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Can Money Actually Be Made On The Internet

Most of us who are struggling through these tough economic times wonder, "Can money actually be made on the internet"? For the past five years I've been on Social Security Disability and have tried a variety of things trying to make a little money to subsidize my government check. I've done the Ebay thing which worked for a while, but towards the end the fees began to eat my lunch when the material I was selling came to a standstill. I like most people who look at Ebay start by selling those items we no longer have a use for and then we start looking at the garage sales to rebuild our products, because like they say one man's trash is another man's treasure" and I like most would travel into those affluent neighborhoods on heavy trash day or go to those garage sales on their last days and offer to haul off what the people had left that didn't sell or purchase items for less than they were asking seeing they wanted to be rid of what was left and would take whatever they could get. I even had sources that I would drop ship from or those multi level marketing programs like Amway or Tupperware that I became a member of and post these products online. But the problem there was everyone on the internet is selling the same products and if you sell them at cost you might make money if you sell enough of it but the fees Ebay charges eventually eat you alive.

Eventually I left Ebay and am in the process of designing my own web store with software that I got from Intuit's Homestead Software line. This allows me to develop my own web store at little cost. Generally you will pay a small hosting fee, and depending if you go for the single web page or the basic web store determines what you pay. Homestead is the designer of EBay's Prostore's brand and the software is similar with a wide variety of template pages, PayPal checkout and the option to do your own credit card processing, the only difference is that you don't have all the additional fees (initial listing fees, store value fees, final value fees), these are what drove me away from Ebay and Prostore's especially when the market slowed down. There are other sites out there like, Addoway, Yahoo stores and numerous others, but for those starting out some of these aren't financially feasible or as a single operator just beginning you might not have the technical suave to develop your site. Then you always have the option of selling on Craigslist, or similar local sites. And if you are doing the MLM thing most have sites that you can directly sell their line of product from at and additional costs per month along with your yearly membership fee.

The problem with the online store is finding consistent and reliable suppliers for what is known as drop shipping. The main thing is finding those products that the customer will buy at a cost that will allow you as the seller some margin of profitability. There are several sites out there that will allow you access without becoming a member but you are limited to just a few products or supply lines at a time. Currently I run two modes. The first being used merchandise that I pickup at thrift stores and garage sales or from friends that don't have the time to place their unwanted items online and don't have the time to do the garage sale gig. These items I'll post for them at a small fee for my service and whatever the cost to post on whatever venue I place them on. Usually these products consist of used books, clothing, children's toys that are in very good shape and records, DVD's or CD's that are in good shape and then there is are those knick- knacks that usually sit on the shelf gathering dust. Then I have several outlets that I buy new merchandise from at wholesale or discounted retail and I place them here with a slight markup. And then I have friends that do the handicrafts as a hobby and like to sell some on occasion, this is fine if you are running a small gift shop or I will place photo's of some of the work they do and take orders for them and present them with the orders for a finder's fee, allowing them a secondary means of income if they so desire or I will partner with them in making the goods and do a 60/40 split upon sale.

The next option is the online survey sites. I'm currently registered with about fifteen sites that either pay by check or debit card and most require you to reach a minimum amount before you can draw your money. Some have questionnaires that don't pay much or allow for an entry in to a sweepstakes or quarterly drawing and then some require you to purchase a product from an associated web link and they give you particle payment or rebate on the product and additional funds for evaluating the product. Then there are those sites that ask general questions about product usage and based upon qualifying criteria and you either get paid a small amount for the questionnaire or they sent you sample products to evaluate and then pay you upon completion of the evaluation.

And finally there are all of those products that you see on the late night infomercials, processing bank card applications or being the go between on some real estate transaction or by buying properties with no money down. The way I look at it is if I can't get the bank to loan me the money for a house of my own, how am I going to get someone to mentor me and let me do the work using their funds without some upfront money that I put up and being on Social Security that is impossible seeing everything around me is going up in cost, yet the government claims that it's not. Yet my congressman can get his pay raise will I'm trying to exist on the little amount that I've put into the system during the time frame that I could work in a manner that allowed me to make that I did. Who would realize that everything that I work around would be detrimental to my health and well being and that corporate America would sell out.

It now looks as if we as American citizens have to take the issue to hand and revert back to what our forefathers had placed in motion when they began working the trades that they worked and begin again with the cottage industries that service our neighbors and friends; and from there move into the virtual marketplace.

By Thomas Boehm - I was born and raised in Houston Texas and have returned to school after a 33 year absence to obtain a degree in Web Design. But we all know that in design communication is a key factor so I am looking at al...  

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