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Everything you need to sell online

Set up an online store in minutes to sell on a website, social media, or marketplaces.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business Without a Budget

14 min read

Starting a business can be a daunting and even scary process. No one wants to invest their time and money into something to then see it fail. It definitely isn’t fun to see decades of savings reduced to nothing but a failed dream, or perhaps for someone to take out a loan or borrow money from a friend to then be left with debt and zero funds to pay it back with. Sometimes, it’s not even the risk factor that stops many from starting their own ecommerce business, but the fact that they lack the possibility to save or borrow the necessary funds to get started.

Unfortunately, this is the story of many aspiring entrepreneurs, some with great business ideas, who make the decision to give up on their dreams. For many, the idea of having their own ecommerce store comes to feel like nothing more than a childish whim.

But don’t get discouraged or scared away just yet! Because we’re here to tell you it’s possible to get started without the need for risky investments or even a big budget. Heck, maybe you don’t even need a budget at all! Well,  to be more precise, maybe all that you need to start out is a budget of $50 or less—if we can even consider this a budget when it comes to starting a business.

All businesses have different goals and needs, and so require different budgets and resources. But creating an online store doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. We’ve created a solution and a plan for new entrepreneurs like you to build an ecommerce store with a budget lower than what it takes to get a fancy Starbucks coffee once a week—yes, you read that right! Continue reading to find out how to start an ecommerce store without a budget and start selling your products from anywhere. We are almost certain you’d be surprised at how easy it can be!

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How to Build an Ecommerce Business and Start Selling Online?

Launching an online business can have many benefits and perks like: no need to spend money on rental space, less staff, and the flexibility to appeal and market to a wider audience. These alone already make online selling a much more affordable alternative for many.

Thankfully, starting an online store isn’t nearly as difficult as it is to start a brick-and-mortar one. Nowadays, with the help of the right tools, opening an online business can be just as easy as opening a Facebook account.  However, we are aware it can be daunting to manage inventory levels, orders, offer safe and secure transactions, or simply process returns. This is why if you want to sell online, you’d likely need your own website and platform to host it and take care of all of the behind-the-scenes.

The problem is that it can be hard to find a reliable and convenient ecommerce platform that doesn’t charge high monthly or annual fees. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Ecwid it’s totally free to get started and provides you with a variety of features that can be easily added to your store to help it grow. With Ecwid, there is no need for new entrepreneurs to worry about any fees getting in the way of them getting started.

This is exactly what we’ll be covering in the next few sections: we’ll be going over all of the different routes you can take and steps to follow to start selling online without a budget. We’ll also make sure to go into further detail on how you can have your own website for zero to very low monthly fees.

Choose Your Business Products and Niche

Before you even set up your website, we recommend you have an idea of the product category you’d like to focus on or a niche you’d like to appeal to. Trust us, you don’t want to invest a ton of money on a dozen products to fill up your inventory, without first having a niche or some kind of focus. It’s impossible to try to sell to everyone and is also very expensive to try to market a ton of different product categories. As you niche down and focus on a specific product or audience, you’ll be able to bring your expenses down in a drastic way and see better results.

Consider choosing an industry that requires little to no money to get started, a good example could be candles or handmade items. Finding the best industry for you and your budget could be one of the first steps to becoming an accomplished business owner. We suggest that you don’t take this step lightly. You can always check out inexpensive business ideas for some guidance on where to start.

Consider Dropshipping or Print on Demand

Dropshipping is a great option for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to sell online without a budget. This business model doesn’t require you to invest anything in inventory; all you need is a website to host your products. It basically works by promoting a product before you invest any money in it; the product only gets paid once a customer makes a purchase. Once an order is made, the suppliers take their portion and you take yours. Check out how to start dropshipping with Ecwid to learn more.

The next popular option is print on demand. With print on demand, there is also no need to buy before making a sale. With the help of the right platform, you can host and promote your print-on-demand products to then have the producer be notified when someone makes a purchase. Just like dropshipping, no money is ever charged until a sale is made.

