Is it possible to start up in IM without spending anything at all?

77 replies
I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

I'd love to hear if it's possible.
#spending #start
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Yes it is definitely possible [I did it over 12 years ago]

    However, you can make your life a whole lot easier by investing in some tools to help you.
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    • Profile picture of the author debmedia
      Can you please recommend some tools which can help us to do a good im at startup. I am very much interested.
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      • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
        Originally Posted by debmedia View Post

        Can you please recommend some tools which can help us to do a good im at startup. I am very much interested.
        Hi Deb

        There are plenty of threads here on WF which will recommend exactly that or maybe start a thread to ask the question from some really knowledgeable people on here.

        Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author leader
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Yes it is definitely possible [I did it over 12 years ago]

      However, you can make your life a whole lot easier by investing in some tools to help you.
      I did it over a decade ago too - BUT times have changed online, many times over. What worked 12 or 15 years ago definitely doesn't work now. Its a completely different environment now. I've experienced this for myself, starting new projects - you need to take a whole different approach now, as compared to what you could do then - and it ALWAYS requires some money now.

      You simply cant get free traffic now like you used to. I used to get 2 million visitors to my blog per year - all with free organic traffic. And I was able to leverage that traffic well into a 6 figure income within 2 years. A new blog owner can not do that with no money now. There are well known 7-figure online marketing experts and geniuses who say the same thing, based on their own recent experiences.

      I really believe the future (and present) of internet marketing is in paid traffic. Not that I'm happy about it, but it is what it is. You have to be willing to pay to get yourself in front of targeted traffic if you are going to build a real business.

      Online has simply caught up with the off line marketing world. Off line, if you start a new business, you have to pay for exposure for that business. Its no different online now. During the early days, what I call the online "gold-rush". you could build a business based on free traffic (you had to be good at what you were doing, no question, but it could be done). Now its pay to play.

      It took me a long time to accept that - I am naturally resistant to change! (I've had to work on that!) I wanted to be able to keep doing things like I'd been doing before to get the same results, but it became abundantly clear that doesn't work any more. I finally accepted that you have to pay for traffic now, and once I was willing to do that, things moved to a whole new level once again.

      You can spend copious amounts of time and energy working (banging your head against a wall) to drive free traffic, and realistically, you'll only get a dribble relative to the investment of time and energy you put in. Or you can get some paid traffic flowing to you right now, make some sales and profit right now, reinvest it back into more traffic, make some more sales and profit.... rinse and repeat.... you see where this is going... and you'll actually start building a real online income - right now
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Lumbergh
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      However, you can make your life a whole lot easier by investing in some tools to help you.
      True that. You can always fight yourself up to a few hundred dollars with:
      1. Surveys and GPT-Sites
      2. Fivergigs
      3. Freelancing
      4. Free blog with affiliate offers
      That's exactly how I earned my first few hundred dollars, because I didn't have a creditcard available.

      As soon as you have some money on paypal I would invest that money into a hosting, domains and tools.

      There are also free hosting possibilities out there. Having no initial money to invest won't stop you from succeeding, and it should not demotivate you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Yes you can. Many have done it. The problem is . . . it will take your time and much effort that is probably better spent on things besides basic tasks.

    Ask yourself this question: How long are you willing to wait for the payback?

    Really, the amount an average person needs to invest is very minuscule compared to the time, cost and effort it takes to begin most careers.

    Find a little money to start. Sell something you own. Work some odd jobs. Take a part time job for a season. Cut out the junk food and movies. Quit smoking and drinking. Use a tax refund. Sell some blood. There are many, many ways to come up with some start-up money if you're willing to pay the price.

    How bad do you want this?

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Yes you can. Many have done it. The problem is . . . it will take your time and much effort that is probably better spent on things besides basic tasks.

      Ask yourself this question: How long are you willing to wait for the payback?

      Really, the amount an average person needs to invest is very minuscule compared to the time, cost and effort it takes to begin most careers.

      Find a little money to start. Sell something you own. Work some odd jobs. Take a part time job for a season. Cut out the junk food and movies. Quit smoking and drinking. Use a tax refund. Sell some blood. There are many, many ways to come up with some start-up money if you're willing to pay the price.

      How bad do you want this?

      Steve
      Thanks Steve, I have outlayed some cost it was more asking if it can be done without having to spend much at all.

      I agree, making small sacrafices will get you there.
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  • CabaMate,

    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    ... can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything ...
    No, that's impossible, in my opinion. Here's why:

    Nobody will work for you without any form of remuneration, at least in the reality where I'm at. That leaves you with just your time to spare, which you could spend elsewhere and earn some money for your day to day expenses. So:

    If you decide to spend your only available resource in just building something that would most likely take you a considerable amount of time before you see any profits, then that also means you're most likely shelling out some of your savings for your day to day expenses, which you obviously need to do while you're using up your time in running your online venture ...

