3 Make Money Opportunities in 2009

2009 money making If only it were that simple, right? These days you can't turn on the television without news of foreclosures, company bailouts, stocks tanking and consumer confidence plummeting. Yet where most continue to see this as an indication that the economy is hurting, The Monetizer suggests you look for the economy's golden opportunities. The flipside is of course, finding money to buy into those opportunities.

Here's 3 ways you can profit from the down economy, if of course you do your research and make good, calculated risks:

1) Invest in stocks -
Stocks are especially beaten down right now and as Warren Buffet suggests you want to be greedy when others are fearful. This means don't view the low stock prices as a sign our economy will completely die. View it with more cautious optimism that there's some great deals to be had and money to be made. I can't suggest any stocks in particular, but look for names you know of well-built companies. High dividend paying stocks are always a great long term investment strategy, especially if you have the dividends reinvested.

I still like a company called Buyandhold.com which allows small-wallet investors to buy or sell stocks for $2.99 a trade. The catch with that is you can only buy during 3 different time slots a day, versus having the flexibility of real-time trading. Nonetheless, with Buyandhold.com you could begin to build a nice sized portfolio, whether it be an IRA for retirement or a regular account to build up a nice sum. Sharebuilder.com is another website with low buy and sell plans, worth checking out, or you could use one of the big boy brokers such as e-trade or Charles Schwab. Do your homework with well-known stock sites such as Smartmoney.com, CNN Money or Motley Fool to get ideas of what others recommend for investments.

2) Invest in Real estate - This is one area in which opportunities are presenting themselves daily. Foreclosures abound and according to some reports people are able to snatch up homes for pennies on the dollar. This one obviously will take a lot more funds than ideas 1 or 3, but possibly people begin networking to invest in real-estate, combining their funds to make wise buying decisions. It seems as if there may be a profitable business idea in some sort of program to help struggling mortgage-payers afford the payments until they can do so by themselves. Either way, I've seen many reports on the news and early shows about great housing deals out there. Those who know how to spot opportunities will most likely become quite wealthy if they buy now and sell later.

3) Start up a full or Part-time business - Whether it be a home-based ebay business, buying a franchise, inventing something, or doing something you love, some say right now is the best time to start. Others say it doesn't matter when you start, which could be true depending on the idea. With the economy down you can snatch up better deals on things you might need to get the business going. For example, the ebay business is a great idea right now if you can afford to bargain hunt. Between people having yard sales to generate income and retail stores slashing prices to move merchandise you can flip plenty of profitable products. With any other business they say if you get off the ground during rough economic times you can profit many times over when the economy starts to do well again.

Friends I encourage you to not ignore the news of the economy completely because that's going to be with us for some time. At the same time, when things are looking and sounding bleak you can use that adversity to spot opportunities and start making money. The next great ideas just might be born out of these trying times, and you just might be the one to do it!

As always party responsibly into the New Year...I wish everyone a happy, healthy and profitable 2009!


Make Money with Franchises in 2009?

company logo symbols franchises
(above logos are respective properties of the companies they represent)

As we head into 2009, opportunities will continue to surround us. One opportunity many individuals may consider is taking on ownership of a franchise. It's been said many times that buying into an established company with your own startup investment money and hard work can lead to prosperity. What a franchise seems to require most is finding quite a bit of startup money to invest in it, finding a profitable location, using a lot of your own elbow grease, marketing, promotion, human resources, accounting and many other skills. As you can see it's a risky idea as you're putting your money and time/effort on the line in the hopes of the company you buy into turning profitable. But it can also become an asset you can cash in with down the road, possibly bringing in a good source of passive income along the way.

The January 2009 issue of Entrepreneur magazine lists out the Top 10 Franchises as of right now. Without further ado...

