Deciding which business to start can be confusing and frustrating.
There are so many different choices available to you, both online and offline.
By the way, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my links I will earn a fee.
We will talk more about affiliate marketing, affiliate links, and how you too can make money with affiliate marketing if you choose to do so. We will also look at several other opportunities – and you can decide for yourself which one is better for you to start with.
To help you make a better decision for yourself let’s look at some of the opportunities available to you.
Online Businesses You Can Start
There are quite a few real businesses that you can start as an online business – which are proven and have been done over and over again by tens of thousands of people from every walk of life.
Despite what some people say about fast and easy income – that is rarely if ever the case in real life for beginners who are just learning and getting started at any online business. All businesses that are real take both real work and some time to get them to begin to pay off.
An online business does offer many advantages. For starters, it will be very low cost compared to any other more traditional business options. In fact, some can even be started completed for FREE.
While that is possible and it is true – from a practical matter to make more progress sooner you will need to pay for some things that you will both need and want to make your business more profitable and more enjoyable. Yet these costs are very small. The most basic things you will likely need are a domain name and hosting service for your own website.
Your website can attract and bring in traffic (people – potential customers) who will read or otherwise consume your content and may click on your links and buy your products. Your links can be affiliate links, and we will talk about that in a minute – or they can go to your own products that you sell directly.
Depending on what your products are – they can be fulfilled by others – or you may be the one printing out a label, packaging it up, and shipping it to your customer. My wife and I sell a variety of things in multiple ways. Some items we do sell direct, just as I described – while others are handled through our production partners and other platforms that take care of everything for us and for our customers.
For example – I have 19 (soon to be 20!) courses on Udemy.
I had to create the courses, edit them, upload them to the Udemy platform. I also had to create all the content and put images on the course landing pages, write automated messages for my students to receive at the beginning and end of the course, and create supplemental materials (depending on the course) they can download such as worksheets, assignments, reports – eBooks/PDF’s and other documents or materials that support their learning and add value.
But once the course is uploaded – and goes through a quality assurance review by Udemy – then the course becomes live and available for purchase to students anywhere in the world and anytime. From then on Udemy pretty much does everything for me. They market and advertise it – show it in their own search results and recommend it to certain students (based on previous courses or searches).
When a student buys my course (any of my courses) – Udemy processes their payment and provides them access to the course instantly. If there are any technical issues or problems Udemy takes care of all that. Then they send me my payment once per month and about a month after purchase and any refund time has expired.
They offer all students a full refund for a period of time so anyone can make a purchase of any course at any time and feel confident they will receive value – or they can request and get a no-hassle refund.
This is good for students and instructors and helps keep students happy and buying more courses and that is good for all instructors and Udemy too.
That is just ONE example of how another platform can be used to fulfill and handle getting a product (in this case a course) to your customers. This works for any digital product of any kind and there are multiple apps, platforms, and such that can easily handle it all.
But it also works for physical products too.
Let’s say someone buys a physical product – like a book, a watch, or a camera. There are drop shipping companies and fulfillment companies that will keep your stuff in their warehouse and when an order comes in they will process the order, pull the item from the shelf, put it in a box, and package it up – put a label on it and ship it directly to your customer.
So you do not have to own and operate a warehouse and have a lot of employees (and costs and liability) to get it done – no matter how much you sell. There are people and businesses available to do all this for you – because that is THEIR business and they are usually very good at it.
Amazon even offers such services. They call it FBA which stands for Fulfillment By Amazon – Google it and Amazon will explain it to you in detail if you are interested. There are also plenty of youTube videos and other content on the subject.
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Perhaps you are already familiar with affiliate marketing – and if so this will just be a refresher for you. If you have never heard of it before, this very well may be just what you are looking for if you want to start your own online business as fast as possible for as little money as possible – yet have huge profit potential if you are good at it.
Essentially what affiliate marketing is – is marketing other businesses/people’s products in exchange for a fee.
