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.
Signing up with Google AdSense will enable you to make money from advertising on your blog. Google AdSense will place relevant ads around your site, and if your site visitors click on these ads, you will earn a fee. Although each click only amounts to small change, if your blog has high levels of traffic and lots of page views this will quickly amount to a reasonable sum.
I really wanted to finish and soak up all that this book has to offer. It's clear that what he teaches works, but if you don't understand the business vocabulary/lingo you may find yourself struggling to read this book like I did. While I understood the concept/gist of what he was saying, I found myself wasting hours just staring at the book, rereading paragraphs multiple times, and getting distracted because I just couldn't understand the vocabulary.
Try pet sitting. Find friends who are going out of town and offer to take care of their pets while they’re gone. Professional boarding places tend to be very expensive (not to mention impersonal and intimidating for a pet), so your cozy little house or apartment may seem like a very nice alternative. Around the holidays, pet-boarders fill up quickly, meaning you can probably charge more.
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.
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!
However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don't have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
What does that mean for you? It means Nielsen will pay you $50 a year to keep their app on your favorite internet browsing device. The app itself collects statistics on your internet usage anonymously, so you never have to worry about any data being linked to you. And the best part is, the app takes up barely any space and doesn’t slow down your phone or tablet at all!
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.
A great book. Should be able to convince anyone that they do not need to start with single family homes and move up. Multifamily is the BEST place to start. I am currently putting lots of his ideas into practice in my business, and refocusing my business to be a "property turnaround specialist." Totally worth $.99. But just remember...like most of these $.99 authors, they are actually pushing you to buy their full "course" or "mentoring." Still, in between the hype and self-promotion, there is good info here.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
I don’t point all of this out to burst anyone’s bubble, but rather because I have been an entrepreneur for long enough now (more than two decades) that I have learned that it pays to be a realist. The heart of any good business strategy is truly understanding and correctly diagnosing your situation, and the above facts are critical for anyone hoping to succeed at selling online courses.
Drive for Uber or Lyft: If you're in a locale where you can find Uber or Lyft (or even one of the many competitors around the world such as China's Didi), you could easily make a respectable income. The hours are flexible and you can work as you see fit, making it perfect even if you currently have full-time employment but are looking to make some money on the side.
Often, what happens is that we run into unscrupulous Internet Marketers (IMs) who have less-than altruistic intentions of extracting money from you rather than helping you to make it. However, this isn't something new. People have been falling for networking marketing, pyramid schemes, and affiliate marketing scams since before the start of the net.
Fiverr is one of the biggest providers in the gig economy on the web and you can sell a wide variety of services and products through this medium. Do the research and find out what you can offer. However, keep in mind that like any other money-making task, it takes time to succeed here. And stellar reviews will help you generate more and more income over time.
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.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Upwork, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.
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."
Buying and selling websites is becoming more and more common. As investors are looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, some are looking to invest in websites instead of pouring all of their money into the stock market. If you’ve got some capital saved up, you could buy existing sites in hopes of reselling them for a profit. This is more of an investor’s play, but it’s possible to make a nice living while only connecting to Wi-Fi.
So, where are we supposed to turn to make money the legitimate way online? This isn't just about generating passive income; this is also about finding ways and means to create an active income through the conveniences afforded to us by the internet that will not only help us with our debt obligations, but also empower us to save, invest and get really rich in the future.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers. Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.
Be a private cab driver. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have set up services that connect drivers with people who need a ride and are willing to pay for it. In order to take advantage of this opportunity quickly, you must own a car, have a valid driver’s license, and meet other qualifications. It might take a little bit of time to get registered as a driver with the service, but once you are, there are opportunities to make money fast because these services are in high demand.
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.
You could try advertising more, for example, by putting up signs around the neighborhood, posting about it on social media, or having people you know spread the word. You could also try doing it in a different neighborhood that might have friendlier people, or do it in a time and place where there's likely to be a lot of people walking around the area (e.g., near a church before the end of a mass).
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.
For anyone considering this option as a way to make money online from home, just know that if you are going to do this, it should 100% be something that you are overly passionate about. You are going to have to put in a lot of work and a lot of time before you see the results ($$$). And even when you see the results, you need to maintain consistency. Make sure that if you want to blog, you're willing to have delayed gratification, putting in the work first.
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.
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:
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!
Websites like Care.com connect parents with babysitters. The company does all the background checking and other due diligence to put parents' minds at ease. Of course, you can appeal directly to people in your personal network, but if you're looking to generate recurring revenue sign up with a site marketing to parents looking for child care services.
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.
Whether you want to become your own boss, start a side hustle, or earn extra money on the side, any of the strategies listed above can help. By finding ways to increase your income, you can free up more cash to pay down debt, save for the future, or invest for retirement. Saving money is only half of the equation. And if you truly want to get ahead, you might want to figure out how to make money – and hopefully, lots of it.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
Running and charging for webinars can be a great way to build a following in your niche, demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, and make a profit. Hosting a webinar can be hard work. They need to first be promoted, provide original and valuable information, and include interactive elements so your audience can ask questions and engage with your topic. However, once you have built up a large blog following, each webinar can be extremely profitable.
One of the cool things about Google AdSense is that it's so easy to get set up. If you have a blog or website, you can sign up for a free Google AdSense Account. From there, Google will give you a unique code that you will paste onto your website. Google takes it from there, tracking your page views, traffic, and earnings on your behalf. There is no upkeep or maintenance to get this thing going, which makes it a no-brainer if you have a website already.