1) An email address. Even just an email address is trés helpful because giving the wired set another option to contact you would mean another “basket” for potential sales. The more means by which you can be contacted, the better, because accessibility translates to sales, most of the time. You cannot pass up appealing to the laziest of customers, such as myself. :p
2) An instant messenger account. Yahoo is one of the most trusted instant messaging service in these parts, and like Yahoo, the other email service providers actually integrate instant messaging services with their email accounts. You need this so that you will be accessible to the pesky/persistent customers, who, for all their peskiness, just might bring you the big bucks, if you are patient enough with them. Instant messaging, to the unitiated, is almost like talking; only communication is through words in black-and-white, much like email, only faster.
3) A website. While most people are intimidated with the thought of having a website created for them, worse with creating a website for themselves, a website is actually a very, very important investment. And contrary to popular belief, creating a simple website doesn’t take that long, given the right software and a mind that is willing to learn. If you are not up for learning another software though, getting a website made does not cost that much anymore. Some website design companies even charge as little as $4 per webpage. You just have to know where to look. Also, domain registration and hosting fees are getting much, much cheaper nowadays, so there really isn’t a reason for you to be intimidated with having a website created for your business, or for yourself.
Those up there are just the basic services you would need. Here are not life-or-death needs, but they could prove very helpful to your business/career.
4) An auction website, seller forum/marketplace, shopping website account. Featuring your products on these kinds of websites could be a charm to your business, because you get higher exposure and traffic here, as much more people go here than in newer domains, like yours would be. Just be sure to provide links to your own business/personal website, if that is allowed.
5) A social networking site membership. While Friendster may do more harm than good for your business, consider Twitter or Facebook. Even Multiply would help. Remember that networking is one of the pillars in a business, and an Internet-driven business is no different. I have met so many people through Twitter, and it still surprises me that the president of a non-profit software company decided to “follow” me on Twitter, just because I say the weirdest stuff on there. Lesson: never underestimate the power of social networking!
Also, Twitter is very helpful in spreading link love. Make a post on Twitter and include a link, and it’s viral marketing with with a “tweet”. 😀
6) A social bookmarking website membership. I never really considered the importance of this in my life, until I discovered that someone who apparently became a sworn enemy of mine had bookmarked his own entries and he succeeded in propelling his bookmark entries and website to the top spots in Google (with a search of my name) weeks ago. But due to zilch traffic and my flagging, his entries are now on the supplementary pages. *smirk*
Social bookmarking boosts your website on search engines, especially Google, because the bookmarking is read by Google as a “seal of approval,” which helps put your website on the top results.
7) A freelancer product bidding marketplace membership. If you are selling services or labor, as in programming or content, an account in a website similar to Elance.com or GetAFreelancer.com would really help you get started on selling your services on an international scale.
To wrap things up, I cannot emphasize the importance of the Internet to your moneymaking, whether through a business or a service career more than this: I would literally go hungry if not for this nifty invention called the Internet. Seriously.