Launching an online business doesn’t need to be expensive. With free websites and apps, you can start with $0.
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Think you need money to start an online business? Think again! Thanks to free apps and websites, anyone can start an online business with $0.
Curious to learn how? Then keep reading. We’re going to reveal 5 websites & apps that can help you launch any online business for free.
These websites and apps can help you drive traffic, sell physical and digital products, create graphics, and more. And throughout the article, you’ll discover real-life examples of people earning money with them.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!
Free Apps and Websites for Traffic and Marketing
Traffic and marketing are the lifeblood of any business.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is. If no one can find it, then how can they buy it?
Thankfully, driving traffic doesn’t have to be costly in today’s digital world.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram Reels, YouTube’s Shorts, and TikTok are ideal for driving traffic to your business. Using video, you can reach thousands of potential customers.
Mobile video views are currently exploding. According to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will come from video streams. And with the vast number of videos being uploaded daily, these platforms need to sustain their viewership with MORE videos.
This means any creator, beginner to experienced, shares a fair chance of succeeding with videos. Depending on the quality of the video, either can be shown to millions of viewers. In the eyes of the platform: the more videos available to watch, the longer users will interact on their platform.
So, how can you use these platforms to generate traffic?
If you run a dropship store, for example, then you can create a video that showcases a product you sell.
Demonstrate the benefits, how it works, and the problem it solves. Then in the video description, provide a link to the product landing page where people can buy.
For example, this video on TikTok promotes waterproof stickers in a very appealing way. In their bio, they link to their online store where people can buy the stickers.
If you sell digital products, like a course, then short, educational videos may be more effective than showcase videos. You can create Instagram Reels about your topic, then link to your course in the caption.
Thankfully, being experienced isn’t required to create high-quality mobile videos. With free apps like CapCut or Clipchamp, creating videos is simple — and fast!
Free Websites for Pictures, Videos, Music, and Sound Effects
What do all businesses have in common? They need pictures to sell their product or service.
Whether that’s for a product listing, marketing, or a new product, pictures sell. And why having access to high-quality photos plays a huge role in your success.
Thankfully, free websites like Pixabay offer a vast library of free photos, but they don’t stop there. They also provide free illustrations, vector graphics, videos, music, and sound effects.
As the majority of Pixabay’s content is free, it can be used for any legal purpose, including commercially.
However, images with a ‘Pixabay License’ can’t be used in the same way they were found. This means that you can’t sell the image without first modifying it in some way. “Modifying” may include editing the font, or coupling videos together to create a montage. The key is to not use as is.
To broaden your horizon, other free websites like Pexels and Free-Imager offer similar suites of awesome digital content.
Once you gain access to free media, how can you earn money with it?
One popular way is to print images onto custom products, like a t-shirt or poster, then sell them for a profit. This business model is also known as print-on-demand, and provides a great way to earn passive income.
Here is a great example of a custom product being sold on Etsy. The seller turned a painting into a canvas that people can decorate their rooms with.
Besides product creation, media can be used to create targeted ads. For example, if you sell a posture corrector for middle-aged people, your ad can feature a snippet of a man holding his lower back in pain.
Videos like this can be found in a stock library, and go a long way in making your ad more engaging.
Whether you sell a product or want to market one, free digital content is a great place to find assets to turn into cash.
Free Websites to Sell Physical and Digital Products Online
It’s a myth that money is required to start a business. With online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy, anyone can set up their store for free.
Both marketplaces attract millions of buyers. In 2021, eBay had over 185 million active buyers, and Etsy had over 90 million. Selling on here, you can enjoy the traffic they already attract by listing your product for sale on their website.
Ebay offers 250 free product listings per month. They also have selling fees, but these are deducted after a customer makes the purchase, meaning no up-front costs.
On the other hand, Etsy charges 20 cents per listing, which isn’t exactly free. But thanks to a special referral link, anyone can get 40 free listings when they create an Etsy account. The key is knowing where to find the link. Here’s how:
- Go to Etsy.com
- In the search bar, type “40 free listings”
- Click one of the dummy listings
- Go to the description. Here, you’ll find an Etsy referral link that offers 40 free listings when you create a new shop
With over 1.76 billion products combined being sold in these marketplaces, what should YOU sell?
Digital products are a profitable idea. These are items that customers receive as a download. Digital files can include stickers, colouring pages, posters, and more.
