15 years ago, nobody could have predicted that the internet would prove to be such a powerful force for helping people to earn a living. Fast forward to 2017, the methods for growing a home business or even earning a few extra dollars each month appear limitless!
I’ve been building and operating small businesses online for the past 10 years. Here are my top picks to starting out as a beginner.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This sounds like a brand-new concept. Yet the very first affiliate marketing programs started out in the late 90’s, when the internet was a relatively new concept. Back then, the number of programs was small and focused on a limited number of industries; however, things are far more expansive these days!
The benefits of affiliate marketing are obvious, you don’t have to create your own product, set up product carts or expensive e-commerce solutions and you don’t have to worry about inventory too. All these things are taken care of by the merchant you sell for.
The easiest way to get into affiliate marketing, is to setup a blog or simple website and post affiliate links directly into the page. This is what makes the learning curve shallow enough to newcomers dipping their toe into online business.
Of course, it’s not all easy! To build a strong, healthy website that attracts visitors is hard work. You’ll need to spend some time at the beginning on how you’ll attract visitors and exactly what spin you’ll put on your website. For some people, it’s building a lifestyle or fashion blog, whilst for others it might be creating a large review style website for niche products.
Pros: Low barrier to entry and cheap to setup
Cons: That low barrier means you’ll have to become super creative to find the angle that entices visitors to your store.
Somewhat twinned with the idea of affiliate marketing, a bloggers job is to build a large following to their website. Generally, this is done by using SEO, Social Media and platforms like YouTube to showcase products or a lifestyle / hobby.
To create a blog is relatively easy. Hosting and a domain name can be purchased for $10 and many themes for blogging systems like WordPress are completely free; however, this is not where the difficulty for bloggers comes in.
To be a successful blogger and to make handsome money online, you’ll need to be part content producer, and part “personality”. Most successful bloggers are truly immersed in their subject, whether that be marketing, fashion, cars or a general hobby. Whatever you decide to start blogging about, our first advice would be to write about things that really interests you. One blog that’s a great example of this is Georgia Hathaway http://www.georgiahathaway.co.uk/. She’s managed to turn a simple love of fashion into a popular lifestyle blog. She generates traffic using Instagram and if you browse the website, you’ll see she has slowly improved the quality of her work, from writing to photography.
Pros: It’s easy to setup and hugely creative.
Cons: It’s going to be very hard work.
3. Start Your Own Online Shop
If the idea of being an affiliate sounds boring, then how about selling your own products? Thanks to technology coming on leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, you can setup a quality ecommerce store without being a computer programmer.
As for what to sell, it can truly be anything from artwork, fashion, woodwork or even small items that are useful for a hobby.
One of the most interesting businesses I’ve seen recently sells sunshades for classic cars! No large company is interested in this rather small market but for the proud owner of this shop, the demand keeps their PayPal account ticking over nicely!
Pros: If you find the right niche it can be hugely enjoyable.
Cons: You’ll oversee everything, from inventory to your accounts.
4. Ebay Selling
This has somewhat fallen out of favour recently, as hundreds of cheaper merchants from China have entered the marketplace. However, there’s still some niche markets that are completely ignored and for those who like to “think big”, there are merchants on Ebay who sell thousands of products each month.
Our advice, start out small and discover a niche that works for you. Once you get comfortable on the platform you can begin to expand your product range and try new things.
Pros: Low barrier to entry.
Cons: You’ll be competing with everyone else on Ebay.
5. Become A Virtual Assistant
Believe it or not, there are people out there who are willing to pay people to do anything! Okay, maybe not but there are companies who need people to answer phone calls, write quality content or simply carry out accounts or administration work.
Great places to have a look at are Upwork, Craigslist or PeoplePerHour. You’ll be surprised at what types of work are out there!
Pros: Easy to learn and often uses skills people already have.
Cons: Can be hard to find the right gig.
6. Training & Mentoring
Sometimes, the best internet ideas come from what you’re great at away from the keyboard. In the case of training and mentoring this is especially true. A fitness coach can easily setup a small website and advertise for new clients on Facebook, Instagram or even by advertising on Google with AdWords.
Other great examples of this are productivity coaches who create YouTube videos and talk at events. In these cases their online presence can become a huge part of driving new clients to their door.
Pros: Uses skills you have already and builds up a good consultancy style business.
Cons: There are many people trying to do the same thing.
7. Get Paid to Blog
Some companies pay people who have a way with words to write quality content for them. Typically, a company will have an idea for a blog post eg: Top 10 things to do in New Delhi, India. Your job, is to take that brief and write something that will get their visitors hooked!
Of course, this method has come under fire recently due to so called “content mills” that don’t pay particularly well; however, there’s still plenty of companies who need quality writers and are willing to pay a fair rate.
Pros: Easy to get into and no technical knowledge needed.
Cons: Earnings can be scandalously low!
What many visitors to the world’s largest video website don’t realise, is that many video creators earn significant advert revenue every time you visit. Of course, you’ll need to generate many hits to earn any serious money.
Next time you visit YouTube, pay attention to the type of videos being made. You’ll find that many vloggers and video creators are fully fledged online businesses. You will notice that many video makers from India are emerging everyday and believe me that they are making lots of money online through their channel.
To really make an impact on YouTube, you’ll have to be creative and come up with something that’s not been done before. It could be a series of “haul videos”, or it could unbelievably be a series of videos washing extremely expensive cars, like The Car Cleaning Guru: https://www.youtube.com/user/CarCleaningGuru.
Pros: Possibility for outrageous earnings.
Cons: You’ll have to work very hard and draw on all your creativity to get there!
9. Getting Paid for Your Opinion
Sounds amazing that companies would do this, yet market research has been a thing for generations and the internet is helping to make it easier.
By signing up to market research websites, you’ll get access to tests and opinion forms for you to fill in. Each time you fill in a form you’ll make a small amount of money whilst helping large companies and governments to shape the way they view the world.
Pros: Easy to setup and dip into periodically.
Cons: You won’t earn that much.
10. Trading Currencies
This tip comes with a health warning! You probably need to research this opportunity before diving straight in! However, technology has allowed almost anyone to trade currencies, stocks and shares online and in real time, just like a proper trading floor.
To get started, you’ll probably want to research and learn the basics, before dipping your toe into a demo account. These accounts let you play with fake money, placing trades and slowly learning how the markets work before letting yourself loose with your hard-earned dollars.
Like I said, this one is not for the faint hearted!
Pros: Traders can be millionaires!
Cons: And inversely loose the shirt off their back, beware!