1. Subway
2. McDonald's
3. Liberty Tax Service
4. Sonic Drive In
5. Intercontinental Hotels Group
6. Ace Hardware
7. Pizza Hut
8. The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc.
9. Circle K
10. Papa John's

As you can see people always love to eat as half of the Top 10 and 3 of the Top 4 franchises are fast food joints. Even in troubling economic times people will be patrons at these cheaper restaurants too. Subway continues to be one of the top choices for people to buy into, and you'd have to believe it's because it's such a profitable franchise and noble cause. The icon Jared devoted himself to losing weight by eating a certain type of sub sandwich daily. Others look to follow in his footsteps and "the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise" gives them a healthy way to eat out for lunch during their jobs. Subways promote "healthy fast food" and many people will buy into the notion of helping others to be healthy, especially with the way the US continues to label its children as becoming more and more obese. My cousin owns a Subway franchise currently and seems to enjoy the idea of owning his own business.

You can check out the Subway franchise process here.

So is a franchise for you? If you've got the die-hard work ethic to give your all to another brand, the ability to keep at it in the face of failure, and the desire to make that franchise branch into a profitable business somewhere, why not? Franchises take many of the skills you'll use in building, promoting and maintaining a profitable online business too. Just remember that the online business usually takes a lot less investment or startup money to get going. Weigh the pros and cons, and also consider the idea of combining your brick and mortar franchise with a blog or website to help drive new customers to both your online and real world businesses.


Websites for Online Shopping Deals & Saving Money

With the current state of the United States economy, retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their wares. These days many big name items are selling for rock bottom prices. In some instances companies are using deals just to get customers onto their website or into the actual stores. According to a recent MarketWatch.com article, Cyber Monday saw increases in traffic and clicks for many online retailers with Walmart.com, Target.com and Circuitcity.com seeing the biggest jumps. It's no secret that shopping from home can save you good money these days, but finding the best deals online is essential.

With Christmas in a few days, The Monetizer's gift to you is this collection of great websites for hunting down the best deals the web has to offer. You can use these sites to snatch up some great merchandise online all year long. Many times you'll find free samples you can get as well!

Google Products/shopping - A good start for your online shopping is to look up the exact item you want (Make/Model etc) in Google's product search. You'll get a listing of online price results so you can then do some comparison shopping to gauge what the price range is you can expect to pay. Also if you've supplied your zip code, you can get an idea for shipping and tax charges. This is one of the best ways to find the deal you want or at least get an idea of what you might be paying. Many items won't be discounted too much like the always popular Apple iPod. From Google's product search you can head over to the #1 auction site online...

eBay.com - No secret here. The biggest online buying and selling auctionplace around. Type your item into eBay and watch the search results spit out. The usual words of caution apply though. There's scammers and dishonest sellers lurking. Always investigate the feedback levels of the person you're buying from. The deal might look great, but the seller may have recent strings of negative feedback about shipping, or even worse no feedback at all. Another thing to keep in mind is shipping. Recently there's many ebay sellers offering free shipping, but in these instances the items were bid up much higher. Know your auction bid limits and stick to them. Don't let desire for an item cause you to go on a bidding rampage!

Dealnews.com - A very comprehensive site full of the very best deals in several important categories such as video games, computers, media entertainment, clothing and more. Narrow it down to the type of product you're looking for and you'll find plenty of online deal news. Dealnews.com is one of those sites you could spend hours surfing to see what sorts of deals are going on!

Dealspl.us - This is a deals site crafted in the form of social media sites like Digg or any other bookmarking site. The way it works is a site member spots a deal online and other members can click to give that deal a thumbs up. The most popular deals of the day will be found on the front page, with full details. Members can also comment on the deals as well.

Slickdeals.net - The Monetizer would probably give this the #1 rating ahead of the rest, but there seems to be a time lag between it displaying deals some days. Slickdeals features a list of deals of each day that are in collapsed form. Click on a deal of interest and it expands to show you the details complete with a link to the deal and any coupon info you might need.

Spoofee.com - This one is alot like Slickdeals as their deals seem to overlap many times. In several rare instances, Spoofee or Slickdeals had a deal the other site didn't display immediately. Keeping an eye on both sites can be helpful. Each of these sites offers RSS feeds to help track deals better.

