No matter what method you end up using to generate an income on the web, you need to adjust your mindset to help empower you rather than discourage you. The truth? Making money online can be fraught with avoidable pitfalls. There's no shortage to the rah-rah cheers of internet marketers looking to find ways to ensure they part you from your hard-earned cash. The trick? Cancel the noise and get to the real meat and potatoes, so to speak.
Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.
Tools & Resources: I’ve written a pretty comprehensive guide on the best web design software that covers both free and premium software packages. If you’re serious about becoming a web designer, then I recommend purchasing the full Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. At $49.99 per month, this is probably a bargain considering what you can achieve with this set of tools.
Open an Etsy store. If you have a creative talent or skill – whether it’s creating art, sewing clothes, or making keepsakes – you can open an online store on Etsy.com and sell your wares for some quick cash. With your own Etsy store, you’re left in charge of pricing and, ultimately, how much you make. See our detailed primer, “How to Make Money on Etsy.”
Become an Amazon Associate and then use Keyword planner to find an in-demand niche: With more than a million different products to choose from and up to 10% commission the sales you drive, Amazon’s affiliate program is a great place to get started. Browse their available products and see what connects with you. Or take it a step further and use Google’s Keyword Planner to quickly check how many people are searching for a specific term. With affiliate marketing, the more relevant traffic you can pull in, the more you’ll make off your site.
Working from home takes a lot of self-discipline. Before you become a remote worker, make sure you have a good system for keeping yourself organized and on task. Use whatever works for you – make a bullet journal, organize your duties on Trello, keep a detailed Google Calendar with Calendly for setting meetings. Just make sure you have a self-management scheme that keeps you going. I really like the new Focused Collection from Erin Condren.
If you are a budding photographer and would like to be paid for your craft then you should consider setting up your own photography website. This is a great way to not only promote your services as a photographer but also to sell your images. You can charge visitors a fee to download your images. Or, if you’d rather, turn your site into a paid membership site, with free downloads of all images for paying subscribers.
This side hustle can easily become a full-time job! If you’ve got expertise in an area and think you can help small businesses near you, give this a shot. For instance, Ben and I know a lot about running Facebook advertising campaigns, so we approached the owner of our gym if he would let us design a few campaigns for him. And of course, he was thrilled to get the help! Here’s a useful 18 Step Checklist for Becoming a Small Business Consultant.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
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.
OneOpinion— signing up is completely free, as it should be. This survey site, like many others, works on a points system: 1,000 points = $1. Once you reach 25,000 ($25), you can choose to cash out via PayPal or an Amazon gift card. OneOpinion also offers product testing, which means you have the opportunity to test new products at home before they hit the market.
When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Google AdSense – Google AdSense provides a free, flexible way to earn money from your websites, mobile sites, and site search results with relevant and engaging ads. It is the leading advertising network to make money online and usually offers the highest rates to their publishers through PPC (pay per click), CPM (cost per impression). Payment is done by check or direct deposit with a minimum payout of $100.
If you're serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.
These mega-sites make it easy to set up shop so customers can browse your products, and there's no need to build your own website. Also, you’ll find a built-in search feature so that interested buyers can easily find your online storefront. Plus, you get to use the site's shopping cart. In short, you avoid a lot of the expense and hassle of setting up an independent e-commerce website.
Using the money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. A service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money. Essentially, you act as the bank, which is pretty neat. Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Definitely something worth looking into!
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you've built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
Sell plasma. After passing an initial screening, you can usually sell your plasma for anywhere from $25 to $50 per donation. To qualify, you’ll have to stand in a long line or show up early, be willing to fill out a very personal questionnaire, and endure a painful needle prick or two. Still, selling plasma is a great way to raise money fast – if you can stand the hassle.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.