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If you have ever wondered how much it costs to start online business, you may want to read this post. 51+ entrepreneurs cutting across different niches share how much it cost them to launch their businesses.

Recently we’ve been receiving a lot of inquiries from our readers about how much it costs, on average, to start an internet-based business.

While we could have answered the question based only on our experiences launching multiple online businesses, we wanted to provide a much more robust and in-depth answer. And, hopefully, it would cut across several niches and online business models.

To achieve our objective, we turned to other online business owners and entrepreneurs to learn about how much it cost them to launch their online ventures.

We went a step further to ask for the tools and resources they used and what motivated them to choose the niche they launched in.

The result is this extremely detailed, long-form content that cut-across several niches including infomarketing, ecommerce, house flipping, tech startup, affiliate marketing and several other business models.

To ensure easy navigation through the content, we added a table of content that will take you to the exact business model you want to explore.

You will also notice at the top of each niche that we summarized the main idea, listed the average cost to launch a business in that particular niche based on the responses we got, and all the tools and resources used by other founders.

Our goal is to ensure you can retrieve useful information from the content as quickly as possible.

However, when you are time-rich, you can sink your teeth into the post to read about what motivated these online entrepreneurs to launch their businesses.

If you are ready let’s get started.

Related: 15 Profitable Business Ideas To Generate Passive Income

Blogging

Average cost range:

$12 – < $1000

Minimum tool-stack to launch

Other tools

  • Email autoresponder (Mailchimp or Convertkit)
  • Keyword research tools (Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner)
  • LSI keyword research tools (Clearscope)
  • Design tools (Canva)
  • Page Builder (Elementor Pro)
  • Analytics and tracking tools (Google Analytics)
  • Competitive analysis tools (Semrush)
  • Yoast SEO (Free WordPress Plugin)
  • Free Stock Images (Pexels or Unsplash)
  • Outsource services (Fiverr)
  • Online courses to learn how to grow the blog
  • Social media scheduling tool (CrowdFire or SmarterQueue)

Related: A Detailed A-Z Guide to Launch Your WordPress Site – Everything You Need To Know Before Starting Your Blog


Less than $100 launches

The House Wire’s Jeneva Aaron weighs in with the motivation for starting their blog: “Before starting my blog, I worked as a professional housecleaner. I really enjoyed it, and I was quite good at it. But, I’d gone to school for marketing, so I knew how to start a blog, how to write strong content, and how to build an audience. I realized that by creating a blog about cleaning and organizing, I could create a very valuable resource for homeowners.”

Sharing the tools that were indispensable for the launch, Aaron said, “The most important tool in my stack is WordPress. I use it as my CMS, and I host my site there too.

I also used various keyword research tools to help me optimize my content for search engines. I use Ahrefs and SEMrush and a tool called ClearScope which helps me optimize for LSI.”

“I started my business for $12. That’s it! I opened a Free WordPress account, bought a domain name for $12 and started writing.”

Jane Sardoma of This Mama Blogs adds, “I started my blogging business two years ago for only $33 for a hosting plan for one year and a $12 domain name. Within my first year, I invested in some courses to teach me how to grow my blog and I probably spent around $700 on education. I started making money from my blog in around 6 months and gained all my investments in around 7-8 months!”

Kelan Kline of The Savvy Couple explains how they got into the personal finance niche, “We choose this niche because it’s a topic we are extremely passionate about helping others with. We were constantly being asked by family and friends how we save so much money and live such a frugal life so we decided to start our blog to share it with the entire world.”

Kelan further shared the initial cost to launch their personal finance blog, “Starting our blog was less than $100 for hosting. Once we started making money, we slowly started to spend money on tools and education to continue to help us grow.”

Ashley Mann of RVinspiration spent roughly $95 to launch her niche site back in 2017.

“The only cost involved with starting my business was $15/month for hosting, about $60 one time for a WordPress site theme, and about $20/year for a domain name.”


“The only cost involved with starting my business was $15/month for hosting, about $60 one time for a WordPress site theme, and about $20/year for a domain name.”


Between $100 – $500 Launches

For Steffa Mantilla of Money Tamer, the idea to start their personal finance blog came when people kept asking them how they were able to pay off $80,000 worth of debt.

“I had been a zookeeper for over 12 years but wanted to stay at home to raise my son. I don’t have a background in finance aside from what I’ve self-taught. I’ve always had a love for personal finance though.

After I paid off [my] debt, I shared my story and others wanted to know [how] my family was able to do it.”

Steffa further shared how much they spent to get the blog off the ground, “It cost around $100 for web site hosting and $12 for registering a domain name. I wrote all my own content and kept the extras slim so that I didn’t have monthly expenses. Overall, it cost me less than $200 to launch.”

The Complete Guide to Archery’s Matthew Burke spent a little more than $200 [$219 actually] to launch their niche site.

“Our site gets thousands of visitors every month and while I’ve put a lot of sweat equity into the site, as for money — it didn’t require much!”

Burke shared a breakdown of the startup cost:

  • $10 for a domain name
  • $14/month for hosting from Bluehost
  • $50 to hire a designer on Fiverr for logo design.
  • $75 for stock images from Canstockphoto.com
  • $80 monthly subscription to Ahrefs

And… that’s about it! For a total of $216, I started my business.

Adam Smith of Adam’s Apple: The World, said, it cost an initial $368 to setup the travel blog.

