I Work From Home And I Love It
6 years ago I quit my day job to make money online, and it was the best decision I ever made.
I Make A Living Online
6 years ago, frustrated with my corporate job, I started looking for opportunities to start a business online. I did not have any money to put down, so I could start a successful business and promote it. But I was so sick of my day job, I had to do something to keep my sanity. I went online to get ideas, to find something that would not require a lot of money up front.
Are you a work at home Mom?
I'm A Work At Home Mom
My husband had done this a few years before I did, so I was lucky because I had learned from his experiences and we now had a steady monthly income so even if I quit my day job and struggled for a little while, his income alone could support our family. I didn't necessarily have to be a work at home mom because I had young kids, no. They were 8 and 12 back then and we lived in a very small town with lots of relatives. Mine was a choice to be honest, rather than a necessity.
So obviously to start, I needed to sell something but, I had tried working in the sales field for a while in the past, I was not successful at selling things to people. I actually am terrible at it. But doing this online is a lot different than selling actually face to face. I wanted this "something" to be handmade. So I started weaving rugs. Back then, ebay was very popular among craftsters, this was before etsy or zazzle or cafepress were around. Well actually etsy was around but I hadn't heard of it. So I started an ebay store and put my rugs up for auctions.
Rug weaving is great, it is very relaxing but it takes a lot of time, and you don't always get the price you want on ebay, so sometimes my rugs went for too cheap. Then etsy started to take over the world of all things handmade and I started selling my jewelry there. I was very encouraged when I had my first sale in less than 24 hours. Designing jewelry was my main source of income now and in time I started selling my designs to local stores with consignment. It really helped me paying a lot of bills.
...and then the economy hit rock bottom...
Like every small business, we lost part of our sales and it was time to find other venues for supplementary income. My husband started a recording studio and I started writing online.
Writing online does not cost you anything up front but this is an area that requires a lot of patience and good research. You need original content. Put yourself into your reader's place. Do you have anything new to offer? Or are you just repeating the same information they can easily find all over the internet? And of course you have to beware of online scams. If anyone tells you they have the secret formula that will make you tens of thousands of dollars in your first month, that is 99.99% a scam. It is absurd even for the most absurd Hollywood movies.
My Plan of Action
Yes, I always loved writing but it was rather fiction, not blogs and articles on different venues. This is a whole different ball game and the competition is fierce. But the main reason why I started writing online was to promote my jewelry business. At first, I did not know some things, but I knew a few things. This is how it worked out for me:
These are the most important first steps because, an amazon associates account and a google adsense account will help you promote amazon products and google ads on your page and if someone purchases an item on amazon through your link or if someone clicks on a google ad on your page, you will get commission from them.
Commission Junction account can be very helpful especially for niche websites or blogs. A lot of the big companies have an affiliate program through commission junction. You simply get an account with CJ and then find companies with products you can write about and thus, promote their items. You get to put banners or product images on your page that gives your readers the option to click. If they buy a product, then CJ pays you a fee for it. It is pretty neat, and if you are good at it you can make good amount of money.
Do you have an online store / business?
How Do I Promote My Online Store?
In a perfect world, people would write about your store and your products without even you trying self-promotion. But in our world, you have to compete against tens of thousands of people and you have to find creative ways to get the word out, without sounding like a spammer. That is when I started being more active in online forums, got in touch with people who buy jewelry and who blog about jewelry so they could feature my store possibly in their blogs.
This requires some free promo material of course. Like sending someone maybe a pair of earrings and if they like it maybe would they be interested in featuring your store on their website? Things like this.
But you can't always rely on others. You need to do most of the work yourself. That is why you need to create different accounts on different platforms, possibly with different names and start writing so you can link back to your store.
The more pages you have linking to your online store, the higher your store website will rank on google and other search engines. This is called backlinks. Choose your venues wisely though. Google is very serious about the quality and the source of the articles that link to your store, don't just go any place to write about yourself and your poroducts. Here are some websites that have high google rankings, try to create accounts with them:
You can also start your own website, with your own domain name, but it requires a lot of html work. These above mentioned sites are a great way to start writing and building backlinks to whatever page you want.
Also, find forums related to the things you sell. When you sign in to a forum page, almost always, there is an option to create a forum signature. You can add a link there to your store. Forums are great places to build quality backlinks. But you need to be really ginger at the forums. If you dive in head first and link to your products in forum threads, people will hate you. They will look at you as a spammer. Rightfully so.
Always try to remember that the members are there to talk about something specific. When you post a link, do it in the most narutal way possible. Be sincere.
Yahoo Answers also help with backlinks. Search for yahoo questions there to see if there is anything related to anything you sell, or an article you wrote.
It Is Better To Start Writing On An Already Established Place
Because they do some of the work for you. Your articles get crawled by the search engines automatically and much faster. Since these sites have higher rankings on google, your articles have better chances to rank higher on search engines. (But you need to have good SEO knowledge, a good article doesn't get noticed without any SEO optimization. )
But you have already done half of the work when you started writing on these websites. The rest will follow in time. Never stop searching for new ways to promote your products. Try to be as creative as possible. People like to see unique things, and read original articles.
Let's say you make jewelry. Take pictures of your necklaces, bracelts, earrings, and make a video with Windows Movie Maker. Or the video editor of your choice. Add instrumental music for the background. Something that most people won't hate listewning to it while they are looking at your jewelry pieces. Something that will appeal to all ages. I usually prefer new age genre. It is very relaxing and it's not a turn off for people. Youtube is a great place. Choose your tags wisely, so it is easier for people to find you.
Use Social Bookmarking Sites
My most favorite places to promote my jewelry is STUMBLEUPON,KABOODLE, and DELICIOUS. I also have a facebook fan page and twitter account associated with my online store. Again, use these platforms wisely. don't just talk about your store and don't just post links about yourself. You need to remember to give feedback to others as well, otherwise you will start losing your followers. People like sincerity, always remember that. Notice how I did not give my store name, nor linked to any of the other places I write online. Because this is not the purpose of this article.
Now call your boss and tell him you're done!