You typically will create some type of content that targets a certain group of people (Niche) and who will consume your content. Within your content will be Affiliate Links which they can click if they are interested enough to do so. The link takes them to the actual company/seller site where the transaction will be completed if they decide to make a purchase.
Your content can be a blog post, an article, video, eBook, post, picture, infographic, email, or content on some social media platforms – even paid ads online on various platforms.
Computers track the links and purchases and know the buyer came from you in this example. so once the purchase is complete you have earned a commission from the company/seller for that sale.
It can be done in a variety of different ways using various resources to accomplish it too.
You could sign up with some companies and get your affiliate links to market their products and then start a free YouTube channel and make videos – get viewers – and market products that way (be sure to read and understand YouTubes rules FIRST so you don’t get your channel shut down!).
Likewise, there are ways to use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, TicToc, and other free platforms and resources to begin marketing products for free.
Regardless of what other methods and tactics you choose to use – it is however easy and highly advisable to also have your own website and use it to attract and drive traffic to your offers. It is even better when you use it in conjunction with some of the other methods – and you can interconnect them. You can use your YouTube channel to help get traffic to your website.
So having a website is important and it is not very difficult to do once you learn the basics.
For example – let’s say you want to market cameras.
You buy your own domain name. Maybe something like Camera Reviews by Manny which would be www.camerareviewsbymanny.com (insert your own name or whatever name you would like). Of course, you need to do a search on GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Wealthy Affiliate, etc to make sure it is available – if it is you can buy it.
Once you own the domain you can set up your own WordPress site.
To do that you will need hosting which you can get from a variety of providers at reasonable costs. Then you pick a theme (look and function templates basically) for your site and build it. You will create your main page, a few key additional pages, and probably a blog. There are a few key apps/plugins you will need and a few you may want – and then you will begin adding content.
What is content?
You are reading it now! This post/article is content for my site www.ldsewell.com.
When you have your own site up and running you will begin writing posts and articles and creating your own content over time to help attract visitors to your site.
You will also want to target very specific niches to increase the chances you will be able to get enough traffic to make enough sales to be successful. My site (www.ldsewell.com) is my author/instructor site and what I consider to be my digital home – and it covers too many topics to be an ideal niche site – which should be much narrower in focus. But it works for my purposes just fine and is interrelated and interconnected to most of my other content.
However – I use it as a central hub too – and I have MANY other sites that are much more narrowly focused on specific niches. When you are just starting out – start with ONE site and consider it carefully and then build it to the point of profitability FIRST before you go out and start another site. Otherwise, it will quickly get overwhelming (don’t ask me how I know that ; )
In short, the basic steps are;
Pick a Niche.
Build a site.
Start creating content – and keep creating more quality content.
Monetize your site (Affiliate links etc.).
Keep creating new content and adding more value over time.
One of the keys to doing it successfully over time is to provide quality content that adds value vs just writing sales copy that says “Buy my stuff!” basically and has affiliate links every other word or two. Please don’t do that. For one it is annoying and nobody wants to read that mess – and besides – it does not work so you would be just wasting your own time and irritating other people too.
So what is value?
It means providing something the reader or content consumer (think video, audio, etc) wants and that meets their needs to a point THEY feel like they got what they were looking for from your content.
Another way to think of value is when you provide solutions to problems and answers to questions. You help others find ways to accomplish what they are trying to do.
What Kind of Companies Use Affiliate Marketing?
Almost every major company that sells stuff uses affiliate marketing and affiliate marketers to help increase their sales. So do many small to midsize companies – and even some individual people do too.
One very well-known company is Amazon (which I mentioned as having an FBA program above). It also has an affiliate program and of course, they sell EVERYTHING!
While their rates are low as to what they payout, the potential products you can market with Amazon are endless, and if you can move enough volume it can still be lucrative.
Most training platforms, course platforms, and memberships also have affiliate programs – and since their products are largely delivered online (without warehousing, transportation, liability, and physical damage insurance costs, labor costs, etc.) they can afford to pay much larger commissions. And many do.
Some pay as much as 50% or more – and some even pay that on a recurring basis for subscription and membership types of products. That can be incredibly powerful over time as you make more and more sales – and keep getting paid again and again for sales you already made!
Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Want the short answer?
YES you can!
It is a REAL business and a real Income Production Opportunity that does really work for real people who actually do the work overtime to make it happen.
How much can you make? That is all over the board from a few cents to a few dollars and on up. I am a member of a community and platform (membership) called Wealthy Affiliate and I have been for two years now and counting. We have members there just starting out who are building their first website and learning all this and the rest of the fundamentals – and who are not yet making any money – yet.
But they see all kinds of other people doing the same thing, and they see when they start to make a few dollars (because they share their journey and their stories with the WA community) and then see it increasing over time.
When you see person after person do this – all following the same fundamental procedures – then you KNOW you can do it too if you do what they did and put in the same time and the same work. Eventually, you will achieve the same or very similar results. That is a powerful thing to know because self-doubt is what stops most people more than anything else – along with a lack of information and training.
In this case – all of those things are solved because the basic information, training, and support is excellent – and the community members sharing their stories helps others realize they can do it too, and that overcomes their own self-doubt enough that they achieve success.
Once they make the first dollar, then the first ten then the first hundred – then there is no longer any doubt whatsoever because they know for certain they can do it – because they are doing it!
You can do the same thing.
Others are far beyond beginner or even intermediate and are advanced. Some like the term “Super Affiliate” and these people are the ones making multiple thousands of dollars and beyond every month consistently – and even that is growing for them over time as they scale their own businesses.
Many are making six-figure incomes.
Some are making multiple six-figure incomes.
A few are even making seven and multiple seven-figure incomes (MILLIONS of dollars per year!)
WA is the only place I know of with that many people who are successful routinely contributing new content, training, and other information and resources to the community. It is interesting to go back and read their stories from the beginning – before they made their first dollar online. To see their journey and follow their progression from newbie affiliate marketers to mastery of their craft over time and with effort.
That is a powerful motivator for most people and certainly an encouragement for everyone who hears their stories.
I Recommend Affiliate Marketing to Most People as a First Online Business
As you can see there are a lot of benefits to affiliate marketing and it is a business that can be started for nothing at all other than effort and determination. Then the fees needed to grow it are minimal and incremental.
Beyond that – learning affiliate marketing fundamentals teaches you many of the things you will need to know to launch and build any other business.
That is valuable information and valuable skills to have.
One of the easiest and best places to get your initial training in affiliate marketing is Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate or WA has been around more than 15 years and has well over a MILLION members and is still growing. many have been paying members for years as have I at two years now and counting. some of my friends there have been members for 7 years or even more! That is unusual in the online world – and it means they are all still getting VALUE for their money otherwise they would not keep paying to be there.
As I mentioned WA does also have a completely FREE membership you can have for nothing. So you have much to gain and nothing at all to lose.
For a week you will even have access to all Premium (paid membership plan) resources and after that, you can still see and access much of the information and read the discussions – but you will lose access to core products and services and will no longer be able to communicate with other members within the community. But it is FREE forever and you still have access to MASSIVE amounts of very valuable information.
The idea is to check it out and see if it is right for you while you do have access to everything – then if it is to go ahead and upgrade to Premium (About $50 per month) which give you access to all core training and to the community – and the community is a major KEY to your success!
There is a yearly option to pay for a year upfront and save some money vs making 12 payments – but I do NOT recommend you do that at first. Start with the FREE membership and USE IT while you have it! Check it all out – and if it loos good (and it will ; ) then go ahead and sign up for MONTHLY Premium – and keep that for your first three months or so just to be absolutely certain it is the right decision for you and that you are going to USE IT.
If you find that you do use it and still love it – THEN if you like and want to save a few bucks go ahead and pay for a year. Also, WA does have a Premium Plus membership that is basically double the cost – and that does get you access to more live training and more direct training programs from successful expert members – but when you are just starting you do NOT NEED THATso paying for it now is a waste of your money.
It will also just overwhelm and confuse you.
