Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).
If you have an idea worth pursuing, crowdfunding can be a helpful way to find the money you need to get your idea off and running. For example, you can run a Kickstarter campaign. On SPI 223, I covered this with John Lee Dumas who launched a super successful campaign. Besides John, I know a lot of companies who have started on Kickstarter. I’ve been a backer of dozens of different projects, and a lot of those projects were just ideas when the campaign started. There are ways to get paid for your ideas up front. Using Kickstarter, you can validate those ideas and start to build community at the same time, which is a great way to get a boost at the beginning stages of your online business, especially if what you’re creating takes some money to get started.
If you’ve ever wanted to try real estate investing but don’t want to deal with all the stress of being a landlord, you might want to consider investing with Fundrise. Fundrise is a new platform that allows you to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that a team of professionals identifies, acquires, and manages on your behalf. With a starting investment as small as $500, you get exposure to dozens of solid, value-producing assets.
The vacation rental business is booming. While the mere mention of it might make you think about billion-dollar titans like AirBnB or HomeAway, there are niche businesses like Michael Joseph's InvitedHome and Joe Poulin's Luxury Retreats and many others being carved out across a variety of markets. When it comes to vacation rental homes and vacation rental management, companies are earning anywhere between 10 percent and 40 percent on the gross rental rate depending on the location and the management level.
“I love working for [email protected], I’m a single parent who moved to a new state where I had no family or friends. I started a job where I felt like I was working just to pay daycare for my four-year-old son. My son hated the daycare and I never had time to spend with him. I was referred to TTEC and I'm in love with it. Now, I put my son on the bus and log in for work. By the time I get off work, my son is almost home. It’s wonderful!”
Noticeably absent from my list is “blogging”. I enjoy blogging and sharing with readers ways to save money, inspiring success stories and of course geek culture. However, blogging is not the path to quick money online. Despite what many bloggers and peddlers of courses may suggest, blogging is very hard work and it takes a sizable audience to make even a modest return.
If you have the next Harry Potter manuscript sitting in your drawer and the publishing industry hasn’t been kind to you, try self-publishing. Using tools like Amazon’s direct publishing or working with dedicated consultants like I_Am, you not only get the satisfaction of pushing your work out there but also retain 100% of your royalties! Don’t think you can write a good novel? Then stick to what you know – self-help is a money-making genre!
You can also use an all-inclusive ecommerce web service. Sites such as Shopify and Volusion offer competitive packages, with free templates, custom packages, credit card processing, and more. Ecommerce web services makes it easy to sell your products on the web, without a lot of overhead. There are no custom interfaces or templates to work with; you simply create an online store within the framework of the service.
How to Get It: Begin with sites like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com and Userlytics.com. Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you're in the system, you'll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you're one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren't expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.