Why is Affiliate Marketing Popular with Home Based Business Entrepreneurs?

The great strides made in the development of the Internet in the recent past has enabled information to be transmitted thousands of miles away with such ease and clarity that time and space are hardly of any consequence to the Internet Marketer today.

Marketing Programs have literally taken over the Internet and riding high, is Affiliate Marketing.

According to the Computer Industry Almanac “The world-wide Internet population for 2004 was 934 million and the projection for 2006 is 1.21 billion.”

Sean Michael Kerner in an article in Click Z News quoting a spokesman for eBay states “According to eBay their largest affiliate earned over $1.3 million dollars in January commission, the largest amount yet in their affiliate program’s history. Their top 25 affiliates averaged over $100,000 per month each and the top 100 affiliates earn almost $25,000 each per month.”

With this sort of statistics around, is it any surprise that thousands of entrepreneurs especially those Home Based Business entrepreneurs with very small marketing budgets are jumping on to the Affiliate Marketing band-wagon!

Given below are some of the Popular reasons for this desire and urge to do Affiliate Marketing:

1. Cost Factor:

Most Entrepreneurs refrain from starting a brick and mortar business or for that matter a Home Based Business (non internet) because of the investment required. In Affiliate Marketing the set-up cost is negligible with most programs being free to join and the merchant even providing you with the tools, tips and websites.

2. Pick and Choose Products:

With dozens of Affiliate Program providers and thousands of merchants having their own affiliate programs, there are several thousands of products to choose from. You name it they have it! In fact there are even Fortune 500 companies to choose from. The idea is to pick and choose your niche products and promote them.

3. No need for an Inventory.

The hassle of purchasing, stocking of items and storing of finished items (in a production unit) and dispatching them are not there. There is no need to maintain an inventory. It is all handled by the merchant.

4. No need for Employees.

In any business the wages of the employees is one of the major expenditures to contend with. Here the problem does not arise since the marketer himself will operate his home business and probably get the assistance of a family member to help him.

5. Necessity for Customer Service does not arise.

Customer service plays a major role in the success or failure of a business. The advantage here is that there is no direct dealing with the customers. The website will automatically direct the customers to the merchants.

6. Two Tier Affiliate Marketing:

An attractive feature of certain affiliate programs is that they have a Two tier system, whereby affiliates can sign up as sub-affiliates below them. When the sub-affiliate earns a commission, the affiliate above him too earns a commission.

7. Income without a limit.

In a paid job the salary structure has a vice-like grip over your monthly income. Here the possibilities are limitless. Though it is not every marketer who earns a big income, the fact remains that avenues are all there for the enterprising marketer to make it to the big time.

8. Global Market Place.

You no longer need to restrict your market to your home town or country. With your well chosen niche product you can sit in the comfort of your home and target the Global Market.

9. Low Risk Factor.

The risk factor in Affiliate Marketing is so small that it has become one of the major attractions for many Home Based Business entrepreneurs especially for those with low marketing budgets.

10. Business works Right Round the Clock.

One major asset of Internet marketing is that your Website, or in other words, your Home Based Business never sleeps. It works right round the clock (24/7) making money from home for you.

Having indicated the above reasons for the popularity of Affiliate Marketing, it has to be mentioned that statistics indicate that only 5% of the marketers do make big money. It is presumed that there are of course several thousands of marketers who make some money, thus giving them an additional income.

As long as the top marketers in the 5% slab, continue to make their millions and the latter continue to make reasonable amounts of money and have the urge to emulate the top marketers, Affiliate Marketing will continue to draw the attention and be popular with Home Based Business Entrepreneurs.

Why Small Business Entrepreneurs Need a Mentor

A mentor is a must for the success of your small business. Do you have one as yet? A mentor is a person who has more entrepreneurial business experience that you and he or she is someone you learn to trust over a period of time.

However, you might be wondering why a small business mentor is important for the development of your business. After all, you have friends and family you trust and whose opinions you respect. The reason is that a mentor can guide and nudge you towards the right business direction.

If you are an entrepreneur and dream of running a highly successful business, you should go out and find a mentor immediately. It is definitely not easy to find a good mentor but they are out there waiting for a mentee who is willing to work hard to build a successful business. When I found my mentor (Charlie Schaivo), it made a world of difference to the way I approach my dental practice.

