With over 300,000 “Internet Home Business” related searches on the internet every month, it’s safe to say that there is a lot of demand for information on how to make money on the internet. Sadly, this also means that there are a lot of shady characters preying on this group of people.
I knew someone who fell for one of these once - they taught him how to make money online, and then all he did was sell seminars - on how to make money online. The fact that he had never actually made any money online was beside the point… I guess. Not surprisingly, I’m not a big supporter of his business.
Can anyone make money online? I do believe so. But not everyone WILL make money online, because as I have said before, making money on the internet takes a long time to learn, and most people give up because it can be extremely frustrating.
My one piece of advice for starting an internet home business is this :: Don’t expect to make any real money for 365 days (or so!) . Although I will add that service-based businesses tend to bring in revenue faster, I would still allow for a full year to replace your outside-the-home salary.
The good news about this industry is that as long as you are willing to put in the hours (days… weeks…. months….. ) to learn the ropes, you can bootstrap your business with extremely little money, generally speaking. Some businesses take more to start than others. I’ve probably directly invested less than $3000 getting this blog up and running, and now revenue is increasing at about a 125-140% pace every month after being in business for 16 months.
So, where do you start from here? Some general rules of thumb:
- Pre-packaged programs only work as much as you can customize it and make it unique and your own. Even then, techniques that work for one niche won’t work in all niches.
- Be wary of any “system” that promises instant results (especially anything that sounds like a get-rich-quick scheme!)
- Knowing the basics of html, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media, and traditional marketing and sales are a must.
- Every business is made stronger by specializing in a tight niche. Know your audience and stick to it.
Unless you have a brilliant tech idea that makes venture capitalists drool, you need to determine where your strengths are and which business model you plan on following (and you don’t need this list). I have run three home-based businesses in my life, all of which leveraged my current skill set as the foundation for building the business.
Look over the following list and single out the ones in which you have at least some experience. You probably won’t have all of the skills necessary, so don’t let that stop you! All you have to do is work hard and be willing to learn.
What is it? :: Promote other company’s products and services on your website. When a sale is made, you get a commission.
Most important skills needed :: PPC (Pay Per Click marketing), sales copywriting, web marketing
Best learning resources :: ReveNews, ABestWeb Forum, ShoeMoney, Rosalind Gardner, Affiliate Classroom
What is it? :: A chronologically based website filled with articles, reviews, or journal-style writing. You can sell advertising or incorporate affiliate marketing on a blog to earn money.
Most important skills needed :: Copywriting, social networking, affiliate marketing, web marketing
Best learning resources :: ProBlogger, JohnChow, DoshDosh, eMoms at Home
eBay & Auction Selling
What is it? :: Selling or reselling products via an online marketplace like Ebay, Amazon Auctions, or Craigslist. You can sell used goods, buy goods wholesale, or use a drop-shipping service.
Most important skills needed :: Merchandising, sales copywriting, customer service
Best learning resources :: Ebay Learning Center, SaleHoo Training Center, JennyHow
What is it? :: Selling products or a technology-based service on your own website.
Most important skills needed :: All of the above, below and then some!
Best learning resources :: Entrepreneur.com’s Online Business Startup Guide
Arts & Crafts
What is it? :: Creating and manufacturing your own product lines and selling them online.
Most important skills needed :: Creativity, sales, e-commerce
Best learning resources :: About.com Craft Business 101 Series, Barbara Brabec
Internet Research Business
What is it? :: Doing internet research for corporations, law firms and other small businesses.
Most important skills needed :: Librarian-style research skills, customer service
Best learning resources :: Entrepreneur.com’s Information Consultant Startup Guide
What is it? :: Providing professional services such as copywriting, design, photography, illustration, and programming usually billed on an hourly rate.
Most important skills needed :: Sales, customer service, trade-specific knowledge
Best learning resources :: FreelanceSwitch, AllFreelance.com
What is it? :: Recruiting candidates for companies who pay a fee when a hire is made.
Most important skills needed :: Sales, relationship building, networking
Best learning resources :: RecruitersNetwork, HireAbility
What is it? :: Providing your specialized industry knowledge to corporations, entrepreneurs, investors or other businesses.
Most important skills needed :: Trade-specific knowledge, sales, customer service
Best learning resources :: Entrepreneur.com’s Consulting Business Startup Guide
VA (Virtual Assistant)
What is it? :: Providing administrative and business support to other business owners and small businesses.
Most important skills needed :: Customer service, organization
Best learning resources :: VirtualAssistantStartups, Entrepreneur.com’s Business Support Startup Guide
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