I have really lost track of the number of discussion board posts and emails I have answered about that topic. I admit for those first venturing into the uncharted waters of internet business it can be challenging and more than a little daunting. There is a flood of products out there clamoring for your money and all claim to be absolutely essential to your success on the internet. Don't buy it, they are all selling snake oil!
There are some essentials you will need (assuming that if you are reading this that you already have an email account and internet access) but you really can start out at the ground level with nothing but an idea and build your internet business up from there. You can start your business on a shoestring budget of just $10 a year. If you are ready for the fast track then you can start with as little as $10 month. If you are aiming for the penthouse then you can up your monthly budget to $30.
What are the essentials?
Ground level approach:
Create a blog account at one of the free blogging sites available online (we used to use Blogger.com but there are many other good options). This will serve as your internet base. It really is the cheapest and easiest way to get online today. Yes, you could create a free web site at one of the many available but blogs are more attractive to the search engines. Plus they offer you the ability to personalize it but most of your energy will be spent on content which is the king of the internet and the real reason you want an internet presence.
Now sign up for a free ClickBank affiliate acccount which will give you immediate access to something to sell --and the added advantage that many products also come with some handy content you can use to fill out your new blog. Sign up for a contextual or pay-per-click advertiser such as Google's Adsense or Chikita and you'll start earning from visitors as well as customers.
That's it! You are now in business. Keep filling your blog and promoting it as well and you will soon start earning!
This method is similar to the previous approach with one crucial difference -- you purchase your own domain name. A domain name will cost you between $5 and $10 a year depending on whether you go .com or .info (or one of the many other options available). You don't need to find a web host or create a site. Simply point the domain at your blog for now and continue with the development and promotion of your blog. The advantage of owning your own domain name is simply that later when you have the money, time, and knowledge to develop your web site that domain name will already exist and have filtered through the search engines. It also offers some marketing advantages that a free blog cannot.
You host your own domain and offer your blog either as the site or as an addition to the site. You should be able to do this for between $10 and $20 a month with a reputable host that offers all the tools and utilities you might need for your current site. Maybe down the line you'll need to upgrade but by then you'll know your income and your needs.
You add one final tool that will make your internet business complete -- a mailing list tool. You can do this for just $20 a month and it will be worth every penny for sales, customer service, and promotional tool.
That's it for just $90 you can have every tool you need to make hundreds or even thousands from your internet business and you can actually get by with a lot less than that for your initial startup.
Two final notes.
First, I did not include any budget in here for advertising because there are a lot of free ways you can get started advertising and promoting your site and I would recommend exhausting those options before you begin looking into spending money on advertising. By that time you may well have started to earn a profit from your internet venture and so you can have a better idea of the size of your advertising budget.
Second, if you plan to sell products yourself then you will need a payment processor. You can sign up for free with PayPal so that is no additional expenditure (you pay a percentage of each sale so it is self-funding) or you can sign up for vendor account with ClickBank which will cost you a one-time fee of $50 plus a percentage of each sale. I would not lay out a lot of money for a shopping cart program or one of the other programs that charges a monthly fee. I have done business with PayPal and ClickBank as my exclusive payment processors since 1999. Every so often I will investigate my other options and every time I stick with these simple, effective programs.
Good luck with your new business internet venture!
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