The short answer is, “No.”  You can effectively launch an online business without a single dime.  All you need is a computer and an Internet connection, which do cost money, but most likely you have access to those two components already.

Many an entrepreneur has gotten his or her start as an affiliate marketer.  Aside from shuffling around in your attic to find something you can sell for a profit on eBay, affiliate marketing is your best bet for a zero-dollar start-up business in the Internet marketing industry.

All you need is a free ID that you can get on PayDotCom, Amazon, Commission Junction, LinkShare, or ClickBank (to name a few), and the ability to learn about free traffic sites and you can begin generating an affiliate income without investing a penny of your own money.

That said, it’s best if you save a few dollars here and there to invest in some tools that are going to make your business efforts a whole lot easier.  For instance, you could sit around and brainstorm for five days to get a list of keywords – or, pay for a one-day subscription to WordTracker and harvest thousands of keywords in less than an hour.

You could also use nothing but web 2.0 social sites that are free to host your content and affiliate links.  Or, you could pony up the $10 one-time fee for a domain name and $5 to $10 a month for hosting and have your own business presence on the ‘net.

You can also spend days and weeks searching for information about how to do a task that will help you make money, such as how to master pay-per-click advertising. Or, you can invest in a step-by-step guide to shorten your learning curve.

What many experienced business owners suggest is to take a look at your budget and see what you have to invest.  If you have to start out with nothing, go for it – but set aside a few of your profits to pour back into your online efforts.

Everything you’ll want to invest in is built to ease your workload and hasten the procedures, so your income will increase faster and with less labor needed from you as you learn to wield these tools in your favor.