The most important distinction when it comes to doing business online versus in person is online business law. These laws regard the distribution of your customer’s personal information, as well as other privacy and intellectual property regulations. The SBA gives a thorough rundown of the specifics of online business law, so make sure to brush up on them before you start your online business.
However, if you're looking for realistic ways you can start earning money online now, then it really truly does boil down to seven paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities such as rent, utilities and groceries, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term.
You can also use an all-inclusive ecommerce web service. Sites such as Shopify and Volusion offer competitive packages, with free templates, custom packages, credit card processing, and more. Ecommerce web services makes it easy to sell your products on the web, without a lot of overhead. There are no custom interfaces or templates to work with; you simply create an online store within the framework of the service.
Virtually every small business needs help running their day-to-day administrative tasks, but they may not particularly want to pay a full-time in-house employee to do it. 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.
In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.
Our first overlooked opportunity is selling your knowledge. In this instance, we are talking about creating a course or eBook that you can make available for purchasing online. Because of the automation available today, you may be able to put in the work once when creating your packaged information and then enjoy those checks coming in for months or years to come.
Using the money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. A service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money. Essentially, you act as the bank, which is pretty neat. Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Definitely something worth looking into!
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.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.
If talking on the phone is not practical for you, you can still work a customer service job from home. Many of the same companies that hire call center agents, also hire chat agents. And in addition to these customer service chat jobs, there are other online chat jobs from home. These include answering questions, doing internet research, moderating in social media and more.
Tutor students. If you have an academic specialty and can squeeze in a couple of hours during the week while Junior is taking a nap or Janie is at gymnastics, share your knowledge with struggling students. Find students looking to improve their grades on your own through your kids' schools – check a site such as Craigslist.org to gauge hourly rates in your area – or sign on with an online tutoring company, such as Tutor.com. You must be available to tutor at least five hours a week and have a college degree to tutor certain subjects for Tutor.com. Tutoring is done virtually from home via a computer, not in person. Tutor.com tutors are paid an hourly rate based on the subject.
A website helps your business stand out from competitors and gives you far more control than you'd have competing on a large marketplace with other sellers. With your own website, you can define your own store policies, show off your products to their best advantage and take payment in the ways that you and your customers prefer. Your website will also become the central hub for your social media and marketing efforts. In today's world a website is truly essential, but don't worry; it's easy to create a website for your business and optimize it to build and grow your brand.
Every year, hundreds of millions of documents are notarized in the United States: wills, mortgages, citizenship forms, handgun applications. While for decades, this has all been done in person, there is a budding crop of sites that allow notaries to take their services online. If you’re already a notary, you can sell your services online. Or, if you want to get started, check out the National Notary’s checklist for becoming a certified notary.
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.
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.
Advertise! Whether you pay for advertising or you trade advertising with related websites and blogs, or you use free search sites, the important thing to remember is to put in the time and keep track of what works. Search out other websites and blogs with similar content and leave comments with your contact info. There are services that will do all the marketing for you for a fee, but to start out, you can do the marketing yourself. Fiverr.com will advertise your website starting at $5.
This comes back to the implementation of sales funnels within an ecommerce environment. In fact, much of what people think about traditional ecommerce stores taking months or even years to build and costing a small fortune simply isn't true. Dave Woodward, co-founder of ClickFunnels, says that over one-third of their two-comma club (members who have a sales funnel making a million or more per year) are ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Become an affiliate marketer. There are many companies and webmasters who use affiliate programs to boost their online sales, and most of these affiliate programs are free to join. When you sign up for an affiliate program, an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID will be assigned to you. The affiliate link is used for marketing the products of your merchant. When a visitor buys an item through your affiliate link, you earn affiliate commission.
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.
If you have a knack for organization, you can make money online as a virtual assistant helping people to keep their days in order. A virtual assistant will do everyinthing from bookkeeping to research, database entry, booking travel, and managing email. It can also be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, and of course grow another stream of income. You can find great gigs on UpWork, Fiverr, Indeed, and Remote.co.
When it comes to at-home income, selling your unwanted stuff is the definition of “low-hanging fruit.” Even if you’re resolutely intentional in your purchasing habits, you surely have possessions that you can do without: old kids’ clothing and toys, disused sporting goods, out-of-fashion wardrobe accessories, electronics, entertainment, valuable but non-sentimental keepsakes such as watches and jewelry, broken-in furniture, dusty tools and outdoor equipment, and perhaps even big-ticket items like a motorcycle or second car.
Be a mommy (or daddy) blogger. If you haven’t used your free time between changing diapers, washing clothes and shuttling kids around to hop on the blog bandwagon, it’s worth considering this potential source of income. And just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to write about parenting issues. In fact, given that there already are so many blogs about life as a mom (or dad), consider writing about another topic about which you are passionate. The more original, entertaining and informative you are, the more likely you’ll gain followers – and you need an online following to make money.
Logan is a CPA with a Masters Degree in Taxation from the University of Southern California. He has been featured in publications such as Debt.com. He has nearly 10 years of public accounting experience, including 5 with professional services firm Ernst & Young where he consulted with multinational companies and high net worth individuals on their tax situations. He launched Money Done Right in 2017 to communicate modern ideas on earning, saving, and investing money. A year later, he launched Blogging Done Right to teach others how to create their own money-making blogs.
