When Your Business Fails, Repeatedly

I was reading a very, very interesting article on Hacker News on what to do when your new business just fails, and fails, and fails again. The initiator of the article is an entrepreneur whose products have not fared well. Below is a select few responses that he got. Business wisdom:

You seem to have been terribly misled. Only very rarely do products sell themselves. 99% of the time, the product is largely incidental to the sales process. Your idea doesn’t matter one jot, what matters is how well you can connect to customers and really sell to them.

Let me tell you about a fine English gentleman by the name of Joe Ades, now sadly no longer with us. Joe wore Savile Row suits and lived in a three-bedroomed apartment on Park Avenue. He spent most nights at the Café Pierre with his wife, sharing a bottle of his usual – Veuve Clicquot champagne. You might assume that Joe was a banker or an executive, but in fact Joe sold potato peelers on the street for $5 each, four for $20.

I urge you, I implore you, I beg you, stop what you’re doing and watch Joe in action:

That is what business looks like. Sometimes, once in a million, you luck upon a product so amazing the world beats a path to your door. For most of us, the best we can hope for is to be some chump with a thousand boxes of vegetable peelers. Anybody can sit out on the street with a box of peelers, but Joe sold them. Joe made his peelers sing, he made them seem like magic. He took a humble piece of stamped metal and created theatre. He did something so simple and strange and wonderful that people would buy a fistful of his peelers, just so they could tell their friends about this little Englishman they saw in Union Square.

Look at the Fortune 500, tell me what you see. I see grocery stores, drugstores, oil companies, banks, a funny little concern that sells sugar water. I see a whole lot of hard work and very few great ideas.

Forget about striking it big with a great idea, it’s just as childish and naïve as imagining that the tape you’re recording in your garage is going to make you a rockstar. Get out there and talk to customers. Find out what they need, what annoys them, what excites them. Build the roughest, ugliest piece of crap that you can possibly call a product. If you’re not ashamed of it, you’ve spent too long on it. Try and sell it. Some people will say “I’m not buying that piece of crap, it doesn’t even do X”. If X isn’t stupid, implement X. Some people, bizarrely, will say “yes, I will buy your piece of crap”. It is then and only then that you are actually developing a product. Until you’ve got a customer, it’s just an expensive hobby. Paying customer number one is what makes it a product.

“Honestly, there are 2 types of folks who make it: the lucky ones, and the persistent ones. Its hard as hell (and heck I haven’t beaten it yet) but you have to ignore the burnout and be one of the persistent ones”

“Why are you paying so much attention to your “launch day”? It’s an entrepreneurial myth that there is a mighty “launch” that sets the tone of your business. When was Twitter “launched”? When was Carbonmade “launched”? When was Balsamiq “launched”? Or SquareSpace, MailChimp, or Fog Creek? Sure, they “launched”, but who cared?

You are building a business. It does not spring from your forehead like Athena, or get pooped out of your pet Nibbler like Dark Matter on Futurama. Listen to what everyone else here has to say. Sure, pick something with favorable long-tail SEO dynamics. Sure, pick something with a viral loop. Sure, build yourself a tribe.

But then, for god’s sake, pick something you can stick with, nurture, protect, and grow over the long run. That thing you don’t have, that keep calling “a fucking great idea”? Most of us call it “a winning lottery ticket”. Stop thinking about playing the lottery. Get back to work.”

“Hang in there man.

What’s touched upon in various ways in all the comments is that “PR” and “Media Coverage” is not the end all be all. In fact the successfully software startups I know STILL email individual potential customers on a daily basis.

I think one of the great myths of the internet is that you should just create a product, throw it up on the internet with some SEO and AdWords and the customers will come. Sure it might work for a few people, but by and large you are still growing a business. And you often grow a business one person at a time, hopefully later you can learn to scale sales.

Often what is missing from people’s MVP’s and business plans is how are you going to very specifically market to your target customers, and what the cost of customer acquisition is. If you can’t identify a way to find your target customer, you’re going to have a problem. Again, I don’t think general SEO and SEM is going to work.