It made a huge difference to my success. He instilled confidence in me and taught me without even me knowing about it. So, when you find your mentor, you too will start having the successes that you have always wanted for your business.

When you want a small business mentor, you should look for a few characteristics in him or her. It is important that you and your mentor share the same values; you should have a good rapport with your mentor; you should be always willing to listen to him or her even it is something you do not want to hear; your mentor should have goals lined up for you; and he or she should be willing to use their time and energy, assuming that you do not waste their time and yours.

The advantages of having a small business mentor is that he or she has already achieved what you want to; your mentor provides you this experience for free; and he or she expands your network by putting you in touch with other experienced people. All these advantages result in you having a highly successful business. There is absolutely no doubt that a mentor is essential for all small business entrepreneurs.

Business Plan Development – Free Government Resources to Aid in Business Planning

In your quest to develop your business plan you will want to obtain information regarding industry analysis, legal and regulatory statutes, manufacturing, training and counseling, and maybe corporate financials and international information and data. This is just a few of the areas you can research through our government’s online resources. Though they are free and free is often synonymous with undervalued they are indeed not free. Your tax dollars pay for them and the information is rich and vast. These government resources are put there to help you succeed so there is no better place to start your research than with the resources you pay for. The U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, The State Department, FedStats, Export.gov, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission all have information that you will find helpful. I will talk a little about each one, what they do, and how you can use them.

The first place you may want to start with your investigation on industry analysis is through The Department of Commerce. The DoC is comprised of twelve separate agencies responsible for many things regarding business from weather forecasts to patent protection. Their mission statement states exactly what they do and there is no better way to sum it up, “The DoC touches the daily lives of the American people in many ways, with a wide range of responsibilities in the areas of trade, economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and business development, environmental stewardship, and statistical research and analysis.” There is much to the DoC and they also are a portal to several other government agencies and partners that you may find useful.

The U.S. Census Bureau, a derivative of the DoC, is a great resource for industry analysis and they are arguably the most important branch of the DoC for demographic information ranging from population breakdown, income, education levels, and housing to name just a few which you can find in the Peoples and Households section of their website. The Census Bureau also collects massive amounts of data on economic activity. You may need to search the industry code for the particular type of business you’re in or looking for, by searching its NAICS code. You can break information down from a national level and/or by zip code for information on total number of businesses as well as types and average sales in their business and industry section. They also have information on foreign trade and so much more. The fact of the matter is that there is so much data that the U.S. Census Bureau has accumulated it may seem daunting. It is in fact a huge database with so many useful links that I have to write three paragraphs about all the different links worth noting. You should spend some time navigating around, taking notes, and leaving yourself a trail of breadcrumbs one way or another so that you can remember just how you got from place to place.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s website is vast, as I previously stated, and there are a number of portals you should know a little about and even bookmark. Censtats is a database that includes county and zip business pattern information, international trade data, demographic and economic data for states and counties, Census Tract Street Locator, and some other databases on top of those. American FactFinder has information regarding demographic information about people that can be broken down in many ways to suit your needs. QuickFacts provides information on people, business, and geography which can be targeted on a national, state, and/or county level. If you need information on industry and manufacturing you can skim through the Current Industrial Report section. There contains vast amounts of information which may satisfy your needs for market analysis, forecasting, and decision-making.

The next noteworthy online resource at your disposal is the SBA or Small Business Administration. If you need information on federal and/or state legal and regulatory information the SBA has important and detailed information on these two important issues. The SBA also funds and supports business’s and you can find and apply for government grants, contracts, as well as sign up to receive training and counseling from SCORE. Score are a group of retired executives that volunteer their time to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with development of their business plans and give advice to current businesses management dilemmas and questions and other assistance. If you have never spoken with a SCORE representative you should. They have a plethora of experience and expertise on a variety of subjects and industries. The SBA’s website also offers you a place to register your business, find business licenses, and permits. Ultimately the SBA is another great government resource that is a must-add to your toolbox.

If you’re interested or need to get your hands on international data and statistics our government provides information through U.S. Census Bureau, The State Department, and Export.gov. The Census Bureau’s contains an international database (IDB) that provides rankings by population size as well as global trends and demographic data. The State Department’s website has background information that includes information on each country’s economy and a great deal more all in alphabetical order by country. You can find out information on that country’s history, people, government, relations, travel, and more. Export.gov’s slogan is helping U.S. companies succeed globally by combining and providing the resources from across the U.S. government to assist American businesses in planning their international sale’s strategy. They have in-depth data about markets and industries on a global scale.

