It seems like yesterday that top business commentators were deriding the new-found enthusiasm of digital entrepreneurs as they set out to make money from the Internet, so, in honour of the tremendous advances that the World Wide Web has brought to mankind, Living Health Shack decided to bring you five of the top ways people are earning money on the Internet today.
A New Globally Connected World
In the 1990’s many businesspeople thought the prospects for making money from the Internet were a pipe-dream; simply a fairy tale. Making serious money from the Web was an outrageous concept. Yet as that decade drew to a close it was already dawning on many that the world had become so much more interconnected than it ever had in the past.
As the 90’s ended the world feared it would be brought to a shuddering halt with the Y2K virus. This was not some killer disease from the jungles of Africa. Instead, this virus was located inside many computers, and its threat to humanity lay in its suspected ability to crash most of the world’s computers, taking with it banking and stock-trading systems along the way.
The damage this virus would do was estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. From small beginnings the Internet had grown so large people on almost every continent would be affected, brought to their knees as their economies crashed around them.
New Fears, New Opportunities
The dangers of this new invention of mankind called the World Wide Web were just beginning to be grasped, as the world heaved a collective sigh of relief when 1999 became the year 2000 and international trade and commerce were not vaporized by a computer virus.
Though there were fears the Internet held great promise of new industries, technologies and business models. A new breed of entrepreneurs saw the opportunity the internet presented and launched businesses that became household names.
Google, YouTube, Yahoo and a cheeky book retailer with an innovative business model called Amazon, were among a slew of burgeoning technology-based companies adding their names to colossal industry figures such as Microsoft and Apple. Almost all of the new kids on the block based their businesses on the Internet.
That is, their chief income-generating activities actually were web-based. This was revolutionary thinking in the early Noughties.
Democratization of Hope
All of these changes had the amazing effect of opening-up enterprise to a whole new group of people who ordinarily would not be able to run their own business.
The Internet brought some of the most common barriers to entry crashing down. Often all people need to get started in online business is a computer with software, a stable internet connection, and a small investment of a few hundred dollars to go towards things like graphic design, web-hosting and a reasonable website theme.
Suddenly it has become possible for ordinary, everyday people, to have their own successful business entirely operating online.
The hopes and dreams of regular people to escape the rat-race and earn an income on their own terms has become a reality in the Internet Age. Hope has become democratized
How You Can Get Started with Your Own Online Business
You may have lost your job. Maybe you‘re looking to earn a few extra dollars to supplement the income from your existing job or business. Or, perhaps you are looking to build something that eventually may replace the income from your full-time job, so you can one day soon see that shocked look on your bosses face as you tell them they are no longer needed. IMAGINE THAT!
Whatever is motivating you to start your own online business there are some things you need to get in order before you launch your business into the big bad world. It is important before you start a business, whether that is online or a regular bricks and mortar enterprise, to effectively plan your business. Preparation is the key to success.
Plan to Succeed
A good business plan is the best way to give your business the best start in life it can get. This may seem like a boring idea but if you don’t do some critical thinking about your business before it starts it may never take-off the way you would like it to.
Business Plan Step #1 – Write Down EXACTLY What Your Business Will be Doing
The first element of planning your business is to state exactly what it is you want to do. ACTUALLY WRITE IT DOWN!
So many businesses start and soon after fail because they never had the solid foundation of a good business plan to steer the way forward for the business at all times. Not knowing – and stating – exactly what your business exists to accomplish is totally CRAZY!
Just having an idea, a vague sense of what you might like to imagine your business will become, is nowhere near good enough. It is a recipe for certain failure.
On the other hand, clearly defined ideas committed to paper, serve to guide you in every decision you make regarding your business. If something is incompatible with your business’s reason for existing then you will know to steer clear of getting involved in it. Your business’s mission will give birth to every subsequent action you take to ensure your business’s success.
Business Plan Step #2 – Determine if Your Business Has a (Sizeable) Market
The next thing you need to focus attention on is the actual market you want to compete in. A market is where people exchange something of value – usually money – for goods and services. The critical thing to understand about this element of the business plan is that without a sizeable-enough market, with consumers who are both willing and able to part with enough money so you can profit from operating your business, you really do not have a viable business idea.
For some forms of online business you can estimate the size of the possible market using a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool will give you an idea of the amount of people looking for information on a particular subject. Some of these people are shoppers and are searching for things to buy; again, Keyword Planner can help to validate your ideas about what market your online business will serve.
Taking this validation a step further, many online entrepreneurs check to see if their business idea is worthwhile getting into by also testing for commonly searched terms on the largest online store, Amazon. Type in your search term, hit enter and see what appears in the search results.
If your business idea shows up on the first page, that’s a good start. Next, scroll down the page and look at the best seller rank for the product that is the first returned in the search results. The first item returned in the search results will appear after the sponsored items a little way down the page.
Click on the product and read the description. This will give you an idea of how to write your sales copy in the not-too-distant future.
Scroll all the way down the page until you reach a grey-coloured box with all of the product specifications. You will see customer reviews. Make a note of how many reviews your potential competitor is receiving, as well as the average star rating. Below this information is the Best Sellers Rank.
The thinking behind validating your product idea by looking at the Amazon Best Sellers rank is that if the top ten searched results are inside an Amazon Best Sellers rank of 20,000, your product will be entering a hot market, giving it an opportunity to sell enough to make money from.
Business Plan Step #3 – Effectively Resource Your Business
The early days of any business are a constant juggle between time, money, and generating enough sales. In the offline world your business would face cost such as rent, electricity, water, telecommunications, advertising and promotions, as well as wages and salaries. Not to mention all of the added costs such as insurances, taxes, application fees, license fees, registration fees, accountants, solicitors; this list could go on.
The simplicity of starting an online business lays in being able to reduce, or even eliminate some of these costs altogether.
Realistically, you are not going to be able to avoid some of these costs. The best thing you can do is prepare for them as you are planning your business.
Effectively resourcing your business will include making sure you have the funds in place to do essential things such as; starting your website, paying for website and graphic designers, setting up your email list, establishing a business email address; purchasing office equipment.
Don’t forget to allow for some advertising and promotions spend. You can’t hope to set your business up and the world accidentally finds it. There a many ways to advertise your online business that don’t require a ton of money, so don’t panic. Just be aware; some marketing costs are a fact of business.
Business Plan Step #4 – Set Your Business Launch Action Plan
After committing your plan to paper, validating your business idea, and making sure you have adequately resourced it, the next step you need to plan for is the action steps you must follow to launch your business.
The date you have launched is the day you have EVERYTHING set-up to sell something and make money from it.
For example, if you are running a webstore this will be when you have inventory available, your website is live, your web catalogue is working, your shopping cart is active, and you can transact and fill an order.
Your launch action plan includes everything you need to do to have your online business ready to go.
Make sure you have a list of all the things you need to get done for launch day.
Some people use a tool called a Gantt Chart to help with ordering and tracking what needs to be done in the correct time sequence. Some activities need to be given priority early on; other things on your to-do list will be tackled in the final stages of your business project’s launch action plan. Other items on the list can be done at any time. A Gantt Chart will help you visually depict this.
You can find a Gantt Chart template for excel here.
Try and aim to advertise and promote your business as it starts and in at least the first few weeks after launch so you can build initial momentum.
If you follow these steps to launch your business you will be off to a flying start!
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How To Make Money On The Internet: Your Guide To Five Top Ways To Earn Money On The Internet Today (Pt1)