In Part 0, we laid the foundation for building an online business empire; basically, we talked about what we're going to talk about. Now, onto the “real work.”
The first thing you have to decide on is “What is my business going to be?”
Some things to consider:
- What am I good at?
- Do I have any special talents?
- What do I like to do?
- Can I learn what I don't know already?
- Can I work without a boss?
- Can I really work from home, in my pajamas? I mean, really work hard?
- Is there enough material in me to make my own products?
- Do I have industry connections that will ease my transition into whatever market I wish to enter?
- Can I get help?
- How much in liquid assets can I avail myself of? Meaning, how long can I go without making any money before I have to get a “real job?”
- Do I have the support of my spouse or significant other?
Many of these “issues” can be alleviated simply by starting out “part time.” Keep your day job and build your business every other waking, non-family hour.
Let's get to the real meat of this, then. What type of business should I start? There are a few excellent choices to start with.
- Sell other people's products. Known as “affiliate marketing,” this is one of the easiest businesses to get into. And it can be very lucrative. Many affiliate programs pay 50, 75, or even 100 percent commissions (they hope to sell the buyer on “back-end” products after you sell them the first product). It's not hard to imagine how selling a $100 product with a 75 percent commission can add up! Sell 3 a day, $225! Or, over $6000 a month. All of these sales, too, by the way, are done fairly passively, meaning you don't have to call anybody or continually sell. Once you set up a sales process, you're on auto-pilot?
- Create your own products. You have specialized knowledge that other people don't have yet they seek it. You might be the parent of a “special needs” child, or you may have run the marketing operation of a small advertising agency. You might know how to train animals or have a special talent for baking cakes. Explore your experiences over the course of your lifetime and you'll come up with dozens of product ideas for which you can create your own products. Then, you can build your own affiliate army and have other people sell your wares.
- This one is a hybrid of the two above, of sorts. Private Label Rights (PLR) materials are materials that you get (either free or you pay for them), modify to suit your tastes and — more importantly — the tastes of your potential customers, and sell. In effect, you're selling other people's products (as in affiliate marketing), but you're changing them up (sort of like creating your own product), but after the initial outlay of labor and/or money, you keep all of the profits. I have a really good course on starting and running your own PLR business called Internet Millions.
- On the flipside of buying or acquiring PLR materials, why not create them? You sell your PLR to people who need well-written material. You don't have to worry much about marketing, setting up niche websites, the sales process, and the like. You sell to the dozens of very good PLR membership sites that exist; they're always looking for good material (and trust me, there is a lot more crap writing out there than good).
- Membership sites. This is where you serve up content but for a price. It's a great business model IF you have a lot of content because you receive regular monthly payments, rather than a one-time payment for a product you sell. However, I think a membership site is something you work into your business plan after you've established a profitable business.
- There's always eBay and Amazon. If you have physical products like books, gadgets, or other “hard goods,” these two sites are ripe for building a business.
- Advertising. There are a lot of notable blogs that make a considerable 5 or even 6 figure monthly income based on serving up ads on your own site for other people. Google's AdSense is the big player on campus, but there are others, most notably yahoo and Microsoft.
Of course, you can (and I encourage you to) marry more than one of these methods into your business plan. I would suggest that you start with no more than 2, however. My choices would be PLR and/or affiliate marketing PLUS AdSense. I would spend very little time on AdSense, and my thinking goes like this. AdSense will serve your visitors with ads that could actually help them, but they can also hinder your sales. For example, let's say you're promoting (“affiliate marketing”) a product that promises to solve a particular snoring problem. On your website, you write a post or page that talks about the negative health effects of snoring and you conclude with a link to the product you're promoting (or “pre-selling”).
If you have an AdSense ad on that page, it is very likely that the ad will be about snoring and how to stop it (in fact, this is exactly how the ads are supposed to work — they aren't called “contextual” for nothing). So instead of leading your reader to the sales page of the product you want to sell, you have sent them to a competitor.
Not good. Use sparingly. I suggest you place contextual ads only on pages your are not selling from. Seriously.
So there you have it — a few very good methods to get your online business empire going. Next up, in Part 2, we'll brainstorm ideas, keywords, site concepts, and other things.