Making Money Online 4 Beginners
Your Own Ecommerce Web Site
Making money online is easy if you are already in business. If you own a company, selling your product or service online can be an instantly great fit.
I work for a company that was previously well established before opening an ecommerce web site. It was easy for my company to turn a profit online because it is an enterprise based on repeat business, and a single order for several thousand dollars is not unusual. Because volume is easy to acheive, Internet sales have an excellent chance at profitability.
For years, I lobbied management to 'weigh in' to the Internet marketplace, since our competition was already doing so, but the key to doing so was the evolution of our IT department. As the department grew and our infrastructure grew more sophisticated, our ability to take our business online drastically improved. Our IT department worked with Purchasing to streamline our product database (hundreds of thousands of items) for use by our customers and spearheaded marketing efforts to our existing customer base as well as new potential customers.
If you have a business with in-house technology expertise and are already doing volume sales, the Internet is just another way for your customers to do business with you. In addition, you can give your customers the ability to track their orders, view their accounts, and process returns without troubling your sales staff with a phone call or email.
Now, all this is wonderful if you are a company already grossing millions in sales. What if you are just some guy wanting to make money online?
On A Shoe String
A Hobby That Might Become A Business
If you do not want the risk and effort of starting a full fledged internet business, you can begin selling products and services online today using existing sites such as Craigslist and eBay. A colleague of mine began selling scrimshaw pieces that he crafted through eBay and eventually made enough money to quit his job and do that full time. So if, for example, you make stereo speakers, furniture, model steam engines, or whatever it may be, you can begin selling your finished projects online right now. With luck and hard work, you may be able to support yourself solely with income from your online sales.
If you like drawing, you could check out Spreadshirt.com, where you can offer your designs for sale or apply them to apparel manufactured by Spreadshirt. Spreadhirt helps you create your own online T shirt store, and you can make a dollar or two on every shirt sold. There are many, many T shirt stores on Spreadshirt that compete with each other for sales, so unless you have a clientele that will be looking for you when you start, don't expect to become rich overnight through your Spreadshirt store. On the other hand, you might design a T shirt that everyone simply must have, and so your fortune might be made.
If you like to write, you can find many venues to either make advertising revenue as on Hubpages or actually get paid for your writing, as on Helium.com. Again, there is lots of competition, and it might be unwise to expect to make a lot of money this way. Nevertheless it is a way you can do something you love and make a few dollars, too. As with all writing, you will do best writing about what you know.
Starting an Internet Business
I have helped a few dealers who were already doing business with my company get started online and they have been successful. Most of them had established businesses, but one did not.
The startup had one very important asset on day one. They had connections. They had a relative in the business to advocate for them. As a result, they were able to do business as if they had already established business relationships by using their relative's connections. They were able to buy right and sell competitively on the very first day.
Starting an Internet business is the same as starting any other kind of business. The best way to do it is by building a solid business plan. A good business plan includes:
- Starting capital equity - How much money are you going to put into the enterprise?
- Cost analysis of startup expenses, including projected depreciation of capital assets
- Realistic sales projections
- Market analysis - Who is going to buy from you? Why?
- Personnel - Who is going to answer the phone? Who is going to write the checks?
- Expertise - Who is going to know what they are doing at your business? What are their qualifications?
- Sources - Where are you going to get the things you are going to sell?
Whether or not you are going to seek a loan to float your boat, you should build a complete business plan as if you are going to take it to a bank. Be as honest and realistic as you can. Building the business plan will help you think of all the things you need to remember in order to be successful; or it may help you realize that your idea was not such a good one, and is too chancey for you to bet your savings. In other words, you might find out you have to keep your day job and start your enterprise on a shoestring as a hobby in the hopes that someday it might turn lucrative.
The Small Business Administration can help you build a sound business plan. See their link at the bottom of this article.
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© 2009 Tom Rubenoff
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