October 7th, 2008 Dow Jones took a dive by a whopping 508 points. Over the past three months global markets were hit by an $8.1 trillion loss in value. Banks fail one after another, panic in the Wall Street... That's what already came to be known as the biggest economy meltdown since the Great Depression.
The helter-skelter of the stock-exchange swiftly resonates everywhere. With media fuelling the buzz you need to have a steel nerve or live deep in the forest not to be concerned with the crisis thing. The home-grown economic prophets loudly predict 'the end of the world as we know it'.
The last thing you'd want to do in times like that is start a business, right? - Not quite.
Great Depression Creates Great Opportunities
History knows a lot of cases when economic meltdowns created opportunities for new ventures and bold startups as well as remarkably profitable marketing investments. The Great Depression turned out the golden ticket for hundreds of businesses. Disney, Procter & Gamble, Camel and Chevrolet, to name a few, were among the companies that bloomed and thrived while others were desperately fighting for survival. They saw an opportunity and seized the moment. They were advertising when others cut down marketing budgets. They offered new products when others thought no one could afford to buy. They stayed calm in the across-the-board market mess and they ended up outstandingly victorious.
What does it have to do with you? Everything. The ongoing crisis is your chance to start a new venture, grow your business and make money even when the economy seems to go wild. And the best place to do this is online. Against the background of economic downturn the prospects of the Internet market look especially promising.
Why Online Business is Recession-Proof
Although the cyberspace is tightly tied to the real-world economy, the negative market trends seem to turn out the positive way online. Both retail customers and investors seeking ways to safeguard their capitals end-up putting their money online. Here's the proof that Internet market is here to stay no matter what goes on offline.
* Shoppers go online
In every recession it is the low-to-middle class who take the biggest blow. When big companies go bankrupt it is the regular workers who suffer most. Off course CEOs and investors lose monstrous sums but at least they don't have to worry about how to feed the family.
In times like that people do their best to tighten the belts and cut the expenses. We go hunting for bargains and the first place to look at is the Internet. The reasons are obvious: you can compare prices without leaving the house; you don't have to waste time and money on the gas running around the shops and you can really buy cheaper over the Internet.
Offer the best price and people will buy. Make a discount on something they could do without but would rather own, and people will buy. What's even more important, even after the economy goes stable, your customers will stick with you. Read on to learn how to pick the right product and get a discount for it.
* Companies Invest in Online Advertising
However slow the economy is a business needs to invest into advertising if it wants to stay afloat. Under the tight budget ROI (Return on Investment) becomes the focal point. The Internet offers lots of measuring instruments other media lack. Computer technology allows tracking the money you earn from each banner or text ad up to the last cent. Therefore businesses cut down or completely abandon the press, and TV, but they'll never give up on SEO, contextual or banner ads.
Outsell Inc., The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), IDC and other research agencies all report Internet advertising growing at a galloping tempo (18.2% for the first quarter this year) while print, TV and outdoor ads lose their share of the market.
IAB reported that advertisers invested $5.8 billion in Q1 2008. Part of that money could be yours.
With marketing budgets zipped up businesses seek every opportunity to advertise online. If you have a website or blog with some traffic companies will line up to pay you for advertising. If you don't have any, it's very much the time to start one. Read on to learn how to create a successful advertising platform and promote it in the search engines.
Selling ads space is just one of the many ways to make money online. There are many more such as paid subscriptions, affiliate marketing, review posting, sponsored directory listings, etc. They all create great opportunities to start an online business. And of course, you don't need to put all eggs in one basket. You can combine various online marketing techniques into a powerful money making blend that would be 100% recession proof, no matter what goes on across Wall Street.
Here's a Step-By-Step Guide To Starting an Online Business
What does starting a business start with? Naturally before you start selling something you need to decide what that something will be. So your first step is
1. Choosing a Product to Sell
A product to sell is not necessarily a 'product' as such. It could be a paid subscription or a service and you don't even have to 'sell' it directly. You just need to offer something of interest: information or functionality that will drive visitors to your website and will make them want to stay and come back. Get traffic and you'll have tons of ways to transform it into cash.
There are a number of things people are most interested in now. Here's a list of
What's Hot in Cold Economy:
People's desire to know what's going on doesn't cease in bad times. Moreover, the worse it gets the bigger their interest. The 'hottest' right now is financial information.
According to comScore Media Metrix the number if visitors to finance-related websites jumped 30% this year. European websites skyrocketed to record peaks of up to 141% in traffic growth.
Start a blog or website about anything in the finances from the market trends to personal investments and loans, promote it in the search engines and you'll see tons of traffic you can convert into money. Read on to learn how.
During the Great Depression people went to the movies to relieve the stress and forget about their problems. Nothing has changed over time except for the movies. The general trend is when bad things happen people still pay for entertainment even though it's getting harder to afford.
With economy staggering and stock exchange falling down the bills still remain the same. And bills are to be paid. Naturally we want to save on everything. If you know how to show us the way to a good bargain we'll stick with you. And bargains are plentiful on the Internet. You just need to take the time to find them and gather in one place.
