Are you looking for the best small business to start that is low-risk and low-cost? And while you start up, we know you don't want your new business to get in the way of your day job, or of finding a new job.
In that situation, the perfect small business for you is making and running websites - and no, you don't need any coding skills; you can do it all point and click, and you won't need to do blogging if you don't want to (more on that later in this article).
How your websites will earn money
Your site will earn income from one or more of the following, depending on what suits your site and what you like:
- Affiliate marketing. These are personalized links on your site that go to an established company's store and earn you money if the customer clicks through and buys something.
- Advertisements, either private sponsored ads that people buy direct from you, or automatically using an ad network.
- Your own product or service (e.g. a physical item, or an online course).
- Selling the domain name, or the domain name and the website after you've built it up.
As you can see, there are multiple options for making money.
The low running cost is wonderful!
One of the reasons I recommend websites as the best small business to start is the low overhead cost. The only things you absolutely have to buy are:
- A domain name. See this illustrated tutorial for how to buy a domain name, it'll typically cost under $10 per year.
- Web hosting. We recommend several cheap high-performance hosting plans that start at under $5 a month.
So your up-front investment cost is way lower than opening a mall booth, for example, where you'd have to pay rental cost for your booth space, deal with product losses, and more. With websites, your running cost is low and is controllable. Literally all you need is shown above with approximate pricing. For some people, this may be less than the amount you spend having coffee out! So it's within a reasonable reach for most, which is wonderful compared to most other small businesses.
No required hours; work flexibly from home
Another reason websites are awesome is your ability to work flexibly from home. Of course, the more hours you can put into it, the sooner it'll start earning money, but you have the option to start slower if you need to. For example, if you've started a new job or have a busy patch for other reasons, you don't literally have to work on your website.
Your website will still be there the next week even if you don't have time to do anything on it this week.
For those who have a day job or other responsibilities, running websites is great because you can do it on the evenings and weekends without needing to go anywhere.
Please know it can take some time for your websites to earn money
Running a website is not a get-rich-quick situation. It takes time for your website to get traffic, and for that traffic to click on your ads or do whatever activity it is that makes you money.
If you need money right now, then your best bet is to get a gig that pays immediately, like food delivery driver. But over the long term, a website if done properly has no literal upper limit on earnings. Whereas a food delivery driver has an upper limit of earnings because it depends on how much time you have available; you can only do a certain number of deliveries in a certain timeframe.
You don't stand to lose much if anything with running websites though, so it's something to seriously consider if you're looking to start a small business.
How to get started running a website
Luckily, we have a free illustrated tutorial for the beginner who wants to get started making and running a website. The tutorial allows you to choose several different options for a site; we understand that not everyone wants to start a blog. You can choose to make any of the following, all of it is point-and-click and is explained in the tutorial:
- a forum
- a social network (yes, really - find out more here!)
- an e-commerce store where you can sell your own product, or simply buy items wholesale that you sell individually to consumers on your site. You could also sell services, such as an online course.
- a question-and-answer site where people can ask for advice, give advice, and upvote or downvote answers.
- a blog.
As you can see, there are many different options available, so you get to pick something that appeals to you.
If you are seeking something that is low cost and has excellent flexibility, then making and running websites is the best small business to start. Above I've shown what you need to know and pointed you toward our free illustrated tutorial for how you can get started.
All our tutorials and advice take you through, step by step, for everything you need to know.
If you liked this one, take a look at our top tutorial for how you can create your own website: a forum, blog, e-commerce store, or even a social network (yes, really!) We take you through everything step-by-step.