Because smartphones are everywhere, the demand for new and creative apps is increasing in popularity more than ever before. Between Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone market, people are using countless apps everyday. And, most of them are selling right and left. Taking the time to develop and sell a smartphone app may be worth your while since it’s a very lucrative way to earn money online. The apps cost almost nothing to actually develop and don’t involve any shipping or storage costs, which works to expand your overall profit margin. Well performing apps can make thousands in ad revenue each month for their creators, making them another great passive income strategy.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
Create a stylish and functional website. Elegant or funky, classical or hipster, your online store should reflect what you’re selling. No matter what your style is, it's important to give off a professional air. Since you won't be able to earn people's trust in person, your website will have to do the selling for you. Your site should be engaging, and most importantly, easy for customers to use when they're ready to make a purchase.
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site. Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
Creating and selling courses on your blog can be a successful way to make money online. The course itself should be relevant to your blog, and based on a topic that will benefit your audience. Although it may take time to create the course in the first instance, once completed, you can then repeatedly make money from the course each time you sell it.
Even if it’s a mundane task like walking dogs, you could start the next (or only) full-service dog walking and grooming service in your town, where dog owners rave over your business and always refer you to others. You can hire other dog walkers as you grow, and turn your side hustle into a sustainable enterprise. You just have to do the work, and do it well.
Before you really roll up your sleeves and monetize your personal or professional skills, why not right-size your life? Selling your unwanted stuff is a great way to downsize and declutter your life while earning some income on the side. If you’re transitioning to full-time work-at-home status, that income could provide a critical boost to your plans for a proper home office, or allow you to maintain your lifestyle during lean times without resorting to voluntary simplicity.
Use your blog to share hobbies, thoughts, and passions with others and use your blog to make real connections with people. The mechanics are straightforward, and you'll be able to profit with your blog via online advertising (e.g. Google Adwords), affiliate marketing (see below), and subscriber-based lists to produce a steady stream of income. There are many ways to make money with a blog.
Want to do more than type words but instead create? Consider a career in writing. There are so many ways to be a writer (think blogging, fiction writing, and children’s books), and most of them can be done from home either as a telecommuter and a freelancer. The great thing about writing is you can start small with very little experience. You won't make a lot at first but as you build your portfolio you can expand into more lucrative types of writing.
You’ll also need to have some technical know-how if you want to be marketable as an online writer. You don’t need to be Bill Gates, but you should at least know how to add a link and crop a picture. You can practice some of these skills by playing around with a free WordPress site, experimenting with features and publishing a few stories. That way, you can gain experience and create a small portfolio of articles you can share with other businesses when you want to start applying to writing jobs. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a writer in the U.S. is about $48,000.
You may decide to create free videos as extra content for your blog, and not sell them at all. If this is the case then you can still make money from these videos by selling advertising space on them (in the same way as discussed for monetizing podcasts). Once you have high volumes of traffic visiting your blog, and watching your videos, you can charge businesses to advertise at the beginning of your videos. Use website’s like Izea to help you connect with companies willing to pay to advertise on your blog.
Drop shipping is another great ‘hands-off’ way to sell products. Firstly you will need to find businesses that sell products in your niche that offer a drop shipping service. Then you will need to create a website promoting and selling the products. When you make a sale, you take the payment on your site and then the manufacturer ships the goods to the buyer. The profit comes from charging a higher rate than the manufacturer, and if you are selling a high number of products this can quickly add up to a healthy revenue.
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.
There are several ways to make money from your car such as taxiing people, renting your car, or advertising businesses. Run the numbers before using your car to make money, especially if you're driving more than usual because it might cost more than you earn to use your car as a money-maker. Factor in depreciation, wear and tear, and gas expenses when you decide if driving is a cost-effective way to make extra money.
To get started with Amazon affiliate marketing you will need to sign up with Amazon Affiliates. Then subtly market products on your site that are relevant to your niche and will be of interest to your audience. Make sure you only endorse high-quality products. If your visitors make a purchase on your recommendation but are not impressed with the item, you could quickly lose followers.
Generally, good business names are somewhat descriptive of what the business does or sells, and frequently include the USP in some fashion. It’s also common to include the names of the owners or founders. While this is a good formula to start with, you shouldn’t just stick these three things together and make that your business’s name — you can come up with something much better if you put some more thought into it.
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.
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.
Once you’ve had children, many parents find themselves caught in the trap of needing to work but wanting to stay home with their kids. Creating your own parenting blog can not only be a way to make some money, but it can also help you connect with other parents and make sense of those crazy sleepless early parenting years (it does get easier don’t worry!)
With Shopkick, there’s no purchase necessary to earn cash back. In order to make money with Shopkick, all you have to do is download the app, enable your location services, and start earning kicks. You’ll earn points just by walking into a store, and even more points for scanning items or making a purchase. Payout comes in the form of gift cards to your favorite stores, including Walmart, Target, Sephora, and Starbucks to name a few.
Depending on your skill set, you could easily make a few hundred dollars or even a few extra thousand per month. And if you have some money to invest, you could easily launch into a variety of day trading activities. Those present some risks of your original capital. But if you know what you're doing and you work to hedge your bets by placing stops and limits, you could create sizable upside with lower-than-usual risks.
While there are a large number of opportunities out there that are fun, legitimate and put you in control of your earning, you have to be able to look through those transparent offers of making thousands per week simply by logging onto your computer. Ignore inflated promises and look through the legitimate ways you can make money online on the following pages.
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 ecommerce software. You'll need this so your customers can view your products, enter their information and make a secure purchase. The software safely stores customer information. Don't skimp in this area, since the ecommerce software you choose will make a big difference in how easy it is for customers to feel secure buying something from your store.
It’s one of the oldest and most proven ways to make money – buy low, sell high. The buy low part comes from searching garage sales, estate sales, and even thrift stores to find items that are in good condition (“gently used”) but selling well below what they would if they were brand-new. In this way, you might be able to acquire an item for $5, and later sell it for $50.