kids. 

Use relevant keywords and hashtags when making your posts.

My oldest daughter recently started a sticker business. Click here to learn about the Cricut machines for printing.

Coaching or Consulting

If you have experience and expertise in a specific industry, you can start a coaching business to help other individuals.

Or, you can start a one-person consulting firm. Either way, it requires little overhead, and you can work from your home with just your computer. 

Collect as much data on your target client as possible and provide free content that drives leads onto your email list. 

Utilize social media and YouTube to provide valuable information demonstrating your knowledge and coaching skills, and link back to your website where your services are listed. 

Collect testimonials and case studies as you gain experience with clients, and feature them on your site, where you should also have a blog that helps you siphon traffic from search engines. 

Learn How to Use Lead Magnets

On February 10th, I’ll be showing you how to create lead magnets, set up an automation funnel, and generate more leads with offers.

Make checklists, ebooks, presentations and more. Register Today.

Lori Ballen Speaker

Media Network

Have you ever dreamed of having your own radio or T.V. show? You can host your show as a podcast or a YouTube channel. When your network grows, you can get sponsors to pay for mentions in your videos

Having a media network also means you get free advertising for any other business you start. If you’re a video streamer, you could sell brand merchandise for your network and feature it in every video. 

You can also earn ad revenue from your YouTube content through the YouTube Partner Program

Another way to make money through your media network is to offer premium content for those with paid memberships.

If you’re determined to start an online business despite limited resources, don’t be discouraged. Choose a revenue model with low overhead and high revenue potentials, and take advantage of as many free tools as possible.

By looking at trends and finding gaps between what’s already being offered, you can find the best business plan for you.

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I send regular tutorials, ebooks, checklists, guides, and event information.

Ready, Set, Grow

Hi! I’m Lori Ballen. I help content creators grow and monetize their channels. Are You Ready to Grow?

About Lori Ballen

She is the founder of The Ballen Method. Lori is a content marketer, speaker, and trainer.  Her students appreciate her authenticity, as well as her ability to take complex elements and make them understandable. As a 6-figure Affiliate Marketer, Lori understands the power of monetizing content marketing channels like Youtube, Blogs, and Social Media Networks.

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