How To Build Your Own Online Empire Without Investing A Cent

Build an Empire

Today I want to share with you a method how you can build up your own online empire that could bring in thousands of dollars a month without investing a cent of your own money.

NOTE: This is not a get-rich quick scheme. It will likely take you many months or even a few years to achieve, and it will take lots of hard work and persistence. But… it will work if you follow this method. If you really want to be financially free, it is worth the time and effort needed to achieve it.

The last 15 years have seen an enormous change in the way that people do business. The main factor that has caused this change is the availability and accessibility of the internet. With blogs and websites, it is possible for an average person to reach literally millions of people with his ideas and words. This creates the enormous potential of having hundreds and thousands of potential people who are willing to buy your products / memberships or services from you.

“Did you know that there are housewives, moms and teenagers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars every single year from their online sites and blogs?”

Ways To Make Money Online

  • Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate marketing is one of the most common and easiest method of making money online. What it means is that you promote someone’s product or service and for every sale that is made as a result of your promotion, you get a commission.

    The benefits include that you don’t need a product, you don’t deal with customer supports, you don’t need to manufacture anything, you don’t even need employees. Commissions are often 50% but can run up to 80% or more.

    Why are the commissions so high? Well, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation. You as the affiliate do not need to create a product or service and just market. The product or service owner does not need to do any promotion or advertising so all sales you bring him are free money. That is why the owner is willing to give you the largest percentage of the sales you make as an incentive for you as the affiliate to go out and promote his product or service. Like I said, a win-win situation.

    How Are Commissions Tracked?

    There are literally thousands of affiliate programs that you can sign up with for every type of product or service imaginable. When you sign up for the affiliate program, you get given a unique link that you will use in your promotion campaign. Any visitor who clicks on your unique link will have a cookie (tracking file) placed on their computer, and when that visitor buys the product or service, the affiliate program will know and thus give you your rightful commission.

    (Recommended for more info – Pat Flynn on 3 types of affiliate marketing.)

  • Blogging

    It is entirely possible to make a full time income from blogging. However, blogging is something that will take you a long time, many years even to get your blog to be really successful. Yes, there are a handful of bloggers who make thousands of dollars a month from their blogs. The reality is though, that there are far more people who don’t make money from their blog than those who do.

    I see blogging as a way to make money (eventually) from writing about something you are passionate about. That is how most popular blogs today started out. The owner had an obsession, passion or fascination with a topic or a niche or a product and he/she would write about it for days, weeks and months. This passion and obsession leads to a following of like-minded people who will become loyal readers and eventually buy your products, services and affiliate products you recommend to them.

    (Recommended for more info – Glen Allsopp on make money blogging).

    But…it takes a long time. Count on a minimum of 12 months and more likely 24 months before you start making decent money from a blog. That is not to say that blogging is a waste of time, I personally love it. You just need to have a lot of time and not be doing it for instant money.

    (Create your own blog tutorial.)

  • Your Own Product

    Although creating your own product and selling it is not the easiest method of making money, it is definitely one of the most profitable ways.

    Yes, it will take time, money and effort to create a valuable product that other people want. If you do it right, that product can continue to bring you money for months and years to come.

    How would you make money from your own product?

    You can create a website for it, you can stick it on your blog, you can email it to your list to name a few.

    What is even more powerful is if you create an affiliate program for your own product and have tens, hundreds or thousands of people all putting in effort to promote your product for a percentage of the sale.All you have to do is sit back and watch the money pour in. (Of course the product has to be exceptional so that many affiliates will want to promote it).

  • Sell a Service

    Are you good at something or do you have a lot of knowledge about a certain topic?

    You could sell your ideas, designs or time in form of consultations. You can offer consulting services and charge by the hour and work with clients from all over the world through Skype.

    Selling a service is another common way of making money on the internet.

Why You Don’t Need Any Money To Start

If you are new to the concept of being able to make money online, you may think that you need to invest a lot of money to get started.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a single cent to start building up your own online empire that will eventually make you good money. That is how I started out, and this is how I began:

A little less than two years ago I had no idea about blogs, websites or that it was even possible to make money from the internet.

One day, I stumbled across an ad that claimed to be able to teach me how to make thousands of dollars a month from the internet, working from the comfort of my own ad. I read the sales pitch and heard all the terms like ‘blogging’, ‘affiliate marketing’ etc. This got me curious and spiralled me into a journey of much reading and researching of ways to make money online.

