How You Can Use The Internet To Start An Online Business
The first thing you need to consider before starting your own online business is to decide what your goals are. Some gurus suggest just doing what you love regardless of how much you get paid but if that passion is not in line with your goals or if it isn’t scalable then you might end up putting in a tremendous amount of effort for no monetary gain. Consider this checklist before starting your own online business as a part time job or passive income.
The first thing you have to consider is what is important to you. Maybe you don’t care about making money but you want to make a product that will change the world or maybe you want to start something that gives back to the community instead of making money so you have to decide what is important to you. Below is what I consider the trinity of having an online business. These are things that are important to me but you can change out one of the goals if it doesn’t apply to you.
Again these are just suggestions your goals can be completely different than mine but I recommend having at least three to guide you.
Once you figure out your checklist what can I do next to start making some dollars?
There are a ton of ways to make money online this is just a sample of the progression of what someone could go through on the road to making money with your trinity and passion. We will follow the example of Joe who has a strong passion about photography and camera equipment.
In college Joe needed some extra income and was studying finance. So he decided to sale his camera, he posted ads around the campus, and priced his camera $200 above what he thought it was worth. He got his asking price and he realized there was a lot of demand for good cameras on campus. Joe decided to go online and look at the deals on eBay and Craigslist for digital camera’s. He discovered people were selling models of his camera below what he sold his for. Joe realized he had a steady supply of products to match the demand that he saw for his camera on his campus.
Takeaways: This was the start of Joe’s first business. He became a buyer and seller of digital cameras because he was able to connect demand for high quality cameras with his supply. His customers were willing to pay for the convenience of getting their cameras right away. This business was also sustainable because it allowed him to get through college without getting a job. This satisfied the first (steady income) and third (passion) for Joe.
After college Joe moved to New York City and got a job in finance. He was motivated to make more money and didn’t really like his job so he remembered his old camera selling days from college. He checked Craigslist and discovered there was an abundant supply of high end cameras which he could buy for cheap and then sell them on ebay to customers around the country. He quit his job and started Joe’s Used Cameras. Joe learned a lot about digital cameras and became an expert so he started blogging about digital equipment. His blog contained some photos he shot and product reviews about some the equipment he used. Photographers of all sorts flocked to his website because he posted his photos on Instagram and customers from his eBay business also followed him. Companies started sending Joe products for free so he could review them an d inform his readers. He reached out to Canon and Nikon for an affiliate marketing program where he would get a $50 commission every time someone clicked on a link on his blog and purchased a camera.
Takeaways: Joe’s experience in college leads him to become an expert with all different types of digital cameras. This allowed him to understand the used digital camera market and notice that people were willing to sale used cameras in NYC for cheaper than they were in the rest of the country. This allowed Joe to live the first part of the trinity in making a steady source of income. Then Joe started his blog and was getting free products, started getting advertising revenue, and then started getting commissions via affiliate marketing when people purchased new cameras from his site. This is the second point of the trinity which is generating income while you sleep.
Joe was still working a lot of hours buying and selling cameras for his eBay store. He remembered awhile back someone had emailed him about selling his store, brand, and customer base. Joe decided to contact the buyer and sell his store because he wanted to start taking more pictures and creating art which was his new passion. Joe’s blog was not part of the deal with the buyer so he could retain all his followers. Joe used the money he saved to travel around the world and posted his pictures to his blog. A lot of people contacted him and asked how he took such amazing pictures. He realized there was demand to learn how to take awesome pictures like he could. Joe decided that he would write an eBook on how to take pictures. It was a lot of work upfront but once he was finished it was a huge success. People who purchased the book contacted him and said how amazing it was but they wanted to learn more. Joe saw enough interest in how he took photos that he could offer private coaching for customers or even do seminars once a month. Private coaching went for $2,000 for a weekend and seminars were $1,0000 each person for a day of learning how to shoot photography like Joe and there was enough room for 15 people in each class.
Takeaways: Joe’s business had a steady income stream so when he was ready to sale he found a buyer with no problem because it was a lucrative business (first point of the trinity). He sold his business because he wanted to pursue his passion of taking pictures (third point of the trinity). His online blog allowed him to become a well-known expert in the field. Through customers and followers reaching out to him he realized he could make an eBook about photography which people would buy. After that his customers wanted more so he realized he could charge a premium for his services via private coaching or at a seminar.
This is just one sample of Joe’s path and applying the trinity to how it guided Joe’s online business. The three steps are the same for any online business though. First you have to learn how to sell, then you have to build your online presence, and eventually you become an expert in your field and people will demand you skills or products so you can start charging a premium. You have to consider your customer feedback as you grow your business so you know what products to sale or skills to develop.
About Shaun Archer Tatum Shaun works in corporate finance in New York City. He has done financial consulting for several start-ups and has worked at several Fortune 500 companies. He has contributed several finance/investing articles on Seeking Alpha which have been published on Yahoo! Finance.