The Key To Making Money Online? Diversification, Baby!
Most of us are familiar with the term "diversification". Its what the well-respected analysts tell us to do with our investment portfolios to insure against the ups and downs of the market.
But why stop there?
Just as diversification can help balance your investments, it can also help balance your income. And for those of you hoping to make a living online, balance is definitely key.
What it is
When you diversify your portfolio, you put a little into stocks, a little into mutual funds and maybe a little into bonds. You might also break that down even further, by splitting your stock investments between small cap, large cap and a few international picks.
The idea behind spreading out your investments is that if those tech stocks you bought begin to tank, your other investments will hopefully keep your entire portfolio from bottoming out.
The same is true with your cash flow.
If your primary income is generated by a traditional nine-to-five job, that's like investing everything you have in that "sure thing" stock. Companies downsize, people get fired... it just happens. And if it happens to you, you'll be in a bind to find another nine-to-five gig quickly before your savings runs out.
And if you're making your money online, this is even more true.
How it works
When I first started freelancing online, I set up my website and bought a membership with Elance.com . In all honesty, these two simple things have generated a pretty decent income.
But... there are times when business seems too slow. Maybe people don't need any new copywriting done, maybe their cash flow is tight that particular month or maybe, just maybe my competition beat me out on a particular gig. It happens.
*Sigh* what to do... what to do?
Well, I could sit and wait for the money to start rolling in again but I don't think my mortgage company and credit card people would be happy with that solution. I could take on a part-time job to fill in the gaps but then what happens when the gigs start rolling in again?
The solution is diversification and here's how it works:
In addition to my freelance writing biz, I also have a couple of different blogs that I own, each utilizing a number of different advertising strategies from Adsense to affiliate programs to selling space directly to advertisers.
I've also written a couple of e-books (with more on the way) that I sell through e-junkie for a mere $5 bucks per month. The Working Girls Guide to Financial Freedom sells for $14.95 and the Casting Some Link Bait e-book is just $8 bucks. Not a huge profit by any means but multiply those amounts by even 100 buyers and you can quickly see the point of my efforts.
Can I stop there?
Not hardly. I've also recently set up a Cafe Press shop . Granted I've only got four products featuring two designs but hey... its a start and as I continue to add inventory and promote the shop, who knows?
I also write for About.com which is a regular paying gig, based on page views. So, even if my freelance clients aren't buying up new services, my About money is still coming in.
Other ideas for diversification?
Do you like to build birdhouses or make soaps or something similarly craftsy? You could set up an eBay store and sell your wares.
Don't have your own creations to sell? How about dropshipping items for other companies? New Age Reseller has a great guide that includes hundreds of new age companies looking for people to dropship their products. And if you're not into candles, incense and yoga videos, just do a search for dropshipping in your favorite search engine. There's plenty out there to choose from.
Take affiliate programs for some of the bigger companies one step further and create a mini-site devoted strictly to promoting their product. Clickinsure has a good one as does Net Zero , The Company Corporation, DentalPlans.com and US Search.
Like to write? In addition to the ideas mentioned above, you can also get paid to write reviews. Sites like ReviewMe , PayPerPost and Blogitive will pay you a set price to review products and services on your blog. That means extra content for your site plus a little extra cash for your efforts.
And let's not forget about donations. Yes, donations. Create really good content and people don't mind paying you for your time. PayPal has a really easy donation button that you can implement on your blog, making receiving those donations a snap.
Enjoy giving your opinion? Then turn that into some green by taking surveys. Paul Michael has a great article on what to look for when searching for reputable survey companies.
The point is that there is more than one way to generate an online income so why limit yourself to just one? And if you are still relying on a nine-to-five to pay your bills? Well, there's no reason you can't implement some of these ideas too. Who knows? You might just create a new source of income that allows you to create your own reality.