Here’s an example of an eBay store that sells clip art files. When someone purchases the clip art, the seller sends them the digital file. People then print these files and turn them into tangible products, like stickers. According to Alura, a trusted Etsy research app, this store has generated over 59,000 sales, indicating a strong demand for digital products.
Physical custom products can be also be very lucrative. For instance, selling a t-shirt with a cute dog design.
The great thing about custom products is they are only made after a customer pays for it. As you can imagine, this saves a lot of time and money from buying and storing large inventory.
What’s more, both Etsy and eBay integrate seamlessly with print-on-demand apps like Printify and Printful. Sellers can leverage these apps to outsource the production and fulfillment process.
They simply upload their designs to the app, choose the products they want to offer (such as t-shirts or mugs), and when a customer places an order, the app automatically handles printing and shipping.
This way, sellers can focus on designing and marketing their products while ensuring effective fulfilment. This also enables you to earn money passively, since fulfilment is almost automatic.
Creating and Selling Digital Courses for Free
Do you have a skill? Do you have a passion for teaching? If so, why not sell your knowledge in a paid course?
The digital education market is booming. It’s currently projected to rise from 11.5 billion in 2021 to 46.7 billion by 2026, leaving massive room to profit with your own digital course.
Your Excel Dictionary does this fantastically well. On her Instagram page, she shares free tips on how to improve with Excel spreadsheets, and links to an online course in her bio.
Thankfully, platforms like Thinkific and Teachable offer free plans to create and sell digital courses. Using this plan, you can set up one course and start earning passive income.
Free Websites and Apps for Affiliate Marketing
What if you don’t want to sell your own product or course? You can always become an affiliate marketer for another company. This is another lucrative way to build an online business.
For example, Wholesale Ted are big fan of a graphic design app called Canva. In some YouTube videos, you may find a link that viewers can use to purchase Canva (a.k.a. our affiliate link). This affiliate link alone has helped Sarah to generate over $237,000 in the last year.
So, where do you find products to promote?
Impact is a free, reputable website where you can promote well-trusted brands. It’s actually the website Sarah uses to promote Canva, but this is one of the thousands of trusted brands available on the platform. The great thing about trusted brands is that they are easier to sell. You’ll have an easier time recommending a product that someone already likes.
Amazon Associates is another affiliate program to consider. As the name suggests, this program lets you promote products being sold on Amazon. And with over 353 million products to choose from, there’s an abundance of opportunities to make money with this program.
Free Websites and Apps for Freelancing or Starting an Agency
If you’re into freelancing, then Fivver is one of the best online marketplaces to start. In fact, a gig is bought every 4 seconds on this website.
How can you capitalize on this growing demand? List your service on their platform! Whether you’re a graphic designer or a writer, you can make money with paid gigs.
Now if there was any catch, it would be Fivver’s service charge (5.5%). However, this gets deducted after a customer pays for a gig, allowing you to start completely free. You can earn money first, then worry about any expenses.
Alternatively, Upwork’s Project Catalog works just like Fivver. Freelancers offer their services that people purchase as one-off gigs.
The marketplace is (currently) in its infancy, which means there are fewer services compared to Fivver. This creates a glaring opportunity for smart freelancers to offer services with strong demand, but low competition.
For example, on Fivver, one popular gig creates custom music in a particular genre, such as Neo-Soul. However, when searching for the same gig in the Project Catalog, there were no listings. This means there is strong demand, but little competition — the perfect environment for a profitable gig.
Free Graphic Design Apps
Every business needs graphics, whether it’s for an ad, logo, thumbnail, or product design.
Thankfully, you no longer have to be a Photoshop wiz to create stunning graphics. Photopea, a free graphic design app, allows you to create high-quality graphics without experience.
Start by building your skills with free YouTube videos. Once you’ve grasped the basics, give your first graphic a shot. You’ll be surprised at how simple it actually is.
Alternatively, Canva is another amazing graphic design app with a vast library of fonts, shapes, pictures, graphics, and photos on its free account. It’s super user-friendly, affordable and has an unmatched range of design tools.
Recommended: How to Create Print-On-Demand T-Shirts On Canva
In conclusion, starting an online business with zero investment is possible in 2023. By leveraging free apps, websites, and resources, you can create a successful business without breaking the bank. Harness the power of social media platforms, utilize digital content, and take advantage of free e-commerce and service platforms to launch your online business today.