“In terms of startup costs for my website, first there was a domain fee of $18, which renews annually. Since I used the .com version of WordPress (as opposed to the self-hosted .org), I purchased the business plan for $300 which also renews annually. Next, I set up my G Suite business email for $50 per year.”

Adam further explained how they got into the travel niche, “My journey towards being a travel writer started back in 2013 when I was in a really dark place personally.

I came to a realization I was depressed and could not understand why. Something was clearly missing in my life, but what?

It turns out that something was travel. I was so mesmerized and awestruck the first moment I stepped foot in Taiwan. From that moment on, I knew what I was meant to do in this world.”


It turns out that something was travel. I was so mesmerized and awestruck the first moment I stepped foot in Taiwan. From that moment on, I knew what I was meant to do in this world.”


Kitchen Ambition’s founder David Lewis said they decided to build an authority site in the foodies and home chef niche because the business model provides exceptional flexibility with regards to time and location.

“The main cost of launching my business has been time, which I have an excess of at the moment. The capital expense is less than $1000 over the first 6-months of operation. This includes purchase of a premium domain, basic branding, hosting with Siteground, G Suite, Ahrefs and a cold email prospecting tool.”

It cost me “a giant sum of $100 to start my online business,” writes Brian Robben of Robben Media. “After purchasing a domain, hosting, and website theme, I was ready to conquer the world.”


“It cost me a giant sum of $100 to start my online business,”


“After doing research, I saw that the college audience was underserved compared to the business and personal development niches. Building the audience and the products were free, besides my time.”

Thomas Pederson of Vekhayn LLC launched an authority site in the fitness niche, “I chose an authority site because I love writing, and it’s super easy to get your content out there. You write it and you can impact millions.”

According to Thomas they only spent $120 to start their site. “I started an authority bodybuilding site that only really ran me around $120 to start. I paid $100 for the hosting for a year and $12 for the domain.”

“Many people think you need to spend hundreds on a professional designer, writer, or whatever. This is completely the opposite of what you should do. You can easily make logos in free online paint services like Canva and have things look incredibly professional in a few minutes,” explains Thomas.

“Overall, many free services I use are Canva, Google Drive, Pexels (free stock images), and Yoast SEO which is a free plugin that helps me rank on Google better.”

Yash Sharma of Learnerz Hub started blogging as a way to help people easily access e-learning courses.

“I started my website to help people with eLearning courses and in the process earn some affiliate income for myself. I choose this niche because I was already having a decent knowledge of various online learning platforms.”

According to Yash, the only cost they incurred was the purchase of the necessary tools required to launch.

“As I already, had all the skills related to blogging, I had to spend money only on product cost and not on any outside services,” writes Yash.

The breakdown of the expenses includes:

  • Domain cost – Namecheap – $10 (First year)
  • Hosting cost – Siteground – $120 (per annum)
  • CMS – WordPress – Free
  • Plugin – Thrive Membership – $240 (per annum)
  • Email Service – Mailchimp – Free for the first 2000 subscribers.

So, in launching any business online my estimate is around $350 to $400.”

 High-end launches

Christine Wang of The Ski Girl shares their motivation for launching a ski niche blog, “I chose the niche of a ski blog as I am an avid skier who wanted to share my experiences on the snow as well as provide a resource for other skiers around the world.

To get started, Wang, shared the basic equipment they needed, “All I really needed to get started were a computer and Wi-Fi, so the overhead cost were really low.

The cost of building the website with domain and hosting were the main initial expenses. This is roughly $300-$500/year.


The cost of building the website with domain and hosting were the main initial expenses. This is roughly $300-$500/year.


And my SEO efforts as well as hiring a few other writers cost me around $1000/month to get started. That all being said, the business was fully launched and operational for right around $10,000.”

Key Takeaways

Cost of entry and set up can be quite low for blogging. However, as Burke aptly put it “The trade-off, I’ve found, is that while you don’t spend much on goods, you will spend a LOT of your time! You can’t fake that.

Finding topics to write about, reviewing products, writing articles — all of that takes a great deal of time.”

Online Freelancing

Average cost:

$0 – >$1000

Tools required:

  • Your time and skillset
  • Laptop
  • Software (depends on the service you intend to offer online)
  • Internet connection

Jack Mao, a freelance web developer weigh in with their insight on how much it cost to start offering web design services online.

“I chose this niche because everyone needs a website and the market remains large despite many competitors.”

Mao further shared essential tools of their trade: “Local city ordinances, State Statues, US Codes, IRS publications, web development tools (HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, jQuery)

It cost me $1,810.51 to launch. I did not utilize the advice of lawyers nor CPAs, rather relying on public information from their respective sources to save money. The cost includes a new computer that suits my needs, license fees, Gsuite and other assets.”

Jerome Williams of JWorks Studios shares what it was like starting an online business back in the days.

“Back when I made the decision to sell my graphic design services on the web, starting an online business was not as effortless as it is today. There was no Adobe CC back then, and you had to buy Photoshop outright. These days, it can take less than a couple hundred bucks to get your graphic design business going!”


“Back when I made the decision to sell my graphic design services on the web, starting an online business was not as effortless as it is today. There was no Adobe CC back then, and you had to buy Photoshop outright. These days, it can take less than a couple hundred bucks to get your graphic design business going!”