Don’t give up on your idea, start emailing people. 50, 100 people a day. Convert them one at a time. If your business idea is not specifically just some sexy piece of technology, direct mail may work too (if you don’t also have to educate people on why they need your product.)

Journalist want to write about what’s hot, not about what is a potentially decent idea in a decent market. They want to talk about iphones, ipads, and facebook, and the latest jargon.

Anyways, start finding your target customers and email them. Don’t worry about email campaign tools and crazy stuff, just starting email or calling them one at a time. Building a web based software business doesn’t mean you can just skip sales.”

I would say this is some of the best advice that can be given to new entrepreneurs. You can read the rest of the article here.

How To Make Money Online In Kenya, 2010

Facebook.com is currently valued at $15 BILLION! That makes the young founder, mark Zuckerberg an extremely wealthy man at such a young age. What about you? How are your finances doing? You could seethe with envy at Mark, or you could try your own hand at making money online!

Last year, we wrote one of the most popular articles on this website: How to make money online in Kenya. The gist of that article was that advertising as a source of online income may not be the best way to go….that was way back in 2009, though. This is 2010! How does one make money online in Kenya?

This time, we’re going to do it a little different: since last year, we’ve come across countless numbers of Kenyan who are already making money online! So this article will talk about how those people are doing it in hopes of inspiring you to start making money online in Kenya!

1.How we make money online in Kenya

We run www.likechapaa.com and a number of other websites. Of course one of the main goals of running all these sites is for us to make money online. How do we do it?

  • Advertisements – Like Chapaa has these adverts on the side (you see them?). They make us peanuts. Honestly.
  • Consulting – as it happens, a lot of the people who read Like Chapaa tend to email us asking for help in setting up online. We make a tidy some from this. How can you do this? It is not a hard concept: just pick out a topic that you are interested in and know a lot about then start a website to talk about that topic and set yourself up as a “consultant”. It works, trust us.
  • E-commerce – this is unbelievable even to us. DESPITE not having an online shop yet, we do sell a few books from our site Jua More. The lesson here seems to be if you have a website talking about a certain product that people want, then you can probably sell this product to those people. Jua More is a book review site which is still very small yet it already makes some money. Can you replicate this with a site of your own and another product? I bet you can! Just pick out something you have passion talking about (and marketing). I’m thinking things like movies and music, clothing and other such stuff can do pretty well! We even built DukaPress for you so this is super easy to do with no technical skills whatsoever!
  • Web Design – Wambere, one of the founders of Like Chapaa, also runs Nickel Pro which is a web design and development company. Like Chapaa drives a whole lot of customers her way. How can you do this? This is all about marketing, if you offer a service and want to make money online from it, you need to find somewhere (online) where the people who would buy your service hang out and then talk to these people and subtly showcase your skills and experience. They’ll buy.
  • Referrals (Affiliate income) – incidentally, most of the things we recommend you use – akina Freelancer.com, AlertPay, etc – have affiliate programs. This means that if you sign up to those sites after reading about it on Like Chapaa, we get paid. How to do this: this is pretty easy, in my view. You shouldn’t start the process by looking for companies that offer affiliate programs. Instead, look for what interests you. If you love shoes and want to start a website about shoes, you will come to find there are tons of sites out there that will pay you good money to drive people to them. Affiliate programs exist for almost everything under the sun – just find something you love, start a blog/site around it, and voila!

Also see: How to make Money With A Blog.

2. How Other People make Money Online

We realise that we aren’t the only Kenyans making money online (hehe) and so this section is dedicated to everyone else that we have come across this past year.

