Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
A niche affiliate site often presents like an eCommerce store. To get started with an affiliate site, choose your niche then display products with pictures, descriptions, and prices, just as you would on an online store. However, when visitors click the ‘buy’ button, they will be taken directly to Amazon, to make the purchase. You then make an affiliate fee for sending the traffic to Amazon but have none of the packaging hassle, or initial financial output creating or buying the products.
My 10-year-old son brought home a book from our park’s free library box. It was a biology textbook – teachers edition. He said it looked interesting and hey, it was free (having no idea you could sell it). I scanned it in my Amazon seller app and realized it was worth around $150. He was so excited. We listed it for sale for $130 and it sold! Going to tell him, he just made $130!
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!
If you have graphic design skills then you could make money online by creating and selling your own design elements, like templates, fonts, graphics, and other assets. This is a great way to earn extra money and build up a portfolio of work, which could lead to you picking up freelance graphic design jobs. Websites like Envato Elements pay you a fee per element sold, which can become quite profitable if your work is popular.
If you have a background in a specific field, you may find there is a demand for writing industry papers in your area of expertise. For example, there are often adverts for doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, and business experts from particular niches, to write white papers on different subject areas. These are well paid jobs that you will need to stake your reputation on, but that can often be worked on from the comfort of your own home.
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.”
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.
It’s not the sort of online money making opportunity that’s covered in glory, but everyone needs a set of eyes to make sure the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that'll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
Where Indeed excels at finding job postings across the web and acting as a search crawler for employment, maybe a full-fledged career is too big of a commitment at this point in your life. Elance is a site to find freelance work of all types. I’ve used it for quick writing, editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs and temp gigs. The experience has been great.
They often expect you to commit to working a certain number of hours per week, which is generally part-time. They will pay you an hourly salary for that work, so it is really more of an at home job situation than it is in an entrepreneurial way to make money online. Still, if you want to get involved in political activity, and you have the time and motivation, this could be a way to monetize that passion.
Another option that isn’t quite cash back but is along the same lines of “make money by saving money” — the Honey Chrome extension. Whenever you head to your cart to check out, Honey searches for online coupon codes or better deals from different retailers. That means no more wasted time Googling “[insert store name] coupon code” just to come up empty-handed. Honey does all the legwork for you!
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
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.
There are numerous printing companies that will print your designs onto not just T-shirts, but also hoodies, hats, posters, cushions, bags, and phone cases, to name a few items. These businesses also offer fulfillment services. This means that you promote the merchandise on your own site and once you sell a product the printing company will not only print your design but also send the item directly to the buyer. So all you have to do is concentrate on the marketing and selling of your products, and the fulfillment company will take care of the rest.
Webinars On Air is a powerful webinar tool that will enable you to create professional webinars for your viewers. Harnessing the power of Google Hangouts, this all in one solution will take care of all the technical aspects of hosting a webinar, including payments. Also have a look at our guide to the best webinar software, both free and paid options.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Prior to that group, they had an online community for teachers looking for lesson plans. That probably sounds pretty random, but it's crazy the type of communities you can build and rally people around. If it's something that you're passionate about yourself and you want to connect with others that have that same passion, then an online community is something you should definitely consider.