But, as I said, development costs money. For the Smart Podcast Player, it’s a plugin so it requires constant validation, testing, upgrades, and a solid customer support system in place, all of which costs money. If you have a plan to do something similar for your online business, you’ll need to think about this before you even get started so your processes are covered. Read about the lessons we learned in building the player and how we validated it before launch.
Some scams might involve asking you to pay for a “training” book or CD that explains how to make money in a certain business. Others charge for supposedly “exclusive” products that you’re supposed to sell at a premium. Avoid both of these scenarios. Remember, you should never have to pay to get a job. And if someone asks you to, you can be sure that it’s a scam.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Job Boards. When you’re first starting out, you’ll have to go looking for work, and the best place to do that is on one of the online job boards. Places like Guru, Elance, Freelancer, and oDesk are today’s writers’ best friends. They allow individuals and businesses to post projects, and freelancers to bid on them. Take a look around the sites, sign up for the free access in the beginning, and then begin to place bids on the projects that interest you. It will take some trial and error to find your groove, but once you do, the jobs will start to roll in.
Get ecommerce software. You'll need this so your customers can view your products, enter their information and make a secure purchase. The software safely stores customer information. Don't skimp in this area, since the ecommerce software you choose will make a big difference in how easy it is for customers to feel secure buying something from your store.
Become a freelance writer or editor. If you have a passion for storytelling or a background in writing or editing, it’s possible to find freelance writing or editing work online. To search available job openings, check out sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net. You can also check traditional job sites such as Indeed.com and enter “telecommute” or “anywhere” in the location field.
Be a mommy (or daddy) blogger. If you haven’t used your free time between changing diapers, washing clothes and shuttling kids around to hop on the blog bandwagon, it’s worth considering this potential source of income. And just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to write about parenting issues. In fact, given that there already are so many blogs about life as a mom (or dad), consider writing about another topic about which you are passionate. The more original, entertaining and informative you are, the more likely you’ll gain followers – and you need an online following to make money.
Choosing a name for your business isn’t always straightforward — the name you want may be taken by a previously registered company in your state. It’s also a common (and smart) practice to name your business and choose your future website’s domain name at the same time to ensure they match, but unfortunately, your desired domain name may be taken as well. To avoid either of these situations sending you back to square one, come up with a list of possible business names rather than becoming too focused on a particular name immediately.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
In fact, AirBnB recently swallowed up luxury vacation rental provider, Luxury Retreats, and other consolidations in the marketplace have happened with leading sites like InvitedHome's acquisition of PPG rentals and Seasoned Dreams' platforms, and Expedia's $3.9 billion acquisition of another vacation rental giant, HomeAway. The market is booming and the time is ripe for entry, no matter how big or small your home or condo might be.
In fact, I wrote a book, Will It Fly?, that is uniquely designed to help people figure out if a business idea is worth pursuing. I’d recommend you read that as a guide during the discovery phase. Thousands of folks have already used Will It Fly? as a tool to help them validate and test their own business ideas before spending money they don’t need to spend. You can pick up a copy at SmartPassiveIncome.com/will-it-fly.
The big thing I want to emphasize is that this process took time. It didn’t happen overnight. If I had I spent a little bit more money to hire a team earlier on, I don’t know if I would have succeeded any sooner, because I was building authority in my niche and trust with my audience—two things you can’t buy. There are indirect ways to build authority and trust, through buying exposure on Facebook, through advertisements, or other advertising platforms so that people can find you sooner, but you still have to earn that trust. You still have to provide value and actually help people in some way.
A corporation is a state-chartered organization, owned by shareholders who can appoint or elect a board of directors to manage the business. Incorporating protects the business owner from liability, so if the business was financially backed by a bank and the business failed, the bank cannot seek to collect from the owners’ personal assets. The same protection applies if the business is sued.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Getaround is the sharing economy's answer to rental agencies. The company allows you to rent out your car on an hourly or daily basis, starting at $5 an hour. Depending on your vehicle's market value, you set the price per hour, and Getaround takes a 40% cut to cover 24/7 roadside assistance and driver insurance. According to the Getaround, earning potential for renting your car when you're not using it is up to $1,000 a year.
For many years, freelance writing has been a great opportunity to earn extra cash with a flexible schedule. The latest online content need is video. If you can turn your client’s written content into professional, high-quality video, you may find yourself with no shortage of business. And these don’t necessarily need to be you in a “talking head” video. They could be PowerPoint presentations, screencasts, photo montages, animations and more. Use an optimization service like TubeBuddy to help them get even better rankings and engagement on YouTube.
A thing that needs to be ironed out for your online business is your billing service. While there are businesses that may bill their clients directly after a contract has been agreed upon and signed and these bills are paid for through checks that are deposited into the service provider's bank account, there are some clients who require a certain online billing system for them to pay for the services they have contracted. You may need to register with a billing system like PayPal for your online business to make billing and payment easier and less of a hassle to you and your clients.
You can also market your ebook on your own website or blog, particularly if the site gets good traffic. Still another method is affiliate marketing. You can offer to pay sites related to your ebook a percentage of the sale price – say, anywhere between 20% and 50% – for them to post an ad or linked article for your book on their site. This could enable you to market your ebook on multiple platforms for greater market exposure.