How to start an online business for free: the Wealthy Affiliate Way

How to start and online business for free: the Wealthy Affiliate way.

What do you dream of? More money, greater freedom, more free time? I know I do. And I thought I knew how to get them. I’d seen the adverts on the internet promising a wonderful ‘laptop lifestyle’. They’re all over YouTube and Google Ads. And as soon as you click on one, then every time you shop for some new shoes or a new pillow, you see more and more people offering you the “way” into your dream.

Many people dream of owning their own online business because they want the freedom to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. They’d like to work in an area they are interested in, one which fuels their passion and makes them want to get up in the morning. They’d like to be able to take holidays when they choose instead of having to beg someone else to schedule the time when it is convenient for the employer and not necessarily the employee.

And many people dream of doing all this but don’t have much money or funds to start with. I know, because that was me about 6 months ago. I wanted all those things, But what I really needed was to know was how to start an online business for free. And that’s where Wealthy Affiliate came in.

Wealthy Affiliate is an online business training program and community of like-minded individuals that I have used to learn about and start my own online business including this website. It is also a web-hosting platform and I use it to host several of my sites.

Now maybe you’ve heard of Wealthy Affiliate and maybe you haven’t but I’ve written this article to let you know who they are and how they can help YOU to start your own online business and what I think it can (and cannot do for you). So if you are looking to start an online business and you want to know how to do it, read on and you will learn how you too can start and progress in this industry.

My aim is not just to regurgitate what you’ll read in a sales pitch, or just list what is on the course although I’ve done this to help you make your decision. I will also tell you my story and show you how you really can start and build an online business from scratch – which is exactly what I have done.

The first thing you need to know is who Wealthy Affiliate are.

Wealthy Affiliate is a company that was started in 2005 by its founders, Kyle and Carson. They met at college studying computer science and when they realised they needed some extra money, they used their computer skills to their advantage and started in affiliate marketing. They started the company and have not looked back ever since and they have been helping people to start their own businesses ever since.It has helped over 1 million people to become website owners and entrepreneurs.

One of the things I like about Wealthy Affiliate is that both the founders are regularly seen around the community, either posting blogs, answering emails or just answering adhoc questions in the ‘live chat’ area of the website. What’s good about this is that as a member, you feel that you always have access to the people at the top – and you do.

They both have profiles on the WA platform and you can email or private message them at any time. They also answer questions and leave comments for you as well and I really like the fact that even with so many people on the site, they still find time to answer emails and you feel that they are looking out for you personally.

This is one of the things I really like about Wealthy Affiliate because there are many scam programs out which can lure people in with grand promises, but then you never really know who is behind it or who is taking your money.

You can see a screen shot below of a comment I left on one of Kyle’s blog, and the reply I received.

So what online business can I start with Wealthy Affiliate?

Wealthy Affiliate can help you start a number of online business models but their main training is in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is basically this a way of earning money online by receiving a commission for products that you recommend, which are subsequently bought by people who want them. If you have ever bought insurance through an insurance broker, then you have been a customer in a type of affiliate marketing. You needed the insurance, and you used a broker to find out more information about the choices available. When you purchased a product, the broker received a commission from the final insurer. That’s it! It’s that simple.

The same principle holds with online or affiliate marketing. You choose an interest or niche topic that you want to work in, be it fashion, fishing or films; then you build a website around your interest.

You add content that is relevant to the niche you’ve chosen which will be useful to the people you are trying to attract to your site. This could be information on the subject; instructions on how to do something or reviews of relevant products or services of interest to your audience.

You then use strategies and techniques that will attract visitors to your website including search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing and other similar techniques.

If some of your audience subsequently click on links on your site and purchase relevant products or services, you earn a commission for referring them. It’s simple, legal and it works.

The amount of money you earn is dependent on a number of things including:

  1. The quality of the content
  2. The rankings you get in the search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo
  3. The number of visitors to your site
  4. The affiliate programs you join
  5. The number of articles you write and publish

Earning money online is simple in principle. In practice, it takes time to learn and build your website, generate traffic and create the income you dream of. However, the great thing I find about an affiliate marketing online business is that once your website is up and running, it is open 24/7. This means that you can literally ‘earn money in your sleep’ and you are subscribing to a different business model than most people. 

