I signed onto this forum two weeks ago, with an empty Paypal account and no online prospects. Within in that two weeks, I've managed to bank a couple hundred dollars of seed money and I've made a few contacts. Let me tell ya how I did it...
One of my initial goals was to find ways to make money consistently. Something I can fire up year round to make money online. Services were a natural fit so I started looking at that. So far, I've fallen in love with writing content. I love to learn and gather general knowledge. When you write on random topics, you learn a lot of stuff.
I didn't spend a lot of time reading this forum. I would look for techniques surrounding what I was doing (Fiverr and eBay) and try those out. There is absolutely no such thing as a magic bullet but a little bit of effort goes a long way. For example, adding a video to a Fiverr gig gives you about four times the traffic. It's such a simple thing to do and it adds a lot of traffic to your gig.
Another thing I did is I searched for the big principles. Most things have a handful of big principles that are easy to learn. All the methods and techniques stem from those principles. So sure enough, there are a handful of things that seem to make an internet marketing venture successful. So far, the following principles come off as important:
Networking - start talking to people. Build rapport, find out who's who, ect.
Promotion/traffic - become visible. There's no need to do radical things, just do better than 90% of other people. Little bit of effort goes a long way here. Also, cross-promote. Twitter, Facebook, your blog, Fiverr gigs, forum sig... everything connects to everything else. Still working on my promotion infrastructure
Customer service - the key to repeat business. Deliver trash with a bad attitude and the well will run dry. Over-deliver with a great attitude and people will want to deal with you.
Experiment - when you see successful people, you don't see all the stuff that didn't work. Don't be fooled into thinking that people dream up systems that work right out of the gate. In two weeks time, I had two Fiverr gigs that were MASSIVE fails but I also had some big successes.
I could break all of those down into one hundred techniques, each more clever than the last. At the end of the day though, it's the principle that's important, not the technique.
Cast a wide net. Ex. Offering crafts on eBay? Offer them on Etsy too. Put them on Kijiji and Craigslist. I sold a few extra goodies like this.
One last thing... who cares about competition? I used to dread competition. I would wait for the perfect idea to come along, which I would then use as my vehicle to riches. Needless to say, I got tired of waiting. I honestly believe it's easier to differentiate yourself and get a slice of the pie than it is to find a ground-breaking idea that will deliver the riches. Plus, think about this: once people catch wind of it, others will do it too. Then you'll be competing for a slice of the pie anyway. Grow a pair and get in there, lol. Everything I sold in the past two weeks could have been bought from someone else, on the very same websites. Right place at the right time? Maybe. Difference between the Mounds from a month ago and the Mounds from today is that this one got off the couch and made money. Competition be damned.
So now that the ball is rolling... what's next?
First off, build a promotion infrastructure. Blog, Facebook, Twitter, possibly a MySpace profile. Get some samples online and build some rapport.
Then, create some small digital products and learn to market them on Fiverr and eBay.
After that, create my own website or try to take over the world. Still undecided on that one.