At no other time in history have there been so many options for the low-budget entrepreneur to build his own start-up business at very low or even no cost involved. The facilitator to this new business climate is the Internet. While scams and shady characters still inhabit this venue, there are several legitimate ways to make money online. Keep in mind that, generally speaking, the less money invested in the start-up, the more effort will be required to make it successful.
Affiliate marketing is now a fully developed industry with millions of dollars being paid to affiliates each month. For those not completely sure how it works, an affiliate is simply a person who signs up to promote a product or service for someone else. You are paid a percentage of the sale, sometimes as much as 75 percent. You will be given a unique hyperlink to place on your sales page that lets the publisher know where the visitor came from. Once you're signed up as an affiliate, you need a website (nothing more than a single page sales letter) and manner to drive traffic (article marketing is an effective, free way to do this). For your Web real estate, there are several companies that provide free space and hosting for your purposes.
Blogging for money is even less complicated than affiliate marketing, which isn't that complex itself. The advantage to blogging is you get to write about stuff you're actually interested in. There are several perfectly legitimate companies that provide both the online blogging interface and hosting at no charge. Setting up your initial website should be a breeze, even if you're not technically adept. You should be up and running in a matter of minutes and certainly no more than an hour. For starters, you can install a Google AdSense bar on your blog for free. Any time a visitor clicks an advertisement, you get paid anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, depending on the type of ad. Over time, as you post more entries on your topic, your blog will begin to show in search engine rankings, which drives traffic to your site. Article marketing also works well for creating a traffic flow.
ClickBank is the granddaddy of informational products distribution. Visit its website to get an idea of the vast breadth of topics that info products can be created about. A ten page “special report” could be sold for perhaps $7, while longer works regularly sell for anywhere from $19 to $99. The key to keep in mind is that you're not trying to emulate Hemingway. People buy info products because they want a solution to a problem in their life. Deliver that solution and you'll sell a bunch. While it costs $50 to set up an account and sell a product on ClickBank, there are other free options that will host your download, and provide credit card and order processing services for a fee per order.
Derek Dowell has ghostwritten dozens of projects and thousands of blogs in the real estate, Internet marketing and travel industry, as well as completed the novel "Chrome Sombrero." He holds a Bachelor of Science in environmental legal studies from Missouri State University.