You don’t have to have any experience in order to be successful with an online business. Anyone can succeed – even if you’re brand new to working at home because you can learn as you go along.
There are many different avenues you can choose to take to get started. Much of your decision will be based on personal preferences, time available to implement it, and tools you need to launch it.
You might choose to get involved in affiliate marketing. This is a process where you sign up for a link that’s connected to your account. Sometimes people call these referral links because you’re basically recommending a product.
Whenever someone clicks on the link and then purchases the item, you earn money. With affiliate marketing, you can be an affiliate promoting someone else’s digital or tangible products.
Affiliate marketing can be for courses and information you can find on sites like ClickBank, JVZoo or Warrior Plus. But it can also be for items that someone can buy from Amazon, Share-a-Sale or Commission Junction.
There are dozens of reasons why you might like getting started with affiliate marketing. It’s a booming business. There’s very little expense involved and sometimes, no expense whatsoever.
It can be a good side hustle that you can build into a nice income-earning business. You don’t have to know everything about it to get started. You can learn as you go. There’s a lot of freedom with affiliate marketing.
The reason it’s so simple and easy is, at its core, this type of marketing is like having a conversation with a friend. If your friend asked where you got a cute pair of shoes, you’d tell her where.
With affiliate marketing, it’s like having that conversation online. You would point your friend (and others) to the link where she can purchase the same pair and you would make a commission as a “thank you” from the company.
If you decide you want to sell stuff and use affiliates to help you promote the items, then it works the same way, only in reverse. They would share the link to your products, people would click and buy and you’d pay them a small commission fee.
Almost every niche you can imagine is involved with affiliate marketing and can be used to help sell products. For example, if you’re in the keto dieting niche, a tangible that you could promote might be a set of portion control dishes or a body composition scale.
For digital, you could promote keto eating plans where the customer gets a PDF of how keto works, along with all their meals planned out for them. You could even promote something like a monthly program where they get a keto snack box sent to their house.
In this event, affiliates would receive recurring commissions for as long as the customer stayed a subscriber. If you’re not sure what you want to promote, start by looking around at popular websites and blogs in the niche you like to see what’s already being touted.
This can help you see which products are popular and get an idea for what customers are looking for. When you’re choosing a product to promote or thinking of one to create, make sure that what you choose has value to the audience.
Never choose to promote a product based on payout alone. If the product is bad, you can lose your audience’s trust. Always put the value of the product first. You should investigate the product yourself if you can.
You might be able to order the product yourself and try it out. You can even do an unboxing video on Facebook Live or YouTube and put the affiliate link in the description.
But wherever you promote something or have others promote your stuff, make sure that you or those helping you disclose the affiliate connection. It’s legally required in many areas, but it also builds consumer trust.
When you promote anything, make sure that you highlight both the good and bad about whatever it is you’re promoting. Too many newbie affiliates make the mistake of writing glowing review and gloss over anything that might be a problem.
This can also cause audience distrust. So when you write your reviews, make sure you include a genuine opinion of it. If there is something negative, offer a solution or workaround to it.
For example, if you’re promoting a blender, you could say that while the blender is fast and makes a great smoothie, it’s a small capacity and you wouldn’t recommend it if the consumer is looking for a blender for a large family.
To get started with affiliate marketing, pick the niche that you’d like to be in. This might be something like health, relationships, dating, wealth, outdoor survival and more. After you pick the area you want to be in, dig deeper to find a demographic or slant within that niche.
So if you chose health as your niche choice, under the umbrella of health, you could choose a slant like fitness or dieting or certain conditions for a particular demographic like diabetes in seniors or weight loss for women or whatever.
It’s always best to choose something that’s evergreen like heath or success because there’s always an audience for evergreen topics. People who are struggling financially are always going to look for ways to make more money.
Look for common issues that affect people and you’ll be able to select a good niche.
Once you have all that, search the products or programs that are associated with your topic.
You can look products up on sites like ClickBank or Amazon. Have a place online to promote things, such as a blog, a Facebook group or whatever. Make sure that the content that you put on the page with the product is valuable content.
This will help build your audience. You’ll need to market your affiliate promotion. You can do this by creating written tutorials about whatever it is that you’re promoting. You can also create YouTube videos about the product or showing you using the product.