I did not want to spend any money, not even on hosting or a domain. Through some reading I heard about a site called ‘Squidoo’ where you could sign up for free and create as many web pages (called ‘lenses’) as you wanted. I signed up with ‘Squidoo’ and started building lenses.

Slowly but surely I started understanding the concept of affiliate marketing. I signed up with Clickbank (one of the larger digital product affiliate market places) so that I could find products to promote in my lenses. I also signed up with Paypal, a service where you can send and receive money on the internet (and that you can link to your bank account to be able to withdraw money you earned online).

After three months of having started with building lenses and having a good 20 or 30 of them, I made my first sale. I couldn’t believe it. $26 sitting in my account, through content that I created. It put a massive smile on my face (and to this day every time I make a sale it still makes me happy).

After a few months of building lenses I had about 80 of them. At this point I was making a sale every few days through my Clickbank affiliate links. What was also nice is that ‘Squidoo’ pays a monthly royalty for every lens, depending on how well it ranks. (All lenses have ranks and a top 1000 ranked lens would get something like $7 or $8 per month as a royalty and I had quite a few ranking in the top 1000). This gave me a nice income of around $50 per month just from royalties and it was neatly paid into my Paypal account.

During all this time I had continued to learn and read about internet marketing and I decided that it was now time to stop playing around on ‘Squidoo’ and start building my own sites on my own domains. I bought a hosting account on Hostgator for $7.99 per month that allows unlimited domains and I started buying various domains for affiliate products. In those 8 months I had managed to get a nice $500 in my Paypal account (without ever having invested a cent into Internet Marketing) and this money would be used for hosting and buying domains.

From that point on until today, I have been building sites on and off. I lost interest in affiliate sites for a few months because I did not understand how to get them ranking or making money. Recently I’ve started again because I have learned a lot more and understand a lot more about affiliate marketing and search engine optimization (how to get your pages to rank high in Google) and my efforts are starting to pay off.

Contrary to what some people think, I am not making loads of money from affiliate marketing yet. I’m on the level of making between $500 and $800 a month and it’s slowly growing. However, I am convinced that I will be making thousands of dollars a month from my projects within the next 12 months.

The more you work, the luckier you get!

So there you have it. This is my story of how I am building up my online empire and how I will get it making me a full time income within the next year or so. As you can see, it has taken me almost 2 years to get to where I am now, and will probably take another year or more before I’m really at the level where I can say that I’m making money online and living from it.

I am of course just a guide line for what you can expect. You may be smarter, more creative or a harder worker than me and achieve better results than me in half the time. I hope so for you!

The Method Summarized

  • Sign up with ‘’

  • Sign up with for affiliate products to promote

  • Sign up with to be able to receive money

  • Start building lenses on your favorite content and add affiliate links

  • Save up enough to be able to pay for hosting and your own domains

  • Stop working on Squidoo and start building your own affiliate sites

  • Keep on doing this, don’t give up!

*Note* You could skip the entire ‘Squidoo’ process and just buy the hosting and domains. This will cost $96 per year for hosting and $10 per domain per year. I just mentioned the ‘Squidoo’ process because it is how I started and it is how anyone can start without having to invest any of their own money.

If you have $120 to invest I would advise starting straight away with your own affiliate sites because of all the time it will save you. Building lenses on ‘Squidoo’ takes many hours, and I would suggest to rather spend that time and energy on your own ‘property’ instead of someone else’s. (‘Squidoo’ lenses belong to you but of course the site belongs to ‘Squidoo’ and they could delete or remove your content at any time if they so please).

Do You Want Freedom?

I believe that the biggest reason why people want more money is because of the freedom that it will give them. Enough money means no need for a job which means that you have much more time to do what you love.

I entirely believe that anyone can use this method that I have outlined above to build up an online business that will bring them enough money to live off.

Like I said, it will take time. It may take you five years or it may take you just one year.

If you are working a 9-5 job that you don’t really enjoy or if you would love to have more money, why not consider spending an hour or more every day to work on this method? Every word you write stays online and can continue to bring you money for months or years to come. Will it not be better than hanging out at the bar or watching TV for hours every night?

I know that it is not for everyone, and many people do not want to put in the work or effort for so many weeks or months in order to get ahead. I know I want to, and that is why I am doing it.

