The Only 6 Steps You Need to Start an Online Business Right Now

Do you want to make more money? Are you ready to finally get into the game and start your own online business? 

A buddy actually just texted me as I was typing this that he wanted to register his business. I told him to focus on making a few bucks first. No more excuses will be tolerated.

Today you’re going to start your own business, share your ideas with the world, and make some money on the side.

Start a business with no money

Don’t even think about using any of the following common excuses:

  • “I can’t think of any good ideas.”
  • “I don’t have the money to start a business.”
  • “I didn’t go to a prestigious college.”
  • “I need to register my business first.”

If you’re not serious then I don’t want you here. Close this window and find another personal finance blog to check out.

I started this blog in November of 2008 because I was bored and sick of feeling sorry for myself. I launched it with no experience and no clue as to what was going to happen next. Now over the last seven years, I’ve built this into an outlet where I can share my ideas, vent, and even make some money in the process.

I’ve helped thousands of readers over the years. I’ve been featured in the NY Times, been flown in to speak across North America, and have best a best seller on Amazon since.

It’s your turn.

[HUGE UPDATE: I had to repost this article because starting a blog has actually gotten easier.]

Here are the 6 easy steps to start your own online business right now even if you’re broke and confused…

1. Stop stressing about the money.

Your first step to starting a business is to accept that you don’t need lots of money to get started. You don’t need money to make money. That saying is as outdated as your uncle’s dance moves.

You’re not getting into real estate and you’re not buying a sports franchise. You’re starting a simple online business. This is a one woman operation.

You need to just stop making excuses and get the ball rolling. It’s not that hard. I’m here to help you and make this process as easy as possible. Once you get the ball rolling and build some momentum, it’s going to be impossible to stop you.

Stop stressing about the money because all you need is a few hours a week and about the price of a cup of coffee per month for hosting to get started online.

2. Pick a topic already.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to keep it spinning.

Here’s a newsflash: you will NOT create the next Facebook.

I’m sorry. You can easily create a steady part-time income source and even a full-time source if you stop watching lame reality shows and playing video games like a loser.

How do you pick a topic?

The best strategy for picking a topic that I’ve heard of is the 7 passions, 7 fears, and 7 problems model.

You write down 7 things that you’re passionate about, 7 things that you’re afraid of, and 7 problems that you have.

Then you narrow it down from there. With 21 ideas you’re bound to find something that you can move forward with. If not then you need to get out more and live a little.

You also have to niche it down as much as possible. Studenomics is personal finance for folks who don’t want to miss a party in their 20s. So clearly, the site isn’t for everyone and I’m cool with that. I want you to get as specific as possible. The world doesn’t need another general blog.

3. Buy your domain and go live.

Everyday that you ponder about your idea is another day you’ve missed out on establishing yourself online. You need to stop chasing perfection and just get started. There’s no such thing as perfect. It’s all about learning on the job.

I want you to go to Bluehost and sign up for your domain hosting RIGHT NOW. You can grab a few domain names for a few extra bucks.

You can also grab hosting for $3.95/month (which comes with a free domain).

[Full disclosure: Bluehost may not be the best hosting company, but I generally have no issues with them. Whenever something goes wrong, they’re pretty quick to fix it. I included an affiliate link because I support them fully.]

I do understand that starting a blog, Twitter or Facebook page won’t solve your problems if you’re completely lazy. The thing is that this little investment will force you to take your new business seriously. You never know what can happen when you share your ideas with the world.

What are my options?

You can sign up with Bluehost or check out Hostgator to get your domain & hosting. I personally use both. This site is hosted on Bluehost. My other sites are on Hostgator.

4. Install WordPress software and download your free theme.

I’ve included some screen shots below (click on them for full image) so you know exactly what to look for. Installing WordPress and your free theme should take you exactly less than 20 minutes.

In a funny story, when I first launched Studenomics, I thought that I had the coolest theme ever. I posted it in a few forums and they quickly pointed out that my theme was pathetic.

WordPress is simply the software that you use to run a blog.

It allows you to publish articles and control your blog without any technical expertise.

Your theme is just the appearance of your blog.

Once you start making money, you can pay for a better design. You can also use Fiverr to get a decent logo for $5.

Before you install WordPress or your theme you do this.

Before you install WordPress on your new site you need to grab your new domain name and assign it. You’ll likely get the domain name during the sign up process. Once you’re all signed up you need to add your domain to your control panel for your host.

In your control panel you click on DOMAIN MANAGER. Then you just click on ADD DOMAIN. Now you can move on to the next step. Under the Domain Management section of your control panel you can also make other changes (register new domains, redirect, and so on).

Start a business

Installing WordPress for your new site.

To install WordPress on Bluehost you go to your control panel and you click on Install WordPress.

Start a blog with no money

start a blog no money

Start a business

Now when you want to log in to write posts and go on your blog all you have to do is type in and put in your information.

Time to get the theme on.

Now you need to install your free theme. Your theme is the appearance of your blog. The good news is that you do not need any graphics skills at all to get a theme up.

Here’s the process for getting your theme on your new site.