    For example, I started my entrepreneurial venture in 2005, almost 2 years after I became completely blind.

    I was looking for client companies overseas that I can help out as their technology writer and digital multimedia marketing consultant.

    I wasn't earning anything while I was searching and trying to sign up clients. So, I was using my wife's income to pay for our family's day to day expenses since we did not have any savings at that time. It wasn't enough, but that was a gamble we needed to take.

    I didn't have a website. I didn't even have a business email. Facebook and Youtube then weren't what they are now.

    Guess what? After I signed up a client and worked with them for a few months - They gave me start-up capital in the form of a deposit for our contract, which I needed to use so as to register and build a company with at least 40 digital marketing employees. Just for that contract.

    That's what my wife and I did, and the rest is history. We've been signing up and renewing small and big contracts with local and overseas client companies for the past 11 years now ...
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  • Profile picture of the author JoeNielsen
    You wasn't very specific explaining your "IM Business", but yes, it's possible to setup and earn money without spending any money. However that would probably by the studiest thing anyone could ever do, because you'd have to spend SO MUCH of your TIME instead.

    Do you want to learn HTML and CSS? Do you want to spend hours upon hours being frustrated with the techie stuff that affordable tools can do instantly?

    If you're not willing to spend money on your business you're definitely not going to earn any either.

    Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaqsquash
    Yes, by selling services or some kind of software. It costs nothing to come up with a great service, then put it up on a forum or fiverr. No need to buy a domain, hosting, web development, advertising etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author starlox
    Yes, but I would say your options are limited and you need time
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  • Profile picture of the author Ace OfAllMedia
    I made my first 2k in IM without spending a dime...but you dont want to know how many hours that took lol..

    "Without spending anything at all" is a very subjective statement - it is definitely possible, however the amount of time and effort one would have to put into manually trudging through all the footwork while in the process of learning to begin with (I can say from experience) - almost nobody would have teh patience..

    The only reason I did it is because I'm extremely stubborn and when I want to figure something out I just do - other than that if your time and effort is worth much of anything to you, you're much better served spending some coins
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  • Profile picture of the author Tomas Lodén
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    Is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.
    No!

    It will always cost your valuable time!
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    • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
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      Originally Posted by Tomas Lodén View Post

      No!

      It will always cost your valuable time!
      Most people on this forum seem to value their time at about $0.00 per hour.
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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

        Most people on this forum seem to value their time at about $0.00 per hour.
        And most of them are more than likely over-inflating their self-worth.

        Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author RefuseToLose
    Yes it is very possible, and it's almost too easy once you know what you're doing...

    Do you have a skill or knowledge that you have that you can sell to other people?

    If not you can always promote other people's products for a commission.

    Either way there's a lot of different ways you can start, but I would recommend one of the above for quicker results so you can re-invest your earnings back into your business to grow faster.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randy McLean
    A prime consideration is traffic. Free or paid.

    As mentioned it will be really slow and some tasks can seem mundane.

    The best thing to do is set a budget for yourself each month and stick to it.

    One thing I remember hearing that always stuck with me is "never spend money you don't have." So that is the guideline I use.

    Steve B came up with some good ideas for seed money. Then once I see profits I would reinvest them back into the business.

    To answer your question, yes it is possible. It just depends on your skill and determination.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by Randy McLean View Post

      A prime consideration is traffic. Free or paid.

      As mentioned it will be really slow and some tasks can seem mundane.

      The best thing to do is set a budget for yourself each month and stick to it.

      One thing I remember hearing that always stuck with me is "never spend money you don't have." So that is the guideline I use.

      Steve B came up with some good ideas for seed money. Then once I see profits I would reinvest them back into the business.

      To answer your question, yes it is possible. It just depends on your skill and determination.
      Yeah, it really would come down to time I think, I've started with a small budget I was more interested if it was possible but it seems like the answer is only if you have a hell of a lot of time to kill. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author kilgore
    Who cares?

    If you have an idea for a successful business and the ability to make it happen, but to make it work you'll need to spend a few hundred -- or even a few thousand -- bucks are you really going to let that stop you? And if you don't have an idea for a successful business yet, are you really going to limit your thinking to models that may well have much lower payoffs just to save some money?

    It just doesn't make sense to me.

    If a business model is solid and you've got the ability to pull it off, it's worth investing in. Period. On the other hand, if the business model isn't solid, or if you don't have the ability to pull it off, it's not worth doing whether or not it requires investment. Moreover, if you're so risk adverse that you're not willing to invest in your business or if you don't have the ability to create a business that stands out from the competition, entrepreneurism probably isn't for you anyway.