P.S. If you want an excellent guide that will teach you everything you need to know about building successful affiliate sites that will make you money, I recommend Glen Allsopp’s Cloud Living.

  • Steve Garlick

    For anyone looking to follow this process: be aware that it may easily take more than the 3 months listed above to achieve results. I know that I’ve owned 7 or 8 sites over the past few years, and I’m just now starting to hone my craft and see results. If you trully want to succeed with this method, learn as much as you can about SEO. It’s why I’m finally starting to see results.

  • Suzanne Day

    Thanks for your great post. I would say that all of it is true and rings a bell with me. Having been a previous hubber and now moving on to my own blog, I can definitely say that working on your own site pays off much better in the long run than using writing platforms. Well done on the most informative post on the front page of google for “how to build your blogging empire” (that’s what I googled!)

    • Diggy –

      Than you Suzanne,
      Glad you liked the post and that it resonated with your experience.
      Hope your own online journey is going well?!

  • Steven Ponec

    I just came across this article. I’ve been a reader of your site for months.
    Definitely have heard of the method you suggest before, but haven’t seen it so step by step.
    I don’t have any money to invest, so I’m going to write more articles for hubpages and squidoo with affiliate links :)
    Great article! Your work is very inspiring – especially with the “never give up” tone you use.

    • Diggy

      Hey Steven,
      Awesome, I’m glad that you found an older article and that it didn’t just get buried in my archives:)

      Yeah you can start totally for free with articles, squidoo and hubpages.
      You should be able to make a few hundred dollars within the first 6-12 months, and then you can use this money for hosting, your own domains, aweber etc.

      Good luck sir, feel free to email me if you have questions/updates!

  • Enrico Hernandez

    Hey Diggy,

    Keep up the good work and soon you’ll be making thousands of dollars a month (if you aren’t already!). I’ve recently started learning about affiliate marketing myself so I’m sure we’ll be doing business together in the future!


    • Diggy

      Hey Enrico!
      Thanks!! Haha, no I’m not making thousands a month yet, but I will get there, no doubt!

      Keep in touch:)

  • Geoff

    Hey Diggy,

    This is just the kind of post I’ve been looking for! It’s very informative, and I’m glad to see that you’re sharing your personal experiences so that others can learn from them.

    I’ve gotten interested in online sales and affiliate marketing recently, but I had no clue where to start until I read this post.

    Thanks for the great advice!

    • Diggy

      Hey Geoff!

      I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the post and I hope that it has given you some direction to get started. There is no perfect way to start and you will need to fail a lot to learn. Just get started and stick with one things for a few months, dont change around to new methods every week, that is one way that will certainly not get you very far.

      Best of luck:)

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  • the cynical investor

    Hey Diggy,

    Very good article.

    Could you give 1-2 examples of Affiliate Marketing sites you have (no need for figures though)?

    Just some concrete examples, it would be much easier to understand this concept.

  • Tom Huntington

    Wow. You are a great, caring teacher, giver. I’m really impressed with how clearly you shared your learning and process. That’s how learning really happens — by inspiring others to believe they can learn it too. Your teaching inspires me to keep learning my next steps in blogging.

    My motto is “Life is Learning at Tom’s University”

    Thanks for sharing yourself and your learning.


    • Diggy

      Hey Tom!

      Thanks for the kind words!
      I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article and that it inspired you to work hard!

      Don’t give up and keep smilin’

  • Usman Ahmed

    Hey Diggy,

    Awesome site, came across it from Viperchill :) Keep up the great content. One note though, why has it taken you so long to learn everything are you not a very close friend of Glen’s? Didn’t he teach you everything he knew so you would be able to build up income quickly?

    Keep up the awesome content anyways :)

  • S. Ali Myers


    I really enjoyed this read. Very informative for those that are just starting out (like myself). Looking forward to reading more posts. BTW Nice site!

    - Ali

    • Diggy

      Hey Ali!

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the article:)

      Cheers to your success!

  • Torrey

    Great points here, Diggy. I also agree with Ivan about HubPages.

    It’s easy to sit and complain about being broke instead of taking the time and energy and make it happen. Money’s not always to holdup. It’s the mindset

    • Diggy

      Hey Torrey!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Yeah Hubpages does indeed look a bit cleaner than Squiddo which has become rather spammy-looking over the last year or so.

