Profiting by working online is not a recent occurrence, and people continually use creative ideas to generate a steady income stream. Making an online presence that also appeals to your creative side does not mean that you need to start a business. All it takes is learning from others who have made a profit working online, and building on tips and ideas to take your skills and products to a large audience worldwide.
To learn how to establish a profitable online presence with various levels of investment, while keeping an eye out for pitfalls and perfectly showcasing your skills keep reading.
Choose between Monthly and passive Income
Limited amount of time and energy available to an individual narrows your options when working online. So you need to first decide whether you have to generate income monthly by creating products or delivering a service. On the other hand passive income does not come in every month and results from running a blog or a website, which often generates revenue after several years of working to bring in visitors.
Why do people opt to go online?
Getting online and creating a niche product, service or blog is a heady experience and several entrepreneurs often compare the process to the setting up of a business. With an online presence however there are several advantages as much of the red tape and regulations that surround setting up a business can be sidestepped. Additionally, there is no need for renting office space, hiring a receptionist, or setting up a production process. Instead people can often manage and operate their online presence from the comfort of their home and with the aid of a computer.
Get ready to Face Failure
Planning to profit from online opportunities does not mean that you will always succeed. In fact most people who start with an online presence soon find that creating a mobile device blog, making specific products, or an app just does not work out. With failure comes the risk of losing money and while creating a blog does not involve spending a lot of money it can result in considerably time being lost. Creating products for sale online, however and consequent failure of the enterprise can result in several thousand dollars of loss. The prospect of losing money especially if you are dipping into your savings can be daunting and in the case of a loan you will have to lose the collateral put down when availing it.
Try out Several Revenue Streams at Once
Working online to generate revenue often means trying out several different things at the same time. As soon as you realize this you will understand the need for intensive labor in front of a computer or on the streets as you work as a driver for companies such as Uber. Working hard everyday however does not guarantee that you will end up with a profit at the end of the month. So it is prudent to plan for the future by putting in place a blog or a website to create passive revenue stream.
Get Rich Quick Formulas are Fake
Surprisingly people fall for get rich quick formulas when they go online. As many are not aware that working online comes with limitations and there is no magic potion that leads to overnight success. Needless to say, you need to steer clear of these schemes as they will often result in you losing money and in serious cases can even cause your identity to be stolen.
The Power behind Niche Blogs and Websites
Packed with powerful personal commentary, niche blogs showcase your expertise and you can speak from your perspective. This makes niche blogs perfect for a mother providing tips on how to create the perfect home cooked lunch for school and also a knitting expert offering new patterns. Niche blogs allow you to include personal testimonials, and you friends can contribute as guests to grow your business, while shoring up theirs.
Creating a niche blog around something that you are passionate about, is not always possible and therefore bloggers have learnt that they can instead offer unique services or products. The uniqueness of your offering, whether it is ability to collect and market stunning shots of landscapes from contributors or deliver creative reviews of products, will draw visitors to your online presence.
Showcasing your skills through your work is important if you are generating monthly income or setting up a passive revenue stream. This is a tactic that is employed by freelancers who often set up several niche blogs that each showcase a specific skill set that they have. As a result you can have one dedicated to home decor whereas another delve into mobile devices, which continue to be very popular worldwide as people tend to change their phones every two years. Here are some other ideas for niche blogs:
Fashion: Setting up a fashion blog, revolves mostly around the fact that women and increasingly men as looking online for the latest tips and the best deals when on the move. Fashion addicts are therefore happy when they get deals, info and trends on their mobile device.Allowing them to get into lines earlier or buy sunglasses advertised by their favorite actor before sales open to the general public.
E-Learning: Teaching photography or helping people learn how to play a musical instrument online with the aid of courses allows you to showcase your skills, and also creates a niche offering that is targeted at those who are looking for something specific. Building a course and then promoting it to an online audience is also increasingly common with the aid of various platforms such as Udemy. On your blog you can also function as an affiliate, and recommend courses available on platforms and earn from each person who clicks through your blog to invest in one.
