This is one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to get started in an online business. Affiliate marketing requires very little technical expertise to get started. You can realistically get started without having a website. This model also requires the smallest investment.
Physical Product Sales
Selling physical products online is considerably more involved. It can be profitable, but requires a large up front investment and a significant amount of time to run. I am including selling on auction sites in this category.
You can market virtually any service online, but services that don’t have to be delivered locally are best suited to this model. If you are a web designer, graphic designer, writer, photo editor, software developer or something of that nature you can sell your services online either through your own website or through a freelance site such as oDesk.com or Elance.com.
Selling services can be a fairly quick and inexpensive way to generate income online. The downside is that you are trading time for money and your income is restricted to the number of hours you work.
If you have expertise in some area you can create your own product to market online. It could be an information product, photographic art, software or any other product that can be delivered online. The investment and set up time can vary greatly using this model.
The subscription based model generally involves charging a fee in exchange for access to information, a web based application or entertainment. The setup time for this model can be extensive, but the residual income can be significant.
This model can be employed with a relatively low start up cost, but you have to be patient to see results. It takes time to generate a regular flow of traffic large enough to see any real income from advertising revenue.
This kind of business can be set up easily using ad server platforms like Google AdSense, Kontera or Chikita Mini Malls. These are known as contextual ad servers and will place ads on your website that are related to the content of the site. It is very easy to set up, but requires a very large amount of traffic to generate any significant revenue.
The alternative is to sell ad space directly or through an advertising broker. You can rent out the space on your website for a monthly fee or on a pay per click or pay per impression basis. This method takes longer to set up and requires more ongoing maintenance, but can be more profitable.
Network Marketing, MLM and Direct Sales
These business models, while different, are related enough and run in such a similar fashion that I just combined them into one model. The starts up costs vary widely as does the profitability of this model. Usually the main goal of each of these models is the same: lead generation and communication. Most of the good companies provide the websites and product fulfillment freeing up the business owner to focus on marketing.
To learn more about home based businesses and, especially, online business, visit my website. The link is located below.