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Webhosting or affiliate/partner/e-comm sites?

Which way to go for earning one's living via the internet?

5:26 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It seems webhosting and running affiliate/partner/e-commerce
sites are viable ways to earn one's living from the internet.

What do you see as the pros and cons of these paths?

Of course it depends on the individual -- their talents and
types of things they like to do -- but what would you advise
someone who really could do well in either area, but doesn't
have time to master both?

Unless one has actually done it for awhile, it's hard
to know what it's *really* like -- day in and day out, quality
of life and earnings wise. Conventional stereotypes and
"wisdom" about what it's like running a webhosting or
affiliate/partner/e-commerce business often differ from the
reality. What are your thoughts on going into business in
these two areas -- how they might compare and contrast with
each other, for better or for worse?



9:10 am on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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the webhosting market is saturated. too many big companies offering servers very cheap allowed too many individuals to set up as web hosts too cheaply. prices are low, not much income per customer, expect a loss on server costs for a year or two while you pick up customers, maybe longer before you get anything to put in your pocket. don't forget you'll need to provide support 24/7 ...
4:45 pm on Jan 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Not too many answers here - I guess we're all primarily designers?

I would think both ideas would take about a year to really get rolling to the point of generating a stable income. So whatever business you decide, you need to look ahead and make sure that at the very least you'll be making as much as you would working for someone else...actually, not true, you'll need to make at *least* 1.5x more, because of overhead expenses. 3x more if you want employees. More hours than a regular business. FAR fewer vacations (we haven't been able to take more than the weeks around Christmas off, and a long weekend here or there.) And don't forget about retirement funds - you'll be 4-5 years behind a salaried employee just because you'll be focussing so hard on growing the business. That can mean $10,000's of $1,000's "lost" in retirement money by starting later. And so on, and so on. And then there's trying to get loans for things like mortgages which are MUCH harder to get when you are self-employed, as your income fluctuates.

I guess my point is that right from the get-go you need to do more than just "make a living" on the Internet. So when you look at either business, try and decide which has the longer term growth. My guess is web hosting, because the rug can always be pulled out of the affliate market if the manufacturer decides to stop the program. But the web host market is really oversaturated - not an impossibility, but you'll need to take a close look and determine how you'll be totally different from any other host.

Good luck with your decision, and let us know what you choose.


6:20 am on Jan 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, I'm about to increase my exposure in *both* of these areas. I've spent a considerable amount of time investigating.

My exposure to crack has been relatively small but quite intoxicating. With the natural research that happens by hanging out here, I've now got several ideas that should have the chance to do well.

I've been reselling hosting for 2 different providers and handling a nice number of clients. I'm at the point that my annual expenses are roughly equal to the cost of properly setting up my own dedicated hosting. ie, I'm paying my providers about what I'd pay for my own server & associated stuff/services. And that's without actively soliciting hosting business.

CrazyFool's right that there's not much income per customer. But with some decent volume, you can do pretty well. 95% of the time committment will be customer service/support. There are some very good options to help you provide that 24/7 support while still having a life outside.

It may be a while before I pull all my clients to my own equipment but I'll first start to fill my own server with micro sites for the dozens of domain names that I've got laying around. So I won't be profitable from day 1 but I expect I will be within about 2-3 months.

Feel free to bounce any ideas/questions off me as we seem to be in the same boat on this.

Good luck,

7:14 pm on Jan 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies so far everyone. Would love to hear
from those who have actually chosen one over the other --
or at least can say how they think the two paths compare and
contrast in whatever aspects they are familiar with.

It seems both can be started with a small sum of money, allow
folks to work from home part time, and have the potential
to grow into providing a full time income. Really wonder
about what each "path" is like day in and day out over time.
And what the probable rewards really are, fiancially speaking
for one who gives either path their all -- and what's
really required to get to the point of having a comforatable
and sustainable income (say $60K/yr plus).

Thanks again everyone,


8:06 pm on Jan 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Assuming that the idea of being someone's employee sends you into the back yard retching, let me say a few things about being an affiliate.


1. No customer service.
2. No employees, payroll, workers comp., etc.
3. No inventory required
4. Work from home
5. High income potential - You'll love your mailbox
6. Low overhead
7. Flexible time commitment
8. Diversification
9. Transportable


Takes a while to build income stream.

You can get to $60K plus within a year. My problem is that where I live, that'll just barely keep you away from the soup kitchens. But, that's my problem.

Sticky me if you'd like to know more.

4:53 pm on Jan 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Affiliate programs...what kinds are you doing? How are you making it work?
5:34 pm on Jan 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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HughMungus - Are you asking me?

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