A. Advertising
Like Chapaa sucks at making money from advertising but these sites do it amazingly well:

  1. Career Point Kenya – this is one of the most visited sites in Kenya and, rightly so, they make a lot of money from Google’s Adsense program. This means that whenever any of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Career Point Kenya every day click on the Google Ads, the guys running that site get paid. Sweet! To replicate this you just need to build a website that gets huge, HUGE, numbers of visitors and you’ll get paid like you won’t believe. This is not as easy as it sounds, though, and I would caution against betting on advertising as your sole means of earning online.
  2. Bankelele – the ever popular Kenyan blog. I think this is one of the oldest blogs in Kenya. It has only survived this long because the guy who runs it is a master at what he does. Unlike Career Point Kenya, Bankele makes advertising money by selling his own ads at his own price (you get this luxury when you have a site as good as his). Here’s how to do this on your own site!

B. Selling Stuff
Jua More, mentioned above, is just a lucky occurrence. If you want to really make money by selling something tangible (or digital), then you need to look at, and learn from, the guys below:

  • Mama Mikes – Mama Mikes is one of the first e-commerce sites to serve Kenyans. It is a site that excels at selling Kenyan stuff to Kenyans who do not live in Kenya. For example, you can pay power bills for your family in Kenya while living in Spain – or buy them gifts and groceries. Brilliant idea, eh? I think so too. Mama Mikes found a niche market very early on in the game and took it over.
  • Fab Guru – a fascinating business run by a lady off her Nairobi apartment. This is the face of “make money from home”. Fab Guru sells ladies shoes, bags and other items. She particularly excels at marketing her wares on Facebook where she has a large following of “fans”. Fab Guru makes quite a lot and the ingredients seem to be: a)find something to sell (preferably something that you love) and b)find a group of people who love what you have to offer (in this case, Fab Guru didn’t find those people, she built a place for them to come to).
  • Career Point Kenya – these guys have written a book that resonates well with the people who visit their site. I’m not sure of the sales figures, but I’d bet they do very well.

Do you see a trend here? If you want to make money online by selling things, then you need to first find a good product (or products) – something you love working with and which is likely to have a market large enough to support you. Then you need to find, or build, a place where people who would be willing to buy your product(s) can be found. If you manage to do that, you’ll be home free!

C. Freelancing
Of all the ways people make money online, this is the one way used by most of the people we have come across. Quite simply, this is nothing but being a hired hand. That is, being paid to do something for someone because of your expertise, experience or both. Here are examples of Kenyans who are already doing this: Wuogard, Linda Cherotich, Maria Maina and our very own Crystal.

How do you do this? Well, first off you need to be able to do something better than most people can do it. It can be anything, from writing to art, to web design.

Next, you need to build out your portfolio and then try your hand at finding jobs/gigs at some of the more popular freelancer sites such as Freelancer.com.

To put it in a way that it is more easy to relate to, I’ll give the example of Kenyan Freelancer. She’s a brilliant writer. She set up to do business online the smart way: she set up Smurt Notes which is her ‘business profile’ used to ‘seal the deal’ – but that’s not all – she also has a somewhat less formal site, Kenyan Freelancer, which I would say does more of the ‘marketing’. A nice little one-two punch to get her clients.

Seems very do-able, eh? Good luck!

See also: Interviews with Maria Maina, Kenyan Freelancer, and Crystal.

In my personal experience, and as seen and proven above, you can make money online in Kenya by:

  1. Selling adverts on your site
  2. Consulting
  3. Selling other people’s stuff (affiliate marketing)
  4. E-commerce (selling your own things)
  5. Freelancing

I am sure there are more ways through which people are actually making money in Kenya, but the above are what I have actually seen proven. What about you? Are you making money online? No? Need help?

Good luck, and God bless you!

Photo by timbrauhn.

How To Turn Your Skills Into A Real Online Business

Open for businessA lot of the people reading Like Chapaa have a skill set. They are strong in web design, writing, marketing, Web development, or some other different skills.

People with such skills who want to be entrepreneurs often end up selling their skills as services. That usually entails trading money for their time, expertise and experience. It’s the path of least resistance (and risk) and a way to form a source of income. The problem is that while the business might be moderately successful, there is a limit to how successful the business can be. There are only so many hours in a day and only so much that you can charge for these services (no matter how good you are). Since freelancing is not a real business model and does not scale, you should focus these skills on building a system-based business.

