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Different Kinds of Online Home Businesses




Owning just one of many types of online home businesses today is becoming increasingly preferable as many desire the lifestyle that comes with it. And thanks to technology and how it is affecting businesses today, there are more online business models to choose from than ever before.

You may experiment with an ecommerce model full or part-time from home or anywhere you have internet access. With an ecommerce business model, you do not have to have a store where you are patronized by customers. Potentially, the only visitors you will get are visitors on the Internet who stumble upon your website. You may cater directly to customers, called a B to C, business to consumer model, or to other businesses, more commonly known as B to B, business to business.

There are many advantages to starting an online business model. An online business requires very little capital to start (can be as little as $200 a year), and is a low risk venture. You do not need employees to run your business or a product to sell if you choose. Moreover, you can operate your business from anywhere you have access to a computer and Internet.



Donít Quit Your Day Job

You donít have to quit your day job while you explore online business opportunities. One of the most appealing characteristics of an online business is that you can experiment with an online business model on a part-time basis until you realize the potential of doing it on a full-time basis.

With an online business, your storefront (website) remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. You are not only restricted to sell to your local neighbors but instead can cater to a global customer base. You are in full control of the size of your business and you can make it as big or small as you want.

The growth of the Internet and businesses online has proved that there is no sky for a determined entrepreneur. So if you grow and choose to take your online business start up to the next level, there is no limit for you in Cyberspace. An online business is as scaleable as you can imagine it to be.

With all that praise, keep in mind that like with any business model, online businesses have their fair share of challenges. By far the biggest challenge is getting your site noticed on the Internet. The most common mistake most website owners make is the mistake of assuming that all they need to do is put up a good looking website and people will start coming to it automatically. It doesnít work this way.

The Internet is projected to have well over a billion users by the year 2010. How do you get even a handful of those users to come to your site? How do you turn them into a customer? Creating a website is the easy part, getting the traffic to it is a much bigger challenge.



Choosing an Online Business Ė eCommerce or Information-based Website?

So you want to start an online business but you are not sure of what type of business model you want? Do you prefer a site that sells a tangible product (ďecommerceĒ) or do you want to sell advertising space by creating heavy traffic flow through giving away free valuable information? Which is the most profitable online business model? Deciding on the best online business opportunity definitely isnít an easiest task.

Having a product to sell may certainly sound easier than coming up with a topic that you can talk about extensively to drive traffic to your website. Understand that you will have to work hard regardless to make your business a success. However, it is important to understand and weigh out the pros and cons of each before fully committing to one over the other.


eCommerce Model:

Internet stores today are a dime a dozen. So how does a consumer decide where they want to spend their hard earned money? With several stores offering the same product what ends up happening is most online stores end up competing on pricing. The only two ways you can become successful in online retailing is either if you have a unique product that people want and nobody else is selling, or you are offering a product that is well known and sold by many others except for much cheaper.

The x-factor in the equation above is Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. A well optimized site that markets itself best and gets on top of search engines sometimes gets its share of business regardless of its competitive advantage in pricing or uniqueness. This works because sometimes online shoppers are in a rush, where a few pennies or even dollars donít make much of a difference in their purchasing decision. They simply want to order and move on with their day.

One may argue that customer service is also important. But honestly, when you are dealing with online businesses, customer service is expected to be at its best. It is a given. It really becomes a mute point unless of course the company is absolutely horrendous in the way it provides services to its customers.

It is important to realize that unless you have a unique product that no one else is selling, your profit margins (the money left over in your pocket after you subtract the cost of your goods and other selling and operating costs) from online sales are spread very thin. If you are only making a couple dollars on every sale, you need to sell hundreds and even thousands of items to make a reasonable profit from your operations. Think about the time you will spend procuring the goods, storing them, packing them, shipping them and updating your inventory control records. It can turn into an extremely tedious, manual and time consuming process.

One way to increase your profit margins is to get in touch directly with the manufacturer of the product you are selling. Most people buy their inventory from middle men, who mark up the items before turning them to you. They have to eat as well! Manufacturers are difficult to find. Once you find them, it is even tougher to convince them to do business with a small fish (at least initially) like you.

This is truly the only way to be competitive and earn a reasonable living when you consider all the time and effort you spend on your business. In fact, if you run the numbers when you buy from a middle man, I bet you that more than half the time it wouldnít even be worth pursuing the business as you will never be able to price your product competitive enough for the customers to come to you over your competition.

