Online businesses you can start with no money

Now more than ever, so many of us are thinking about starting a side hustle outside the 9 to 5. Whether you are keen to move away from the corporate world with a creative outlet, or if you are just looking for a way to generate a little extra income, there are opportunities out there. You could start an online business with no money.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have unlimited disposable income in order to be your own boss. There are many ways you can start your business and live a flexible freelance lifestyle without having to invest tonnes of money first.

With a stable internet connection (which you can access for free in your local coffee shop) and a hard-working attitude, you are well on your way to starting your own business on a limited budget.

In this article, we are going to dive into the top business ideas that you can start today with no money, from the comfort of your laptop, as well as debunk 8 business myths to help get you started on your dream business. Whether you’re looking to make some extra money or to move into the world of entrepreneurship, we’ve got you covered!

What online business can you start with no money?

There are lots of online businesses that you can start with no money. If you need to generate an income quickly then you can utilise existing online platforms that you can sell your product or service on. For example, freelance work using freelance platforms like UpWork or offering a tutoring service, or even selling your own art and craft creations on Etsy or vintage goodies on eBay.

Alternatively, you can utilise free platforms like YouTube to educate or entertain an audience or if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera you can start and monetise your own blog. If you are an expert on a topic why not consider writing an e-book or creating an online course, the options are endless.

Let’s explore some of these ideas in a little more detail.

The online businesses you can start now

Some business ideas can offer immediate return, such as selling your own creations on Etsy, whereas others offer evergreen income such as an online course. This is something to take into consideration when deciding what type of business you want to start. Whatever your business idea, utilise social media to help build your brand, audience and raise awareness of your business.

Let’s look into some of the best business ideas you can start with no money. All of these businesses can be started easily and cheaply, all that’s required is consistency, patience and some effort to get your business off the ground and out there!

Freelance Work

If you are a strong writer or have a keen eye for detail then you can build a business as a freelance writer or editor. Everyone needs a writer, and additionally where something is written then an editor is needed also. It may take a while to build your portfolio and a client base, but with sites like Upwork, you can start offering your skills straight away.

Tutoring Service

If you have teaching experience or are particularly gifted in an academic area, then it may be worth considering offering a tutoring service. Additionally, being able to speak English is valuable in many parts of the world, and there are opportunities to teach English as a foreign language to people across the world. All you need is a strong internet connection and you’re on your way.

Sell products online

If you are someone who enjoys crafting and making things, then you have a small business idea literally in the palm of your hand. You could create your relaxing hobby into a business, be it soap making, candles, pottery, phone cases, boho styles home decor – whatever your niche, you can find a market for it through an online store using sites such as Etsy or eBay to sell your products.


Youtube is a hub for generating income by sharing your niche hobbies or interests globally. In fact, the more niche and passionate you are – the better! Whether it’s cake making, video gaming, book reviewing, being a mother, beauty, fashion or whatever else, YouTube is the platform to share your wisdom and experience.

It’s free to set up an account with YouTube and all you need to do is record and upload videos from your smartphone. As you build an audience you can start earning from YouTube directly by receiving a portion of the advertising revenue.

However, this process requires consistency and patience. Most YouTubers post consistently for a long period of time before their channel takes off. Additionally, video quality is important as there are so many YouTubers out there. Passion, creative editing and consistency are key for your YouTube career.


Similarly, if you are passionate about a topic but don’t want to be on video, then perhaps blogging is the way forward. Blogging is a great way to express yourself and write about topics you love in addition to generating some income by using affiliate links. Affiliate links are a way to get some commission on specific products that you mention on your blog.

Similar to businesses such as YouTube, blogging is another business that requires patience and consistency. Again, the more passionate and specific your niche is, the more success you will find.

Create online courses

If you have some wisdom to share on a topic you are particularly skilled in, then creating an online course may be a great business idea. Because you are not preparing a physical product to be sold, you do not need to consider any manufacturing or shipping costs which means your earning potential and margins can remain high.

Additionally, there are many online course websites that allow you to upload your content at no cost. You earn revenue by people watching and taking your online courses, through platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy.

However, this does mean you do need to think carefully about creating a course that will provide high value to people and that doesn’t already exist. You will also have to raise awareness of your course so that it is successful.

Write an e-book

With the wonderful invention of e-books, it is now relatively cheap to write and sell your own book. Whether it’s a tale of fiction, a collection of short stories, self-help or poems, it’s worth getting your ideas out there to generate some income over time as a writer.

Many well-known authors have started off this way, including Rupi Kaur who started off with a self-published e-book that sold over 3 million copies.

8 business myths

It’s easy to talk yourself out of starting your own side-hustle business when you’re overwhelmed by the long ‘to-do’ list you need to get through. However, most of these reasons are false limitations that shouldn’t hold you back. Here are 8 of the most common business myths that are often the reasons so many people don’t start their dream business.

You need to invest money to make money

Many online business ideas have minimal start-up costs and in most cases, you are able to get your business off the ground without the help of investors.

You need to buy physical stock for your business

People often turn away from the idea of starting their own business by the daunting stock costs, however many businesses thrive by selling talents, skills, services, information, and assistance.

You need to spend money creating a website

There are many website building platforms and CMS systems where you can develop a basic site for free which you can then upgrade as your business grows, such as Wix, WordPress, HubSpot, Squarespace and many others. You can even use free social media platforms to connect and communicate with your audience and ideal clients.

You need to invest in an accountant

As a business owner, you do not need to invest in a costly accountant to handle your financial affairs. You can easily use tools such as the Ember app to help manage your finances. For a small monthly fee, you have unlimited access to trained accountants as well as an easy-to-use app that records your business finances and makes sure that you are up to date with all your taxes and payments. No mess, no stress.

You need employees

With so many helpful tools and apps right at your fingertips, now more than ever, it is easy to stay on top of your business without having to pay for outsourcing tasks.

You need to invest in office space

It is so easy to run your business from home now. Since Covid19 and the sudden need to go remote and digital, many businesses have realised that they can still function properly even without a dedicated office building space. All you need is your laptop and wifi code and you’re good to go.

You need to invest in marketing your business

You no longer need to rely on costly traditional forms of marketing and PR to promote your business. Social media, blogging, contributing to popular websites are all great ways to raise awareness of your business. Be consistent and show value to your audience and they will keep coming for more.

You need to invest in expensive training

You will never feel 100% ready to start your own business. If you are starting as a side hustle then you have nothing to lose by just starting.  Otherwise, make sure you have some kind of buffer in place. You will learn as you go and find the best way to really support your customers. To help you get there that little bit faster, use free online training videos, webinars and workshops to give you that boost of confidence.

So there we have it. Here are some of the easiest business ideas that you can start with no money in the bank. Hopefully, you are now feeling inspired to take the plunge to become your very own boss and to start the business of your dreams.