Although we are previously confronted with what is generally thought to be the worst recession since the 1930s, the world of e-commerce continues to grow, showing few sign of peaking anytime soon. In an effort to get the most bang for the buck, savvy businesses and marketers are moving traditional ad spend dollars online in ever-increasing numbers.
This growth has not come without a price. Newspapers and periodicals across the country and around the world continue to fail at an alarming rate as readers (following by representative ad dollars) continue to move to the Net.
Web 2.0 technologies present new opportunities and hazards
In an effort to make the most of this trend, thousands of astute Web surfers are actively learning to leverage Web 2.0 technologies in order to make money online during the economic downturn.
Just as sure as there are many eager to learn this nascent trade, so too is it certain that unscrupulous businesses and marketers will look to take advantage of these "e-newbies" with promises of licenses from programs that "do all the work, while You need only sit back and count the cash. " As we have heard too many times before, "if it sounds too good to be true …"
Most online marketers fail
The simple truth is that most surfers with little-to-no marketing experience who turn to e-commerce as an income source fail. However, it is important to note that failure is no less certain for those who try to make it on their own, than those that fall victim to scammers.
I will elaborate.
There is no better place to start a business than the Web
Despite the fact that most online business ventures fail, the potential for approaching vast sums of money quickly is far greater online than off. The Web provides heretofore unforeseen opportunities to anyone with access to a pc and an internet connection. To boil it down to a single factor-the Internet provides potential access to a virtual unlimited consumer base for a tiny fraction of the cost required to reach those same consumers via traditional marketing methods. Those that understand this concept and implement an effective plan to take advantage of it become wealthy.
Brilliant Internet concepts and the riches that follow are not necessarily the fruits of experience
One favorite example of high concept is "The Million Dollar Homepage." This stroke of genius plan was hatched in August, 2005 by a young Englishman, Alex Tew, who needed a way to pay for university. In short, he decreed that he would put up a Web page and sell space by the pixel (at $ 1.00 per pixel) to advertisers. He earned his million without spending a dime on advertising as Web surfers from around the world visited "The Million Dollar Homepage" just to see for themselves if it actually existed and what such a page would look like.
Of course, such high-concept sites are the exception and not the norm. People have made fortunes small and large with far more mundane ideas.
How much is one "dumb" idea worth?
In 1999 a shopper in San Francisco went in search of a certain type of shoe in a specific size and color. He left the mall tired, frustrated, and empty-handed. Back at home he decreed that the task could be better handled online. His only problem was that there was no major online shoe retailer to buy from. That day, Nick Swinmurn founded Zappos.com. "Who would be dumb enough to buy shoes online-without even trying them on?" People asked. Hundreds of thousands of customers and millions of dollars later, Nick had his answer-almost everyone. Since the recessionary woes faced by most retailers, Zappos did more than $ 1 billion dollars in sales last year.
Alex Tew's and Nick Swinmurn's dreams really only had one thing in common, the fact that they would not have been possible without the Internet and its low-cost access to millions of consumers worldwide.
OK, OK, I get it. But what's in it for me?
We're glad you asked, and the answer is, almost anything you want -if you are willing to learn the skills required.
While the internet continues to have many success stories, it has many more failure stories, and those remain mostly unheard. There are thousands of budding entrepreneurs who may have had a good idea, but did not know how to effectively market it. Or, sometimes they were top-notch marketers, but had no idea on how to deliver the product cost-effectively. Or because they just lacked the fortress or the dollars to stick it out.
Please, no more stories; Just get to the point. I have things to do.
While the editors at Top 5 Online Jobs rarely agree about much, we are essentially unanimous in the opinion that most budding online entrepreneurs fail because they are generally undercapitalized and too easily discouraged by the almost inevitable initial failures. Far too often they quit just before reaching the "tipping point" -that magical moment when the idea begins to realize a profit.
From the mouths of hucksters …
If you are old enough to remember get-rich-quick king of "tiny classified ads" infomercials, Don Lapre, you might recall this pitch:
"If you can create and test one tiny classified ad in the newspaper that makes just $ 30- $ 40 profit in a week, it could make you a fortune, because the secret is learning how to take that one tiny classified ad that just made $ 30- $ 40 profit in a week and to realize that you can now take that same exact ad and place it in up to 3,000 other news around the country … "
You can almost smell the hair gel.
Since Don's reportedly questionable business practices which made him subject of many a Better Business Bureau complaint, his thesis was correct. If nothing else, Don understood that the concept of scaling could have been used in marketing to multiply a campaign that shows a small but consistent profit into a small (or even large) fortune.
Today's Web is a Don Lapre dream come true-potential access to a virtual unlimited number of eager consumers-if you can figure out how to reach them cost effectively. And while the ROI on successful Internet campaigns is difficult to match in the offline world, the web is also a place rife with costly and frustrating hazards that chew up and spit out budding online entrepreneurs with clock-like regularity.
How shall I begin?