  • Ivan

    Hey Diggy,

    Great post! I just started the process in the same way. There’s one service I can recommend, which in my opinion is better then Squidoo and it is HubPages. Their design is clean and people can easily access the affiliate links. You can also earn some money from adsense, because HubPages gives you a percentage of what is earned by the adds placed in your articles.

    Good luck with your projects!

    • Diggy

      Hey Ivan!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Good to hear that you are also on this journey. It’s hard work but if you persist it will eventually pay off! I have used hubpages too, it’s kind of how Squidoo used to be before it got so spammy-looking.

      Thanks for the advice and suggestion!
      Good luck on your own projects!

  • Yavor


    I am following sorta in your footsteps, though still a few steps behind. Finding your, Glen’s and Alex sites last summer was a great inspiration for me – I was in a low point and felt like giving up..

    Anywayz – those personal experience posts are the most valuable for me so keep writing them!


    • Diggy

      Hey Yavor!

      Thanks for your great support as always. Sometimes it’s a little hard to stay focused and remember why you are doing what you do. I’ve had many times where I felt like giving up because it felt like I was going nowhere. just keep on going and keep on doing what you are doing.

      Sometimes you may have to approach at a different angle or even take a break to recharge, but don’t give up.
      You can always ask me if you’re stuck with something and I’ll help where I can:)

  • Mars Dorian

    Heya Diggy,

    so that’s how you make the money.
    I have never thought about using Squidoo for affiliate sales, seems like a nice idea (and looots of work).

    I personally want to build my business empire around my blog by offering my own services and products, without relying on other affiliates.

    I’m planning something right now, if I do it right – it can be awe-some.

    Incredible insight, nice work !

    • Diggy

      Hey Mars,
      Yeah that’s how I started out. I don’t use Squidoo anymore, I actually sold those 80 lenses for about $300.
      I started making a few new ones but stopped after about 5, there’s more sense in building your own affiliate sites.

      I agree with you, the blog thing is definitely a possibility, but it takes a lot longer.
      I like doing the affiliate sites on the side because once you get them ranking and making money, it’s pretty much complete autopilot:)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jonny

    My thought has always been, and I admit that I don’t know much about affiliate marketing save the basics of what it is, that we so many people link everyone else’s products, are their enough people creating the products in the first place or are we all involved in some kind of insane linking nightmare.

    Food for thought.

    • Diggy

      Hey Jonny!

      Yeah the creators of the product are definitely the best off. Awesome products have thousands of people doing the work to promote it and the owner just sits back and watches the money roll in. That’s why I said, if you can create your own product it is the most profitable for you once you get others to promote it for you!

  • darkcop

    Good article. I’ve learnt a lot from you. You give straightforward and useful information which can be applied quickly.

    The quality of your articles has also improved. Your tone is sincere and helpful.


    • Diggy


      Thank you! I am happy to hear that you are enjoying the articles and that I am making progress:)

      Have an awesome day!

  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot

    I admire you. I’ve noticed that although I love blogging, writing, connecting with readers and watching my subscribers grow as soon as anyone mentions affiliate marketing and the like my eyes start to glaze over. I know it’s a revenue stream I should look into but it just doesn’t interest me. Oh dear! Wonderful to see the snowball effect working for you and deservedly so:)

    • Diggy

      Hey Annabel!

      Yeah affiliate marketing is definitely not for everyone. That is why I mentioned all the other options of making money online like blogging, creating your own product and offering consulting.

      Just keep working on what you enjoy. With the new design you should grow much faster, you’ll probably overtake me soon. One guest post on Zenhabits will do that:)

  • Vincent

    Hey Diggy,

    Keep on going! It is all about hard work if anyone wants to succeed in this internet marketing industry.

    Those who thinks that it is easy and requires little effort to succeed in internet marketing, I would not recommend them to try it.


    • Diggy

      Hey Vincent!

      Yeah it’s not easy indeed, but just like with anything, once you get the hang of it and you start making money, it only grows from there. The kind of lifestyle you can live from a passive income is pretty awesome but it does take 2-4 years to build up I would say!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jonathan | Grokkery

    Sounds like the plan I’m on Diggy. Keep up the good work! I’m always glad to see other self improvement bloggers making progress in the niche :)

    • Diggy

      Thanks Jonathan!
      Hope to keep rocking it and to keep providing awesome value to the readers:)

  • Carmen

    Great stuff, Diggy. I appreciate that you said it takes time. I have coached people through the process of starting online business and it does take time, but with perseverance it is an amazing opportunity to have a business with very little investment financially. Just be prepared to invest in time and learning.

