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Can you build an online home business without a monetary investment?

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Copyright © 2005 – Born-Again Bargains

You see it all the time: Ads such as, “FREE HOME BUSINESS”, “MAKE A PROFIT WITH NO COST TO YOU”, etc. You see these claims in emails and on websites all over the Internet. You see them in your local newspaper and in magazines. Are all these ads just a bunch of lies, or can you really build a home business without a monetary investment? I believe the answer to this depends on a couple of different factors. 1) Is the person seriously trying to build the business and, 2) What are the resources being used to build it.

Let’s look at the first factor – YOU! (No, I am not picking on you.) What type of person can build a business without investing any money? He will have to be a self-starter. There will be no boss looking over his shoulder to make sure the job is being done. He also must be dedicated and have a strong commitment to succeed. Trying to build a business this way is going to take much time and patience. There may be many hours of sitting in front of a computer submitting websites or placing ads in his immediate future. He must have “stickability”. He must decide what he is going to try to build and stick with it. He can’t be jumping from one “sure thing” to another.

The second factor we should look at is the resources being used. Building an online business using free resources can be a very time consuming experience. I have read several testimonials from people who have done it, so I know it is possible. Success mainly boils down to this: having the time to do the research on the many free online resources, and then doing the necessary work required in putting them to good use. Let’s take a look at a few of these free resources and see if they really work.

The Internet offers a wide variety of free resources available to a person trying to build an online business. From free web hosting & html tutorials, to free affiliate programs & advice (some good and some bad).

1) Websites:
a) If you are going to have on online business, you are going to need a website. Various companies offer free web hosting. Normally in exchange for this service, you will have to agree to some type of advertising on your site. Many of these sites will also have certain restrictions of what you can and cannot do with your site.
b) Many of these same free web-hosting companies will also offer a website builder. These WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors are easy to use but are limited in what you can do with them. They do allow you to get a website up and running without learning html.
c) HTML: Learning HTML at first will seem almost impossible. What did you think the first time you looked at the source for a webpage? My first thought was “You’ve got to be kidding!!” Actually, there are many sites on the Internet that offer free tutorials that are perfect for the beginner.
d) Drawbacks: Many free websites are very plain and to be truthful, most people don’t take them serious for a business. Look at it this way: You are given two choices of locations to go out for dinner. The first one is a nice but affordable, sit down restaurant while the other is a guy cooking on a hotplate on a street corner where the only seat is the nearest fire hydrant - which one is going to look more professional to you?

2) Products:
a) If you are planning to sell some type of product on your site, you are going to have to find a place to get these products. There are a lot of companies that will “drop ship” their products for you. It’s really simple: You sell their product on your site, you collect the money from your customer, you place the order for this product from your supplier and they package and ship the product straight to your customer. Most of them will even show your company name as the return address. You pay your supplier the wholesale cost of products sold and you keep the difference between the retail prices you charged your customers.
b) Affiliate programs go beyond the drop ship companies. You promote their products, the customer clicks on your link to purchase the product and the affiliate company will handle the payment, ship the order, and send you a commission check.
c) Drawbacks: Making sure your supplier has the product readily available when your customer is ready to purchase.

3) Advertising:
a) There are tons of places online that you can place free classified ads. Simply do a search on your favorite search engine and you can spend days submitting ads all over the Internet for your product or service.
b) Search engines: Getting your site listed in the major search engines is a must. But once you get them listed, will anyone know you’re there? Think about your own search habits. When was the last time you searched through more than a few pages of results to find what you were looking for? Optimizing your website to get high search engine rankings can be a VERY time consuming affair. There are many resources available to help, but it still requires a lot of time.
c) Traffic Exchanges: You can join one or more of many different free traffic exchange programs. Simply put, you click on other websites to earn credits. When you earn credits, you site is listed on the site and some one else will click on your site to get their credits.
d) Drawbacks: Free advertising can and does work but it will cost you a lot of time in the process.

In conclusion, I would say that yes, a person can indeed build an online business without a monetary investment. But going into it with some foreknowledge of the necessary personal characteristics, process and time investments can aid you in being successful. Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time. Search out many free programs and make decisions wisely. Even though the program may not cost you money, it will cost you time.

One last recommendation if you are considering trying this method: when you begin to see a profit, immediately invest a percentage of that money back into your business. You’ll soon start to realize that many of the necessary business-building routes become shorter when you buy resources rather than rely solely on the free ones. Your business will still have not cost you anything “out of your own pocket”, as you’ll be utilizing your first profits made from your time investments.

About the Author

Craig Binkley – husband, father and home
business owner assisting in the restoration
of the “traditional” family.


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