Most people still exchange their time for money: they go to a job they may or may not like, with set hours and get paid for the time they put in. If they do not show up, then usually they do not get paid.

Affiliate marketing and online businesses differ from these core principles because you are no longer trading your time for money. Instead, you build a business that is open all day, every day, in every corner of the world that has access to the internet. And if you choose not to show up one day, your ‘store’ is still open and doing business.

That said, you do need to invest the time and energy to create and market your site, but with Wealthy Affiliate you have all the tools and training you need. You can start from scratch and succeed with no or little experience.

There are also many different ways to earn money online, not just through the affiliate route. You could for example:

  • Have paid adverts on your site such as Google AdSense adverts
  • Earm money selling space on your site to other bloggers
  • Have local businesses pay you for advertising on your site
  • Create and sell your own products

Wealthy Affiliate will show you how to do all of this.


What do you learn with Wealthy Affiliate training?

Wealthy Affiliate will teach you everything you need to know and do it by holding your hand, showing your examples and leading you through step by step.  You can start on a free Starter Program or upgrade to a Premium Membership if you want to.

Below is a screen shot of the first course available to everyone who joins Wealthy Affiliate on the free program. It is more than enough to get you started in your online business and show you how to start making money.

See below for the description of course 1.

Each lesson involves a text lesson, some video walkthroughs or step-by-step examples and a list of actions to be taken. See below for an example from course one.

Niche site or WA affiliate site?

You’ll see that lesson 3 is about choosing a niche area that interests you, however, if you do not want to create your own niche site, then at WA, you also have the option to work through what they call “Affiliate Bootcamp” – a series of 7 other lessons which will teach you how to create an online business promoting Wealthy Affiliate itself.

Wealthy Affiliate runs its own affiliate program with some of the best terms and commissions in the business – like referral links that last a lifetime for example. The great thing about already being a member of WA is that you can really speak from a position of experience, giving an honest review of the program from an insider’s perspective.

Here’s what you can learn from the Bootcamp training. The first lesson is freely available to all members and the remaining lessons 2-7 are available to premium members only.

There is no doubt in my mind that the content of the Wealthy Affiliate training is some of the best in the world.
In my opinion, it is:

  • Thorough and well-structured
  • Easy to follow and understand
  • Relevant
  • Available to complete in your own time and at your own pace
  • Action-oriented, so you are prompted to take the actions necessary to lead you to success.

One disadvantage that many newbie members find is that there is SO MUCH content, that it can be a little overwhelming to start with and some people can end up staring at their computer not quite knowing how to proceed.

The thing to do in this situation is stop, take a deep breath and start with the first course, working through it step-by-step.

Apart from the online courses, there is also a whole community of people (other members) with a vast wealth of experience that you can tap into. There is a LIVE CHAT area where people can ask for help and receive it from other members.

You can also write blogs and pose questions directly onto the WA’s own blogging platform. Other members can then reply with comments and advice to help with your problem.

And you have access to over 1 million royalty-free images to use in your blogs, which is invaluable for creating interesting articles.

I have found this source of information invaluable to me in my learning process. Sometimes things crop up with your site that you need an answer on, such as design issues or simply needing clarification, and I have always been helped by several people who knew the answer. It’s like having your own private tutors available whenever you need them, and to me, it’s a feature that Kyle and Carson did not have to add, but one which I could not do without.

Can you really start for free?

The answer to this question is a resounding “YES”. You can, (and many people do) create successful websites on the WA web-hosting platform, known as SIteRubix. For the free membership, you can create 2 websites on this platform, aimed at really one niche site and one affiliate site. It is encouraged that new members start with one or the other and get those sites up and running successfully first before starting on the second project. Whilst that is the ‘official’ line, I know several people (including myself) that have started 2 sites and run them simultaneously.

Whilst you can start for free and go through the first set of lessons in both the niche site training and the affiliate site training, there is also a PREMIUM OPTION which you can upgrade to.

