It’s the ultimate dream for every mom (well, maybe most mums) to work from home and make money online. However, the internet marketing landscape can be quite confusing for beginners and if you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of scams touted as the ‘real deal.
But is internet marketing really a scam? When we at StartMyMummyBusiness.com get this question, our answer is well, both no and yes. No, because there are viable ways of making money on the internet, and yes because for every real business model, there are scammers out there who can sweet talk their way into your wallet and credit card bill.
The internet and newspaper is littered with copies of sales ads claiming that “You can earn $5000 a month without lifting a finger” but it doesn’t really highlight the smaller, not so obvious text that follows, i.e. “ all you need to do is to pay us $3000 to attend a 3-day course where we reveal all the secrets..” While it is not a given that all of these are scams, you should be wary when the program advertises claims like a “100 % success rate” or “Earn $10 000 a month by working 30 minutes a day”.
The scary thing about internet marketing, or any other business for that matter, is that there is no fixed guide to success. Just as startups like Uber and AirBnB create new business models every day, the Internet marketing landscape will constantly change as well.
A fact that never changes: Developing a business, whether a physical or internet-based, requires time, commitment, sustained effort, a never ending thirst for knowledge and a whole lot of marketing and promotion. Gone are the days of, “ If you build it, they will come”.
We firmly believe that learning about making money online is a matter of sifting through the tons of information online. Once you understand the tools out there, once you identify mentors that you can learn from, you can actually make a decent living, or even a nice fortune from it.
In this article, we will give a brief description of the basic Internet business models available out there. It is by no means exhaustive or detailed. This is just a beginner’s guide to get your feet wet and steer you in the correct direction.
How to work from Home and Make Money Online – Internet Marketing Business Models.
A. Affiliate sales
Affiliate Marketing is basically being a partner to a company and to help it advertise its products on your own platform. You will then earn a commission from the products that the ‘parent ‘ company successfully sells.
This does not mean that you are importing physical products and shipping them out when an order comes in. When you sign up as an affiliate with a company, you will be given a special code that gets tagged onto the product url you generate. One of the more popular affiliate programs is the Amazon Affiliates Program which gives you 4% – 8.5% commission depending on the total no of products you sell.
However, the process is not as simple as just setting up a website and featuring the products. Amazon’s terms and conditions clearly states that it should not be another shopping portal. Instead, you should be providing quality content in the form of product reviews, product comparisons, how to guides etc.
If you set up a site specifically to do reviews on a specific range of products, that site is known as a niche site. Examples of niche sites include Pool Table Accessories Review Site,
However, Google has since started a crackdown on low quality niche sites, favouring instead Authority Sites which cover more content and is deemed to be better by Google. (We’ll cover quality backlinks in a separate post). If you intend to start one of these types of sites, we recommend going broader than just focusing on a particular product range.
- Basic knowledge of setting up a website or a blog.
- Some knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as extremely successful affiliate marketers are usually those who rank on the first page of Google.
Pros: No physical inventory.
- Because of the sheer number of websites and blogs out there, you will spend a lot of time creating quality content that will entice your buyers to spend, and even more time figuring out how to get it to rank highly on Google.
- The commission margin can be low, for example Amazon starts at 4% and increases depending on the no of products that you sell.
Points to note :
– Read the terms and conditions of free platforms like Blogspot or WordPress.com to ensure that you are not breaching them when you ‘sell’ affiliate products.
– If you already have steady traffic, and your readers trust you, your priority should not just be to make money off them but to recommend products that you actually use and trust.
Earning money via adsense is ‘almost similar’ to publishing a magazine and getting paid by the advertisers to place their advertisement on your platform. We say ‘almost similar’ because on websites, it is not the placement that will earn you the money, but the amount of clicks on the ads that matter. This is known as the ‘click-through’ rate.
Please note that we refer to clicks by people who land on your site, not by you clicking these advertisements yourself. It can be considered fraud if you click on your own ads.
There is no standard rate for each click. The amount of money that you earn depends on the cost the advertiser pays Google i.e. the ‘cost per click’ or the CPC.
The CPC in turn depends on the competition these advertisers face when buying these keywords.
Pros: The clicks depend on the copywriting done by the buyer so your role is to ensure that the ads are located in a position seen by your audience.
