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.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
Here on Making Sense of Cents, I discuss how to make extra income, side hustles, side income, and how to make money online a decent amount. I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life in a positive way. A person can stop living paycheck to paycheck, they can pay off their debt, and more all by earning extra money and learning how to make extra money.
The first step is to get your domain. For the loooongest time ever, my blog was known as senseofcents.blogspot.com. I finally bought www.makingsenseofcents.com and haven’t looked back since. I don’t think anyone has ever said “I regret buying my domain and looking more professional.” If you sign up using my Bluehost link, then you will receive your domain for free.
Last but not least, you can also earn money online by building an online community, although the monetization strategies you can pursue will vary a lot depending on your goals. You can build a community with a blog, for example. You can also build an online forum and charge people for membership. You could even build up a Facebook group and use your influence there to sell and promote products.
Become a moving advertisement. “Wrap” your car in an advertisement, go about your usual commute, and get paid monthly to do it. (Some car-wrappers in San Francisco make as much as $400 a month doing this, but of course this varies depending on how big a city you live in and when / how often you make your commute.) You can also get paid to wear a company’s logo t-shirt around (particularly if you wear it someplace conspicuous, like at your school; see ShirtsInSchools.com as one example).
There are loads of resources for making money online as an affiliate. You could source products from ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, Share-a-Sale, Impact Radius and many others. Plus, many of the larger companies have their own affiliate programs as well. Do your due diligence and find the right company with a relevant product or service to your audience that you can sell as an affiliate.
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.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early. I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial. You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!). Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online or follow Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!
Whether you have a website or are still dreaming up ideas for a blog, you can also look into affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you partner with brands and businesses within the content of your website. If you mention a product or service, you link to that produce or service using a unique affiliate code you received when you signed up for that particular affiliate program. From there, you’ll make money any time someone buys a product or service through your link.