It sounds wonderful — making money online — that’s why you are here isn’t it? You want to learn how to make money from the Internet. I’ve been doing it now since I first discovered the web in 1998. Yes in a way that makes me a late adopter of this technology. The commercial Internet has been available since around 1993. You see I was a console kid while growing up. I played Nintendo and Sega. I didn’t have a computer until late highschool and only in first year university was I granted the gift of online access.
I didn’t set out to make money online, but I did and still do. I did want to run a business, that is for sure, but during university I had no idea what sort of business. Fast forward to 2005 and I make the majority of my income from e-commerce and intend to continue down the Internet business path. I’m always curious about the ways other people make money online so no doubt you are too. So here in no particular order are the methods I have used to make money on the Internet.
EBay and Online Garage Sales
A lot of people have bought and sold on eBay and while the average user does not trade on eBay as a business that doesn’t mean they haven’t made money from it. One of the first ways I made money online was by selling items I no longer wanted on eBay or by setting up a basic web page, often just a text list, of second-hand goods. I posted a link to my list in local forum communities and newsgroups such as my university newsgroup – uq.forsale.
I didn’t make a lot of money doing this and I really didn’t intend to, I wanted to clear some old junk and make some spare change in the process. I sold things like old video games, movies, books, trading cards, cameras, mp3 players, CDs, discmans, gym equipment, sports gear, anything I had lying around the house.
For thousands of people around the world eBay trading is how they make a living. They might choose to buy wholesale or produce the goods themselves or even scout around local antique shops to find products. Generally the most successful eBay entrepreneurs own a niche market and have access to cheap products so they can maintain respectable margins.
When I was younger before the days of the Internet I used to love a newspaper called the tradingpost. It is a local classifieds paper where people sell second-hand goods. I used it mostly to buy and sell video games. I usually sold my old games and consoles to buy the latest gaming device. I was a wheeler and dealer and really enjoyed haggling with buyers trying to get the best price I could for my goods.
EBay is a natural evolution of this trading concept, taking commerce online and automating the haggling process. Nowadays even the tradingpost is online. I don’t trade second-hand goods online very much anymore because I’m out of things to sell, but whenever I find something of value I don’t need I always go online to sell it. It’s in these marketplaces that I got my basic training in online commerce.
Earnings: These amounts were random and of course depended on what I was selling. This was “spare change” income, a few hundred dollars now and then.
Trading Card Trading
After I grew bored of video games the next major hobby I had was the collectible card game Magic: the Gathering. As any good trading card game, Magic had it’s fair share of collectors and because cards were distributed in rarities — commons, uncommon and rares — it was a heavily traded commodity. As a regular player and tournament competitor I had amassed a reasonable collection of cards and I was a vehement trader in real life and online.
Magic cards are bought and sold on eBay every day, there are many trading sites and some huge trading forum communities dedicated to the game. Luckily for me I was the owner of the main Australian Magic community site which had the largest Aussie Magic trading forums so I had access to a large local marketplace. I bought and sold a lot of cards through this site and a few other sites often profiting by selling product I had won at tournaments. Throughout my late teens I did not have a job because I made enough spending cash from card sales. However I could only do this because I was a respectable competitive player and could stock myself with cards by placing well at tournaments. This was only a reliable revenue source as long as I kept playing the game.
Earnings: I made a reasonably stable income from card trading especially after a big win at a tournament. With a box of new cards (usually first or second place won a box) selling for about $100 and certain rare individual cards selling for between $5 – $20 I could bring in around $500 per month provided I kept winning and attending tournaments. Living at home meant this cash was pure spending money and often went straight back into Magic tournaments.
You can read the other parts of this series here –
- How I Have Made Money Online – Part 2 – Online Stores and Advertising
- How I Have Made Money Online – Part 3 – Online Services and Web Hosting
- How I Make Money Online Part 4 – Blogging