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.
Start a bed and breakfast. If you live in a popular resort area or own a historic property, a B&B might be the perfect side hustle. Not only can you work at home with this career, but you’ll also score some tax write-offs in the process — although most innkeepers caution that the profession requires a lot of hard work and is more of an attractive lifestyle than a money-making pursuit.
What these opportunities typically turn up to be is a pyramid scheme. You pay a fee to signup. You then receive a flyer saying how great stuffing envelopes is and list of names and addresses to mail said flyer. IF those people pay that signup fee so they can mail that flyer too, you get paid a small referral fee. ONLY if they take the bait do you get paid.
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
If you're not self-employed and work for a company, find out if they have a retirement plan. If you're lucky, employers will sometimes match contributions you make into a retirement fund. Retirement plans also often have the benefit of being tax-deferred. The longer you get to keep your money (and make interest on it) the better. It's never too early to start planning for retirement.
Writing an eBook and selling it on your blog can be a great money maker. Your eBook should be directly relevant to your blog’s content so you can sell your book to your existing audience. Creating a recipe eBook for a food blog or an eBook full of training plans to complement your fitness site are just a couple of examples that have the potential to sell.
The big boys and the big girls move stock prices on Wall Street. Mutual fund companies, large hedge funds and registered investment advisors with hundreds of millions, even billions to invest, seem to have the advantage. Yet an individual investor can still make money. Follow the CAN SLIM system, invented by IBD chairman and founder Bill O'Neil, of selecting, buying and selling stocks, to a T.
People are turning to audio and visuals when it comes to technical subjects. However, you should consider doing an ebook first and turning it into an audiobook through a resource like Audible's ACX platform. You can hire a producer either through a royalty share program, so you don't have to shell out upfront cash, or you can do a pay-per-hour hire as well.
Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)
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.
As I’ve thought more deeply about how to answer this question over the years, I’ve come to a realization that the problem is not the answer, but the question itself. For those who’ve asked it, I don’t think it’s always coming from a place of “quick money.” If we reframe the question, I think there’s room to empower and actually help those who’ve asked it—to give them a foundational understanding of what it really means to generate an income online.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
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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!
It takes the “books I’m reading” area you often see in blogs (within Amazon affiliate links) to a whole new level. not only is this great for you, but it’s extremely helpful for your readers who may be looking for additional resources related to your niche. Plus, they may come across products or services they weren’t originally looking for while on your resources page.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. 
What a huge, great list of ideas – bookmarked this as I know I’ll be coming back to go over it again and again. Here’s another item that could have made the list. I found a financial directory that’s useful for info on making money online. It’s http://money.madbeetech.com. What I like about it is that each directory listing includes ebooks and videos that can be instantly downloaded. All sorts of stuff for people who have their own website, and people who don’t (but still want to make money online).
Once you have decided what type of product you are going to sell, you need to decide where to sell them. Selling merchandise on Amazon or eBay aren’t your only options. Creating your own eCommerce store is another way to promote your products and generate sales. Once you have decided what you are going to sell, whether it is white labeled products, your own designs, or other people’s merchandise, you can set up an eCommerce website to display these products.
Walk around your neighborhood or town and I’m sure you’ll see tons of great local businesses with terrible design. However, with increasingly easy-to-use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Venngage, Stencil, and Visme, just about anyone with a creative mindset and a good amount of motivation can start making money online by being a graphic designer for local companies.
In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet and then use my guide to crafting an effective cold email to convince them to hire you.
If your goal is to make enough money to retire early, prioritize earning potential over job satisfaction, since you plan on getting out of the rat race early, anyway. Consider the types of jobs that pay extraordinarily well in exchange for hard work, little psychological satisfaction, and a punishing lifestyle, such as investment banking, sales, and engineering. If you can keep your expenses low and do this for about 10 years, you can save a nest egg for a modest but youthful retirement, or to supplement your income while you do something you really love doing but doesn't pay much. But keep in mind that delayed gratification requires clear goal-setting and strong willpower.
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.
Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Again, if your blog has a large reader base, then businesses may be interested in paying you to review their services or products. Not only will you get a free trial using whatever these businesses are selling, but you will also get a fee for writing them a review and posting it to your site. Paid reviews (and other paid and sponsored content) can be big money, so advertise this service on your contact page to generate business.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
Gary Belsky is editor in chief of ESPN The Magazine, where he has worked since 1998. The author of several books, he lectures frequently on the psychology of decision-making to business and consumer groups around the world. From 1994 through 1998, Belsky was a regular commentator on CNN’s Your Money and a frequent contributor to Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Crossfire and Oprah; he continues to appear on local and national radio and TV, commenting on sports, economics, business and personal finance. A St. Louis native, Belsky graduated from the University of Missouri in that city in 1983 with a BA in speech communication and political science. Before joining ESPN he was a writer at Money magazine and a reporter for Crain’s New York Business and the St. Louis Business Journal. In 1990, Belsky won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, administered by The Anderson School at UCLA. Belsky, who lives in Manhattan, serves on the board of directors of Urban Pathways, one of New York City’s largest providers of services to the homeless and mentally ill; as well as the New York Neo-Futurists, an East Village theater company.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.