However, this only further illuminates the exponential rise of online business today. Considering that the internet is still largely in its infancy, as the modern conveniences give way to near-instant delivery of products via drones, 3D printing and other means, and as virtual and augmented reality help to improve the online shopping experience, nearly all our commerce will eventually be conducted through online channels rather than offline channels.
The prep work before you open up shop is more time-consuming. You need merchandise to sell, photos and descriptions to post, a name for your shop and a business plan to help you succeed. Once that’s done, you’ll still need to find customers. Depending on what you’re selling, that could take weeks, which is why you should expect the overall time for this gig to be slow.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. May big name companies and brands, like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. run their affiliate programs through these third-party affiliate sites.
Many small businesses don't have room in their budgets to hire a full-time IT employee, so when their systems go on the fritz, they'll usually call a computer-savvy friend or family member. If you are tech savvy and have experience working on computers and networks, you can eliminate their need to call in a favor by offering immediate remote technical assistance.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
If you're interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It's often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.
You can generate a small side income taking online surveys — but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, unless you invest a lot of time, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Global Test Market. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.