Originally published in IMC's Internet Marketing Chronicles
While the primary focus of this newsletter is on teaching you to market your business online, we realize that many of you are just getting started and may not have an established business to promote. Or maybe you're involved with something now, but you're not happy with the way things are going and you're looking for something new. Even if you're happy with the way things are, read on and we'll share a "secret" with you.
There are two choices when it comes to deciding how you're going to make money online - you can either sell someone else's products and services, or you can sell your own. There are pros and cons with each. Aside from that you need to decide on the specific types of products or services that you want to sell, and who you'll sell them to.
You'll want to make these decisions carefully because they can mean the difference between failure, mild success, and literally unbelievable profits. Take it from us, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting your time on unsuccessful ventures. No one has time for that.
There are many ways to make money online, but the first thing you need to do is set your goals. Are you looking to make a few extra bucks in your spare time, or are you looking for a new career? In terms of developing a strategy for making money online the two are completely different, so you need to decide before you go any further.
For the record, we are obligated to dispel any myths you may have about getting rich quick on the Internet - despite what you may have heard, most likely it's not going to happen. Technically it depends on your definition of the words "rich" and "quick," and the amount of effort you put into it, but developing a full-time income online isn't going to happen overnight. Rather, it's the result of many late nights.
If you'd be thrilled to earn an extra $100-2,000 per month in your spare time, you may want to consider joining an affiliate or reseller program, or even a network marketing organization. Maybe you have absolutely no interest in replacing your current career, or you just don't have much time to devote to your online business right now. And that's fine.
On the other hand, maybe you'd just love to tell your boss to take a hike once your online income exceeds the income from your present job. It's not out of the question, and it can happen a lot sooner than you think if you're willing to work hard at it. We're living proof of that.
Spend some time answering these questions for yourself. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Are you looking for relatively quick income, or are you in it for the long haul and willing to be a little more patient? How much time per day can you devote to your business? How much money are you willing to invest in your business?
Affiliate, Click-Thru, And Reseller Programs
The quickest way to start making money on the Internet is to promote someone else's web site, products, or services. Generally speaking all you'll need to concentrate on is advertising, because whomever you're working with normally handles everything else - and this means that you can start making money almost immediately.
If you just want to make a few extra bucks in your spare time, or you don't have much time to devote to an online business, promoting someone else's web site, products, or services may be the best way to get started. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses on the Internet which will pay you to help promote their wares online.
Affiliate or reseller programs as they're commonly called are everywhere these days. There's a good reason for it too, and we'll talk about that in the not too distant future. Each program is different and the range of products and services offered is huge - you can earn some decent money in various ways, selling everything from art to Y2K solutions.
Details on individual affiliate and reseller programs are well beyond the scope of this article, but there are several great resources which are updated regularly and will help you to find a program that's right for you. If you're going to concentrate on selling someone else's products or services, definitely bookmark these sites:
Selling someone else's products and services as your primary source of online income has its pros and cons. For some people the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and it's a great way to start building a nice extra income. It all depends on you and your goals.
Other marketers use affiliate and reseller programs only as a "backend" to their own products or services, to generate additional income without doing much extra work. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of selling other peoples' wares and determine what's right for you.
Advantages of selling someone else's products or services:
Disadvantages of selling someone else's products or services:
If you'd be satisfied with an extra $100-2,000 a month, or you need to earn some cash as quickly as possible, or you have less than an hour per day to devote to an online business, affiliate and reseller programs might be just right for you. You'll still be helping someone else to get rich, but it's the easiest way to get your feet wet in your spare time.
On the other hand, unless the advantages listed above are more important to you than profit potential, consider developing your own products and services. With just a little more effort you could be running the show - and keeping a majority of the profits for yourself. If you're determined to make more than a few thousand dollars per month online, realize that you're probably going to have to do your own thing.
There's nothing wrong with commission-based marketing, but it can't be your primary focus if you're after the big money. Selling other peoples' products and services is best used as a backend to your own products. Once you have established a customer base and/or online community, your credibility enables you to easily develop additional income streams by recommending other peoples' related products or services.
Creating Your Own Profit-Centers, Products, And Services
Nothing else can compare to creating and marketing your own products, and it really is the only way to take total control of your financial future. When you sell your own stuff, you'll make more money and have more control over your business - and that's extremely important.
But how does one decide which product or service to sell? And where is it going to come from? To most people, the idea of developing a product and selling it for a profit is something that only happens on those late-night infomercials. But it is possible. Keep reading because we're going to explain the one concept that will help you more than anything else.
We are asked all the time, "What is the best thing to sell online?" While information and computer or Internet related items are probably the hottest sellers, you can sell almost anything on the Internet. If the idea of creating a tangible product or service just doesn't interest you at all, you can even build a huge business selling advertising to other sites.
There's just one thing to remember, and it's where 99% of all marketers drop the ball - never create a product or service and then try to figure out who to sell it to. That's completely backwards, and you'll probably waste an enormous amount of time and money in the process.
What you should do instead is focus on an existing market, figure out what they want to buy, and then create something to fill their needs. Once you've done that you simply let them know it's available.
Since you have already determined that there's an existing demand for it, your product or service should literally sell itself. Why waste time trying to convince people that they need your product when you can just as easily create and sell them what they already want to buy?
Not every product, service, or site that you create is going to be a winner, but if you approach product development in this way it will really tip the odds in your favor. If it sounds too easy, that's because it is.
Most people don't seem to understand this concept, and it's a shame. They fall in love with a product and then try to figure out how to sell it, but more often than not they can't. Promise us you won't be one of them.
You're going to have to know, or be willing to learn, just about everything there is to know about your specific industry. That's pretty hard to do if you're not sincerely interested in it, and probably not much fun.
Keep your ears and eyes open. When someone says "There must be an easier way to ..." or "I wish there was a way to ..." that's a new product waiting to be created. Hit the search engines and search for popular sites related to your areas of expertise or interest. Look for products and services that other people are selling successfully, figure out how they are doing it, then add your own unique twist and copy their success!