Remember the days before the internet, where your options of making money were down to getting a job or opening a brick and mortar business. These days your options are not so limited. There are now countless opportunities for the internet to help you make money.
The flow of information is virtually unlimited. You can connect with thousands of people on a more personal level. You’re not limited by geography. And the overhead costs of it all are minimal. The opportunities are endless for the enterprising.
With the help of the internet, you can make money in countless different ways from investing to ecommerce. Here are 5 ways that the internet can help you make money:
Better Informed Investments
When I was in high school, we learned about the stock market. It was rudimentary at best. They taught us that we were essentially investing in the performance of a company. The teacher discussed the merits of investing and then we played a two week long game where we “invested” with fake money.
We would take our fake $2000 and pour through the newspapers to find the right investment. Can you imagine? For many investors at the time, they were limited to the information they could find in a few columns printed in the newspaper. You got the P/E ratio, and the 52 week high and low. It was about as close to gambling as you could get. Of course, you could also try and get a leg up by keeping up with the news about the company in the paper and on TV. When I reflect back, it was hit or miss trading.
These days, you can do a simple search for a company and get their complete financial information. You can see their complete financials, their debt situation, their profit margins. You have access to professional analysis for free. Knowledge is power. You can make better informed decisions about your investments and have a better chance to invest in a better stock. I use the internet to research my stocks thoroughly before any investment. This kind of knowledge is invaluable.
Manage Your Personal Finances Cheap or Free
With the internet, came competition between companies offering valuable services. Many services that used to cost hundreds or thousands a year dropped in pricing. Minimum deposits for many investing firms got shelved. Service fees dropped.
These days, you can find free banking online as well as low cost brokerages. Many financial services are cheap or free.
I used to pay for quicken to help me manage my personal finances. While it was a decent piece of software, I’ve been able to replace it using Mint, which provides the same money management and budgeting services completely for free. In addition, I get email and text alerts to help me manage my finances.
Mint is simply one example of a completely free and valuable service that in the past would have costed much more. You can find many more examples online. The free flow of information and access to so many different services has allowed the free market atmosphere of the internet to push pricing down to reasonable levels. These days the average joe has access to many services cheap or free thanks to the internet.
Start Your Own Internet Business
Starting your own business no longer costs thousands. With an idea in mind, you can launch your own website for the cost of a few dollars in hosting. If you business trades in virtual goods or ideas, your start up costs are negligible.
I started a blog on a free website through blogspot. While that worked passably well for a few months, I eventually moved over to self hosting. Even then it was cheap at a few dollars a month.
One lesson I learned though is to stick with more reputable hosting. My first host was cheap at $3.50 a month, but I had frequent downtimes and a slow site. Later on I moved to hostgator, which is much more reliable. If you pay a package fee several months in advance, you can get reliable hosting through hostgator for as low as $3.96 a month. I choose to pay month to month at a price of $8.96 a month. I still consider that a bargain.
Sell Other People’s Products
Affiliate marketing has taken off with the internet. Of course, affiliate marketing existed before the internet. One example was Avon, which many people used to earn extra money. However, it didn’t take off until the internet gave everyone access to millions of people.
Now, you don’t have to go door to door to make a sale. You can simple go online.
You can create your own website, join a forum or social network. Start building up a list. There are many ways that the internet has provided you with opportunity to connect with people.
These days, virtually everyone has some kind of affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is a win win situation for everyone. The main seller is gaining customers and making sales, while the affiliate also benefits from earning a percentage of each sale. It’s no longer limited to Avon. You have companies such as Walmart, Apple, and Amazon joining the ranks and offering affiliate partnerships. There are opportunities to make money at every corner
Make Money Through Social Connections
Connecting directly with people is one of the great benefits of the internet. Many companies have taken the ability to connect with people and leveraged it to help others make money.
Some are direct methods such as paid advertising on social networks and blogs. You can now benefit directly by selling advertising space from your own web properties. You can earn money through your tweets with companies such as sponsored tweets.
These services have essentially cut out the middle men of the ad agencies so that they can pay money directly to the individuals that are providing the services.
You also see the same thing happening as lenders and borrowers are able to cut out banks and directly work with each other through peer to peer lending. Peer to peer services such as lending club and prosper has given individuals the ability to earn money directly from the borrowers and collect a larger percentage of the interest rates that are paid.
All of these services are premised on the ability to directly connect to people through the internet. They are able to lower their operating costs and pay larger profits to everyone by cutting out the middle men of the past.
These are just a few ways that the internet has improved my own ability to earn extra money. I’ve used each of these methods and seen the benefits of them myself. The key is to understand that the internet provides several benefits to connect with people and give you access to information. Knowledge is power. You can find many more and imaginative ways to save and earn through the power of the internet.