Making Money & Making Money Online: Beyond the Hype

How to make money online is a question I get asked quite a lot. In fact, it’s probably the single biggest dream of those still trapped in dead-end corporate jobs. To the ill-informed, the internet represents a game-breaking new frontier for making money doing whatever you want. This is a very shortsighted belief, and this type of “get rich quick” mentality is what stops so many people from actually getting started on solid ground.

Despite the modern hype, doing business online is not fundamentally different than doing business offline. The internet simply offers a new, rapidly evolving venue to promote and operate your business on.

What the internet is NOT:

  • A magic button for generating cash for little or no work.
  • A shortcut or substitute for building a real business model or creating real value.
  • A passing fad for business.
  • Something which requires a highly technical skillset that only geniuses and geeks can learn.
Making Money & Making Money Online: Beyond the Hype

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Websites used to be very difficult and expensive to build. Now, there are platforms which will allow you to host and maintain a basic website for free, or a more dynamic one for a small monthly fee. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are some of the most popular simple website builders with drag-and-drop functionality for non-designers. WordPress is a popular content management system with greater freedom in design and function, but which is also more complicated to use. These, and other tools, make starting a professional-looking website very affordable and easy for most businesses.

Your website is simply an interactive representation of your business. At the very least, it should communicate the products/services you offer, the values you stand for, and a very easy way to begin buying from you. The most basic ones are essentially glorified business cards or brochures, with the sole purpose of getting a visitor to call or email you. A website can also be an entire portfolio of work, or a thriving ecommerce store with many product offerings, a shopping cart, and payment processing capabilities. When most people complain about building or designing a website, they are really complaining about not having a clear vision for what their business should look like.

Your website will need at least a small amount of written content and other media to make your business look like a legitimate professional entity they can trust. Many new entrepreneurs overthink this problem, wanting to capture the minutia of who they are and what they think makes their business so special. They also don’t understand what a typical visitor is looking for when they click onto their site. The way people use the internet these days often gives you only a few seconds to capture interest and convince a visitor to keep reading.

The home page of your website can be as simple as a single tagline and paragraph of exposition summarizing what your company does, what makes it unique, who it’s for, and what you want the reader to do next. It can also go on much longer, detailing some of the values of the company and selling points of your flagship product to entice further reading. Depending on how much you have to say, you can expand your message on your About, Products/Services, FAQ, and other pages. You either need to spend enough time online to familiarize yourself with modern trends and practices, or else pay someone with expertise in this area.

Internet marketing is about getting strangers to pay attention to you. That means you have to go to where they are already spending their time, and giving them a compelling reason to divert their mind towards you. Even in the relatively young context of the internet, there are many ways to do this, and the opportunities continue to grow every year. Here are just a few categories to pay attention to.

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Paid Advertisements

The most common forms of online paid advertisements include banners on websites, sponsored posts on social media, pre-video ads on Youtube, and so forth. They are most effective if you have a very short, clear message, and a very well-defined target demographic. You do not want to pay for a general advertisement displayed to completely random people in the hopes that a few of them will actually be enticed to click through to your site. That’s a quick way to blow your advertising budget.

Content Marketing

Another way to get people’s attention is by having something valuable that they will actively be looking for. Social media, blogging, podcasts, and Youtube channels are all very effective ways to organically grow a following through the production of valuable content. For the right personality types, this is an excellent strategy, but it does generally take a long time to see meaningful results.

Cold Outreach

The previous examples require waiting for someone to notice you. They can be considered passive or indirect ways of marketing. They are analogous to setting a trap, making it as appealing as possible, and hoping the right prey will wander into it. A more direct approach would be to go hunting, meaning to reach out to people where they aren’t already looking for you. There is nothing stopping you from calling, emailing, sending physical mail, or even going door to door promoting your business to anyone who publicly lists their contact information.

Showing up out of the blue in someone’s email inbox or on their phone is a daunting task for most people. They don’t like the prospect of chasing a target down with spear in hand, relying only on their strength and wits to bring it down. With practice, you can learn how to present yourself in such a way that they will make even complete strangers want to keep talking to you. Then your outreach will be free, as you will see prospecting opportunities everywhere.

Third-Party Platforms

You can use third-party platforms external to your website to advertise, build a reputation, and accept payments. Freelancing directories like Upwork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and others like them have the advantage of already having cultivated a large qualified audience, and will gladly put you in front of them for an upfront fee or a cut of what you charge. For physical products, ecommerce sites like Amazon and Ebay are an excellent way to showcase what you have.

These can work extremely well, because people are already actively looking to spend money on them, and most of them allow you to build up feedback based on good transactions. The downside is that you are ultimately controlled by the policies of the sites you sell through, and they usually take a 10-20% commission on everything you charge. That’s a small price to pay though for a beginner with no following of his own to get started.

You can check out my online course here.

Gregory Diehl
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Gregory Diehl
Author, Educator, Personal Development Mentor
Subjects of Expertise: Brand Identity, Communication, Sales
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Gregory Diehl
Personal Development Mentor

Subjects of Expertise

Brand Identity

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