You can create ones where you compare products. Create a buzz by talking about the product on your social media. Do these steps for each niche that you choose to promote.
Affiliate marketing success is all about repeating the same cycle over and over again every time you choose a new product. You’ll create a review, write or record your thoughts on it, share it online and engage with your audience.
Another online business that you can choose is to become a service provider. A service provider is someone who offers his or her services to those who are seeking help. There are many different types of service providers, and you choose one based on your skills.
You can become a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a person who writes for someone else. The type of material that you might write can also vary. Some ghostwriters write blog posts, speeches, press releases or info products.
Some write fiction or non fiction books for others. As a ghostwriter, unless the contract specifically states otherwise, you don’t get to claim the words that you write. You’re the unseen, unknown writer for someone else unless you have a prior arrangement.
Many celebrities and other public figures hire ghostwriters. You’ll need to have the ability to write in the language you were hired, and set a competitive price so people will want to outsource to you.
You might choose to become an affiliate manager. This is a job in which you would oversee the core operations for someone who is selling their own info products. This can be an individual or a business.
The type of tasks that you would do might change day to day. For example, you might be responsible for making sure that the people who wanted to become an affiliate were top quality as well as check out their ability to promote and their promotion site.
This could help prevent the individual or business from being associated with a potential affiliate that was spammy or a scam. As an affiliate manager, you might be tasked with responding to emails and sending out information to potential affiliate recruits.
You might also have to monitor affiliates to make sure that all the promotions are being handled correctly. Sometimes affiliate managers are paid a salary, and sometimes they earn a percentage of the money the launch brings in.
Another area for a service provider is a VA. This is a virtual assistant, which means you basically help individuals or businesses remotely. So you might have a client in California while you live in Wyoming.
The type of work that you do as a VA will be determined by the field that you’re in as well as what the client needs. Sometimes it’s posting articles on a blog. Other times it’s answering emails in a customer service manner.
You could also become a site builder if you want to be a service provider. This is someone who builds an online site for clients. The skills that you would need in order to this include knowledge of web design language, some graphic design skills (but this isn’t a requirement because you can outsource this task), and communication skills so that you understand the client’s vision.
Becoming an SEO (search engine optimization) expert is a great job for a newbie. You would have to learn how to find the right keywords for the site that you’re working on so that it increases traffic for the client.
You would need to stay abreast of changes within various search engines to see what best practices allow site owners to rise to a page 1 listing on their search engine. It’s more than just knowing keyword phrases.
You’d need to know both onsite and offsite search engine optimization strategies. Learning SEO isn’t difficult. There are courses, both free and paid, video as well as eBooks and other reading material that can teach you.
You might like becoming a service provider because you can choose the type of work that you do and can set your own hours. The amount of income that you can earn is up to you and you can also make money fast as a service provider because the client will often pay upfront or at least half now, half later.
To get started in any service provider area, you would want to make sure that whatever you choose is something that you do enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy it, the work will make you miserable.
You also want to make sure that you either have the skills or can develop the skills that will match the type of work you choose to do. For example, if you’re already good with PhotoShop, you might find that doing graphic design type work is a good fit.
You could create banners, eBooks, images for websites, custom designs for clients and more. If you know that you like to write and you have a good grasp on grammar and punctuation, then you would most likely find copywriting or ghostwriting enjoyable.
Once you choose a niche and learn the skills needed, then put together a portfolio. Some newbies say that this part is a catch 22. They need experience to get the jobs, but can’t get the jobs without the experience.
What you can do is showcase work that you’ve done for family, friends or for a charity or cause. For example, if you want to get into providing design services, but you don’t have any previous work that you can show potential clients, you can create a flyer for the local animal shelter – or even make something up just to show samples of your abilities.
You can donate some time and skill to a cause that you believe in and use what you’ve created or done in your portfolio. It doesn’t matter whether the work you’re showing was something that you were hired to do or if it was just a freebie because potential clients just want to see how you compare to other providers in terms of quality and value.
You may want to create a website offering your services. This way, potential clients can look you up and have quick access to your online portfolio. You can create a blog using WordPress for around $10 plus hosting.
Don’t use a website that makes you use their ads because that looks unprofessional. Make sure you put your site links up on your social media to link back to your website. In your bio, be sure that you mention what you do and that you’re available.