Williams compared the cost of launching a graphic design business online a couple of years with what it costs now

“Back then:

  • Photoshop CS5: $600+
  • Website: $100+/year
  • Business cards: $30+
  • Advertising: Google $100+
  • Social/Promotions: MySpace, DeviantArt, Craiglist – Free

Total: $800+

Now:

  • Photoshop: $20+/mo. | Alternatives: GIMP, Krita – Free
  • Website: $60-$100+ Paid | Alternatives: Wix, Google My Business, Weebly – Free
  • Website Builders: WordPress, Magento – Free
  • Alternatives to websites: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Behance – Free
  • Business cards: (who still uses business cards?)
  • Social Media/Promotions: Free

Total: $200+”

On the other end of the startup cost, Rebecca Lake of Boss Single Mama and a full-time freelance writer, writes “I spent exactly $0 launching my freelance writing business. All I needed to start my online business was a laptop and internet connection.”

Lake further explains, “I didn’t invest in training, accounting software, advertising – none of the things you’d normally spend with a brick and mortar business.”

“I’ve since grown that business to multiple six figures annually, still with very minimal overhead costs. My expenses monthly are less than $50 and that covers things like Microsoft Office and internet service.”

Rebecca explains why she got into freelance writing: “I chose freelance writing because I liked writing, was good at it, and wanted a way to make money online without spending a lot of money upfront.”

Key Takeaways

Freelancing online is an excellent and proven model to earn online from your expertise. As Rebecca shared, “Freelancing –whether it’s writing, graphic design or anything else – is one of the best online business options if you need something with low startup costs and low overhead costs overall.”

However, purchasing the work tools like laptop and software (Jack Mao and Jerome Williams) could add up pretty quick, so that’s something else to remember when considering this model.


Related: Business owner? Here are 9 Powerful Reasons to Hire a Freelance Writer Today


Selling on Gumroad

Average cost to launch:

$0 – $150

Tools required to get started:

  • Time and expertise to create product
  • Canva for design
  • Google Slides
  • Google Docs
  • Minimal fees ($10 month fees)
  • Mailchimp for email marketing

“I launched an eBook on stock investing on Gumroad which is still in preorder phase and cost $0 to produce outside of time spent writing and designing it,” writes Nicolas Straut of Money Armada

“A number of customers, mostly through my Twitter followership, have already pre-ordered the book which is due to launch August 5th.

Nicolas explains why they sell on Gumroad, “Creating content to sell on Gumroad is great because they charge minimal fees, do your store hosting for free, and provide all of the ecommerce tools you could need like coupon generation, sharing assistance, and they have an easy checkout process to encourage conversion of customers.”

Praveen Malik of PMbyPM also sells their ebook on Gumroad.”I created some digital ebooks to help PMP aspirants in their exam preparation. I am using some software tools for running my business”

“I use gumroad to sell my digital books and Mailchimp as my email marketing software to reach out and market my eBooks.”

Praveen shared how much he spent for the tools he used, “Gumroad costs me $10/month plus 5% commission on each sale. Mailchimp is about $150/month.”

Key Takeaways

As seen on Gumroad site, “Super Simple Commerce for Creators” The platform is designed for creators – writers, filmmakers, course creators or you make music, the site makes it easy to sell without the hassles of managing all the backend tasks of an ecom site.

Online Marketing Agency

Average cost:

$64 – > $1,000

Tools required to launch:

  • Skillset and Time
  • Shopify
  • Wix Website
  • Domain Name and Hosting
  • Social Media
  • Canva
  • Bulk email sender (SendInBlue)
  • Payment processor (Stripe, Payoneer)
  • Power Suite enterprise
  • Quick Books Accounting
  • Business registration
  • Register Business Name
  • WordPress Theme (Thrive Themes)
  • HootSuite
  • Google Docs

Less than $100 launches

Katie Mellor of KLM Media explains the steps they took to launch their 6-figure agency.

“The cost of starting my own digital marketing agency was fairly low compared to that of physical product businesses as there was no heavy investment costs at the beginning such as buying in stock etc.”

Katie revealed she was a self-taught marketer. According to Katie, she spent $0 to acquire all the skills and expertise needed to launch the agency.

“Overall cost of setting up [was] $25/m,” writes Katie. She further listed out the tools she initially used to launch her online marketing agency: “

  • A wix website – 17/month, I needed to showcase what I can offer and my previous work.
  • A GoDaddy Domain name – $15 a year, this was for my website
  • A custom email – $5 per month, I felt this was important as I didn’t want to reach out to businesses with a gmail or Hotmail for example as I felt this looked less professional.
  • Social media – $0 instagram and Facebook I felt were most important to showcase my skills
  • Canva.com – $0 this is a basic online graphic design web-based platform, they offer a great free plan, with lots of premade templates.
  • A bulk email sender – $29/month I used SendInBlue, this is a bulk email sending [software] that focuses on making sure your emails reach the inbox and didn’t go to spam.
  • Payment provider – $0 I used Stripe to invoice clients and capture payments and I used the free plan when I was first getting started.

Summarizing her points, Katie wrote, “Using that simple template, reaching out to businesses, utilizing free methods, I built my agency to turn over six figures within 6 months of starting up.”

