The Internet has evolved into an important medium for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. As Internet access and technologies have improved, more and more people are going online. In fact, global B2C e-commerce sales are projected to reach 1.92 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016.
The main question is: how do we make money on the Internet? Here are some ways home business entrepreneurs can earn money online:
Sell products or information
Selling a product, service or information is the best way to make money on the Internet. Customers pay you for a product or information. You can sell information-based products such as books, courses, kits, e-books, business research tools, and databases. Commercial products, on the other hand, can range from baskets, beads, handicrafts, toys, wine and liquor, electronic products from all over the world. The range of products that you can offer on the Internet is just incredibly wide.
You can also sell custom-made items or products you yourself manufactured, selling them directly on the Web without the wholesalers or retailers. As the manufacturer, the Web can enable you to reach your buyers directly, allowing you to set prices that are more competitive as you eliminate middlemen. You can also appoint dealers or what is called “affiliates” in the Internet and give out generous commissions for reasonable sales volumes. Your knowledge and understanding of your customers will also enable you to provide better customer service.
Having your own products to sell is the best strategy for making money on the Internet. You will not be thoroughly dependent on your traffic, as compared to businesses that rely on advertising for their revenues. Traffic is less valuable for e-commerce plays because revenue is more essential. The important question is “how much sales did I make today?” and not so much as “how many people visited my site today?” The goal will be to convert traffic into paying visitors and customers – and keep coming back for more. The success of your site will depend on how well you are able to convert your traffic to sales, and how much of your customers will become repeat clients.
Sell advertising and ad products
The advertising model is a common business model on the Internet employed by both generalized and niche portals.
To earn money through online advertising, your web site must provide content (usually, but not necessarily, for free) and services. Advertisers then pay to reach your audience, with their advertising messages often presented in the form of banner ads, text ads, contextual advertising, pop up advertising and other forms of advertising.
However, the advertising model only works when the volume of viewer traffic is either large or highly specialized. If your site attracts a specialized market, such as home owners, new parents or home-based entrepreneurs, it can be highly sought after as a venue for certain advertisers who are willing to pay a premium to reach that particular audience. Nonetheless, the quality of your traffic is still essential.
Therefore, if you are going to pursue this revenue model, be sure that you can convince potential advertisers that have a solid customer base and that you can indeed reach your market. Advertisers may require a minimum number of page views that your site can deliver.
A number of small business entrepreneurs do a living on the Internet by selling consultancy services on a variety of subjects – from Internet marketing, import-export, securing loans, financial services, personal development, and many others.
You can create a web site that aims to provide advice and guidance to people who may need help in your subject area. There are sites that offer Web site marketing consultancies to publicity strategies. There are also a number of sites that gather a number of “Internet experts” and offer collective consulting services to those requiring help for whatever niche.
Many small businesses also use the Web to sell their services that they offer online, such as accounting or massage therapist. Their websites then serve as their 24/7 online brochure to help them reach their target markets and expand awareness of their businesses.
Bring buyers and sellers together
You can also earn on the Internet, not by selling goods or information, but by bringing together buyers and sellers. An example of this is eBay, which have popularized the auction model. Market exchanges, business trading communities, buy/sell fulfillment and other B2B business models fall under this category.
Small online entrepreneurs can launch their scaled down version of B2B business models through sites that facilitate transactions, earning fees in the process. You can create a site where people sell a product or information to other people, and you take a cut of the transaction. For example, many netpreneurs have created classified ads sites, providing a listing of items for sale or wanted for purchase. They then earn from the listing charges regardless of whether or not a transaction occurs.
Another way for a home based entrepreneur to earn money using this approach is through the creation of online malls, where you provide a central place on the Net where people can find a particular business or service. You earn money through setup fees, monthly listing, and/or per transaction fees. Virtual malls, however, is best handled by an experienced Internet entrepreneur with some capital.
With a third of all online activity spent watching videos, videos have become an important way to earn money online. In the article “8 Ways to Earn Money from Online Videos” https://www.powerhomebiz.com/online-business/make-money/8-ways-earn-money-online-videos.htm, we listed different ways you can earn money from videos through different services and channels on the Web:
- Whether you put your videos on sites such as Youtube or in your own site, you can earn money by placing ads on your video
- Get paid by number of view
- Get paid by downloads of your videos
- By creating commissioned videos
- By producing videos for others
- By getting videos featured
- By selling videos on a royalty basis
- By selling your videos on demand
Some small entrepreneurs sell subscription-based services over the Internet, although this could be the hardest. This model entails offering your content to members willing to pay your subscription fee.
To succeed, you must offer high value-added content that is not available elsewhere for free. The Wall Street Journal is an example of a successful subscription model. Generic news content, viable on the newsstand, has proven less successful as a subscription model on the web.
The challenge for a small online entrepreneur is how to make your site with an unknown brand succeed in charging a minimal fee amidst all the free information available on the Internet. Check the demand and supply equations for the kind of information you are providing:
- Are the subscribers demanding this information enough to want to pay?
- Can they get the same kind of information for less or even free elsewhere?
- How well have you established yourself as an expert in your field that people will be willing to pay a fee to read what you have to say?
These, and other questions, need to be answered before you can expect your subscriptions-based site to earn money for you. Some businesses have combined free content (to drive volume and ad revenue) with premium content or services for subscribers only.
Whatever way you plan to make money on the Internet, be aware of the so-called “free trap.” Start out by giving away your product and customers will disappear (along with your business) when you start charging.
The Internet as a business medium is still evolving. Home-based entrepreneurs must learn from the excesses of the dot-coms. As more and more people get connected to the Web, the Internet will continue to be a potent force in commerce.