More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that to be on the internet can mean serious business opportunities for those who are switched on and prepared to do the necessary work. In times gone past getting set up in business was a lengthy process that would almost invariably require some hefty investment up front simply to get started. Now, all you need is a computer, an internet connection and an idea. The rest is simply a matter of following some uncomplicated steps and putting your plans into action. You can have an idea one day and be up and running within twenty four hours if you have the drive to make it happen.
Before the internet opened things up so much, a business would generally require premises from which to operate. Even if you ran the business from your home, this would make it more complicated as it would involve having your business life intrude heavily on your home life with little separation between the two. Now, all business can be routed through your computer – using e-mail, PayPal and some simple, user friendly websites (such as a blogging platform) – and the rest of your home can stay just as it is. The only concern that you need to have is how you are going to make it pay – but that is no different from any business, and there is no such thing as free money. What there is, thanks to the internet, is a world of business that is simpler and more transparent than it ever was before.
Making an Internet-based business work and pay for you is more simple than business has ever been before – you just need to know how. The first thing to do is to decide on a price list for things that you will do. In order to make explanation more understandable, let us use an example. If you are a website builder for example, you can set prices based on how complicated or otherwise the site is. A site with an intricate design, multiple pages and interactive content will be a lot more time consuming and demanding than one that simply has a front page with basic information. You would therefore price it more highly.
Having a host site is preferable if you want to do business by way of the Internet. This can again be simple or more complicated. The site is like the front door of a “bricks and mortar” office – it will be what brings customers into contact with you. It acts as a shop front, so making it attractive and intriguing will bring in all the more business. For simplicity, you can set up a blog, something which is highly popular and easy. An original, more customisable site will require some HTML knowledge and other associated competencies – but if you build websites then you will know that.
On the site, you can display some short descriptions of what you do, how you do it and how much you charge. Really, there should be a limit to how much information you give to customers. To overload them will get in the way of things – you can give the specifics when they contact you.
Beginning a career in business is now a lot more simple than once it was. The outlay of capital that was once required to get a business going is now no longer necessary. Rather than having to spend potentially thousands of dollars on getting premises into operation, buying supplies and getting various governmental clearances to operate as a business, you can set up a basic website and potentially be trading mere hours later. This means, essentially, that the only thing holding people back is the lack of a concrete idea of what they are going to do. If you want to attract external funding, you will still have some hoops to jump through – but that is optional when your premises are in cyberspace.
You do not need to be a cyberspace genius to make money from the Internet. Things can get up and running with a very simple site. The best way to do this is to set up a blog. Sites like LiveJournal.com started the blogging boom, but others like Blogger and WordPress have taken up the baton and made blogs a more customisable entity, meaning that even multi-page sites are not beyond even a novice. A page of information on the services you provide, another with a price list, and another with other pertinent information – customer testimonials, for example – can reach the Internet within less than an hour. And that is when you begin promoting your business in earnest. As you are on the Internet, this should not be hugely problematic.
Online blogging sites such as WordPress and Blogger are now a major tool for savvy Internet entrepreneurs to make money quickly. Although there has been some criticism of the “blogosphere” – as some people will insist on calling it – for being a window on a world of moaning teenagers, the simple truth of the matter is that not only are many blogs a more reliable news source than the mass media, they also present the budding businessperson with a way to get money coming through the door quickly. All it requires is a bit of thought, an idea and the motivation to make it happen.
You can run it one of two ways. You can make your blog a pure information/entertainment site that people will read for the enjoyment of it. A blog with a reputation can attract advertisers, just as any newspaper or magazine can. If your blog gains a reputation for being something that a lot of people read, advertisers may well approach you, or you can approach them offering a not-to-be-missed opportunity to get their product advertising space somewhere people are likely to look. This can be enough for an individual to live on, although this is not going to happen instantly.
Alternatively you can use the blog as a way of promoting a more conventional business. Blogs are easily navigable sites that are equally easy to update. So it is not necessary to have any great knowledge of internet technology to keep one running, and to use it as a way of bringing customers through the door. Then all you need to do is have something they are prepared to pay for – and that can be almost literally anything.
In order to make money from the Internet, all you often need is a strength – a selling point that sets you apart from the majority of people. There are other things that will boost your chances of adding to your bank balance. Being a sound business mind includes things such as knowing how to sell, setting a price that will attract customers while not leaving you short. There is some trial and error involved in setting a price, but instinctively you will have an idea what is fair, and some quick research will tell you what comparable businesses are charging for similar services. From there it is all about working to your strengths.
You should know what your strengths are. If you are unsure, look at what you have done successfully in the past. What business have you worked in most recently, and did you do well at it, and enjoy it? If so, there is a clear indicator of what you can do well. What were you good at when you went to school? If it was languages, for example, you can set yourself up as a tutor in those languages, or a translator. If you have a college diploma, even better. Few subjects that you can major in at college are incompatible with making money. It comes down, as often as not, to doing what you are comfortable with. Your instincts will tell you what the path to follow is, then it is simply a matter of honing the business to your key strengths.