Other challenges of an ecommerce business model are no different than having a brick and mortar store. You are still faced with inventory management issues (buying and managing the flow of your product) and warehousing, shipping and handling, accepting payments in different forms, cash flow management, customer returns and exchanges and other small business issues that can add up to big headaches if you donít handle them in the most effective and efficient way.

All that being said, ecommerce businesses are some of the most successful online business models out there. Many have managed to ďcrack the codeĒ and make a lot of money selling on the Internet. Below are two approaches that can put you ahead of the competition.


Drop Shipping is More Profitable & Less Stressful:

One way to eliminate most of the headaches associated with online retail is to team up with a reputable and reliable drop shipper. Drop shipping is where you market and advertise the products you want to sell. Once a customer makes a purchase from you, your drop shipper fulfils your order on your behalf to the customer.

With drop shipping, you donít have to tie up your cash in inventory. You donít have to worry about warehousing or cash flow management. You donít even have to worry about shipping and handling the product. Your products are packed by your drop shipper and labeled with your information so that your customer does not know that you are using a third party supplier.

Make your drop-shipperís responsibilities are detailed in the agreement you enter into. Most drop shippers charge a nominal monthly or annual fee in order to be your primary supplier. Once you establish a relationship with the drop shipper you can market the inventory they carry. You can then strictly focus on marketing your site and optimizing it to get the best results from it.

Be careful in selecting your drop shipper. Read as much as you can about the drop shipper before entering into a business relation with them. There are many other drop shippers out there but I cannot speak for their services as I have not had personal experience dealing with them.


eBay:

eBay is a good option if you have a product you want to experiment with to determine the market demand and how much people are willing to pay for it. eBay has been around since September 2005 and has become the internet retail giant we all know. With eBay you already have an established platform to conduct business and a large community that has been conducting business for years. eBay is the best and cheapest way to see if there is a market for your product.

Your experiences on eBay might dictate whether or not it makes sense to create your own ecommerce website. If your product is well received and you begin to sell large volumes, it will make more sense to create your own ecommerce website.


Information-based Website:

An information based website business model is based on the premise that you discuss a topic that attracts people to your site and advertisers will find a way to reward you for your work. Letís say for example you are extremely passionate about Dubai city and have been there several times before. Because of your passion and knowledge you may decide to write about it online. And because Dubai city is one of the hottest tourist destinations today many people may be searching for information related to Dubai city. When people conduct searches on Dubai city on the Internet, you want your website to appear in the top search results.

Appearing high on search rankings will guarantee you a ton of traffic. Chances are that each visitor that clicks on your websiteís link will browse several pages of your website. So what you may ask? You may be genuinely passionate about Dubai city but there are businesses that sell travel packages to Dubai or real estate agents that sell property in Dubai that would love to advertise their products and services to thousands of pre-qualified individuals who they know are interested in Dubai city.

Because your site gets patronized regularly with Dubai city lovers, companies that offer Dubai city related products and services may want to contact you and pay you to place a small advertisement of their company on your website. Google has a very popular program, Adsense, that was created just for the sole purpose of connecting businesses who want to advertise to websites that relate to their product and service offerings. I hope that wasnít too confusing? Read the discussions on monetizing your ideas online by using Google Adsense.



I Personally Like the Information Route

The bottom line is that if you have a topic that you are passionate about, go and create a website and discuss that topic in detail. Itís only a matter of time before you start to build heavy traffic and advertisers will find you and reward you for allowing them to advertise on your site.

If you know a craft well, perhaps your profession, or a hobby you like a lot, or have been through an interesting life story, and can write about it, you will be rewarded by companies selling products and information related to your discussion topic. If you are passionate about something and can give your expertise that others can benefit from, write about it like there is no tomorrow and your efforts will be noted and rewarded.

The reason why this business model works so well is because people are hungry for good information but donít want to pay for it. By offering free information you are attracting eyes to your website. Businesses love to see this as they view it as an opportunity to tap into a pre qualified crowd that they know might be interested in the products they sell.

In addition, by establishing an information based website, you are catering to individuals but are getting paid by businesses. People have less discretionary money these days but larger businesses have a big advertising budget. Do you see why this is the top rated online business opportunity in my books?


Quick 3 Step Guide to Your Own Information Based Website



STEP 1: Observe how other people are making money online by providing free information.


STEP 2: Understand how Google is paying website owners for just having a website.


STEP 3: Learn how you can put up a great looking and functioning site within minutes.





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