Create your own Information product
Possibly the single most profitable way to make money online. If you have the information that somebody else wants or needs why not sell it to them. This is 'The Information Super Highway' after all and we live in an 'information age', people are willing to pay for accurate, timely and reliable information on just about any subject under the sun and in doing so they're helping thousands of people to make money online. Creating an Information product usually involves the writing of an ebook on a highly targeted, and more importantly salable, subject.
Don't let this put you off, you don't need to be a trained writer to write and sell a successful ebook, thousands of everyday people are making an annual six figure income from their e-book, thanks to the power of the Internet. As for what to write about ?, its easier than you think to come up with information products that sell well, just scrapping the surface, everything from business to parenting, from investing to gardening, from real estate to picking winning horses has resulted in a winning, hot selling information product. Everybody has experience in certain areas, that put into print could quiet easily become a big selling ebook. Just look at your hobby, your expertise in you day job, your travel experience etc. as possible starting points to start generating ideas.
Become an Affiliate Partner
Probably the easiest, and so the most popular, way to start to earn money online. Essentially you will need good traffic through your site, visitors click on an affiliate link on your site which takes them to the affiliate site, if they then make a purchase at the affiliate site you earn a commission. The three most important factors to take into account when choosing an affiliate program are :-
The relevancy of the affiliate to your site content. In simple terms there's no point signing up with an affiliate selling fish tanks if your site is for dog lovers.
Target the higher commission payers, commissions range from 2% of the sale price to up to 67%, yes I've seen 67% being offered.
Cookie length (expiration date). Basically this is the length of time after the initial referral for which you would be eligible for a commission. 30 days is about standard, but its possible to have an indefinite length. So say you send a visitor to your affiliated site and they look around for a while but don't buy. Well if they go back before the cookie expires (within those 30 days or whenever it is) and buy, you will still get that commission. You can concentrate on signing up to affiliate programs related to your existing site and use their ads or links of your own throughout your site. Or you can target a specific affiliate or product type and focus your whole site around sending them visitors through your affiliate link.
If you've been online for any length of time you'll have noticed a number of unique websites that have been developed around original ideas. For example here in the UK there's a site http://www.friendsreunited.com/ which has since gone international, that demonstrates a great original idea in practice. Basically it's a portal to allow you to get back in touch with friends from your school days, old work places, colleges etc. Or simply sign up and see what they're up to. Three years after starting up there are currently 8 million registered users and rumors that the site is being sold for 25 million. Not bad for a simple idea. Probably one of the biggest single ideas to explode on the Internet was the introduction of the auction to the web, see Ebay next.
Earn a living or extra cash with eBay.
This is a great way to make cash on the side, or full time its up to you. The great thing about this is you don't even need a website and you don't need good rankings in the search engines. eBay provides all your traffic, all the traffic you could ever need, with 75.3 million users (July 2003) a 51% jump from the previous year and still growing, and 1.4 Billion page views per month eBay is one of the most visited sites on the plante. The site is set up to allow you to sell products online at very little cost to yourself. You can choose to auction goods or set a fixed price with a buy me now button. You could sell a product line here quiet easily. Plus the site provides all the info you need to make a success of your little enterprise. Thousands of people are running their own stores from home using these methods. Combine this with drop shipping and you don't even have to deal with shipping your products. PuteBay on AUTOPILOT! and earn a serious income with part time effort.
Do your current job from home
Computers have infiltrated most companies and have become indispensable in our daily working lives, with the advent of the Internet and in particular the uptake of broadband it has become much more feasible to work at home doing your current job, without the commute! Plus as the traffic increases on the roads the rush hour crawl is simply going to get longer. What would you do with those extra hours per day that you usually spend sitting in a traffic jam? Businesses are already recognizing the benefits of moving their work force out of the office. Smaller offices and lower rent for one.
Become a Web hosting reseller or Virtual ISP (Internet Service Provider)
The concept is simple, sign up with a hosting company as a reseller. You then sell on the web hosting at a profit. Its all very easy and most good reseller accounts come with an online control panel to make it even simpler to manage your own web hosting and set up your own packages. Take a look at Jumpline.com and their reseller account. You can even build yourself a site here to begin marketing your new web hosting company. Using a number of wizards that guide you through a very simple process you can generate results that produce a professional looking site. Most of all there's absolutely no need to learn HTML. You can try a demo on the site. If you like to get your hands dirty with a bit of coding but you haven't got the design abilities of a good web designer, then you might like to take a look at Template Monster, here you can pickup a template for your new business that's more designery (is that a word ?)and very professional. A virtual ISP works in a similar way to a Hosting reseller, an ISP company provides you with the framework to provide your own branded ISP service, essentially you offer Internet connection services, dial up and quite possibly broadband. This usually works invisibly and to the end user you are the ISP. Again, as for the hosting, the best virtual ISP's offer an online control panel. Each year in the US, more than 20 million new subscribers purchase dial-up Internet service. Poor customer service ratings by the largest ISP's account for approximately 30% of the overall churn rate. This represents more than 75 million subscribers who signed up for dial-up Internet Service with a new ISP in 2002. That's a fair number of potential subscribers.
