If you are looking to change the direction of your life, one possibility is to earn an income online. I have previously looked at 11 Ways to Make Money from Your Blog. You may not like to think of yourself as a digital marketer, but it may provide a way for you to earn an income online and move you towards the life you truly desire.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to look at various ways you can act as a digital marketer. I will initially assume you have little knowledge in how to build an online business and so will give a primer on what you can do to get started. If you feel daunted by this, you may be surprised by how easy it really is.
I hope to look at topics relating to blogging, list building, freelancing, website development (for a non-coder) and social media marketing.
I will assume that my readers don’t have a huge budget. In fact, you may have very little to spare as you start your new online journey. I didn’t when I began my online journey back in 2014 and had to slowly earn money and then reinvest some of it to make my life easier. I started with virtually nothing, built up my skills, and gradually improved my tools to make my life easier.
Don’t Give Up Your Day Job Before You Start
One word of warning. Earning money as a digital marketer can take time. If possible, don’t rush into trying to do this full time. Take time to build your skills, and learn from your mistakes. Some things will work for you; others will not be successful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an option. I lost my job in late 2012 and couldn’t easily find another. I was on a small benefit of less than $300 per week. That can really be tough! I had to go through this process without the safety cushion of a job beneath me. I don’t recommend that unless you are in the same position I found myself in.
One important thing I learned from a young online entrepreneur called Ryan Robinson was the importance of validating your online business ideas before you commit yourself to them. There is little point being a digital marketer of something that nobody wants to buy. Ryan regularly provides sound and useful advice on how to start a (real) side business.
Build Up Yourself as an Online Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer Step By Step
Like virtually everything in life, you can only taste success if you follow the necessary steps. It is an urban myth that you can get rich quickly online. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get rich online. You just need to do things properly … step by step.
If you try to do everything at once, you will quickly burn out. There is just too much you have to do. And you usually won’t see quick results. Most people fail online because they give up and become discouraged, rather than because they had a bad idea.
You need at aim to achieve one thing at a time. You can work towards achieving your next goal; while at the same time build the foundations for achieving goals farther down the track.
Remember That an Online Marketer is Usually an Online Businessperson
It is easy to forget when you set yourself up as an online marketer that you are actually creating a small business. That means that you will have to deal with all of the nitty gritty details of business – recordkeeping, tax, employment (if you decide to expand), sales, and of course your own marketing.
Much of this may be foreign to you. You have two options here. You can either read up as much as you can about these skills, upskilling yourself. Alternatively, you can outsource the tasks with which you don’t feel comfortable.
Just be aware that there will be some legal requirements, depending on where you live. As a New Zealander, I had fewer obligations than many other countries. I didn’t even have to register my business as such. I do have to keep financial records and enter tax information on out IRD website. Luckily, my first degree was in Accounting, so I did not find that too difficult. If you’re not into this, however, you should probably approach an accountant for some advice on how he or she can help you.
Spend Time Considering a Suitable Niche for Your Online Business
If you want to become successful online, you need to become a specialist in some niche. Ideally, you want to operate in a reasonably popular niche. I made a mistake at the beginning of my online career. I set up a website Doctor Who Products, focusing on the books, audios, souvenirs, and other merchandise relating to British t.v. show Doctor Who. The problem I found was that despite Doctor Who being a popular television show (now, like me, in its 55th year) it was really far too narrow a niche for me to find enough support. I may return one day, though, purely as a hobby, though.
You are going to want to pick a general topic that you feel you know enough to write about – or produce videos or audios. You have to feel comfortable working in the niche – the last thing you want is for you to feel that you are doing it because you are obligated, just like a normal 9 to 5 job.
It makes sense to go after a broad niche, as that will give you more options later to go deep into particular aspects of it.
Make certain that you pick a niche that has a large online following. There may be many people affected by retirement homes, for instance, but few such people would spend their time online.
Ideally, you want to pick a niche that appeals to many working people, who have the income to buy whatever you end up selling.
You do need to pick something that you know something about. While you could theoretically educate yourself about anything, that takes time. You would have to teach yourself about your niche before you could set up your online business.
Don’t Rush Into Your First Idea
I suggest you come up with five or ten ideas for your niche. Think carefully about the level of interest in that niche, and your ability to deliver something to others interested in the topic, and rank your potential niches. Spend time analyzing each idea. If you have the chance, talk about your thoughts with a friend, family member, support group, or mentor.
You might make a mistake at the start. I did. However, if you spend sufficient time investigating ideas first, it will make it easier for you later, and lessen the likelihood that you will have to change direction down the track.
It may seem a little crass to use the “m” word. But life as a digital marketer can be very rewarding, and fun.