    Whether other people have successfully started a business with little or no money is beside the point. Some businesses require huge cash outlays. Others don't. But you aren't starting "some businesses" you're starting your business. So the question you need to be asking is how much do you need to spend on your business to realize your business model and give you the greatest chance to succeed.

    To do that you put together a plan -- based on what you feel is your Minimum Viable Product. And based on that plan you put together a budget, a budget that will tell you whether or not you really can start your business with little to no investment.

    Obviously you don't want to throw money away -- but you don't want to skimp either. Believe me when I tell you that the competition is willing to spend money to make money, so if you're not you're going to be at a huge disadvantage -- not necessarily dead in the water, but handicapped from the start. And the failure rate when starting a new business is already high enough without adding new handicaps.

    Now that you have a rough budget, examine it. If the budget is more than you'd like to spend, you need to ask yourself whether you need to revise your budget, revise your business model or revise your expectations. And if your budget is in line with what you'd like to spend, that's good to know too.

    Keep in mind, however, that if you don't have to spend a lot a money to make your business work, it's very likely that others also won't need to spend much to make a competing business work. Barriers to entry, whether start-up costs, skills, expertise or otherwise are by definition challenging for new businesses to overcome -- but once you are established those same barriers (as well as new ones that you purposefully try to erect along the way) are what will keep you successful and profitable for the long term while your upstart competitors fail. If literally anyone can do what you're doing, everyone will do what you're doing.

    In short: the cheapest ways and the easiest ways are not usually the best ways.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

      Who cares?

      In short: the cheapest ways and the easiest ways are not usually the best ways.
      I agree with you there Kilgore,

      I haven't done anything the easy way and although it remains to be seen if I have done them the 'right' way I have at least done them.

      You get what you pay for rings in my ears, and seeing as I just outlayed some money for domain name, hosting etc I wondered in this startup phase whether it can be done without a whole lot of cash or no cash at all for that matter.

      I will pay as I want to get this extra business off the ground and without advertising I think this would take forever.

      It's just interesting to hear what people have done and how much they think is needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sam JTB
    Theoretically you could - maybe setup a FB group of some kind, build a huge following, then start selling some affiliate products. (I'm really oversimplifying this)
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  • Profile picture of the author gluckspilz
    Yes! A lot of people are simply just setting up Facebook Groups and sharing their affiliate links. In fact, I see people sharing their affiliate links on their own Facebook Profile as well.

    However, I don't really consider this a business because it is not sustainable at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndyBlackSEO
    Here's my answer....

    Would you start up a business in 'the real world' with ZERO budget?

    Trying to start online without spending ANYTHING is the wrong way of approaching it. It's the wrong mindset if your goal is to make decent money.

    Treat it like a real business and when you do that it might grow like a real business.
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  • Profile picture of the author unnati patel
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by unnati patel View Post

      Hello I am going through the same path as you. I am just spending the time. Look at my efforts here
      Where should I look at your efforts Unnati? Did you want to provide a link?
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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

        Where should I look at your efforts Unnati? Did you want to provide a link?
        Providing a link may be regarded as 'self-promotion' which is against forum rules and can result in the poster getting banned.

        Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author UncleDearest
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    I did it back in 2007. Started with one EPN affiliate site. Worked real hard on it and by 2009 I had a little formula going on and making a little money on 3 sites. Using the formula, I ramped it up, adding a few more sites and paying for a lot of content rather than me doing the work. I also used paid version of USFreeads. Other than the USFreeads, I never paid for advertising. I did well.

    Things have changed a lot. I still make money on those sites but the organic search is tougher. Still, I think yes, you can set up an income generating site without spending any money except for the hosting/domain.

    Once you start to understand how things are working (and it's different for everybody) you will see how paying for certain services is worth it, saving you time and in the long run allowing for you to implement even more income generating pages to your site.

    I think for anyone starting out they should at the very least expect to pay for hosting/domain and probably auto responder service.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by UncleDearest View Post

      I did it back in 2007. Started with one EPN affiliate site. Worked real hard on it and by 2009 I had a little formula going on and making a little money on 3 sites. Using the formula, I ramped it up, adding a few more sites and paying for a lot of content rather than me doing the work. I also used paid version of USFreeads. Other than the USFreeads, I never paid for advertising. I did well.

      Things have changed a lot. I still make money on those sites but the organic search is tougher. Still, I think yes, you can set up an income generating site without spending any money except for the hosting/domain.

      Once you start to understand how things are working (and it's different for everybody) you will see how paying for certain services is worth it, saving you time and in the long run allowing for you to implement even more income generating pages to your site.

