I’ve been doing internet marketing for the last 8 years now. I first started out with a personal finance blog, doing some basic advertising and affiliate marketing and now I run Side Hustle Academy as a way to give back and show others how they can do exactly the same.
If you’ve been thinking about starting an business like this or maybe you’re looking at doing something new this may be the side business for you.
To help you make that decision I’m going to share the ups and downs to help you answer whether this is the business for you.
One thing I want to share before I start is that people often overlook if a certain side business will fit their lifestyle. Often people will choose a side business because they see someone else who’s doing good at it and this is the worst way to start a side business.
I know for me I’ve done this a lot over the years and it come at a cost. I lost a lot of time chasing down side business ideas that ended up doing nothing for me. Instead you need to find a side business that compliments your life.
For example, in my case I prefer a side business that brings in more of a passive income because I don’t have a lot of time in my day to focus on a lot of other things and my main goal it to be able to spend more time with my family.
For you it might be doing live coaching calls, or doing freelance work because that’s what you specialize in. The point I’m making here is that you want it to fit your lifestyle but also so that it brings you fulfillment and a sense of purpose in your life.
So as you read the rest of this article think about how this type of business might fit into your life.
I also thought I’d take a moment and define exactly what internet marketing is. So here is a definition I found that I feel accurately describes it.
Internet Marketing – Also called online marketing, it is the process of promoting a brand, products, or services over the Internet. ~ via Search Engine Journal
When it comes down to it internet marketing can be selling a digital course, an ebook, a coaching program, a live course, a physical product, or even someone else’s product over the internet.
So if you were a bit confused before this I hope this has helped clear that up for you.
Below are a few of the top benefits I like about starting an internet marketing business.
Running an online business means that your business is open all day everyday. Before the internet the only way this was possible was if you were a company like Walmart.
However unlike Walmart I don’t have to hire people to work the night shift because everything is automated.
Now a days anybody can start an online business and be open all the time. Being able to do this literally coined the phrase Make Money While You Sleep.
One thing that scares people away from the idea is that you need your own product or service to sell.
You can actually sell other peoples products and make some pretty good money at it. For example, have you ever heard of Amazon.com?
OK dumb question.
However did you know that you can sell literally anything that’s on Amazon.com? With the Amazon Associates program you can sell anything from computers to Teflon skillets.
In fact I recently started working with a brand new affiliate program over the last year and I’ve already made of over $4000 with them. Cha Ching!
If you want to learn more about how I did this check out this great article I wrote about affiliate marketing.
Another great thing about the internet is that once you create something you don’t have to do it again. Let me explain.
As a good example take this article right here. Once I’m finished with this article and hit publish it will be up on the internet forever, or as long as I pay my hosting bill.
My point is once the article, podcast, ebook, or digital course is live and up on the net you really only have very little work to do to keep it up and going.
Unlike working a job which typically requires 8 hours of your day in order to get a paycheck, with the internet you only have to do it once and it will continue to work for you.
Back several years ago I use to work in network marketing selling life insurance. It was my very first side business I ever started. In those days the only way you found customers was word of mouth.
This meant I was very limited on the amount of people I could get in front of, since this pretty much meant the only people I could convince to buy from me were family members and from a few referrals I got.
With an online business you audience is already online. Think about it, the people who want to buy your product or service are likely online and in some cases ready to buy right now.
The key is to figure out where they are and attract them to your brand. So whether their doing a search on Google or browsing their Facebook feed it’s likely they are online and possibly looking for you to help them.
Finally the last benefit to starting an internet business is that it can be a global business from day one. Like I mentioned in the first benefit this was only ever possible unless you were a company like Walmart.
However today you can start your own internet business and attract people from all over the world to buy from you.
Now that I’ve shared a few of the benefits to internet marketing I think it would also be fair to share some of the downsides just to give you a fair and honest look at things.
After all its not all rainbows and unicorns.
One of the biggest mistake I made with my internet business was becoming dependent on one traffic source and for me that was Google.
However in 2011 I learned a hard lesson, I had built a website that was almost entirely dependent on Google to bring me traffic. Everything was going great and then Google decide to change the game and before I knew it I had lost 60% of my traffic overnight.
Unfortunately the site never recovered and I eventually had to move on. However I learned a valuable lesson with that site, you need to diversify your traffic sources and build a mailing list.
By building an email list it allowed me to keep in contact with the people who wanted to learn more about what I was doing and more importantly I owned it and nobody could take it away from me.
One thing that can be tough with online business is selling stuff and not feeling spammy about it. On one hand you want to sell a product but on the other hand you don’t want to look like some guy just trying to force your product or service on someone.
I get that, I’ve dealt with this issue a lot of the years and their is definitely a fine line you need to follow here.
One time in particular I had someone actually email me and ask me, why should I believe what you say about product X when you’re an affiliate of that product.
At one point I felt bad but what I’ve come to realize is that I only sell products that I know I’ve gotten results from and at least share my point of view.
I actually wrote this individual back and explained to him that I tried several other products of the same thing and none of them compared to the one I was using.
In the end my goal is to give value and if that person didn’t want to buy the product it was probably for the best.
Moving on from the last tip you may also have to deal with the internet trolls. These are people for whatever reason do not care for you and will bash you and everything you do.
I’ve gotten a few of these over the years and I almost never respond to these people but when you do get a negative comment it can be a bit disheartening at first.
However I’ve found that their isn’t anything you can say to these people that will change their mind or improve the situation.
Also another point I want bring up is that if you’re getting a few trolls to comment on your stuff it can also mean your doing things right.
Believe it or not you’ll never make everyone happy and when you start to get some negative comments like this it means that people are listen and reading what you have to say.
Another downside to running an internet business is that things can get a bit technical at time. Personally I don’t know anything about HTML code or PHP and when things get out of wack it can be a bit frustrating.
One time in particular all it took was to upgrade one of my plugins for my site and everything went crashing down.
This can literally make you feel like your helpless but luckily I have a brother that knows a lot about this stuff and has been able help me fix these situations.
My suggestion here is to find a go to person who knows more about the tech stuff so when this situation does come up you’ll be prepared.
The final down side to online business is that it can take a lot of time to see success. I’ve been doing online business for 8 years and I still don’t feel like I’ve been that successful.
Now when I really look at it I’ve actually seen some great successes over the years but I’m still not earning the income I want or even doing this full time yet.
The key is that it’s not an if it will happen but when it will happen. Giving up is not an option when it comes to internet and their are plenty of second chances, you just got to keep trying.
So now that I’ve covered the ups and downs to internet marketing you might still be wondering, is this type of business right for you. Below I’ve come up with a few key criteria you can look at to see if this is something you should try.
So is internet marking worth it?
In the end the benefits far out weigh the downsides to this kind of business. I’ve been doing it for over 8 years now and it’s done a lot for me. Here are just a few things…
Is this type of business right for everyone? No, but that’s why we’re here to figure that out.
So are you interested in starting your own online business, if so continue on.
If starting an online business sounds like your thing or at least something you want to try, your next step is to figure out the niche or the topic you want to build your site around.
To do that I want to share a great free video that will help you find a profitable niche topic idea for your internet business.
P.S. The video was created my by good friends Jeremy and Jason over at Internet Business Mastery. You may have to give them your email to watch the free video but trust me it is well worth it.