If you’re new to the world of internet business, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I remember when I was first getting started – one week, I’d try a new business model, only to be distracted by something new and shiny the next week.
So today, I want to cover a few of the different business model options that are available online, as well as the skill sets and personalities that are best suited to each. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking out my free Guide to Internet Business Models for more info on this subject. Let’s get started!
Consider each of the following scenarios, determine which one best suits you and get to work!
Scenario: Sarah, I don’t want to deal with running a business and doing things like customer support, registering a legal business name or paying taxes. What I really want is to make a little extra money each month for pizza and beer without a bunch of hassle.
Solution: Consider taking paid online surveys or mystery shopping. Both are low-investment options (in terms of time and money) that’ll put some extra cash in your pocket. As an added bonus, you get to share your opinion about new and existing product lines. For more tips on how to get started with either of these options, check out:
Scenario: Sarah, I’m not looking to build a company, but I do want to escape my horrible, horrible day job. I have a skill set or career that could be done online, but I don’t know how to make the transition to working for myself.
Solution: Sounds like you should be working as a freelancer! Global freelancing opportunities abound in different industries, from writing to web design to computer programming, and even non-technical fields like accounting and engineering. To get started, determine what types of clients you want to work for, put together a portfolio of your work and start drumming up business!
Scenario: Sarah, I *love* to talk about myself! I have opinions, and I want to share them with the world! (Oh, and by the way, I’d like to make some money while I’m doing it…)
Solution: Whoa there, Tiger – sounds like you need to get into blogging! Now, let me say up front that blogging is no easy path to internet riches. It takes an incredible amount of work to develop your voice, build up an audience and actually start earning money. But if you’re bursting with ideas to share, it can be very rewarding to build a business around a personality or authority blog.
To get started as a blogger, determine what you want to write on (it’s best to focus on a single niche instead of writing about anything and everything that comes to your mind), study the authority bloggers writing in your chosen industry, then register a domain name, install WordPress and get to writing!
Scenario: Sarah, I’ve got a knack for selling. I’m always the first one in my group of friends to pick up on new trends, and I’m great at uncovering people hidden motivations to get them to buy. I guess you could call me a wheeling, dealing son of a gun (assuming, of course, that this was the Wild West…), and I want an internet business model that reflects these strengths.
Solution: Have you ever considered ecommerce? As an online retailer, you find products to sell (whether from your attic, from a dropship supplier or direct from worldwide manufacturers) and then you sell them through a number of different venues – including eBay and other auction sites, classified ads or your own ecommerce website.
Scenario: Sarah, I like the idea of selling products and I’d love to have a business that puts money in my pocket each month, but all this stuff about sourcing products and selling directly makes me nervous. Is there a way I can make sales without ever having to handle products?
Solution: Why yes, there is! I’d recommend looking into affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you direct people to other merchants’ websites and earn a commission on any sale you help generate. It’s a good way to get your feet wet as an internet retailer without having to worry about stocking your own products or investing in inventory.
If you want to get started with affiliate marketing, read through the weekly updates posted here as part of Case Study #2 – The Community Marketing Challenge, or check out the complete study course that was created as a result of this project.
Scenario: Sarah, I don’t want to sell products, but I know a lot about this one particular subject and I think a lot of people would be interested in what I have to say. Is there a way I could sell information instead of products?
Solution: Absolutely! What you’re describing is info product sales, and it’s a great way to start making money online. There are a number of different resources out there that can help you choose a subject for your info product, develop your materials and set up a website on which to sell them. I recommend checking out Pandecta’s free Guide to Information Products to get started!
In all seriousness, there are tons of different ways to make money online (and the list scenarios described above should by no means be considered comprehensive). The most important thing to do if you’re just getting started is to take a good, hard look at your own strengths and weaknesses.
Love writing? There’s work for you online as a freelance writer or content marketer. But if you hate the thought of writing article after article, you’ll want to avoid business models that involve extensive writing. Remember – you can always learn new skills, but if the thought of learning the skills you’ll need to succeed with a given business model turns you off, it’s best to start looking for another business idea to pursue!
Are you still struggling to find the internet business model that’s right for you? Share your particular strengths and/or weaknesses in the comments section and I’ll offer whatever recommendations I can 🙂