Travel and Tourism: Vacations are part of almost everyone’s life and people often go on several per year. Creating a travel and tourism blog which provides the best options and costs pertaining to hotels, flights and more will endear you to those who want to keep within their budget when vacationing, and will even keep them coming back for more in future.
Health and Wellness: Keeping fit is often harder than it seems, and additional complications are added to the mix when people pass the age of thirty. With individuals facing unique situations such as injuries, fluctuating weight, pregnancy related issues and problems related to aging you can create a niche blog that taps into your expertise and also provide much needed guidance to others.
Tech and Gadgets: Burgeoning demand for smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops means that people often need to know the best deals available paired with the latest technology. This is where blogs that deal with tech and gadgets come in handy as they review the latest devices, collect deals available during holidays and point to stores where they are cheapest.
How to Save Money or Make Money: Making and saving money are two niches that are extremely popular as people routinely want tips on both topics to make their life easier.
Generate Money from App Based work
Increasingly customers are using mobile devices and apps installed on them to purchase products, services and even earn money. Money earned via apps can come in various forms:
App Based Driving: The Uber app is not only useful when you need to book a ride from a party or to the airport. It is also handy when you have a car and are interested in earning extra money working part time. As a result it is an increasingly common work option for those who are looking for a flexible second job.
Take up Home Improvement Tasks: Living in a large city allows you to earn extra money by using apps such as TaskRabbit, which people employ when they need minor jobs around the home done. Such apps are also much sought after by people who need help installing a TV after shifting, require heavy objects to be lifted or just help in moving their residence. Similar apps provide a way to earn money doing part time jobs without having to set up a business of your own and invest in advertising.
Sell Your Skills or Products online on Preexisting websites
Working as an amateur photographer is not easy and often people have to take up several gigs to make ends meet. Going online and utilizing websites that have huge volume of traffic, means photographers, artists and others who have products and services to sell can earn extra money even as they concentrate on their day job. With sites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto photographers can set up a presence online, use it to show off their unique shots and generate a passive revenue stream based on each item sold.
Marketplaces for Services
Sites such as Upwork and similar offerings allow you to offer services that you are proficient in to an international audience. Whether you are a web designer, specialize in creating graphics for websites or design t-shirts, these sites allow you to bid and win work. Accountants, admin support assistants, customer service providers and more find such sites useful and there are multiple categories under which their work can be showcased. Designers who are looking for a website that helps them sell digital designs online can try out Cafe Press, while Etsy is still a leading site for selling handcrafted products.
Work as an Affiliate
Functioning profitably as an affiliate depends largely on the amount of traffic you are attracting to your website or blog. So once you have a blog up and running and getting a decent amount of traffic you can become an affiliate for Amazon and other businesses like Bluehost.
“Guest posting is also a highly effective way to direct attention towards your business, cause, or service.”
Make your Own Website
Getting ready to sell products online often requires a website. So if you already have one, these are things you can do with it in addition to using it for affiliate marketing.
Webinars: If you are setting up a website, using a GoToWebinar platform or a similar offering allows you to create online courses to teach a language, technical writing or coding. Using webinars you can market a product or service and often up to 40 percent of attendees turn into qualified leads.
Encourage people to subscribe: Allowing people to subscribe to an email list gives you the opportunity to sell to them via email.
Create Sponsored Posts: Give advertisers the ability to submit articles to your website. Articles such as these are paid for but if you create content for the advertisers you will be paid a higher rate.
Make Use of Amazon store: Creating an Amazons store with the aid of the company’s affiliate marketing program allows you to recommend products that you prefer.
Sell a Well Performing Website: You can earn more money off a well performing website but if you do not have time to maintain it or want to create a brand new one, you can always sell it for up to 10 times the money you earn monthly.
