Quitting the nine-to-five grind in lieu of making money online is the dream of millions; however, if making money online is so easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?

Those of us looking to get our feet wet when it comes to making money online often aren’t really sure where to start. After all, ecommerce comes in many shapes and sizes. While some entrepreneurs are building their digital empires through flipping websites, others are wheeling and dealing through platforms such as eBay with great success.

Instead of diving head-first into trying to make your first dollar online, consider some methods that may be seemingly unconventional yet have relatively low barriers to entry. In fact, these three techniques require more of your time versus an initial financial investment. If you’re looking to get started with making “easy” money but don’t want to break the bank, consider these options first to discover where your strengths are.

Penny Stocks

You’re probably familiar with the concept of penny stocks: that is, relatively low-priced stocks (often under $5) which are traded beyond traditional stock markets. Many of these markets exist online, making penny stocks an attractive option for those who don’t want to spend big yet want to see a potential return on their investment. The question remains: how do you I become the next penny stock success story?

There’s no doubt that penny stocks can be risky in the sense that can be quite volatile. However, the initial investment on penny stocks is only a fraction of bigger stocks on the market, it is possible to turn relatively small investments into big returns (think: $1,500 into $1 million over the course of a few years).

Sound too good to be true? Not if you know what to look for. By taking the time to understanding how to profit from penny stocks based on the advice of the pro’s, you’ll be better poised for success when you get started trading online.

Affiliate Marketing

The process of setting up a website or niche blog as a means of making passive income online is nothing new; however, it’s arguably easier and cheaper than ever to get started.

The concept of affiliate marketing is simple: pick a potentially profitable niche, set up a website, write content surrounding your niche, insert affiliate links and drive traffic.

While doing so is easier said than done, the initial investment for a domain and webhosting is easily less than $100 annually if you shop around. Likewise, the wealth of free SEO tools and flexibility of platforms such as WordPress make it easy to create a site that looks like a million bucks. Since many affiliate programs are free, you’re mainly investing your time into such a project.

There are billions of dollars made per year through affiliate programs: with the right niche and killer content, your share could be just around the corner.

Digital Products

Selling a product online doesn’t sound particularly cutting-edge; however, selling informational products is transforming the lives of many entrepreneurs online. Entrepreneur and lifestyle-hacker Tim Ferriss recommends selling digital products with low overhead (such as e-books and how-to guides) at a relatively low price point, noting such products’ potential to make millions.

With platforms such as Amazon’s digital marketplace available at your disposal, your potential product’s initial investment has more to do with time versus dollars. Not unlike affiliate marketing, much of your success will be based on your subject or niche; therefore, think of something you’re passionate about and start writing.

Making money online doesn’t have to rely on huge risks and high investments. Instead, start small in order to find your strengths and potential when it comes to building revenue.