Through this experience, one thing I learned is that development, and the selling of the product you develop, takes time and money. This is a lesson I took to heart when I built another software company, SPI Labs, with my partner Matt Gartland. SPI Labs is behind the Smart Podcast Player, which was a significant undertaking that started out as a custom solution for AskPat and eventually became a successful WordPress plugin used by thousands of fellow podcasters.
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.
During my high school days, I was a pretty decent golfer (about a 2-3 handicap, for you other golfers out there). I was asked by my local club professional if I would help him teach his junior golf clinics that summer. If you have specialized skill in any sport, there are definitely opportunities out there for teaching others the fundamentals (and getting paid).
As more people want to establish their presence online no matter what their reason, the demand for WordPress themes and website templates continue to rise. Do you have a talent for designing websites and html coding? If so, you can make big bucks from creating attractive website themes. Create them and then sell them on marketplaces online like ThemeForest and TemplateMonster to generate a nice passive income for yourself depending on just how talented you are.
Now, it’s time to start creating and uploading content. Make sure you’re using a high-enough quality camera (most smartphones will work but I’d suggest at least having a tripod so your footage isn’t shaky), but don’t worry about being perfect at first. The beauty of YouTube is that you can continue to test out different content and styles as you find what works for you. Instead, stick to a regular schedule to build up your subscriber base.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
If you’re selling products, either hire a freelancer to do the job right or invest in the equipment that you’ll need to take and edit high-quality photos. If you’re not sure you can afford professional images, check with local colleges to see if there are students looking to learn and build their portfolios that cost less than well-established professionals.
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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.
Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
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.
Content is what drives web traffic. Websites are always pumping out fresh, new content for their readers, and they are always looking for writers! If you aren’t quite ready to launch your own blog yet, this might be a good option to see if writing is for you. Since competition is high, we don’t recommend starting from scratch as a freelance writer. Want to see success faster? Learn from a veteran, six-figure freelance writer.
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.
Double check yourself, before you double wreck yourself. Make sure everything you send to a company, whether a résumé, an email or a portfolio, is good to go. Double check your grammar and wording, and for God’s sake use spell check! This is especially important when it comes to the company’s name. Don’t spell their name wrong and be sure to type it how they type it (e.g. Problogger, not Pro Blogger).
We all know we should be investing money, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This is especially the case for those with limited dispensable cash or inconsistent income. Acorns (get $5 to invest when you sign up through this link) is an app that will allow you to round up your everyday purchases and invest that spare change. While you may be unable to write a sizeable check for investing each month, you may not notice an extra $.25 tacked onto your morning Starbucks. Stockpile is another micro-investing platform I love. Get $5 to invest free when you sign up here.
Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. And if you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Simply this. Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income?
Ready to enter the ecommerce fray? Why not sell your own stuff. Of course, along with selling your own stuff on your own website comes a whole slew of both responsibilities and technical configuration and requirements. For starters, you'll need a website and a hosting account. You'll also need a merchant account (sure you can use Stripe or PayPal). Then you'll need to design that site, build a sales funnel, create a lead magnet and do some email marketing.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
This side hustle can easily become a full-time job! If you’ve got expertise in an area and think you can help small businesses near you, give this a shot. For instance, Ben and I know a lot about running Facebook advertising campaigns, so we approached the owner of our gym if he would let us design a few campaigns for him. And of course, he was thrilled to get the help! Here’s a useful 18 Step Checklist for Becoming a Small Business Consultant.
Amazon offers a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which can be extremely useful for arbitrage sellers, or others selling their own products. If you opt for FBA, Amazon will store, pick, pack and deliver your products. That means you can scale your arbitrage business quickly as you don’t have to store products in your own home or waste time with postage.
Some of these promotion techniques may include article marketing, social bookmarking, forum posting, writing press releases, submitting your site to a number of search engines and directories, and blog posting; just to name a few. Most businesses don’t pay their own staff to perform these tasks and choose to outsource all their SEO and SEM tasks instead.
In a recent FlexJobs study, they found “Sixty-seven percent of freelancers report that the amount of work they’ve gotten online has increased in the last year, and 64% of freelancers found work online, up 22 points since 2014 according to the “Freelancing in America: 2018” report. The percentage of freelancers who earn $75,000 or more annually has increased 15 points since 2014.” That's awesome news for those looking to make money from home.
Retailers need seasonal workers to answer phone calls, and summer venues need workers to take on crowded bookings. It’s the ultimate part-time job, because it only happens once or twice a year. Seasonal call support workers provide backup to year-round workers, and can work from the comfort of home. It’s all about timing. You won’t find seasonal work smack in the middle of the Christmas season一those workers were hired weeks earlier and have gone through training to get there. Seasonal work begins to advertise a few months or weeks before the event. Keep an eye on your favorite job board, or use the keyword “seasonal” when searching.
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.