Function as a YouTube Influencer
Promoting engagement with your blog or website and its content with the aid of videos is great if you the aptitude for creating them. Creating high quality videos however is not enough as they need to resonate with viewers in order for them to become popular. Putting videos onto YouTube allow you to earn from the clicks that they get and most popular vloggers on the service end up earning millions per year. Once videos are on YouTube they also rack up clicks if they are embedded on your website and blog.
Going online to create a profitable venture is not easy but it is extremely rewarding, and even as you earn money you can help others who want tips on saving, child rearing and more.There is also a silver lining in that the opportunities for profiting online keep increasing.
TCI: A time of critical importance
By Fabrice Desnos, head of Northern Europe Region, Euler Hermes, the world’s leading trade credit insurer, outlines the importance of less publicised measures for the journey ahead.
After months of lockdown, Europe is shifting towards rebuilding economies and resuming trade. Amongst the multibillion-euro stimulus packages provided by governments to businesses to help them resume their engines of growth, the cooperation between the state and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters has perhaps missed the headlines. However, this cooperation will be vital when navigating the uncertain road ahead.
Covid-19 has created a global economic crisis of unprecedented scale and speed. Consequently, we’re experiencing unprecedented levels of support from national governments. Far-reaching fiscal intervention, job retention and business interruption loan schemes are providing a lifeline for businesses that have suffered reductions in turnovers to support national lockdowns.
However, it’s becoming clear the worst is still to come. The unintended consequence of government support measures is delaying the inevitable fallout in trade and commerce. Euler Hermes is already seeing increase in claims for late payments and expects this trend to accelerate as government support measures are progressively removed.
The Covid-19 crisis will have long lasting and sometimes irreversible effects on a number of sectors. It has accelerated transformations that were already underway and had radically changed the landscape for a number of businesses. This means we are seeing a growing number of “zombie” companies, currently under life support, but whose business models are no longer adapted for the post-crisis world. All factors which add up to what is best described as a corporate insolvency “time bomb”.
The effects of the crisis are already visible. In the second quarter of 2020, 147 large companies (those with a turnover above €50 million) failed; up from 77 in the first quarter, and compared to 163 for the whole of the first half of 2019. Retail, services, energy and automotive were the most impacted sectors this year, with the hotspots in retail and services in Western Europe and North America, energy in North America, and automotive in Western Europe
We expect this trend to accelerate and predict a +35% rise in corporate insolvencies globally by the end of 2021. European economies will be among the hardest hit. For example, Spain (+41%) and Italy (+27%) will see the most significant increases – alongside the UK (+43%), which will also feel the impact of Brexit – compared to France (+25%) or Germany (+12%).
Companies are restarting trade, often providing open credit to their clients. However, there can be no credit if there is no confidence. It is increasingly difficult for companies to identify which of their clients will emerge from the crisis from those that won’t, and whether or when they will be paid. In the immediate post-lockdown period, without visibility and confidence, the risk was that inter-company credit could evaporate, placing an additional liquidity strain on the companies that depend on it. This, in turn, would significantly put at risk the speed and extent of the economic recovery.
In recent months, Euler Hermes has co-operated with government agencies, trade associations and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters to create state support for intercompany trade, notably in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. All with the same goal: to allow companies to trade with each other in confidence.
By providing additional reinsurance capacity to the trade credit insurers, governments help them continue to provide cover to their clients at pre-crisis levels.
The beneficiaries are the thousands of businesses – clients of credit insurers and their buyers – that depend upon intercompany trade as a source of financing. Over 70% of Euler Hermes policyholders are SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economies and major providers of jobs. These agreements are not without costs or constraints for the insurers, but the industry has chosen to place the interests of its clients and of the economy ahead of other considerations, mindful of the important role credit insurance and inter-company trade will play in the recovery.