Cons: Adsense is not extremely transparent about their guidelines and payment, they have several tracking mechanisms to prevent fraud and accounts have been blocked payments to advertisers even though the advertisers claimed they have never clicked on their own ads.
- Basic knowledge of setting up a website or a blog.
- Some knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as extremely successful Adsense marketers are usually those who rank on the first page of Google.
Points to note:
- Your audience might be turned off when they encounter too many ads on your website.
- There is a limit of 3 ads per page.
C. Kindle Books
This is one of the relatively new ways of creating a stream of passive income. The general idea is to write (or hire someone to write) a book and to sell it in the Amazon Kindle bookstore.
This is seen to be a better method than publishing physical books because of smaller overhead costs, i.e. you do not need to pay for the printing and storage and delivery of books. You would only need to write, format it for Kindle, as well as design a cover. Most services ( except for writing) can be purchased on fiverr, but you might want to spend a bit more for quality.
At the same time, because of the thousands of books available on the kindle store, you would still need to find a way to market your books to make sure they stand out.
Pros: Relatively low cost of writing a book and formatting it to be published and sold on the Amazon Bookstore. If your book does well, the recurring income will be passive, i.e. not
Cons: The Kindle bookstore is also only available to audience in selected countries due to copyright issues.
- Discipline to actually sit down and write a book
- Some knowledge about the subject you are writing
The word blogging came from the word Weblog, where authors created content about a particular topic on a chronological basis.
More recently, there has been a surge in the popularity of Mommy Bloggers where these mothers create content related to child development, motherhood etc, on a regular basis.
To monetize their sites, these bloggers may use methods like affiliate sales, Adsense, as well as participate in blogger ad networks like Nuffnang but bloggers who have garnered a decent following have an additional advantage of being approached by advertisers directly. Depending on the policy of these advertisers, bloggers may receive cash or free products to mention or review in their website.
Reviews or blogger coverage has been an increasingly effective marketing tool, which has led more and more countries to come up with laws regulating endorsements. You will often see a disclaimer when the blogger is reviewing a product, as to whether or not review is a paid advertisement, or if the product was given for free.
Pros : This strategy fits with a personal blog, i.e, if you have a personal blog and it has gained some traction, you may consider this strategy.
Cons: If you are starting from scratch, it takes time to create content and to gather followers. The more successful bloggers get approached by advertisers only after they get hundreds of thousands of page views each month.
-A blog with a strong brand or personality, which you regularly update
– Consistent effort to market your blog/brand and to increase your followers.
E. Digital Courses
If you have skills that people would pay to learn, you may want to launch a course on platforms like Udemy and Lynda.
Since their rise in popularity, teaching online has become a viable way of creating a passive income flow for the instructors. However, to get rich you need to get creative like these 27 year olds and this former high school maths teacher.
Pros: Relatively low startup cost if you have a marketable skill, you only need a laptop, a microphone and editing software.
Cons: As the number of courses on these platforms increase, you would need creative ways of marketing them.
- A skill that is in demand
- Recording and video editing software like Camtasia
This category does not fit the passive income model, but it does fit the work from home model that most mothers often look out for.
Fiverr is a marketplace for creative and professional services like graphic design, copywriting, voiceovers, website design etc. You basically set up a Fiverr ‘store’, upload your past works as your portfolio and clients would approach you to purchase similar products.
Most services sell for USD $5 but you could offer upgrades and set your own price. You can sign up for an account here.
Pros: You get to pitch your product to a wide audience. You also can easily see what type of competition you are up against.
Cons: Read the terms of service and forums to figure out how much Fiverr gets from your earnings.
Elance is a platform for freelancers where people put up their job offers and service providers bid for it, based on price, experience etc.
If you are familiar with how the Singapore Civil Service’s platform GeBiz, it pretty much works on a similar model. However, Elance, also acts as a middleman to ensure that both parties deliver what has been agreed upon earlier. If you are a buyer, you get to dispute a service if the service or quality is not what the seller promised. Sellers or Service Providers should also note that good reviews from past clients is what gives you credibility.
Pros : You work on assignments , so you control your schedule.
Cons : You might have to compete with workers from countries who submit a lower bid.
As you delve further into the Internet Marketing landscape, you may realize that there is alot to learn, especially if you intend to make huge profits from it. Our suggestion is not to get overwhelmed, start small, test out the various models and above all, enjoy yourself !