Well, I'll be honest - it's much easier if you don't have a mortgage, or too many responsibilities. But it's not impossible.
Basically, you have to "moonlight" - if you want to break the cycle. You need to create an alternative "you" - a moneymaking alter-ego. And you CAN do this - if you really want to.
Dollar signs popped into my eyes, as I considered selling some widget for $10 - to 100,000 people across the globe. And obviously, I'm not the only person to have ever considered the possibility - given the amount of spam I receive!
I can recall my first internet "venture". It was a web hosting concept - set up like a Business Mall - and using a MLM system to lure people into selling web space on this mall.
Well, it didn't take me long to realise I'd never get rich this way. I think I made $50 or so. But it was a start to the learning curve - which is still going on.
The point is this: Although the internet is rightly considered as a wonderful medium through which to conduct business - it requires knowledge and effort.
Coming to grips with exactly HOW you make money on the 'net is fraught with traps and difficulties - not least of which are the many downright scams that are out there - promising you the sky, but leaving you decidedly earthbound.
The nitty gritty is this: you can put up the most professional looking website, and offer the most worthwhile product or service - but you will languish in the cyber-backwoods, unless you learn how to attract qualified visitors to your site.
If I could put it in a nutshell - then I'd say (as someone who has been making a living on the internet for 5 years) that a successful online business is ALL about marketing. Sure, you have to have something to sell - that's a given, but it's not enough by itself.
You're not out of the woods yet though, because even though you accept the challenge of marketing your site, you will still need to wade through all the conflicting ideas as to exactly HOW you should do this. Not everything you may read about actually works!
2) Once you have decided on your product/service - you will need a website. If you're reselling on someone's behalf, then it's likely the website will be provided. You'll also need to decide on, and register, a domain name. This is very important, as you want it to reflect the nature of your business.
3) If you're selling your own product/service, then you'll need to write up (or have written) some good sales copy. The internet is an "information" based medium - so your copy must provide all the relevant information, in an easy-to-read style - and trigger a desire to ACT - on the part of your prospective customer.
4) To create a "private" income - you'll need to carefully consider the need for an offshore corporate set-up and bank account. This is not difficult, but requires research, to ensure you get what best suits your circumstances. In many cases, you can get by with just a personal offshore account.
5) You will need to accept credit cards - and for this you must use a card processor. There are many to choose from - and the easiest for start-ups is perhaps PayPal. However, consider using a processor where you are able to remit your earnings to a bank account of your choice - outside your home country.
6) You will need to promote your website - and this is where the real work begins. I've tried many things - and I can pass on what I know - and what works. Bear in mind, the process of marketing never stops - as you always need to test new ideas, or refine existing ones. But it can be tremendous fun - as you can quickly gauge the effect of a new idea and decide on whether it is effective or not.
b) Spend time learning and implementing the basics of good web design (from the perspective of the search engines). For example, you don't want to build the selling part of your website in "frames" - as search engines will ignore you. You need to create key words, metatags, page titles and a host of other things which will make your pages more "desirable" for the little spiders the search engines send out.
c) Getting visitors via search engines is the main name of the game. Why? Because when someone wants something - he or she types in their query and begins to read the results. This is the type of potential customer you want - someone who is looking for what you offer. So, you need to make sure you are registered with all the major search engines. Be wary of site-submisson services.
d) Build link partners. This is a very effective way to drive traffic to your site. What you do is seek out other websites, which have an affinity (but not directly in competition) with your own website - and ask them to exchange links with you. Make sure you have a standard link text to provide - one which matches keywords you have chosen, and which you have in the title of your web pages as well. The benefits of reciprocal linking are twofold: First, you will get visitors clicking on your link - as it appears on other websites. Second, the more relevant inbound links you have, the higher you are likely to be ranked on the search engines. If you can gain 100 such links - then you will definitely see traffic coming to your site.
e) Advertise in related e-zines. There are hundreds of thousands of e-zine publishers. Some of these e-zines have over 100,000 subscribers. By looking for e-zines that are likely to have readers who could be interested in your product/service, you can build a cost-effective campaign to attract visitors to your site. Another effective option is to write articles for other e-zines, where your link appears at the bottom. This can get your name across to thousands - with not a penny out of your pocket.
f) Use the pay-per-click advertising methods now offered by many search engines - where you can "bid" for certain keywords, and only pay when a potential customer clicks on your ad and link. These systems are now highly advanced and very sophisticated - and will allow you to "scientifically" test and monitor various advertising ideas and strategies. Word of warning - only bid on key words that are not super-popular. You don't want to be paying $1 or $4 or more per click! It's much better to go for the more targeted key words - and therefore, usually cheaper.
g) Set up your own affiliate system. You'll either need to buy the software, or "rent" it off a a provider. The obvious benefit of having affiliates is that you only pay them when they deliver a customer. So, apart from the cost of the affiliate tracking software, you can have a growing sales force working for you - who are only paid for results. Keep in mind this reality - that only a small percentage of affiliates ever actually "work" - so it's a numbers game.
The point is, you don't just want ANY visitors, but those who are likely to be potential customers. In other words you want "qualified" visitors only.
And I shouldn't have to mention - stay away from spam - and spam related systems. You may be tempted to join one of the many bogus opt-in list services. But, you'll simply find yourself amongst thousands of other "opportunity" seekers - all attempting to send emails to each other. Waste of time!
FINAL WORD: It's always best to create your own product/service. But reselling is certainly a second option. And when you think about it - it's no different to setting up shop on main street, and selling someone else's products. I can work and it does work.
But the same rules apply. You need to choose the right products or services - AND you need to market your affiliate sites in the same way as outlined above. After all, it's business.
There are some very successful affiliate marketers - but they didn't get there by sitting on their backsides.
So, at the end of the day, you can build yourself a second, "private" income - by applying the basics, as outlined above.
Once you begin to accumulate income for your private alter-ego, then you can begin to grow that nest-egg in various ways. The important thing is there will be a part of you which is truly YOURS - and you'll be building a platform from which you can, in the future, launch a new life.
The possibilities are endless - you just need a good idea, and the motivation to see it through.
Postscript: One of the freebies we give away with membership to SovereignLife, is a great little book called "Gorilla Web Site Marketing" - which has a wealth of info on exactly how to build link partners.
Yours in freedom & opportunity
David MacGregor runs an information service designed for those who seek more practical and financial freedom.