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Do you dream of running your own business? Well, get ready to make that dream reality. The internet has leveled the playing field so that just about anyone can bring in big bucks doing what they love. Welcome to the global marketplace! Thanks to the web, now you can make business connections the wide world over for virtually no money… without ever leaving your home or office. What can you sell on the internet that will put you on the path to prosperity?
– Products: books, CDs, greeting cards, photo frames, gifts and collectibles, fashions… the list is endless!
– Services: writing, graphic and web design, coaching, administrative assistance, marketing, tech support, tax preparation… if you have a skill, you should be marketing it on the net.
– Memberships: to a technology forum, to a shopping club, to a pet lovers’ group, to a freelance bidding auction, to a service swap, to an entrepreneur’s network, to a dating service
– E-books: for dog lovers, for knitters, for aspiring millionaires, for handymen, for cooks, for astrology buffs… there is no end to what people will pay to learn about!
Brainchildren are born on the web every day. You don’t even need a nest egg to make money putting big ideas to work. What you do need: lots of free time, some computer knowledge, a credit card (yes, you will have to make a few low-cost purchases), a network of supporters with varied skills, a problem-solving nature and a can-do attitude.
If you’re already on your way to becoming an online success, great! No matter what stage your business is in, here are 10 no-cost or low-cost resources to help your profits soar.
1. An Earthlink Web Domain. What’s an online business without a website? There are tons of low-cost domains out there, but I use Earthlink to run my own business and I’m happy with it, so that’s the one I’m featuring here. For a low monthly fee, Earthlink offers a fantastic, all-inclusive web-hosting package. What you get: your own domain name, website-building software that’s easy to learn, up to 30 mailboxes, and tons of enhancements including visitor counters, form scripts, file uploading and a large selection of background designs. Plus, Earthlink gives you tons of free hints, resources, tutorials and advice on how to promote your business online.
2. Microsoft Outlook. I can’t fathom how anyone would manage their company email without this program. It’s super-fast, offers plenty of storage space and can handle large graphic files. Open multiple email windows and copy the contents of one into the other! Sort your emails by field and deposit them into separate folders that you create and label for optimum organization. View the contents of each email without having to open each one. Block unwanted emails from entering your Inbox, or set your auto-reply for when you’re away. Managing your contact addresses is a snap – and so is creating group lists for easy bulk-mailing! Can you tell I’m enamored with this program? If you bought your computer in the last five years, Outlook probably came with your Windows package… so if you haven’t clicked on the program yet, do it NOW!
3. Craigslist.org. I don’t know who Craig is, but God bless him for providing a F-R-E-E classified advertising forum for the world’s internet users. Craigslist is the secret to my success and it can be yours, too. Post information about your business services to major cities around the globe… for no money at all! Find people who have the skills you need to build your online presence. Buy and sell anything. Broadcast your name and contact info, or be anonymous if you’re the shy type! I can’t tell you how many cool opportunities I’ve found through Craigslist. Don’t waste another minute – post an ad today.
4. Ezinearticles.com. Want to establish your credibility on the internet and advertise your website in the process? Ezinearticles.com offers a free article posting forum where you can showcase your skills and ideas. Write the articles yourself, or pay a writer to write them for you. Either way, you get the chance to present your professional know-how as well as read articles written by other web experts. It’s a great way to swap information, promote your site, and make a name for yourself!
5. Angel Writer. For those who just bought Windows XP and discovered they have to now pay a couple of extra hundred bucks just to get a basic Word Processing program, here’s some good news. You don’t have to pay a dime for word processing software. Angel Writer has just about all the features that Word does, except for spellcheck and the word counter (you can easily find those on the internet if you do a little research). Save your work in the .doc, .txt and .rvf formats so that others can receive your work on email and download it into Word with no problem. Angel Writer is quick to download and simple to use. I’m working in it right now!
6. PDF 995 or Cute PDF. Why spend your hard-earned money on an expensive pdf converter when you can download one from the internet for free? Face it, anyone who runs their own shop needs a pdf converter- so you can send people creative presentations and not have to worry about them ripping you off; so you can publish e-books and upload them to your website for easy viewing (or purchasing!); so you can check out other people’s stuff!
7. Picturequest.com. Think you don’t have the money to feature snazzy photos in your web materials? Think again! There’s a fantastic image library right at your fingertips! Picturequest.com offers royalty-free photos that you can use on your website, in your advertising, wherever! Or, if you’re the serious designer looking to purchase high-quality professional photography, Picturequest’s low-cost package entitles you to thousands more images. Can you picture it?
8. Ad Aware. Are you aware of the reason why your computer seems so sluggish after you’ve been surfing the web all day? It’s because when you click on some websites, they automatically download tracking programs and malware onto your hard drive so they can monitor your web activity, and then bombard you with spam and popups. What a sleazy way to do business! The good news is, Ad Aware tracks these computer leeches and wipes them clean off your hard drive. My friend Lisa told me about this program last year when my computer was having some problems, and I’m happy to report that my baby is now running at peak performance. Thanks, Lisa!
9. The Ryze Business Network. Remember how we talked about people connections on the internet? Ryze is where you’ll find aspiring businesspeople from all over the world who are waiting to swap services, exchange ideas, and royally hook you up. You’ll meet people from every skill set, who are just as eager as you are to make things happen- and who are more than happy to share what they know. Just because you run your own company does not mean you’re alone! The Ryze network can bring trusted business associates, trusted friends and helpful advisors. Join today, and start networking for your success!
10. Promotionworld.com. Want to find out about even more free stuff, plus find big bargains on software, information, marketing, and much more? Go to Promotionworld! Everything you need to run your own business is just a click away. Read the articles, get informed… explore hundreds of links… and then get yourself noticed on the web!
I could go on for days about all the fantastic ways I’ve learned how to gain business exposure on the internet for little to no money. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you! Each day brings a new discovery, so stop by my website, Wordfeeder.com, for the latest and greatest internet marketing lessons. All the best for your business!
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.
Dina Giolitto is a New-Jersey based Copywriting Consultant with nine years’ industry experience. Her current focus is web content and web marketing for a multitude of products and services although the bulk of her experience lies in retail for big-name companies like Toys”R”Us. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for rates and samples.