    • Diggy

      Hey Carmen!

      Thanks for the kind words! It does indeed take a lot of time but those who persist will eventuall come out on top with a lifestyle that is everything a person could wish for:)

  • Moon Hussain

    Diggy, I enjoyed this post. To learn affiliate marketing to earn $500-$800 a month is quite remarkable. Now you have to build and tweak on that knowledge to make your thousands of dollars a month.

    P.S. Whenever I leave a comment, a message pops up saying that if I’m a first-time commenter, then I’ll see my comment once it’s been approved. Catch is, I’m not a first time commenter, so hopefully this will go through.

    • Moon Hussain

      Never mind, today it worked like a charm!

    • Diggy

      Heya Moon!

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed this post. Yeah it’s taken me a long time to get there but I am happy with the results. Now it’s just a matter of persisting and applying everything that I have learnt on a bigger scale:)

      Yeah, the commenting thing works on cookies. As soon as you comment the first time, the cookie on your computer will remember that you have previously commented and then the ‘first time commenter’ will not appear again. Only when you clear your cookies (sometimes automatically sometimes manually) then my blog will not be able to recognise you as a previous commenter and you will get the ‘first time commenter’ notice:)

  • Parker Lee

    Good Stuff Diggy!

    I surely hope you achieve your 5k a month very soon, and it seems from the looks of it that you have a really good gameplan on how to do it.

    Looking forward to your progress,


    • Diggy

      Hey Parker!

      Thanks buddy! I hope so too, working hard on it every day!
      Have an awesome week!

  • Joe

    All i can say to nyone sitting on the fence about starting an online business all i can say is GO FOR IT.

    I start with a similar method last April and now i make around $200 a week.

    It is a lot of hard work but trust me it’s worth it. I quit my job this January to go online full time.

    Best decision i ever made.

  • Constantin

    very informative post diggy–I’m glad that you explained several methods in detail and didn’t focus SOLELY on affiliate marketing. I enjoyed it a lot and hope to kick my empire into a higher gear as soon as i can!

    • Diggy

      Thanks Constatin!

      Hope your projects will go well too!

  • Oscar – freestyle mind

    Way to go Diggy, happy to see you’re getting results!

    • Diggy

      Thanks Oscar!

      Slowly but surely, just never give up and keep working hard!

  • Richard @ Lifestyle Design Unleashed

    I have been building online businesses for the last 10 years and have tried a lot of different things over the years.

    One of the things I am having fun with right now is building a few websites without investing any cash. I bought the domains and hosting so there was a small upfront cost but rather than outsourcing like I normally do, paying for link building, content etc. I have set myself the challenge to bootstrap these sites only reinvesting profits but not adding anything from outside sources.

    Whilst the going is slower if you’re not paying for it, it’s actually great fun.

    However based on your article I would caution readers that Squidoo lenses can come and go. Many people have had theirs deleted or delisted.

    One possible modification would be to do some outsourcing yourself such as article writing or link building to generate a small amount of income, then create a site of your own that you control.

    You can then use article marketing with Squidoo, HubPages, EzineArticles and so on to build links and traffic to your main site.

    • Diggy

      Hey Richard!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yeah I agree with you about Squidoo, that is why I mentioned it later in the article. Squidoo is still the owner of all your lenses and if it deems that your content is not appropriate, it can delete your lenses. If at all possible, spend the money upfront to buy your own hosting and your own domain, but from there on it is possible to just build it up by yourself and reinvest any profits you make. Just like what you are doing:)

  • Kim

    Hi Diggy,

    It’s helpful to hear how it all began for you. When I first started learning about the various methods of creating an income online, I wanted to do it all. I quickly learned it’s a step by step process that requires patience, adjustments, proficiency, and lots of time. Not to mention the reason for hopping on board in the first place… to provide value for the end user!

    • Diggy

      Heya Kim!

      That’s very true, it’s all about giving the visitor what he/she wants. That makes it a win-win situation for the both of you.

  • Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Diggy.

    Good amount of information here. For anyone that wants a start in this type of money-making, you have given them the steps.

    Sometimes I forget that there are people who are just starting out and are looking for information to get the ball rolling.

    • Diggy

      Hey Armen!

      Yeah, when you start off it can feel like you are totally lost. Having someone as a mentor is the best way to make progress fast. I wish I had one when I started:)