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Passive Income: How to Earn More and Work Less

If you don't want to continue working 50 or more hours per week for the rest of your life, consider building your sources of passive income. Until you can remove yourself from being directly involved in doing the work that generates income, there's always going to be a limit to how much you can earn, and it can increase only very slowly.

Passive income, on the other hand, is income that does not require your direct involvement. Rental properties, royalties on an invention or creative work, and network marketing are common examples.

If you want to earn more, work less, and have a comfortable retirement, it's important to start creating passive income streams. Whether you're just starting your business, or you've been running it a while, the sooner you start thinking about how you are going to shift your business model to create more passive income, the sooner you can achieve personal and financial freedom.

There are two basic types of passive income and a third type of income that, while not passive, still is a key strategy for earning more and working less.

Residual Income

Residual income is revenue that occurs over time from work done one time. Some examples include:

    An insurance agent who gets a commission every year when a customer renews his policy.
    A network marketing or direct sales rep's income from her direct customers when they reorder product every month.
    An aerobics instructor who produces a video and sells it at the gyms where she teaches.
    A marketing consultant who creates a workbook and sells it in e-book format on the Internet.
    A photographer who makes his photos available through a stock photography clearinghouse and gets paid a royalty whenever someone buys one of his images.

    A restaurant or retail owner who has grown to the point of hiring a trustworthy manager.

There are many different ways to generate residual income across a wide variety of businesses. It may be recurring income from the same customers or the sales of a product to new customers. It may require no personal involvement whatsoever, such as an e-book sold on a website, or it may require some personal interaction, such as the insurance agent calling the customer to remind them about their renewal. Often, it's something that you can delegate to an assistant.

Note that this is different from recurring income which may still require your involvement to earn the income. For example, a coach or consultant on a monthly retainer, or a caterer who delivers lunch every Monday to the local school board has recurring income, but it comes from recurring work which limits on your earning capacity based on your own personal production capacity.

Leveraged Income

This leverages the work of other people to create income for you. Some examples of leveraged income include:

    An e-book author selling her e-book through affiliates who promote the product.
    A network marketer who builds a downline and receives commissions on the sales made by people in his downline.
    A general contractor who makes a profit margin on the work done by subcontractors.
    Franchising your business model to other entrepreneurs (the ultimate leveraged income).

Again, there are many different models in many different businesses. The key is that you are making money off of other people's labor, rather than primarily your own. Note that leveraged income may or may not also be residual income. When you combine them, that's even better.

Active Leveraged Income

This type of income requires your direct participation, but you can make more money by having more people involved. This generally involves a one-time event, such as:

    A seminar or class.
    A conference or convention.
    Concerts and dance recitals.
    Raves and other parties.

Although these require your direct participation, your earning potential is much higher than if someone was just paying you a direct hourly rate. Fill a room with 1,000 people paying $50 each and you can cover your facility cost, promotional cost, and staffing fees and still have a nice chunk of change left over.


5 of Our Favorite Ways to Make Money From Home

Making money from home sounds like one of those unattainable dreams. You read about it from bestselling business authors like Tim Ferriss, hear keynote speakers delivering talks about how to set up an online business that delivers enough passive income to ditch your day job forever.

The reality is that making money from home and earning a pass to permanently work in your pajamas is much more attainable today than it's ever been. With the right business idea, a solid plan of action and a lot of hard work, the great news is that it's not difficult to get started with making money from home

5 Best Ways to Make Money From Home Doing What You Love

Choosing to start making money from home in the time outside of your full-time job, during the evening after your kids go to sleep, or in the hours you can squeeze in on weekends can be a powerful investment in your future.

Even more, if you select the right type of business, you could create the foundation for a full-time source of income that replaces your day job and allows you to make money from home for the years to come.

1. Find a Passive Income Stream

What's "passive income"? It's simple -- finding a way to earn money while you sleep, of course!

There's a saying in the corporate world: "Don't make yourself irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted." As an entrepreneur, this is still true in its own way. Let's think of "being promoted" as earning more and working less. You can raise your prices, but until you can remove yourself from being directly involved in doing the work that generates the income, there's always going to be a limit to how much you can earn, and it can only increase very slowly.

2. Do Affiliate Marketing the Smart Way

Affiliate marketing is sometimes touted as "get rich quick schemes" by shady sites offering pyramid schemes that promise quick cash for little effort. Make no mistake -- successful affiliate marketers put in a lot of effort toward building an audience and quality content that will bring in sustainable passive income. Expect to do a lot of legwork up front -- but if you play your cards right you can build a solid source of revenue over time

3. Build a Blog on a Specialty Niche

If you create a specialty blog that brings in a reasonable amount of traffic, you can enjoy income on ads you place on the site. One good way is to craft a specialty blog with product reviews and recommendations. Be sure to pick a topic that you enjoy and know something about. If you can't stay passionate about the topic, that will show, and it also won't hold your interest. Choose a narrow enough niche to be distinctive, e.g., bands from your city, left-handed guitarists, music for a certain kind of dancing, authors of a certain religion, books about arts & crafts, etc.

4. Make Money Doing Something You Love

You don't have to be a professional photographer to sell your photos for money. People are constantly in need of stock photography for websites, presentations, brochures and so on, and are willing to pay for the right image. People generally search for images on stock photography sites by keywords, not by photographer, so you have the same chance as anyone else of having your image picked. Just be careful that you don't have images of trademarked brands, copyrighted art or people's faces that are readily identifiable (unless you have a model release), but just about anything else is fair game, and I promise - you'd be amazed what people need pictures of, so don't make any assumptions.

If it's a decent photo, upload it. Some sites to get you started include Fotolia, ShutterStock, Dreamstime,  and iStockphoto. The great thing about this is that it's truly "set it and forget it".

5. Build an Information Products Business

If you have a knack for teaching or making complex material more digestible, consider the field of information products. You can create your own webinar or ebook using low-cost tools, such as Camtasia, YouTube, and Powerpoint. If you are interested in using the resources of a larger company, new educational startups like Udemy and Skillshare allow anyone to create and sell classes through their platform. Though they take a small percentage of your profits, you can take advantage of their built-in communities and marketing lists.


Great Cash-Generating Ideas for Budding Mompreneurs

Mompreneurs are everywhere—they are moms who juggle the demands of raising kids with the demands of raising a business. While that's no easy task, mompreneurs apply their creativity to making money from home while bringing up babies.

So what are some of the best gigs for "work at home" moms? From blogging your passion, freelance writing, affiliate marketing, to call center work, these are some of the best jobs for entrepreneur moms.


Mommy bloggers have taken the web by storm—Dooce might be the best example of a blogging superstar who turned a quirky personal brand into a profitable business. But all over the web, you'll find mompreneur bloggers with specialty niches like healthy eating, parenting, adopting, allergies, special needs, crafts and more.

What is the great thing about blogging? It has very low start-up costs and its something you can do on the side until you can begin to make a profit or set up sponsorship deals.

Call Center

Can you provide pleasant customer service for the most harried of customers? Have a knack for sales? Then a call center job might be for you. Many of these positions can be done from home on a somewhat flexible schedule for a variety of different companies. Call center jobs are usually either inbound (customer service-related) or outbound (sales related).

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is sometimes touted as "get rich quick schemes" by shady sites offering pyramid schemes that promise quick cash for little effort. Make no mistake—successful affiliate marketers put in a lot of effort toward building an audience and quality content that will bring in sustainable passive income. Expect to do a lot of legwork up front—but if you play your cards right, you can build a solid source of revenue over time. A niche market can be a great way to go. Look for a market that has a clearly defined need and willing audience.

Information Products

If you have a knack for teaching or making the complex material more digestible, consider the field of information products. You can create your own webinar or ebook using low-cost tools, such as Camtasia, YouTube, and Powerpoint. If you are interested in using the resources of a larger company, new educational startups like Udemy and Skillshare allow anyone to create and sell classes through their platform. Though they take a small percentage of your profits, you can take advantage of their built-in communities and marketing lists.

