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Can You Really Make Money Online?
If you ask how to make money with a website, you’re generally going to hear one of two things. You’re going to hear people telling you that you can’t make money online. That all the good topics and business models are taken up. However, that’s untrue.
You’re also going to hear people who will promise you that you can make millions online. While that is true for many, it’s not common.
What are the Best Businesses to Make Money Online?
There are a few basic business models that generally achieve a good deal of success online. They include:
Network Marketing & Direct Sales
Gone are the days of Avon reps knocking at your door. Previous misconceptions of “pyramid schemes” are being replaced as more reputable companies focus on helping their reps to grow their businesses with new tools and effective compensation plans.
Nowadays, most sales are done virtually via platforms like Facebook parties and new network marketing companies are popping up all the time. In 2018, in the US alone, the Direct Selling Association reported that there were over 6 million reps producing over $35 billion in sales.
If you are looking to get into the direct sales biz, make sure to check out the company’s profile and compensation plan. If it seems heavily geared to recruitment instead of personal sales, stay away.
Also, get some referrals from other people working in the industry on who would be a great team to work with. Long-term support will be key to your success.
Influencer marketing is a relatively new way to make money online. Basically, influencers work with companies to help them sell their products through endorsements on various social media platforms. One of the most common platforms is Instagram as it has so much visual impact.
The great thing about this is that you don’t necessarily need any special skill set or knowledge. All you need is for people to love and trust you. Influencers with large followings usually have companies approach them for collaborations.
If you’re still growing your brand, think of some things that you already love and use and reach out to those brands to see if they would be interested in working together. You never know if you don’t try!
In this system, your profit is made by selling memberships. The concept is actually quite simple. You set up a paid-user platform like MemberVault and charge a fee, usually monthly for your users to access the information. Members then have access to this information for as long as they pay their fees.
In an age where people are busy all the time, content-on-demand has become increasingly popular. Busy entrepreneurs want to find the content they need, consume it and get out. This has made membership-based products rise in popularity. You can learn how to set up your own membership site in a free Membership Marketing course from Udemy.
You can also check out my membership site, the Blogger’s Glitterati VIP Hub, which is FULL of blogging resources and walks you through the process of starting your blog in 30 days!
Sponsored Posts and Advertising
Sponsored posts and selling advertising space on an already existant website can be a great way to boost a bloggers income. In this business, content creators work with companies to post either new content or ads within their website.
Sometimes the content is created in advance and sometimes the content is part of the paid deal. In either case, usually, an agreement is drawn up for the website to keep the ad or post on their site for a designated amount of time in exchange for a fee.
As with Influencer Marketing, many brands will approach the site owner when their audience begins to grow. Until your brand is built up, reach out to companies that you think are a good fit for your audience to see if they would like to work together.
One common way to make money online is by providing a service virtually. This is a great way to earn income as you can use the skills and knowledge that you have acquired to help someone else in exchange for a fee.
There are literally thousands of different services to get started with. Fiverr is a great place to see what kinds of things are being offered and in demand and helps to match freelance services with businesses.
- Virtual Assistants provide administrative services online
- Pinterest VA
- Coaching or mentoring
- Resume writing
- Digital Marketing
- Freelancing (Snag a free get-started guide from BossSingleMama.com here)
- Do small jobs and tasks on places like Airtasker
Retailer or eCommerce
In this business model, profit is made by selling a product online through shops. These can be physical or downloadable products and are often sold on platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce or Etsy. Most are easy to set up and require no extensive knowledge to get you going.
If you don’t have your own products, you can coordinate your shops with other companies who would actually ship the product directly, which means that you wouldn’t need to actually have any inventory or products. This is called dropshipping.
One of the more popular avenues of making money online is through affiliate marketing. It is easy to get into, even as a beginner, and requires no inventory. In affiliate marketing, profit is made by promoting the products or services of others and earning a commission.
Finding affiliates is easy as almost every company has a partner program available and because of that, it easily works with any niche or audience. There are individual programs, just search for “company name/niche” and add affiliate and thousands will pop up for you to check out.
How do you get people to your website?
There are a few things these seven business models have in common. They all operate online – that’s a given because we’re talking about online business. They also all need people to visit their website in order to survive.
Okay, so you choose your business model. You choose a business topic or specialty; this is often called a niche. A niche is a specialty topic. For example, you could decide you want to start a membership site. Great – about what? Recipes, because you love to cook and share recipes.
Fantastic! Now it’s time to create the content for your website. You need to give people a reason to visit your website and become a member. The next step is to continue to provide value. What are you going to offer your members to motivate them to stay members?
What information are you going to provide as an influence marketer that will motivate people to buy your makeup? What information can you provide clients to motivate them to hire you as a service provider?
Online, regardless of the model you choose, people want to know one thing: “What is in this for me? How will this benefit me?” Choose your topic and model wisely.
Create fantastic content and provide value. That’s the core of any successful online business.
Content is the unifying theme behind successful websites. People go online to be entertained, to be informed, to connect and communicate. The single unifying thread for all of these interactions is quality content.
Content can be read, watched, listened to and shared. It can be an article, a blog post, a report, a book, an online course, a video or audio. Without content, a website doesn’t stand a chance.
Once you have value, your audience will come to you. This is when money magic happens. Value = Revenue
My Personal Journey With Making Money Online
I have always had an affinity for entrepreneurship and businesses and side-hustles that I could create online were a perfect fit. Over the past 20 years, I either had a full-time job or was a full-time SAHM.
In some cases, I just wanted to find an escape from the stay-at-home, perpetual laundry days and in some cases, I actually needed the extra income to survive. Businesses that I could do from the comfort of my home in my own “spare” time became my focus.
I started out doing network marketing with a home decor company, which I knew absolutely nothing about, and absolutely loved the camaraderie with the other women in the industry. I quickly built a team, went on some amazing company incentive trips and was making a decent income.
Now you might be thinking- wait, this is direct sales. Where you do parties at people’s houses. That’s not online sales. Well, here’s the thing. Yes, when I first started, there were a lot of home parties. But the direct sales industry started to shift and online sales and marketing on social media started to have a bigger influence. Most of the work I did came from videos and online parties.
Unfortunately, my home life changed and my priorities had to shift and so I was forced to head back into the workforce to provide my kids with stability. But, as soon as I felt that I had that under my belt, I started looking for a new opportunity.
Again, I was drawn to multi-level marketing and became a beauty sales representative. Even though I had never really worn makeup, I loved it and thrived on the experience. I grew another team and quickly bounced up the ranks.
Blogging to Make Money
And then blogging fell in my lap. And I knew that I had found my passion. I left the beauty biz so that I could devote all my time to creating a new business. One from the bottom up that I created.
I started my blogging biz (you can read all about my blogging journey here) and told my husband I was going to make money. He told me that there’s no way you can make money from an online diary. Well, I made a whopping $1.69 in my first few weeks.
I can, and I will. Watch me.
It has been quite a journey! I have met some amazing people and found some ever-lasting friendships. And, most importantly, I am helping other people to do the same.
Guess what? I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started.
Just like the other two experiences, I came in on an empty slate and sucked up all the information I could and put it to work. There were no expectations or viewpoints that I couldn’t do it. Because I can and will and YOU CAN TOO!
So if you read this and thought to yourself that you couldn’t do it because you don’t know anything about technology or that you have no idea where to start. It doesn’t matter. Everyone starts somewhere. One of my favorite quotes is from an old professor who said to me: