These days, it's becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet with just one source of income. Thus, more and more people are investigating the possibilities of starting their own extra-income online business. Most of these part-time endeavours are started and operated from the comfort and privacy of the home – and, for some, it means you can kick the “day job” into touch and concentrate on your home-based online business as the main source of income and a very profitable business.
For those that don’t only rely on their home-based online business - they are making the extra money they need, keeping busy, having fun, and enjoying life as never before. The important thing is that they are doing something other than waiting for the government to give them a handout; they are improving their lot in life, and you can do it, too!
The fields of information products, software tools, consultancy services have never been more popular. If any of these kinds of extra income producing ideas appeal to you, then you owe it to yourself to check them out. But these aren't the only fields of endeavour you can start and operate from home, with little or no investment, and learn as you go.
The first thing you must do, however, is some basic market research. Groups such as Yahoo and Google are great for seeing where people have an “itch” and where you may be able to “scratch” it with your online business. It is much better to find a need then locate a product to match it. That way you already have an idea that there are customers out there. Trying to find a market for a product you already have can be very difficult – better to find (or develop) a product that solves an existing problem
If, after checking around, you get the idea that these people would be paying customers, your next effort should be directed toward the detailing of your business plan. The more precise and detailed your plan - covering all the bases relating to how you'll do everything that needs to be done - the easier it's going to be for you to attain success.
Such a plan should show your start-up investment needs, your advertising plan, your production costs and procedures, your sales program, and how your time will be allocated.
Too often, enthusiastic and ambitious entrepreneurs jump in on an extra income project and suddenly find that the costs are beyond their abilities, and the time requirements more than they can meet. It pays to lay it all out on paper before you get involved, and the clearer you can see everything before you start, the better your chances for success.
Now, assuming you've got your market targeted, you know who your customers are going to be and how you're going to reach them with your product or service. And you have all your costs as well as time requirements itemized. The next step is to set your plan in motion and start making money.
Here is the most important secret of all, relating to starting and building a profitable home-based online business, so read very carefully.
Regardless of what kind of business you start, you must have the capital and the available time to sustain your business through the first six months of operation. Specifically, you must not count on receiving or spending any money coming in from your business on yourself or for your bills during those first six months. All the income from your business during those first six months should be reinvested in your business in order for it to grow and reach our planned first year potential.
Now, don’t be put off thinking this can cost a fortune. With low-cost hosting, payment processors, free autoresponders and some time searching the internet for products to sell that meet your needs this needn’t be expensive.
If you’re planning products which are delivered electronically you have no stock to hold, no shipping costs and no inventory to manage so the costs can be very low. You can even find dropship suppliers of physical products so you can carry physical products on your site and they will hold the stock and ship it your name. Here are a few:
Once you've passed that first six months milestone, you can set up a small monthly salary for yourself, and begin enjoying the fruits of your labour. But the first six months of operation for any business are critical, so do not plan to use any of the money your online business generates for yourself during that period.
If you've got your business plan properly organized, and have implemented the plan, you should at the end of your first year be able to begin thinking about hiring other people to alleviate some of your work-load. However, the beauty of online businesses is that many operate very successfully (and profitably) with only one or two people keeping it up to date and handling customer queries.
Remember this: Starting a successful online business is not a means towards either a job for yourself or a way to keep busy. It should be regarded as the beginning of an enterprise that will grow and prosper, with you as the top dog. Eventually, you'll have other people (or even better – an automated sales, delivery and autoresponder process) doing all the work for you, even running the entire operation, while you vacation in the Bahamas or Hawaii and collect or receive regular income from your initial efforts.