Get market validation from potential customers who aren’t in your social circle. Some entrepreneurs use the “will they pull out their wallet” test before investing money in a business. Callinan, who’d come up with a prototype for an individual beer bottle cooler, ran a crowdfunding campaign on Fundable to gauge pre-orders for his product. His campaign raised nearly $14,000, 280 percent of his $5,000 goal.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
Often, what happens is that we run into unscrupulous Internet Marketers (IMs) who have less-than altruistic intentions of extracting money from you rather than helping you to make it. However, this isn't something new. People have been falling for networking marketing, pyramid schemes, and affiliate marketing scams since before the start of the net.
Part-time, work-from-home jobs are particularly attractive to a talent pool of educated and highly skilled job seekers who don’t necessarily fit the in-office, 9-to-5 mold. And for anyone who needs a second source of income, working from home part-time allows them to gain this without adding a second commute or more long hours in the office. Flexible jobs like part-time and remote jobs can also help reduce stress and improve health. According to the latest FlexJobs survey on work-life balance, 97% say a flexible job would have a positive impact on their personal life and 88% say it would decrease their levels of stress.
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.
If you're ready to enter the ecommerce fray, you could sell your own stuff. Of course, along with selling your own stuff on your own website comes a whole slew of both responsibilities and technical configuration and requirements. For starters, you'll need a website and a hosting account. You'll also need a merchant account like ones offered by Stripe or PayPal. Then you'll need to design that site, build a sales funnel, create a lead magnet and do some email marketing.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.