Fatwallet.com - This site is crafted in the forum tradition, with users posting forum threads for "Hot Deals". There's even been a section where members gave each other spare Coke or Pepsi codes for their rewards programs. This site may take a bit more time to sift through as compared to the rest, but nonetheless it can offer some gems for online shopping. One other aspect of Fatwallet involves its "Cash back" program which is free to be a part of. Check out the various deals Fatwallet has from all sorts of retailers online. They change constantly but it's another way to help save money when making purchases online.

Woot.com - The Woot site provides a daily "Woot" which is their "deal of the day". It could be anything from airfare to a high-powered vacuum cleaner to computer accessories. Just recently they had a gyroscope air mouse that worked from up to 100 feet away from the computer. Most of their deals sell out fast so this is a site you may want to load up early in the AM and take advantage of a great deal they showcase. There's also wine Woot and shirt Woot which are linked to from their site, categories self-explanatory.

Now a few things to consider. Sometimes you'll see a deal on one of these sites, but always read the fine print whether it's on the website or the deal site. Other members may have commented on a deal to give people a heads up of any extra things needed for the deal. The deal may require an additional purchase, mail-in rebate or picking up an item in-store. Even so, I've seen plenty of deals on flat screen TV's, computer hardware and software for the internet surfer who stays attuned to these sites. You can also call most websites to get additional info. One thing I'd recommend is finding out if the product you're getting a deal on is available or back-ordered. I've run into an interesting situation with one deal I thought I was snatching up, which I'll explain in a future post.

Also, keep in mind these 4 sites will usually identify the very same deals. Despite this overlap, there's occasionally a deal missed by the other sites that you'll find on just one of them. For example, Spoofee identified a deal for 50 condoms shipped for $3.50, while the other sites didn't display this. This could be due to Spoofee having a different sort of audience than the other sites, but at least they stay protected while promiscuous... :)

I'd strongly recommend for anyone who doesn't have Paypal to sign up for an account. It makes for another great way to buy items online and recently I've seen several sites offering deals such as $10 of $50 or $20 cash back when you use Paypal. Also, Paypal offers their debit/credit card which can be attached to a 1% cash back on all credit purchases made. Yet another way to save a bit on those online purchases. 1% may not look like much, but it's $10 more or so if you're buying a $1,000 flat screen TV.

Keep an eye on these sites after Christmas day passes. There's a strong possibility there will be some great deals coming up due to retailers wanting to unload merchandise from the season!

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to all, from the Monetizer!


Think Big, But Act Small...

The book I'm currently reading, and thoroughly enjoying, is Felix Dennis' How to Get Rich. While the title may not sound all too original as there's plenty of other books with that name, Felix is a straight-shooter with a no BS approach to telling people about getting rich. That includes the fact that getting rich isn't for everyone, and that you'll never get rich while working for someone else. Felix Dennis is the founder of the popular Maxim magazine, and several other publishing ventures including Blender magazine, a monthly Bruce Lee poster magazine, and several computer magazines. He estimates his wealth is somewhere over 400 million dollars, but he's not exactly sure of the amount. His book offers plenty of great advice from someone who's struggled to succeed, learned from his failures, and eventually became rich in the process.

One of the concepts in Felix' book which applies to entrepreneurial endeavors including your own start-up business and blogging for money, is the idea of "thinking big, yet acting small". Many entrepreneurs and bloggers think big. They see their blog or business venture as eventually producing a full time income so they can quit their day jobs. They want to be the next Donald Trump, or Bill Gates, John Chow or Darren Rowse. They mimic the traits and successful patterns of these people and start to see their own great success as they continue to believe in themselves more and more. Felix warns that once you start to see an idea or concept take off and become profitable, don't get sucked into the idea of wining and dining yourself, buying fancy toys and showcasing the arrogance of someone's who's a multi-millionaire. Doing this can cause resentment from your employees or network connections, or it can make your employees start to take the same attitude as your own, buying expensive toys and ignoring the important things, such as the business itself. You need to keep your eye on the prize while continuing to work harder than even your hardest working employee.