The premium option costs $19 for the first month and only $49 per month after that. Using the premium membership, you can have up to 50 sites although you will need to pay for registering sites if you want your own domain name that you create. This is usually around $16 per year or less which is in line with other website hosting companies.

I upgraded to premium on the first day after I had seen what the site had to offer, and I can promise you that I have never regretted it.

If you do upgrade, then once you have completed the first course, you then have access to the remaining certification levels as listed below, and the remaining levels 2-7 on the Bootcamp program.

The image below shows the 5 main courses available – each has 10 lessons to keep you busy for a while.

There are a number of other benefits that upgrading to premium membership offers in addition to the extra training. Here is a comparative list of the features and benefits of the Starter and Premium options. 

One major benefit that has recently been added to the Premium membership is membership of Jaaxy Lite. Jaaxy is one of the best keyword research tools on the market today and normally cost $49 per month. WA premium members have access to this powerful research tool which in itself is worth the premium membership price, in my opinion.

Researching good keywords to base your articles on is crucial to the success of your articles and getting them ranked by the search engines. You also have access to ways of measuring your site ranking, a Jaaxy affiliate program, and alphabet soup – another quick and easy way to research keywords.




As mentioned, I upgraded to premium on the first day. I did this because I wanted to give myself the best possible start in the business. I wanted access to all the training and the bonuses and after spending a few hours looking around the site, I could see the value and content that was on offer.

Jaaxy is an amazing tool which can really help with research for your articles and sites and I have written posts that appeared on page 1 of Google as direct result of using this tool. You can see the proof here.

About 6 weeks later, I actually also took advantage of the yearly membership which was offered at a Black Friday discount, which meant that paying for my membership for the entire year only cost $299.

When I compare this to relatively small amount to the costs associated with starting a physical retail shop (which I did approximately 20 years ago), the difference was amazing.

Whereas when I started my shop, the start-up costs were in excess of £25,000, I found that for less than the cost of my daily coffee I had access to ALL the training (including additional VIDEO WEBINARS and the complete courses. Where else would I get such excellent value for money?

Upgrading seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ to me because I knew that I wanted to change my life and this was the way out I chose to escape from the daily grind and 9-5 of every day life.

To me, life should be about LIVING, not just EXISTING, and by investing $299 in my future, I have changed it for the better without looking back.

I know that you can make this business work just by starting on the FREE STARTER program. But if you have the money to invest and you want to take it seriously, then my recommendation is to go PREMIUM as soon as you can.

Some people, I find, expect the world to owe them a living. These are the people who generally expect something for nothing and expect that the expertise and content like that seen on WA, should be freely available. The truth is, it IS FREELY AVAILABLE, and you can find out all this information if you spend days and weeks trawling the internet to find out what to do.

Alternatively, a premium membership at WA will bring it directly to you in a neatly packaged, proven formula.

Can you see why it was a ‘no-brainer’ decision for me?

Even the market traders stalls in the town near me are advertised at £45 per week and I knew I didn’t want to be tied to standing at a market stall in all weathers, when my online business could be open 24/7 without me ever having to show up to an office!

Does it actually work?

The answer to this is “yes – the system works”. You can learn how to start an online business with Wealthy Affiliate, and how to start one with little or no money. And you can start today; why wait?

I have earned money online both as an affiliate and from my niche site and all that within only 6 short months.

I have completed all 5 certification levels, I have 2 sites up and running which are this one you are reading and my niche site which you can visit here:
If you search the internet, you will find many articles on Wealthy Affiliate explaining what it is and how it works. But perhaps the best way to judge, is to read some actual success stories from members and people who have used the services they offer, so if you click here, you can see a whole list of post and articles written by people about how they have found the system.

And remember, tthese are not written to entice anyone to join since they were all posted from WITHIN the WA platform, so they are speaking to people who are already other members, rather than being written as a sales pitch to the general public. But they do show the successes that people are getting.

Wealthy Affiliate is the best place to teach you how to start your online business but you should understand at the outset that Wealthy Affiliate is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It can take time and if will need your energy and your commitment, as would any other business. So if you are looking to make a fortune overnight, think again. In fact, think very hard about the reality of your expectations. If you are expecting to make thousands in your first 6 months, it is likely you will be disappointed. ‘Too good to be true’ is just that.