Here are some ideas to create a new business based on the skills that you already have.

Scale Your Skills
Instead of doing the work yourself, have 1, 2, 5, 10, or even 50 people do the work for you. Once you have other people doing the work, there is no limit to how big you can grow the business. Start by creating a manual detailing everything that you do and make it a repeatable process that someone else can follow. You will still have to find some people with some ability as you don’t want someone with zero creativity to design high-end websites for your clients. But if you create an efficient process in getting new clients and delivering their service at a reasonable, known cost, you can start scaling the business.

In order to reduce your risk, I would start out with contractors. Pay them on a “per project” basis so you are only obligated to pay when you get paid. Your profits won’t be as high and it can be tough to find reliable contractors with good prices and quality products but once you do, it becomes very easy to scale up your business. Start out with determining your profit margin and you can estimate projects based off of the quote you receive.

Create a “Product”
If your skills are in web design, pick a market and create your best web design that you can sell over and over again. If you create a really great web site with a lot of cool features for restaurants (newsletters, birthday club, email-a-friend), sell it to restaurants operating in different markets. You might charge a lower price for each site but it will require less effort to set up. It’s even something that you could hire a contractor to set up on a per-site basis.

If you are a writer, you can also create a ‘product’ around your writing skills. You just have, for example, to look for something that would benefit by having a well written guide/manual. For instance, many writers make money by writing How-To ebooks for platforms such as Joomla and Drupal. I know others who have created a complete and re-usable business plan which they sell to anyone looking to write a business plan quickly.

If you are an Adsense expert, you could sell a program to similar businesses of keywords and ads that are pre-built and tested to be very effective. Just make sure you don’t sell it to competing clients.

Become a ‘Digital Landlord’
This is very similar to creating a product, the difference being that you do not sell it outright but rent it out and collect a subscription fee. Please have a look at this: Landlord 2.0

The basic idea is to utilise your expertise to create a service. If you are an accountant, you could create an accounting system which you charge a monthly fee for people to use it either online or offline. When most people think of this, they think that it has to be a large undertaking. That is not the case, you do not have to recreate Quickbooks, the secret is to niche – create a simple accounting system specifically for freelance web designers (incidentally, such a system is badly needed).

If you are a marketing guru, you could create a marketing system for very small businesses and freelancers (guys earning 10,000 to 500,000 a month) – a system whereby the businesses completely outsource marketing to you. Again, such a system is badly needed in today’s Kenya (most of these business owners are too busy to market properly and would appreciate some help, as long as it actually generates more business).

Web Site Flipping
basically, this is the selling of websites. It might require a little more investment but you could also bootstrap and start with a small portfolio that you constantly turn over and make more money off of them. But the idea is that you should buy websites, improve them, and then sell them. Maybe it’s a website that just needs a few tweaks to convert better, or a site that needs some basic search engine optimization, one that hasn’t utilized Pay-Per-Click yet, or one that could use all of these changes.

Create systems to effectively find, value, purchase, and improve sites. Most people who flip websites might do it on a “one off” basis. They don’t create systems to repeat the process over and over again. I liken it to real estate flipping companies who have scaled their business so they buy multiple properties, have a select group of vendors they use to improve the properties, and then sell it. They have great systems in place. From the very beginning, they have a set budget and they know what changes they can make and how much value it should add to the price.

Create Software
Ok, nothing too original here but I think this is a case which people think too big. They think the only software worth creating and selling is something that nobody else has created. There are a lot of niche markets for which you can build useful software. You don’t have to create Microsoft Windows, just something that is useful to your targeted niche market.

For example – you could create an online scheduling service for businesses that take appointments like doctors, salons or beauty parlors. There is a lot of scheduling software out there but if you create a product specific for an industry, you have created a successful product.

And the best part about software is that once it’s created, there is very little effort to maintain it. Unlike trading hours for dollars, you can create a mostly passive form of income.

What Do All the Ideas Have in Common?
It probably wasn’t apparently obvious with each of these ideas but they all involve targeting a niche market. You’re not going to be able to create something that works for everyone but if you create something that has utility for a niche market, your system based business can grow quite successfully.