Freelance Writing

Are you a wordsmith? Think about your subject matter expertise and chances are there's a paying venue out there on the web for you. There are also a number of specialty publishers, such as Demand Studios and Skyword, that will help to connect you to writing assignments you can do on your own time.
Other Ideas You Can Try on a Small Budget

Want to take the plunge but don't have any up-front cash to start a business? Petsitter, daycare, consultant, interior decorator—the number of possible options is endless when you start to think about businesses you can start on a low budget.


15 Steps to Making Money Online with an Amazon Affiliate Site

If you've got a credit card with at least $20 on it, you may be well on your way to making decent extra income online through an Amazon affiliate site. Building your own site is low cost and low effort, and only takes a day to set up.

Building your Amazon affiliate site is just one step, though. The challenge is attracting the right traffic that'll convert into product sales once they click through to Amazon. You'll see the best results from choosing the right niche for your site.

1. Learn Some Basic HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications. This step is important to keep your costs down and still get what you want. If you're not familiar with basic HTML and basic concepts about running a website, invest in the time to learn; it will be well worth the outlay in the long run. Even if the site is basically a template for you to use, you're still going to need to know how to insert images, create hyperlinks, and do some text formatting.

If you have to rely on purchased software, you won't be able to get exactly what you want, you won't know what to do when things go wrong, and you'll end up spending money you don't need.

2. Pick Your Niche

You're going to be doing product reviews and recommendations, so pick a topic that you enjoy and about which you can demonstrate some expertise. Choose a narrow enough niche to be distinctive—for example, bands from your city, left-handed guitarists, music for a certain kind of dancing, authors of a certain religion, books about business, or arts and crafts resources. If you can't stay passionate about the topic, that will show.

3. Set Up Your Web Hosting

This is where most people get burned. For an Amazon affiliate site, you do not have to pay handsomely per month for web hosting. Resources like Online Business Guide have a list of cheap web hosting services. Some are a paltry monthly fee, with unlimited domains. That means you can run several sites like this on the same hosting package.

4. Choose Your Domain Name

Make it keyword-rich, not clever. Think how people will find your site in the search engines. Here are some ideas, some of which already exist in the marketplace:


5. Register Your Domain Name

If you're not technically inclined at all, register your domain wherever you set up your hosting. Otherwise, you can save a few dollars by choosing a lower-cost provider. This is not a big deal for one or two sites, but it can be for 10 or 20. GoDaddy is a good option because it offers great domain management tools and at a low cost annually. One of the least expensive and reputable in the market is 1&1. Prices start at the low end of the spectrum for the first year with increases, sometimes significant for each subsequent year, depending on what plan you choose.

6. Install Word press

"Blog, you say?" Yes. It will give your site all the structure you need, plus make it easy to quickly post new content. WordPress, which is free, is easy to install and use, yet powerful. Many hosts have a one-step installation process for it, or you can download it and follow their installation instructions.

7. Make It Pretty

One of the great things about WordPress is the huge variety of templates available on it. This gives you much more freedom and control in the look-and-feel of your site.

8. Set Up Categories

Most blog software allows you to create subcategories to help organize your entries. Categories help visitors hone in even more specifically on their interests. For example, might have one group of categories for the genre—rock, country, or blues—and another for the city of origin—Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio.

9. Sign Up as an Amazon Associate (Affiliate)

It's simple and free. Simply visit Amazon and click on the Join Associates link at the bottom of the page. Your site should already have at least the basic setup done, even if you don't have any content there yet. Amazon reviews the site manually before approval.

10. Create Your Blog Posting Bookmarks and Links

At the bottom of the posting page of your blog software, an item called a "bookmarklet" should appear. Click on the link and drag it up to your Links toolbar in your browser or your Favorites menu. This allows you to blog about a product with one mouse click.

11. Create Your Amazon Build-A-Link Bookmark and Link

This step makes it easy to build the link with your affiliate ID built in. Log in to Associates Central, look in the left navigation sidebar, go to Build-A-Link, and under Static Links, find Individual Items. Click and drag this onto your Links toolbar or Favorites menu.

12. Build Your First Link

Go to Amazon and log in with your Associates account. Find the product you want to review and use the Site Stripe, which is the gray stripe at the top of the screen that you'll see once you're logged in as an Associate to get your personalized link to the item. Amazon also offers a variety of other options for creating links and banners.

13. Blog Your Review

Now click on your blog posting link (Press This by default in WordPress). If you're using WordPress, you should now see two pieces of link code in your posting form, the first one ending with "Associates Build-A-Link >< /a >". Delete through that point. The second part is a link to the product with your Amazon Associate ID built in. Now just write your product review, choose the appropriate categories for it, and hit Publish.

14. Build Out Your Amazon Affiliate Site

Before you promote your site, you want to have some substantial content there. Write several product reviews. Have at least two to three in each category you've created. You may also want to create categories for articles, news, and commentary about your topic. The more content your site has, the better. And the great thing is that while you're writing all this, the search engines are getting notified automatically, assuming you turned on the necessary notifications.

15. Promote Your Amazon Affiliate Site

The best free way to do this is to communicate with other bloggers writing about similar topics and to participate in online communities where your topic is discussed. See the Online Business Networking category for ideas, as well as the Internet Marketing category.

Bonus Tips

Some additional considerations for Amazon Affiliate sites are as follows:

    Music may perform better than books and other products, mainly because you can listen to the clips of an entire album in roughly 10 minutes and get a good enough feel for it without buying it to write a short review. If you have another topic that you're passionate about, great, but make sure you have a unique angle on the topic. People can get reviews about a lot of those consumer products anywhere. You need to give them a reason to visit your site.
    To pick up some extra pennies, sign up for Google AdSense. It probably won't generate a lot of revenue, but it's free to sign up and completely effortless to maintain.

    Set reasonable expectations for earnings. You've only invested $20. You're going to make 5 percent on most products. That means that you need to sell $400 worth of stuff to make back your investment. You get credit for purchases customers make while at Amazon besides just the product you linked to, so it's not as hard as it may sound. It won't make you rich, but it's not hard to be profitable, and the income builds over time.


Business Advice & Mentorship / How to Make Money During the Summer
« on: April 06, 2019, 01:16:15 PM »
How to Make Money During the Summer

Summer's here, and opportunities for quick money abound. If you're a recent graduate, a teacher or student off for the summer, or anyone else looking for some quick cash, summer's a great time to start a business. With a little money, some hard work, and a lot of entrepreneurial spirit, you can start turning a profit immediately. And all of these ideas are things you can still walk away from in September if you want to. Here are six ways you can be your boss this summer:

Go Where It's Hot, and Help People Keep Cool

There are plenty of public places that don't have snack bars, and even the convenience store's not convenient enough. Bottled water, sports drinks, visors, cheap sunglasses, and battery-powered fans will sell anywhere there's sunshine. Try parks, the beach, baseball practice field, or even a busy street corner near popular summer destinations.

    What You'll Need: Transportation, a decent cooler (28 quart or larger), four bags of ice, two cases of bottled water, two cases of sports drinks, a half-dozen sunglasses, a half-dozen visors, and a half-dozen battery-powered fans.
    Estimated Startup Cost: Under $100. Buy the sunglasses, visors, and fans at your local dollar store for starters.
    How Much You Can Make: Even buying at retail prices, you should be able to charge double or triple your cost, or even more for the bottled water. At a good location, you should be able to sell out every few hours, which comes out to $15-$30 per hour.

    How to Grow: Once you've figured out which products are moving best, you can order them wholesale at a fraction of the cost.
    Things to Watch out For: Check your local sales tax requirements. Also, permits may be required at beaches, parks, and other public areas.

Lawn and Yard Care

People who care for their yard the rest of the year may not want to keep up with it in the summer when it needs to be mowed every 1-2 weeks (at least where I live). And full-time professional yard maintenance services want to set up regular contracts. Offer a low price and don't try to push the ongoing contracts. Be opportunistic. Drive through neighborhoods looking for yards that need mowing and leave a flyer. It's hard work, but decent money if you control your costs.

