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.
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.
For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. Maybe you’ve tried starting your own business before, or maybe you're planning your very first one. Regardless, every new business will present its own unique opportunities and challenges.
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.
Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
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?
How many times have you told your friends about a great service or product you love? Could you have been compensated for that referral? Many companies today have refer-a-friend programs that will pay you in cash or store credit for bringing them new customers. Look in your online profile for these opportunities. The website will often provide you with a link you can share on social media or in an email. If it’s a product or service you are asked about a lot, it may even be worth your time to get cards printed up with your link for handing out.
Location. The most successful bed and breakfasts are those that are convenient to airports, historic parts of town, or other tourist attractions. That’s because there are two types of guests who tend to frequent B&B’s: business travelers who are tired of sterile hotel rooms, and families looking for a unique experience. That’s not to say that you can’t develop a successful B&B if your home isn’t located in the perfect spot, but you might have to work harder to make it a success if it isn’t.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
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.
What types of businesses work best? Find one in any of the following highly-profitable three industries: make money online, diet and fitness or relationship and dating. Any business targeted to one of these industries can reap the benefits of massive consumer spending occurring every single day. While you can certainly sell products for other companies as an affiliate, creating your own, also presents significant upside.
If you love children and want a career in childcare from your home, then a home daycare center could be right for you. Starting a home daycare center, like any home business, takes a lot of work, research, start-up costs and networking to get it going. Every state has different regulations, which could require physical improvements to your home. Learn more about starting a home daycare.
26. Services – You can offer a paid service, such as life coaching, blog coaching, goal setting or financial planning. Just be sure to investigate all the legal implications and make sure you’re not claiming to be a professional if you’re not one. With a service like this, you’re basically using your blog to sell yourself. You’ll need to convince people that you’re worth buying and then be able to back up your claims once they purchase your service.
Food. The second word in “Bed and Breakfast” is just as important as the first. Some B&Bs have tried to serve their guests muffins, juice, and coffee in the mornings, but the most successful hosts understand that the breakfast they serve will make a lasting impression on their guests. You can get creative and serve the type of breakfast traditional for the area that you’re in. For instance, if your home is located in the South, then eggs, grits, and biscuits may go over well, while Southwest guests may appreciate a traditional Tex-Mex meal. Whatever you decide, make it memorable and make sure that your guests feel welcome and appreciated. Make it memorable, and they’ll spread the word for you.
Crafty people tend to shy away from technology, but Etsy is where you’ll find a happy medium. Etsy is an online marketplace for just about anyone who wants to sell their hand-crafted goods. If you knit, paint, weld, carve, sew, mold, or shape something, you can probably sell it on Etsy. Spend ten minutes poking around different Etsy stores, and you’ll find people from all over the world, and all walks of life, selling their wares. And you don’t have to stop at having a side hustle; there are many people who have turned their small side business on Etsy into a full-time gig. Etsy provides an easy template and lots of how-to guides, so you won’t get overwhelmed with starting the online portion of your business. If you have even the slightest bit of creativity or artistic talent, Etsy is a no-brainier for making some side income online.
Get paid to search the Web. Sites like Swagbucks.com and Zoombucks.com will pay you to use their online interface to search the web. To qualify, you need to be willing to download their search bar and use it for everyday Internet use. The only caveat that comes with this “gig” is that you might be paid in gift cards instead of cash. If you can parlay those gift cards into items you need to buy anyway – like groceries or gas – searching online can be a lucrative way to spend your free time.
The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
Work remotely for a call center. Because many call center jobs are location independent, finding work in this field is an easy way to earn some money from home. Dozens of sites list job openings for call-center representatives, including Freelancer.com and SimplyHired.com. Meanwhile, you should check local job listings for openings and opportunities as well.
Styling companies are springing up across the country and need fashion stylists to work with their clients. It’s like playing dress-up, but with a paycheck. Fashion stylists usually get their start working retail or costume design, but a love of fashion is the main requirement. With personal shopping sites like Stitchfix or Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, it’s possible to be a stylist right in your living room.
Do you see all of those articles, tutorials and guides all over the Internet? Somebody wrote every one of them! If you have decent writing ability (no, you don’t need a journalism degree!), and knowledge in a few specific topic areas, you can be one of those writers. It’s an opportunity to make money online and without ever leaving your home. It’s also the kind of venture that can start out as a small side business, but grow into a full-time career.
Becoming a real estate agent and earning your real estate license not only means you can work from the comfort of your living room, but you are also your own boss. Earning a license doesn’t mean you have to start as an agent; coordinators are licensed and versed in all legal matters relating to buying and selling. Coordinators work with vendors, agents, and lenders and arrange property showings and deals.
I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.
Earn cash back for shopping. Earning cash back on your purchases is a smart idea, and credit card rewards aren’t the only good cash-back strategy out there. With sites like ShopAtHome.com, eBates.com, and TopCashBack.com, you can earn up to 10% cash back on purchases made with approved merchants. Many frequent shoppers also love the Ibotta app, which lets you earn cash-back on every purchase.
It wasn’t until 2010, two full years after my initial small investments, when I spent a bit more money for one of the best investments you can make in your business: building an email list. The Email Service Provider (ESP) I used at the time was Aweber, which cost me $194 per year to start (that’s only about $16 per month). Once my email list grew though, the costs increased based on the number of subscribers I had: 26,000 subscribers cost me $181 per month. Aside from the costs, which actually are pretty standard, Aweber didn’t have some of the features I wanted, so I moved on.
You offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. It varies depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either.
Affiliate marketing presents a very low friction entry into selling products online. While you do need some type of audience to sell these products or services to, you could make a significant amount of money from home while doing it. Some products or services have very high earnings per click. That means, if you play your cards right, you could easily make a large profit on conversions by driving traffic to specific offers as long as you target the right interests.
Once you’ve chosen a name and business structure, filed paperwork with the state and set up your website, you’re ready to get going with your online business. Remember that the Internet is a busy place and you can’t sit back and wait for customers to come to you. Look for ways to actively promote your business through online advertising, social media and old-fashioned word of mouth.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you've built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
I have 3 VAs. I couldn’t function without them. It doesn’t matter how big or how small a business is, they all need help running their day-to-day administrative tasks. Virtual assistants perform a variety of tasks that a traditional assistant or secretary would normally do, including making travel arrangements, paying bills, or managing expense reimbursements. I use them to upload content, optimize images, brief writers etc.
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