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Starting an Internet Business: Tips, Tricks, and Sound Advice

Do you want to work from home in your pajamas? What if you were able to take your small child to story time at the library on Friday mornings followed by breakfast out and still make it home for an early afternoon business call? Would your life be easier if you were able to work into the late night when you are at your most productive and get up later because you are just not a morning person?

Starting an Internet business can be the pathway towards more freedom, the ability to make more of your own decisions, and a more enjoyable life overall. It’s not as easy as the late night infomercials and other scams may lead you to thing, but with the right know-how it is very attainable.

The best advice I can give is to stay away from anything that sounds too easy. There are going to be numerous get rich quick schemes out there that will pop up on the Internet and television. They are going to want your money and unfortunately lots of people give it to them. The only people making money from these are the ones collecting it from the naive people who give it to them. Avoid multilevel marketing or pyramid schemes. The people at the top of the pyramid are making money, but the ones who come in later at the bottom are hard pressed to make much of anything.

Instead, think about what you like to do and what you do well. What are you qualified to do? Can you provide a product that people would buy or a service that people would find useful? Is it marketable? If yes, then you’re on your way to having an Internet business. Figuring out what kind of Internet business you want to start is a big part of the process.

Now that you know what product or service you are going to sell, it’s time to think about all of the surrounding details.
-How much are you going to charge for your product or service?
-Are you going to focus on selling locally via the Internet or do you want to sell all around the world? It’s very feasible sell to either market (or both) when you have an Internet business.
-How will your business operate? Will it just be you or is this going to be a family business? Do you want to have a business partner?
-What kind of guarantee / quality assurance policies do you intend to implement in regards to your business?
-What forms of payment will you accept?
-What are your payment policies? And, one of the most important questions, how do you intend to bring in website traffic and paying customers?

There aren’t any right or wrong answers to these questions; they are just designed to get you thinking about some of the vitally important issues with Internet business.

If you are going to start an Internet business, you absolutely must have a website. You cannot have an Internet business without one. If you have a ton of start up cash lying around, then by all means hire someone to create a website for you.

If you really don’t have a clue when it comes to computer stuff, try placing the job on a website like Elance.com, where freelancers can bid on work and you can choose the person who is the best fit for the job at a good price.

If you have some computer know how, but you’re not a certifiable computer geek, think about building your own website through Homestead.com. Homestead offers easy to use Site Builder software and has many templates available (or you can start from scratch). If you are a computer geek, then just ignore this paragraph and build your own website through one of the many programs available like Dreamweaver.

Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean that people are going to be able to find it. There are likely hundreds of thousands of businesses out there on the Internet like yours who are all vying for the first page of Google for the keywords associated with your business. And they don’t get there on luck alone, nor does the caliber of their business have anything to do with it.

The websites that are on the first page or two of the search engines have implemented SEO (search engine optimization) with their website. If you are going to spend money starting your Internet business, this is the best place to spend it. Hire an SEO professional! These people know how to get you found by the search engines and all the tricks involved in doing so. The right amount of search engine optimization can make or break your Internet business. If you are at the front page of the search engines, then people will be able to fine your website and many of these people will turn into customers.

You can hire an SEO professional to do a multitude of different things including keyword research, writing all of your website content, tweaking existing website content, and external linking among many other things. Do make sure that you hire an SEO expert who practices organic search engine optimization (there are many people out there who practice “black hat SEO” and you should stay away from them).

Good luck in getting started with your Internet business!

Erica Shelton is the owner of EGS Internet Solutions, based in Round Rock, TX. She specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Consultation services. Erica can be reached at ericashelton@egsinternetsolutions.com or (512)850-7695. Visit her website at www.egsinternetsolutions.com. Erica is also the co-owner of Guit Strips Guitar Straps.