The term working from home conjures up for many people an image of sitting at the kitchen table pushing leaflets into envelopes by the hundred and getting paid a pittance for the privilege.
But is working from home, stuffing envelopes? Not if you have a PC and access to the Internet, and that is very simply because of the exponential growth of the world wide web, the speed at which you can now access the Internet and the sheer volume of people that use the Internet both for access to information and to make purchases of pretty much every product imaginable. Companies like eBay and Amazon have paved the way to selling online and the trend for online shopping continues to grow exponentially.
Virtually every high street store now offers their products over the Internet and virtually every product that is offered is open to marketing by what are called affiliates. Simply having that computer available and access to the Internet gives you an opportunity to utilise the power of the Internet to create either a part or full time occupation. Becoming an affiliate is one of a number of ways for working from home and making money online.
3 Simple ways of earning online:
- Affiliate relationships
- Direct sales
There are several ways of entering into an affiliate relationship, you can visit a website that sells a product you have an interest in and look to see if they have a link that points you to their affiliate program. If they have, you can simply follow the link and apply to the program. Sometime this might mean being directed to an Affiliate Network such as the Google Affiliate Network or perhaps Affiliate Window
You do need to bear in mind that when applying you will need to advise them how you intend to market their products, i.e. whether you are going to promote the product on a website, a blog, via an email campaign or by some other means. If the company has a serious interest in using affiliate relationships they will be considering whether your online presence is relevant to their product and whether you are actually likely to attract visitors who will be interested in the products they offer. If they think that this is unlikely then they will most likely refuse your application. Other reasons they might refuse your application could be because of where you are located geographically or because they consider that you simply do not have enough of an Internet presence.
The 4 Amazon ads above are examples of the kind of adverts you can place using code provided by the supplier, Amazon have a huge online presence and once you have an affiliate relationship with them you can utilise a whole range of affiliate tools to promote their products. The ones I have used here are from one of their simplest options.
Advertising can take a few different forms, it can be something as simple as registering for a Google Adsense account and placing Adsense code on your website or blog that produces Google Ads e.g.
Alternatively you may have created enough of an Internet presence with your site to attract sponsors that buy space from you so that you can promote them or their product for a fee. Many bloggers achieve this by writing about a subject they are passionate about and that appeals to the masses. This means that they get lots of visitors to their blogs and, for the company that wants to advertise on your site, they are potential customers. This is the reason they are prepared to pay for advertising space.
Direct Selling again comes in many forms, it can mean using a 3rd party website to sell the products you have for sale. Some of the best known examples of this type of selling are the aforementioned eBay and Amazon sites, but there are many others, Etsy, Craigslist, etc. the list goes on; these are options you can use for selling pretty much any product online.
The direct sales comes in because you are the one buying the products and selling them on, ideally at a profit, and you need to handle, store, package and ship the goods. The alternative to this is selling digital products i.e. products that can be downloaded from your site. Could be an eBook, a software program anything that you can supply in a digital form; creating an eBook and selling it online is a great way to cash in on your expertise.
With the advent of services such as PayPal, Google Checkout etc. You are also able to sell directly from your own site with relative ease, you simple put the ‘add to basket’ and ‘go to checkout’ buttons in place and let the service take care of the financial transaction on your behalf. They will of course take a commission for the service, but setting up to start trading is really very quick. There are alternative ways of creating what is in effect an ‘eCommerce’ site that involves you taking care of the financial transactions. But this is a little more complex and you have to take care of the security aspects of the transactions and take responsibility for protecting financial data; the subject of a separate post I would suggest.
The advice I would offer on all of these options is to stay focused, with so many products available via affiliate relationships or under your own steam, besides the opportunities for advertising it is very easy to diversify too much and find that nothing is done regularly enough with sufficient enough detail to attract a consistent flow of traffic. Becoming a jack of all trades and master of none is often the road to online failure. So pick your topic, product and method with care and stay focused on delivering it to your targeted audience. Set yourself a time limit for getting results based on a concentrated effort and if you don’t get the desired results then move on and find another subject, you will at least have learned a lesson or two on the way.
So the next time someone asks ‘Is working from home, envelope stuffing’ you will be able to answer honestly that there are many more options available.
As an aside, creating an online presence can be a little difficult, especially if you have never written or produced a blog or website. There are 2 really good resources for getting started on the Internet HubPages and Squidoo. Both offer the opportunity to create single page websites which are hosted for free and provide you with the opportunity to start cutting your teeth in the world of the Internet. They already have relationships with some of the top Internet companies, which can help you get affiliate approvals with them. You can write about any topic you want (as long as you keep to their T&C’s) so you can try out the topics you think will get you traffic and see what actually happens. You can visit Tips to Work from Home for detailed advice on using HubPages and much of the advice is relevant to Squidoo as well.
Go have a look, it is a great preamble to starting your own blog and is definitely not working from home stuffing envelopes.