The very first thing is to decide what type of an entrepreneur you are or would like to be:
1. The Fiercely Independent Entrepreneur
This person is a strong-murdered, highly motivated, self-starter. This sometimes egotistical entrepreneur would rather succeed or fail on their own terms rather than follow in someone else's footsteps. This is a high-risk, high reward approach and not for someone who is easily dissuaded by initial failures. This entrepreneur's Achilles' heel is the tendency to enjoy the hunt more than the fear. However, this entrepreneurial type is far more likely to launch the next Million Dollar Homepage, Zappos or Twitter.
2. The Template Entrepreneur
While also a highly motivated, self-starter, the template entrepreneur allows others to blaze the trail and follows only when they feel confident that the successes of the trailblazer can be achieved without suffering through the same mistakes. To this person the bottom line is the destination, not the journey. They generally prefer fast nickels to slow dimes, are willing to utilize the advice of experts, and are less likely to lose interest in a project once they have achieved success. It is of course far easier to navigate a path that has already been cleared, but the downside to this approach is that if they wait too long, it may be difficult to emulate the pioneer's results due to the inevitable increase in competition. And while this entrepreneur is less likely to launch the next Facebook, they are also more likely to turn a profit.
What do I sell online?
Here's where you have to make another big decision – should you begin by marketing your own product / service and keep 100% of the profits, or marketing someone else's product / service and keep a percentage of the profits?
For people new to the world of e-commerce, we would suggest that you begin by selling someone else's product or service. Consider selling your own only after you have demonstrated a thorough understanding of Internet marketing techniques and achieved a satisfactory level of online success.
Many Internet marketers begin with affiliate marketing-the practice of advertising someone else's product or service in exchange for a commission for each sale returned.
The methods utilized most often by affiliate marketers include PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, posting links on your own search-engine-optimized, content-related website or blog, banner advertising, and e-mail / e-newsletter marketing. There are of course, other "outside-of-the-box" methods used by savvy "super-affiliates," but these are rarely disclosed freely, as the key to successful affiliate marketing is referring traffic to the seller at the lowest possible cost .
For example, if you were to purchase 1000 clicks from Google by using their AdWords program and you paid $ 0.50 for each click, and 1% of the clicks resolved in sales, and each sale yielded a $ 10.00 commission; You would produce 10 sales and lose $ 400.00. Ouch.
Commission ($ 100) minus Cost ($ 500) equals Profit / Loss (- $ 400)
However, if you paid $ 0.05 for each click, assuming the same 1% conversion rate, you would profit $ 5.00 for each sale-a very healthy ROI (return on investment) of 100%.
Commission ($ 100) minus Cost ($ 50) equals Profit / Loss ($ 50)
Scaling Marketing Campaigns (the "Don Lapre Method") to Maximize Profits
Using the same parameters, an investment of $ 500 in AdWords clicks would return your $ 500 investment plus an additional $ 500 profit.
Commission ($ 1000) minus Cost ($ 500) equals Profit / Loss ($ 500)
Rather than be satisfied with a $ 500 profit on a $ 500 investment, once convinced that the results could be repeated with a reasonable degree of consistency, a savvy internet marketer would reinvest profits in increasingly larger amounts. If successful, the marketer would become wealthy in short order.
A Little Online Marketing Perspective
While you do not run into campaigns with 100% ROI on a daily basis, they certainly exist, and they have and will continue to make Internet millionaires of many. If we were to think of such a campaign as a machine into which you could put a single dollar and have it spit out two dollars a few days later, what machine should be worth? What would you be willing to pay for the plans to build such a machine?
But you do not need 100% ROI to make a very good living as an affiliate marketer working only a few hours per day from home. A fairly consistent ROI of 50% would be enough to allow you to quit your day job in reliably short order. All you really need are the plans to create your own ROI machine.
Building Plans for Sale
While some "super-affiliates" will take their methods to the grave, there are others that are willing to part with them-for a price. The trick is of course, to get the best possible "plans" at the lowest possible cost. All plans are not created equal.
It is our recommendation that persons new to Internet marketing seek out the mentoring of someone who has already become wealthy by creating high ROI affiliate campaigns (not by selling online courses). Contact this person and offer to work as an apprentice for an hour or two per day to learn the methods used to create and implement high ROI affiliate campaigns. Or simply ask them what they would charge for weekly phone consultation. Or if they give seminars or webinars, begin by attending one. Or if they offer a class, take it. Or if they offer an online course, buy it. Keep in mind that doing so will likely save you the time and cost of many of the initial failures encountered by most if not all Internet marketers.
If you find the right mentor and truly heed their advice, it would probably be difficult not to at least approach their level of success.
Finally: A Word about Work from Home / Online Job Scams
While there are certainly more than enough online scams to go around, it is amusing to hear programs created by some of today's top online marketers referred to as scams. To keep a bit of perspective it might be helpful to note that a college education generally costs tens of thousands of dollars. Somehow graduates who find themselves among the unemployed rarely refer to their degrees as scams. Yet, when someone takes an online course and fails to produce a profit within 30 days, the word "scam" is thrown around freely. We would suggest that students of online courses also examine their own efforts before referring to anything that has been proven to work for others as a scam. The price of a book is never a guarantee of the knowledge within.