In the dotcom bust of 2001 the company I was working for went out of business, owing me a lot of money in unpaid salary and benefits. It was 9 months before I got another job and the combination pretty much wiped me out.
In today's recession many people will likely have a similar experience - and it's not fun.
Starting your own business at a time like this may seem a little rash, but that's exactly why you should do it.
Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing - zig, while the others are zagging - and you'll find all sorts of opportunities opening up.
Starting an Internet Marketing business has the advantage of being a lot cheaper than a traditional, bricks and mortar business. But it's still a business and you have to put in just as much work!
Here's what you need to do:
Do some research.
Familiarise yourself with the terms, expressions and common practices that are used by people working online. As with any business, there's a lot of jargon and you'll benefit from understanding what it all means from the outset.
Learn about marketing online by searching for articles. Beware, though: you'll find a lot of articles and websites that promise you can be making a fortune by this time next week. Ignore them!
You will not be making a fortune by this time next week because this is a business and it needs the proper focus, attention and work before you start making money.
Find or develop a product.
If you don't have a product of your own find one to promote. Think about what interests you and what you're passionate about. Then find a product that fits in with that. Clickbank is a good place to start looking for products and there are many other companies that do the same thing. You can market these as an affiliate and earn commission when people you refer to the merchant's site buy their product.
Build a website.
If you've not done this before, your best bet is to start here.
Sign in with your gmail address, or open a new account, follow their directions and you'll be on your way in about 5 minutes - absolutely no knowledge of coding or design is required at all.
You don't even need a website hosting company with this option. And sites set up on blogger.com usually feature in the natural search results pretty quickly.
Promote your site.
This is the most difficult part and one that will cause you the most frustration! To kick off with, you may want to browse through the articles here on Internet Marketing.
Learn about advertising online and how to attract traffic to your site. If you start with a blogger.com site, as I've suggested above, you won't need to bother with Search Engine Optimisation for now other than the need to write web friendly pages - more below. But you should learn about where and how to advertise.
Later, when you're ready to build your own site from scratch, you'll need to understand the basic principles of Search Engine Optimisation - for more information on that browse through the articles on SEO here.
Learn how to write web friendly articles.
Writing for the web is different than writing for the corporate or academic worlds. Very different. A great (and free) resource for coaching on how to write for the web is Copyblogger. If you subscribe to the RSS feed you'll get emails every couple of days with copy writing tips, all for free.
Keep an open mind and a readiness to learn.
The Internet is changing so quickly that even the old hands have to keep learning new stuff!
And once you've done all that and learnt how to build websites and market online, you'll have another opportunity open to you: the ability to offer website design and marketing services to other small, offline businesses.
Start your business now, in the recession, and when the good times return you'll be in the best possible position to really capitalize. And if it all seems too daunting simply follow my step-by-step guide to setting up a business online.