The Best Internet Business for 2012-Online Business 101

by J.Crawford on January 7, 2012

From time to time I install a pop-up form on this site that asks visitors the question: “What it your #1 struggle in building a successful business online”. The answer varies widely but I always notice common themes. One of the most common struggles in achieving online business success is always money, which I find odd. Most of the visitors don’t specify what their answer means. I’ve never thought of money as an obstacle to start an Internet business.

I’ve been writing about doing business on the Internet for years and one of my most common themes is how some of the best Internet business models are essentially free. When I first started online back in 2005 I started a couple free blogs. When I say free, I mean it. I didn’t pay a penny. Those blogs and a few others I created have made me thousands of dollars over the last 5 years. There is a tip. If you don’t have money to start an Internet business then the best Internet business for 2012 is to start one that doesn’t cost money. I’ll share more resources and how-to articles later in this article.

In order to have a viable Internet business online in 2012, you have to make money. If you have some idea that you are completely in love with then see if it will make money. If it doesn’t then move on, you don’t have to drop the idea, but if it doesn’t make any money, it’s just an idea not a business. Essentially there are only a few real ways to make money with online with an Internet business. Yes, there are thousands of tactics, strategies and methods, but they all fit into these 3 categories. Trust me. If you are evaluating an Internet business idea that doesn’t do one of these 3 things, it isn’t a business.

The best Internet business model integrates all 3 of these categories and you can verify that for yourself. Just go look at the most popular online business sites or bloggers or whatever… Every Internet business must do at least ONE of these three things, the Best Internet Business for 2012 does all 3:

  1. Make money selling someone else’s products.
  2. Make money selling your own products.
  3. Help someone who is doing #1, #2, or both.

UPDATE: I’m including a third option to make money with your Online business, which is “get paid to” opportunities. There are several ways to make money by taking surveys, writing, reviewing products and more. While I don’t consider these ways to build a viable Internet business in 2012, you can use them to make money. I’m creating a resource that outlines the top ways to make money on the Internet right now.

Every Internet business falls into one of those categories, the best Internet business does fits into all three. When I first discovered this I was a bit taken back and, to be honest, a bit overwhelmed. First off I didn’t have my own products to sell, let alone have a clue how to develop them. I wasn’t sure how I could sell someone else’s products either, it sounded like a lot of work. I did understand what it meant to help someone else sell their own products or someone else’s. I learned about creating niche websites which is just a website that focuses on one topic. This, in turn, creates a targeted audience and these “Targeted Audiences” are a hot commodity to those selling products in that niche. This site is one example of a niche site. It isn’t as focused as it used to be but it still services the “business ideas” niche. I cover just about any type of business on this site but most focus on small home based business ideas and Internet business models. I also dabble in network marketing and affiliate marketing here on this website.

Making Money Selling Someone Else’s Products

This is probably one of the most popular online business models and it has many different names. The most common name is affiliate marketing. Have you heard of affiliate marketing? Not all business model’s that pay you a commission when you sell a product are referred to as affiliate marketing opportunities. It would be a lot simpler if they were. When you sell someone else’s product and they pay you a commission you are said to be an affiliate of that product.

Affiliate Marketing Business Model

I’ve done my fair share of affiliate marketing and I continue to use affiliate marketing as a top income stream here on this site as well as on other sites I own. I go into greater detail on making money with affiliate marketing on a page I’ve created with the same name. There is a link to that page below. Here are some other traditional affiliate marketing models:

  • Pay per action: You get paid when you encourage someone to do something.
  • Pay per lead: You get paid when you encourage or promote an offer that results in a “lead”.
  • Pay per call: You get paid when someone makes a phone call.
  • Pay per view: You get paid for each view you promote, like a video or banner ad.

These are some of the most common ways you can get paid selling someone else product through the affiliate marketing business model. Once you have a targeted audience set up it is a good way to earn money and over time it becomes somewhat passive. I’ll share more information about affiliate marketing and you can go here if you want to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing.

Network Marketing Business Model

I’m sure you’ve heard of network marketing or MLM or Multi-level marketing. This is another way to earn money with an online business without having your own product. There are thousands of multi-level or network marketing companies, some have been around for decades. Some network marketing companies are successful online, but not many. Network marketing has always been a people business and most MLM’s are still an off-line business model. I’ve only seen a couple that are successful online. If you have some targeted traffic to a website or blog and you feel a network marketing opportunity would convert well get in touch with me or visit the page I wrote on the best network marketing opportunities that work online.

Network marketing or MLM’s allow you to get paid to promote the parent company’s products and you also get further compensation when you build a team (down line) of people doing the same thing. I have a love/hate relationship with network marketing and only consider it as a viable business if the opportunity is relevant, add real value, and can be done online. Over the last five years I’ve found one that meets all three of those criteria. You can read more about it on the article I wrote about the best network marketing opportunity for 2012.

The Business Opportunity Business Model

The business opportunity business model is another profitable business idea that lets you make money in your online business by selling someone else product. The business opportunity model falls under some FTC guidelines and I’ve written an extensive article about the business opportunity business model. Essentially when you promote a business opportunity you earn money when someone else buys the right to promote the business opportunity. This may sound odd, and I think it is, but essentially that is the name of the game.

