There are a number of ways that people can make a sustainable living from home. With the recent decline in the job market and the growth of online businesses, it is becoming more and more common to make an income through online work. As of 2010, 20 million Americans were working from home. In the past year, online business have grown 11%, while brick and motor businesses only grew 2.5%.
One common way to earn some extra income is by setting yourself up as an online middleman. There are a few of ways to go about this.
The first way is to utilize online auctions. Online auction trading assistants are growing in number and complexity, but it’s not too late for an entrepreneur to take this already pioneered profession and make a living at it. iSoldIt, a company with nationwide storefronts, sells merchandise for their customers on Ebay. Using a similar business model on a smaller scale, the work-from-home types can create a feasible business.
At the most basic level, this is akin to buying something cheaply at a garage sale and selling it for more online. If you have expertise in a particular field, it’s possible to apply your knowledge of your niche and become a selective distributor. For instance, an out-of-work medical professional could set up a medical supply distribution service serving a large metropolitan area.
Another option is to set up your own online storefront and sell through that. To do this, you need to find a producer of some good, like batteries, and create a website that markets and distributes these batteries. What’s unique about this approach is that you don’t need to beat prices or provide a unique experience. You simply need to have your site seen by the right people at the right time. This requires knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the means by which search engines favor your site. If someone Googles “batteries” and your site is the first link, they’re going to at least give it a look.
A third way to earn a significant income online is to market a skill that can be distributed online. Crowdsourcing has created a kind of accessibility that writers and graphic designers have never before known. Every online business, once established, needs artwork and copy to promote its products. Graphic artists or photographers can help business owners create a striking and aesthetically pleasing site. Writers can help these sites articulate their purpose to help drive readers and buyers. Try honing your design or writing skills to market yourself and your services online.
A great benefit of an online business is that costs can be fairly reasonable. You can secure a domain name for $20 per year and incorporation can cost less than $200. Keep in mind that if you are selling something, PayPal will take out a percentage of the purchase price.
While the dreams of making millions online may not be a reality, it is possible to earn a little extra. Your income will be directly tied to your work ethic, product offering and marketing savvy. On average, recent reports have shown that online workers make just under $50,000 a year, but this of course varies based on how much time you put into it. Earning money online is a lot of work and it would be wise to use the money to supplement existing income versus replacing it.