      I think for anyone starting out they should at the very least expect to pay for hosting/domain and probably auto responder service.
      Interesting UncleDearest,

      Ok cool. Good to know this is still possible.

      I understand that the time saving is enormous, and its way faster to do it this way.

      I was thinking that auto responder and a little bit of advertising (where possible) is all I can do to start, hopefully this will be enough to get momentum.

      When I have my other business running along side of this I need to be frugal with my money, but time is limited so it is a catch 22.
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  • Profile picture of the author uce
    Even if you work on a shoestring budget, you still need to buy at least a domain name and host it somewhere safe. And without investing any money you need to invest much more time to build your business and it will take you so much longer to be successful.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Back in the days it was much easier to promote an item as an affiliate using your referral links directly without any site raising an eye brow and other similar methods. Today, the abuse and competition have pretty much changed the game.

    Like many people here suggest, there are still free methods but it will take you much longer time. If you have some skills it could also save you money like instead of hiring a designer, you get to do it yourself and so on.

    However, there are still a few good methods you can follow for free and some require minimal investment like $20 to $50 to get started.

    If you have some skills you can sell your service on freelance site.

    You can participate in paid survey and also invest little money ($50) in investment schemes like waste recycle among others. Search the web and you won't be lost.
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  • Profile picture of the author preciousscic
    Technically yes it is possible. However, like many others have suggested, it just takes a lot more time, and if possible, you'd be better off being able to invest financially.

    So just be aware that if you go down the "free" route, it'll take a lot longer. But if you're super dedicated and have the time, it can be done.

    Steph
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by preciousscic View Post

      Technically yes it is possible. However, like many others have suggested, it just takes a lot more time, and if possible, you'd be better off being able to invest financially.

      So just be aware that if you go down the "free" route, it'll take a lot longer. But if you're super dedicated and have the time, it can be done.

      Steph
      Thanks Steph, appreciate your comment.

      Free is never easy, I've learnt that for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author hynds
      Originally Posted by preciousscic View Post

      Technically yes it is possible. However, like many others have suggested, it just takes a lot more time, and if possible, you'd be better off being able to invest financially.

      So just be aware that if you go down the "free" route, it'll take a lot longer. But if you're super dedicated and have the time, it can be done.

      Steph
      Correct, you can do free but it will take you alot of time and resources.
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  • Yes you could make some money here and there

    But it is not a business any more and neither can you scale it

    be it offline or online plus online marketing is nothing less/more than advertising your products online .

    The basic concept of offline platform still exist .

    You still need some budget even if it is not considerable but still you are paying

    Hope this helps
    Cheese
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    That's funny!


    your quiestion is the answer to MY question.......

    Question: "How do i make it extremely hard on myself when starting IM?"

    Answer: Start up in IM without spending anything at all

    your dollars are your soldiers and you're the king.

    command them wisely and sit on your throne comfortably

    -Ike Paz
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    • Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      That's funny!


      your quiestion is the answer to MY question.......

      Question: "How do i make it extremely hard on myself when starting IM?"

      Answer: Start up in IM without spending anything at all

      your dollars are your soldiers and you're the king.

      command them wisely and sit on your throne comfortably

      -Ike Paz
      Awesome comment and you answered the question in the best possible manner and i could not think of a better way to answer this

      Cheers
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    • Profile picture of the author Ace OfAllMedia
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      That's funny!


      your quiestion is the answer to MY question.......

      Question: "How do i make it extremely hard on myself when starting IM?"

      Answer: Start up in IM without spending anything at all

      your dollars are your soldiers and you're the king.

      command them wisely and sit on your throne comfortably

      -Ike Paz
      ROTFL - Too funny :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      That's funny!


      your quiestion is the answer to MY question.......

      Question: "How do i make it extremely hard on myself when starting IM?"

      Answer: Start up in IM without spending anything at all

      your dollars are your soldiers and you're the king.

      command them wisely and sit on your throne comfortably

      -Ike Paz
      Thanks Ike,

      I'd love to say I am sitting on my throne comfortably and yet I am merely a tiny commoner in the world of IM.

      I will spend a little, not a lot as I don't have the current budget (i will as I save more) and I appreciate your guidance.

      I love the way you have put this, makes it all sound very regal and a little like GOT.
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  • Profile picture of the author oppyeaunome
    To me I don't think that you can make any money online without something costing you. What don't spend money on you'll spend in time. If you are going the SEO route then you'll have to invest time.

    Having money to invest means that you'll have the ability to get more stuff done faster. Money to invest means that you can have better tools. Having better tools means that you'll be able to do more things with your time.

    So it's possible for you to get started online with out having money to invest, but it means that you'll have to sacrifice your time. At this point it is a matter of will you invest your time or will you invest your money? Whatever path you choose you must make up your mind to do whatever it takes to succeed.