I extend this concept to blogging in the following way. Think of your blog as becoming the next big success, but continue to act as if you are still small. In reality, until any of us are earning more from a blog than John Chow, Shoe Money or Darren Rowse, we're small fish in the blogosphere. How do you act small? You need to focus on the basics for building success, including networking with other bloggers (also trying to make a name for themselves), giving out link love, responding to reader comments, giving away free stuff, and working harder than the rest to make your blog a huge success. Hard work combined with your vision will lead to that success, but never lose that concept in the process.

You'll often see the phrase "fake it til you make it" tossed around too, but this may display the very arrogance Felix Dennis warns against. There's no need to pretend you're bigger than the rest, because you'll ultimately need the rest to make it. I stronlgy advise any budding entrepreneurs or business-minded individuals to check out Felix Dennis' How to Get Rich for a riveting look at the trials and tribulations of a self-made millionaire.


TIME's Top 10 Everything Lists of 2008

time magazine december 22 2008
(image source: TIME.com)

The December 22nd issue of TIME magazine features a look at the "Top 10 Everything of 2008" through a series of lists. These include everything from "Top 10 Breakups" to "Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs" and "Top 10 Movies". The cover even had a Top 10 Buzzwords of 2008 which included "Tweet", a word many Twitterers know well. These lists can be a blogger's dream come true, providing you with some trending topics to blog about, if you haven't already this past year. Some of the topics may continue to be hot in 2009 and beyond, providing you niche material. Here's a few of TIME's Top 10 lists of note:

Top 10 Discoveries in 2008:

1. Snow on Mars
2. Mystery insect in London
3. Fetus in a man
4. Melamine in Chinese Milk
5. Virgin-born shark
6. iPhone "kill switch"
7. Seven human feet, washed up on Pacific Northwest coast
8. Red Sox jersey in Yankees Stadium concrete
9. Marijuana in 2,700 year old Chinese tomb
10. Lost Beatles interview from 1964

Top 10 Gadgets in 2008:

1. Optoma Pico PK101
2. Mitsubishi LaserVue 65 inch HDTV
3. Apple iPhone 3G
4. Nikon D90 Digital Camera
5. foxL Bluetooth Portable Speaker
6. Seinheiser MX W1 Wireless Headphones
7. Flip Video MinoHD
8. Kindle by Amazon
9. Roku Netflix Box
10. Sony Playstation Home for PS3

In case you're wondering, gadget #1, the Optoma Pico PK101 is described as the type of gadget James Bond might carry. It's a projector that plugs into your iPhone or iPod and projects video/movies onto a flat surface up to 8 feet away. Pretty nifty, with a price tag of $399, but only available for pre-orders right now. TIME believes the Roku Netflix box which streams movies to TV may replace DVD at some point in the future, and Amazon's Kindle may be taking the place of good ol' fashioned books.

10 Coolest iPhone Apps:

1. Pandora Radio
2. AroundMe
3. AP Mobile News Network
4. Ocarina
5. Wikipanion
6. Adrenaline Pool Lite
7. Instapaper
8. NetNewsWire
9. iTalk
10. Fake Calls

Top 10 Movies 2008

2. Synecdoche, New York
3. My Winnipeg
4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
5. My Winnipeg
6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
7. Slumdog Millionaire
8. Iron Man
9. Speed Racer
10. Encounters at the End of the World

The Monetizer needs to interject on the movies list. Where in the world is "The Dark Knight"??! The Batman Begins sequel was a smash hit at the Box office, and received acclaim for its story and acting, especially that of Heath Ledger as The Joker. It definitely was the superior superhero flick when compared to Iron Man.

You get the idea from the lists above, these make for great blog post titles and subject material for blogs to make money online. Possibly a new niche for interesting iPhone apps or the Sony Playstation Home, a virtual world that comes for Free with the PS3? The sky's the limit as we head into 2009, and millions more blogs are in the making!


