Archive for the ‘online business’ category

Top Online Entrepreneurs Work Hard and Smart

May 8th, 2010

Remember all those people who told you that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to as long as you work hard? It turns out that most of the time they were right.

You can have a ton of talent and still get nowhere if you aren’t willing to work hard. You can be the most brilliant person in the world, but unless you’re willing to apply yourself, you will not succeed in anything.

See how 12 of the top online entrepreneurs work in an interview article at dailyblogtips. This is an interesting article and will give you insight into the working lives of some of the top bloggers and entrepreneurs out there.

A few things stick out from all the entrepreneurs interviewed in this article:

They all work hard
They all work smart
They all set goals and follow through on them

How to Build a Successful Amazon Store into Your Blog

November 9th, 2009

If you have a blog, you’ve probably thought about some ways to monetize your site.  One way that a lot of people earn some incremental income (or really good incomes) from their sites is with affiliate relationships with either eBay, Amazon, or other online marketplaces.  Some affiliate with Buy.com as well.

Amazon has some very useful ways to help you promote their products from your blog and gives you a cut of each sale you make.  It’s definitely not an easy thing to do and can take some work figuring out just what kind of product will actually sell.  

The truth is that not every product that seems to make sense to put in front of your specific audience will actually be a product that sells.  In an article at makeuseof.com, Dean Sherwin has some valuable advice on how to integrate an Amazon store into your site (click the link to read) that will help make sales for you.

Three good points that Dean makes are the following:

  • People are not going to buy a $2,000 laptop through your site.  Just not going to happen–even though it would seem to make sense adding a link to this kind of product in an online review of it.  If people can go down the street to Best Buy or Wal-Mart to buy something, that’s probably where they’re going to go.

That being said…

  • Visitors to your website will buy cheaper items (say around $10) a lot of the time.  They will also purchase items off your site that can generally only be found online.  In other words, if it’s only available online and there isn’t a physical store nearby “competing” with you, visitors may just buy from you.
  • Build a separate page for your store and link to it in your navigation with the word “Store.”  Makes sense right?

If you already have an Amazon store or some products linked from your website or you’re looking for a way to (pretty darn easily) add a store to your site, check out this article.

Building Online Businesses Takes Patience

August 29th, 2009

There is nothing in the world more frustrating than writing a great blog post or making an insanely helpful video–that no one sees.  Well, besides your mom and your significant other.  One of the main things that nips online businesses in the bud and frustrates internet entrepreneurs is the fact that it can take a long time to get any traction with search engines and readers. 

When you create a great piece of content that you want to share with everyone you meet, you’re only a half way there.  Next, you need to get out there and expose it to people.  Nothing’s going to happen if you just let it sit there.  Online search is getting more crowded every day and search engines aren’t going to give you a ton of love if your site doesn’t have much authority.  

That being said, your work can take off like a rocket if you know how to get it out there and are willing to work.  Read a few tips on how to build traffic to your blog.

The single most important “skill” in online business is having patience.  You are going to have to get used to waiting for a while–at least in the very beginning.  If you have a new blog, it’s not unusual to go six months with limited traffic–a year even.  But again, it’s really a function of how hard you work and how focused you are.

Being patient will give you the strength to get through the lonely dry spells when you’re doing everything you can to create a successful online business, be it a niche blog or an online store, and no one seems to care.  But you will care.  And that’s why you’ll succeed…eventually.

6 Online Business Myths that are Way Off

June 13th, 2009

Just like any other human venture, online business is burdened with collective beliefs, common knowledge, and myths that just are not true. Here are a few of the myths.

1) Succeeding in online business is easy. This may be a point that I haven’t quite hammered home on this site. In fact, I may make internet business seem a little easier than it really is. This is far from the truth. Internet business is just as hard as any business out there, just as competitive, and can be just as demoralizing. That being said, if you are a superstar or a hard worker with great ideas, you will climb to the top.

2) Online business takes a different skill set than “normal” business. Online business is just that, business. Everyone who has a website talks about “social media” and “web 2.0″ and the amazing benefits tools like Facebook and Twitter create for online businesses. These tools do create a lot of amazing opportunity for those who know how to use them to stay connected to their audience.

But if you don’t know how to connect to people in the first place or have a valuable service or product to offer, then these tools are not going to magically help you get your message out and make sales for you.

If you have sales skills or marketing skills or the ability to rally people around you, then you will be able to transition right into the internet business world. The same rules apply. Create a great product, give great service, and find the people interested in your product. Hit it out of the park for people, and you will win.

The only difference is that instead of having customers come into your store on the street, your store is now visiting your target audience via computer screen in their living rooms. Or on a beach in Jamaica that has wifi.

3) Online business is for tech people. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, it helps to have someone who knows their way around a computer, but internet tools are so easy to use that you really do not need much technical or design expertise. If you can use a keyboard and a mouse and are willing to put in the effort and learn about things you don’t know much about, then you will be able to create a viable online business.

Working on the internet can also consist of your direct skill set. ?If you’re a writer, you can start a freelance writing business, and if you are a web designer or social media pro, you can do the same. ?You can even become an information entrepreneur and create informative blogs based on different themes and monetize them in many different ways. ?For the content writers out there, read my post about how to make money with Hubpages.

4) Internet marketing is just spam. Sure there is a lot of spam out there, but there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate companies doing business online. Every single brand name company has an internet presence. If they don’t, then they don’t exist. There is nothing shady about doing business online. In fact, I would be surprised if in two years you will be able to do any business at all without using the internet.

As people gravitate more and more to the web to do their shopping, to find their directions, to communicate with their friends, and to plan trips and flights, there will be more opportunities for online businesses of all kinds. If you aren’t preparing your small business for an all-internet world, then you may be left behind.

5) I can’t start an online business because the Internet is too crowded. The internet is crowded and it gets more crowded every day. But guess what, the streets of your town are also crowded with businesses, but new businesses start and old businesses fold every day.

Google and other search engines are becoming better at weeding out the fraudulent, worthless, and spam sites, which makes it easier for the high quality online businesses to shine. Search engine traffic is a huge part of success on the internet and if you play by the rules and create a great product, service, or entertainment, you will rise to the top, as the cream often does.

6) I don’t have time to start my online business. Building an online presence for your small business is vital to your success going forward. There are few companies that will be able to avoid doing business online. A website or an e-commerce store selling your product should be a priority for you.

A good (and easy way) to start is by creating a blog. You can even do it for free. Start a free blog at blogger.com or wordpress.com, find a custom theme online so it looks a little more professional, and start pumping out content and your message. There are so many things you can do with a blog to promote your company and your brand. Even just getting out there and promoting yourself will help you a great deal.

Just like in anything, the people who work the hardest and test different ways of doing business to find what works will be the most successful. The thing that the internet does for business is the same thing it does for communication–it speeds it up. This means that you can rise quickly, but you can fall just as quickly.

One of the best things the internet provides though is free access to your target audience. You can find and reach out to your community on so many fronts, it’s ridiculous. And you can do much of this for free because all it takes it time and the willingness to do good work. Getting your message out and driving targeted traffic to your web presence are both important element in the online game. But having an amazing product or service is the most important thing.

Create an amazing product with a great story behind it and that fulfills a human need or solves a problem in an interesting or new way, and you just might be the next online success story.