To make money online, you have to have something to sell. There are three basic options:

  1. Sell someone else’s product (affiliate marketing)
  2. Make your own product
  3. Create a platform

Each of these options has pros and cons. There is no perfect choice, but if you are a complete beginner, there is an obvious one — affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing (Beginner)

This is where I recommend you start. Affiliate marketers promote products that others have created. In doing so, you can learn the ins and outs of a successful ad campaign, which will pay massive dividends in the long haul.

You won’t have total control over the entire sales process, but you’ll be able to guide customers to products that meet their needs.

design-clickbank-websitesClickbank is a great way to get started in affiliate marketing. You can tinker around, and very little risk is involved. Alternatively, if you’re looking to jump into affiliate marketing head first (and you have some money to invest), you might consider a high-ticket affiliate program like Digital Altitude.

Disclaimer: I’m a satified Digital Altitude affiliate, but I don’t recommend the program for absolute beginners.

Product Creation (Intermediate)

blueprint-964629_1920Creating your own products will be time consuming and risky. What if you spend several months developing a product that no one wants to buy?

However, if you are able to create a product that people love, you’ll keep more of the profits, and you’ll have complete control over just about everything. You don’t have to be a whizz at marketing either, just drop your product on and let others promote it for you!

NOTE: You will need to create some basic squeeze pages and banners for affiliates to utilize in their marketing efforts.

Personally, I recommend you save product creation for later in your online marketing journey, but the beautiful thing about working for yourself is that you can do what you want. Follow your own path and have some fun!

This is a great place to expand, grow, and scale your business as an intermediate-level online marketer.

One low-risk product creation platform I highly recommend is Udemy. You can create on-demand video courses and post them on Udemy’s website. When people enroll in your course, you get paid. Check it out (click here).

Platform Creation (Advanced)

puzzle-1713170_1920This is what the most successful online marketers are doing, but it is highly technical, extremely risky, and often requires investment capital.

Platforms allow users to create products and sell them. As the owner of the platform, you take a percentage of all revenue. Owning a platform is a prime example of leverage. You don’t have to create anything, others will do that for you. All you have to do is create and maintain the platform.

Examples of platforms include: iTunes, Udemy, Amazon Marketplace, Steam, eBay, Etsy, etc.

Notice that such companies (or divsions of companies) do not create anything. Instead, they rely on others to create products, which they simply host for sale. Sometimes, they will even promote these products for their users.

Again, this is highly advanced and by no means recommended for a beginner, or even an individual with several years of experience.

However, I wanted to list it here so you understand your options when it comes to online marketing. You deserve all the facts, and then you can make an informed decision regarding the best move for you right now.


There are a lot of options available to you as an online marketer. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with affiliate marketing and forget about the others.

Action is the key to success.


So, don’t get bogged down in the details. Just go for it! After all, what’s the worst that could happen? (You’ll lose money and waste time.) What’s the best that could happen? (You turn a profit and learn some new skills.)

Written by Cody

Internet Marketer and Entrepreneur from Dallas, TX with a degree in Psychology from Dallas Baptist University — Cody likes to think outside the sphere. A romantic, a dreamer, a hardcore night-owl, this guy's always on the move and looking to improve!

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