Kinda like learning flight training and skipping the classroom stuff and training in a small plane like a Cessna – and instead of going right to an airliner or spacecraft. It is not logical or sequential to do that and it won’t end well for most people to attempt it if they could.
Now while this does not have as severe repercussion as that would – it still helps make the point that you would be better off learning the basics and progressing from there. Then when you are up and running and making money – then consider upgrading to the next level and getting the little crown (Premium Plus ; ) but not before then.
Not unless you have plenty of money to spend and just want it. If so go ahead and knock your socks off.
Sound good? If you are click the link below and let’s get started NOW.
Some Other Businesses You Can Start That Work
As you can see I really think Affiliate Marketing is the best choice to begin with for most people. However, there are other businesses to that you can start if you wish and that may be a better fit for you depending on your background and situation. Also, they will be good to consider later even if you choose Affiliate Marketing first.
That is the beauty of online businesses – you can have more than one!
You can actually operate several online businesses at the same time and have each of them provide more exposure and more traffic and sales for each other when you interconnect your businesses and your efforts the right way.
That’s what I do.
I use all of my content to help people find my courses. I use ebooks to market my courses and posts and articles too. Then I used courses to help people connect with me in groups and memberships and I use the groups and memberships to let them know about all the products and services I offer.
All of that produces more and more sales over time – and helps me keep increasing my income gradually and systematically. You can do the same things if you want to.
Here are some other online businesses to consider;
- Online Course Creation
- Print On Demand (POD)
- eBay/Etsy/Shopify (product sales)
- Digital Marketing Agency
- Virtual Assistant
- Graphic Artist
- Influencer/Content Creator
- Membership Creator/Owner Operator
How to Do What You Do Not Know How to Do
Lots of people want to start, own and run their own successful money-making businesses online.
But sadly most people never will. Some will try a few times – and fail. Then they will give up and quit. Yet at the exact same time – others will achieve success and go on to make life-changing income in ways they enjoy on their own terms with their own businesses.
Even more will never even TRY – because they can’t figure out where and how to start.
So what makes the difference between success and failure?
Information and training – along with support.
You do it much like people do all other things they are unfamiliar with – you learn the fundamentals and then do it and learn by practice and by improving over time as you get more information and get better.
Find people who already know how to do what you aspire to do and get information, instruction, and feedback from them.
These people are often referred to as Instructors, Coaches, Mentors, Consultants, and Authors.
Today there are so many ways you can connect with such people and get such information it makes it both easy and very affordable to do. Take online courses on Udemy.
Buy and read some books and books, listen to audiobooks and podcasts.
Read blogs and do your own research.
Find a coach, consultant, and or mentor and get their help. I can help you with the things I teach – and there are many others who also teach these things – and others who cover all other topics too.
Join a community (membership) like Wealthy Affiliate – and there are many others focused on various businesses that they cover.
All of these things together are far cheaper – and far more valuable – than any college degree in my opinion. The information you can get and the money you can make with it can literally change your life.
Offline Brick and Mortar Business Opportunities
Right now due to the state of the world and its effect on economies small businesses and traditional brick and mortar types of businesses of all kinds are struggling.
Many have already failed and gone under.
Yet there are some that are doing well and are still worth pursuing and can be very profitable – for some people. Nothing is the right thing for everyone at all times – so it is key to do a good self-assessment and choose the RIGHT business opportunity for YOU now.
That is one of the key advantages of Online Opportunities – they do not carry the same level of risk as a more typical offline business does.
Having said that – here are a few to consider if you can handle the risk and want to go after one of these;
- Trucking Business – Independent Owner Operator/Leased On Owner Operator/ Company Truck Driver
- Real Estate Agent – Get your license and become an agent
- Real Estate Investor
Each of these can be very profitable if you are successful at them. But they require money upfront, time, and other expenses – and all carry certain amounts of risk.
Be sure to get good information, training, and support if you decide on any one of these businesses.
I hope this had been helpful to you and stay connected with me through this site – or through WA – and the other methods I offer to get more information and more help.