Develop Software and sell it online
If you use your computer regularly you will come across software ideas all the time. For example wouldn't it be great if you could set up your system to remind you of all the little jobs you need to do throughout the day while your working. Something that played a sound or popped up a window as a reminder. Little time saving and helpful applications to make life easier for everybody, like this, are salable. So your not a programmer, hire one, there are thousands of programmers out there all eager to work on your project. Try http://www.elance.com/ or more uk based http://www.freelancers.net/. All you need is the idea offer a solution to a problem and you're guaranteed to have a salable product.
Open your own 'stockless' store
Sell products utilising Drop shipping Sell a line of products without carrying stock ! Choose from Top Worldwide recognized Brands ! in almost any market area and product range. In simple terms, choose the products you'd like to sell, create your site or even easier set up your auction store, take orders online, collect your cash and pass on your customers delivery details to your drop shipper to complete the order. Essentially you don't carry any stock, which means no big outlay on stock and warehousing, all your orders are fulfilled by your chosen drop shipping company. You set the retail price and pay the drop shipper the wholesale price. For a more detailed breakdown of how this works, drop shipping resources and the best directory online of US drop shipping companies visit Chris Malta's site http://www.myaffiliateprogram.com. You can even download a free ebook explaining the whole setup process in detail. Chris Malta uses this technique to run a number of successful businesses online. This is more a US based option. Currently there are no companies in the UK offering a drop shipping service. But there's nothing to stop you using this opportunity to sell to the US market, some drop shippers also ship internationally.
Professional Competition entrant
There are various promotions happening online all the time. Win anything from a dvd to 1 million pounds. A million pounds was recently won by a guy here in the UK. The great thing is you don't need to search them out yourself, you guessed it there are sites out there dedicated to listing all the competitions running online. More than that there's also software available to help fill in the entry forms in one click ! Take a look at roboform . For competitions in the UK try The prize finder you can even find sites willing to swap your competition winnings or you could jump down to number 5 on this list and advertise your competition wins on http://www.qksrv.net
Create a high demand Newsletter/ezine
If you can provide in demand and industry leading information on a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly basis, you can sell subscriptions to a newsletter. Delivered via e-mail it costs nothing but time to produce. In the same way as information products you can focus your newsletter on just about any topic and find interested subscribers. Although its always best to concentrate on some area you have an interest yourself. So, say you sell your subscription for a measly $5 a month (just to make it easy here to do the math) and you have 500 subscribers that represents $2500 per month for a days work. Add to that the possibility of selling advertising space in your newsletter and promoting your affiliate programs and you have a very viable business. You will need a website to attract subscribers and the facility to take credit card subscriptions online. You should also offer automated delivery of the first newsletter when a subscriber has paid.
Conclusion These are exciting times to be working with the Internet, with this technology any individual or business has the potential to be an Internet pioneer. Any serious businessman cannot afford to ignore the possibilities. Now is the time for you to develop your online strategy. Before your competitor does.
Look at these statistics from a recent Forrester Research report: Online spending grew from 5.5 billion in 1998 to 32 billion in 2000! That's a staggering 580% increase! They also report that people newer to e-shopping are making nine purchases per year, while those who've been online for 5+ years are making 20 purchases a year. Aug 1 2003: The U.K.s 24/7 promotion last month boosted online sales in the U.K by 208% over the previous year. July 28 2003: Online retail sales in the U.S, grew 39% to $956 million for the week ending July 20 from $688 million in the corresponding week a year ago, comScore Networks Inc. reports. June 23 2003: Uk population online as reported by Computer Industry Almanac is 34.3 million from a population of 59.8 million. Mar 18 2003: Online travel sales in Western Europe increased 53 percent during 2002, according to the Center for Regional and Tourism Research. Mar 20 2003: Datamonitor predicts that over 41 million European households will be accessing the Internet via high-speed broadband connections by 2006. Beyond this, IDC (the leading global provider of technology forecasts and insights) reports that the number of Internet users around the world is expected to reach 943 million by 2005. The world population online according to two reports for 2002 - 580 million (Nielsen//NetRatings), 655 million (ITU). The Web is only going to increase in size and the number of people online worldwide will increase along with it. It isn't going away, for the wise business man the time is now.