“I started my company with an investment of $10 to buy my domain name, $10 for web hosting, $80 for a WordPress template – and nothing else, other than time,” writes Tabitha Jean Naylor of WEcanmag.com 


“I started my company with an investment of $10 to buy my domain name, $10 for web hosting, $80 for a WordPress template – and nothing else, other than time,”


“I wrote my web copy myself, did my web design myself and officially ‘launched’ in October 2010. I would work my full time day job and then do client work at night and on weekends.”

Between $100 – $1000 launches

Ashley Madden of Helianthus Advising LLC had a similar experience of bootstrapping their marketing agency when they launched. They started as freelancers before branching into agency work.

“When I started, I was only a freelancer working with free tools and limited freelancing experience.”

Ashley shared the tools and resources they used when starting, “When I first started, all I used was Google docs. I needed a Gmail account and a way to send blogs and social media content to clients. I also used a free HootSuite account to post to social media when needed.”

While it cost Ashley “absolutely nothing” to get started as a freelancer. Now, having an agency means they have to pay around $500 per month just for the programs they use.

More than $1000 launches

Ben McLaughlan of Easy Mode Media shares insight into how much it cost to launch their SEO business and the thinking behind their decision to splurge on premium tools.

“I use Power Suite enterprise (SEO software) $CAD 950 and QuickBooks accounting $5/month. I had to register my business ($250) and my business name ($50).

To create my website, I bought my domain name ($15), hosting ($220 for a 2-year plan), and a premium WordPress theme ($100).

All up, my initial expenses totaled $1690 Canadian Dollars (1260 USD). I could have saved money on a few items, such as using a free WordPress theme or a cheaper SEO tool, but I understand the value of spending a little more to help m site and business in the long run.”

Key Takeaways

When launching an online marketing agency, you could spend very little to get the barest minimum required tools or splurge on more robust tools.

However, regardless of the initial startup amount, to succeed, you must be willing to put in the hours.

E-commerce

Average cost:

~$200 – >$10,000

Tools required to launch:

  • Squarespace site
  • ShipStation
  • QuickBooks
  • Tidio
  • Google Ads
  • Oberlo (for inventory management)
  • Shopify
  • Shopify theme
  • Fiverr (for label, logo and other designs)
  • Wix (for web hosting)
  • Facebook/Instagram advertising
  • Google search/shopping advertising
  • Upwork (Outsouring work)
  • BigCommerce
  • GSuite
  • MailChimp
  • SEO
  • WordPress
  • Woocommerce
  • Moonclerk (for subscriptions)

$100 – $200 launches

John Short of Compound Growth Marketing shares their motivation for launching a Shopify selling stripping basket.

“A stripping basket is a must have product for people in saltwater fishing from land. The stripping basket allows you to strip line in from your fly rod without it getting caught up in your feet and without the line getting tangled.”

John further shared what it cost to launch, “I spend $29 a month on Shopify, and $160 on Google Ads before I got my first sale.”

“I also spent $100 for a logo, which actually came after my first sale. I used Oberlo for inventory and have yet to pay anything for that”

$500 – $1500 launches

Kathy Wilson of Tattoo Makeup concealer spent a little more to launch their business.

“I use Shopify, Gsuite, MailChimp, and get most of my traffic through SEO. It costs me a monthly fee of about $120. Launch costs were just buying the domain and importing the minimum amount of stock I needed which was only about $500.”


“I use Shopify, Gsuite, MailChimp, and get most of my traffic through SEO. It costs me a monthly fee of about $120. Launch costs were just buying the domain and importing the minimum amount of stock I needed which was only about $500.”


James Parratt of The Bondi Shoe Club tells the story of how they got into the womens shoes business.

“One day our Co-Founder, Fran, went looking for a super comfy and colourful pair of shoes that stood out from the sea of black and white sneakers- a casual slip on for the weekend that showed off her colourful side.

She couldn’t find a shoe that feels just right. What was she to do? Well, with youthful naiveté on her side she thought why not create her own.

A casual, beachy slip on shoe that’s so comfortable you want to wear them as slippers. She persuaded fiancé to get involved and from there, The Bondi Shoe Club was born.”

James shares the tool stack they use to run their operations, “The tools we use are mainly:

  • Wix for web hosting
  • Facebook/Instagram advertising
  • Google search/shopping advertising
  • Better Packaging mailing satchels
  • Couriers: Please couriers
  • Fiverr for graphic design
  • Upwork to outsource various tasks”

“Minus our initial stock, I think you could launch an online business for as little as $1000 – $1500 depending on whether you build your website yourself or not.”

More than $2000 launches

Costa Arvanitopoulos of Barkerst weighed in with their motivation for launching what they believed is Australia’s only coffee e-commerce website.

“We saw that customer behavior was changing to a more online focus and we thought to just [jump] onto this and bring coffee onto the internet.

As I spoke with customers I kept on hearing that they wanted easy access to coffee from all over Australia and the easiest and best way to do this was via the internet.”

Costa shares the basic tools they use on their site, “Our website is based on WordPress and we use the woocommerce plugin for our e-commerce. We use MailChimp, Google Ads, Facebook/Instagram retargeting and Moonclerk for our subscriptions.”

“Once we price everything together, from the time we started to put our idea on paper to when we launched our website the cost was only $2790.”

Daniel Brady of Heavenly Hammocks ventured into selling hammocks online when he saw that other shops selling the same products are doing well.