Image courtesy of Pheezy.

Making Money From Trends

Look and seeYou know how twitter has ‘trending topics’? Just visit twitter and you’ll see a list of topics that are being discussed the most. You get what I mean?

Google also has a ‘trends’ feature, but it is much bigger than Twitter’s trending section. Google Trends tracks what people are searching for and displays the most popular web searches over a certain amount of time. Visit their site and see for yourself: Google Insights For Search.

During the height of the Esther Arunga madness in Kenya, Esther Arunga became one of the most searched for terms on Google in Kenya. What does this mean? Well, you have here a unique opportunity to make money online! What if there existed a website that talked of nothing but Esther Arunga? This site would have gotten tens of thousands of visitors when Arunga was all over the news. The site would probably have made some money, too. Nice, eh?

What I am trying to say is that a quick, nice, and easy way to make money on the net is to build sites around popular topics, and make money off them. An example of this is quite common in the more developed countries: when a new movie or computer game is about to be released, tens of websites spring up that are about the new movie or game. These websites are all set up by opportunists trying to cash in on the buzz that will be generated by the new movie or game. Similarly, if someone set up a site just when Arunga’s madness hit, they’d probably be very happy with themselves right now.

Google insights for search is an excellent tool for tracking trends. However, if you rely on it you’d be too late! The trick is to find the trend before it starts or very early (before it runs out of steam), then quickly set up a website that is heavy on information regarding the trending event, topic or person. Then, slap Adsense on the site (or find another monetization strategy – perhaps you could sell T shirts, I do not know) and watch the money roll in.

The basic idea is that because a particular topic is popular, lots of people will be searching for information on it online. As in the Esther Arunga case, there was no one site that exclusively covered her story. If such a site existed, then the owners would have gotten a lot of the traffic generated by the Arunga buzz. You can apply these same principles to any other popular or trending topic.

Idea: The debate on the new constitution and the upcoming referendum are only just getting started. By the time we’re getting to vote, they will probably be the only news in town. Why not set up a simple website in anticipation of this? Think about it. Nickel Pro could help you if you need help or advice. 🙂

What else could be popular online? Can you capitalize on it?

Cheers, and good luck.

Online Business Done Right [Interview]

For the readers that don’t know, Wainaina is the brains behind Corporate Staffing Services, an innovative recruitment agency that delivers! He is also one of the partners behind the massively popular Career Point Kenya. The really interesting bit, though, is the fact that Wainaina uses the power of the internet extensively in his work. A good number of his clients are as a result of his savvy internet marketing efforts.

Q. You’re quite an achiever, tell us about you
My background is in finance and HR. I am a certified public accountant and hold a higher diploma in HR. I attended my undergraduate studies at University of Nairobi six years ago. I began my career at a local bank rising from a teller to a finance officer but all along I knew finance was not my thing. While working at the bank I realized how much potential was out there. I interacted with young folk who were making it despite not have a graduate education. That’s when it hit me that college education in Kenya can sometimes be a hindrance to achieving your life goals, especially when you look upon yourself as privileged simply because you are a Bcom,CPA,CFA or whatever. I remember a friend from high school who was a client of the bank and I could see how profitable his computer business was. And here I was earning less than 35K a month with little or no chances of career progression. There and then I decided to learn all I could about self employment as I look for capital. While still at the bank I started consulting on HR on part time basis. Later I partnered with a colleague and the firm has two directors.

Q. How did you start?
I started with one client at a time. I would say my contacts at the bank came in handy. Actually I would advise anyone wishing to go into business to try this route. Obviously without antagonizing your current employer you can use the contacts you have gotten at your workplace as a launching pad. These are the chaps who know you and as long as you have a solid reputation it is very easy to make inroads. I also chose an industry which I understood – I didn’t need much training in HR, I knew the do and don’ts and, most importantly, I had a workable business model in mind.