    Keep working.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by oppyeaunome View Post

      To me I don't think that you can make any money online without something costing you. What don't spend money on you'll spend in time. If you are going the SEO route then you'll have to invest time.

      Having money to invest means that you'll have the ability to get more stuff done faster. Money to invest means that you can have better tools. Having better tools means that you'll be able to do more things with your time.

      So it's possible for you to get started online with out having money to invest, but it means that you'll have to sacrifice your time. At this point it is a matter of will you invest your time or will you invest your money? Whatever path you choose you must make up your mind to do whatever it takes to succeed.

      Keep working.
      True that - it's a balance between figuring out the true value of my time.

      Don't get me wrong I am not looking for an easy way, I just wondered if there needs to be a massive outlay to gain traction.

      Thanks for your comment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    Bootstrapping an online business from nothing is hard but not impossible. Investing some up front may be advantageous.
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  • Profile picture of the author davejarvys
    Just to give a counter view to some on here:

    Spending money doesn't guarantee success or that you'll do anything quicker either other than maybe go bust.

    Reading this forum you'd believe that as long as you are spending money then your valuable time is your own. Well it's simply not true a lot of people are wasting their time and their money.

    Now don't get me wrong I'm not against spending money to promote a business but it's hard work testing and tweaking, looking at analytics and trying to get your advert to work.

    I imagine a lot of people new to online marketing don't have the knowledge or experience to understand advertising and advertising platforms so for them throwing good money after bad is terrible advice.

    Where I think we should encourage spending is in education and from real professionals not snake oil salesman with bs about launches or $1 a month pet subscriber.

    To the op's question yes you can start a business for nothing and do well.

    I know a guy who makes $250,000 a year from Kindle publishing. He's spent money on improving his covers over time but his initial marketing was:

    Free Giveaways
    Press Releases
    Social Media
    Forum posting and
    Q & A sites

    Over time this has helped his SEO efforts as well. His website is a woocommerce site with a free template. I think his only spend in the first year was domain and hosting.

    With regards to myself I drop ship and initially didn't spend anything just used social media and went about getting myself seen by my target audience.

    As things have scaled up I started to test paid advertising and now it forms a part of my business plan.

    I'm a big believer that as well as making money saving money is vitally important to any business.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by davejarvys View Post

      Just to give a counter view to some on here:

      Spending money doesn't guarantee success or that you'll do anything quicker either other than maybe go bust.

      Reading this forum you'd believe that as long as you are spending money then your valuable time is your own. Well it's simply not true a lot of people are wasting their time and their money.

      Now don't get me wrong I'm not against spending money to promote a business but it's hard work testing and tweaking, looking at analytics and trying to get your advert to work.

      I imagine a lot of people new to online marketing don't have the knowledge or experience to understand advertising and advertising platforms so for them throwing good money after bad is terrible advice.

      Where I think we should encourage spending is in education and from real professionals not snake oil salesman with bs about launches or $1 a month pet subscriber.

      To the op's question yes you can start a business for nothing and do well.

      I know a guy who makes $250,000 a year from Kindle publishing. He's spent money on improving his covers over time but his initial marketing was:

      Free Giveaways
      Press Releases
      Social Media
      Forum posting and
      Q & A sites

      Over time this has helped his SEO efforts as well. His website is a woocommerce site with a free template. I think his only spend in the first year was domain and hosting.

      With regards to myself I drop ship and initially didn't spend anything just used social media and went about getting myself seen by my target audience.

      As things have scaled up I started to test paid advertising and now it forms a part of my business plan.

      I'm a big believer that as well as making money saving money is vitally important to any business.
      Thanks for your post Dave

      It sounds like your business is a winner and I appreciate you providing another view on this.

      Sometimes when my business starts to grow I worry about spending too much on things, I need to ensure I spend within the means of my business and not due to the fact that we have extra money coming in so I can go nuts with it.

      Your friend who does the Kindle publishing seems like he is onto a a winner, all of that effort only really takes time and it goes to show that with a bit of elbow grease it's possible.

      Nice to hear such a wide range of perspectives.
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    • Profile picture of the author sobbycv
      Originally Posted by davejarvys View Post

      Just to give a counter view to some on here:

      Spending money doesn't guarantee success or that you'll do anything quicker either other than maybe go bust.

      Reading this forum you'd believe that as long as you are spending money then your valuable time is your own. Well it's simply not true a lot of people are wasting their time and their money.

      Now don't get me wrong I'm not against spending money to promote a business but it's hard work testing and tweaking, looking at analytics and trying to get your advert to work.