Taking the UK as an example, trade credit insurers provide cover for more than £171billion of intercompany transactions, covering 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers. The government has put in place a temporary scheme of £10billion to enable trade credit insurers, including Euler Hermes, to continue supporting businesses at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. This landmark agreement represents an important alliance between the public and private sectors to support trade and prevent the domino effect that payment defaults can create within critical supply chains.
But, as with all of the other government support measures, these schemes will not exist in the long term. It is already time for credit insurers and their clients to plan ahead, and prepare for a new normal in which the level and cost of credit risk will be heightened and where identifying the right counterparts, diversifying and insuring credit risk will be of paramount importance for businesses.
Trade credit insurance plays an understated role in the economy but is critical to its health. In normal circumstances, it tends to go unnoticed because it is doing its job. Government support schemes helped maintain confidence between companies and their customers in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.
However, as government support measures are progressively removed, this crisis will have a lasting impact. Accelerating transformations, leading to an increasing number of company restructurings and, in all likelihood, increasing the level of credit risk. To succeed in the post-crisis environment, bbusinesses have to move fast from resilience to adaptation. They have to adopt bold measures to protect their businesses against future crises (or another wave of this pandemic), minimize risk, and drive future growth. By maintaining trust to trade, with or without government support, credit insurance will have an increasing role to play in this.
What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us?
By Ted Sausen, Subject Matter Expert, NICE Actimize
On September 20, 2020, just four days after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a much-anticipated Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the financial industry was shaken and their stock prices saw significant declines when the markets opened on Monday. So what caused this? Buzzfeed News in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released what is now being tagged the FinCEN files. These files and summarized reports describe over 200,000 transactions with a total over $2 trillion USD that has been reported to FinCEN as being suspicious in nature from the time periods 1999 to 2017. Buzzfeed obtained over 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and over 2,600 confidential documents financial institutions had filed with FinCEN over that span of time.
Similar such leaks have occurred previously, such as the Panama Papers in 2016 where over 11 million documents containing personal financial information on over 200,000 entities that belonged to a Panamanian law firm. This was followed up a year and a half later by the Paradise Papers in 2017. This leak contained even more documents and contained the names of more than 120,000 persons and entities. There are three factors that make the FinCEN Files leak significantly different than those mentioned. First, they are highly confidential documents leaked from a government agency. Secondly, they weren’t leaked from a single source. The leaked documents came from nearly 90 financial institutions facilitating financial transactions in more than 150 countries. Lastly, some high-profile names were released in this leak; however, the focus of this leak centered more around the transactions themselves and the financial institutions involved, not necessarily the names of individuals involved.
FinCEN Files and the Impact
What does this mean for the financial institutions? As mentioned above, many experienced a negative impact to their stocks. The next biggest impact is their reputation. Leaders of the highlighted institutions do not enjoy having potential shortcomings in their operations be exposed, nor do customers of those institutions appreciate seeing the institution managing their funds being published adversely in the media.
Where did the financial institutions go wrong? Based on the information, it is actually hard to say where they went wrong, or even ‘if’ they went wrong. Financial institutions are obligated to monitor transactional activity, both inbound and outbound, for suspicious or unusual behavior, especially those that could appear to be illicit activities related to money laundering. If such behavior is identified, the financial institution is required to complete a Suspicious Activity Report, or a SAR, and file it with FinCEN. The SAR contains all relevant information such as the parties involved, transaction(s), account(s), and details describing why the activity is deemed to be suspicious. In some cases, financial institutions will file a SAR if there is no direct suspicion; however, there also was not a logical explanation found either.
So what deems certain activities to be suspicious and how do financial institutions detect them? Most financial institutions have sophisticated solutions in place that monitor transactions over a period of time, and determine typical behavioral patterns for that client, and that client compared to their peers. If any activity falls disproportionately beyond those norms, the financial institution is notified, and an investigation is conducted. Because of the nature of this detection, incorporating multiple transactions, and comparing it to historical “norms”, it is very difficult to stop a transaction related to money laundering real-time. It is not uncommon for a transaction or series of transactions to occur and later be identified as suspicious, and a SAR is filed after the transaction has been completed.