Q. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Money was and has always been an issue. To establish yourself as a credible brand you have to splash a few thousands by way of advertisements or engage a PR firm to put a good word out there. To achieve recognition we have endeavored to provide exceptional service and this way word of mouth and referral is the main source of business. There is also the issue of ethics. Recruitment firms in Kenya have been known to charge candidates for services even when they don’t deliver. We did away with some charges i.e. CV placement and this way we have established ourselves a credible firm that keeps it word. We have also utilized ICT a lot and as earlier stated most of our clients find us through this method. We noticed having a website and a functional one at that matter would greatly reduce our cost. Most jobseekers are online on facebook or using google search engine to look for latest jobs in Kenya. By having a website where we post vacancies we didn’t need to pay exorbitant cost to advertise in the mainstream media.

Q. What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Kenya?
There is little support from the public. A lot of people will look down upon what you are doing preferring to deal with recognized brands. Big does not necessary mean better results. Remember Nakumatt started as a small supermarket somewhere in Nakuru and two decades later they have expanded to the whole of East Africa. It is high time we started rooting for the underdogs so long as there are delivering. Funds are also an issue. I may have this computer idea but if I don’t have sufficient capital my idea will remain grounded. That’s why I advice one to start small and choose an area which is not capital intensive.

Q. What was critical to your success?
Not giving up. I left the secure world of employment to chart a new course. On several occasions I have come to the verge of going back to employment but then when I look back and see how far we have come I encourage myself that the future is bright. I have a strong network of friends who all happen to be in biashara and this way I get support and ideas on how to make it. It has also been a trial and error thing. We have lost money on ideas that didn’t take off. Some ideas have been successful beyond expectation. We have also utilized the power of internet and consulted with experts like Nickel Pro who have been instrumental in our internet marketing efforts. All in one we have allowed ourselves to grow a step at a time and looking for creative ways to solve most problems that afflict start ups.

Q. What about the competition and marketing, do you need to advertise, print flyers participate to conferences or is it mostly word of mouth?
We tried putting adverts in the main stream media and this was a cropper. Those things don’t work! We haven’t tried print flyers but with our earlier experience with newspapers, I wouldn’t put much hope here. Conferences do work especially if you target the right market and also inform the attendees in ample time. The best marketing method so far is a satisfied client. You don’t need to pay someone to put a good word out there. Just perform the task or duty procured to the best of your ability exceeding expectations where you can and the clients will go spreading the great news about your service. For an SME this is the only tool you have in dealing with competition from the big boys who as we know in Kenya offer awful service.

Q. Do you think that in order to “make it big” online you have to live in a Western country? Or does Kenya offer more or less the same opportunities?
Kenya does offer more. I am extremely lucky to be in this moment. Many business owners large and small in Kenya haven’t realized the power of internet as a competitive advantage. Anyone who has recognized this is already doing good business. The internet world doesn’t recognize how large you are on the ground. Provided you are able to articulate your message well online and your services are impeccable customers will troop to your door. Many Kenyans are now researching for opinions on anything over internet and if you have positioned yourself well the future is bright.

Q. Where do you see yourself and your business (es) in the next 5 years?
We will be one of the most recognized brands in HR consulting offering a wide range of services. We still want to concentrate on the mid sized firms and SME’s. With the success of our online HR campaign I am also looking out for another business model that can utilize the presence of the improved internet services now that the fibre cable is here.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Much of what I know in internet marketing is self taught. The disadvantage of this is that you might take years cracking it up. Myself I took a cool three years from the time I took it seriously and I am still learning! However if we had outsourced this service earlier maybe we could be far. I am a firm believer in engaging experts and Nickel Pro have been instrumental in our internet marketing efforts. Always consult the experts and you will save yourself money and valuable time.

Q. What advice do you have for internet business entrepreneurs in Kenya?
Learn continuously and be patient. Internet marketing and SEO is not a magic pill that will work instantly upon implementation. We have done a lot of work, toiling daily and engaging experts. Lastly, internet business is it’s infancy stage and the market is waiting for any bold entrepreneur.