    What You'll Need: A heavy-duty self-propelled mower, an edger/trimmer, blower, hedge clippers, a gas can, and something to transport them all in.
    Estimated Startup Cost: $1,000 new, $500 used, or you can rent the equipment you need for about $100 a day to get you started.
    How Much You Can Make: About $25-$40 per yard, on average. It will take a couple of dollars of gas per yard, and figure another dollar or so for trimmer line, mower blades, etc. If you don't have too much travel time, you should be able to do each yard in less than an hour.

    How to Grow: Own the equipment. Hire a friend to help. Offer additional services, such as weeding, planting, landscaping, etc.
    Things to Watch out For: Equipment maintenance can eat up all your profits very quickly. Keep it well-oiled, clean, and sharp. Also, don't chintz on the equipment. The right equipment will allow you to work twice as fast. The wrong equipment will make some yards impossible.
    Best Web Resource: Lawn has lots of books and other things for sale, but a great collection of free resources, too.

House Sitting and Pet Sitting

Summer is family vacation time, and someone has to watch the pets and take the mail and newspaper in when everybody leaves for a week or two. If you can target your marketing to families, that will be most effective.

    What You'll Need: Flyers and a couple of classifieds in your local papers, insurance, transportation.
    Estimated Startup Cost: $200-$300
    How Much You Can Make: The going rates on pet sitting and house sitting range from $5 to $15 per visit, depending on the number and type of pets, frequency of visit, and expectations (long walks, etc.).
    How to Grow: Offer additional services such as house cleaning and pet grooming that can be done while you're there.
    Things to Watch out For: Trust is everything in this business. Be prepared to provide personal references. Network with everyone you know to let them know you're looking for this kind of work. Referrals will be your best lead source.

    Best Web Resource: How to Start a Pet Sitting Service has detailed advice on marketing, operations, and startup costs.

Mobile Car Detailing

People love the convenience, and the idea of having your car cleaned while it's already sitting there at their home or office sure beats the heck out of taking it someplace and having to wait on it. Luxury car owners may be reluctant to use machine washes, and especially owners of high-top vans and pickup trucks may not even be able to.

    What You'll Need: Transportation, business cards to leave on windshields, portable vacuum, a bucket, sponges, chamois, cleaning supplies.
    Estimated Startup Cost: Under $100 to offer basic car wash services, up to $1,000 or more to offer specialized services.
    How Much You Can Make: $20-$30 per car for basic wash and interior on up to $100 or so for complete detailing (engine cleaning, etc.)
    How to Grow: Reinvest some of your money in equipment to offer higher-end services like engine cleaning or upholstery steam cleaning, or other related services like dent removal and windshield chip repair.

    Things to Watch out For: Know the Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the chemicals you use and local water usage rules.
    Best Web Resource: Mobile has tons of articles, discussion forums, marketing tips, and more.

Summer Nanny/Babysitter

For working parents of school-age kids, summer presents a real challenge. Summer camp may take care of a few weeks, a family trip another week or two, but then what about the rest of the summer? Find two or three families, or one with several kids, and take care of the kids during the day.

    What You'll Need: Clean, reliable transportation, some classified ads, a love of kids.
    Estimated Startup Cost: Under $50 for classified ads.
    How Much You Can Make: $8-$12 an hour, depending on the number of kids. It's less money than some of the other options, but it's generally easier work.
    How to Grow: Take in more kids and turn into a home daycare. Or, charge more for added services, like pet care or light house cleaning.
    Things to Watch out For: Caring for multiple children, not in the same family will generally require licensing and will require the facilities to meet certain requirements. There's a big step from watching 2-3 kids from 1-2 families in one of their homes to watching 4-5 kids in your own home. Some states have licensing requirements for nannies, as well.

    Best Web Resource: International Nanny Association is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting quality in-home childcare. Lots of free articles, plus information about government regulations for all U.S. states.

Tutoring and Teaching

Opportunities abound for the entrepreneurial-minded person with knowledge to share. Some kids need help catching up on one or two subjects, home schooners usually school year 'round, and many parents put their kids in summer classes on a fun topic like science, drama, or creative writing. You can tutor individual kids, or put together a group workshop or week-long class.

    What You'll Need: Some advertising and a facility if you want to do group classes.
    Estimated Startup Cost: Under $100 for flyers and advertising. For a facility, check local community centers, YMCA, etc., where you can usually rent a room for $10-$30 for 60-90 minutes, or $30-$50 for a half day.
    How Much You Can Make: $10-$20 an hour for one-on-one tutoring, depending on your qualifications. Classes vary widely in price, but with even a small turn-out, you should be able to make $50-$100 per teaching hour, but that doesn't count marketing and preparation time.

    How to Grow: It takes the same amount of time to teach 20 kids as it does to teach 10. Marketing & advertising is what will drive your growth.
    Things to Watch out For: Generally, teaching short classes that are not for credit doesn't require any special licensing, but check your local regulations to make sure that you don't end up falling under the daycare regulations if you have multiple kids.

All of the above business ideas can be started on a minimal budget and bootstrapped by reinvesting some of your profits. While they have a seasonal element to them, they also all offer the potential of growing into a full-time, year-round business if you choose, but they're all also things you can walk away from in the fall.


Business Advice & Mentorship / Business Ideas on a Budget
« on: April 06, 2019, 01:10:24 PM »
Business Ideas on a Budget

Whether you're starting a business on the side while still employed elsewhere, a student or homemaker looking for extra income, or unemployed and trying to figure out what to do, there are plenty of business ideas you can start for under $20 and grow into a profitable company.

It's unlikely any of these budget business ideas will make you a full-time living within the first few months, but they all have the potential to grow into meaningful sources of income with enough hard work and persistence. Let's take a look at 10 of these cheapest business ideas with strong potential and we'll show you exactly what to do with the $20 you'll invest in getting it off the ground.


It's what everyone who's ever surfed the Web dreams of—just launch a simple website and watch the cash roll in. Well, that just doesn't happen overnight, but the fact of the matter is that it's really not very difficult or expensive to start a blog. To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain name and create a website.

Choose an easy-to-learn platform like Word press to build your website on and start creating original content that'll eventually help your audience solve meaningful problems within your niche. Now find some appropriate affiliate programs—that's where your revenues are going to come from.

Next, learn everything you can about search engine marketing, build relationships with other bloggers and website owners within your niche and promote your site heavily. Last of all, set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. Now do this three or four times, and you've chosen your topics well, you might actually have some decent income from it.


Getting into consulting is relatively simple if you've built up an expertise throughout your career. All you have to do is know how to do something better than most people do, and be able to either teach people how to do it or be willing to do it for them on a contract basis. Networking is the key to success in this budget business idea, so start by making a list of everyone you know that could use your services and giving them all a call.

Housesitter & Petsitter

Particularly since 9/11, people feel an increased need for security, and housesitting gives them some reassurance while they're out of town—making it a great budget business idea. Moreover, this opportunity requires no particular skills, just trustworthiness, and reliability. Be sure to have personal references available, and you'll also need reliable transportation. If you're an animal lover, pet-sitting is an easy add-on.

Professional Organizer

So many people these days are simply overwhelmed by their "stuff". While there is an ever-growing trend of people wanting to simplify their lives, most of us haven't done it yet. It's not that people really have no clue how to get organized, it just keeps moving to the bottom of the stack, both figuratively and literally. There's a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you're ready, mostly it takes common sense, organizational skills, and a familiarity with what can be had at your local office supply and The Container Store.

Avon Independent Sales Representative

Cosmetics is a virtually recession-proof business because it's an inexpensive way for people to feel good about themselves. Avon is the largest consumer direct sales company in the world, with annual sales of nearly $6 billion. In business for well over 100 years, they have both a highly reputable product line and one of the few highly reputable multi-level marketing structures (in fact, they invented it). They also offer fashion and wellness products in addition to their beauty products. And while they bill themselves as "The Company for Women", a fairly substantial number of men have actually been very successful as Avon reps.