If you need information on corporations The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Edgar Database provides information regarding corporation’s financial information as well as their operations. There is a lot more to the Edgar Database. They also have a user guide that will provide you a more detailed analysis of who they are and what all they can do for you.

The last government resource that is worth mentioning is Fedstats. FedStats is a government sponsored website that has vast quantities of data collected by over 100 different agencies. You can search by topic compiled in a nice, user-friendly A-Z format or you can search the agencies in which they receive their data from, also in an alphabetical format. If you’re interested in state-by-state statistical data you might try clicking through FedStat’s MapStats section which profiles states, counties, cities, congressional districts, and even federal judicial districts. Besides the particular places I have pointed out there is also information on international comparisons, statistics from the individual agencies, press releases, and more.

I have written a similar article on my blog that has the full list of links to many of the areas that I have spoken of in this article if you would like to check it out. I hope that I have provided you valuable resources that will aid you in your pursuit to complete your business plan. Good luck and best wishes for your success!

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Home Based Business Entrepreneur?

Almost everyone thinks at one time or another about running their own business! Perhaps we see ourselves as the next Richard Branson or Donald Trump! Being an entrepreneur can be very appealing but not everyone is cut out to become one. This article asks the question: do you have what it takes to run your own successful online business?

One of the great things about the internet is that you start a business with very limited funds. For under $50 you can get a business set up and running – this provides a quick and safe way to see if you have the necessary skills to become a successful online entrepreneur. The beauty of this approach is that it can be started part-time around your regular work and family commitments.

Running an online business is not really about the product or service you provide. Far more important to your eventual success or not, are the attitudes and characteristics you bring to your business. Most business owners are taught to do a SWOT analysis on their business. The initials stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Unfortunately, very few owners actually do the same analysis on themselves! This can be a very enlightening process!

The first thing I recommend to all my clients is that they honestly evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. Are they disciplined enough to get up early and work late? Do they see tasks through to completion? Are they prepared to take responsibility for their own success?

These are all important questions to ask before you spend any money! You must know how to plan, organize, and control every aspect of your new business. It is hard work and the buck always stops with you!

Organizing your time is a difficult task but if you want to run a successful home-based business, you must be able to do it. That may mean negotiating with children and partners, as well as keeping up with your regular commitments. You should also be able to work alone because now you’re the boss and all business decisions will be made by you! Kind of scary isn’t it?

You must also learn to be bigger than the problems you encounter. Even with an online business, you will have to deal with certain business problems and risks. You can’t eliminate such risks because they go hand in hand with running any business, whether online or offline. You must develop the resilience to overcome any challenges that you meet on route.

Running your own business will still mean that you will have to deal with all sorts of different kinds of people. You will encounter demanding customers, moody vendors, and some very sharp business practices that will happily drain your credit card if you allow them! To become a successful home-based business entrepreneur, you should know how to deal with all these situations.

Another ability you should possess is being able to make quick and accurate decisions. There is something called “the paralysis of analysis”, where we are so concerned about the possible consequences of our actions that we freeze the decision altogether. It is actually nearly impossible to know the full outcome of any decision we make – there are simply too many unknown variables. I have always followed my intuition and adopted the Nike philosophy – Just Do It! The more decisions you make the better you will get at them!

To be an effective online business entrepreneur, you must have lots of energy and superior work ethic. Owning an online business may mean working longs hours, usually late at night when the family has settled down, and on the weekends too. All of these sacrifices become worthwhile when the profits start rolling in!

Many of the risks we have spoken about can be reduced by choosing your home-based business carefully. There is a great deal of hype on the internet that may lead you to believe that money will come quickly and easily and without too much effort! These “instant wealth” opportunities should be avoided like the plague! Choose a reputable business with a proven track record and follow the system they teach.

Once you understand the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, then you can better assess if you have what it takes to become successful in an online business. Working at home with your own home-based online business requires dedication and hard work, but it can be done! Thousands of people just like you and I earn their living this way every day. You could be one of the success stories too!

Copyright (c) 2009 Steve Cowley