How Much Does it Cost to Start an Online Business?

Last Update: January 13, 2020

When I first started in online business, I had no clue how much it costed. Some people say you can start for free. Some people say they spent $100 and other people will say they started with $10,000.

My question was always, "How much should I spend to start my business?"

Added to the confusion, there's so many tools. There are:

  • So many courses!
  • Funnel software
  • Ads
  • Web design software
  • Premium themes
  • Countdown timers and conversion tools
  • Email marketing software
  • Live chat/chatbots
  • and so much more...

The Fact is...You can Spend Alot or A Little...It's Your Choice

You could spend loads on everything there is out there! It's no wonder the majority people I've met here have said at one point or another, they get caught up in shiny object syndome or buy something and end with buyer's remorse.

For all these reasons and more, I decided to write this post.

I Hate Seeing People Give up Because of Unrealistic Expectations

It pains my heart to see people starting with excitement then 2 or 3 months later, they drop out because "they're not making money" which often times means, they didn't have enough room in their budget to sustain the expenses.

I'd like to be very upfront about what the expenses are and how long they should be able to hold out, so let's chat about it here a little bit.

In my previous post, I showed that in the 1-2 year range, most hard-working bloggers who are willing to share their earnings are reporting an income somewhere between $100 - $1500 range and in the 2+ year range is when they're consistenly earning upwards of $1500 (and some even up to $22,000).

Anomalies are possible, but it's best to ride on the conservative side with expectations.

With that in mind, it's important to keep the expenses at a minimum (especially if you're in a financial constraint). The main things you can control to get your income moving in the right direction is:

Your marketing strategy and product/services you promote which will control >>> Your traffic which will control >>> Your income.

Added to that, to get more profit, you have to either increase your sales or decrease your expenses. If you're business income is coming from a fragile personal finance situation, then you'll need to be very disciplined about what you spend on, and take very few risks.

I learned this the hard way. Hahaha.

As your profit grows, then you can experiment more, take more risks, and upgrade from lower cost products/services to their more luxury counterparts.

To manage your expenses in your personal budget and business budget, I recommend you starting with a software like Dave Ramsey's Everydollar app or YNAB (stands for You Need a Budget). You can download them on your phone, then decide how to spend the money you have for your business (or personal life) to achieve your priorities. Both software options are great and you can see that I've used both in my 22 Month Case Study.

Since this is a topic that I believe is a huge pain point for us at Wealthy Affiliate, I've published a training on what a startup business budget looks like. In this training, you can see:

  • Where Wealthy Affiliate fits in terms of business expenses
  • What expenses are mandatory and what's luxury
  • How much you can expect to spend in online business
  • What to do if you're in a financial hardship (or you're working to grow a larger budget for business)
  • What are the differences in getting a job vs. starting an online business
  • and so much more...

I'm so passionate about you having realistic expectations in business, being able to use your money to meet your goals, and sticking it out in business long enough to achieve the goals you came here for.

Hopefully, you enjoy this training I've made!

To check out the Training "What Does a Startup Online Business Budget Look Like?", check it out ======>>>> Click here <<<<<======

Also, like and leave your comments below (here or there). I'd like to know:

  • How do/did you manage your startup budget?
  • What do you recommend for people starting their businesses to ensure they're able to stick with it until they generate revenue and profit?
  • In the cases you've seen, how long did it take them to get revenue?
  • What are the most mandatory expenses for starting an online business?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Kickbacked Premium
Hi Tiffany

Nice post! Yours are always very interesting.

One of the things I learned about starting a business was through a night-time course which was offered through one of the colleges in my area.

The course was credited and it also did not cost very much at the time. It included books, workbooks, and other study materials.

I would recommend anyone who is planning on starting a business, to check and see what might be available through their local colleges or vocational schools.

That's what I went through, I still have the books to look at, even though they may be somewhat dated now.

TDenise Premium
I've done the same thing. I've taken University courses on Entrepreneurship and at my local community college, they also have events like "Quickbooks 101" and things for people who aren't enrolled in their formal courses. You're right, those can be very helpful!
Kickbacked Premium
I was fortunate to have an instructor who cared, he really wanted people to succeed.

He even brought in bankers, people who were assoicated with the SBA to ask questions about financing, and also business people he was friends with.

Was an excellent course.
TDenise Premium
That’s awesome!
Kickbacked Premium
Yes, it was a great experience😊
TDenise Premium
I bet!
Kickbacked Premium
Just one other quick comment in case any one is following, if looking at one of these courses it would be good to ask what or whom the teacher would be bringing for the curriculum before signing up,
JeffreyBrown Premium
I'm a minimum spender right now, but then I'm not trying to make a sole living from the internet just yet! When I do decide to, then i'll adjust the budget accordingly. Thanks for the great information though, Tiffany! It will certainly be useful for many within the community here!👍👍😎
TDenise Premium
It’s all about priorities and end goals. The budget should reflect that and it sounds like you get that.
JeffreyBrown Premium
Yes, Tiffany--having run my own physical business for almost thirty years, I do. The internet affiliate marketing business I am still very new to, but I'll learn--sometimes it just takes a while for an old dog to learn new tricks!🐶
Aussiemuso Premium
I work on minimum outgoings. So that means only the WA yearly membership. I bought the Generatepress theme. And paid for two domain names. That's it for now and the next 2 years.

I'm using good free plugins until I'm seeing reasonable ranking and traffic. I came in accepting that it takes time and content to build a business online.

Lily 😁🎵
TDenise Premium
It’s great you came in with realistic expectations. You must be super disciplined? Or how did you manage to be content? Most people are buying things in hopes to speed the process. How do you silence that inner chatter that convinces you to buy stuff? Hahaha.
HenryPing Premium
Thank you for your very valuable insights and message. 💪💯✌️👌👍👏😁👆It is really resonate with our struggle
TDenise Premium
You're welcome! I'm so glad it resonates. You can make this business work, but depending on what you start with, it may require more discipline. Best wishes.
FluffyDuck Premium
Great post Tiffany. Always practical, insightful advice. I believe an awareness of basic startup costs is a must for any business, online or otherwise. A budget is good business practice.

Showing a typical start-up budget for new WA members may be useful but it can be a double-edged sword. Whilst we all face similar costs at the start (Premium membership, domain name purchase, maybe professional theme, etc), our different niches will demand differing levels of complexity and therefore cost. I can imagine some members asking why their costs are so different to any examples shown.

I know my final remark will probably get me into trouble but I speak from professional experience. My advice to anyone who is new to internet marketing/online business (applies to bricks-and-mortar businesses too) and expects to be earning anything other than pocket money in the first 6 - 12 months, stop now and go take up a hobby instead. The old adage "If it were that easy, we would all be doing it" is as true of the Internet as it ever was of any other form of business.

I rest my case, your Honour.

(Now I'm going to sneak off and check out Miss T's training!)
TDenise Premium
You're funny! I enjoy doing the work and meeting new people online. I think you have to enjoy the basic fundamentals. If you're just trying to do the work because you think you can get rich quick, then they're bound to wash out of this business.