The secret to making a living at it rather than just a little extra spending money? Build your downline—just like with any other network marketing or direct selling business.

Personal Services—Shopping & Errands

This is a great business idea especially heading into the holiday season. Believe it or not, there are people who wouldn't be caught dead going anywhere near a mall, but they're not comfortable with buying certain items online, either. Alternatively, signing up to run errands on an app like Task Rabbit or deliver food through services like Postmates, can immediately provide you an existing client base. If your car's not reliable, pick something else.

Also, you won't need cash, but you'll need available credit on your credit cards if you're not working through an app like the two above. Consider an American Express or a Diner's Club that don't have preset spending limits. Or use a card that gives cash back rewards or frequent flyer miles, and you'll make a nice little bonus for yourself.

Graphic Design and Desktop Publishing

It's amazing how many people have a computer and still don't know how to make flyers, presentation decks, and other visual assets for their business. If you've got a good design sense, are familiar with your word processor and already have a laser or high-quality inkjet printer, you can get into desktop publishing. Create a really great-looking portfolio for yourself and go door-to-door.


With the growing dissatisfaction with our education system and the huge growth in homeschooling, there's an unprecedented need for tutors these days for kids of all ages—even adults. If you've got a topic you've learned a lot about through work or have retained well since school that you can tutor in, contact the local schools, particularly private ones, local homeschool groups and offer your services. Don't be concerned if your topic is highly specialized-even those are in demand, especially at local colleges and universities.

eBay Selling

Yes, there really are people who make a decent living buying things at garage sales and flea markets and selling them on eBay. The big secrets? Stick to products you know (or learn before you start) extremely well, package your goods carefully, and provide impeccable customer service. It helps to have a digital camera or a scanner, but it's not required.

Secretarial Service—Typing, Transcription, and Proofreading

Many small businesses and individuals have a need for these services, but not enough need to hire a full-time employee or temp through an agency. Assuming you've got a computer, a printer, and email (and the necessary skills), you're all set. Be prepared to charge by the job, not by the hour.

One last thing—beware of home-based business scams that require a substantial buy-in, such as envelope stuffing or craft item assembly. You may not lose money on it if you stick with it long enough to get really fast at it, but you'll probably never make the kind of money you're expecting to. Better to do something on your own. Also, consider low-cost franchises.


Are Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Network Marketing Legal?

The extreme polar views on the topic of multi-level marketing and network marketing can make it a difficult topic to discuss. Some people are passionate about it in the extreme, and there are even top celebrity authors like Robert Allen, Mark Victor Hansen, and Robert Kiyosaki doing it and advocating it.

Yet, in many circles, you might as well declare yourself a leper rather than admit to being in network marketing.

Are Multi-Level Marketing and Network Marketing Legal?

Well, the short answer is yes—it's legal in the U.S. when executed properly, under the right regulations.

The problem is multi-level marketing and network marketing companies are usually intentionally complicated, vague on important details, and it's often difficult to tell whether or not the business is built around consumption of an actual product or the premise that you need to bring more people in "under" you in order to succeed.
Problems With Multi-Level Marketing and Network Marketing

Maybe it's the pyramid structure, but you can't really take issue with the tiered compensation structure. Almost every large sales organization in the world has that. Salespeople get commission, and sales managers get overrides or bonuses on top of that, and sales directors on top of that, and VPs on top of that.

Maybe it's the fact that you have to pay to participate in it? But that can't be it; that's a standard franchising model. The franchise fee of most traditional franchises dwarfs the sign-up cost of any MLM program by comparison.

Now certainly, there are illegal pyramid, or "Ponzi," schemes. This is where the money is all being made off of signing up other people, with little or no real product ever being delivered. But in spite of whatever perceptions people may have, the fact is that Amway, Excel, Herbalife, Melaleuca, PrePaid Legal, USANA, and many others have sold millions upon millions of dollars of products to customers, many of whom are not also reps.

So, there may be a perception problem here, but if so, the perception is out of line with the reality.

Are Bad Multi-Level Marketing Reputations Based on Facts and Research?

The real problem with MLM is not MLM itself, but some of the people it attracts. Network marketing is just a business model, and it really amounts to "micro-franchising." Its upside is that it has a very low cost of entry, with the potential for exceptional revenue, and there are those who achieve that.

Yet those same things that make it attractive make it attractive to many who are not really qualified or prepared to become business owners. The salient characteristics of MLM make it attractive to people who:

    Have not done well in their business or profession and have little money saved up to invest
    Have no previous experience owning or running a business
    Have no previous experience in sales
    Have little or no experience developing business relationships other than that of employer/employee/co-worker
    Are not satisfied with their current level of income
    Have unrealistic expectations of the amount of work involved compared to the revenue realized

As a result, many network marketers end up:

    Over-selling the opportunity
    Inappropriately discussing business in social situations
    Coming across as desperate
    Over-focused on new recruits and neglecting existing customers as a result
    Being either inaccurate or deceptive when talking about their business

To pre-judge someone based on the basis of a small minority of people in that group is horribly unfair, but we must realize that most prejudices have some basis in reality, even if it has been distorted.

The Solution

There's a first time for everything, and network marketing/MLM is a great opportunity for people to have their first business, their first sales role, etc. Recognize it for what it is: it's a business, and you are a business owner. If you've never owned a business before, if you've never done sales before, if you've never networked before, you need to learn about how to do so, not just from the network marketing/MLM experts, but from established experts in those fields.

Network marketers who are serious about building a business should be reading and learning about business fundamentals, the latest sales and marketing techniques, strategies for networking and business development, etc., not just swapping tips at your team's weekly or monthly meeting. Act like a small business owner, and people will treat you like one.


Network Marketing: Worth It, or Too Good to Be True?

Network marketing can be lucrative, but only a small percentage of people make serious money. Often referred to as multilevel marketing (MLM) or direct marketing, the idea of making money without any special skills or major investment with immediacy is appealing. And the promise of residual income fuels the desire to never wind up in your current financial position again if you've found yourself in a somewhat tough spot.

Some highly reputable companies have been built on this marketing and distribution structure: Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, and many more. But you may be asking yourself questions like, "Do I really want to pitch this to all my friends?" "Can I actually make money at it?" and "How do I know it's not a scam?"

If you're considering multilevel marketing (MLM), consumer direct marketing (CDM), or a network marketing opportunity, ask these six questions to determine whether any of them are worth your time, effort, and money.

Who Is Your Upline? ​

Take it all the way to the top. Ask yourself questions about the person who introduced you to the opportunity and whether you can trust what they tell you. Make sure to ask if they are willing to divulge exactly how much they've been making. Probe into the founders of the company, assuming it's a newer company. Research whether they have been successful and reputable in their previous businesses. Investigate your entire upline just like you would a business partner you've never met before.

What Is the Product? ​

Determine if it's something that would sell well in a retail store or via other traditional marketing and distribution channels. Examine the competition. You also have to consider how convincing you are going to have to be in order to sign up customers. If you're not an experienced salesperson, don't expect to become one overnight. You're going to have to become an evangelist for the product, so make sure you believe in it.

When Will You Start Actually Making Money? ​

Don't fall for the line that it takes months or even years to show a profit. You should be able to recoup any investment and start earning income within just a few weeks if there's a real demand for the product. Making a living at it is another story. You need to be able to work part-time in addition to other steadier income sources. Assess whether or not you truly will be able to make money with this company.

Where Is the Product Being Promoted and Where Can You Promote It? ​

Determine if the company is handling advertising and publicity on its own to help create demand for the product. Find out what restrictions are there on where and how you can promote it, such as advertising and websites. There's not a right or wrong answer to that question. A wide-open policy is more flexible for you, and for everyone else, too. If you're prepared to be highly competitive, that's fine, but if not, you may prefer to work with a company whose policy is more restrictive.