      I imagine a lot of people new to online marketing don't have the knowledge or experience to understand advertising and advertising platforms so for them throwing good money after bad is terrible advice.

      Where I think we should encourage spending is in education and from real professionals not snake oil salesman with bs about launches or $1 a month pet subscriber.

      To the op's question yes you can start a business for nothing and do well.

      I know a guy who makes $250,000 a year from Kindle publishing. He's spent money on improving his covers over time but his initial marketing was:

      Free Giveaways
      Press Releases
      Social Media
      Forum posting and
      Q & A sites

      Over time this has helped his SEO efforts as well. His website is a woocommerce site with a free template. I think his only spend in the first year was domain and hosting.

      With regards to myself I drop ship and initially didn't spend anything just used social media and went about getting myself seen by my target audience.

      As things have scaled up I started to test paid advertising and now it forms a part of my business plan.

      I'm a big believer that as well as making money saving money is vitally important to any business.
      I think thats the BEST answer and the best advice for the topic
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  • Profile picture of the author davejarvys
    Cabamate, the thing with paid is to always test small. If it doesn't convert at $10 it probably won't convert at $100 it a $1000.
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    • Profile picture of the author CabaMate
      Originally Posted by davejarvys View Post

      Cabamate, the thing with paid is to always test small. If it doesn't convert at $10 it probably won't convert at $100 it a $1000.
      True - thanks Dave.

      The law of averages remains strong.

      I appreciate your suggestion. While I would love to be throwing cash around I would test a pretty small snapshot first and see how it goes.

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  • Profile picture of the author illinigirl247
    Hi I! You can, but as someone mentioned you will be better off spending some, and if you do it wisely, you can get off cheap. 1 question would be are complete newbie? Or do you have some knowledge? And do you know exactly how you want to make your money? You mentioned a website. Are you starting a blog? Do you know how you will monotize? Take full advantage of WF and the free knowledge that is here. Purchase some wso, but be careful and picky with what you pay for. I spent a lot of money on products I thought were crap and before I knew it all of that information sunk in. I don't consider it wasted money as I learned, but I could have spent it wiser if I had a plan. So first decide what you want to do. More specifically than "i want to make money online" :-). Good luck!
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  • Absolutely. I started out over 10 years ago with a few niche blogs. I wrote my own content & did my own SEO. It takes time, but easily doable. The trick with blogs to always write good, quality content.
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  • Profile picture of the author stewie48
    Hi CabaMate...

    I say yes it is possible, that is if you don't count your time in the budget, though I agree with the guys above, a little investment can make it easier...

    The reason I say this is in 2008 I started in a program that was free and required no cash input, but I found in order to build my business faster and see some reasonable commission, some investment was needed...

    Have a great day...
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  • Profile picture of the author KaapoJed
    Yes It is Possible, But you must keep yourself impatient because without spending any money will need more time & efforts. But before start. First you have to remember these three important points so that you can have some payback of your efforts.

    Try to Promote something which is only created by you so that the only person who can claim benefit is you.
    Sell your services.
    Find free consults, Get Help as much as you can.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bigstilo
    I think anything is possible. You could join clickbank for example for free. Get an affiliate link and use free traffic strategies to promote your link. But with restrictions and complications around using naked links without masking creates a lot of unforseen issues. Just an example. You need some form of budget to skip some of these loopholes as well as for the utilization of tools and resources neccessary for the opperation and maintainace of your IM business. I would advise you to find creative ways to raise initial budget funds for you business. It takes money to make money but a little goes a long way. Good luck. I hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephenjwv
    There are different directions that you can take towards starting an IM business without any money. Becoming an affiliate marketer is a possible route to take. There are many affiliate programs that you can join for free and get your link to promote. The issue is, how are you going to promote your link successfully and as efficiently as possible. Study free traffic generation methods to determine whats best for you. You might be able to make a few sales but without capital it's near impossible to scale up. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author gwilfo1988
    Hey CabaMate

    It's definitely possible, but time is a limited recourse and therefore, you should always take your time into account. It's the most valuable recourse.
    I would, therefore, take some time understanding how to invest money wisely into speeding up the process.

    Best of luck
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  • Profile picture of the author markhimeb
    No it's not.
    But you can start making some money from the first buck you spend.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mattj84
    It is possible to do so. It will take a lot more work and will be a lot more tedious as you would be going the 'free' route with everything (so you may have to do a lot more than if you were to pay to have it done), but it can be done!
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  • Profile picture of the author mjcole76
    sure, you can promote products with youtube, and put your affiliate link in the description, you can also build up your google plus and linkedn account, but it will take a long time to get the results you probably wanting.
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  • Profile picture of the author esk
    I started my online business with a 100$ investment in 2010.
    The 100$ was enough to buy hosting and domain for a year and i got the 1$ Aweber trial.

