Guest Post by: Jordan Whelan
We are all constantly inundated with “Work from Home” ads on all corners of the Internet. Actors hold fake cheques with promises of the key to the easy life all from the comfort of your PJs. If you are paying attention, these stories are way too good to be true. That being said, the birth of the “micro business” is very much a reality.
Several years ago, an author named Tim Ferris release a book called “The Four Hour Work Week”. He had achieved a great deal of success running a series of online businesses that work under a business model called “drop shipping”. Drop shipping is a business model that is very common with the growth of e-commerce today. There is a very high likelihood you have purchased a product from a business that utilizes this method.
Let’s say for instance you want to sell Burton snowboards. Instead of you purchasing the snowboards and keeping inventory somewhere, you would contact Burton to set up a drop shipping agreement. You would then setup a site, say coolsnowboards.com and carry Burton snowboards (among other products). Once a product is sold on your site you would essentially forward it to Burton to ship out form their regular facility and you would receive a pre-negotiated margin. This is often between 20-30%.
In this scenario everyone wins! Burton gets a better margin then they are likely getting at retail with no risk. You are required to do minimal work after the website is setup non-inclusive of the digital marketing and SEO efforts.
Burton itself might be a bad example because this is a company that would be highly protective of their brand, but you get the gist.
Now I am happy to report that the whole “work from home” scenario is more feasible than you think, yet more uncommon. Besides the acumen required to setup the online business, the majority of what’s required to run these businesses is skills in digital marketing, more specifically SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
In the past few years, I have established several of these microbusinesses as well as met with several entrepreneurs who have also had success earning a relatively passive income and opening up an additional income stream.
Here are a couple examples:
Fresh 82 – A business friend of mine recently established this drop-ship site, which curates natural health products, which are backed by clinical research. He chose this niche because health products and supplements do a high amount of search volume per month. For his purposes he decided to focus on rankings on things like flax and sunflower seed health benefits. As a note, the top 2 searches on Google do about half of the search volume in clicks. So if you deduce a niche has 50,000 searches a month and low competition, it is one that is ripe for a drop shipping opportunity.
Truck Advertising– Another work from home opportunity exists in the field of lead generation. These are entire businesses that are built on the premise of acting as a conduit to deliver prospective clients. In a competitive niche, like real estate, these opportunities’ are even more lucrative as each lead is worth a substantial amount of money. To operate one of these sorts of businesses, you should develop a full scale SEO strategy that pulls in prospective traffic in niches with search volumes of over 500+ a month.
The new PR firm of the future will be one that includes a high emphasis on SEO. SEO as a practice is the lifeblood of many businesses because it taps into a group of people who are micro-focused on finding something in the moment. This immediacy is why Google will continue to be King for eternity. Learning how to tap into and harness this inbound traffic can be the key to escaping the rat race and living the digital dream.