Starting up in business used to necessitate an incredible amount of ground work. You had to find premises. You had to source materials and buy necessary items. You had to get any number of clearances before you could go ahead and even begin to trade. It was a major reason why innovative people with ideas and a work ethic were lost to the world of business – the initial outlay and the potential loss from not having a steady income was too big a risk. The Internet has beautifully democratized the world of business, and as a result people with ideas are benefiting.
Now you can start in business as long as you have a few things, which are generally available to most ordinary people. A computer and an Internet connection allows you your way in to the business world. There is no point going in to that world, of course, if you don’t have a solid idea, but that was the case beforehand. Now, as long as you have your plan, you can put it into effect very quickly and make it pay for you within a very short timeframe. Having a bit of money to spend on promotion and facilities will make it easier and quicker, no dispute there. But it is no longer essential.
Driving things forward is about harnessing what you have. If for example you want to make money as a copy writer or proof reader, you need to publicize your services wherever you can think of, and ensure that people can contact you. From there it is simply a matter of presenting a human face and a trustworthy nature to potential customers.
Online business has become huge in the relatively short time that the Internet has been around. People in their thirties and late twenties can easily remember a time when the Internet existed only in the minds and laboratories of technological wizards, and computers were firmly rooted in the one place – both figuratively and literally. Now with the advent of laptop computers and WiFi technology, you can surf the Internet just about anywhere – even on a cell phone so small you could fit it in your mouth if you really wanted to. The importance of the Internet to business has risen exponentially in recent years as a result of this.
If your business is online, it opens up a whole new world to you – almost literally. At one point unless your business was a specific import-export business you could trade only in your home country or near neighbors – even in some cases only in your home town. But with the advent of the Internet and the ready availability of mail order, a small shop in a small town can without batting an eyelid sell to a customer thousands of miles away. That’s progress for you. And you can use it to your advantage. Having such a broad reach the businessman can set up a customer base that is colossally larger than it previously would have been.
Spending money to get online – not always necessary, as most home computers are now linked up – is a canny move indeed, as it puts you right in the path of millions of potential customers.
Although the Internet has made it a lot easier for people to make a start in business, it is still worth making sure that you maximise your potential as a businessperson by having all of the possible tools you could need to get things up and running. In order to start, you need comparatively little compared with a bricks and mortar business – but the better equipped you are, the more possibilities you can turn into definites.
A computer and an Internet connection are obviously the base minimum. As you are reading this, you have access to those at least. It is then a matter of what you need to add to these. If you want to put photographs of yourself or things that you are selling onto the Internet, you will need either a digital camera (preferable) or a scanner (just about acceptable). You will also need somewhere to put the photographs – a website (which requires you to buy webspace) or a blog (which does not). A website is more customisable, so if you have the know-how to do this, it is preferable.
To sell things at the click of a button you can ask your bank to set up a business account with scope to take electronic payments, or you can open an eBay account. Using eBay you will be able to auction items or services off to the highest bidder, and receive payments almost instantly through PayPal. The benefits of having the Internet mean that you can do all of this from a chair just in front of your computer.
The life of a freelance worker before the Internet was a very different thing to what it is today. In the past, any freelancer would need great mobility or a very sympathetic pricing plan from their phone company. In order to get around to pitch yourself to potential customers, you would require boundless energy, and an ability to deal with being told “no” face to face or over the phone. So much of freelancing is about speculation, after all. You can try and sell yourself a hundred times and could be told “no” a hundred times – and the chances are that you will get at least fifty rejections even if you are excellent. Although the Internet offers no guarantees of acceptance, it does make things a bit more equal for the freelancer.
There are many sites on the Internet that offer the opportunity for freelancers to pitch to potential customers on specific jobs – a searchable database means that you can even check for jobs that match up perfectly with your own specific skills and abilities. You can name your price and tell the customer how quickly you can turn a job around. The days of having to get out there, pound the pavement and then be told “sorry, we’re not interested” are more or less over. Not to mention that the Internet provides a truly monumental research tool for the jobs that require a bit of extra knowledge. The internet is nothing less than a launch pad from which to set your career in motion.
Sometimes in business, as skilled as you may be, there are things that you are unable to do. A customer will come through with a very specific brief and, although you will be able to do most of it, there may be a part of the job that poses you problems and prevents you from completing the task. In this respect, it may often seem that you will have to turn down the opportunity. But it is not necessarily the case. With the Internet at your fingertips, you have ready access to a skills base that means you can complete on that job even if some of the work is outside your own remit. Welcome to outsourcing via the Internet.
Thinking of it as a non-Internet situation for the moment, imagine that you were an interior redecorator who specialised in hanging wallpaper, painting and plastering. It may just be that a job comes through that involves all of that plus laying a hardwood floor. You’re good, but you’re not experienced in laying down floors. With the use of some contacts, you could pay for the services of a person who is capable and experienced in that part of the job. By paying them to take those duties on, you can accept the job and move forward.
There are many workers out there who do business via the Internet, and to contact them all you need to do is pick up the phone. If you cannot complete a job all by yourself, but it will pay well, there is no need to give up. Just log on, find a contact and get the job done.