 “This one is 5 years old and successful now. It originally started with a $5000 import to test the market and a month of effort to build the website. I originally used BigCommerce, but later swapped to self-coded to add flexibility and save on costs.”

Jacob Rosenberg of Tajima Direct runs an online Direct-to-Consumer polarized lens replacement company.

“It cost us roughly $5000 to launch including legal costs production up-front costs, design costs, and niche set up costs for contracting out work. Because we were able to contract out most of our production costs and pau on consignment/job, we were able to keep startup costs relatively low.”


Related: Planning to Outsource Some Tasks? Here are 19 Extremely Important Questions to Ask a Freelancer Before Hiring Them


“We started a gift box delivery service in Melbourne during the pandemic. We love gifts, we get to shop for the products and get our own retail fix without actually buying for ourselves and we created a job for ourselves when there’s a chance they’ll be harder to come by for the foreseeable future,” writes Tracey Pedersen of Box of Goodies.

Tracey shares what the cost was to get started, “It has cost us around $7500 to get started. Our initial expenses were around $6000 for stock, business stationery, and name registration.”

Explaining further, Tracey wrote, “We’ve spent another $1500 since just ordering more stock since we might soon be in a lockdown.

The most surprising part for us was the over $1000 investment we had to make in packaging – gift boxes, branded tissue paper and colorful fills. We didn’t expect that part to be so high.”


The most surprising part for us was the over $1000 investment we had to make in packaging – gift boxes, branded tissue paper, and colorful fills. We didn’t expect that part to be so high.”


Tolu Obikunle of Sapiens Beverage Company spent $15,000 to get started including inventory and packaging.

“I was inspired to start Sapiens because I’m not a drinker but during my internships, I found myself pretending to drink just to fit in with my colleagues. A non-alcoholic option would have eliminated the social friction I experienced.”

Tolu shared a breakdown of the tools they used and what it cost:

  • Shopify basic – $29/month
  • Shopify Inventory management – $14/month
  • Shopify theme – $360 one-time fee
  • Label design – $150 from Fiverr
  • Sampling and product development and first inventory runt – $7000
  • Marketing plus agency fee one month – $7000

Key Takeaways

Launching an ecommerce store is a popular model to consider when starting a web-based business.

One can start an ecom business with less than $200 as some of our responders has demonstrated or spend upwards of five-figures to get started.

However, as Tracey Pedersen experienced, it’s not all straightforward. You will have to make allowance for unexpected changes in prices especially if you intend to stock up.

Selling Handcraft Arts

Average cost:

$5000

Tools to get started:

  • Computer – $200 – $2000 (Depending on what you choose)
  • Internet connection – ~$40/month (Depends on the plan)
  • A printer – ~$60 for a good wireless copier/scanner/printer
  • Printer supplies (paper/ink): $10/month on average
  • Registering a business name $0 (cost may vary by state)
  • Domain name – $12 annually (NameCheap or Godaddy)
  • Shopify basic plan – $29/month
  • Email Service provider
  • Gsuite for your domain name email – $6/month
  • Canva Pro for graphic design – $12.95/month
  • Facebook, Instagram Pinterest business accounts – Free
  • Card processor (Payoneer, Stripe, PayPal)
  • Supplies to create your products
  • Shipping supplies – Bubble mailers, Boxes, padding, etc.
  • Product packaging – Bags, tags, boxes, etc.

Lucy Kelly of Bel Monili launched a website in 2018 where they sell handcrafted, upcycled vintage costume jewelry designs.

“In my handmade jewelry business, I have been on Shopify selling since 2018. In 2019, I added Bloom by Bel Monili, which is the education side of my business where I teach other artists and crafters how to bring their offline craft show businesses online.”

“I chose to move into the education space for handmade sellers because I saw a gap in the marketplace: artists and crafters are typically reliant on art and craft fairs to sell our work.


“I chose to move into the education space for handmade sellers because I saw a gap in the marketplace: artists and crafters are typically reliant on art and craft fairs to sell our work.


There really weren’t any programs out there specifically geared towards teaching crafters how to get their own standalone websites created and marketed, and Bloom fills that gap.”

Lizzie Snow of Fortyone Hundred, weighs in with their business setup list and costs.

“My online business setup costs $9150.” Snow further shared a breakdown of the expenses:

  • Trademarketing – $250
  • Business registration – $250
  • Website – $500
  • Domains – $50
  • Custom email – $50
  • Insurance – $1200
  • Business cards – $50
  • Printer – $200
  • Packaging Supplies setup – $600
  • Stock setup – $5000
  • Desks/chair/furniture – $1000

Did all web, graphic design, and photography myself – would have been $5000+ if [I had] hired someone. [though] I already had laptop, iPhone and iPad.”

Key Takeaways

Taking your handcraft business online is a proven way to reach more people with your products. There’s also a growing demand for custom-made products.

Audio Production

Average cost:

>$500

Tools required to launch:

  • Domain & hosting
  • WordPress Theme
  • Plugins (for additional functionality)
  • Business registration
  • Page Builder (Elementor Pro.)
  • Woocommerce
  • Email autoresponder (MailChimp)

“I recently co-founded an online business that offers royalty-free music for podcasts, YouTube videos, TV, Film and other uses,” writes Jake Haws of Arches Audio.

Explaining the motivation for starting their business, Jake says “We choose this niche because podcasting is emerging as a mainstream media format and one of the biggest challenges podcasters have is finding affordable music they can legally use.”

