Do you have dreams of running your own business one day? Building and scaling a high-growth startup, while by far the most difficult way to make money online, arguably has the most potential upside.
1. Sell Your Services
Fiverr is now the world’s largest marketplace for people to make money selling small services (known as ‘Gigs’).
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What you offer could be absolutely anything, from writing and translating, social media posting, playing pranks and teaching to creating music, voiceovers and short video clips for people all around the world!
The default price is $5 (hence Fiverr…), but you can attach extra services to gigs for more money. Whilst it might not seem like much, it can quickly add up and there are plenty of examples of people making a really good living from the site. The key is to get a system in place which minimizes the time spent on each gig.
But there is another way to profit even more from Fiverr for potentially far less work. How? By simply reselling gigs elsewhere. For example, find a decent logo designer then reply to jobs on Upwork or even local classifieds. A $5 spend can easily become $50+, and it’s repeatable!
If you’re not interested in selling at all there’s SO much good stuff you can get done for yourself. Have a browse and get inspired!
2. Start a blog
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 set up 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.
Register for a domain name (any name that resonates with your niche).
Get a shared web hosting that is affordable (I recommend BlueHost that costs under $3 per month).
Install WordPress CMS.
Install WordPress plugins (important ones are Jetpack and Yoast SEO).
Install a free WordPress theme (here are the top free WordPress themes for the year).
- Register and add Google AdSense code on your blog.
- Enable Google AdSense for the AMP version.
- Do keyword research before publishing a post (use free SEO tools such as KWFinder).
- Publish one post per week (minimum) that has more than 500 words.
- I recommend focusing on one niche per blog (here are top 50 niches you can blog on).
- Add images and relevant videos on the blog posts.
- Once you have a steady flow of viewers who regularly visit your website, it is time for you to explore ways to make money online.
- You can, first of all, optimize the content of your site with relevant search words.
- This will help in improving the overall rankings.
- You can then associate with AdSense and Ad words to place the most appropriate ads.
- Once you start generating a reasonable flow of viewers, you will begin to make money online with every increasing click.
3. Build and Sell Software
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.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
There are two basic ways that you can make money online by building software products.
The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.
The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path.
If you’re willing to take the time to learn the development skills necessary to build high-quality software products (or even MVPs to help you get funding), there’s a growing roster of reputable online learning platforms like Treehouse, CodeAcademy, and Skillcrush to get you the skills you need.
4. Start an eCommerce Site and Sell Products
If finding a better solution to a problem hundreds or thousands of people have doesn’t seem like an option right now, you might be better off setting up a virtual shop and selling physical items.
These days, this couldn’t be easier. Sites like Shopify have made it easier than ever to build a customizable, powerful eCommerce site in a weekend and start selling products now.
This is probably one of the oldest and most time-tested ways of making money online. Plenty of digital entrepreneurs have created sustainable businesses by either:
- Creating physical products they know people in their niche will love.
- Purchasing low-cost goods manufactured in foreign countries, repackaging or combining them with other products, and selling them for higher prices on domestic online marketplaces.
Instead, if you can find a solid product that’s already being manufactured at a reasonable price from a marketplace like AliExpress, LightInTheBox, or DinoDirect and market it to your audience, you’ll have the start of a money-making eCommerce machine.
If you want to supplement selling on your Shopify store with other marketplaces, here are a few other highly lucrative options:
- Fulfilled by Amazon: Rather than drop shipping, Amazon lets you store your products in their own warehouses, making them available for Free 2-Day Shipping to Prime members. Which has been proven to significantly increase sales?
- eBay: The online auction giant is still in the game and especially good for selling electronics, gadgets, clothing and apparel, and accessories.
- Craigslist: While the least scalable, it can be very cost- and time-effective to sell to people locally.
No inventory. No handling products yourself. No shipping by hand. Sounds pretty amazing.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how your online store is going to operate.
Whether you’re selling your own new products or reselling other goods, you still have to consider how much stock you’re going to carry, how you’re going to fund upfront purchasing costs, and where you’re going to store your inventory. Remember, even if you avoid paying rent on a storefront, you still need to store your inventory somewhere.
5. Affiliate marketing
If you’ve got a good presence on social media or perhaps you even have a blog or website, you can start bringing in money immediately by promoting all sorts of companies, products, services and offers online.
Create a niche-specific blog.
Focus on publishing content and media related to a single topic (for example, weight loss or supplements).
Focus on sharing information that is valuable to the audience/website visitors.
Turn website visitors into paying customers by moving them between sales funnels (here’s the best tool to build sales funnel).
Create follow up emails to focus on selling after sending the 7th to follow up email (the biggest mistake is to sell right in the first email).
Sign up as a publisher on the Awin network, check their offers blog or browse the merchant listings to find something you think your friends would be interested in, grab your affiliate link and share it. If someone buys (can be within up to 90 days) using your link you’ll make a nice commission.
To take it a step further, set up a website (read our guide) or a topical Facebook page and invite all your friends to join it and post your affiliate offers on there.
6. Create YouTube videos
Building a YouTube channel is a lot like starting a blog or website, except that you’re working in video—not writing. The first step is to choose what kind of videos you’re going to create. Most successful YouTube channels fall under one of two categories:
- Educational content: People always want to find the quickest way to learn something new. And YouTube searches including the phrase “How to” are growing 70% year over year, making YouTube an incredible place to teach what you know.
- Entertainment: Web series, product reviews, comedy sketches and pranks, vlogs, even video game walkthroughs—there are so many different ways you can entertain people through your YouTube channel.
For more tips read us How to create a YouTube channel
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your home base for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
You’ll also want to make your YouTube channel more easily found by adding relevant keywords under the “Advanced” section and picking your targeted country (where you think most of your viewers are). If you have a personal blog or site, add it as an “associated website.”
According to recent stats we now watch more videos on YouTube than searches on Google. And with the recently introduced YouTube Partner Program, you can now profit from making and uploading videos. You will receive a percentage of the advertising revenue collected per 1,000 views.
Depending on how successful you are (virality, subscriber base, and topic) you can make a lot of money, and there are plenty of stories every week of more and more You Tubers making it their career.
7. Write and Publish eBook
If students are good at anything, it’s researching and writing. With the Amazon Kindle store, anyone can publish an eBook and make money.
And the Kindle app is now available on almost any device (laptops, iPods, smartphones and yes, Kindles) so your global market is huge!
List your book for £1.49 – £6.99 and you earn 70% of the sale. Considering Amazon is the ultimate selling machine (and remember people are looking to spend), that is a fantastic deal.
The key to success with eBooks is to create value, and write non-fiction. Simply bundling information you have researched and complied on a common problem (e.g. ‘Secrets’ to finding a job) and then presenting it in an easy to digest format (an eBook) justifies someone spending a few quid on it.
Another big tip is to have a great cover designed so it stands out, and once your book is live on the Kindle store it’s really important to get some reviews so it shows up higher in results. Encourage readers to leave an honest review at the end of your book.
The best thing about this lucrative idea is that once you’ve invested the time (say 20 hours), you’ll earn a passive income for years to come! For a step-by-step guide to publishing and earning with eBooks.
Create and Sell Mobile Apps
Do you have a great idea for an app? Then you should get it up on the Google Play Store and make some money off of your great idea. There is more than one way to make money with an app in the Google Play Store.
First, you can obviously make money by selling the app you have created for money. Simply set up a Merchant account with Google Wallet.
Then publish the app as a paid app and watch the money roll in from each download.
Second, you can include Google Ads in your app without too many extra steps. As your number of users increases, so will your income!