So you want to be a successful online entrepreneur. But which of the many business strategies do you choose?
There seem to be so many online business models out there, with everyone touting a different philosophy. It can be difficult to narrow down a business strategy that actually works.
However, when you remove all of the window dressing and break the online business strategies down to the basics, there are just a few that make up nearly all of the online entrepreneurial ventures out there. Which one you choose will depend on your personal preference, your unique skills, and where you see a hole in the market.
A popular type of Internet entrepreneurship is affiliate marketing. With the creation of websites like Clickbank, the affiliate programs offered by leading retailers like Amazon, and the big profits that can be potentially earned, affiliate marketing is one of the most popular online business models today.
With affiliate marketing, you find the customer, send them over to the seller to buy the product, and the seller pays you a commission. Of course, you have to find the right products and have a solid plan for getting them in front of people.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to test a market at minimal cost. You can jump in advertising other companies’ products from day one. You save the cost and time involved in creating your own products. Once you establish a foothold in a particular market, you can move up to developing your own products.
Rather than being the person who receives the commission when someone buys a product from someone else, you could be the person that they are buying that product from. You could create an infoproduct of some kind that you’ll be able to sell to the Internet at large.
One of the more popular ways to do this is by publishing Kindle content on Amazon. The products on Clickbank, JVZoo, and similar sites are also part of this strategy.
The infoproduct sector includes ebooks, membership sites, courses, videos, audios, paid newsletters, and so on in digital or physical formats. It also includes events such as seminars, workshops, bootcamps, and conferences, whether online or offline.
E-Commerce Business Strategies
A really popular Internet business strategy right now is e-commerce. It is the practice of selling physical products online. There are three main ways of doing this.
One method is to buy the products in bulk and ship them yourself or have a fulfillment company do it for you. This is the online version of opening a retail store and stocking it with products. The big disadvantage of this method is the cost and risk of buying all that inventory, not knowing if the products will sell. Even if a product sells well at first, you never know when it will stop selling.
A much less risky way to go with e-commerce is dropshipping. When your customer orders something from your website, you order that product from your supplier, who ships directly to your customer. To the customer it is the same experience as if you did your own shipping, yet you don’t have to pay for a product until you sell it. The main downside is that your margin is usually lower since you are buying products one at a time.
A third method of e-commerce is print-on-demand (POD) merchandise. This means products that you design, then another company manufactures and ships them when orders come in.
Print-on-demand started with books and expanded to T-shirts and other apparel. It now includes coffee mugs, smartphone cases, and almost anything that can be printed on. This method gives you the advantage of dropshipping with the benefit of being able to create your own unique products.
Usually the company that manufactures the items for you also handles billing and customer support. That makes print-on-demand one of the truly hands-free business models. Once you set it up it runs for you even if you’re not actively involved.
The last of our four top online business strategies is providing some type of service. There are many occupations that provide a service where someone can become an entrepreneur.
Graphic design is one good example. Freelance writing is another. Whenever you are doing a service for someone else and they are paying you for it, you are an entrepreneur.
Another popular segment includes services such as coaching, mentoring, and masterminds
Some entrepreneurs sell services and hire other people to fulfill those services. This is the agency model. That way you can spend their time marketing and serving their clients, rather than doing all the detail work.
The agency model lets you help more clients and ultimately make more revenue, since you can only personally do so much work per day or week, but you can hire many people to work for you.
Combining Business Strategies
Of course, you don’t have to just stick with one of these methods. You could combine two of the above strategies or you could combine all four if you like.
A common way to do this is to build an online store with print-on-demand products and add some dropshipped products. The reason for doing that is that print-on-demand tends to be only for items that can be customized in some way. For most types of products there are no companies offering print on demand. For example, you could build a T-shirt store, then add accessories like belts or socks that typically are not done via print on demand.
There are many ways to make money online. Most of them fall into one of these major types. The most important thing is to find the online business strategy that makes the most sense for you and your customers.