I'll get the obvious objection out of the way. Yes, you can earn money online with absolutely zero investment. These methods (content revenue sharing sites, freelancing, fiverr, etc.) are good to start out with. In fact, they're great. Because once you earn $$ without investment, just think of the good a little investment will do...
See, I get ahead of myself. Here are some of the costs associated with the "basics" of building an online business. Keep in mind that these are "bare bones" investments. One could invest $150,000 into a domain name if one wanted.
Domain Name: $9-$11/year for .coms
Autoresponder: $15/month or so a month after some sort of trial. Can be free through some platforms (pretty sure GetResponse is one) if the list is under a certain # of subscribers.
We're at $36-ish dollars so far, with $25 spent per month.
Learning stuff: If you're not quite sure where to start, there is a world of information both free and paid here and on the Internet in general. It is so deep and wide that you have to be careful, as the allure of killer bargains can really evaporate your funds.
Good WSOs with actionable cash-earning strategies are free or very cheap, many many are available for under $10.
For ultimate bang-for-your buck, I've gotta go War Room. For the $37 life time membership, I've already gotten 823948329x that value with the caliber of the products and information there. So if you've got it, invest it, BUT!
Do not get caught up in information overload. Stick to a topic, learn it, and EARN ON IT.
So, $73 bucks now. Let's round to $80 assuming one gets a War Room membership and a $7 WSO.
How about your site's design? Yes, you'll install a free WordPress blog if you're just starting out. Yes, you can outsource this too, starting at $5. Most people suggest a premium or custom theme, for a professional look. $20 if you dig around for a quality value. Headers, too, and those are $5 and up. That adds another $30 and I'm talking bargain basement for this stuff, particularly through a lot of great services here on the WF.
[[If you ain't got the $ for this, I'd suggest graphics investment be put on the back burner -- your content should first make you $$$ with free (but pretty/clean/net) layout and graphics. Then, go hog wild into tricking out your site. ]]
Where's your content coming from? It's gotta be high quality, so consider it's source carefully. Again, shopping here on the WF is probably your best bet. Writers of all talent levels and prices are available. You can find a $1-$60 article. The difference among the prices relates to the uniqueness and quality of the content. Hiring a professional writer to work exclusively on your content will cost you a pretty penny, but will ensure exclusive, high quality content.
If you're just starting out, it's likely you'll use PLR articles which you can transform to fit your needs. You can find free or buy packs of articles, fix them to best match the tone and content of your site, and use 'em! Let's lay in the middle and say you spend $30 on either custom content or PLR articles.
And, of course, the traffic.
Traffic, traffic, traffic. As there are so many ways to generate traffic, this is probably the biggest investment difference amongst internet marketers. But here is the important thing about traffic costs: EVEN GENERATING "FREE" TRAFFIC COSTS MONEY (OR TIME!) Link building, article marketing, these don't have direct costs, but unless you're going to do them all yourself, you're going to need to shed some coin.
SEO and link building services vary. Ideally, your site would continue to grow in links, so these costs would be monthly and can range from as low as $10 - $200+/month. Since we're starting low, we'll say $10 a month, and maybe an initial PR splurge of $45 (quality press releases are a pretty penny).
PPC or PPV traffic costs may be one's largest investment. Only enter this field after you have proven your site's earning potential with free traffic methods.
Ignoring PPC or PPV costs, we're at $185 with $35 a month recurring. Again, these are my estimates from my research and experience. I know people spend much more and much less, and we're all different.
Of course, within this framework, everyone's start up expenses will vary. Remember, do what YOU DO and farm out the rest, if you can. Got the Photoshop touch? Save on the investment cost and do your own. Does writing high quality content scare you? Account for that in your investment cost.
Remember, ultimately, time is our most important investment. So non-renewable, you know?
You can monetize your site as an affiliate for damn near any sort of product, be it a review style site or niche blog, and you can use AdSense. Both of these are free of charge.
But what if you create your own product? Then you've got product creation and copy writing costs. I hired an EXCELLENT researcher on ODesk to help me out with my next project for $3.25/hour. About $45 in total, and that's getting off very cheaply because I had most of the juice there already.
Sales copy also varies, but the low end for a sales letter is $300. Again, this can be a large investment if you're just starting out, so make sure you already have some traction, earnings and an audience before you pump big bucks into anything.
Oh my! Let me know what investments I'm missing, guys, thanks for reading!