    So you can definitely start an online business with a minimal amount of money. But if you want to spend nothing at all you must get an xxxxxxx.wordpress.com or xxxx.blogger.com which I think is going to limit you.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkMOZ
    If you can leverage a skill or create a product it's doable but if you're dead broke you're better off saving some money and delaying your product/service launch until you've gathered the money. On average you'll need a few thousand (usd) to experiment with paid ads or a few hundred to start a semi-professional service/product. Anyone can get that on minimum wage. Get ready to work a lot more than people with money who can outsource the grunt work but if you can't gather that initial few dollars you might as well not try at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    I guess it depends on your expectations.

    You could "setup" a business and make a little bit of money - but if you really want to create a real business, you really need to invest at least a little bit of money. Even if it's just bare basics such as a domain and hosting.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShayB
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    Yes, it's possible.

    But if you have money to invest in your biz, it's a lot faster/easier/better, though.
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  • Profile picture of the author pin9211
    No you can't earn online without spending anything. For earning or start up you atleast need TIME.
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  • Profile picture of the author bonusplus7
    well. Can you live in a house without furnature,water, calefaction, food, bed?
    No you can't you need some money to start out!! to your success!
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  • Profile picture of the author sendizo
    Yes, possible. you find lotta provider that provide free hosting and free email marketing. volia, you have a website and autoresponder you can start building your list with free traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author automathings
    Domain name and hosting only? Do you have a unique product or service that you have to sell? If not, it's hypothetically possible with months to years of sweat equity to build up an audience, but it's not going to be easy.

    There are literally tens of millions of people all across the globe trying to do exactly this. What do you offer that separates you from the pack?
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  • Profile picture of the author gogogoing
    Yo have to invest at least one of two things, money and time.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikesonfire
    The short answer is no.

    Your time is worth money. When you use it to setup an online business, you're paying yourself (or more appropriately, not paying yourself).

    Also it will take you ten times longer to do some of the tasks necessary if you don't hire them out AND your end product won't be as good as if you did hire it out.

    If you're flat out broke, I get it, but investing in yourself, like anyone starting a business, pays off.
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  • Profile picture of the author KaapoJed
    Yes, as I do already. But it will take bunch of time and effort so first prepare yourself & your strategy and do as you planned.
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  • Profile picture of the author shmol
    Sure, it is possible, but, as others have said, it will take time.

    However, you said, apart from a domain name and hosting.

    If you get a domain name and hosting, this would be perfect for blogging.

    Grab a free word press theme and start writing content, say, five days per week.

    List type posts, work good.

    Tie in social media like facebook and twitter and you can start seeing good traffic.

    Put up a banner for a clickbank product or find a cpa offer that pays well and go with that.

    Sure, it will take some time, but, you can start earning money, but, and this is big, when money starts coming in, invest some of it into your business--like paying to have people write your content for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    Using nothing more than a sig file here at WF, I showed a newb (a few years ago) how to create, sell a product and build a list for free.

    He has since gone on to Kindle glory, but for free:

    Step One (I know many warriors like step by step instruction)
    Get a dropbox account if you don't have one (FREE) Get Open Office (FREE)

    These are the tools to create and "Host" your product. In this example, I'll show you the promotion and the product.

    Step Two. Create a promotion for a product. WHAT? (or wtf for some of you).

    Again, this is a simple example, actually created for this question a few years back. Here is the simple ONE page promotion I created with Open Office and then exported as a pdf, put the pdf in a dropbox folder.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...otcheetwad.pdf

    I could have given my PayPal in the Promo, but I added an extra step, you don't need to do this. I tested for a month here at WF, using just a sig file to get eyeballs.

    Here is the PRODUCT they rec'd for 3 bux. Didn't have any refunds. Seldom do.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...cheatsheet.pdf

    This 3 dollar product added dozens of buyers to one list. But many of them brought the Automatic Product Vending report, and from those, a few became bigger buyers of back end products.

    But, dropbox was free. Open Office was free. WF sig file, free. I did add Stat Counter later on (free version) and it was all the data I wanted for this.

    One thing, you have to think LIFETIME VALUE of a customer. We've had over 10,000 on our lists for over a decade, with low % drop off.

    We don't think of them as CUSTOMERS to get more and more money from, but rather, a friend we can help and evolve with, and in many instances they have become profitable JV and affiliate partners too.

    Your FREE start-up should, however, have a PLAN behind it, a target and a goal of building and expanding, all funded from the FREE beginning, so if you start for free, plow what profits you get, even little ones, into more and more tools to build your business.

    But, keep in mind. Offer what people want, and keep copious notes.