How Were You Recruited? ​

Think back to when you were recruited and consider if it was primarily as a customer, with just a mention of "income opportunity," or if the primary pitch was for the business opportunity. The ethical way to build a downline is to sign up people as customers first, and then if they like the product, they'll be drawn to becoming a rep. A hard sell on signing up as a rep right at the outset should send up a red flag for you.

Why Are You Doing This? ​

This is perhaps the most important question of all. If you're doing it because you think it's going to help you get out of a cash crunch, forget it. If you're doing it because you think you're going to be rich in a year, well, it's fine to have a vision but don't bank on it. On the other hand, if you really believe in the product, that gives you the best likelihood of success with it.

Many people have made a lot of money in network marketing, but ​many more have ended up wasting a great deal of time and money chasing a pipe dream. Ensure your success by researching carefully that you're seizing the right opportunity in the first place, and have reasonable expectations up front.


Business Advice & Mentorship / Lessons from Network Marketing
« on: April 06, 2019, 12:55:20 PM »
Lessons from Network Marketing

Network marketing, or multi-level marketing, is one of the fastest-growing business models of the past few decades. Between 1993 and 2003, total direct selling revenues grew by 7.1% annually, dramatically above the rate of growth of the economy -- and of total retail sales (according to the Direct Selling Association).

The most prominent examples of direct selling companies include Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Nu Skin, and Herbalife, which recently went public. In 2003, U.S. total direct selling sales totaled more than $29 billion, or almost 1% of the over $3,397 billion for total U.S. retail sales (U.S. Census Bureau).

Any business model that has achieved this kind of success probably has lessons that all business people can learn from. We define this family of business models as a method of distribution in which people are paid for sales volume generated by people they have recruited into the distribution network. 20% of American adults reported they are now (6%) or have been (14%) a direct selling representative -- defined as:

    the sale of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location.

In 2000, 55% of American adults reported having, at some time, purchased goods or services from a direct selling representative.

A significant number of network marketers have negative experiences with the industry. That is why 70% of all people who have ever been a direct selling representative are no longer in the industry. For the purposes of this column, we will not go into the challenges and problems in the network marketing model. There are plenty of Web sites on that topic.

We all work for ourselves. Gone are the days of being a "company man" -- your career is your business. Multi-level marketing just makes that explicit. Yet one of the things that make the sector most attractive, the low barrier to entry, also creates some its greatest dangers. Many people get into it without the necessary skills to run a successful business.

We are primarily interested in what lessons all business people can learn from successful network marketing practices. We recently interviewed some of the industry's top experts and found seven lessons that all sales and marketing professionals can use to be more effective, regardless of their industry:

Every business is a relationship-based business.

So says John Milton Fogg, founding editor of Networking Times, author of The Greatest Networker in the World, and one of the most successful teachers of network marketing. You cannot sell an inferior product with a superior relationship, but you need at least a functional relationship to sell your product. That is particularly apparent in multi-level marketing, an industry built around belly-to-belly sales.

Think analytically about your network.

Shaul Gabbay, in his book Social Capital in the Creation of Financial Capital: The Case of Network Marketing, reports that the fastest-rising group of entrepreneurs [of the direct selling representatives whom he studied] were those who had initial weak ties to dense networks. In other words, successful salespeople penetrate an untouched market and then work to gain a high market share in that market. This is easier to do if that untouched market is highly dense; everyone in it knows all the players.

Why? Because word of mouth in that type of network will spread more rapidly about the value of your product or service. This principle is particularly evident in network marketing, an industry where "networks go to work." However, the same idea applies to almost any business.

Create a community around your product.

One of the great ironies of the software business is that not only do many software companies outsource their development offshore; many also outsource their customer support to their own customers! When Best Software encourages you to visit their user forums to discuss your issues in using Act! software, that is a very cheap way for Best to support their product. Multi-level marketing companies rely almost exclusively on their communities for sales, support, follow-up, and recruiting.

Leverage the unleveraged.

In 2002, 79.9% of the direct selling sales force was female. 56% completed only a partial college education, technical or trade school, or have only high school education. This sales force looks very unlike the traditional American corporate sales force, which typically is much more male and has a higher level of education. However, the direct selling sales force looks just like their customers. People can be very effective salespeople when selling to their own community because the common culture and interests create a foundation to build strong relationships more quickly.

    Build a relationship first: "Internet marketers and network marketers share a common, terminal disease," Fogg says. "If you think of the whole process like dating, we bring someone to our Web site, and then we ask them to have sex immediately. There has to be some courtship first." One of the delicate aspects of network marketing is that people leverage their personal relationships to sell a product. Although that leverage makes some people queasy, the success of the network marketing model shows that many people do comfortably build multiplex relationships: Their friends are their customers and vice versa. With delicacy, you can do the same thing.

    Not everyone is a prospect: One mistake some network marketers make, as do many other salespeople and marketers, is thinking of everyone they meet as a prospect. In network marketing, this is known as the "Three-Foot Rule", i.e., anyone within three feet of you is a prospect. But top network marketers don't do this. Max Steingart, creator of the "Success Online" training course for network marketers, says that it's not just about figuring out when to make your pitch, but even if to make your pitch. "You just build relationships with a lot of people. Some will become prospects and some won't," he says. "There's no timetable. If the time is right, you'll know."

    Use online networks: The network marketing industry is a particularly good industry for leveraging online networks. Steingart teaches people how to "make the world your warm market," specifically by using online networks. He reports that when he instant-messages someone to start a conversation about potentially joining his distribution network, 50% of the people he contacts will respond to the conversation. More and more sales and marketing professionals will use online networks to accelerate their sales.


How to Come up With a Great Business Idea

You want to start a business but you don't know where to begin. That's only natural. The process of starting a business can be quite daunting. Here are five great ideas on how to start out with a great business idea.

01 Start With Something You Love

A common thread for new entrepreneurs is starting with something they really love and believe in, as evidenced in the new businesses at the Women's Entrepreneur Festival.

Tanya Menendez is the co-founder of a company called Maker’s Row, which was designed to help American manufacturers source materials and labor from within the States. Though a challenging, fragmented market, she says she didn't worry about a competitor beating her to the punch: "We had confidence in our execution. No one else had lived our lives."

Kara Goldin, chief executive officer and founder of San Francisco based hint Inc., which produces all-natural essence waters, was thankful for the early doubters: "They are like bad coaches," she said. "They are there to get me to show them I can do it."

02 Start With Something People Need

Can you really start a business with less than a hundred bucks? Yes, if you focus on what people need. For example, consider this summer business idea: There are plenty of public places that don't have snack bars, and even the convenience store's just not convenient enough. Bottled water, sports drinks, visors, cheap sunglasses, and battery-powered fans will sell anywhere there's sun. Try parks, the beach, baseball practice field, or even a busy street corner near popular summer destinations.

03. Start With a Twist

Rebecca and Daniel Dengrove are the brother-and-sister team that co-founded Brewla, a line of all-natural ice pops that are based on brewed ingredients like tea. They have been named "Startup of the Year" by the Wall Street Journal and were featured in a series of videos on that WSJ.

"We wanted to reengineer a classic, and also make it healthier," explained Daniel of the product, and because his sister and co-founder is a food scientist, their experimentation bore plenty of fruit. And while the business started small (via a cart), the siblings now have their sights set on getting the artisanal ice pop in more retailers nationwide.

More on family food businesses here.

04 Start With Something You Can Test

The goal of a minimum viable product (MVP) is to test out a business hypothesis through a quickly produced, stripped-down model of a product that can be brought to market quickly and inexpensively. Examples include Zappos, which, early on, took photos of shoes in local stores, posted them online and then bought the shoes from the stores and shipped them out instead of building a large inventory. Groupon also launched with an incredibly simple version of its eventual daily deal email -- it was simply a PDF and a WordPress site to begin with.

05 Start With Something You Can Do on the Side

Jesse Phillips, a co-founder of the calendar company NeuYear, explains a "muse" business as such: "an automated business that gives you your target monthly income number, so you can do what you want." Phillips was very inspired by Ferriss's book in starting a company to deliver well-designed calendars to help people track and achieve their goals over the course of a year.