FinCEN Files: Who’s at Fault?
Going back to my original question, was there any wrong doing? In this case, they were doing exactly what they were required to do. When suspicion was identified, SARs were filed. There are two things that are important to note. Suspicion does not equate to guilt, and individual financial institutions have a very limited view as to the overall flow of funds. They have visibility of where funds are coming from, or where they are going to; however, they don’t have an overall picture of the original source, or the final destination. The area where financial institutions may have fault is if multiple suspicions or probable guilt is found, but they fail to take appropriate action. According to Buzzfeed News, instances of transactions to or from sanctioned parties occurred, and known suspicious activity was allowed to continue after it was discovered.
How do we do better? First and foremost, FinCEN needs to identify the source of the leak and fix it immediately. This is very sensitive data. Even within a financial institution, this information is only exposed to individuals with a high-level clearance on a need-to-know basis. This leak may result in relationship strains with some of the banks’ customers. Some people already have a fear of being watched or tracked, and releasing publicly that all these reports are being filed from financial institutions to the federal government won’t make that any better – especially if their financial institution was highlighted as one of those filing the most reports. Next, there has been more discussion around real-time AML. Many experts are still working on defining what that truly means, especially when some activities deal with multiple transactions over a period of time; however, there is definitely a place for certain money laundering transactions to be held in real time.
Lastly, the ability to share information between financial institutions more easily will go a long way in fighting financial crime overall. For those of you who are AML professionals, you may be thinking we already have such a mechanism in place with 314b. However, the feedback I have received is that it does not do an adequate job. It’s voluntary and getting responses to requests can be a challenge. Financial institutions need a consortium to effectively communicate with each other, while being able to exchange critical data needed for financial institutions to see the complete picture of financial transactions and all associated activities. That, combined with some type of feedback loop from law enforcement indicating which SARs are “useful” versus which are either “inadequate” or “unnecessary” will allow institutions to focus on those where criminal activity is really occurring.
We will continue to post updates as we learn more.
How can financial services firms keep pace with escalating requirements?
By Tim FitzGerald, UK Banking & Financial Services Sales Manager, InterSystems
Financial services firms are currently coming up against a number of critical challenges, ranging from market volatility, most recently influenced by COVID-19, to the introduction of regulations, such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB). However, these issues are being compounded as many financial institutions find it increasingly difficult to get a handle on the vast volumes of data that they have at their disposal. This is no surprise given that IDC has projected that by 2025, the global “datasphere” will have grown to a staggering 175 zettabytes of data – more than five times the amount of data generated in 2018. As an industry that has typically only invested in new technology when regulations deem it necessary, many traditional banks are now operating using legacy systems and applications that haven’t been designed or built to interoperate. Consequently, banks are struggling to leverage data to achieve business goals and to gain a clear picture of their organisation and processes in order to comply with regulatory requirements. These challenges have been more prevalent during the pandemic as financial services firms were forced to adapt their operations to radical changes in customer behaviour and increased demand for digital services – all while working largely remotely themselves.
As more stringent regulations come in to play and financial services firms look to keep pace with escalating requirements from regulators, consumer demand for more online services, and the ever-evolving nature of the industry and world at large, it’s vital they do two things. Firstly, they must begin to invest in the technology and processes that will allow them to more easily manage the data that traditional banks have been collecting and storing for upwards of 50 years. Secondly, they must innovate. For many, the COVID-19 pandemic will have been a catalyst for both actions. However, the hard work has only just begun.
