Bright ideas for making money on the Web.
Whether you've just dabbled on the Internet or you regularly surf until 3 a.m., you're probably aware of the Web's potential as a business tool. And we're not talking about resource value alone. Thousands of companies use the Internet to sell everything from their consulting services to wares concocted in their garages.
The exciting thing about starting a Net-based business is that it's up to you to determine how elaborate your venture will be. Will you employ the latest e-commerce technology to create an online store, or will you stick with a Web site advertising your products or services? To jump-start your quest for the Internet business best suited for you, here are a few popular options:
*Internet consulting. You're an Internet maven, not to mention a veritable marketing whiz. News flash: Business savvy doesn't extend into the realm of the Web for all entrepreneurs--and that's good news for you. Business owners longing to get their companies online need you to help them with Internet marketing and sales strategies. For more information, contact the Information Technology Training Association, 8400 N. Mopac Expwy., #201, Austin, TX 78590, (512) 502-9300.
- Web site design. Businesses are outdoing themselves by advertising online when they really need to focus on promotion to increase the "look to buy" ratio, according to Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Enter the Web site pro, with a gift for graphic design and knowledge of the latest Web site design technology. Sure, there's plenty of software that allows business owners to design their own sites. But harried entrepreneurs are often happy to turn the task over to a designer who can get the job done easily. Contact the Association of Internet Professionals Inc. (800-JOIN-AIP, http://www.association.org) to find out how you can make your mark on the Net.
- Internet research. Though "surfing the Web" has a nice ring to it, not everyone enjoys the experience. Some people are still working with older 14,400-bps modems--this alone may spell c-l-i-e-n-t-s for you. Build a Web site that offers your services as a researcher who deals with Internet-based material.
- E-commerce. Don't want to hassle with leasing a storefront location to sell your wares? Open an online store. Similar to ordering products from TV or catalogs, customers visit your site, where they select and pay for products.
- Wholesale magazine subscription service. Become an affiliate of an online subscription service such as Los Angeles-based Magazine Mall Inc. (888-ALL-MAGS, http://www.magmall.com). You can sell discounted magazine subscriptions in the comfort of your home, leaving door-to-door sales and cold-calling behind.
For information on how to start your own Net business, check out Entrepreneur's How To Become An Internet Entrepreneur business start-up guide (#1393, $69). To ensure you're a law-abiding Internet business owner, visit legal search engine and directory FindLaw Internet Legal Resources (http://www.findlaw.com).