“To launch, it cost us just under $500. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Domain/hosting fee (for 3 years) – $210.00
  • WordPress Theme – $69
  • Plugins – $145
  • Business registration – $70
  • MailChimp – $0 for the first 2000 contacts

Self-publishing

Average cost:

>$1000

Tools required to launch:

  • Fiverr or Upwork (to outsource tasks)
  • Canva (e-book and paperback covers)
  • Promotion/marketing the books
  • Amazon (Self-publish for free)
  • Leadpages
  • Aweber
  • Anchor
  • Zoom
  • Google Docs

“My first online business was self-publishing ghostwritten books on Amazon. I [started] this business model because it was something I could do while studying at the university,” writes John Pinedo of Freedom Bound Business.

“I eventually learned from a course creator about the A-Z steps on the publishing process, book promotion, startup costs and more.”

John further shared how much it cost them in total to launch:

“In total, the startup costs were $1000 and change (at the time shorter e-books [were] popular) to have three books written by native English writers, e-book & paperback covers, promotion strategies that ranked the books on the first page of Amazon search, and more.”

Christine Stow shares the tools they used to launch their podcasting and self-publishing business online.

“I launched online using Zoom, Facebook, my laptop, headphones and I upload for free to Anchor, writes Christine.

 “I use Leadpages, Aweber and Canva — I love Canva and have created many workbooks for women who are in corporate, who are underpaid, overlooked, and burnt out, who want to get out of where they are. To find their passion and purpose and to use it for good.”

Key Takeaways

Self-publishing can be relatively cheap way to start your online business. And as John Pinedo has shown, you can get your book written, published and promoted even if you don’t know anything about self-publishing in the beginning.

Social Media Marketing

Average cost:

$200

Tools required for launch

  • Hosting
  • Domain name
  • SquareSpace template

“I launched my social media marketing, branding and PR agency online to fuse my creative passions and have an arsenal of skills to bring to the tabe in addition to having the freedom to travel the world and work from home in my pants,” writes Sophie Bowman of Business Owner Society.

“I spent a few hours customizing a SquareSpace website template. As I was selling my services, there was no cost, other than purchasing the domain name and the web host. It cost about $200 for the first year.”


Related: 5 Top Social media Platforms for Small Businesses


House Flipping

Average cost:

$112

Tools required to launch

  • Carrot (Real estate investment tool used to generate leads)
  • Hosting
  • Domain name
  • Google ads
  • Google analytics
  • SEO

“We buy houses for cash and flip them together in the D.C. Metropolitan Area. The hardest part is actually finding the houses, and that’s where our website comes in – we get leads strictly through our site that we designed using Carrot,” writes Andrew Kolodgie of The House Guys.

Andrew shared how much the initial cost to launch was, “Initially, we purchased a website domain for a $12 one-time cost, and we paid for Carrot, which is $100 per month. So, just to launch it was $112.”

“After launching, we decided to spend $2000 per month (yeah, we ramped up quickly) on Google Ads while waiting for our SEO to kick in. We plan to lower the ads cost as we rise on Google’s search results through SEO.”

Affiliate Marketing

Average cost:

>$500 – $2000

Tools required to launch

  • Ahrefs
  • A New Laptop (If you don’t have one already)
  • Moz
  • Domain name
  • Webhosting (Siteground)
  • Site Builder (Elementor Pro)
  • Link Tracker (Linktrackr or Small SEO Tools)
  • Logo Design
  • WordPress Theme
  • Gsuite
  • Mailshake
  • Mailshake List Cleaning
  • Find That Lead
  • Affiliate Marketing Course (Authority Hacker)
  • Facebook ads

Mike Nicosia of Conquer Wild writes about how they dived into affiliate marketing at the beginning of the pandemic.

“Diving into this business at the beginning of the pandemic was something that made me nervous. I had no income at the time and I knew I would be spending more money than I was ready for.”

“After tons of research, I decided to go into the niche of camping and hiking. It seemed to be very profitable. The potential was clear, and there were lots of what I like to call sweet spot keywords. Not to mention that there were tons of other sites in this niche which have established a demand for this type of content.”

Mike also shared the tools they needed to launch their business. “To get my site up and running, I had to invest in an affiliate marketing course (Authority Hacker), a new laptop, a domain name and host (using SiteGround), a logo, an Ahrefs subscription for market research, Elementor pro for my site design, Gsuite and many other costs in between.”

Calculating the investments from the beginning to launch, Mike estimated it cost them about $2000 to get started.

“When I first got started in digital marketing, I invested in a course which was $97. From there I bought subscriptions to an email autoresponder and funnel building software along with a link tracker, so that was another $75 a month give or take,” writes Brittany Morales of OM Genius Book.

Brittany spent $265 in total to launch their affiliate marketing business. “I started spending money on Facebook ads, I was an affiliate for another company. I started off at about $5 a day so that’s $150 a month. Plus, the affiliate fee of $40 a month which makes it $265.”

Daniel Webb of Fit Feedback advises, “Affiliate marketing might be the cheapest way to start, but we shouldn’t be fooled by those who promise returns without any investment or input, such things don’t really exist. This business model also takes time to set off, so patience is quite important.”


“Affiliate marketing might be the cheapest way to start, but we shouldn’t be fooled by those who promise returns without any investment or input, such things don’t really exist. This business model also takes time to set off, so patience is quite important.”