However, that is not what WA is all about. It doesn’t make those kinds of claims, which is good. It does however explain how to set up and run your business giving you all the tools you’ll need, as well as the support to keep going when things seem tough.

The Best Bits

Obviously I have evaluated Wealthy Affiliate from the perspective of a member and if you like what you have read, click through from my site, and subsequently join, then you will become one of my referrals and I will have a special interest in helping you succeed within the WA community.

If you want to see some other benefits that there is not space to write about here, then read my other post about the surprising benefits of Wealthy Affiliate membership.


In conclusion, here is a list of my pros and cons:

I believe that you will LOVE WA if you:

  • Genuinely want to start a long-term business that can can run 24/7
  • Are willing to put in the work and invest time in your business
  • Understand that any business you set up requires your attention and effort
  • Would like to learn from the best and be supported all the way
  • Want to stop swapping your valuable time for a wage packet, and instead build a business where YOU are the boss

However, I believe that WA will not be suitable for you if you:

  • Think you can ‘get-rich-quick’ without much effort on your part
  • Do not have or are not willing to put in the time and effort needed or write the content to drive people to your site
  • Think that everything should be available to everyone for free
  • Are still thinking like an employee and want to exchange your time for money – i.e. you are looking for a job!

if you think you fall into the ‘YOU WILL LOVE WA’ category, and are looking for a sign of what you need to do next: THIS IS IT!


Of course this is my sense of humour coming out, but I can tell you that Wealthy Affiliate is NOT A SCAM. I am a real person, you can look me up, email me through this site, or you can visit my other website to see what I’ve been working on at

And here are some other sites that people I know from Wealthy Affiliate have created that are earning them an income every day.

For cat lovers

For new mothers

Successful living

Freedom enabled

Learn Italian

These are just a few of the many hundreds of sites that are being created every day at Wealthy Affiliate. I know all these people personally and can vouch that each and every one of them started off like you and I – with a desire to make a change in their lives and they have done it through Wealthy Affiliate.



How to make money from your website

How to be successful at affiliate marketing

What is blogging about?

Affiliate Disclosure: I will earn a small commission if you purchase products by clicking on links in this blog.


  1. WOW — this is amazing and I love the fact that Wealthy Affiliate will actually show me how to build a website — most of the other companies out there don’t do that, and so I have never tried this out, but since I am SO tired of working full time, I think I may just check this out! If it’s free, then there is nothing to lose! Thanks for a great post! So glad I came across it in my google search for a better life…!

    1. Thank you Amy. You can definitely start at Wealthy Affiliate for free and it will show you how to create and monetise a site. All you need is an idea of things that you are interested in and can talk about – hobbies, experiences, life! I’m glad that you found the site too and I look forward to meeting you on WA someday as well. All the best with your search for a new life – the truth is out there! 🙂 Gail

  2. I have been thinking about an affiliate marketing site for some time now, and this may just be the extra push I need to get started. I love the community aspect that you mentioned. You talk about the starter program that you can try for free. Is there a free trial period and how long is it? Also, is it possible to make money online with the starter program? Again, I am very interested in getting started and have done some research, I just need a little push. Thanks!

    1. Hi Steve. Thanks for your comment and for reading the post. With Wealthy Affiliate you can absolutely start for free. Once you join, you can take as much time as you want to do the initial courses and set up your first site. If you want to join the premium membership, then there is a special offer in the first 7 days, where you can join for only $19, otherwise it is the normal $49 per month after that period. So effectively you can ‘try it out for free’ forever. I do recommend the premium option however if you are serious about starting an online business but there is no rush – you can do it in your own time and at your own pace. There are many people online that have made money with the free starter program yes, but I would say that most of those, once they realise that they can make money, reinvest it in their business and go premium, even for a few months to get them started. This is only what any serious business owner would do with their business once it is up and running, I think: reinvest to grow and develop it. All the best in your search, and I hope you consider this a gentle ‘push’ in the right direction. Gail

  3. This is a very good representation of what Wealthy Affiliate is all about. From the training to the help to the pros and cons, I think you covered it all very well. I am glad you pointed out it is not a get-rich-quick-scheme, because it does take a lot of effort even with the tremendous step-by-step training. I completed all the training and created about 30 posts in my first two months, so I am proof that it can be done. And, this is my first website.
    Great article. Thanks.

