Why an Online Business is the Best Way to Secure Your Retirement
If you’re like most people, then the security of your future retirement is largely dependent on your employer—if you have any kind of retirement fund in the first place. While that is usually the easiest and least involved route for most people to go, and it’s something that you may have defaulted to, you’re probably also realizing more and more that your work benefits may not be enough to carry you into old age.
How many older people have you met who thought that their retirement fund would be enough, but then found themselves coming up dry for one reason or another? Perhaps they didn’t anticipate how much inflation would depreciate their money, or maybe they didn’t expect the stock market to take a plunge at a critical time. They may have even lost their jobs at some point and missed out on future benefits that they were counting on.
Putting away money just isn’t enough. Relying on your job just isn’t enough—not if you want a secure future. Of course, there’s no such thing as 100% safety from financial harm, but you can make sure that the odds are in your favor by starting an online business.
Having your own business is much more secure than a job because you have much more control and don’t have to be subjected to the whims of an employer. That by itself provides you with a lot of benefits like more freedom and a deeper sense of fulfillment; and, when done correctly, an online business can be an excellent source of retirement money for a few reasons:
– Many online business models require less of your time than more traditional businesses. This means that it can run on autopilot, even if you are no longer able to work. Think of it as building a system that makes money for you.
– You can work from anywhere. If your business doesn’t require you to be in a set location, then you can live anywhere. You could even have the freedom to migrate like many retirees do, following the good weather where it goes.
– You choose what you want to give to the world. This is both a blessing and a huge responsibility, but you’ll have much more control over how you creatively express yourself. What field do you want to go into? What do you want to learn? Since you can choose something that you’re genuinely interested in, you can feel a lot more secure that you will stay the course.
Sounds great, right? It certainly can be, and there are thousands of people who are living this dream right now. In fact, it’s not a dream to them—it’s just their everyday life.
Now, starting an “online business” sounds vague and general, as you can do just about anything online these days. Not all business models, online or not, are going to serve you if what you’re looking for is more freedom. Just as with a brick-and-mortar business, you can get stuck in the trap of creating more stress for yourself and letting the business swallow up all of your time. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help avoid this:
What is residual income? Well, it’s essentially a “set it and forget it” income model. You basically do all of the work (or investment) upfront, and then you receive income from that work automatically without having to do much maintenance after the initial set-up. This is also known as passive income. For example, let’s say you’re a writer. If you write a book and put it up for sale on your website where people can pay for it and download it automatically, after the initial set-up, it costs you hardly anything for someone to buy your book, and you continue to collect money from sales indefinitely.
In much the same way, you can run an online business where order placement and fulfillment requires zero attention from you, so once you set things up, everything flows automatically. There are dozens of basic business models that can be run this way. If you’re new to the game, though, there is one method that I highly recommend:
Lots of people are confused about what “affiliate marketing” means. In fact, many people conflate it with “network marketing,” even though they are totally unrelated (and I don’t recommend that you even think about trying an MLM scheme!).
Rather, affiliate marketing simply works like this: Let’s say Bob owns a company that sells bubble gum. Let’s say Yolanda owns a website that reviews different kinds of bubble gum. Since Yolanda likes Bob’s brand of gum, she decides to become an affiliate of his company. Now every time she recommends his brand on her site and someone buys his gum through her, she gets a predetermined cut of the revenue. The amount of potential customers that she sends Bob’s way would usually be tracked by a special link, and the customers don’t pay anything extra to buy through Yolanda’s link; Bob is the one who takes a cut out of his profits to reward Yolanda.
In essence, that’s it. You probably realize that people have been getting paid for sending “leads” to companies long before the Internet even existed, and it’s a very simple technique.
What makes it so powerful, though, is that using modern technology, much of this can be automated. Since you’re basically getting paid to recommend other people’s services and products instead of your own, there are some key advantages:
– No need to keep any physical inventory.
– No need to ship products.
– No need to even physically touch any of the products you’re recommending to your audience.
– No need to invest a single penny. You make money when your partner does, yet you don’t have to pay any upfront costs like they do. (If you are signing up to be an affiliate and they ask you to pay, it’s a scam! Run away!)
– No need to handle any processing or customer service. It’s your partner’s product or service, so the partner company handles all that. Your only responsibility is to send real customers.
– Everything is usually automated. Once you paste your link on your website, people can buy through it and you can make money indefinitely.
– You can make money recommending things to people that you otherwise would have recommended for free.
If it sounds way too simple, that’s because it is. Setting up an affiliate account with a partner is incredibly easy. In fact, many companies that you already work with as a customer probably have an affiliate program that you can join by simply filling out a form. For example, did you know that Amazon.com has a famous affiliate program? So do many other retailers, even ones that are usually thought of as brick-and-mortar. No matter what niche you decide to go into, there’s probably at least a few companies with an affiliate program.
That’s the easy part, though. The hard part (and the reason why not everyone in the world is doing this) is building an audience that you can turn into potential customers for your partners. You need an audience that is big enough and that trusts you enough, otherwise your earnings will be paltry. This sort of thing takes time, and it’s beyond the scope of this article. However, I will say that…
Your niche, or the industry / sector that you choose to work in is extremely important. This can mean the difference between whether you make money or fail miserably, so choose carefully. You’re going to have to do a lot of investigating and market research before you invest your time in building a site that can house your affiliate links. After all, if you just have a “feeling” that pet rocks are the hot new thing and you want to build a website dedicated to the hobby, but you have no hard numbers that suggest a strong interest in the market, you’re taking nothing more than a shot in the dark.
Naturally, the best way to get started is to look for niches that are both economically viable and that you have a strong passion for. This way, you have an audience that is actually interested in what you’re selling, and you’ll have the emotional fuel to do what it takes to build your business.
So hopefully by now you have a few ideas on how you want to get your first online business started. If you’re still confused and drawing a blank, try investigating a few different passive income business models. Don’t be afraid to give things a try, even if you might fail at first. It’s better that you fail a dozen times now and get it out of your system than finding yourself past retirement age, never having tried even once!