Where Do You Start

In the first of our series of informative articles covering the honest way to earn an income online, I take a look at where the best places are to get yourself started.

Well, where do you start?

A truly wonderful phrase is: "The best place to start is at the beginning", but just where on earth is the beginning? That's not a whole lot of help if you really are starting off from scratch and you have absolutely zero experience with any kind of online business whatsoever.

Let's start the ball rolling by providing you with some information on how you could get started in business online. In this article we'll cover some of the different ways to earn money on the internet, what their potential earnings might be and which ones might be best avoided.

Before we get underway, I'd like to point out that this information has come from extensive research and is not only my own opinion. I'm just pointing out the facts as they have been presented to me. So now, sit back and read on!

Paid Surveys

These are companies that ask you to complete surveys for cash. They can pay anything up to $50 per survey, although this is rare. Often they give you points or discount vouchers to use in stores. You have to first qualify to take the survey, which is usually geographic.

Bearing that in mind, if you're in the right place then you could potentially earn some reasonable money doing this, but you certainly won't get rich. At best you might possibly make a few hundred dollars per month. One more thing: You should never pay a fee to obtain a list of survey sites, since this information can be found for free.

Paid to Read

If you've already been to google and searched on ways to earn money on the internet, you have probably already seen a lot of sites offering to pay you to read emails, or ads, or whatever. Some offer ridiculous amounts of money per item to get you to sign up with them. They sound lucrative and easy. Think about that.

First, why would someone offer to pay you a lot of money just to sit at your computer and read emails etc?

Second, does it sound like easy money? That's how these companies hook you in. They play on the normal human desire to get something for nothing and spin the truth to get you interested and sign up.

Before you are tempted by fool's gold, read the small print, check out a good forum and ask questions about the company and think long and hard about it. In reality, there are some legitimate companies out there and you might make a few pennies per item read if you're lucky. Add up how much you might earn per hour and then decide. Believe me, that is certainly NOT easy money.

Paid to Type

There are a few companies that will employ you to type transcripts for them, usually from audio recordings. The pay is quite good but the work can be intermittent. Some companies like you to bid for work by specifying how much you are willing to do the work for. This is anywhere between $5 and $15 per hour, but you will be in competition with people living in countries with a much lower cost of living than yours, so that value could in reality be much lower.

Should you manage to find one of these companies that is recruiting new typists, you will have to pass a stringent entry test of your typing skills and speed and your English grammar must be top notch. Another kind of paid to type job is typing ads for various companies. This relies on your ability to write good ad copy, so if you have a flair for ad writing, this could earn you reasonable to good money. You should never pay to join either of these types of companies.

Advertising Sales

Your job here is to sell advertising packs to people who want to promote their business. Earnings vary according to the level of your salesmanship. If you think you can sell refrigerators to the Eskimos, then you might do ok with this, but these packs can be very expensive and you have to convince would-be buyers why the company doesn't just use their own advertising packs to promote their own business, if they are so good. Makes you stop and think?


These are schemes where you pay to join a program then wait. As more new members sign up a fee is randomly paid to one of the existing members. Sounds like more easy money? Not really, when it could cost you your PayPal account, as these schemes violate their terms and conditions. Unless you are able to recruit a lot of new members to the scheme, you shouldn't expect to earn very much with randomisers.


The idea with these schemes is you invest some capital and in a period specified by the company your capital doubles in value. Again, they violate PayPal's terms and conditions. The amount you invest is up to you but the more you invest, the more you will make. Well, that is the theory, anyway. What often happens in reality is the companies cannot sustain this kind of payout and soon vanish into thin air. Maybe with your money. You have been warned!

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

For this you need to be able to distinguish a bona fide business from an illegal pyramid scheme. The bona fide business will have a real product or service of worth to sell. The idea is you join up for a fee, then promote the company and try to get people to sign up under you. Then those people will get more people to sign up under them and so on and so forth, creating what is known as a downline.

You get paid a fee for each new sign-up you get and then a smaller fee for every new sign-up recruited by your downline. The earning potential is huge, the costs of promoting effectively can run into thousands of dollars so statistically only 5% make money at this. Most of that 5% make from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand and only the top 1% make over $10k a month. That of course means that a whopping 95% of all the people who join MLMs fail.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing jobs are difficult to come by, but if you are lucky enough to find one (assuming you qualify with the necessary writing skills) then your earnings could be a quite decent $2500 a month if you put in an eight hour day.