Explaining how they got into affiliate marketing, Daniel says, “We just recently launched a new affiliate marketing website, before we sold physical products but the whole Covid pandemic made shipping quite difficult.”

“We chose to move to affiliate marketing because we are not really selling, we provide insight into products that we find useful – affiliate marketing doesn’t rely on advertising, we jump into already existing search volumes, we take keywords with low competition and we advise people as best as we can base on those searches.”

Daniel further shared the tools they used for the launch:

  • Ahrefs and Moz $99 a month for research
  • Domain and web hosting $3.95 a month
  • Site Builder $49 one-time payment
  • Logo Design $0
  • WordPress Theme – Free
  • Content creation (wrote the first batch myself then outsourced to Seshat and Wordagents)
  • Gsuite $6 a month
  • Mailshake $59
  • Mailshake List Cleaning (Up to 5000 contacts) $10
  • FindThatLead (up to 5000 contacts) $49

Total spend $602.4

Key Takeaway

Affiliate marketing is proven online business model one can start even if they don’t have products of their own.

Simply, research products and services that will help your ideal customers solve their problems or make life easier and recommend same to them.

However, as most of our responders alluded to, affiliate marketing like every business, requires real work and investment to make it work.

Video Editing

Average cost:

>$1000

Tools required to launch

  • Webhosting
  • Domain name
  • Freelancing marketplace (Fiverr, Upwork)
  • Facebook advertising
  • Video editing software (OpenShot)

Ryan Snaadt of Solo Video Pro weighs in with how much it cost to launch their 100% online education platform that helps videographers grow a freelance business.

“My course business was fairly easy to start up. With software, advertising, and other costs – I was off of the ground for under $1,000 with each sale at $200.”

Online Course Creator

Average cost:

>$500

Tools required to launch

  • LearnsWorld – a platform designed specifically for online courses and membership sites.
  • Domain name
  • Advertising (Facebook and Google Ads)
  • Video shooting and editing tools
  • Outsource (Fiverr and Upwork)

Gabor Fogarasi of LinkedIn Tribe recently created and launched a course online. They weighed in with the startup costs and tools required to get started.

“I chose to create a course as I have 14 years of experience in getting my dream jobs with the power of LinkedIn. During this time, I always learned about new features, how the LinkedIn algorithm works, how to get noticed by headhunters.”

To get started, “First, I needed to record the course. For that, either you have video skills or you pay someone else.”

Diving deeper into the tools they used, Gabor writes, “As for the website, I am using LearnWorlds, which is a system specifically for online courses and membership sites. They take care of payment processing, hosting, a decent course layout and make web design as easy as possible. This costs US $99 per month. The domain name was $2-$3.”

Gabor leveraged paid ads to drive customers to their course. “It’s up to you how much you spend on social media, Google Adwords. I spend about US $200, and looking to increase it.”

In all, “I got it fairly cheap to start, a couple of hundred dollars. And months of work, dedication, video shooting, researching, developing materials. Honestly, I did not think it will be that complicated in the beginning,” writes Gabor.

“But it was totally worth it, knowing I can make an impact on people’s lives help them succeed in their careers.”

Price Comparison Site

Average cost:

$1000

Tools required to launch

  • Webhosting
  • Ahrefs
  • Fiverr (outsourcing content)
  • Domain name

Ian Wright of MedicalPrices.co.uk weighs in on what it cost to start a medical price comparison site.

“I started [the site] after an older relative complained to that it was really tough to get accurate pricing information around stairlifts. It’s an information-only website, so startup costs were really low.”


“I started [the site] after an older relative complained to that it was really tough to get accurate pricing information around stairlifts. It’s an information-only website, so startup costs were really low.”


“The only tools I use are web hosting from Kinsta: $300 US for the whole year, Ahrefs at $99/month and a writer I pay around $500 to write a couple of articles. Also paid around $10 for the domain name. So all in, it cost around $1000 to launch.”

Forex Trading

Average cost:

>$1000

Tools required to launch

  • Trading knowledge
  • A good computer (at least Corei3)
  • Stable internet
  • Online broker account
  • Investment capital

James Jason a freelance trader shares the startup cost to trading forex.

“My freelance job is forex (currency) trading. This is where you make money by speculating on the movement of the value (price) of currencies, metals, farm produce and other commodities such as oil.”

James shares a breakdown of the cost:

  • Forex trading training – $500
  • Computer $200
  • Internet (Router $50), first month subscription $50
  • Broker account is free
  • I saved $5000 as my investment capital

The total came to around $50,800 ($6000) plus miscellaneous expenditures.

Building Online Marketplace

Average cost

>$10000

Tools required to launch

  • Tech knowledge to code site or hire a developer
  • Hosting
  • LLC registration
  • Trademark licensing
  • Domain name
  • Server costs
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing

“I am the founder of ReSet, which is an online marketplace for reselling and renting items for the entertainment and artistic community,” writes Anna Catton of Reset.

“This is a place where you can buy, sell, rent or rehome used gear and materials that would be useful for theater, TV, cosplay, artists, re-enactors, etc.”

