Mel Ferguson of business development at online payment solution Payflex shares his top five online businesses that can be started without spending too much (or any) of your hard-earned cash.
If you’re particularly passionate about and knowledgeable in a certain field, turning it into content via a blogging platform could earn you money. There are various free hosting sites for bloggers, such as Blogger.com or Tumbler.com. However, some of these restrict advertising, so it may be worthwhile paying for a reasonably priced hosting for your own site.
‘Content can be anything from writing to photos or videos recorded on your cellphone. The important thing is to make it niche, interesting and relevant to your subject and audience,’ says Mel.
Once you’ve built up your base with regular readers, you can begin to monetise your blog. The easiest way to do this is with Google Adsense.
You’ve probably noticed the adverts that frequently appear on the left or right margins of websites. They’re run through the
Google advertising network and every time someone clicks on an advert, the website owners receive a commission. Other ad
networks include Media.net, powered by Bing and Yahoo! There are also functions like Chitika, a network which monetises
search traffic (visitors who arrive at a website by clicking on search results from the original site).
2. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing means you offer the products of an online retailer on your blog or website, making use of the traffic
from your online platform to generate income for you. You can earn commission each time someone clicks on a link to the
retailer, so that your traffic’s referred to the retailer or a sale occurs. Your affiliate partner manages payment and delivery,
so there’s no real work needed from your side.
3. Online videos
Recording a video for YouTube is both easy and affordable with a cellphone and as long as your content’s interesting, valuable and relevant, you could grow your subscriber base. Once your subscriber numbers reach 1 000, with an amount of 4000 hours watched in a 12 month period, you’ll start to earn a percentage of the revenue from adverts appearing on your channel.
4. Drop shipping
Drop shipping involves selling products via your website, while not physically stocking them. Once you make a sale, you – as the seller – purchase the product from a wholesaler or manufacturer, who then ships the item directly to your customer, essentially making you the middleman or sale facilitator. ‘This means you can start a business without needing a fortune
of capital to buy stock. Plus, there are no storage costs,’ explains Mel.
While you make less on the mark-up price, the upside is that you have the money upfront, only paying the third party once
the sale’s made. ‘Drop shipping allows you to offer a wide selection of products. while keeping your operating expenses low. The only expenses are marketing or advertising to attract customers. And with the advantage of leveraging social media platforms, this needn’t be a big amount,’ he adds.
If you’re a specialist in a particular field or harbour dreams of being a published author, writing and publishing an eBook could be for you. Using a free eBook creator such as Canva.com, you can insert your own images and content, and then monetise your writing by selling it on your own website or on a platform such as Amazon.com.
Tips to remember:
When starting a business, the golden rule is: ‘Cash flow is king’.
This means choosing a payment provider that settles with you immediately and doesn’t charge fees for all sorts of payment activities. It’s also critical that your payment provider offers an established platform, so you don’t lose any of those hard-won sales, as well as top-notch customer service to resolve any issues timeously.
‘Payflex ticks all the boxes and provides next-day settlement, a stable and proven payment platform, world-class service and a first-in-market six-week free spending plan for your customers that will boost your sales by 20-30%.
‘Creating an (online) business has never been easier,’ says Mel.
COMPILED BY CAITLIN GENG PHOTO: STOCK.ADOBE.COM