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How to earn income on the internet: The 5-step online business checklist

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Let’s be realistic. Like any business, earning an income on the internet is not easy. But like any best business practice, there are certain ways to do certain things.
For example, there are many recipes out there for the ‘perfect pancake’. Just follow the steps and you’ll probably have a neat looking golden brown ‘treat’ for the taking.
As we all know, that’s only half the story. Your pancake may taste like the backend of mole rat! How you apply the recipe can make all the difference between a delicious piece of work and a complete flop.  
Entrepreneurship is no different. You have to understand your playing field before embarking on a venture. What is the recipe that defines the way you build and practice business in your field? Personal flair plays a big role here.  
So, a great business is like a great pancake. It needs good ingredients, a recipe that works and a little something extra to make it stand out from your competitors.
When it comes to making money online, many people try and many people fail. You cannot slap up a website and expect success. Some sites fail because they have lousy products or service (ingredients). Supreme quality is the minimum requirement. Other sites fail because they have a questionable business approach (recipe), even though they may have really cool ingredients.
Want to earn a passive income on the internet? There is a system or recipe that works. I did not design it but am using it because it works. Many specialist information marketers like Fred Gleeck and Roy Carter have used this system to great effect. And so can you if you are serious about passive income wealth, the virtual way.
Here is a brief overview of the online business system, which I’ve summarised as a five-step-checklist: 
 income on the internet 
Step 1: Find your purpose
A great business is fuelled by passion. As corny as it sounds your dreams and aspirations matter, especially in the world of business.
Passion provides two things:
  1. The fuel (motivation) that keeps the fire burning.
  2. The secret ingredient: ‘Differentiation’. A passion on a specific topic will inevitably incorporate your personal views and beliefs. This is a great way to make your voice stand out from the crowd.
How do you identify your passion? Tough one, but ask yourself two questions:
  1. What do I love doing?
  2. What am I good at?
Then find the common ground.   
Step 2: Find a niche market
A passion which cannot make money for you is known as a hobby. If your objective is passive income, you need a passion that can generate revenue.
Once you’ve identified your life’s purpose, you will want to position it in a market that has a demand for your offerings. If people don’t want what you have to offer, you cannot make any sales, which means zero profits.
Here are two pointers to keep in mind:
  1. Your purpose is basically a raw material, like rock. It will require some panel beating or brainstorming before you can get to the diamond.
  2. Check out Google's External Keyword Tool. This will give you an idea as to what people search for on the internet, which will help you shape your product.
Step 3: Create your information product
If your passion in life is dogs for example, you’re bound to know a lot about dogs. Once you have selected your market, which may be as specific as ‘Cocker Spaniel training methods’, your next job is to create an information product like a digital book.
I want to highlight something here. You do not have to be an author to write a book. All you have to do is put everyday conversations onto paper. This requires some practice though. So get writing!
Make sure the book holds quality information that will benefit your market. If you don’t know what to put in your book, do some desktop research and ask people what they want.
A quality product will get your customers to come back for more, which means more sales for you.
Step 4: Design a website that sells
A website is used to deliver your product to your market. Before stressing out about having no knowledge on websites, following these tips will help get you started.
  • If you want to build your own website, wordpress has made the process really easy. Remember, you will need to host your site somewhere. Bluehost is a good inexpensive option. Consider using a dot com domain extension, which you can obtain through Godaddy.
  • A website does not have to be flashy with fancy graphics and animations. Simplicity is key. The sole objective of your site is to sell your products. Alternatively, if customers do not want to buy, you need to get their email addresses so that you can sell to them at a later stage. You do this by giving away something of value, in exchange for their contact details.
  • The means you use to communicate with your website visitors and content of your copy can make all the difference between high and low sales. Good copy is about communicating the benefits of your products to your customers in the best way possible. You want to draw people into the sale by bringing out certain emotions. You can do this using the written word, audio or video. But you will have to test which works best for your website and niche. You will also find that you will have to continuously tweak your content to optimise sales. One last point on this. Personally, I do not have the skills or time to write good copy which is why I outsource this element of my business to professional copywriters. If you need one, visit Elance.
  • Once you have a website that sells, you'll want to increase your sales by opening up your distribution network. Start your own affiliate programme, which you can do by registering your product with sites such as Clickbank and Commission Junction. Essentially, an affiliate programme enables other website owners (your affiliates) to sell your product(s) on their platforms. When an affiliate makes a sale, they get paid a commission.  
Step 5: Drive visitors to your site
You can only earn an income on the internet if you have online users visiting your website. Like planet earth, your website is a mere speck in the universe, in our case the internet.  
People will not find your site unless you get your message out there. So once you get your site up and running, you need to devote quite a bit of effort to spreading the word.
You can basically do this in one of two ways. Pay to get the message out there or build your own free traffic channels. Examples of paid methods include advertising in newspapers or using Google Adwords. Examples of free methods include ads in free online classifieds, word of mouth marketing and sharing information of value on directories such as Ezinearticles.

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