* Surviving the Crisis Guides
When it comes to our wallets we get emotional. When it comes to our wallets getting thinner we get extremely emotional and even start to panic. Surviving the financial crisis is a hot topic right now. Therefore if you read this article to the end you'll get a double benefit:
* You'll secure a sustainable income for yourself and your family.
* You'll be able to help others do the same.
Moreover you'll have an undeniable proof of your paycheck to show people the way, and they will follow. This will bring you not only money but also self-satisfaction of doing a good thing.
The list is just a small fraction of the niches you can take up with your business. Explore the web for a while and you'll get tons of other ideas to choose from.
Once you've picked your product(s) you can get down to launching a website.
2. Going Online
Depending on the focus of your online business you need to decide whether you will use a website, a blog or both. Blogs are easier to start and maintain. If you decide to focus your marketing efforts around information this is your best choice to go. You can set up a free blog at WordPress.Com or Blogger.com
Websites offer more functionality but may take up more time and skills to manage. You can hire professionals to have a website set up for you. In the slow economy the quotes should get very affordable. You can also explore the free options for there are plenty out there. There are even ones that will get your website up and running in about 5 clicks.
Google 'free websites' and you'll get one before you can say 'How do I make a website?'.
3. Getting Traffic
A website without traffic is a dead one though. Visitors are the blood of your website that gets its heart beating. So your first and foremost concern now is to attract traffic to your website. The only most effective way to do it is promote your website in search engines.
According to Pew Internet 84% of internet surfers use search engines. About 68 million Americans will use the search engines tomorrow. If your website appears at the top of search results a large portion of this traffic will come to you bringing you money.
Now the question is how do you get your website to the top of search engines? The answer is by optimizing it for natural search. The process is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. Even if you hear the term for the first time, it won't take you long to figure out what it's all about.
There are a lot of do-it-yourself SEO guides out there. However they all seem to miss the most important point. It's actually doing SEO not just reading about it what drives your website up in search engine rankings and earns you money. Good news is that there's one SEO Book that tells you the exact things to do in a way that let's you get right down to doing them. The e-book is called SEO in Practice. It is the ultimate guide that will help you get your website to the top of search engine rankings in a matter of weeks.
One of the great things about SEO is that it gets you traffic (read customers) free of charge. No fees, no bills. You do everything yourself and you reap the benefits of what you've sown. However, when doing SEO you'll most likely stumble upon the same problem all SEOs do: There's just not enough hours in the day to do everything by hand. The way out I found for myself is automating some of the SEO tasks with special SEO software.
There are a lot of tools out there. I personally use SEO Software by Link-Assistant.Com (I've put a link to their website under the article). It has all the functionality I need and I like it. But you can use any software (just make sure it's good quality) or no software at all. You can go and search around for free SEO tools. They are usually of limited functionality as compared to the paid versions, but can still be helpful.
4. Earning Money
After you've read and followed the tips outlined in the SEO Book you'll see a sustainable stream of traffic coming to your website. This is great but we're looking to make money not just traffic, right? There are many ways to monetize your website traffic, some of the most popular and effective are:
People pay you to put up a banner or text links on your website. The more traffic you have the more you can charge. Search around to see what the general pricing is and test several pricing options to see which suits your prospects best.
* Affiliate Marketing
I had been earning a good living from affiliate programs for several years before I completely jumped into the SEO services. The system is dead simple. You help businesses sell their products and earn a percentage of every sale. To achieve the best you need to pick a product you believe in (preferably the one you own and use). This way you'll be speaking confidently and with authority and people will buy from you.
* Paid Subscriptions
If you deliver quality info or analysis that is unique and is of value to your visitors you can offer paid subscriptions. The subscription can grant more info, earlier delivery or whatever bonuses you can think of.
As your online business gains momentum you'll find yourself living a new life. The one that is stress-free, recession proof and incredibly enjoyable. And what's more important you'll be living your whole life for yourself. No one can fire you; no one can cut down your pay. You're an independent entrepreneur and it's up to you when you come to work and when you leave. Your paycheck solely depends on you.
Please note, this is not a get-rich-quick kinda trash. You'll have to work first and most likely work hard. Not too hard perhaps, but hard enough. This is how it is and I strongly believe this is exactly as it should be. First you work for your business, then your business works for you. Invest into your future now and you'll be able to reap the benefits later. Do nothing and nothing will happen.
What are the Risks?
The word venture itself contains a pinch of risk attached to it. Starting a business certainly has its risks. But the world is like this:
"Sometimes you do something, and you get screwed. Sometimes it's the things you don't do and you get screwed." - Fight Club
You start a business and you may fail, and then start another one and still another one until you succeed. But if you don't try you never succeed. You may sit and wait for the economy meltdown to hit you in the pocket or for the company you're working for to go under. These are also the risks we take by just living in this world. And compared to them the risks of starting an online business are nothing. In fact all you invest is your time and effort.
You can start securing your future right now. Work for you business an hour a day at first, than more until you can finally go your own way.
So Why Financial Crisis is a Good Thing
Slow economy is sort of a market janitor. It gets rid of the mismanaged thrash and gives way to new players with fresh ideas and innovative approaches. The big and weak go under and the apt take over their place. This is your chance to change your life once and for good. Go pick your product -> set up a website -> promote it in search engines -> and earn the living you've always wanted to.