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Can You Really Turn Your Passion Into Profits On The Internet?

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I told a friend the other day that I had started a business on the internet.

He smiled and nodded. I don’t think he took it very seriously.

Everybody these days is trying to make money on the internet.

And for everyone trying, there are a dozen or more wishing they could do the same – with dollar signs rolling in their eyes.

The reality is that only a small percentage of those who do try ever really make any kind of serious money on the internet.

I don’t say this to discourage you, because the possibilities are endless if you know where to look.

A dose of reality is often helpful before you begin your journey, however.

And if you want to make money on the internet, you are preparing for an uphill struggle – don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

Here are some considerations to get you started.

Take Your Business Or Hobby Online

If you currently have a business or a skill, think about taking it to the internet. How?

First, you need a web site.

A good way to go while you’re still in the planning stages (and if you’ve decided to do most of the work yourself) is to use a free service until you have everything together and can then get a real domain name of your own and go full steam ahead.

With the free service you can experiment and put the site together without really drawing too much attention to yourself just yet while you’re learning the ropes.

A free service like Hypermart.com, Freeservers.com or Freeyellow.com is a good place to look.

These “free” hosting companys use a subdomain that looks something like this: http://www.freewebhosting.com/yourbusiness.

When you’re ready to do business, get your own domain name.

If you want to look legitimate this really is the only route to take.

With the free service, your credibility suffers and few take you seriously.

It’s about a $60 to $70 investment to begin (to register the domain for two years).

Then you need to seriously consider web hosting (who will host your site on their server on the internet?). You may want to start with a service that charges around $20 per month on up.

Even some of the free services offer great bargains to begin–once you leave the concept of “free” behind (like $8 per month to eliminate those annoying ads off of your site). And you really don’t want the annoying ads–because they siphon away customers, who with one mouse click can be off somewhere else–leaving your site behind. Besides, the banner ads promoting the free hosting service make you look cheap.

Do You Just Want a Showcase?

The next question to ask yourself is: Do you want to make money? Or do you just want a web presence?

That seems like a strange question to ask at this point in our discussion. But look around the internet. So many of the sites are just that: a “web presence” – nothing more.

Don’t get me wrong. They provide useful information and I’m grateful every day that they’re there! But, they’re not making much (if any) money for the site owners.

Someone has turned his or her passion into a nice hobby, nothing more, nothing less. What we have is a nice showcase for that person’s hobby, and that’s super! But if you want to make money on the web, you need more.

Examine Yourself – What Do You Have To Offer?

Focus in. What is it you have to offer? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

What skills do you possess that could help others? What do you enjoy doing?

Or do you have a super fantastic idea?

It all boils down to this: What do you have of value that others would be willing to pay money for?

When you can answer that question, then you can begin to develop a strategy.

And remember this, if people aren’t willing to pay money for something, then it’s useless to try to sell it to them. Find out if there’s a market for what you have. (No use trying to sell ice to the eskimos – unless it’s some kind of unique ice that they’ve never seen before that’s so cool they’ve gotta have it!)

Plan Your Success – To Avoid Failure

If you have writing skills, you may want to offer a proofreading or copyediting service.

If you sell fancy craft “doo-dads”, maybe you want a site that will showcase your “doo-dads”. That means pictures and the means to scan them (using a scanner) onto your site.

No scanner? Try a place like Kinko’s copy centers. They can often do this for you.

Check It Out First Before You Leap In

Maybe you don’t have anything to sell. Maybe you’re seriously looking for something.

Consider each offer that comes along seriously. Do some research.

Enter the name of the company or individual into a search engine (like Yahoo, Excite, or Dogpile.com – a metasearch engine).

See what comes up. See if anyone is experiencing problems with the company or individual and what the nature of the problems are.

You may want to ask about this in a forum or discussion group also, and see what kind of feedback you receive from others in the group.

Since I live in the United States, I found the Better Business Bureau on the internet at: http://www.bbb.org/. From there you can find your local BBB!

A listing of international consumer agencies and organizations (as well as a more detailed listing of US agencies) can be found at: http://www.consumerworld.org/pages/agencies.htm

It pays to do a “check” before you jump into anything. Sometimes your check may not turn up anything. But at least you know you’ve tried and are not going in blind.

When you do find your “gem” remember, there are always skeptics and nay-sayers.

Sometimes it’s much, much better just to block them out completely and go forward if you are confident–despite what they say (unless it’s the BBB or similar agency issuing a warning).

Don’t Be Wishy-Washy – Go Full Steam Ahead!

Whatever you decide to do. Make the decision! Focus in! Then go for it.

Develop a detailed plan or strategy. Then follow your plan.

Here are a few resources that can help you plan:

MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATE

Here is a great template you can use. Just answer the questions and start to fill out the marketing plan form:

“The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Plan” by Arnold Sanow and Girard Perone at: http://www.smart biz.com/sbs/arts/asp5.htm

PUTTING THE PLAN TOGETHER

The following sites will give you more great ideas as you start to put your plan together:

http://www.aaabiz.com/i mi/plan.htm

http://www.web pageprofits.com/marketing.htm

http://www.bizpl ans.com/html/planning.htm

http://www .onlinewbc.org/docs/market/index.html

MARKETING PLAN ARTICLES

And finally, here are a few great articles on the subject:

“Creating Your Business Plan” by Liz Folger at: http://www. powerhomebiz.com/vol5/LizFolger.htm

“Marketing Your Business For Success – What Does A Marketing Plan Contain?” at: http://www.sba.gov/gopher/Busines s-Development / Business-Initiatives-Education-Training/Marketing-Plan/

“Purpose of the Marketing Plan” at:

http ://www.online wbc.org/docs/market/mk_plan_why.html

. . . and finally:

PLANNING YOUR PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY

“Creating Your Website’s Promotional Strategy” at:
http://www .soaringprofits.com/promostrategy.htm
or http://www.w eb-source.net /articles/Promotion/

This article provides an excellent promotional strategy to follow including daily, weekly, and monthly promotions and how to organize and follow a detailed plan.

Ron Knowlton is a former journalist and the founding editor at “Articles To Boost Your Success Online!” Subscribe to the Soaring Profits Success Ezine! Like a free monthly internet marketing course by email! Eight great lessons each month! Subscribe: http://www.Soaringprofits.com/spsubscribe. htm

Can You Really Turn Your Passion Into Profits On The Internet?
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