For example, “Graphic Designer (or whatever it is that you do) for Hire” because when people are searching for a service provider, they’ll use the keywords describing the service they’re looking for.
If you want to land clients now, you can start on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, but the pay as a beginner, especially in the beginning, may be pretty low unless you have specialty skills that are highly sought after.
The advantage of using sites like these is that they do have clients already looking for freelancers and you wouldn’t have to build a site of your own. Whenever you land a job, always have a contract to protect yourself and the client.
It’s easy to be successful in the area of content creation. The way that it works is pretty simple. You create content and other people buy it for their business. It’s like being a ghostwriter, without having a client tell you specifically what to work on.
One area of content creation that you can pursue is making PLR (private label rights) material. This is content that you create in various formats including text, video and/or audio, that you can sell to multiple buyers.
You would write someone once and it can sell fifty or more times. So say you create a 20-page report and you list it for $20. If 122 people buy it, you’ve made $2,440. Doing this type of writing is often less expensive for clients than ghostwriting is.
So you’re more likely to build a business quickly with this kind of content. You might like becoming a content creator if you enjoy writing and creating and can do a lot of it fast. With this online business model, you’ll have content that can be suitable to several different types of clients.
And because the content isn’t custom made for a specific client, you’ll be able to cast a wider net and find more interested buyers. There are other reasons why you might enjoy becoming a content creator.
You get to talk about whatever topics that you want to without having to answer to someone else. Of course you want it to be a topic that is in demand. But if you want to write about dieting, you can.
Or if you prefer to write about finances or cute little puppy training, then you’re free to do that. You can create content that will appeal to multiple niches, like stress, so there will always be clients in a related niche.
There is a downside to becoming a content creator. You might find that sales can be unpredictable. You might have one month where you sell your creations hand over fist and the demand is high.
You’ve released a new PLR pack and it takes off. Every time you turn around, you’ve sold another. But then the following month, you might launch a pack and sales barely trickle in.
This happens and these results are often due to factors that are outside of your control such as the time of year when certain content doesn’t sell as well or lower sales based on who’s promoting you.
Getting started in this type of business is easy, too, but you will need to know at least some skills up front. You’ll need to get a website set up to host your sales pages and you’ll need to know how to word it so that it converts into sales of your PLR.
You’ll need to know how to use a shopping cart plug-in or have the funds to be able to hire someone to handle it. This is one area where you could use the services of a VA or an assistant.
Don’t let lack of experience get in the way of your progress, though. Either quickly research and learn what you need to know or find someone to delegate it to. Don’t just give up when you reach a point that’s outside of your skillset.
As a content provider, affiliates matter in terms of having a successful launch. Ideally, you want an army of affiliates that are willing to promote whatever it is that you’re offering. And be sure to create cornerstone content on a regular basis.
You can usually find affiliates in PLR sellers’ groups on Facebook who’d like to get on board. In these PLR groups, sellers talk behind the scenes and also mingle with their affiliates.
They let them know about upcoming releases, any special deals might be going on and more. As soon as you get affiliates, a relationship based on trust is building and if you want to hold onto that trust as well as your reputation online, make sure that you pay your affiliates on time.
Because of the importance of affiliate marketing in this type of business, you must always treat affiliates well. Some PLR sellers choose to pay their trusted affiliates instantly while others pay every week or every month.
Regardless of when you pay, be consistent. When you set out to create your PLR, you want to make sure that it has value for your users. Remember that your customers are going to take your content and customize it.
You want to create quality content that “wows” your buyers and makes them eager to snap up your products in the future. To make sure that your PLR business is successful, don’t just rely on affiliates.
Affiliates can be an amazing help when it comes to selling your content. But you need to have your own list. To get started you would need to sign up for Aweber, GetResponse or another email service.
The cost for this should be less than $20 a month initially and if you don’t have the funds for that, then you can sign up for a free Mailchimp account. You’re allowed to use Mailchimp to build a list for free until you reach a certain number of subscribers.
Once you’ve chosen an email marketing service, create an opt in freebie or lead magnet to lure people into your list. You’ll also want to capture their name and email address whenever they check out at your store.
On your PLR store, you would divide what you’re offering by the type of content, plus you might want to consider having one area for mixed content. So one click would take buyers to PLR articles or eBooks, while another would take them to video and so on.
