Whether you want to work from home, start an online business or just make some extra money through the internet, it all comes down to one major decision: What to sell online.
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How to Earn Online Money
If you have arrived at this page, chances are that you have already decided you want to earn money, online, from home. But before you decide WHAT you are going to sell, do you know HOW to earn online money?
The first step is in deciding on your web based business model. There are infinite online business types, but if you are just starting out there are four main ways you can model your e-commerce sales.
- High potential profit
- Upfront investment required
- High competition
- Labour intensive
One of the earliest forms of e-Commerce, this is undoubtedly the first choice for most people just starting out. When you start an online store from scratch, the basic process looks like this:
You buy or make the products → You list your products for sale on the internet → Customers buy your products → You ship the products → You keep the profits and invest in more products
- Low risk (no upfront investment)
- Low profit margins
- High competition
As the title suggests, Dropshipping is how you start an online store without inventory. The obvious benefit is that you don’t have to buy your products upfront, but the competition is VERY stiff.
You list products for sale online → Customer buys product → You buy product from supplier → Supplier delivers to customer directly → You keep the profit
- Passive income
- No upfront cost, no risk
- Make profit from the competition
You do not actually need to sell any products when you start an affiliate marketing website. Instead, your focus is on creating a website that generates traffic, where you refer customers to someone else’s store, and earn comissions when the customer makes a purchase.
You will still need to know what to sell online – the process looks like this:
Build a niche website → Recommend products → Earn commissions
- Provide services and get paid
- High competition
- Quick earnings
- Labour intensive
If you have any skills that can be performed via the internet, you can hire yourself out as a freelancer. There are any number of online services you could provide, such as being a Virtual Assistant, writing articles and much more. You will need to know how to find online freelance jobs, and the pay might be low at first, but your skills do count as something you can sell online.
Develop skills → Find clients → Provide a service → Get paid per hour, per task or on commission
What To Sell Online
Once you have decided on your business model and methodology, you are ready to start looking into the actual products. Depending on your motivation and business model, you may choose products that sell fast and are easy to ship, products that have high profit margins or simply something that you identify with.
Each of the four e-Commerce models above will have different selection criteria when deciding on what to sell online.
You are assuming all the risk when you operate an online store, but you also get to decide exactly what to sell and how much to charge. Some of the main considerations are:
- Outlay: How much do the products cost upfront?
- Margins: How much profit can you make on each sale?
- Frequency: How often do people purchase these products?
- Distribution: Are the products easy to ship? Is shipping expensive?
- Effort: Do the products sell themselves, or does each sale cost you time and effort?
Dropshipping is very attractive because of the low risk factor. As a result, it is highly competitive. You are going to face online sellers who may have access to better pricing or higher online exposure than you. You may even be competing with your own supplier on price!
To make sales, you will need to choose your products carefully.
- Is your supplier also selling to retail customers?
- Do you have the best price? The best service?
- Are your products relevant to the market?
- Can you recommend your products sincerely and convincingly?
- Are you an expert on your product range?
An “affiliate program” is an agreement with an online merchant to recommend their products in exchange for a commission. Finding them is extremely easy. What is a little more tricky, but very important, is choosing a niche to specialise in.
Your niche will determine the types of products you are recommending. Once you know your niche, join affiliate programs with the relevant products. Consider the following:
- How much commission does the program pay?
- What do products on the program cost?
- How often do those products sell?
- Are you a true believer in the products?
- Will your product recommendations convince people to buy?
- Are sales a one-off, or do you earn residual commissions?
One of the hard parts of freelancing is knowing what skills to offer online. The other hard part is knowing where to offer them. In fact, you may find that, in addition to your existing skill set, you need to develop new skills, and even learn new ways to promote yourself.
Start by considering your current occupation, your hobbies and your passions. Then consider what you want to learn and be able to do! You can even visit common freelancer networks and take a look at the kind of freelance jobs on offer.
- Do you have skills you can do online?
- Can you find people seeking your services?
- What services are people seeking online? Can you do those?
- Are you willing to learn the sills required by freelance employers?
Grow Your Online Income
Once you have chosen your business model and selected the right products, you’ll need to focus on maintaining and growing your online business. Again, this will require different approaches depending on your e-Commerce model.
Having an online store is all well and good, but you will need visitors to your product listings before you make sales. To grow your sales, you need to get your products where people will see them.
This includes increasing traffic to your store, placing your products on other platforms (such as Amazon and eBay) and even paid advertising.
For all intents and purposes, a dropshipper is operating online stores in the same way as any other online retailer. The difference is that you will need to promote your supplier’s products, rather than your own.
The same methods will apply. Improve your store traffic, diversify your sales channels and build trust in your brand.
Since affiliate marketing is almost entirely based on building audience trust and recommending products, promoting your affiliated products is a very straightforward affair – you simply keep adding to your site.
There are techniques available to ensure you keep building web traffic. Content marketing, social media, niche industry networks and advertising can all be incorporated.
When freelancing, you simply need to grow your portfolio in the same way that you would build your resume over time. As you complete jobs and grow your network, you will gain experience and credibility.
Get references, positive reviews and access multiple platforms for finding clients.