2 New Moneymakers - Testing in Progress

Hello make money online fans! The Monetizer has been busy updating other blogs to try to increase their earning power. I recently started tinkering with two other money making programs you may or may not have heard of. One is Chitika, a program that serves mini-mall style product ads or in text ads. The other is Rocket Profit, which has a slew of great affiliate offers you can promote for cash.

While I'm no expert on either program, I can fill you in on the basics. Chitika offers several types of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads with great features. Their latest they are promoting are the Premium - PPC Ad Units which will display only to search engine traffic on your blog or website, and also are fully compatible to place with Adsense on your site. The search traffic feature is nice, because that way your regular subscribers won't be pestered by annoying ads above your blog posts or site, only search traffic gets them. Chitika offers 4 other types of ads in addition to premium. There's Linx ads which are similar to Kontera, where certain words or phrases in your text are underlined. If users click those, that generates PPC income for you! Chitika's other choices are Graphic ads, eMiniMalls and Multiple Product Units (MPU's). Minimum payout is $50 with Chitkita, and from what I've heard the click through rates are great and the amount per click is also pretty nice. Check out Chitkia here.

Rocket Profit has some great potential as well. This affiliate program offers 100's of ads ranging from email, cell phone or zip code captures to lead/profile sign-ups. Some offers pay $2 just for someone submitting their cell phone number, zip code, or email address. Other offers are for leads such as $30 for purchasing various software or subscriptions. The minimum amount you have to earn with Rocket Profit is just $25. They provide you with your own account manager via phone, email and AIM for customer support. As mentioned have a lot of great banner, email and text type links you can use. It is my belief that when you apply to RocketProfit you'll need a dot com website, so keep this in mind. That's not to say you can't try with a Blogger blog though! I'll provide a more in depth on both of these programs as I become more familiar with them. Check out Rocket Profit here.

Hope everyone's having a great 2008 Holiday season!


Get Help from Web Hosting Geeks!

The following post is a sponsored review. If you're part of the make money online niche, or just about any other niche, and want to present a professional site to the world, finding a good is key web host. It's been hammered into our heads by all the top bloggers as one of the first steps to take in branding yourself and finding online success. A site called Web Hosting Geeks has been providing hosting reviews, ratings and awards since back in 2004, so they are here to help you sort through the numerous options you face when trying to find a good host.

Webhostinggeeks.com provides a comprehensive look at the best of the best web hosts around including their various awards for top hosting services. These include categories like "Best Host for Email", "Best Host for Blogs" and the overall "Top 10 Best Web Hosts of 2008". Surprisingly, #1 was not GoDaddy or Hostgator, but instead Immotion which for $8.95 a month gives unlimited space, unlimited traffic loads, a free domain name, and the ability to host up to 6 domains on that one account. There are several hosting options on their list that The Monetizer will seriously consider, as they allow unlimited domains and give a free domain with the deal. Amazingly Hostgator was not there despite many bloggers liking their services. My preferred host right now, GoDaddy, was farther down the list but still made the Top 10. Web Hosting Geeks also provides a great selection of articles on their site related to hosting. Eager online entrepreneurs may want to check out the "How to Make Money with Web Hosting" article.

What's great about webhostinggeeks.com is you can read reviews of each of their hosting providers from customers using that host service. This way you can get a feel for the types of problems customers may be facing with the host company and how good their tech support is. A deal for hosting may look good initially but you may find customers complaining there's never any customer support, or their site is down often. You may want to stay away from a host company of this nature. There's a review of Bluehost that you can check out at webhostinggeeks.com to get an idea. Each review provides rankings for price, tech support, user-friendliness, reliability and about 5 other categories important to anyone using web hosting services. Then you can read through individual customer testimonials or complaints regarding the service to see if it's adequate for you.

With the limitless number of web hosting companies in service these days, it will pay off not just in terms of money but in terms of the success of your site. Do your homework and let the Web Hosting Geeks help ease the process!


eBay Frustrations List & Policing

Chris Crum at WebProNews.com has put together his "Top 10 Frustrations for eBay Sellers" List. Coming in at #1 is Management, which is CEO John Donahoe, a man many are calling for a resignation from. Also on the list are things such as the lack of profitability, Paypal issues, technical glitches and buyer issues.