Most business opportunities have real products that you likely will have to buy yourself to earn money when other people buy them. I was involved with a business opportunity in the very beginning of my online business; it is actually what got me started blogging and learning how to make money with an Internet business. Here is my $.02 on business opportunities: Essentially you are paid to recruit. If you like recruiting and are good at it, you can make serious cash. It is the least passive business model I’ve used online. Make sure you have your legal paper work in place. Make sure you are prepared to refund people’s money.

There are some really profitable business opportunities out there. Some of the most profitable business opportunities have commissions of $1,000 and up some up to $5,000…. Big pay days. One of the income streams I use on a couple of my sites is selling ad space to people who promote business opportunities online. When I say they are profitable I’m not only citing my own experience in past but also the long term advertisers I sell ad space to on my small network of sites. You can learn more about biz ops by reading my report on the business opportunity business model.

That wraps up my examples of the best Internet business ideas for 2012 where you make money by selling someone else’s product. Do you have any other good ideas that fall in to this category?

What are some of the most clever ways you’ve seen to earn money with the Internet selling someone else’s products?

Make Money Selling Your Own Product

Essentially, just about every successful and profitable online business entrepreneur got that way by developing his own products and selling them online at some point. I’ve also learned that most of the top income earners online didn’t start out that way. I currently know a have dozen full-time Internet entrepreneurs who don’t have their own product and they enjoy a $250,000 per year income online. I say this because it can be scary creating your own product; I’m currently working on that right now. The bottom line is; not having your own product is absolutely no reason to not start an Internet business in 2012 and work hard to get where you want to be. The best Internet business model isn’t all about you and your own products anyway; it’s about adding value and owning a unique spot in the market place.

There are several ways you can develop a “product “ that can only be found in one spot, your website. It doesn’t need to be a paid product either, one of the most profitable methods online is what is called the funnel. Many people use their own product as the first step in the funnel and monetize traffic with affiliate marketing offers. So what are some of the ways you can use your own product to enhance your Internet business and make more money online 2012?

Well, I’ve seen a lot of different products and I feel the most important product of all is a free report. Even those top income earners I mentioned who don’t even have their own product that they sell, have a free report. The free report is one of the key elements to building a list of targeted prospects who you can later market paying products to. This is an older method of online marketing but it still works. It actually works a lot better if you have a targeted audience that is passionate about your topic. More and more people just don’t have time for emails, BUT if they have a passionate interest in the topic you’ve chosen, you are in luck.

One of the businesses I currently own is a Farm Fresh Produce Market. People are passionate about the food they eat, some people. The customers who stop at the market are very interested in food. They have learned the importance good food has in overall health. I’ve build a couple different websites related to vegetables, gardening, and fresh produce and I suspect that this will turn into a profitable Internet based business over time. I don’t assume this because the niche is SOOO profitable, because it isn’t. But the people in this niche are passionate about the topic. If I can find a good way to add value to this niche I will be paid handsomely for it for sure.

The Top Product Ideas for Internet Businesses

I spend more time online than most people spend at work and I’ve seen a LOT of different products that work to monetize an Internet business. I recently came across a product that I absolutely wanted to buy; in fact it was the exact offering I would like to have for my own online business. I couldn’t afford the product #1, and #2 I’ve basically already been through the product in that I’ve studied the basis of the product for years. I don’t remember but think the price was $3,900.. Maybe I could create a product along these line that was much cheaper??? Hmmm.

I guess the point is that even if you go out in the woods for a month and create a product you can sell in your Internet business, it won’t be original and it doesn’t need to be. Very few of the top product ideas I’ve seen for Internet business entrepreneurs are completely original and when they are they are many times very insignificant. But guess what, it’s still your own product and having your own product goes a long way to producing credibility.

  • Some of the best Internet business entrepreneur product offerings I’ve seen fall into these categories:
  • Services you can offer like web design, marketing services, SEO, other consulting.
  • Software that solves a problem or automates a tedious task.
  • An e-book program that teaches people how to do something.
  • A resource for doing something in an efficient manner.
  • A report intended to reproduce a significant result.
  • A membership website that offers unique content and value.
  • A book.

These are just a few of the products I’ve come across that play a vital role in the financial well-being of many Internet based business ideas. I could go on and on about product ideas that the best internet business entrepreneurs use to make more money online, but it would be more effective to pose a question: What could you do, teach, or assist someone in that is relevant, unique, and worthwhile? That would be a good way for you to create your own product for your online business.

If you currently have a website or blog you could ask your visitors what would benefit them the most and create a product as a solution to their main problem. ( a test I’m currently doing)

Make Money By Helping Someone Else Make Money

The next way most profitable Internet businesses make money is to help someone sell their own or someone else’s products. The simple way of saying that is make money by selling advertisement in one of many of its varied forms. One of the most popular ways to make money online is blogging, and this is the most popular way to help someone sell their products. Essentially you’re connecting vendors with customers. Once you’ve developed an audience as a blogger you can sell advertising. There are smart ways to do this that offer a solid income and there are some not so smart ways to do this that may pay well for a while, then go bust. Many bloggers turn to AdSense as their key money maker, as I did early on.

The problem with relying on an advertising platform like AdSense is that it can go away at any time. One of the things I learned the hard way was that it isn’t smart to build your Internet business model around one platform. I would have been doing things completely differently if I never would have applied for AdSense and I would have been making a lot more cash faster.

I’ll update this post with more resources for each topic as I’ve written extensively on these topics previously on this website.

Feel free to ask questions or add to this article in the comments, we always appreciate it.

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