This is going to be a relatively short, resources page. Why?
Because I think there are really only a handful of resources that you need to start earning money online. Keep in mind that if you're using too many tools, it will only eat into your profits...especially early on. When it comes to starting an online business, I'm a big believer in "IF YOU DON'T NEED IT, DON'T BUY IT!"
This is something I wish I had done before I ran out and started buying things. I know it's easy to want to dive in as quickly as possible, but I do recommend starting with books because it's a low-cost way to figure out whether online business is something you'd even be interested in. You can also pick up some amazing concepts before you ever create a single piece of content.
It doesn't really matter which order you read this in, but from left to right is how I read them. Each one of them will in some way motivate you, or help you see what making a successful business really is.
So, What Do You Need To Start Making Money Online?
Please keep in mind that I'm no internet business guru. I'm not even close. I just a small-time blogger (for now) who has managed to consistently earn $300-$500/month (outside of the online marketing space). Yes, that's peanuts to some people. But it's a start.
After a series of failures, buying too many tools, and going through several online courses, I've found that I only need a handful of things to actually start earning income:
There are seven things on this list, but we can whittle this down to five. The first three things (domain, hosting, and blogging platform) are the essentials you need to get your website up and running. This website, that you own, will house the "content that connects with your target audience."
As you build a stream of steady, targeted traffic over time. Visitors will come to know, like, and trust you. They sign up to your email list and you're then able to give them even more valuable content, promote products & services that you are certain will help them reach their goals.
Essential Resources (Website Setup)
Namecheap is the service that I've had the best experience with. I've been using them for years with no problems.
Whether you're researching
or you have one in mind already,
this is a great option to go with.
Cost - Varies, but generally
$10.98 for the year
You have a domain name, but you'll also need servers for this domain name to point to in order to get your site up & running...
Siteground is the hosting service that I'm currently using. My site stays live and stays fast for a reasonable price.
Cost - Varies, depending on plan
WordPress is a free
blogging platform that you can integrate into your website using Siteground.
WP is the gold-standard blogging platform.
It may be free, but WordPress is one of the most important resources on this list.
Essential Resources (Additional)
You'll need a way to stay in touch with visitors who come to your site. To do this, I recommend Convertkit as an email service provider.
It's a simple way to start and Convertkit will grow with you.
I don't make this claim lightly, but
Converkit is honestly "best in class."
Cost - Varies depending on list size
Starts at $29/month
Thrive Themes (Optional)
Thrive is OPTIONAL because using the first four resources, you should be able to put together a working site that captures visitors.
everything you need to earn online income using the first three resources in this list.
However, this is a great all-in-one tool to increase conversions when the time comes.
Online Course (Optional)
This too, is OPTIONAL because
A) online courses can be expensive, and B) not all of them are worth the money.
However, if you choose
a reputable course
(great teacher + supportive community)
like Blog Mastermind,
Not only will you learn online business faster, but you'll reach your
goals much faster.
What You Can Expect To Spend
One of the most attractive things about starting an online business is that it costs very little to start. For a no-frills, just learning, super lean approach to getting started, I'd say that you should be prepared to spend between $40 and $220 per month to start your site.
That's it. Really.
That would cover your domain name, which would be approximate $11-$12 through Namecheap. Considering that the yearly cost, that's like a $1/month which is dirt cheap for a domain name (yes it does get slightly more expensive every year), but it continues to be reasonable.
RUNNING TOTAL: $1/month
Let's say it would take about $6.00 per month for a mid-range 'Grow Big' hosting plan with Siteground, to give yourself some grow room.
RUNNING TOTAL -$7.00/month
Then $29.00 per month for Convertkit.
RUNNING TOTAL - $36.00/month
If you're just starting off, and working with a limited budget, I'd say stop here. You don't have to break the bank to kick butt.
From here, your goal is to get clear on who you're serving, what you plan to sell to be profitable, and start creating "nobody can do it better," amazing content.
You may also want to brainstorm what bloggers, influencers you'd like to create content for to increase your reach.
If you have more to spend, I'd say spend it on a Theme that makes your site look good. When people come to a site that has great content, they'll LIKE YOUR CONTENT. But when they come to a professional looking site with good content, THEY'LL TRUST YOUR CONTENT!
So on top of your $36.00 if you spend $30/month ($90 per quarter) on a Thrive Themes to get a clean theme (plus some bonus tools when you need them)
RUNNING TOTAL $66.00/month
If you have even more leftover, I'd say to spend your remaining money on a great course with a solid community. Why? You'll improve faster than you can imagine if you follow the game plan of someone who has already done it. That's the primary reason I started making money in the first place. I learned using a course. The good ones can cost between $100-$200/month for 12 months.
The course I recommend is $300/month for six months. If you break that down into one year, that's $150/month. But once you're done paying for the six months, you're a lifetime member!
RUNNING TOTAL $216.00/month
If you go with this high-range option, I BEG YOU to please research your courses (and their teachers) carefully and choose ONE COURSE. Try to get a feel for the community that you think would have a positive vibe (hint, the personality of the course leader is generally an indicator of what's going to rub off on the community).
Online Courses I Confidently Recommend
There's a reason this course is the first on my list. This was the very course the got me started on my blogging journey back in 2010.
As most people are, I was hesitant about signing up. I read Yaro's free ebook, Blog Profits Blueprint and I was exposed to the idea that you could potentially earn $10,000 per month from a blog. I jumped in headfirst...
Although the finishsomething.com blog is still relatively new, and I'm not at that $10,000 mark. I used everything that's taught in Blog Mastermind to build my blog about living in Japan from zero to over 2000 visitors a day and some consistent income.
I've had the opportunity to talk to with creator Yaro Starak directly on a couple of occasions!
Yaro is a kind, level-headed, patient teacher who breaks things down very practically. You don't have to worry about getting any miscellaneous stuff that you don't need. Yaro gets down to business and helps you to do the same.
If you're just getting started. Yaro is my #1 recommendation.
Create Awesome Online Courses
This is a course I'm going back through right now because it is arguably one of the best courses on how to create awesome online courses of your own that will provide value to your audience and (if done right) earn a profit as a result
David Siteman Garland (DSG) is the creator of this course. What I like about this course is that DSG is actually a really funny and engaging teacher. He does offer a few things that I would probably skip to save money (especially when you have effective teaching platforms like Teachable). But his course is a great foundation for creating your own product when it's time.
If you're considering his course, I would say check out his video series before you do. This way, you can get a sense of whether his teaching style would suit you.