Money can be earned and spent, saved and pilfered, invested and wasted. Not time. That's why time is far more valuable than money. The point? When you lack the luxury of time, making money online (or offline) can seem like an impossible task. How are you supposed to do that when you're working at a life-sucking nine-to-five job? While the stability of full-time employment might allow most to sleep well at night, it doesn't empower your creative juices to search for new income-producing strategies.
It’s something akin to picking stocks. You want to buy undervalued domains, and sell them later on at a higher price. For example, you can pick a domain that is out of favor, but could be related to some future event. So if you decide that the stock market is likely to crash in the future, you can buy a domain that includes the words stock market crash during a rising market, and then sell it in a falling market.
While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, full-blown trainings, ebooks, and so on.
Next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
Do you see all of those articles, tutorials and guides all over the Internet? Somebody wrote every one of them! If you have decent writing ability (no, you don’t need a journalism degree!), and knowledge in a few specific topic areas, you can be one of those writers. It’s an opportunity to make money online and without ever leaving your home. It’s also the kind of venture that can start out as a small side business, but grow into a full-time career.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about the difference between active income and passive income. This distinction will be paramount to your ability to produce serious capital on the web. So what is passive income? Passive income, if you don’t already know, is income that’s earned automatically. It doesn’t require much maintenance once that income stream has been created. However, it does require an enormous amount of effort at the outset to establish that stream of income.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early. I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial. You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!). Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a service that lets you make money online through doing paid microtasks. Each task is something simple that requires human interaction like rating search results, checking for the right spelling on search terms, categorizing the tone of an article, or even basic translating. You can do these tasks from anywhere you want and make money online from the world’s largest e-retailer.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up. I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Outsourcing is the new and dominant wave of the business world. As businesses shed employees, they increasingly turn to independent contractors to supply what in-house staff used to do. One of the ways they do this is through virtual assistants. These are people who provide certain tasks online. Businesses can use virtual assistants as much or as little as they need to. If you can make yourself available to multiple businesses, you might have plenty of work without ever leaving your house.
For those with a large Twitter following, you can make money from your Tweets alone with Sponsored Tweets. You could be paid for sharing a business’s information, recommending restaurants or hotels, or tweeting pictures of you using or wearing products. As with all sponsored posts on social media, businesses will only be prepared to pay you to Tweet if you have a large following that you can influence. So work hard on building up a loyal fan base.
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
26. Services – You can offer a paid service, such as life coaching, blog coaching, goal setting or financial planning. Just be sure to investigate all the legal implications and make sure you’re not claiming to be a professional if you’re not one. With a service like this, you’re basically using your blog to sell yourself. You’ll need to convince people that you’re worth buying and then be able to back up your claims once they purchase your service.
Get samples. When you first start out as a freelance writer, it can be hard to get work without any published samples. However, it is possible to get quality samples if you are willing to do some writing for free. First, you can publish content on your own blog or website. Also, you can write guest posts for someone else’s blog. Finally, you can write blog posts for free in exchange for a byline.
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If you have a propensity for writing and you can slay with your prose, consider writing an ebook. While the market has certainly become saturated as of late, books that help teach people about a technical topic still sell extremely well. This is a great source of passive income but does require a large amount of effort at the outset before any money is generated.
Become a proofreader. All kinds of businesses hire professional proofreaders to look over their copy and content for errors before they publish. This side hustle is one that could work for nearly anyone since you can work from home provided you have a computer and an internet connection. You can find online proofreading jobs through websites like Indeed.com and FlexJobs.com
It’s one of the oldest and most proven ways to make money – buy low, sell high. The buy low part comes from searching garage sales, estate sales, and even thrift stores to find items that are in good condition (“gently used”) but selling well below what they would if they were brand-new. In this way, you might be able to acquire an item for $5, and later sell it for $50.
One of the most beautiful and exciting qualities about blogging is that you can create a blog that deals with any subject area that you are either knowledgeable or passionate about (and preferably both!). You can write about personal finance, careers, real estate, getting into business, technology, cooking, travel, personal health, or just about any topic you choose.
22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
You will need to ensure that you adhere to a few principles when doing this. You need excellent photos, so investing in a good camera is well worth it here. You also need to ensure a meticulous description of the product, new or used. People appreciate the attention to detail and it will go a long way when trying to sell anything through these bustling online hubs.
You may decide to create free videos as extra content for your blog, and not sell them at all. If this is the case then you can still make money from these videos by selling advertising space on them (in the same way as discussed for monetizing podcasts). Once you have high volumes of traffic visiting your blog, and watching your videos, you can charge businesses to advertise at the beginning of your videos. Use website’s like Izea to help you connect with companies willing to pay to advertise on your blog.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Freelancing has always been a popular way to earn money online and the Internet has a plethora of options. There are several websites offering freelance tasks for people with varying skills. All you need to do is to create your account, browse through the listings, and apply for the task that suits you. Some websites may even require you to create a personal listing with the details of your skillset, so that interested clients can contact you directly. Outfiverr.com, upwork.com, freelancer.com, and worknhire.com are some websites that provide freelance jobs. You can earn anywhere between $5 and $100 through these websites.
Merch by Amazon is another service offered by Amazon that will enable you to make money online without any initial outlay. To get started you need to create an account with Merch by Amazon. Then simply design some T-shirt logos or slogans, and upload them to your Merch account. You will need to choose a T-shirt type, color, and price, and Amazon will create product pages for each T-shirt. When someone makes a purchase, Amazon takes care of production and shipping. And you are paid a royalty for your design.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)