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.
How many email newsletters are you bombarded with every single day? There’s a reason for that. Marketing to an actively interested group of email subscribers is one of the best ways to make money online. There have even been million-dollar businesses built from simple email newsletters like TheSkimm, or Mister Spoils. Each newsletter targets a specific type of user with interesting, daily content, while also partnering with relevant companies and affiliates to bring in extra money. If this seems daunting, it’s not. Tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit and AWeber make it easier than ever to get started with email marketing. And another great option to consider (with the largest free plan available) is SendPulse, with their ability to send up to 15,000 emails per month to 2,500 subscribers, and then affordable plans starting at under $10/month as you grow from there.
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.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
Write and publish an eBook. You don’t need a traditional publisher and financial backing to publish your own book anymore. In fact, Amazon.com makes it possible for you to publish your own eBook and sell it independently – with no financial investment on your part. And with Kindle eBook publishing, your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Just be prepared to market it yourself on social media, your blog, or elsewhere if you expect to generate sales.
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
How much will you make? I think my best month with Google AdSense was almost $5,000 over the last ten years. That amazing month blew my mind since it was actually near the beginning of my blogging journey. When you go from making zero to $5,000 in a month, that will rock your world. For me, it also got me even more excited because I knew there were other ways to monetize.
If you have your own eCommerce store, social media is the perfect platform to showcase your products. Demonstrate your products in use and tell your social following why they need to buy your merchandise. Most social media channels allow you to add ‘buy’ buttons your pages, allowing your followers to easily click through to your site and make a purchase.
Landscape. Look for brush-clearing, mowing, or woodcutting jobs, some of which may land you regular customers. This can save you money at the same time: if you are hired to pick up pine needles, use them to mulch your roses, which will appreciate their acidity and smothering effect on weeds; if you are hired to cut and clear a fallen tree, use it to heat your house that winter.
It’s like if you met someone for the first time and the first thing they ask you is if you’re interested in buying something from them. I’d much rather get to know somebody first, trust them, and then have them tell me what they might have to offer. Or better yet, be genuinely interested in what they’re doing, and ask them about it myself. This is the kind of philosophy that I use when promoting other people’s products.
The beautiful thing about a course is that you get about as much out of them as you put into them. If you want to do one course launch, make a few thousand bucks and walk away, you can do that. If you want to create multiple courses around a general topic and run an academy that you advertise through webinars, podcasts, blogs, and joint-ventures and build a lifestyle business from your home, you can do that too!
If you are a professional photographer or have a real flair for photography, then selling your images on other sites could be an idea. This could be done alongside your own photography site, as it is a good way to help get your work viewed by a wider audience. There are numerous stock image websites to contribute to, but choosing a popular high-end site like Shutterstock should ensure your photographs make you some money.
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.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
There’s an excellent chance that you have one or several musical instruments sitting in storage that haven’t been used in years. Perhaps it’s a leftover from when you were in school, or even from your days playing in a band. Whatever the reason that you have it, it’s probably worth money if you can sell it. Brand-new instruments are ridiculously expensive, so people often look to buy used equipment instead, particularly if they are novices.
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Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
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Offer to watch children or pets. If you know anyone who has children or pets, you could easily begin a side gig as a babysitter or pet sitter. To let people know you’re interested, send out a group email describing your services, post an ad on Facebook, or tell friends and acquaintances about your availability in person or over the phone. You can also create a profile on a babysitting referral site like Care.com.
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."
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.