Make Sure You Have a Business Plan

It’s practically impossible to build a successful ecommerce store without a business model or plan. In order to sell online, you’d need to set and establish long-term and short-term goals that will serve as a point of reference for you along the way. Start with realistic ones that go hand-in-hand with your budget to keep you motivated and avoid feeling worn out or discouraged. Your business plan should also include the different strategies you plan to use to make them happen. As you learn more about ecommerce and how it works, and determine the best practices and strategies for your business, you should be able to slowly add bigger and more complex goals.

The key takeaway from this section is you should always have a detailed and thorough plan on how you plan to grow your business before you get started. Don’t invest a single dollar until you’ve accomplished this part of the process. Thankfully, it doesn’t cost much to lay out a solid business plan or model, and any time invested into it is well worth it.

Set Up an Ecommerce Site in Less Than 10 Minutes

Once you have an idea of the products you’d like to sell and how you plan to market them, the next and perhaps most important step is to open an online store. An online store will serve as the storefront of your business, will help you create the online presence necessary to market your business online, and should help you establish credibility.

You can set up an ecommerce website with Ecwid in just a few easy steps. We offer a variety of options and resources for new entrepreneurs to get started. Even if you have no web design experience, you can still have a site ready in less than 10 minutes. Depending on your situation you can choose from one of these two options:

Plug Ecwid’s shopping cart into an existing website

If you already have a website but don’t have the option to sell or process payments, or simply desire to look for a more robust and solid website presence, this will be your best option. With our plugin function, you can easily integrate your Ecwid shopping cart into your existing website. This requires no additional coding or costs and should only take a few minutes. Once ready, you can start selling and processing payments without any monthly or transaction fees.

Build an ecommerce site for free

Your second option is to build a free online store with our Instant Site Website Builder. If you don’t have a website yet and are looking for a cost-effective and easy way to get started, we recommend you take a look at our free plan.

Under this plan, you’ll receive a free website, packed with exciting features and pre-set themes that make creating your ecommerce website easy and quick. You can add any product photos or descriptions you’d like, and even set up subscription payments if you were looking to take that route. In the case that you’d like to add more products to your store, you can always take a look at our venture plan for as low as $15 a month.

Ultimately, whichever option you go with, setting up a free online store with Ecwid can drastically reduce your business costs and work as a great solution to get started without a budget.

Choose a Domain

The next part of the process requires you to choose a domain or site name. At first, this might sound complicated and expensive, but the reality is, depending on the domain you choose, these can start as low as $1 per month. If you already have a domain, there is no need to buy a new one. You can connect your existing domain to your new Ecwid store in just a few steps, and share it with your family and friends. Click here to find out how to connect your domain.

Last but not least, you can always choose a domain later and work with the free one provided by Ecwid. Your friends and customers will be able to find you just as easily.

Is It Possible to Start an Ecommerce Store Without a Budget?

As you can probably already see, it is possible to start an ecommerce store without a budget!

When we add up everything and see what it costs to start selling online with Ecwid, we get a number of less than $50. We know it’s hard to believe, but here are the steps we went through and how much can you expect each one to cost:

  • Choosing a Product and Niche — $0
  • Building a Business Plan — $0
  • Dropshipping/Print on Demand — $0 down payment
  • Opening an Online Store with Ecwid — $0-$15
  • Choosing Domain — $1- $20 per year or month

Of course, there are a few other costs like business registration and website hosting, but these are typically not always necessary when you are just getting started. Overall, depending on your specific goals and business plan, you can easily start your own ecommerce store without the need to spend a fortune. We know it’s possible because we’ve seen many of our fellow sellers do it!

Are you ready to launch your ecommerce store and start selling online? Tell us more about it in the comments below, or reach out to our customer service team for any questions.


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Sell online

With Ecwid Ecommerce, you can easily sell anywhere, to anyone — across the internet and around the world.

About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

Ecommerce that has your back

So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Easy to use, affordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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