Crum's full list of eBay frustrations:

1. Management
2. Feedback Policy
3. Small Businesses Get Shut Out
4. Lack of Communication
5. Payment Policies
6. Fees/Lack of Profitability
7. Unwarranted Account Suspensions
8. The Buyers Themselves
9. Glitches
10. Lack of Innovation

Read the full WebProNews article here.

In my experience with eBay so far, the Buyer issue has been the only issue I can say has caused frustrations. Lately it seems there are a lot of "practice bidders" or people who create fake accounts in order to just try eBay out. Perhaps they just joined to make money off one of those "Get Paid to" sites, where you need to join eBay and place 1 bid. In addition to that, there are always those dishonest souls who try to get items for free, claiming major damage during shipping or that they never received it. eBay is built on a community of honest buyers and sellers, but they will need to address this as they continue doing business online. My suggestion that new accounts must make a refundable deposit to eBay of $10, and their first bid can't go over that. It may seem ridiculous, but it'd be a great way to prevent those fake new accounts from being made.

As for profit, that hasn't really been an issue, as sellers just need to be creative and innovate more. Finding trash to sell as treasure from garage sales, Goodwills and consignment shops is a skill anyone can develop. With eBay selling, it will really be all about the idea of survival of the fittest. Adapt and expand your business as eBay changes its model. Crum mentions that there are alternatives to eBay too, such as Amazon, Wigix, SeeAuctions and Shopify.

The Monetizer also suggests everyone sign up for the Ebay Partner Network. I can't guarantee everyone will get approved, but the money you can make with this program has very nice potential. More on that in a future blog post...

There's another article at WebProNews discussing eBay and how Congress plans to police it (as well as Craigslist and other sites), by secretly investigating any sellers they suspect are selling stolen goods. The sellers won't be informed they are being watched/investigated. This stems from a bunch of Victoria Secret bra sales, where the bras were sold on eBay for $25, but usually fetched up from $40 to $80. In summation of the article, if the bills pass, anybody who claims to suspect a seller of illegal activity can file a police report, present it to the retail/marketplace provider and then the provider must shutdown the seller. Some commentors on the article are comparing this to the famous novel called 1984 in which the government is playing Big Brother, watching our every move.

Read Congress to Make eBay a Rat

LA Police Gear Inc Website

The following is a sponsored review with PayPerPost. Since my study of choice in college was criminal justice, I'm always fascinated by those crime drama Television shows and movies, as well as real-life stories of crime. It's an interesting line of work, but not quite like what you see on Law & Order or CSI every day. Amongst my experiences were several visits to large state prisons (for work, not play) as well as police stations, courthouses, probation offices and more. I recall one trip to a police station in which we were shown the weapons storage area, complete with rocket launchers, battering rams and machine guns. Cool stuff!

LA Police Gear Inc. is definitely an interesting online retailer, providing everything from Gas Masks, Handcuffs and GPS Units to Surefire Flashlights, Galco Holsters and 5.11 Knives which are part of their tactical series. Surprisingly there's even Titanimum Smith & Wesson watches. Their headquarters if fittingly based in Los Angeles and the company was started by Los Angeles police officers. They pride themselves on fast shipping, quality products and excellent customer service. And they don't just sell to police officers either as everyday citizens can also purchase products there.

This may seem like a deviation from the normal money-making posts here for The Monetizer, but studying different businesses is a great way to learn about and form your own. La Police Gear Inc is a great example of a niche business formed by those specializing in the field of police gear themselves. Their website is well organized and just right in terms of visual presentation., offering pictures, videos and live online customer service. Also, if you're like me and enjoy the criminal justice subject or the crime drama TV shows/movies, just browsing through the LA Police Gear products makes for an interesting web-surfing adventure. You can visit their website at http://www.lapolicegear.com/ to see their variety of products and more about the company.

The Monetizer"s Latest

Tools of the Trade