Content Writing

This differs from the above in that you write articles and other content based pieces and submit them to sites that will pay for them. There are several good, legitimate sites that do this, one of the best being Associated Content. The pay per unit and conditions of sale varies from site to site. Some pay you straight away if your piece is accepted for publication and can make you between $5 and $20 for each one.

Others, such as Constant Content act as agents, so you submit your article and once it is accepted it waits for a buyer to purchase it. This way you can set your own price for your work, anywhere from $10 for usage rights (meaning the buyer cannot alter your work and that it can be re-sold by you many times) up to $100 or more for full rights (meaning the buyer owns the article and it cannot be re-sold). So you see, you can make a good honest income from selling your own written work.

Internet Researcher

Similar to freelance writing, these jobs are scarce bit if you are lucky enough to find one of these, you should expect to earn around $3500 per month for an eight hour day. Having said that, researching ion the internet can be long, hard work as research takes a lot of time and patience. You could find your eight hours turning into rather more than that.

Selling on eBay

As far as ease of promotion goes, selling on eBay can be quite lucrative and whole books have been written on the subject. There is no website to set up, no advertising costs and in some cases no stock to carry. If you can find a good, cheap wholesaler and drop shipper, even the storage and shipping can be left to someone else, while you just rake in the profits. As with other online marketing methods, selling on eBay can make you as much or as little as you are prepared to put into it.

Mystery Shopper

This kind of work relies heavily on where you live. If you can get to the various shops and businesses by car then you could earn anything up to $1000 a month visiting them, trying their services or products and then reporting back to the company that sent you out. You will have to pay your own travel expenses, which will reduce the overall profit you can expect to make.

High Yield Investment Programs (HYIP)

This is another way of increasing your investment quickly, but like doublers, these are high risk. Most of these companies are illegal, so you have to be very careful. Having said that, if you find a legitimate company and are prepared to risk your money and can get in early and get out again quickly, there is an enormous potential to earn vast amounts of money. As with any high risk business, there is also enormous potential to lose your money too.

Affiliate Marketing

This is where you sell other people's products for commission. Affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative as long as you are prepared to put in the time and effort to promote the products. Advertising expenses can be as much or as little as you are prepared to pay. It is wise to research the products before you decide to promote them, but if you pick good, solid products with a good track record and promote them well, you could earn a very good income from them.

Clickbank are still the market leader for providing digital products such as ebooks, online training courses and information products for a wide variety of niches. Click the link to visit Clickbank and sign up for free to get started. For "real" products like those you'd buy at a store, there are many affiliate programs to choose from.

Probably the most popular is Amazon Associates where you can promote individual products that are for sale on the Amazon site and earn commission for each sale that is made by a customer clicking through from your personal affiliate link you put on your website or blog. Other alternatives that work with many different online stores large and small include Commission Junction, Linkshare, Shareasale and Pepperjam as the top affiliate programs.

Statistically, 95% of all affiliate marketers fail, but this is often because they go into this without doing the proper research or put the time in to promote it properly. Of the other 5%, depending on how much time and effort you are prepared to expend, expect to earn anywhere between a few hundred to several thousand dollars a month.

Your Own Business

I have left this one until last, as it has to be the most satisfying honest money earner of all. You start with your own product, be it an ebook or service or whatever you have and you promote and sell it yourself. The potential earnings can hit the sky if you can come up with something that people really want and can market it properly, to make people want it even more.

To run your own business properly, you will realistically need your own website to promote your product and have a solid marketing strategy. It will pay you to have a good visual as well as functional site created by a professional if you do not have good webmaster skills yourself.

It also pays dividends to pay for professional hosting and also have a professional email address. With everything in place and your product or service ready to go, you should enjoy the promotion and marketing side. The best bit is in making your first sale, then watching those sales grow over time.

So that's the first article laid out in as concise way as can be done (for me). As we are at the start of things, this is just a taster of what is to come. Now that you know what is out there and what the main ways of earning money online are, you can make a more informed decision of what direction you where your potential online earnings are most likely to come from. In further articles, we will go over some of the more reliable methods of earning an honest income online.

Acknowledgement: This material was researched and in part obtained from sections of My Secret Articles, written by Steven Wagenheim.

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