Bright Spark PressLooking to add to your bottom line? Aren't we all! Of course, the million dollar question — literally — is how to go about it? Have you considered some kind of internet marketing? It's one of the best home business ideas around.

In 1994, I started an educational products company for homeschoolers called Bright Spark Press. I found the best educational materials, wrote up reviews of each product, typeset a catalog, and found a web press to print and bind it. Then I went about learning the ins and out (and expense and pain) of bulk mailing. It was a huge undertaking for someone who had never delved into retail marketing before.

The only thing left to do was to gather a mailing list. And that was the biggest job of all.

At the time I also worked on the staff for America Online. First I was in the Family Computing forum and later in the Homeschooling forum. The internet was brand spanking new and quite an adventure. AOL also offered each member a little sliver of disk space on which to create a web site. Seeing the amazing communicative powers of the web — and the ability to get my catalog to targeted customers in record time on a limited budget — I created my first site. My online catalog was born.

Back in the day other web users generally only found your site if you told them about it directly. Then came search engines and optimization and getting discovered became a science all it's own. Having a website isn't enough. You have to have a site that is easily found by those who want your product or service.

If you've decided that online marketing is for you, don't just throw up a web site and expect the money to start flowing. It won't. Just like any business, you will need to offer something valuable and find customers. Two skill sets that are easier said than done. Learn those two skills and your business will be a success. And you might just quit your day job.