Create an Internet Business Using Only Free Resources
Posted by Donovan Baldwin on: 2006-10-12 19:18:42
Self SEO > Internet Articles
There's an old saying, "It takes money to make money." While this is still true in many respects, on the internet, it is possible to start and grow an online business using free resources.
You don't even need a computer! In many parts of the world, it is possible to get free computer access at a public library or other facility. However, it is also possible to become involved in some systems that can be promoted entirely offline by word-of-mouth, and signing up could be done at one of the free computers I mentioned or be done by a friend.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to imply that it is easier or faster to completely use free resources; I am just making the point that it is possible to create an internet business with little or no money.
How do I know this?
Other than the purchase of the computer itself, I never bought my first domain name until I had been online for a couple of years and was making several hundred dollars a month from my internet business. All of my websites were hosted on free hosting services, and all my "advertising" was done through free classified ads, traffic exchanges, and by linking.
However, despite all of this, and a magnificent case of ignorance, I eventually DID begin making hundreds of dollars a month. I then used THAT income to get my own domain name, in fact many domain names today, and to purchase effective advertising. But, as you can see, it is possible to start without any money at all.
In fact, I would recommend starting for free even if you have the money to invest, just to learn the ropes. I can't begin to tell you how much money I have lost on things that didn't work, and how much I paid to get the internet marketing education I now have. On the other hand, if I had to start all over today, knowing the things I know now, I would borrow the money if I had to, buy domain names, hire website designers, and pay for advertising. But you want to know how to do it for free.
So, how would someone go about creating an internet business using only free resources?
Before I begin listing some points, please understand that this is just one way in which an online business can begin. Due to all the variables involved, what topic you pick, how much time you can devote to it, and so on, there is no way to guarantee that this will work for you. However, it is a method that HAS worked for others, and it is a place to start.
1. Decide what your business is going to be about. Two points here. Pick something you already know something about and hopefully enjoy, and then refine it to a smaller area of specialty. Instead of "outdoors", think "hiking". Instead of hiking, think "hiking boots". If you know what you are talking about and enjoy the subject, it will be easier to talk to people (online or in person) and transmit your message of enjoyment to them. Also, building a business takes time. If you are concentrating on "money" and the money doesn't show up right away, you will lose interest. If you love hiking and are enjoying putting up your website about hiking, talking to people about hiking, and checking into new hiking products, you will remain interested in your business through the build up/learning period when no money is coming in.
2. Find a company to host your site for free. Shop around and compare services. At this point, since you hardly know anything, you might want a web hosting service that provides some sort of site builder where you fill in blank areas and the service creates the page. Later, when you know more and get your own domain name or names, maybe you will know a bit more about website design and will be able to do it yourself. For now, however, you need all the help you can get.
3. Sign up as an affiliate with companies that sell products related to your interest. For example, you can become an affiliate of REI or Backcountry, through Commission Junction. These two companies sell hiking boots and other outdoors goods. You could also offer goods or services indirectly related to your site. Staying with the hiking boot scenario, you might offer physical training courses or even vacation packages for hikers.
4. Create your site. Rest assured, your first attempt will not be your best, nor will your 87th probably. That's okay. It's all a learning experience. What to put on you site? Not sales stuff. Not info about how great these boots are. Tell your visitors how to pick a boot. Explain how to care for their boots. Teach them about hiking safety or how to find a campsite for the night. Tell them where they can find weather reports and a list of hiking trails. In among the real, genuine content, sprinkle a few (got it...FEW?) links to your products. If you don't know what to say, visit some sites that say it well and then say it in your own words.
5. Go to Selfpromotion.com. You will need to promote your site to search engines and directories anyway. You can do that for free and in depth at SelfPromotion.com. However, if you look around the site, you will find a treasure trove of information about such silly subjects as search engine optimization. So pick up a free education while you're there. The webmaster over there accepts donations, and, now that he has helped me get my internet business off the ground for free, he gets liberal donations from me every year.
6. Go to Blogger.com and start a blog on hiking. Put links to your website on the blog and in the comments. Make at least a couple of posts to the blog each week. Every day might be even better. If you don't know enough or write well enough or have enough time to write your own stuff, go to EzineArticles.com and get some free articles to use in your blog.
7. Join forums related to hiking, or your subject. You can usually put a link to your webpage in the signature that appears with your posts. Concentrate on making sensible, helpful posts and participating in rational discussions.
8. Build a webpage about hiking gear, another about hiking trails, another about cooking outdoors. Link all of these to your first site and then go back to http://selfpromotion.com and submit each of these new pages to the search engines.
I'm not going to put a number on this one, but, when you can afford it, purchase a course on network marketing. It doesn't have to be expensive. Go to ClickBank.com and you can find some for under $20. Holly Mann puts out a decent course for $19.95 at this time. It won't teach you everything, but it will teach you. Dylan Loh also sells a course through ClickBank which outlines how to do a lot of the things mentioned in this article. You can get a very good course from the Internet Marketing Center for over $200. It's worth it, but probably contains more than you need at this time.
Eventually, of course, the hope is that you will begin to see some light with your internet business, and you will be able to move up. Then you can get your own domain name, pay for some decent web hosting, get a well-designed site, and buy some effective advertising. When you are making enough money to pay for all that AND buy tickets at the movies without raising your eyebrows, you'll know you've made it.
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer and network marketing professional. A University Of West Florida alumnus with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. Click Here to read his article on why it is important to have your own domain name. Here's where to get your own domain name and begin an internet business.
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