"We started NeuYear to help people achieve their dreams," he explained. "One of the best ways to focus your effort toward achieving your dreams is to plan and pursue goals. This doesn't have to be a crazy big or detailed thing, it's as simple as thinking about the steps to achieve something, and making deadlines for each step." In crafting a large, design-focused calendar, he and his cohorts aimed to make that process as simple as possible.


Make Money While You Sleep with a Muse Business

With the proliferation of today's side hustle culture and the popularity of books that profess the importance of diversifying your income, many are exploring passive online money-making opportunities. Here, we take a look at muse business ideas.
What is a Muse Business Idea?

A muse money-making opportunity is one that is inexpensive to set up yet generates passive income while you kite-board, eat a bowl of cereal, or watch TV. It sounds too good to be true, but it is one of the most talked about elements of Tim Ferriss's most popular New York Times Bestselling book, The Four Hour Workweek.

How does a muse business actually work for the people who start them? We reached out to a successful entrepreneur to find out more.

Jesse Phillips, a co-founder of the calendar company NeuYear, explains a muse business as, "An automated business that gives you your target monthly income number, so you can do what you want." Phillips was inspired by Ferriss's book and started a company that delivers well-designed calendars to help people track and achieve their goals over the course of a year. This had turned into a muse business over the years.

"We started NeuYear to help people achieve their dreams," he explained. "One of the best ways to focus your effort toward achieving your dreams is to plan and pursue goals. This doesn't have to be a crazy big or detailed thing, it's as simple as thinking about the steps to achieve something and making deadlines for each step." In crafting a large, design-focused calendar, he and his cohorts aimed to make that process as simple as possible.

He further explains: "A muse is not sexy. A muse is not about pursuing your passion. A muse is about finding a niche where you can make money, easily, with as little work as possible. The emphasis is on good margins and a low level of effort, which will typically not be sexy/interesting/fulfilling for your passions."

How Do You Successfully Create a Muse Business?

After successfully creating a profitable business that was recently featured on the design site, here are Jesse's tips on creating a muse business:

1. Create something that people actually want, not just something you want.

If you have a good idea and only 100 people in the world want it, you're not going to make money selling it (unless they pay $100,000 for it -- but that's not a muse business). This means you have to do lots of research to find an opportunity in the market.

The trick to this is identifying where people are spending their money. For example, many successful projects on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform, have been related to coffee. Solid coffee ideas will get way overfunded on that platform. Perhaps you can come up with a coffee idea? Also, iPhone accessories have been well funded. Do you have an idea for an iPhone accessory that will solve a real problem?

2. Test before launching

Too many people quit their job and start a restaurant. They struggle for three years and then go bankrupt. You HAVE to create a prototype, test with real users, and see if people will really buy your product before you invest a ton of money and time. That's what true business idea validation is, and without it, you are more than likely going to fail in the long run. Validation is why I love Kickstarter - it helps you to see if people out there are willing to buy your product. Another way to validate your product is to survey people.

Find people that buy similar products and ask them if they would buy yours. Put-up a simple web page and see how many people sign-up. This is not easy to do. The hardest part is being honest with yourself.

3. Be willing to pivot

No one knows the future. It is impossible to create the perfect product that meets customer needs perfectly without testing. Therefore, once you launch and realize some other aspect is more desired by the customer, you must be willing to shift. It is arrogant and foolish to try to force your will on the market, you have to shift with your growing knowledge of your market.

4. Take the leap

Too many people have a great idea yet never do anything about it. Make goals, start working toward them, figure out your minimum viable product and get going. Don't try to invent the next iPad, either! Start with something small and simple yet with good margins and an existing market (this is not easy to find, but it's out there). A muse business idea needs to grow naturally beginning with your own community of friends, family, and other connections that could be potential customers for your product—if they are supportive and actually pay you for your idea, you are onto something.

5. Design is important

Many entrepreneurs skimp on design when they are starting out. I ran into the founder of at SXSW one year and he said: "Design is not the most important thing. It's the only thing." We are humans and, rightly or wrongly, we judge books by their cover. Therefore, make your design awesome. (sleek, modern, and minimal is usually easy to do, takes less time, and looks great!) Design is a huge asset.


Make Money Online Without Spending a Dime

The beauty of creating an online business is that you can potentially make a great deal of money with it—and at no cost. All that's required is a novel business idea, a well-defined target audience in mind, and the skills to pull it off.

Help Friends Find Better Jobs

Sites like Zyoin and WiseStep connect employers with prospective employees, many of whom are already employed and not actively job-hunting via networking. The main benefit is knowing who these qualified candidates are. Rewards for referring a candidate who gets hired range from $50 to potentially several thousand dollars. If you know a stream of job-seekers, you can break into the recruiting business without up-front or overhead costs.

Connect Buyers with Suppliers

Sites like Share-A-Sale and Amplifinity provide referral fees. Vendors set the referral fees they're willing to pay and for what services. When the transaction happens, you get paid by the company for introducing a new customer to them. uRefer also allows merchants to set up referral programs for introductions and meetings, in addition to any transactions made.

Become a Freelance Writer

Some websites pay for performance based on page views for virtually anything you want to write about if you have the proven experience and background to cover your beat. Many companies are looking for part-time bloggers to help them create high-value blog posts for their websites—thus, the opportunity for those who have a knack for writing compelling content. Most clients pay per post or on a retainer contract with a set number of posts delivered per month.

Start Your Own Blog

Blogger, which you can set up for free in less than five minutes, automates Google AdSense so that you can make money with your blog by displaying ads and getting paid when people click on the ads. To make more money, set up an affiliate program (see below) for books, music, and more, and insert your affiliate links whenever you refer to those items. A good strategy to set you on the path to success is selecting a unique topic, writing intelligent copy, and telling all your friends. You'll be off to a better start with a targeted audience.

Create Topical Resource Hubs

If you are an expert on a particular niche topic and can assemble some of the best resources on it from around the web, then you can create topical hubs and get paid through sites like HubPages. You'll earn even more money by creating your own niche site, though. Established topic sites have a built-in supply of traffic and tools to make content creation easier and are among the most profitable online business ideas. Once you've established yourself as an expert within your niche, you'll be able to make money from a combination of ad revenue, affiliate fees, and more creative avenues like online courses, other digital products, and one-on-one coaching fees from others who want to learn directly from your expertise.
Affiliate Marketing of Other People's Products

If you already have a website or blog, look for vendors that offer related but noncompeting products and see if they have an affiliate program. Stick to familiar products and brands—they're easier to sell. For promotion, place simple text or graphics-based ads in appropriate places on your site; you can review or recommend products or create a dedicated sales page or website to promote a particular product.

Microstock Photography

You don't have to be a professional photographer to sell your photos for money. People are constantly in need of high-quality, unique stock photography for websites, presentations, brochures, and so on, and are willing to pay for the right image. People generally search for images on stock photography sites like ShutterStock, Dreamstime, and iStockphoto by keywords, not by photographer name, so you have the same chance as anyone else of having your image selected. Just be careful not to post images of trademarked brands, copyrighted art, or people's faces that are readily identifiable unless you have a model release.

Virtually anything else is fair game.


Low-Cost Business Ideas You Can Launch This Weekend

Starting and successfully growing a business is, without exception, a difficult endeavor. Most seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that building a company from the ground up is one of the most trying, yet rewarding, experiences of their lives. Starting a business takes so much more than just a great idea. You need a winning combination of great opportunities, determination, passion, time, and, for most businesses, a bit of funding to get your idea off the ground.

Today, we're focusing on 12 low-cost business ideas that you can get started on (and start seeing results from) in as little as just a couple of days. Many are business ideas you can start while you're still working at your day job.

Start a Niche Website

Picking a hyper-specific topic that has proven search volume (you can check Google monthly average search volume for specific terms using the Keyword Planner Tool) will give you the opportunity to become an authority in a relatively small space if you can create a lot of value for the existing audience.

