Don't let the disclaimer at the bottom of the last page scare you. It's just good, common sense advice to research what you plan on doing before you go and do anything. Never quit your day job until the money you're making from your business is consistently more than what you and your family need. I'd go one step further -- don't quit your day job until after all your debts are paid off and you have the equivalent of 3 months salary in your bank account. When you own your own business, you can't assume you'll always have that money coming in. Things change, new products, services and competitors are coming onstream all the time. In this one thing alone, the Pessimists Credo applies: Always expect the worst, that way you'll never be disappointed. Or get caught with your pants down.

In general, there are three different ways to make money online. Four, if you want to include pyramid schemes or fraud. But since you want to spend your time enjoying life, rather than staying in prison, we can forget about the fourth concept.

1. Get people to pay for something you already do.

2. Sell a product or service to people.

3. Make money through affiliate commissions.

4. So-called "doublers", "high-yield investment programs", or other such schemes.

Each of these methods has its advantages and drawbacks. Let's quickly look at each of them briefly before going into details.

Get people to send you money for something you already do.

This is the method that is most appealing to people. Getting paid for something you already do is the easiest and least-stressful thing there is. Mostly, it involves getting paid to surf the web, or for sending and receiving EMail. Everyone reading this text surfs the web -- wouldn't it be great to be paid for doing so? And everyone with internet access gets EMail. Mostly spam but it all still counts as EMail. What could be easier?

Well, just about nothing. And, unfortunately, that's about what you'll make from this method.

When the idea for getting paid to surf first came out, the potential was enormous. But, due to market conditions, payouts are now miniscule, and most of the pay-to-surf companies have gone out of business. Hopes of making enough to live on through pay-to-surf or pay-for-email plans have long since faded.

Sell a product or service to people.

This is the standard way of doing business, whether it be on the internet or out in the "physical world". There are several problems with this method (which we'll look at in greater detail shortly), including choosing a product or service, finding customers, and coming up with a way to receive payment. Plus there's additional costs of overhead and inventory. These are not insurmountable -- just things that need to be considered carefully before starting up. The payoff, though, is if you manage to pick the right product or service, you can make a fairly large amount of money in a fairly short period of time.

Make money through affiliate commissions.

The advantage to this method is that it involves very little work in the actual selling or creating. The disadvantage is that the amount of money you make from each sale is quite small -- normally 5 to 15% of the sale price. Again, we'll look at the details more thoroughly in the next few pages.

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Last modified: February 21, 2005.

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