I see them all of the time, the ads that say you can start a home based business on the Internet. Sometimes it may be something like selling on Ebay.com, or it may be becoming an affiliate of a site like Amazon.com. It could even be learning how to sell products using Google’s Adwords advertising program. No matter what the opportunity is it seems all you really hear about are the people who tried and failed, unless of course you are on the site trying to sell you a new program, then you will find countless testimonials of people making thousands of dollars instantly.
Let’s take a look at one of the most popular ways to try and earn an online income, blogging. It is easy to start, you just throw up a site and start writing, right? If it were really that easy there would be more people doing it full time. Wait a second, I just said full time. That sounds like a job. So guess what, if you really want to be successful you probably should treat is as more than just a job even, you should treat it as a business.
Starting an online business, whether it be a blog or a full fledged retail shopping site, is really more similar to a brick and mortar business than you think. If you were to start a business today you would need a few things, some of which are a plan, a location, inventory, staffing and advertising. Similarly, if you were to try to earn an online income you would need a plan, a site, something to provide to your readers or clients, someone to work on the site and a way to get the word out and drive traffic to your site. Most people that try to start earning an online income do not know what they really want to do. They wander aimlessly around on the Internet creating a blog, registering for a few affiliate products, signing up for new programs and never really defining what how how they are going to make money.
The first thing you need to do is sit down and decide what type of business do you want to run. Do you like to write? Do you like to sell? You can start almost any type of business online. You could even focus on just driving traffic to other sites that sell. The most important thing is to make a plan, even if that means just writing down all your ideas and focusing on one to start. Go with that and focus your time and energy on developing the plan.
Next, like in a brick and mortar business you need a location. Get your own domain name and actually pay for a hosting account. Spend some time creating a name that fits your business, but don’t get too worried about it. Most people probably would not have thought the name Google would eventually become synonymous with search, or the main portal to information on the Internet would be known as Yahoo. Just get a good name and build your brand. Maybe you’ll be the next big thing.
Most businesses have to maintain an inventory. If you are starting a blog site you are going to need content. There are sites on the Internet that will provide free content, however if you can write or have someone create original content it would be to your benefit. If you plan on selling products online you have to decide on different vendors that will allow you to distribute their products. This can become complicated for the beginner. I would suggest start by affiliating yourself with a program that will allow you to link to their products for those just getting started.
The next step to running a business is staffing. Are you going to be the one to do all of the work? With a blog you could probably outsource the work of providing content. You can find free content online, but you run the risk of duplicating something already published on a number of other sites. You could also just pay a freelance writer on a per article or per word basis to write your content. A couple of other things to consider are whether you have enough technical skill to do all of the back office type of work, like programming and developing a site.
Finally once you have planned and created your business you need a way to market it. Some of it could come naturally from the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing if you have optimized your site, but that could take time. You could try paying for advertising with pay per click services like Google’s Adwords or Yahoo’s Search Marketing, but be ready to pay, and plan to keep paying for as long as you do this type of marketing. Another way to build traffic to your site is to write articles about the products you promote, or participate in forums and blogs that are related to your business. Either way you have to start building credibility in order to have staying power, just like you need to have a product that is valuable to your clients in a brick and mortar store, you need the same online.