If you start generating highly valuable blog content, videos, images, or other engaging pieces of content around a topic like camping with babies, and can slowly build up your regular audience, this authority placement will afford you many different monetization opportunities. From affiliate sales to ad revenue, sponsored content, and paid partnerships with well-known brands, you can start generating revenue as soon as you have a steady flow of traffic coming to your site.

Launch an Online Course

Are you an expert in a specific domain? If so, there's an audience of people who'd be willing to pay you for an accelerated learning experience that'll get them up to your level of expertise.

You could be a writer, marketer, designer, or even a nurse, technician, or in retail sales. Whatever your experience is, there's a way to teach others how to become more successful, make more money, get started quicker, or advance in their careers within your niche. Once you've chosen your topic, easy-to-use online course platforms like Teachable and Udemy can get your course business off the ground in a matter of hours.

Sell Digital Downloads

Creating and selling digital downloads like ebooks, in-depth guides, templates, and case studies, is an incredibly great way to generate relatively passive income online.

Once you create a piece of useful content that'll help an online audience accomplish something within their lives or businesses, it's just a matter of getting your digital goods in front of that group of people. You'll want a basic website in place so that you have a destination to bring in targeted traffic with related blog content and other useful information about what your digital download is going to help them accomplish.

Start a Podcast

Recently, podcasts have become increasingly lucrative as a source of sustainable income. If you create a podcast on a specific topic, such as launching startups like, and you interview well-known figures in the industry, you'll quickly amass a high number of regular listeners—if you learn how to market it well.

Once you've grown your listenership to a reasonable level (shoot for at least a thousand listeners per episode), you can start bringing on some premium sponsorships. It's not uncommon to charge $2,000+ per month to established sponsors to get their product or service message in front of your targeted audience.

Become an Online Coach

Again, if you have a marketable skill set that you're passionate about, you can offer your coaching services in a one-on-one style setting.

Tools like and offer you the opportunity to quickly hop on and offer online coaching sessions at your pre-determined hourly (or by the minute) rate. What's more, these communities already have a built-in user base of people seeking career guidance, life coaching, and actionable learnings on how to clear their obstacles.

Fulfilled by Amazon Clearance Arbitrage

Amazon FBA clearance arbitrage is the practice of scouting out goods that are currently selling on Amazon (with the "fulfilled by Amazon" designation) and tracking down those items at a lower cost from stores in your local area.

It's surprisingly easy, and Nick Loper of SideHustleNation has been experiencing a good amount of success with it over the last year. Check out his detailed breakdown of how he does this. There's even a scanning app for smartphones that'll let you instantly detect the clearance arbitrage opportunities while you're going through local stores.

Remote English Tutor

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) can be a very lucrative side business, and it takes absolutely nothing to get started, aside from access to a computer with video chat abilities (and Skype).

If you're a native English speaker, there are countless people in foreign countries who are willing to pay $25/hr or more for you to teach them English via video chat platforms like Skype or FaceTime. Indeed frequently has job postings up, requesting remote English teachers and tutors.

Start Freelancing Within Your Industry

Just about every job can be done on a freelance (even remote) basis in today's digital world. What's even better is that you can start a freelance business while you keep your day job.

From writing to editing, graphic design, marketing, video production, business consulting, and more, there are tons of great websites that regularly feature highly paid freelance gigs. Start with looking around for industry-specific forums and contract job posting boards, as those will always have more engagement, but sites like LinkedIn's ProFinder, Upwork, and are great starting points for bringing on your first clients as well.

Launch a Photography Business

It's relatively inexpensive ($60–$150) to rent even a very nice DSLR camera from a local camera shop for the weekend. If you take some time to practice and learn techniques from pro photographers online, you should be able to pick up the basics fairly quickly. From there, you can get into portrait photography, very lucrative wedding photography, and even specialize in something as niche as newborn photography, all with great scalability potential if you live in a decently populated area.

Once you've learned how to navigate your camera (or smartphone camera), you can very easily start monetizing your skills. From selling prints to doing commercial and private client shoots, building up a large following on social networks like Instagram and Facebook, teaching online photography courses, doing in-person workshops, and selling your advice, the opportunities are limitless.

You can even start a profitable blog, sharing your skills with others online. Let's say you have a knack for capturing incredible star trail photographs at night. Meanwhile, thousands of people are searching each month on Google, wanting to learn how to take star trail photographs. Your blog content, video tutorials, and an online course they can purchase is a fantastic way to generate online income with this skill.

Refurbish Used Electronics and Resell Online

We've all seen the advertisements offering to purchase our old (or even damaged) smartphones at low prices. These opportunistic entrepreneurs are putting their technical skills to use fixing up these electronics and reselling them either in-person or online (often to customers internationally).

There's a huge market for expensive gadgets like iPhones in many foreign countries, and consumers in those countries without the ability to purchase directly from Apple, turn to eBay, Amazon, and other online retail destinations where they pay above-retail prices to get their hands on the tech goods they want. If you can start buying up and fixing damaged iPhones locally, you could net a healthy profit by later flipping them online.

Become a Tour Guide

Do you live somewhere with frequent travelers? If you love meeting new people from around the world and have an in-depth knowledge of the area you live in, then starting your own local tour business could be a great opportunity that needs little more than a clean vehicle and cheerful demeanor.

Learn from Erik at Vantigo on how he started a VW van tour company in the San Francisco Bay area while he kept his day job, and grew it into a sustainable full-time source of income for himself.

Start a YouTube Channel

There are many YouTube users generating a healthy income from ads on their regular videos. Some of them even make well into the millions each year.

All it takes to build a healthy YouTube following is to identify high search volume topics, develop your own unique spin on creating video content, and learn how to engage well with your audience. From there, you'll be able to start implementing ads on your videos and, if you want to take it a step further, you can launch your own website, which gives you even more monetization opportunities.


How and Where You Can Make Money Testing Websites

In a world of illegitimate online job opportunities, it’s nice to know there are a few honest internet side hustles you can tackle to earn a healthy side income. One such hustle is website testing.

If you’ve never tried it, then now’s a good time to learn what it is, how much you could potentially make, and who will pay you to get started.
Website Testing

Website testing is a pretty straightforward concept in which individuals who have no direct ties to a brand spend time using, accessing, and analyzing the brand’s website as a way of providing feedback on the functionality and appeal of the site.

Website testing is invaluable in today’s marketplace, where websites play an integral role in both small and large brands’ ability to reach, engage, and convert online customers. It’s not enough to have a website – the website needs to be optimized in a manner that it fosters positive brand associations and ultimately drives profitable conversions.

When you look at the amount of time and money brands invest into web design and development, it becomes clear why they take testing so seriously. While every situation is different, here some average costs for developing a custom website (according to

    Small business website: $2,000 to $8,000
    Medium-sized business website: $10,000 to $25,000
    Ecommerce website: $5,000 to $40,000
    Large business website: $25,000 to $40,000

And those are just the costs to get up and running. When you throw in additional expenses—including domain name, SSL certificate, website hosting, content management system, ongoing web design, marketing, and optimization—the ongoing costs can be thousands of dollars per month.

Clearly, if a business is going to invest in a website, they want to make sure it works. They have multiple methods for determining how well a site works, but nothing beats the raw, unfiltered nature of user testing.
How Much You Can Make Testing Websites

Let’s be clear about one thing upfront: you aren’t going to get rich testing websites—at least in this capacity. For the overwhelming majority of people, website testing isn’t designed to be your full-time job and won’t replace your entire income. It can, however, supplement your income and give you a little extra spending money for the weekend, that next a vacation, or for a big purchase without draining all your savings.

Generally speaking, most website testing companies are going to pay you $10 per website that you test. Occasionally you’ll get $15 to $25, but these are rare exceptions and are typically only offered to those with experience. A website testing session typically lasts for 15 to 30 minutes, though there are a few that can be completed in right around 10 minutes.

In most cases, website testing opportunities are sent to users via email—or within an online platform—and you have to “claim” the test in order to gain access. Depending on the number of users competing for opportunities, it can be harder to get tests with some companies than others.