    GordonJ

    PS. The Automatic Product Vending Site report is currently off market, so please don't ask, ok?
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  • Profile picture of the author maxsi
    Ask the Gorilla and you can start in IM with zero budget (and make money).

    Gorilla => it's an IM platform
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  • Profile picture of the author menjac21
    your always have to be investing even if its not money its gonna be time right now im just doing free traffic and its working doing instagram posting tips following people who follow big influencer went from 286 to 456 in two week subs and doing facebook live i get some subs everyday and posting on group blogs with real value helps too
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  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.

    Yes. Start emailing people in a specific niche, telling them how you can help them.

    It can be you telling them the website is not mobile compliant, their SEO is off, their competitors are getting all the leads, their design is bad etc.

    As long as you provide value and the emails are personalized, most people will appreciate it. Some will reply & you will be able to close them.

    The idea here is to give them something they just can't refuse.

    And yes, this method is totally free although it takes a lot of perseverance.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    I disagree, at a minimum you are going to need website and an autoresponder.
    I guess you could use a free MailChimp account (I did that initially) but your still going to need a domain and a hosting. Also to be totally honest if your that broke that you cant get these basic things then you are not in a position to be starting a business and you should do something offline to make some money until you can be in a better position.
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  • Profile picture of the author EPoltrack77
    Sure but please don't take what I say wrong but to do things correctly you should be willing to invest in your future and your success.

    For under 50 bucks a month I mean where else....
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    I came late to this party, so I apologize if I repeat anyone's answer too closely without credit.

    The key word here is start.

    Yes, it's possible to start in IM without spending anything at all. The key is to move past that stage as quickly as possible.

    If you want something sustainable, though, you will have to reinvest your earnings in basic tools (domain, hosting).

    So here's the progression for someone who has zero budget:

    Stage 1 - Seed money

    The goal is to raise $100 or so. This will buy you a domain name and hosting for a year, as well as a few months of autoresponder fees.

    Lots of ways to make that $100. Task sites like Mechanical Turk, writing for content mills at $1-$3 per article, even affiliate marketing using free blogs.

    You want to accumulate your seed money so you don't have to rely on either brute force or digital sharecropping.

    Stage 2 - Bootstrapping

    The goal is to get something started and test both the market and your approach to it.

    Use your seed money to get your basic tools, set up a simple site using a free theme, and start building an audience and customer base. As you learn what you really need, reinvest your earnings to buy better tools (premium theme, AR fees for larger lists, etc.) and to experiment with paid traffic methods and/or more effective SEO/social media/etc.

    Stage 3 - A real company

    Here's where you start reaping the rewards of all the work you put in during the first two stages. Your enterprise grows to the point you can start pulling money out of it for your own use.

    The problem with "IM without spending anything at all" is that too many who try it want to start at Stage 3, pulling out money for their own use while continuing to spend nothing at all. They don't have the patience to build something in stages, delaying gratification.
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  • Profile picture of the author RogozRazvan
    Originally Posted by CabaMate View Post

    I'm curious, is there anyone who has genuinely set up a IM business without spending anything.

    I am in the process of setting up my own website etc now, and I have started to lay out a little bit of money to do this as it is running parallel to some of the other work I am doing, but I am curious can and have people genuinely set up a IM business without paying anything (apart from domain name and hosting).

    I'd love to hear if it's possible.
    Yes, it is possible, if you've made a million before.

    Look, I know people here who are hustlers. They are earning four and five figure per month in net profit. I can take everything from them, leave them with just a fridge full of food, an apartment and a MacBook and they'll find a way to earn their money back.

    They'll cold call entrepreneurs. They'll look for joint ventures. They'll find trends in the marketplace. They'll find investors. They'll find a way.

    Generating wealth is not difficult when you've done it before. If you have partners, if you know what works, if you don't have to go through trial and error, it is easy to generate wealth. It is hard to believe for some, but you can parachute some people in a new city with just a suit and a briefcase and they'll earn $10.000 by the end of the month.

    However, your question had nothing to do with this and instead focused on "can you supplement all the paid tools / resources with free ones?". Yes, but you will do it with time. Time is money. Maybe it is hard to think about it this way but one hour invested in getting free traffic is one hour that could have been spent earning money in another manner.

    After all, there are jobs. Worst case scenario, there is McDonalds, which seems to hire no matter the age or experience. So when you think you've saved $50 by working an entire day on something, you haven't saved $50. You've paid the price of 10 - 12 hours. The minimum wage in the UK 8.2 USD/hour so in practice, you've overpaid.

    Now, of course, there is the fact that you'll gain experience but in essence, what you don't pay with money, you pay with time. Anything has a cost and that cost can be computed either to money or to time.
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