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Demystifying money-making on the Internet

Published:Sunday | January 3, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Time magazine's Person of the 20th Century, the Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, is attributed to the pithy saying: "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Nowhere is this need to simplify things more evident than where making money on the Internet is concerned.

Perhaps you're an 'Internet marketing' neophyte. Conversely, you may be a seasoned online income-earner. Either way, you'll find this column enlightening and valuable. You'll learn a simple framework for understanding and taking advantage of the infinite money-making opportunities on the internet.

Okay, let's dive in at the deep end of complexity. I just Googled the phrase 'make money on the Internet.' The search yielded top-five results showing from 24 to 40 ways of making money online. That's a lot of discrete alternatives.

The options included: website building, B2B marketing, Google Adsense, Amazon associates, Ebay, Amazon, eLance, Etsy, iTunes, blogging, and social media. Whew!

This shortlist is enough to get your head spinning. How on earth can you go about making money using these methods?

You were promised it would all be made simple, right? So, here goes.

Making money online isn't all that different from making money offline, except for the 'Internet' part, of course. Making money is making money, regardless of the industry, media or technology involved. There are basically two models for making money: selling products or services. Let's call these the service model and the product model.

The product model can be considered in two categories of products sold online. The first includes products you create. Let's call these personal products. The other category includes products other people make that you sell as an affiliate. Let's call these affiliate products.

So, the countless ways of making money on the Internet can be simplified into three: service model, affiliate product model and the personal product model. That's it. What the internet provides is the means to reach a global market, quicker, cheaper and easier. So, there, you have it.

Using the service model, simply decide on a service you can offer. Learn how to market and deliver it on the Internet. For example, you can offer web design, article writing, piano tutoring or administrative assistant services. That's how you'd make money on a site such as fiverr.com and eLance.com, for instance.

Using the personal product model, you can create a digital product such as an ebook or physical product such as a handbag or Jamaican sauce and sell it online. Sites such as amazon.com, etsy.com or ebay.com facilitate this kind of marketing.

You can be an affiliate seller for an in-demand product on sites such as affiliate.com, ebay.com, Amazon associates or clickbank.com. Find a hot seller such as a weight-loss product, for instance. You can then market this product to people who visit your website, blog, or even through emails.

Have you been scared, confused or overwhelmed by the plethora of options for making money on the internet? This big picture overview should have provided enlightening clarity in this fertile money-making landscape of the future.

n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. glenfordsmith@yahoo.com