  1. Find a theme you like.
  2. Download the zip file.
  3. Upload it.
  4. Press activate.

Start a business no money

I recommend the Arras theme for beginners. You can also pick one of the million free themes on WordPress. There’s literally a theme for every kind of genre and specific taste. Once you get a little more into it and people are actually reading your site (real people, not your parents) you can upgrade to Thesis, hire a designer, and do all of that fancy stuff.

5. Create a few key pages and posts.

You need to create a few basic pages and posts before you can attempt to bring anyone over to your blog.

What are a few important pages that you need to setup?

  • A contact page. Keep it simple. You can download a contact page plugin or you can just list your email.
  • “About me” section. Tell everyone who the hell you are and how you can help THEM.

You can eventually worry about the privacy policy and a resources page. For now you just need those two pages. You want people to be able to contact you and you them to know what you’re all about.

What are few posts that you should get going?

  • A pillar piece. This post that you’re reading is a pillar piece. This is a huge article that others want to link to and people want to spread the word about.
  • Basic intro posts. It’s important that you introduce the basics and get into the habit of posting updates.

Once you have these pages and posts setup you can then start to promote your blog by commenting on other sites, offering to guest post, or whatever advertising strategy you plan on using.

Now you can chill out for a bit because you’ve launched something to the world.

6. Test your business ideas out to see if you have a chance.

After a few weeks or so you’ll likely be in the habit of posting regularly and interacting in your field.

You now have the tools, hosting, and information to start a new online business in a matter of minutes. Now you need to apply this strategy:

If you’re going to fail, you better fail fast.

Test out your idea, see if it has any chance of making you money, see if anybody cares about the topic, and determine realistically if you have a chance of making anything happen.

If you realize that your first idea sucks, move on to the next one. It’s just that easy. Starting is the toughest part. Executing trumps all theory. The world has enough great ideas. The world needs more closers.

“Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one. They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers. They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.” – Seth Godin

My three most helpful posts for testing your business ideas are:

How can your small biz be a guaranteed home run?
How you can start making money right now.
How-to test your new idea to see if it can make any money.

Bonus: My offer to you.

If you absolutely don’t feel like going through this process at all, then you can send me an email to md @ and I can do this whole process for you. The point is that there’s no more excuses allowed. You’re going to start a business right now. I’ll do this for free if you promise me that you’re going to commit. My time is limited so you need to prove to me that I should help you.

What are you going to do?

I gave you the only 6 steps that you need for starting a business right now. You can feel motivated for five minutes and do nothing. On the other hand, you can follow the tips in here to actually get started with your new online business with practically no money involved.

Studenomics is about taking action. If you’re not willing to take action, then please consider finding another blog to read. If you’re serious about starting a business to see if you have what it takes you need to sign up for your domain and get the ball rolling. You can watch The Simpsons while you do this.

Total money involved: about $3.96/month.

Total time invested: few hours to think of a topic and 30 minutes to get everything setup.

You can either sign up with Hostgator right now or keep on waiting for some magical moment to come.

“Here’s to the crazy ones – the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently – they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they could change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs


  1. says

    Hey Martin

    This is true. I think everyone should stop making excuses and start something on the internet today. I see a lot of people wasting so much time on the television and social network.

    Its relatively easy to learn this. If you dont you can go to youtube for instructions. Theres no need to be too technical about here.

    I’ll share this post to some of my friends and relatives.

  2. says

    Great post! I think that college is the perfect time to have an online business! With the amount of time that college students are already online, starting and running an online business is a great way to help pay for college and have a little more spending money on the side.

  3. says

    Very good advice, I’ve always thought of starting a blog, but it didn’t happen until I fully committed to the idea and created an actionable plan to get it done.

  4. Elena @ Personal Finances says

    Having your own online business is a great idea, but you always have to keep in mind that you won’t get rich overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, passion and dedication. For a while, you won’t have any play time because there is an enormous amount of work to do to create and promote online business!

    • says

      You’re right. You will have no time. The good news is that you don’t notice because you’re having fun with what you’re doing.

  5. says

    Hold on, is your advice to just start and then make it work? Who would have thought?! 😉 Sorry for the sarcasm – I completely agree and am just frustrated with anyone that isn’t paying attention. Every success story that I’ve ever heard starts with someone jumping in and starting something. That’s it. You can’t achieve anything by just thinking about it for years and years and that’s it.

    • says

      I totally agree. I just wrestled my second match today in front of 300-400 people. I was nervous as hell and totally not prepared. I just went out there and offended the crowd to no end. The match wasn’t perfect, but the crowd will forever remember me.

      The same thing happened with Studenomics. It wasn’t perfect, but I learned on-the-job.

  6. Samantha says

    When you say “start an online business”, do you mean selling products on a website? Or creating an income from the ads? I guess I’m confused as to how you are actually making money by just posting articles.
    Thank you :)

    • says

      Good question Samantha. For me it’s a combination of both. You could sell ads (affiliates, sponsored posts and so on) and your own products.

      The articles are what brings in the traffic. It’s a very unique business model. There’s lots of free work involved.

    • says

      Hey Mark. Welcome to the blogging world. I checked out your site. I would like to see you improve your about page and add more content. You’re in the right track.

  7. says

    Thanks for this post. It’s not only for students but for anyone, at any stage, trying to start something new. Sometimes you just have to jump and see where it takes you.

    I think that it’s important to always have your goal in front of you. It will take you through the rough times.

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