If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
The secret to making money isn't working at a high-paying job, it’s finding creative solutions to people’s problems, and it doesn't take a fancy degree to do that. To get your creative juices flowing, check out these common and not-so-common ways of lining your pockets. Below that, you’ll also find more general financial advice as well as some money-making ideas for kids.
You can create your blog using a free platform from WordPress.org, but you’ll need to pay a small amount – as little as $4 per month – to have your blog hosted. Try GoDaddy.com, which can provide a domain name for your site, email addresses, database storage and other Web hosting services. To make money, you can use the free Google AdSense service to display advertisements on your site. The amount you’re paid varies by ad and usually depends on how many people see it. There's also what's called affiliate marketing, in which you earn a commission (usually less than 10%) whenever someone clicks on an ad on your site and purchases a product. The Amazon Associates affiliate program allows you to advertise the retailer’s products on your site, or try affiliate networks such as CJ Affiliate or ShareASale that work with thousands of companies. Depending on how much time you put into your blog and how many people visit it, you could be making a few hundred dollars each month within a year.
Profit from you photos. If you’re skilled with a camera, you can turn your photos into cash by selling them to stock image sites, such as Shutterstock.com. If the photos you submit are accepted, they can be downloaded by Shutterstock’s subscribers and you can earn anywhere from 25 cents to $120 per image download. Other sites that accept photos from contributors include iStock, Dreamstime and Sqeeqee.
I love referral and affiliate marketing. It’s where the vast majority of my income comes from these days. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can get in on the action as well. You can get paid to refer your friends to a wide variety of legitimate services. While there are many companies like StitchFix that will give you store credit for referrals, we are focusing on those that offer cold, hard cash today. Keep in mind, you will need to be signed up for the program yourself to take advantage of the program. But, you shouldn’t be referring people to things you don’t use anyway.
Use Swagbucks for your online searches. Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do occasionally earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “Swagbucks” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough Swagbucks, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
I have to admit, I use this one all the time but I had no idea until recently how it works. How can a company exist that allows users to host conference calls for free? It's actually quite brilliant: under a 1996 law, small rural telephone companies are allowed to charge larger phone companies a per-minute fee when those larger companies' customers call into the smaller ones' areas.
Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund. It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts. If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you. Try out Paribus.
Some membership sites charge monthly, quarterly, or annually. Which can be a nice recurring business model to enjoy. In this day and age, who you know matters more than what you know. That makes paid communities a great way to surround yourself with rock stars from all over the globe. Plus, most communities include a forum or some sort of group where the members can interact and answer each other’s questions.
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.
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.
Do odd jobs around your neighborhood. Mowing lawns, babysitting, raking leaves, snow shoveling, washing cars, and bathing pets are all examples of services that many people are willing to pay someone else to do. If you can do some of these things and you have some spare time, knock on the doors of family members or neighbors you know well, and offer your services.
However, not matter what method you choose to make money online, understand that you might be able to make some money fast, but for the sizable returns, you'll need significant sweat equity. However, a year from now, you'll be happy you started today. Remember, time is far more valuable than money. Focus on creating passive income streams that will free up your time so that you can quit the rat race and focus on the things that matter. That's the important thing here.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with printing, warehousing, customer service and so on. The site has over 2 million independent designers that have created products being sold online here. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income.
Be proactive. Remember Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong." Make plans, complete with as many calculations as possible, then anticipate everything that can go wrong. Then make contingency or backup plans for each scenario. Don't leave anything to luck. If you're writing a business plan, for example, do your best to estimate when you'll break even, then multiply that time frame by three to get a more realistic date; and after you've identified all the costs, add 20% to that for costs that will come up that you didn't anticipate. Your best defense against Murphy's law is to assume the worst, and brace yourself. An appropriate amount of insurance may be something worth considering. Don't forget the advice of Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who made several incredible breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease: "Luck favors the prepared mind."
Shopify is another great option if you are wanting to create your own eCommerce store. Shopify is arguably easier to set up than WooCommerce but will give you less control over your storefront and cost you more long term. However, if you have little to no experience of creating websites or using WordPress, or you are working to a very tight time schedule, then Shopify may be the perfect eCommerce platform for you.
Salvage and resell. Do you love antiques or have a knack for finding valuables at flea markets or yard sales? If you do, it might be time to consider salvaging items for resale – or even scouting out antiques to sell for a profit. While you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time searching for prospects and spend some money buying upfront, you could easily turn a profit if you know what you’re doing.
As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve begun to understand some of the money mistakes I’ve made along the way. After reading Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, I see that I’ve fallen prey to many of the issues raised by this excellent book. This book does a wonderful job of explaining how humans are naturally inclined to focus on the short term and have multiple inherent biases in their reasoning that lead to big money mistakes. More importantly, it provides thoughtful approaches to minimize those mistakes so that the reader will be better able to manage their finances.
Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
Try affiliate marketing. This means promoting someone else’s products or services for pay without actually carrying an inventory. There are many ways of incorporating affiliate marketing into your website/blog/page including banner ads (which are generally ineffective, as people tend to avoid these), linked articles (which are quite successful when the article content is thoughtful and doesn’t appear spammy), and product-placement videos (which can be very successful when done by people with charisma or a good sense of humor). You can even become an affiliate marketer without a website. Basic ways of making money through of affiliate marketing include:
With all of the scams and programs that are all over the Internet, it is hard to find a real way to make good money online. Even with well known business models like eCommerce and affiliate marketing, it takes a long time to even make one small sale. However, there is a business opportunity called website flipping that has an unlimited earning potential without having to sign up for anything, join scams, do hard work for small earnings, or having large amounts of start-up capital. Read more to find out how you can flip your way into making a true six figure income or more online, each year.
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.
Try Uber EATS or DoorDash. Uber EATS offers part-time work that’s similar to driving for Uber or Lyft. Instead of picking up passengers, however, you will pick up food orders and deliver them in your area. Pay works similarly, letting you earn a per-job rate plus tips. Door Dash works similarly, letting consumers order food from restaurants and connecting drivers to pick up and drop off their meals.
Offering specific online SEO services is also another online freelancer role that businesses are crying out for. If you know how to improve a website’s SEO by doing keyword research, creating content that can rank in search engines, adding metadata/schema to posts and pages, and building backlinks to a domain, to name a few tasks, then this could be a great line of work for you.
FlexJobs is 100% legit. While it may not be necessary for everyone, if you have limited time available to dig around on the internet and vet companies for legitimacy it’s well worth the investment. They research each job lead to make sure it is truly remote or flexible and it isn’t a scam. I’ve had a membership for a very long time and find it well worth the small investment.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
Invest. There are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but you should always start sooner rather than later. If you are looking for a good investing platform, I recommend Motif. Motif Investing allows individuals to invest affordably. This approachable investing platform makes it easy to buy a portfolio of up to 30 stocks, bonds or ETFs for just $9.95 total commission.
The term affiliate marketing has taken a bad rap over the years, primarily because people are abusing just how easy this is to do. Internet marketers are finding products they don’t even use because they come with a sweet commission, and are spamming everyone until they either buy, or unsubscribe. This is also known as the dark side of affiliate marketing.
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.