To develop the platform, “we have initially invested $25,000 for the developing of the site (WordPress), including some custom coding, infrastrure, LLC registration, trademark licensing , domain name (Go Daddy), server costs, bi-monthly social media marketing boosts (Facebook/Instagram), marketing (MailChimp email and Mailers) and launching our site at an industry trade show (USITT) which included travel, booth rental, signage, swag, shirts, postcards, and business cards (VistaPrint and Custom Ink)”

Recipe Site

Average cost:

$150 – >$1000

Tools required to launch

  • WordPress
  • SiteGround Hosting
  • Firewall
  • Recipe Plugins
  • WordPress theme
  • Camera

Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon shares the startup cost to launch their recipe site.

“Launching a recipe website can cost as little as $150 if you can utilize your phone as a camera to start. The most expensive cost right off the bat is the time commitment when compared to the minimum capital and operational cost.”

how much does it cost to start online business?

Jessica further shared their motivation for diving into the niche and the tools they use. “Food and recipes are sought year-round and generally do well even in recessions. We use WordPress, SiteGround (for hosting), Firewall, Recipe plugins, WordPress theme, and camera.”

The most expensive cost right off the bat is the time commitment when compared to the minimum capital and operational cost.

Online Coaching

Average cost:

$60 – >$3,000

Tools required to launch

  • Email management software (Convertkit
  • ClickFunnels for sales funnel
  • HootSuite
  • Host courses Online (Teachable, Thinkific)
  • Buzzsprout (host Podcast)
  • Hosting (BlueHost, HostGator, SiteGround)
  • Gmail and GSuite
  • Canva
  • Lightroom App
  • iPhone
  • Stripe
  • Google Analytics
  • Content Management system (WordPress, Squarespace)
  • Notion
  • Garageband
  • MeetEdgar

“I bootstrapped my online coaching business in April 2020 with the mission to help people to transition from stuck & overworked in a 9-5 job to becoming a thriving entrepreneur,” writes Niels Janszen.

To launch their coaching business, Niels used the following tools, “I use the following tools to run my business: WordPress with shared hosting (€20/yr), Zoom (€13/m), G-Suite (€6/m), Thinkific (free), Notion (free), Convertkit (free), Canva (free), Garageband (free), Buzzsprout (free for now), MeetEdgar (free trial).

Gina Kawalek of Gina Kawalek weighed in with their mission for launching their online coaching. “My mission is to inspire people to clear physical and mental clutter so they can lower their stress, reduce their environmental footprint, create space for what they truly care about, and live their best life.”

Gina further listed the tools they use to run their online business, “Google and Google Docs, Squarespace, Google analytics Bluehost and Instagram. [I use] stripe, Facebook, LinkedIn, Canva app, Lightroom App, iPhone and computer (pre-owned).”

In total it cost Gina $3,129.72 to launch including “Business coach Darrah Brustein $2,500, website hosting $35.32, Site builder $194.40, cell phone and Internet connection, $400.”

For Case Lane of Ready Entrepreneur, their mission is to help educated professionals with business ideas in their heads or the desire to become an online entrepreneur, who has no idea how to assess the online business landscape and get started.

“I use convertkit for e-mail list building, Clickfunnels for creating sales funnels, HootSuite for managing social media posts, Buzzsprout to host my podcast and Bluehost and HostGator to host my websites.”

Diving into the startup cost, Case wrote, “Since I decided to start with my own website, the launch cost was the cost of the website hosting, which can be as little as $60/year with Bluehost.”

Key Takeaway

As Case explained, “It’s important to understand the cost of getting started depends not only on the business idea, but also on how you plan to approach your potential customers.”

Niels echos this same sentiment, “No need to build a fancy website and use expensive tools when you’re starting out. Start with picking your niche, create your offer and start reaching out to your LinkedIn network”

PR Agency

Average cost:

>$1000

Tools required to launch

  • PR database (Cision and Source Bottle)
  • Mailbutler
  • Canva
  • Freshbooks
  • Dropbox
  • G-Suite
  • Website hosting
  • Domain name
  • Laptop
  • Business registration

Erin Carey of Roam Generation, shares what motivated them to launch a branding and PR agency.

“I chose this niche and my business in general because I spent two years living on a boat with my family and sailing the world. I started my business from scratch after I saw a gap in the market.”

“I was a freelance writer at the time and noticed that some of the popular sailing YouTubers spent so much time filming and editing their videos, that they didn’t have any time left to promote their brands.

I approached one of the channels and have since helped them grow their subscribers by 250K.”

Erin shared the tools they use, “The tools I use include a PR database called Cision, Mailbutler, Canva, Freshbooks, Dropbox, Later, Source Bottle and GSuite.”

“To launch my business it cost me $7500, which included a website and branding, photos, access to my database, website hosting and domain name, registering my business and buying my Apple MacBook Pro. I also enrolled in a course which cost an additional $4000.”

Wrap up, how much does it cost to start online business?

The internet, no doubt, has made it pretty easy for anyone to start a business. As our responders have shown, you can launch your online business no matter your budget.

Whether you have Zero dollar in budget or tens of thousands of dollars, there’s an online business model you can go into.

However, just like with any business, you will need to invest a substantial amount of time and efforts to grow the business.

We hope this post provides you with an idea of how much it would likely cost to launch a business in any of the niches above.

Author

Sam Steve is a strategic content marketer and founder of Emira Digital Publishing. He helps clients grow their online presence by writing primarily about digital marketing, SME growth hacking strategies, and productivity. Connect with Sam on social media:

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