You can label your mixed content as bundled content. Once you have your list going, don’t just promote your own products. Make sure that you also promote other PLR sellers.
Info Product Creator
Becoming a product creator is a business model that you can get started in immediately. Someone who’s a product creator makes something digital (or tangible) that other people have a need to learn.
For example, you could create your own digital eBooks. You can write about something that you’re an expert on, but you don’t have to be an expert. You can research what you want people to know and put that information together in an eBook using your own original words, thoughts and opinions after educating yourself on a topic.
If you’re an expert at container gardening, you could write an eBook explaining how to grow things and how to find the right space. You could create chapters on soil, sunlight, types of containers and drainage.
You could create eBooks on relationships, health, weight loss, breaking a bad habit, and more – the possibilities are endless! You don’t have to spend hundreds to create a cover, either.
Create a cover using Canva or other free online programs. Then you upload it wherever you’re selling it and you’re good to go. Or, you can buy pre-made covers that you think will fit your book.
There are many eBook cover groups on Facebook where you can find covers for as little as $10 and up. You can also use Fiverr, but just make sure that the designer has the rights to the image he uses.
You can also create digital info product courses. To do this, first, make sure that the course you’re creating is a high demand topic. A good rule of thumb to remember here is that high demand topics are usually evergreen topics such as making money, finding happiness, lowering stress, losing weight, etc.
After you have your idea, then create the course content. This content can be video, text, audio or a mixture. You’ll also have to determine what kind of visuals you’re going to use.
Once you have all that figured out, you’ll need a platform to sell it on, such as a private site or something like Udemy. But if you’re just starting out and money is limited, you can create a free Facebook group and host everything there until you can afford more.
Never let a lack of money be the reason for not moving forward in any business model. Find a way. You can create membership sites with modules. A module is just basically a collection of information about the niche that you’re in.
For example, say that the niche that you’re in has to do with weight loss. Then you might have separate modules on topics that all relate to that. So one module would cover emotional eating.
Another one could cover exercise. You could add a model on choosing the right diet plan. Inside these modules, you’d deliver content such as a report on the topic. Maybe a workbook, too.
You could have a video series to go along with it or make the videos the content and have text transcripts. By breaking down your information into modules, you can sell the entire course or restrict access to certain modules depending on the membership level that was purchased.
The advantage of being an info product creator is that in the end, it saves you a lot of time because you get recurring income. You would create the eBook or membership course once and it continues to sell for months or even years down the road.
To get started, you would first want to outline your product based on a goal the audience hopes to achieve. Then list the steps that they’ll need to take in order to accomplish that.
These steps are what will turn into your info product. Sometimes, though, you can use PLR to help you create the products. The advantage of this is that you get your product up a lot faster than if you created it yourself.
You can even use PLR to create memberships. If you do that, the content – including tutorials, worksheets, and basically everything that you need, is already there for you to use.
You can even use PLR to create your eBooks as long as you’re not selling these on Kindle, because Amazon doesn’t want PLR. The reason is because there were too many people putting up the same content without customizing it.
So if you do use PLR eBooks, rewrite the material in full using your own voice. Remember that you can outsource your product creation. You don’t have to do it all by yourself, especially if there are parts of the process that you don’t enjoy such as the writing.
You can hire a ghostwriter or use PLR for portions of the project or – if you can afford it – you can outsource the entire thing. Once you have your material together, then you need to decide how you’re going to sell your product.
Some people choose to partner with someone else to sell it and that can make it easier.
For example, if you’re releasing a technical product but you hate marketing, you might choose to partner with someone who loves marketing but hates doing tech work.
This lets you both work in the areas where you’re strongest. One thing that you do need to be aware of when it comes to being an info product creator is the customer service aspect of this business model.
You’ll have to be prepared to deal with customers. Sometimes this might be something that’s fairly minor – such as a customer can’t get what they ordered to download properly.
In that event, you’d have to try to figure out what’s going on so that they get the product.
With customer service, it might be something like a customer doesn’t understand a step that you mentioned in your eBook.
In that case, you’d have to respond and try to help them grasp it. You need to expect to spend some time on customer service issues for awhile after you release a product. If you already know you don’t want to handle this side of the business, then you’ll have to hire someone to do it for you and they can just contact you if there’s a problem that only you can solve.
