The internet allows you to be your own boss, work the hours you want from where you want. It allows you the freedom you want. You can structure your work to suit your lifestyle not the other way round. The more you put in then the more you get out of it.
First thing you need to manifest yourself online is a Website. It is your business address where people can find you and your business 24/7. We get to the mechanics of that in the next section.
First decide what your web site is going to be. You need a rough profile and theme. You need to find your "niche". You will hear this term "niche" quite a lot. A niche is "a demographic of people with the same interest". This is the group of people you are trying to attract to your site. You may already have this very clearly defined in your mind. You may already have an active business that you run and maintain using other means such as email, telephone etc. If so then a website is the ideal tool to link all this together.
If not take some time to note down your own skills, likes, interests as a starting point. Decide from those notes:-
- what you have to offer,
- what you would feel most confident with.
- What interests you the most?
- What you would get the most fulfillment from offering?
This is important. You have the opportunity to design the perfect most enjoyable job of your life. If you do not enjoy the job you are building here, then you will not be dedicated to making it work.
Build a composite from those then research the net using those as key search terms. Does it get a lot of hits? See how others are approaching this or similar niche. Get a broad view of how these sites look, work, feel as a visitor when you navigate them. This helps you clarify what will work well and what to stay away from. Remember - if your website is not user friendly then its not going to keep visitors very long. Which in turn reduces your chance of helping them with the services you offer.
Simple, clean and logical is all people really want. If you want spectacular graphics and do dads, wait till later. Get it out there clean to start with.
Remember effectively this is your office. You don't really know what office equipment you need until later after you worked in it for a while. And remember its not set in stone. Colours, layouts, text size, format are all aspects of appearance. The articles, words you write etc are the actual content. The content stays the same but you can easily change the appearance in a non destructive way with the right website content management system (CMS)
You can make money selling as affiliates for other people. How much you make will still be relative to how much work and effort you put in. No quick path here. Needs to be viewed as a longer term venture giving residual income. Effectively you promote and sell a product, digital product or else that is supplied and created by a third party. Consequently you gain a commision for the sale. Nothing new here. Just be diligent that the vendor you are sourcing from or promoting operates and supplies a product or service you are willing to be associated with. What you are comfortable with ethically is your call. Its your website.
Above all else - Sell yourself
When setting up your Website, there is always the concern about what your Niche is. Consequently you have to decide what you are selling and what to call your site. The first reflex is to grab a domain name tightly indicative of the niche. You can do that, but take a second to think about it. How internet search engines find you is a lot deeper than that. What they use is mainly about what content is actually in your site. Not the domain name. Remember that the most Unique and powerful thing you can sell is yourself. It sets you aside from all the other players. You are the "Brand". There is nothing wrong, but everything right promoting yourself. All businesses attempt to promote something that is unique to themselves. Most of the biggest Brands you see have Unique names not products or services as their logo. You see Nike' and think of sportsware. You see Google and think Internet. You see Volvo and think Cars. Yes you can be creative with how you do that but don't get bogged down with it. Your services may evolve and change with time, so that Gucci (there is another Brand) name you created to describe your services may no longer be indicative of what you do. Whereas "Jumping John.com" can sell whatever you like and stay relevant and with you indefinitely. You are the Brand!!
If you need more assets on your site you can add links to maybe a shop you run.
The shop can sell third party products or things you create such as selling downloads, photos, e-books etc. The list is only limited by your imagination.
You can place links on your website to products on ebay, Amazon or Alibaba., a shop on your own website. Once you start to get traffic on your site you can consider allowing advertisements on your website.
Do you know what the biggest market in the world is?
It's Education - there are more people searching for knowledge than any other individual thing on the internet. And supplying that knowledge is not exclusive to the major educational institutions. People are searching for education at all levels of competency.
Teach language online:- If you are reading this then you probably have English as your primary or secondary language. The world has many non native speakers of English looking to increase their proficiency in English. Dont think you need to be a oxford scholar to do this. If you are a confident speaker of English you have the knowledge of the language to share in a meaningful way to those who don't.
Teach a skill or sell it as a service:- Irrespective of who we are, we all have gained skills from formal education or work related activities. We dont all have the same skills and people search the internet everyday looking to either learn skills they dont have or find a service that has the skill to do the task for them. Teach what you know. The only variable is to what level you wish to teach. Most people only want the basics.
Don't be limited by what you see others doing online:- Sure, take pointers and ideas you think may work for you, but don't stifle your creativity. Just because your idea is something different from whats currently out there, doesnt mean its not viable. You might be the founder of a whole new trend. One thing above all others that stops people before they start is the belief that their ideas and way of thinking is unique in the world. Consequently they believe few people would be interested in your ideas. Not true.
As an example just think about the USA. Remember a TV documentary you saw on something strange or weird whole groups of people were involved with? For me it was the series on Doomsday people. They believe in being ready for the end of the world or a nuclear dawn. Thats who they are and its not for me to judge. They live their lives waiting for the end. Whole industries exist creating products and services for this demographic of people. Why? Because it is viable. If the percentage of USA population with the this belief and lifestyle were 1% it would equate to 3.5 million people. Are your ideas anymore tightly niched? On the internet you can reach the world. If there are a supposed 6 billion people on the planet there could be as few as 60 million people open to your message. Maybe a lot more. How many do you need to offer a viable service? The internet is bigger than any country, tv station, newspaper - its the biggest shopping mall on the planet.
And having a storefront in it starts by getting your presence into the mall with a website address so people can find you.