A broker’s job can be summarized in a nutshell: Locate a buyer, source the good or service the buyer is willing to pay for, factor in your commission, link the two and repeat the cycle as much as you want.
Brokers are considered independent parties. They gained popularity in real estate and insurance, but over the years have managed to branch out. Thanks to the internet, online brokers continue to link buyers and sellers worldwide, making considerable income with every trade.
The internet is the most convenient place to find clients. Because it is so saturated, buyers may find it either time-consuming or even impossible to scour the web in search of quality and affordable suppliers. This is where the online broker comes in.
How do I get started as an online broker?
It doesn’t take much to start working and making money as an online broker. All you need is a computer and internet access.
You may decide not to limit yourself to a particular service or sector when you start off as an online broker. Then, as you continue to build your portfolio and gain trust among buyers and sellers, settle on what is both profitable and suitable for you. Alternatively, if you already know what you want to focus on right from the beginning, go ahead and do so.
Here are some examples of sectors you can consider getting into as an online broker:
- Online Content Creation( Web design, app creation, programming and article writing)
- Translation, Writing, and Editing
- Online Yard Sales
- Tours and Travel
- Real Estate and Automobile
Online Content Creation
Building a website can be both time-consuming and costly. Writing a good, informative article is not that easy either. A blog or website that is up to date and has quality content can attract clients worldwide. The internet is filled with talent capable of providing good content, building or revamping websites. There are a lot of people or businesses willing to pay for this convenience. As an online broker, link the two. Understand what the buyer wants, then look for a provider who meets this standard, at a rate friendly enough for you to gain a commission.
Translation, Writing, and Editing
As long as language barriers exist, translators will be in demand. The internet makes it easy to find native or advanced level speakers who can affordably translate written or spoken content. Quality will almost always guarantee return business. If your customers are satisfied with the translator you link them to, purpose to build a relationship with the translator, in case of any future similar requests.
Writing and editing go beyond online content. Technical writers, for instance, write up instruction manuals and other informative articles to communicate complex technical information to consumers, manufacturers or designers. Many technical writers have online profiles to reach interested clients. Reach out to writers who fit the particulars of your client’s needs and charge a commission if their work is accepted by the buyer. Remember just like translation, editing is not limited by language and as an online broker, you are not limited to your location.
Video editing is another highly sought-after skill. The quality video speaks volumes about a brand. High caliber video editors will offer to send you samples of their work with their quotes. In the case that you have a client seeking the services of a video editor, do a cost and quality comparison among the different editors.
Online Yard Sales
Sell books, equipment or electronics on behalf of other people, from the comfort of your own home. Websites like eBay come to mind when you think of selling what you do not need. You can use these or set up your own online store. Find buyers for items other people are trying to sell, but make sure you agree with your commission beforehand.
Tours and Travel
All year round, someone is looking for the best deal on their next travel. There are so many moving parts when it comes to planning a trip: flights, board, excursions etc. Despite there being a number of travel agencies that exist to take away this burden, it does not stop you from playing in this field. If you come across a great deal that even with your commission added to it, still saves a lot of money for the customer, go ahead and advertise. At times, the provider can factor your commission into the final attractive price, meaning as long as you facilitate a sale, your commission is a guarantee.
Freight and Haulage
Online Freight Brokers link shippers who are ready to haul, to qualified carriers. They look for the best prices on behalf of the shipper and charge a commission for this service. As an online broker, you are responsible for maintaining open communication with the carrier, keeping up to date with the status of the shipment.
Real Estate and Automobile
Brokerage in real estate and the automobile industry has been around for a long time. Commissions are calculated on each sale. As a broker, you can build an online portfolio of homes, offices, land or cars after you agree on your cut with the owners involved. Either take your own photos or use what he or she provides.
Stockbrokers buy and sell securities through the Stock Exchange for either individuals or institutions, and charge a mark up for their services. Though tricky, becoming an Independent Stock Broker is possible as long as you have the necessary qualifications. You will need to have an account with a brokerage before you can start investing your clients’ money.
Where can I provide online broker services?
This will largely depend on the kind of service and industry you are in.
Online content seekers or creators come together on websites like Upwork or Freelancer. You can find web designers, programmers, writers all in one place. Some of the jobs advertised on these sites remain incomplete and are ultimately taken down if no one takes up the task. Use these sites to find potential clients.
For automobile and appliances resales, try eBay or Amazon to reach buyers.
As a travel broker, you may opt to set up your own website or upload your deals on websites like Expedia, or Booking.com.
How do I reach potential buyers?
If you have contacts who you feel may be interested in your online broker services, email them detailing what you offer and your contact information. Though tempting, try not to structure your emails in a spam-like manner that won’t grab the attention of your potential client. The more personal the email sounds, the better and more trustworthy you come across as a broker. You may or may not have interacted with your potential buyer before. Regardless, keep your emails brief with just the right amount of detail.
2.) Internet Search
You may be surprised by the number of people who post either their demands or services on the web, then sit in wait for responses. Remember your job as an online broker is a connector. Explore any matches that you find. These may be quick and easy ways to make a profit.
3.) Virtual Trade Shows
This modern spin of the traditional trade fair is a great place to meet buyers and sellers around the world. Because everything happens online, there are no capacity or location limitations. Websites like vfairs.com provide a cost-effective way to interact with potential clients from the comfort of your home.
Ultimately, your success as an online broker comes down to:
- Reputation. Your services are online therefore gaining credibility, though possible, may not be very easy. Be consistent with the quality of service you offer. Communicate clearly with both the buyers and sellers for a smoother end to end process. Referrals by people you have worked with are key to growing your client base.
- Do not underestimate the power of return business. Keep your buyers and sellers happy, and you will always be first to mind when they are looking for an online broker they can trust.