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Poverty to Riches: Myth or
You CAN start with
empty pockets and piles of bills and build
a steady income, even wealth, via the internet. It's a long,
hard road though, so it's best to prepare and take along a
First, a comparison to building an offline, bricks-and-mortar
business, just for perspective. If you're young, you might
educate yourself in your field, go to work for someone else,
and build your experience, reputation and equity. Then you
could take out a business start-up loan, rent a storefront,
buy all the necessary equipment, tools, furniture and
merchandise, buy advertising -- and wait years to work your
way out of debt and make a profit.
If you aren't young, have a family and all the expenses and
debts that go with that, and are not making enough money
working for someone else to get ahead, you don't have the
same options. Night school, years of part-time education and
training, with your creditors hounding you every step of the
So you turn on your computer and wonder...wish...that one of
those promises of quick riches could be true for you. I
wouldn't go there if I were you.
Here are some first steps to getting started as an internet
1. Honest self-assessment: There are certain qualities
necessary to being self-employed. If you can honestly say
that you are self-disciplined, self-motivated, determined,
self-confident, patient, persevering and maybe even a bit
stubborn, you have what it takes.
2. Research: You need to spend some time researching the
company, the products, and the people already working the
business. Is the company solid and dependable, are the
company executives accessible and responsive, are the
products of high desirability and quality, and maybe most
importantly, is there experienced, successful, and friendly
3. Support: Surround yourself with cheerleaders, mentors,
knowledge, and inspiration, both on- and offline. Your family,
the company, and others who have succeeded where you are
treading for the first time, should all be available to you.
You should never feel that you're all alone.
4. Infrastructure: Decide what you need: computer, printer,
fax, phone; whatever your chosen business requires. Create an
office space that suits your lifestyle and work needs. A corner
of the living room can function well if you can work while the
kids are at school or if their noise doesn't bother you, but
evening work may require a separate room. Don't put your office
in the bedroom if you work evenings and your spouse goes to bed
early. You need your family's support, not their animosity!
5. Realism: It's tempting to try a business that makes
promises it can't keep. Many tell you that one person or a
few make thousands of dollars a week and so can you. None of
them will point out that maybe you will be one of thousands
who quit before they make a cent. "Put money in your pocket
today!" Yes, but will any go in tomorrow?
Accept the fact that any business worth its salt can take
time. Maybe you can begin making money in a couple months, or
maybe a year. You have to be able to maintain life as you
know it for however long it takes. Understand that it won't be a
steady climb to the top from where you are today; the path will
go up and down.
6. Selling someone else's product or your own: Obviously, the
big money is in selling your own product. Selling for another
company is a great way to get your feet wet in internet commerce,
however. At first you may feel like you're floundering in an
unfathomable sea of information, but at some point will come the
knowledge that you're "getting it." Working for a good company
will leave you knowing that you have what it takes to do it on
your own, if you choose.
7. Business plan: This keeps you focused, helps you develop
goals, strategies and work plans; and aids in evaluating your
results. It can include contingency plans, and is never written
in stone. As you learn and your business develops, the plan will
Now that you've got the road map...take that first step! Your
future begins today!
About the Author:
Beach is a home entrepreneur in Nova Scotia.