Work at Home in Progress has a very good article for parents who are desperate to work from home. Stephanie gives a very honest view about how difficult it can be and suggests a few options, including blogging.
Personally, I don´t feel that blogging is a good place to start for work at home moms who are on their last penny. It takes months or even years to build a blog up to where you are earning decent money, especially if it is your first! Although it can be a good sideline, if you are scrambling for cash, there are better ways.
For example, I would suggest selling handicrafts on places like Etsy or eBay. It´s quite a bit faster than a blog. And, if you have anything at all to sell, be it paintings, furniture or services, set up a website immediately. You can get a decent free website if you don´t have the cash to buy a domain name and pay a hosting company, but you should move over as soon as possible to a paid service so you can eliminate extra ads.
The next step would be to set up a free PayPal account and then do up your website with a sales page, an About page, and a catalog of your products or services. Information products are easiest to sell because you don´t have to keep an inventory or buy supplies. However, people also tend to think of them as being of a lesser value than actual physical products.
For example, I started off with a very basic website on Piczo, to sell niche article packs. After a month or so, I sold a couple of packs and was able to move over to a proper host. Now, I´m not making a huge amount off this site, but it does have the potential to be big if I were to focus more on it.
If you are interested in starting out online, here are a few resources that you should check out:
Free Websites (which permit selling)
- Piczo This is a pretty user-friendly site. You can make it look quite professional, but they have pop-up ads as well as banners that they place on your site.
- SiteKreator A more complicated site. They offer professional templates, but everything is managed with weird icons that take a while to figure out. You can use your own domain name here, which is a good idea if you can afford about $8-10 a year, but not monthly hosting fees.
- Blogger (for sales blogs) I know I said that blogs aren´t a good place to start, but if you are dead set on starting one that sells products, Blogger is a good free place to start off.
- Host Gator This is my host and I´m quite happy with them. The cheapest package starts at $6.95. Their support is fast and useful.
- Dreamhost I haven´t personally used this service, but have heard rave reviews about it. They offer great value, just $7.95 a month.
- GoDaddy I highly recommend this service. It´s where I buy all my domain names (25 now!) and they frequently have sales on non-.com domains. Get a $2 discount on any .com domain name by using the coupon code OYH3 at checkout.
Online Merchant Services
- PayPal This is one of the most widely accepted online merchants. Although there are a few complaints about them, they are still your best bet when starting up. Start off with the free Personal account, then upgrade to Business once you get more sales. The Business account is still free upfront, but they take a percentage of incoming transactions. You can accept credit cards through PayPal, as well.
- Moneybookers This isn´t nearly as popular as PayPal, but I do see it here and there.
- BidPay This is a service aimed at autions, but it should be usable with a regular site as well.
Other Websites to Check Out
- GeekySpeaky Great place to learn about SEO (search engine optimization). The forum is very handy and everyone there is super friendly. Just ask your question and someone will be happy to help you.
- Associate Programs If you want to get into affiliate marketing, this is a good spot to start. There is plenty of information for beginners to advanced marketers and a very extensive affiliate directory.
- Clickbank Here you will find hundreds of information products for your website.
Blogs to Read
- eMoms at Home This blog is specifically aimed at work at home parents, but focuses on online business. Definitely worth subscribing to.
- ClickNewz! Another good internet marketing blog that you should be reading if you are going to be trying to earn online.
- Problogger This is THE blog to read if you plan to try your hand at blogging. Very good information and it will take you several weeks to read through the archives.
Do you have any other resources that you would like to add?
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