That’s all for today readers. If you’d like to hear more from Wainaina, please visit their website: www.staff-kenya.com or www.careerpointkenya.com

Corporate Staffing Services offers HR consultancy services to medium sized firms in the areas of recruitment and training. They also offer soft skills training for job candidates in the area of CV writing, Interview preparation and career coaching. They know their candidates personally and vet who they are, ensuring there are no surprises. Talk to them and let them run your HR docket freeing you important time to concentrate on your business. Email them at jobs[at]staff-kenya.com

Smart Ways To Make Money Online With Nil Investment

The fiber optic Internet is here with us, the Internet charges have dropped dramatically and the prices of computers too have plummeted to due to zero rating. With opportunities beckoning on our doors I don’t see why you should continue complaining that there are no jobs. With almost nil investment you can now make some money online. If you love freedom, that personal freedom to do what you love and enjoy, that comes with working without a fixed schedule or geographic location, then you are welcome to join the lucrative world of making money online with minimal investment. Even if you’re not looking to work full-time at home, the Internet offers a viable source of money which can help to supplement your regular income and improve your life style.

Today I will explore several ways in which you can make some money online. My ideas involve making real cash not points or credits or some funny rewards, they don’t require you to have your own Web domain or ask you money or have your own products or any hard-selling. Hapana. So let’s start.

Be an Online Freelancer
The easiest way to make some real bucks comes through online freelancing or contracted work. Take advantage of your skills and expertise .What do you love? Are you good in web design? Are you a good writer? Whatever your skill is put it to good use as an online freelancer. Perhaps the best place to start is getafreelancer or Elance or Guru or demand studios. No money is needed to subscribe and the registration is fairly simple. Take your time in each website and read the processes involved and make some bucks while you can. You gotta start somewhere.

Be an Affiliate
If this is the first time you are hearing this word then you have been sleeping. Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to make passive income while you sleep and do the things you love .Young people all over the world have become millionaires and rich overnight without products of their own or any investment. Talk of Joel Comm., Russell Branson, Michael Sweeney, the king of the online marketing Rich Schfren and the John Reese-famed for making a million bucks online in 24 hours!

Anyway, affiliate marketing works like this: You sign up as an affiliate with a merchant and then promote a specific product or service and whenever a referred user makes a purchase based on your recommendations you earn some commission. If you’ve got an interest in weight loss as an example, you can make money promoting weight loss products. In terms of fashion wear, you can earn commissions by recommending friends to clothing websites with affiliate programs. Sounds fun?

The amount of money you make depends on what you are selling. Done correctly, affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful ways to make money from the web.

The best place to start is Clickbank which has over 200,000 affiliates and over 2 million affiliates’ products. Clickbank is one of the most popular affiliate networks 1)because it deals with digital or downloadable products and 2)because of its platform which makes it easier to select. Commisionjunction or cj as its commonly known is the largest network but deals with physical inventory.

Other popular affiliate networks include Amazon, Paydotcom.com similar to click bank and owned by PayPal, moreniche of which I am member (it’s so cool) and linkshare.com. There are thousands of affiliate networks and probably the best place to find the best affiliate programs is at www.associateprograms.com. Did I mention that www.africapoint.com (based in Kenya) has an affiliate program worth checking out?

Sell Your Stuff Online
Do you have pictures or do you have old stuff that you no longer need, do you love artworks or have some crafts? The Internet provides the best platform to sell your stuff. We all know eBay which provides an avenue to sell your used (new) products to people all over the world. In fact you don’t need to own any product to make money on eBay. (See drop shopping, below).

Those pictures you have may be worth some bucks. Check out citizen journalism websites like www.spymedia.com and www.citizenimage.com which will pay for your images. You can also try using www.shutterstock.com, the most established and lucrative micro-stock photography website.

Are you good in web design, content writing or graphics? , If you are, then you can sell your work at places like www.sitepoint.com or even Clickbank, warriorforum, or digitalpoint.com.

For craftworks, the best place to sell your works is www.etsy.com

Be a Dropper Shopper
This almost like affiliate marketing although it involves arbitrage (here you act as a broker).