    1. Hello Curtis. Thank you for reading and commenting on the article. I’m glad you too have found Wealthy Affiliate and that you have used it so successfully in your first 2 months. 30 posts in that time is great going and you will have set yourself up well for the future of your business and your site. I’m glad you mention the effort involved as I don’t want to give the impression that you can just join and then sit back, waiting for the money to roll in. It’s a business and you have to treat it as such. But if you do, the rewards are their to be claimed. All the best with your own site. It seems that you are going great guns, so well done. Gail

  4. It is crucial that you start an online business the right way. And Wealthy Affiliate will give you the foundation to build on. Furthermore, WA has the best online community for beginning marketers there is. I endorse the post, WA is where to start.

    1. Hi Maurice. Many thanks for reading this and leaving your comment. I’m glad that you agree that Wealthy Affiliate really is the place for beginners to start. It’s what has helped me to create both of my sites and begin earning an income. And it’s just so much fun I can’t wait to get to work in the morning. Beats the M25 traffic any day! Have fun. Gail

  5. Hi there! I’m a student and I’m searching for a part time job online. I heard great things about wealthy affiliate and I’, interested on doing it. But my problem is that I don’t know how it works and if its worth it. Luckily, I found and read your article which is really informative and helpful. I will surely try to do wealthy affiliate and hope that I could start earning money like others. I really appreciate your time and effort sharing this to people like me.

    1. Hi John.  Thank you for your comment. I think that Wealthy Affiliate is perfect for students and people who need a part time income because you can work on it in your own time. I know several students who are already members who are doing very well in the program. You must remember though that it does take a while to get started but the rewards will be much more long reaching than anything else because every time to write a post it is there forever for people to read. It is very different to exchanging your time for money.  

      If you do become a member, (and I hope you do), then I advise looking at another post I wrote which is about tips for new member:

      All the best and I will look out for you at WA. Gail

  6. Hi,
    great post. I believe like you that affiliate marketing is one of the best way to get started. I am in Wealthy Affiliate as well ;).

    The best thing about Wealthy Affiliate is that there is a clear path from 0 to have everything in place.

    I just started but can I ask you how long did it takes for you to everything ready?


    1. Hi Marco. Thank you for your comment and for reading my article. I’m so glad that you have found Wealthy Affiliate as I honestly believe it to be the very best place for people to start and learn affiliate marketing. In answer to your question, I think that everyone get there in there own time. It took me 6 months to complete the 5 initial courses and then to go onto the Bootcamp training which I’ve been working though too. I think that the consensus is that it takes about 6 months for Google to really trust and notice your site so that is when the traffic really starts to flow. It also depends on how active you are and how much you write. I know people who have done really well and worked really fast but others who are happier taking their time and getting their in the end.It’s a bit like the question, how long is a piece of string? 

      If you want more information, there is a good blog post recently which lists some of the successes of people over the last 7 years which makes great reading:

      All the best with your business and come back soon. Gail

      1. I’m doing my Third year in Diploma of tourism Management, I’m willing to start a business but before i can do that I need someone that can be my coach in making a Business Plan that can make my business to go forward, so If you can use my email so that we can talk further on :, my idea is to be a Travel Agent.

        1. HI Xollie. Thank you for your comment. I will certainly send you an email. If you want to start a business online then I highly recommend the wealthy affiliate training. It will help guide you in starting a website and I’m sure you will find information about drawing up a business plan online too. There are a lot of people to help you at WA but your decision to start a business must be one you are committed to or it will not work, however many people you have to help. Gail

    1. Hi David. Good to meet you and thanks for your comment. Hope you are doing well with your own online business. Any questions, please feel free to ask. All the best. Gail

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