If you’re new to online businesses, I HIGHLY recommend taking my course “The complete guide to creating an online business“
This course is designed for people with limited knowledge, and takes you through everything from market research, to building a site, to marketing it online.
It is NOT a get rich quick scheme (which I like to call “get poor slowly” schemes). It is a practical, step by step guide to building an online business that will earn you money right into the future.
People think that there is some magical way of earning money online quickly – but the truth is running an online business is just like running any other business – it takes time, dedication, and patience. However – there is one VERY important difference. It is A LOT cheaper to get started! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a few hundred dollars for hosting, domain names, website design, etc.
My course is not only for online businesses – it’s also perfect for those people who have a bricks and mortar business they want to promote online.
Click here to start the course now!
Different types of online business options:
I like to break websites down into 3 different kinds: those selling products/services, those selling information, and those selling advertising. Of course, there is often some cross-over, but it’s handy to think of things in these terms.
Options for online businesses:
1) Selling products on www.Ebay.com
Ebay.com is the classic way to make money online, and one of the easiest. I actually made my first online income using ebay, and many others have done the same. My business was importing video projectors from the United States and selling them on ebay in Australia (back then they were a lot cheaper in the US, as many things still are). I would buy them in the US (on ebay), ship them over, make sure they were OK, and then take photos of them and sell them on ebay in Australia. I made a few thousand dollars doing this, which at the time seemed like a lot for not much work.
What a lot of people do these days is buy things on www.alibaba.com, which is a site with links to manufacturers all over the world (mainly in China), get them shipped over by the container load (shipping a container is actually not very expensive) and then sell them on ebay. Depending on the product, and the demand, you can make a lot of money doing this.
A good way to research demand first is by having a look at what’s selling on ebay, and how many people are selling it, and how many bidders there are. Then, once you’ve found something you think might sell well, buy a few of them first (you don’t have to buy a whole container load) and see how they sell. If they sell well, buy a few more next time and sell those, and build up from there.
2) Websites selling physical products or services
This is a little bit like ebay, except you create your own website to sell your products or services through. You can then drive traffic to the website using search engines such as google.com, and people can purchase your products or services directly from the site.
Whatever you want to sell, this is one of the best ways of selling it. Almost everybody uses google.com these days to search for anything, and if you have a well designed website that people can find easily on the search engines, then chances are you are going to sell quite a lot (depending on the demand of course – have a look at my “search engine marketing” blog posts to work out how many people are searching google.com for a particular product or service and see how big your potential market might be).
If you don’t already have products or services to sell, you can either buy products from somewhere like alibaba.com, create your own product, or sell services that you or someone you know is good at. I have a friend who installs solar systems, so I created a website for him to sell solar systems through. He now sells quite a few a month. My wife is a Spanish teacher, so I created a website offering Spanish courses, and it’s now one of the biggest in Australia (see www.thespanishcat.com) If you don’t know someone who offers the service you’d like to sell – find someone and outsource the work to them, and make a cut for yourself. You’ll be earning money online in no time!
One great place to find people to outsource work to is www.odesk.com or www.freelancer.com On these sites you can find people in India or the Phillipines or pretty much any country in the world willing to do almost any type of computer based work cheaply. Say you want someone to create a website for you, or do some data-entry, or compile a database or spreadsheet, or even produce a report or article. For $4+ per hour you’ll be able to find someone to do the job.
Maybe you decide you’d like to start a new business selling websites, but you don’t actually know how to design them. Well, you sell the websites and get someone on odesk.com or freelancer.com to do the design work. You can even find people on there to answer the phone for you! Their English isn’t always perfect, but often as not it’s pretty damn good! These sites are especially useful once you start building your online empire and need people to work cheaply for you.
3) Websites selling Information
This is actually quite a good way to start making money online. If you know a lot about a certain topic, you can create an ebook, an e-course, or just a blog about that topic and either sell it or sell advertising on your site. Imagine if you know how to make fantastic cakes that for some reason are super special and nobody else knows how to make them (maybe they taste great but don’t make you fat, for example). Well – write a blog, an ebook, or just create a website about it.
If it’s an ebook or an e-course you can sell it (in the same way I sell my course on this website), or if it’s a blog giving away information for free you can sell advertising on your site or become what’s called an affiliate marketer (basically advertising other peoples products and earning a commission).
4) Affiliate Marketing
This is a great way to make money online. You don’t actually have to have any product or service at all – all you do is create websites with great content that people like to read, and then put links on them to other people’s products or services and earn a commission when people click your links and buy from them.
One of the best affiliate websites is www.clickbank.com This has a huge list of products or services that all offer commissions for referred sales. Imagine you’ve created a website about cakes – well, on clickbank you’ll find hundreds of people who will offer you a commission when you refer people to their website who buy their cake recipe books, or maybe their weight loss programs! This way, you don’t need to create the product yourself, you just make money from referrals. All you do is create the website (for a full guide on how to create a website – try my “complete guide to making money online” course).
5) Google Adsense
Google adsense is another great way to make money without actually having a product or a service. All you do is create a content rich website, about something that you know a lot about or are interested in, and then put Google ads on it. Have you ever been surfing a site and seen google ads on the side? That’s what I’m talking about. Each time someone clicks on these ads, google will pay you for it! You can make anywhere between a few cents and $5-$10 per click! Google even automatically selects ads relevant to your website content – so you don’t have to worry about anything. You just paste a bit of code into your website and then start making money from them!
Of course – for this to work you have to have a website and get traffic to it.
Infolinks.com is another site that enables you to monetize your content. Instead of displaying ads on the side of your content infolinks chooses certain words on your page automatically and makes them into links to their advertisers websites (relevant to your topic, of course). Then, when people click on them, you get paid! Installation is very simple, and payouts are usually higher than they are with Google adsense.
7) Websites selling Advertising
Many websites don’t actually sell any products or services themselves – they sell ADVERTISING space. That’s right, nearly every really successful e-business sells advertising. Google.com makes all their money from adwords (the paid ads at the side of the search listings), facebook makes their money from ads (and from selling information – but that’s slightly different!), classified sites make money by selling advertising space and getting lots of visitors to their site, dating sites sell memberships that allow people to connect to one another (basically advertising – except you’re advertising yourself!) Get the idea.
Google is at the top of this pyramid of advertising, but there are lots of sites under Google that make a lot of money by offering searchable directories of a particular product, and charging people to advertise in this directory. A car sales site is specifically designed to be searched on for cars, or a job site for jobs. They make people’s lives easier by allowing them to narrow down all the possibilities and find exactly what they want.
Now, you may think that this is the best type of online busines – you set it up and it runs by itself. And in some ways you’re right – these sites, once working, can make a LOT of money for not much work. However, they are VERY DIFFICULT to set up and to make them start working. There is a lot of competition in this arena, and if this is your first online business I would not recommend starting off with one of these types of businesses. It’s difficult to build up enough traffic and enough paying customers to make it work.
If you have a good knowledge about a certain subject, and the ability to write and explain things clearly, why not try writing an ebook? Through Amazon.com you can convert it to kindle format and sell it through the Amazon website. I’ve never tried this myself, but I have a friend who’s doing it and he makes around $1000 a month just from one small book he wrote. Not bad for the few weeks work it took him to write it!
If you’re interested in learning more about creating websites, making them convert visitors to buyers, and driving traffic to them through search engines, then try my “complete guide to making money online” course.