Do you enjoy digging online, or off, to find useful bits of information? Do you enjoy pulling together information as if they’re the pieces of a puzzle? If you’re skilled at research you can make money with your skills. Here are a few ideas and tips to help you get started.
There are many different avenues you can take as an online researcher. You can provide:
Ebook/Information product research
Target market/consumer research
That’s just the beginning of what you can offer online. They key is to start with what you know. What type of research are you interested in or skilled at? Then, explore demand and potential competition. If you’re just looking to make extra money on the side you don’t need to worry about competition too much.
The First Step
The first step to making money with your research skills is to formulate a business plan. Begin with a definition of the services you will provide. Create a description of your customers. For example, you might offer keyword research for people who want to start a small online business. Your audience might be all aspiring entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who are young or interested in a specific industry like health and wellness.
You’ll then want to explore how you’re going to market your services. If you’re offering an online service then you’ll probably want a website, webpage, or a blog. This is a wonderful way to promote your services. You can also use word of mouth, social networking, content marketing and advertising depending on your goals and needs.
The Next Step
Once you have a business plan, it’s time to take action. Begin creating your website, pricing your services and spreading the word about your services. Create policies and procedures so your customers know what to expect. This will also help you provide a consistent experience with every customer.
The Benefits of Online Services
There are numerous benefits to offering your research services online. For example, it’s easy to communicate with clients from all around the world. Email makes it quick and easy. You can also use web forms to give your clients a quick and easy way to get a hold of you. Online services also give you the means to receive payments instantly. There are online payment services like PayPal that are easy and inexpensive to use. Once you’re ready to begin offering your services you can begin marketing and looking for clients.
Outsourcing some of your business tasks to a virtual assistant is one of the best things you can do for your business. You will be able to focus on the tasks that require your specific attention; the administrative tasks will still be getting done, you will find you are less-stressed, and will have more free time to enjoy with your family. If you are apprehensive about handing over a portion of your business to a stranger, the following are some tips on how to work effectively with a VA.
When you start looking for someone to work with, ask your other business friends for recommendations. Ask for the names of people that they have personally worked with in the past; if they haven’t used the type of virtual assistant you are looking for, they may know of someone who has.
When you interview a VA, ask them for references of people they have worked with previously. Always check these referrals. Ask questions such as how they liked the VA’s work, if the work was finished on time, and if they would partner with them again.
You should also ask to see some samples of past work. Do they have a style that is similar to the style you are looking for? Does the work look polished and professional?
Since you will be working together a lot, make sure that your personality meshes with your new virtual assistant. How do you like to communicate? If you like to talk via telephone and your contractor prefers email, this could pose a problem.
Find out how the virtual assistant wants to be paid before you parter with them. They may accept full payment after the work is completed, or they may ask to be paid half of the payment before they start. Many VAs will accept PayPal, but, again, make sure you both understand how the payment process will work before you commit to a project.
In addition to the payment process, you will want to make sure you both understand how the virtual assistant will keep track of time and how you will be notified of their progress. You can use an online task assistant that you can both access. You can put up information such as due dates, notes about the project, etc and the VA can give feedback on the processes.
If you are worried about the virtual assistant having access to sensitive information and your intellectual property, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Most VAs have these built directly into their contracts.
Once you find a virtual assistant that you enjoy working with, consider putting them on retainer. This is a win-win. You get first priority and a discount and your VA gets to be involved intricately in your business.