“Get rich quick!”
“Make easy money online!”
“Big ticket to wealth!”
So many people are obsessed with making money online. They make it seem like it’s the magic pill that will solve all their money problems. And they make it seem like anyone can do it over a weekend without any effort.
I’m sorry, but there are no shortcuts to becoming rich. If you want to have a million dollars, you will have to earn every penny of it. Online or offline; it doesn’t matter.
An Online Business Is Still a Business
Both online and offline, people exchange their money for products and services on a daily basis. In order for you to make money, people have to think that what you have to offer them is worth more than their money. That’s why I say that there are no shortcuts. You either give them an excellent, fairly priced product or they won’t give you their money.
Online businesses and offline businesses have a lot more in common than you think. So let’s start thinking about online businesses as a REAL BUSINESSES in which you have to:
- Offer a competitive advantage (lower price, higher quality, easier to use, faster to use, whatever)
- Get a high gross profit margin (if you buy widgets at $100 and sell them at $105, your business is doomed to fail)
- Figure out your business model (who is your customer, how can you reach her and how can you do it in a cost-effective way)
- Invest money and time (the less time you have available, the more money it’s going to cost you, because you’ll need to hire people to do the things you don’t have the time for)
- Be committed, disciplined and dedicated (you can’t grow a company consistently without these attributes)
- Solve problems (you WILL find bumps on the road)
- Put together a team and lead them (probably the hardest part of starting a company)
So What’s the Advantage of Starting an Online Business?
My point is that you shouldn’t start an online business if you are not willing to work hard to make it successful. People become victims of the “get rich fast” scam every day. That being said, there are certain aspects of starting an online business that are a lot easier than starting a brick and mortar business, and you can capitalize on these to start building your online business.
- You can get a 1-800 number that can ring on your computer or cell phone 24/7 (regardless of if you are in Thailand or Argentina) for less than $10/month. Check out Freedom Voice and Skype.
- You can make unlimited international phone calls for less than $25/month. Check out Skype.
- You can have a fax number to send and receive faxes for just pennies. Check out PamFax.
- You can have an online store for less than $80/month. Check out Yahoo! Store and Volusion. You can even try them for free to see if you like them. OsCommerce is a free, open source ecommerce script with a lot of great features. If you are on a budget, give it a shot.
- You can accept online payments with PayPal and Authorize.net.
- You can have a virtual address to get your mail if you work from your home.
- You can find a virtual assistant and pretty much any other kind of freelance professional at Elance and Guru.
- You can find a customer service team that will answer your phone calls and chat with your customers 24/7 at rates you won’t believe. Check out some of these listings.
- You can even have someone else fulfill your orders. Check out these companies.
- You can promote your company using Pay Per Click Advertising (check out Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing).
- You can use Social Media Marketing to promote your business. It will take you some time but zero money (which is usually great for startups because they have all the time in the world but no cash). You can learn about using Social Media Marketing to promote your business here and here.
The Internet is a great place to start a business in less than a month with less than $200. But don’t think for a moment that you will get rich with no effort. Work hard and enjoy the benefits. And don’t forget to have fun. That’s what all this is about!
Eager for more? Check out Zeke’s three podcasts below for more great online marketing information and tips!
- 6 Steps to Succeeding in Social Media
- Twitter for Business Explained
- Facebook’s Got Its Business Game-Face On