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.
We all have those moments when we see a business that's so simple or so lucrative -- or both -- that we kick ourselves for not having thought of it first. I prefer to channel those moments into something positive, however, realizing that if "those people" could do it, so can any of us. For inspiration, here are five nearly insane (and often insanely lucrative) businesses that actually worked.
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.

Mechanical Turk is Amazon's take on micro-jobs. These are small miniscule-jobs that you can do for other people, which they call HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. These are super simple tasks that anyone can do. Some examples are listing off some URLs with certain kinds of images for one cent, or recording a few phrases with a microphone for 6 cents.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.

I recently stumbled on the Trim app and I have to say, this one is a game changer. It’s a simple app that acts as your own personal financial manager. Once you link your bank to the app, Trim analyzes your spending, finds subscriptions you need to cancel, negotiates your Comcast bill, finds you better car insurance, and more. And of course, the app is free! My bet is that it will only take a few days for Trim to put an extra $100 in your pocket. So easy!
The cash back industry is ruthlessly competitive, isn’t it!? All of these apps want new users, which means you can load up on welcome bonuses. The Ibotta app is another opportunity to get a bonus: they are giving people $10 when they sign up. Unlike the other apps mentioned in this article, Ibotta specializes in getting you cash back at grocery stores.

With any business, there are ways you can get started putting a lot of money down upfront. There are also ways to start an online business that ​don’t cost much. With the affiliate marketing business model, the startup costs are low, but you will be relying on organic traffic. Some affiliate marketers rely too heavily on paid traffic, which will quickly eat into your profits. Put work into your search engine optimization (SEO). It will pay off in the long run.

If you have a good idea for an app, and the skills to create it, then producing your own premium app can be profitable. However, with so many free apps available, it may be hard to convince people to pay. If you want to go down the premium app route, consider having a basic free version to encourage people to download the app in the first place. You can then provide the option of upgrading to a premium plan once users realize how useful the app is.


Fiverr: Israeli-based Fivver was started in 2010 by Shal Wininger and Micha Kaufam. It's a great resource for selling just about any service online. You can offer gigs as low as $5 but also get paid much more for upgrades and add-ons. There are plenty of providers earning 6 figures on Fiverr so it's definitely a worthwhile cause for generating a healthy income. Just ensure that you provide some serious value. 

Private employment agencies are also making big money out of providing interim agency social workers, managers, and even whole teams to local authority children’s social services. Almost 20% of children’s social workers in English local authorities are agency staff. Two private employment agencies made millions of pounds in profit in 2016 from providing social workers to local councils and their senior managers were each paid more than £250,000.

The music industry might not be as strong as it was in the 80s, but there are still plenty of ways to make money online as a musician. Sites like SoundBetter let you sell your services as a songwriter, producer, or session musician to thousands of customers a month. While Musicbed, Music Vine, Marmoset, and SongFreedom are perfect for licensing your music to TV shows, movies, and web series.


Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
Using a food delivery service can’t necessarily earn you money, but it can help you save you money if you constantly find yourself throwing out half the food you buy. Food delivery services send a box of food every week with new, sometimes unique vegetables, meat, fruit, and so on. If you don’t have time to shop and want simple meal-prep that leads to a good meal, a food subscription service may be perfect for you.
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