There is no straight answer to this question in my view, as if that were the case, then there are a lot of small businesses that will go down the drain, quickly. Just think of any business that works as a “middle man” and you will see what I mean. A computer store that resells software, for example, is a “middle man” and like this, there are many that are quite successful at it. In the online world this is also known as an affiliate… Are you following?
First, let’s separate product from services. Products are usually something tangible, while services is something you normally provide that is somehow associated with a certain field of expertise, like Consulting. For example, if you are a comfortable great designer, you can absolutely use these skills to help people who are looking for help in this area, like creating logos. This “help” is called a service.
On the other hand, most common products could be something like a software, an eBook, a course, premium themes, skins, plugins, etc.. With the exception of a few, you require special skills and sometimes capital, to develop a product of your own. Sure you can have an idea and outsource someone to do it for you, but should you take this route, be aware that there are many hurdles you have to overcome.
While having you own product is obviously great and ideal, unfortunately, many do not have the technical expertise, the knowledge, or even the drive to make one. Most of the time, non technical people will tend to create an eBook as their first choice, because it is “apparently” easier. By doing so, be absolutely sure that you are going to provide “quality content”. By quality, in this case, I mean something that will truly add value and meet specific needs of its potential readers. Selling something of poor quality, can only damage your reputation, along with all the problems that may come your way. Note that I am talking selling and not “offering” eBooks for free. Offering eBooks for free can be used an a marketing strategy and serve as a “launching pad” for possible income in the future. In any event, even if it is free, please do not confuse “free” from being crap.
What Do I Do Then, If I Don’t Have My Own Product?
You basically have two choices. Doesn’t seem much, does it? Read on…
1) First, selling other people’s products. There are people who work hard to create good products. Most of them are looking for help to promote these products and ultimately convert to a sale. For the effort of being a “middle man” who successfully brings them a sale, you get compensated for it (usually via a commission). This method is widely known as affiliate marketing. Just make sure that you know how to find the right product to promote. Do your research to find out how to, as there are many great articles out there that will guide you to the process. Recently, I wrote a guest post that covers an important aspect of selling products online, which is, to stop selling to people what they don’t want, but instead, offer them what they need…
2) Second, sell services. This is where a lot of things can happen. Examples of services you can provide include, but are not limited to, the following:
Website design/development/management – if you have the technical expertise, this is absolutely a great choice. This could also include building websites, performing tweaks, website redesign, first time installation, etc..
SEO Essentials – From basic to advanced. If you have the necessary skills and knowledge, it is a service that many are looking for. It could be as simple as installing and setting up basic SEO plugins, to link building, website audit, keyword and domain name research, content optimization, etc.
Writing Articles/Reviews – If you love writing, have great copywriting skills, and know how to properly research, there are many who require this type of services. You can do sponsored reviews, ghost writing, article marketing, paid guest post, and so on…
Consulting/Coaching – Pick something you are really good at and provide solutions. The good thing about this type of service is that normally, you limit yourself to making recommendations. The implementation is your client’s responsibility. If they want you to implement what you are recommending, that’s another possible service you can provide.
Translations – The internet has virtually eliminated many boundaries, but there is still the matter of different languages. This is something you can offer, providing you have the skills.
Create your own team – This is a longshot but you can offer virtually any other type of services if you consider yourself to be a good manager and an organized person. Surround yourself with “experts” in many areas and use them when an opportunity presents itself. You do not have to incur any cost by doing this, just outsource it.
And a lot more… use your imagination, have a sharp eye, know how to detect business opportunities, and you might be surprised.
Question: Here’s a quick question, as I deliberately left it out above.
Is selling advertising spaces, a product or a service?
Once you answer this question, you will immediately discover another business model that can generate you a good amount of income. This method is my #1 performer on this blog.
As you can see, having your own “marketable” product is absolutely a good way to go, but do not get discouraged if you think you don’t have or can’t create one.
That’s it! Do you know of any other ways to generate income, which does not rely on having your own product?