Anyone can actually start earning income online with no outlay at all - besides sweat equity. With cloud-based free services, this is the updated equivalent of "Bum Marketing." In that scenario, a person simply did article marketing (like a bum in a public library) in order to generate traffic. While the article directories have mostly been de-valued by Google (not all that relevant, or you'd see them in the top listings) - they've been replaced by others such as Google-owned YouTube.
For my own curiosity, I wanted to see what "bottom" looked like. We've already seen how millionaires approach this...
Nuts and BoltsThere are 4 parts to making income online at its base:
- Discovery - how someone finds your page.
- Sales page they can buy your product (some call this a landing page, but that’s a bit miseading.)
- Shopping Cart to accept payment.
- Thank you page (which has the delivery link.)
The barest minimum could be a Google account: using Gmail, Blogger, and Google Checkout. Blogger holds the pages, and Checkout makes the sales. Oh - you'd also need an info product. You could create this with Google Drive and export it as a PDF.
You're probably still missing a way to get customers (other than a chance finding of your blog) - and you'd be doing the fulfillment by hand.
The greater idea we want to work with here is to create recurring systematized passive income. Meaning that you're earning extra money online using semi-automatic systems instead of having to manually do all the details.
Without automation, you have just created another job for yourself - kinda like a franchise where you are working harder than if you had a regular job, plus being in debt for the license.
Discovery has a front and back end.
The backend would be an auto-responder. This allows you to answer and originate messages with a script doing your talking. So you can deal with queries about your product 24-7.
The front end of discovery is putting your target where people are aiming. For information products, you go where people are looking for answers.
- video sites
- doc-storage sites
(Article Directories and static websites used to be on this list, as well as some content sites such as Squidoo and Hubpages - but we want to deal with the cost-effective sources. There are many discussions on this, and these change regularly. At this writing, these 5 are the best traffic-producing options.)
To get into people's email, you need to be introduced to them - because people have to give permission for you to send them stuff.
We then go to find people with lists of permissions-already-given recipients. These are Affiliate Marketers aka: Joint-Venture partners. (Again, there's a huge body of data on this.) The trick is to let them do the introductions for you. So you make it worth their while (the juice is worth squeezing.)
Interestingly enough, affiliate sites such as JVZoo, and DigiResults also make it easy for you to host your content securely as well as your sales pages. They also do the shopping cart for you (for a small fee.)
Meaning with an auto-responder and an affiliate site, you can have regular income. This is known as Affiliate Marketing.
The next trick is to set up your content so it can get paid for on a recurring basis. (Affiliates love that, too.) Otherwise, you are constantly working to find either new customers, or additional new products to sell them.
This is where you take the next step of getting your own membership site.
And that is Mike Dillard's sole claim to fame. His Magnetic Sponsoring was built into a large set of related products (sales funnel) which people could buy over time. The main recurring income came from a monthly newsletter to keep people updated in the Network Marketing business. His Elevation Group was built on his own quest for finding how to invest his money to make more money, rather than just spending it on "doo-dads." So his regular monthly content people would subscribe to at a hefty $97 per month. He started out with 8,000 subscribers - so do the math.
Membership sites can be set up to "drip" content, meaning you can deliver courses of material over time, where people pay you for it as they get it. You can then also offer additional related courses as well (your own sales funnel.)
As you systematize the content-delivery, as well as affiliate acquisition, you then leverage your time for increasing amounts of regularly-arriving income.
Where you re-invest that income into other passive income-producing sources, you start building real wealth - which will soon get beyond the point where you could ever spend it all on doo-dads, no matter how hard you "worked" at it. That is why so many of the ultra-millionaires become philanthropists - finding worthy places to invest their excess wealth where it would do humankind the most good, and get the greatest return.
Starting from less than scratch
All of this can be started for next to nothing (or even while you're in debt.)
The whole point of a home business is to make income without additional expense. It's profitable from day one. Of course, you're spending your time - and that is the entire game here: how to get maximal return for the time which you are required to spend anyway in your life. You can always make more money, but you can't make more time.
The core of your business is your own list of people who trust you to send them great content. An autoresponder such as MailChimp is free to start with. Other services have their own introductory offers which make this essentially free to get started.
JVZoo and DigiResults will host your sales pages and content, as well as running your shopping cart. They will also introduce you to affiliate sales-people to create your sales (and add to your own list of customers.) Both of these are free. You can integrate your payments via PayPal or Payza for free as well. All of these take a percentage of sales, but very slight. Costs you nothing up front.
Your membership you can pay for with profits from your sales. You'll need a one-time fee for a domain name, some hosting, and a Wordpress plug-in. This can be about a $100 one-time and $10 monthly total.
And counting the money coming in, plus figuring out where to invest next.
Staying at Scratch – or Making Millions
Of course, it's completely your option to stay broke. Lots of people choose this as their own path through life.
If you're reading this, you're probably not one of them.
The key handbook, if you don't already have your own copy, is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
The rest is up to you.