Once you’ve launched your product, pay attention to the feedback. Notice what complaints or problems people have with your course. If it’s a valid issue, then work to do better with your next launch.
FBA or eBay
Something else that you might choose to set up as your business model can be FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or eBay. With FBA, you’re simply selling your stuff on Amazon and they’re taking care of everything with that product which is pretty convenient.
You can choose to set up a brand on Amazon for selling your things or you can set up an Amazon store. There are dozens of reasons besides the convenience why you might like deciding to have your business as an FBA model.
One of these is that’s it’s simple to get started – especially if you already have an Amazon account. You would first create your FBA account. If you have Amazon already, then you can just quickly add the FBA option.
You’ll create your seller account and you’ll have to choose between professional or individual. There is a monthly fee for professional but not for individual. For that one, you’re on a pay as you go basis.
Knowing which one to choose should be based on the number of items you think you’re going to be selling. If you decide to create an Amazon store, you’ll need to build the pages and the storefront, but Amazon has templates that you can use for this.
Next, after creating your seller account, you’ll set up the listings for the products that you’re selling. You can do this by going to the inventory section. There, you would have to put in how much of each thing you have to sell.
For example, if you’re selling makeup kits and you have 56 of those, you’d put that number of units in. You’ll have to list separate products individually or use Amazon’s software to set it up all at once.
After you have your account set up, you’ll follow Amazon’s instructions for shipping the items to their warehouse. Once they arrive and are ready for customers to purchase, you’ll be notified.
With eBay, you get started by registering for an account. You’ll have the option of signing up as an individual or a business. If you don’t know what you want to sell on the site, you can look at what’s popular.
The site has a search function to allow users to see what’s trending. You’ll find everything from dishes to TV shows on DVD to comic books and baseball cards. After you set up your account and you’ve decided what items you’re going to sell, you would write a listing for that product.
You would need to upload a photo as well. Something to remember is when writing out titles and descriptions, be sure to include specific keywords that can help potential buyers find your stuff.
There are eBay templates that you can get that can help you create the listing description and title. As your items sell, eBay will take a percentage of the sale known as seller’s fees.
You might want to consider setting up your eBay account as a store and using one of eBay’s store subscriptions so that you get the best deal. With either FBA or eBay, you’d want to make sure that you create an email list.
If you use eBay, the site makes it easy for sellers by offering a newsletter template you can use as part of email marketing to manage your list subscribers. There are advantages with both models.
With Amazon’s FBA, whenever someone orders one or more of your items, Amazon handles the packaging of the stuff and then they ship it out. You don’t have to deal with the problem of having to keep up with inventory, but Amazon will charge you a small fee to keep your stuff in their warehouse.
With eBay, you keep the items in your possession as part of your own inventory. Once the product sales, you package it and you ship it out to the buyer. Both methods are good ways to create a business in order to make money.
Amazon has customer service and although eBay does as well, you might find it a little more difficult to get through to a human with eBay’s customer service. If you plan to sell rare or collectible items, you may want to use eBay, because those items are more likely to earn you more there with the bidding process.
You’re more likely to earn a better income if your business deals with a specific niche (like electronics) than if you tried to sell a little of everything (like clothing, makeup, electronics, etc.).
Also, choose your niche based on something that you believe you’d enjoy doing because in the beginning, you’ll be spending a lot of time on your business. If you’re looking for a business model with the least amount of input from you, then you’re better off choosing to list your stuff with Amazon.
If you choose to go with eBay, just note that this can be a little more time consuming. You have to take the photo along with writing out the listing, packing and shipping everything.
Your expenses might be a little more when you have to keep up with inventory and ship stuff out yourself. You’ll have to make sure that you buy all the shipping materials. If something arrives damaged, you’ll have to deal with sending out the replacement and you’ll be responsible, since eBay wasn’t the one that handled the product or sent it out.
Choosing the right business model can sometimes seem exhausting – especially if you’re not sure how well you’ll do with it. Just remember that you can always change course if you feel it’s not working, and you can do it before you spend too much time or money putting effort into it.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to make your first income online at 3 Day eBiz (Use Code: MAKEITHAPPEN to Save) and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.