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Now it is time to start brainstorming.  I've covered five of the more popular methods of marketing online.  Affiliate marketing, niche marketing, marketing hard products, self publishing, and online auctions can each be used as a source of income, or you can combine them for even better results.

How you choose to use them is up to you and what you find interesting and appealing.  You could combine niche marketing and affiliate marketing.  You could combine marketing hard products with online auctions.  Or you might be more prone to self publishing.  By now you should have done some brainstorming for ideas of where you want to start building your profitable home based businesses.

Surfing websites can help in the brainstorming process.  Put in a search term and bring up websites that are related to what you think you might like to market.  Look at them for brainstorming ideas.  Make a folder in your favorites for any web sites you find especially interesting or spark ideas, so you can get back to them if you need to.

You can also look in the source code and see what keywords they are using.  To do this, go to your browser menu under view, and click on source.  This will bring up the source code for the web site.  Near the top you will see an area that says meta tags.  Usually just under this you will find the keywords.  This is good info to add to your keywords list.

Look these web sites over.  What do you like, and what don't you like?  What do they offer the visitor?  Is the site easy to navigate?  Is it easy to read?  Is it cluttered or does it have a nice layout?  Does it market hard products, are there elements of affiliate marketing or self publishing? If you find a site you especially like, you can use it in brainstorming sessions.  Do not steal content, but ideas are free. 

Magazine sites can help in the brainstorming process for ideas.  Amazon can also be good for this.  Amazon can give you a good feel for what kind of how to and self improvement subjects are popular.  This can be useful either for niche marketing or self publishing of ebooks.  And can give you ideas for what affiliate products would be a good complement.  Keep in mind subjects popular on Amazon would probably do well in online auctions as well.

Brainstorming and Affiliate Directories

Brainstorm using affiliate directories such as Linkshare or Commission Junction and look through the affiliate products that are offered. This may help you in your brainstorming efforts. If you find one or several related products that are of interest to you, and keyword research tells you this is a good market that's another approach.

Linkshare and Commission Junction feature huge lists of affiliate products you can promote on your web site for a commission.  Commission Junction calls affiliates, publishers.  I am telling you this to make it easier to understand.  They don't exactly make their site easy to navigate either, but what can you do?  This is a good place to enter Commission Junction.  You'll see what I mean in time.

Linkshare is a much easier site in many ways.  Give both of these sites a good looking over and read their terms so you understand them, or not.  It is good to sign up for both of them, it is free and this will give you a wide range of products and ideas.  Go to Linkshare .

Before you leave this page and move on, you should have at least three ideas of what to market and some idea what form you are going to use to market it.  I say at least because sometimes what we would like to market is just not a good idea if nobody is looking for it.  You need something to fall back on, or maybe a more positive way to put it is, you need something to move on to.

When brainstorming, it is good to write ideas down even if they seem outlandish. You may want to come back to some of these brainstorming ideas later.  If they seem outlandish now, maybe with refinement they may show promise.

From here move on to the Starting a Business section and into the keyword research. Do some brainstorming about how you will market.  Affiliate marketing works with anything.  Marketing hard products goes well with both your own website from which to promote them and easily combines with online auctionsSelf publishing and ebooks also work in combination with all of these, either to enhance a product or used as a viral marketing tool.

Brainstorming session should become a staple business building technique

While I am mentioning brainstorming, make this an ongoing process for new ideas for this project or future projects.  When surfing keep notepad open so you can jot down notes as you see things or ideas that might be helpful.  They are everywhere. Not always to be used as you see them, but to tweak and bend and become something a little different. Set aside a little time each week just for a brainstorming session.

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