Traditionally, due to tight budgets and no overarching regulatory imperative to change, financial institutions haven’t done enough to address their overreliance on disconnected legacy systems. Even when faced with the new wave of regulation that was implemented in the wake of the 2008 banking crash, financial services organisations generally only had to invest in different applications on an ad hoc basis to meet each individual regulation. However, as new regulations require the analysis of larger data sets within smaller processing windows, breaking down any and all data siloes is essential and this will require financial institutions that are still reliant on legacy systems to implement new technologies to meet the regulatory stipulations.
With this in mind, solutions which offer high-quality data analytics and enhanced integration will be key to the success of financial institutions and crucial to eliminate data silos. This will enable organisations to achieve a faster and more accurate analysis of real-time and historical data no matter where they are accessing the data from within smaller processing windows to keep pace with regulatory requirements, while also benefiting from low infrastructure costs.
This technology will also play a huge part in helping financial institutions scale their online operations to meet demand from customers for digital services. According to PNC Bank, during the pandemic, it saw online sales jump from 25% to 75%. Therefore, having data platforms that are able to handle surges in online activity is becoming increasingly important.
Real-time analysis of data
While the precise solution financial services institutions need will differ based on the organisation, broadly speaking, the more data they are storing on legacy solutions, the more they are going to require an updated data platform that can handle real-time analytics. Even organisations that have fewer legacy systems are still likely to require solutions that deliver enhanced interoperability to help provide a real-time view across the business and enable them to meet the pressing regulatory requirements they face. Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that moving transactional data to a data warehouse, data lake, or any other silo will never deliver real-time analytics, therefore, businesses making risk decisions based on this and thinking it is real-time is completely inappropriate.
As such, financial services firms require a data platform that can ingest real-time transactional data, as well as from a variety of other sources of historical and reference data, normalise it, and make sense of it. The ability to process transactions at scale in real-time and simultaneously run analytics using transactional real-time data and large sets of non-real-time data, such as reference data, is a crucial capability for various business requirements. For example, powering mission-critical trading platforms that cannot slow down or drop trades, even as volumes spike.
Not only will having access to real-time data enable financial institutions to meet evolving regulatory requirements, but it will also allow them to make faster and more accurate decisions for their organisation andcustomers. With many financial services firms operating on a global basis, this is vital to help them keep up not only with evolving regulations but also changing circumstances in different markets in light of the pandemic. This data can also help them understand how to become more agile, help their employees become productive while working remotely, and how to build up operational resilience. These insights will also be vital as financial institutions need to consider the likelihood of subsequent waves of the virus, allowing them to gain a better understanding of what has and hasn’t worked for their business so far.
The financial services sector is fast-paced and ever-changing. With the launch of more digital-only banks, traditional institutions need to innovate to avoid being left behind, with COVID-19 only highlighting this further. With more than a third (35%) of customers increasing their use of online banking during this period, it is those banks and financial services firms with a solid online offering that have been best placed to answer this demand. As financial institutions cater to changing customer requirements, both now and in the future, implementing new technology that provides access to data in real-time will help them to uncover the fresh insights needed to develop new and transformative products and services for their customers. In turn, this will enable them to realise new revenue streams and potentially capture a bigger slice of the market. For instance, access to data will help banks better understand the needs of their customers during periods of upheaval, as well as under normal circumstance, which will allow them to target them with the specific services they may need during each of these periods to not only help their customers through difficult times but also to ensure the growth of their business. As financial institutions not only look to keep pace with but also gain an advantage over their competitors, using data to fuel excellent customer experiences will be essential to success.
With the current economic uncertainty and market volatility, it’s critical that financial services are able to meet the changing requirements coming from all angles. With COVID-19 likely to be the biggest catalyst for financial institutions to digitally transform, they will be better able to cater to rapidly evolving landscapes and prepare for continued periods of remote working. As they look to achieve this, replacing legacy systems with innovative and agile technology solutions will be crucial to ensure they can gain the accurate and complete view of their enterprise data they need to comply with new and changing regulations, and better meet the needs of consumers in an increasingly digital landscape, whether they are located in an office or working remotely.
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