If you get sent five offers to test websites per day, you’ll probably only successfully claim one or two—and you’ll have to act quickly. Having said that, an extra $10 per day can add up. If you test five websites per week at that rate, you can reasonably expect to make an extra $200 per month. Not bad, right?

Okay, so now that you know what website testing is and have a realistic expectation of what to expect, lets’ look at some companies that will actually pay you to do it. There are more than a dozen platforms on the internet, but here are some of the best:

1. User Testing

User Testing is one of the most reputable companies in the website testing space. Brands like Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Twitter, Evernote, Dropbox, and Yahoo! regularly use the platform (and their website testers) to constantly test their own websites, new feature releases, as well as monitor thousands of others. From the user testing side, you get $10 via PayPal for every 20-minute video you complete. In most cases, you’re required to visit a website or app, complete a set of different tasks, and speak your thoughts aloud as you navigate pages and assess the site's user experience.

The honesty and transparency of User Testing is part of what makes the company great. They will be the first to tell you that you aren’t going to get rich using their site, but they do offer plenty of opportunities. The number of opportunities a specific user is given depends on demographic factors and quality ratings.

2. User lytics

Another very simple and honest company to work with is User lytics. They are one of the few companies that don’t require an audition in order to qualify for testing and it’s open to anyone from any country.

The potential downside is that you’ll probably be recorded via video, which makes some people uncomfortable. Another questionable aspect is the fact that you only get paid if the end client rates your test positively. This means you could do a couple of 20-minute testing sessions, follow all of the instructions, and then not get paid. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.

3. What Users Do

What Users Do is unique in that the company pays you to test websites before they actually go live. This means you get a chance to be one of the first people to use a website and provide meaningful feedback that'll go into the company's pre-launch planning.

Perhaps the best part about What Users Do is that it’s easy to get started and there are tons of opportunities. The challenging part is that they have a detailed screening process, which means you’ll only qualify for a fraction of the testing opportunities you apply for. If you do get accepted, the testing experience is straightforward and payouts come via PayPal on the 25th of each month.

4. Start Up Lift

It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that some of the other companies offer, but StartUpLift does what they say they do. They pay $5 per “feedback” and allow users to get accepted right away. However, just because you get accepted doesn’t mean you’ll immediately get opportunities. They tend to get overloaded with feedback providers and you might have to wait in a queue for an opportunity.

5. Try My UI

Try My UI is one of the more reputable companies in the website testing space, but they also require users to do their part in order to get paid. Half-hearten efforts or hasty feedback won’t be accepted.

Try My UI pays out $10 per 20-minute testing session and requires you to record yourself via video and audio, while also providing written responses to a short wrap-up survey. You can expect to get a few opportunities each week.

6. Enroll

Enroll isn’t quite on the level as some of the other website testing companies listed here, but it does work. It’s a low-hassle, low-paying experience that some people will find fun and others won't see as a worthy payoff for the time investment.

Because you don’t have to record video or audio, and tests take just a few minutes (as opposed to 15 or 20 minutes), the payouts are much lower (typically from $0.10 to $1.50). In other words, you don’t have to do a lot, but you certainly aren’t earning much either.

Tips for Being Successful With Paid Website Testing

Because website testing has gained some publicity over the years as a legitimate opportunity for earning relatively easy money from home, there’s a huge supply of people who've signed up to test websites with these companies. As such, you have to know what you’re doing if you want to make it worth your time and energy.

Here are some tips and suggestions for making the most out of your experience:

    Take the audition seriously. Almost every company will require you to go through what they call an “audition” before you can get paid to test their clients’ sites. You might be tempted to speed through it, but take these auditions seriously and you’ll have a much better chance of qualifying.

    Sign up for multiple sites. While you’ll inevitably zero in on a company that you like the most, sign up for multiple testing sites. This simply means more opportunities to get paid throughout the week.
    Be quick to act. Most companies offer testers opportunities on a first come, first served basis. As soon as you see an offer you’re interested in taking, accept it. Many testers wait a few minutes, only to find that someone else has beat them to the punch.

    Don’t rush the actual testing. Because you’re getting paid per testing session, it’s natural that you want to finish it as quickly as possible. However, don’t rush the testing process. The more quality tests you provide, the more likely it is you’ll get additional opportunities.

    Don’t inflate expectations. Finally, don’t exaggerate expectations or you’ll end up disappointed. You aren’t going to make $2,000 per month testing websites through these marketplaces. You may, however, make $200 (or more) on the side if you’re ambitious and focused. In the beginning, your expectations should be just $20 or $30 per week unless you have a significant amount of time to commit to this side hustle.

In all likelihood, website testing is something you’ll do for a few months while you figure out other opportunities for increasing your income. It’s not a sustainable job, or even one that will pay all of your bills. Having said that, it can be a fun, low-stress way to make some extra money from your living room.
Make Money Online (the Legitimate Way)

If you search for ways to make money online, you’ll run across a lot of scams.

Thankfully, testing websites is a legitimate opportunity. The key is to do your research and be willing to put in some actual work. Over time, your patience and willingness to provide quality feedback will pay off and you should be able to earn a little cash on the side.


Business Advice & Mentorship / The True Value of a Business Mentor
« on: April 06, 2019, 11:47:02 AM »
The True Value of a Business Mentor

Your friends and family, the online gurus, publications, and even casual acquaintances can provide you with a steady flow of information regarding news, industry developments, and opportunities. Industry analysts, consultants, employees, and good networking contacts can share their expert knowledge with you regarding particular situations and needs you may encounter. However, only a business mentor can truly share wisdom with you on an ongoing basis, and in a manner that can have a direct positive impact on the growth of your business over time.

The generic business advice you'll get from online publications will only go so far, and a good business mentor picks up right where that leaves off.

A business mentor is someone with more entrepreneurial business experience than you, who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time, usually free of charge.

Does this sound a little too good to be true? Well, first and foremost, being a business mentor to an up-and-coming entrepreneur is a great way of giving back to their community, and to society at large when their advice and guidance can have a measurable impact helping their mentees.

Many business mentors may advise people in order to develop their skills as a teacher, manager, strategist, or consultant. And a true mentorship relationship also works in both directions—your mentor gets to learn about new ideas, strategies and tactics from you, just as you'll learn timeless wisdom from them.

Here are five key benefits of finding a business mentor:

1. Where else are you going to turn?

Once you launch into your own business, there's no boss to turn to for advice or direction when you're in a pinch—maybe not even any employees yet. Although you're flying solo, you don't have to be. Everybody needs a good reliable sounding board, second opinion, and sometimes just emotional support when the times get tough (which they will).

2. They've "been there and done that".

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of finding a business mentor is that you can learn from their previous mistakes and successes. Your mentor doesn't need to have experience in your particular industry—though it helps if they do—so that you're maximizing your opportunities to leverage key relationships. They don't have to be up on the latest trends or technology—you've got other sources for that. Your mentor's role is to share with you lessons from their experience in the hopes that you can learn them quickly and easily.

3. It's (usually) free.

If you're on a tight budget, that's a major factor. While good coaches and consultants may be able to offer some things that a mentor doesn't, it almost always comes at a price, usually of several hundred dollars (or more) each month. Mentors, though, are readily available, free of charge through a number of organizations, such as SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives) and many other groups. But plan on at least treating your mentor to lunch or coffee when you meet together.

4. Expand your social network.

Your mentor, being an experienced businessperson, is likely to have an extensive network, and can offer you access to far more senior decision-makers than you currently have. And they will be far more willing to open that network up to you than some casual acquaintance from a networking meeting.

5. A trusted, long-term relationship.

Your mentor has no ulterior motive—no service or product to sell you. That, combined with their experience, creates a good foundation for trust. And as the relationship develops over time, that trust can grow even stronger. Also, your time with them becomes more and more efficient as they become more and more familiar with you and your business.

As you can see, the rewards are potentially great to bringing on a business mentor, and the risk is non-existent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding a good mentor. Every entrepreneur should have one.


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