Making Money with Computers

Making Money $$ With Computers

By Dr. Terry Kibiloski

Clipart of a computer monitor with money streaming out of it.

Making money with computers does not mean printing money using a color laser printer, although that could win you free room and board for 20 years as a guest of the federal government. Making money with computers means using the power of the computer to provide a product or service from the comfort of your home or office.

While you will find many Web sites, and hear many radio and TV commercials telling you how you can make money with computers, a general rule to follow is “if you need to invest in the idea of making money, meaning you have to send money up front before you begin, then it is probably not a legitimate, or successful way to make money” except, of course, for the person selling the right, or the idea, to make money. That would be like an employer asking you to pay them before they will hire you. Not a great plan for you to follow. The best thing to do is to follow tried and true business practices that use the Internet to expand your market. A few ideas are listed below:

Affiliate website where you have affiliate advertising on your website and encourage others to buy through your website. The best affiliate service we can recommend is Rakuten Marketing

Architect/Computer-Aided Design for families buying or renovating a home and landlords who own small commercial buildings and are interested in improvements

Business Consulting serving large companies faced with hiring freezes and reengineering.

Business Plan Writing providing services for hopeful entrepreneurs and existing business owners looking to expand.

Computer Consulting/Training providing everything from teaching basic computer programs in your home to helping select the right hardware, software, and accessory packages for growing businesses.

Computer Repair/Maintenance/ Programming for any business that uses a computer but cannot afford to keep information systems (IT) staff on salary.

Data Detective, or high tech programmer, who can think like a hacker to help companies protect their data.

Database Management/Mail List Service providing up-to-date mailing lists to businesses, publishing houses, coupon houses, political campaigns, and new entrepreneurs.

Desktop publishing to provide well-designed brochures, ads, newsletters, business cards, and other marketing items to small businesses who do not have onsite marketers.

eBay selling service to help others sell their items on eBay while you take a small commission

eBay sales / Craig’s List sales where you find sought after items and sell them at a profit online

eCommerce providing specialized items to targeted markets.

Electronic Clipping Service providing the latest information to corporate marketing departments, publications, freelance writers, political campaigns, universities, and public relations firms.

Freelance Writing for publications and businesses.

Graphic Design providing services to ad agencies, public relations firms, and new entrepreneurs.

Home Inventory Cataloging/Organizing for busy, two-income families that have more disposable income than time.

Information Broker/Research Service providing information to medical and legal offices, nonprofit organizations, and individuals desiring information on specific topics.

Inventory Control Service helping small business owners get a better handle on inventory.

Multimedia development for training, business presentations, interactive kiosks, and entertainment products.

Newsletter Publishing for small and medium-size businesses, associations, communities, country clubs, etc.

Personalized Children’s Books for the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles of the 4 million babies born each year.

PowerPoint presentation enhancements to help businesses have great looking presentations.

Referral Service to help consumers find hard-to-find products or services.

Sales/Marketing Service to help small businesses and entrepreneurs compete with larger firms.

Sign Making for local retailers, schools, restaurants, and consumers announcing births or celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions.

Software Design/Custom Software to help businesses meet unique needs.

Utility Bill Auditing to save your clients 50% to 75% on utility charges.

Word Processing to provide typing support for students, businesses, and professional people like doctors, lawyers, and dentists.

It is important to understand that your computer, and the Internet, are simply tools that can help you reach out to more customers. Before choosing a business it is important to find something that you would love to do because you will need passion to keep your business going for the first couple of years, which are usually pretty lean in profits. The key to all successful businesses are good old fashioned hard work and persistence. A few key areas to consider when setting up your business are:

Deciding on your market – many successful small businesses specialize

Determining PC requirements – buy only what you need, or rent time from places like Kinkos

Setting up your office – use your kitchen table until you can afford to buy a desk

Legal issues – lots of info online for your state, county, and city requirements for small businesses

Getting money and maintaining financial control – start small and stay away from business loans

Record keeping and taxes – lots of info online and through the IRS to help you save on taxes

Pricing your services – call competitors and see what they charge then do it better and cheaper

Marketing your services – word of mouth and referrals are the best, and cheapest

Associations – join them, network, let others know you are looking for customers

Online information – research, research, research and find out everything you can about your industry

Publications – read them all online where they are free and full of ideas to help you be successful

Blogs – read them and learn from the successes and failures of others

Many large companies began in someone’s basement or garage, even before the advent of computers. Now, with the power of the personal computer, some good old-fashioned determination, and a little seed money, nearly anyone can find a way to make money with computers.

We recommend you avoid getting a business loan to start making money with computers. When you use your own seed money, however little you may have, you are truly your own boss. Every dollar you invest in yourself only costs you a dollar and not a dollar plus high interest. Plus, every dollar of profit belongs to you and you alone.

Beware when investing your dollars. If you look at business opportunities in magazines and newspapers, they make it sound like anyone with a computer can get rich quick. Radio and TV ads tell us we can make thousands of dollars a month with our computer, working part-time. The fact is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When I get calls offering me such great deals, I always tell the caller I wouldn’t feel right taking such an opportunity away from them. I also remind them that they could make much more money by doing what they’re recommending than by selling me their idea, IF the opportunity is such a great deal. Every legitimate way we have seen to make money with computers takes good old-fashioned hard work and does not make you rich overnight.

As mentioned earlier, the most important thing for you to do before you decide to make money with your computer is to ask yourself what you love to do. I think this is the most important ingredient in making money with computers, or in making money any other way.

Once you make a list of what you love to do, then you can match it with one or more of the many businesses in which you can use your computer to make money. In addition to the businesses we listed earlier in this article, you may wish to consider:

Babysitting referral service

Bill paying service

Billing/invoicing service

Budget/financial planning

Collection service

Computer gifts/novelties

Conducting/analyzing surveys

Developing business spreadsheets

Electronic garage sales

Event and meeting planner

Family history searching

Financial consultant

Fund raising service

Grant writing

Job referral service

Managing stock portfolios

Market research

Medical billing/transcription

Menu/party planning

Nutrition counseling

Renting time on your computer

Resume service

Retirement counseling

Scholarship search service

Specialized employment agency

Sports league statistics

Stock market analysis

Tax assistance

Technical writing

Travel planning

Web site development

The list is endless. Virtually anything that deals with information can be offered from a computer-based business.

In addition to matching your talents to the business opportunity, you need to determine if there is a need for your product or service. Timing is very important. Bulletin board systems (BBS) used to be very hot. When the Internet became hot, BBS operators starved if they were not also Internet Services Providers. Keep in touch with what people are buying.

You also need to check out your competitors. Are they making a good living? What can you offer that is better than they provide? How can you use your computer to help make your product/service unique? With careful planning and hard work, computers can help you make a lot of money.

Finally, think about how you might expand your client base by creatively using the Internet to become a global business. The Internet provides a host of opportunities that have not even been thought of yet.

The trick to being successful in business is not giving up.  Running your own business is an emotional roller coaster.  There will be times you are elated about being your own boss, and times that you will regret starting your own business.  Keep in mind that you need to take “win or lose” out of your thought process.  There is only “win or learn.”  Everyone makes mistakes throughout one’s life.  The trick is to learn from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future.  So, live every day of your life on purpose, enjoying each moment of winning and learning.  All the best to you in your future endeavors!

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