It’s a method whereby you deal with offline retailers or exporters in other countries, or buy from one seller and sell to another.

Simply put let’s take the case of eBay. Using eBay’s pulse (sort of market research platform) you find that the most popular fashion item is skinny jeans. Next we research who are the sellers of skinny jeans – we assume our seller (the cheapest) is located in china. You contact the seller who gives you a deal of a certain % of sales (you can also get an affiliate code).Then you head straight back to eBay and find who is selling skinny jeans (in this case he is the buyer).

Armed with your information, you propose the deal to him that you can supply cheap quality skinny jeans and that you can handle shipping charges as a way to sweeten the deal. Deal done. Your supplier in china dropships (ships it directly to the eBay seller that you found) the product and remits your cut in good faith.

Otherwise with affiliate code you can simply open an eBay store and start selling skinny jeans. The seller (our guy in china) handles the shipping (drop ships-takes the product to the buyer’s doorsteps) and handles customer care issues.

Hope you get the idea .It is rather simple. Perhaps I should send you to salehoo, the world’s biggest drop shipping platform where there are thousands of cheap wholesalers located everywhere. Some of the prices offered by the drop shoppers seem outrageous but the commissions are quite handsome. Plus I find this idea of dropshipping so much applicable right here in Kenya. What do you think? Is this not what brokers do at wakulima market?

Some more hot money making ideas coming up in the next post. Keep reading.

To your success,
Kihato Mwangi

About me
I am simple young man who earns and spend most of my time online making some bucks and hunting for opportunities. I am also an entrepreneur (my firm handles life coaching, Internet marketing and how to be financially independent) and a small business consultant who is always eager to help Kenyans to be financially independent by making smart choices.

The Strawberry Store

A whole lot of people dismiss Kenyan online business as being ahead of their time. Some people even go as far as claiming online entrepreneurs in Kenya as being misguided, or even plain silly. The usual explanation is that Kenya is still very new and untested as far as the internet goes…etc etc. But who will do the ‘testing’ if no one dares to try? The good news is that more and more Kenyan online businesses are being launched. When are you launching yours?

Today, we’re going to take a look at the Strawberry Store, a Kenyan online business that specialises in importing and selling home, office and institutional furnishings and accessories. One of the co-founders, Naomi Konditi-Kivuvani, has been interviewed over at Tujuane – click here to go and read the interview which talks about the Strawberry store at length.

What I found interesting was that the store exists purely online. There is no physical showroom or shop. While I have doubts on how well this approach works in Kenya, it is a commendable and brave move. For one thing, the expenses of the store are very much reduced and the only overheads are those of hosting and maintaing the website – which are usually very minimal.

When you buy items from the Strawberry store, you either collect them at their pick-up center near Adam’s Arcade, or you can have them delivered to you starting at Kshs 200/-. Again, this is a commendable approach. However, I’d think that several strategically located pick-up centers would work better.

So, how does the Strawberry store get it’s clients? Naomi mentions that they rely on email marketing and facebook advertising. Both of these are powerful ways of getting people to notice you, especially here in Kenya. However, I wonder how well the facebook campaign is doing. To me, facebook – at least in Kenya – wouldn’t be a suitable advertising medium for most products/services. Why? Well, the majority of people who use facebook in Kenya are teenagers and other youth. Unless you’re selling something that this group can afford and would want to buy, getting their attention is not worth much.

One thing that I would wholeheartedly recommend for the Strawberry straw is a blog. The absence of a blog was something that struck me within a few minutes of browsing the site. As far as internet marketing goes, a blog is almost always something like your mothership.

All in all, I love the work that Naomi and her team are doing. I recommend that you check out the site (and make a purchase).

Parting shot:

“Running a web-store may look easy, but it’s really harder than running an ordinary physical store. This is because there’s nobody just ‘passing by’ to come into the store, you have to make people be aware of the store using creative methods. ” – Naomi Konditi-Kivuvani.

Photo by Muffet.