With year end on the horizon, it dawned on me that new business ideas often come from new year resolutions.
Common resolutions involve some form of a personal makeover, or making more time for family and friends or turning a hobby into a career. The good news is that all of these can lead to successful businesses. So, I thought I would write about four potentially lucrative businesses that I have had some experience of; eCommerce, Affiliate Marketing, Blogging and Freelancing.
A couple of points before we begin. Shamelessly I have chosen these opportunities because they depend on having a website built, which is a significant portion of my online business and the primary motivation for this blog. Also, the set-up costs of these businesses are low. Let's look at them in no particular order.
Selling your products online has become the default way of generating extra income. In the early days of the internet, this meant physical products or real-world services and the growth of eBay. However, today the software available through web building platforms is so sophisticated that digital products have started to come into their own. Music, photographs, videos and ebooks are just a few of the digital items easily made available for a massive marketplace. For an example of an online store we have built, click here.
Affiliate marketing is selling other peoples products and getting a commission. For the most part, the commissions are small, and this type of business needs a consistent approach, but if done well, the income can be significant. Just keep in mind that it is a slow-burn business that will take time to build and show results.
Successful affiliate marketers begin by doing comprehensive research and selecting products and merchants wisely. This research should start with looking for 'Affiliate Programs'. Affiliate programs can be in-house and controlled by the merchant or a network with lots of products from which to choose. Both provide all of the affiliate links required and the tracking software needed to calculate and pay out any commissions generated.
You can use affiliate marketing to promote general products that you do not know of, products that you have used or understand, and products directly related to your area of expertise. Whatever the case, the content used to promote these is different. At one end of the scale, you are simply announcing that a product exists. At the other end, you become an advocate for a product you are confident in recommending. In my opinion, it is unwise to recommend products and services that you are not conversant with because promoting sub-standard products will almost certainly damage your reputation and future sales.
A simple search like 'where can i get affiliate links' will produce millions of websites that will give you all the help you could ever want. As ever, be careful and do your due diligence.
As you are here reading this, it is safe to assume you know the power of blogging. Most bloggers aim to become their own boss and benefit from the freedom of being in charge. But freedom in business always comes at a price. Bloggers MUST constantly create new content, be looking for ways to drive traffic to their blog and finding ways to monetise their activity. Earning money from blogging can come from building a subscriber list, including affiliate links in your content and attracting sponsors and advertisers to support what you are doing. Again this is a long-haul approach to income generation that needs dedication and hard work. I have to say that because I don't look to mass-market what I do, I only focus on creating content as an example of what can be done on the websites we develop. People willing to become the 'face' of their blog and work at it as a business have a much better chance of making a living out of it than I do.
The recent shift to working from home and the rise in online meetings has been a real boost for freelancers. I have lost count of how many online coaching sessions I have run over the last two years without leaving my home. Services that were once exclusively face-to-face activities are now routinely done online. A therapist friend of mine tells me that their online sessions have gone so well that they have no intention of reverting to the 'old ways.
Freelancing lends itself to copywriting, programming, voice-over work, video creation, general consulting, group coaching and the sort of web development work we do here at JIM LTD.
As with all small businesses, the trick is to get work. Start with a simple search like 'get work as a freelancer, and you will find an endless stream of general help and some specific information about online marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. This kind of service offers freelancers the chance to advertise their skills.
All of these channels have one thing in common the need for an optimised website and search engine friendly web pages. For help with this, you can look around this site or email us directly.
In today's digital world, it's essential to take your 'personal brand' seriously. It's common for a small business to rely heavily on the founder's expertise, and your website is a critical stockpile of information for people looking to find out more about you and what you have to offer. That being the case, if you want potential customers to take you and your business seriously, you should think about making your personal branding a priority. Here are some thoughts on defining your personal brand and using it to market yourself and boost your business.
Let's start with the Importance of Personal Branding. Your brand helps you to:
The message so far is to start by defining your own personal brand. But how do we go about this seemingly simple task? Hopefully, these tips will help you:
Having clarified your Personal Brand, you now have to get it out into the world where it can do the most good. This means some marketing is inevitable. Consider these free strategies:
In conclusion, taking charge of your personal brand will help you achieve more success for your business and act as a guide when faced with hard decisions and choices.
Hopefully this blog provide some insight into what we offer, provide inspiration for you to build the website you have always wanted and help with developing your business generally.
James Image Management Limited.
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