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.
Research Pricing (And Set Fair Starting Prices): Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and (if possible) nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle – so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar, but not so high that you’ll scare off first bids. 10% to 15% is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10, or offer x-for-$y deals.
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.
Again, if your blog has a large reader base, then businesses may be interested in paying you to review their services or products. Not only will you get a free trial using whatever these businesses are selling, but you will also get a fee for writing them a review and posting it to your site. Paid reviews (and other paid and sponsored content) can be big money, so advertise this service on your contact page to generate business.
Your Idea. It’s not enough to say that you’re going to offer an exercise classes. The people considering your classes will want to know exactly what they are going to get for their money, and it will be up to you to explain it concisely and effectively. Understand that you’re basically giving a sales pitch to potential attendees. You’ll have to really narrow down your topic.
Diligence. In this industry, the line between scams and honest businesses is blurry, so you need to do your homework before accepting a position. Call the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out if there have been any complaints filed against the company, and do an online search on their name. Alpine Access is a well-respected company in the field, and Call Center Careers is a great place to look for legitimate call centers looking to hire.
Ebates has long been one of my favorite services and they offer an awesome referral program. This service pays members cash back on their online purchases – and some in-store purchases now. When you refer your friends, you will earn $5 per person when they make their first purchase of $25 or more. They also offer some stellar bonuses if you can refer a number of people. And, they offer a $10 gift card for new members.
Any way you slice it, this experience has been preparing you for the role of social media manager – this tends to be an independent contractor gig, but you can make a pretty penny if you can help small businesses or other professionals build buzz and their social media following. So if you can write a mean tweet (in a good way) or lay out an attractive Pinterest graphic, consider going full social: check out my post on how to become a social media manager.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Savvy.is, Clarity.fm, and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
Research. You need to know what others are selling before you decide what wares you will offer. Lots of people sell handmade items, but those who work hard to make their items unique in some way are the ones who truly stand out. After you’ve decided on a product, check out the other sellers on Etsy and find what they’re offering, and then figure out how you can do it differently.
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.
If you’ve got expertise in a certain area, package up your knowledge into an online course and sell it. This has become a very popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years. The two big websites that are used to sell online courses are Udemy and Teachable. Check out this awesome article by Regina on How to Create an Online Course that Sells.
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.
Did you ever guess that your obsession with Twitter or Pinterest could become a key employability skill? I know! You first start Pinterest, you think it’ll be a little harmless fun, and then you’ve got hundreds of boards with thousands of pins on DIY projects you’re never going to do and recipes you’re never going to make (sorry, real talk) – but you also understand all the lingo, know who the influencers are, and have an experienced eye for what makes an enticing Pinterest post. Maybe this same story applies, except with Facebook (you know the power of groups and how FB ads work), Twitter (you’re always up on the latest trending hashtags), or Instagram (you follow all the influencers in your niche).
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.
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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.
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.
Now, this isn't about some get-rich-quick method here. If you want to get rich quick, forget about trying to do it on the internet. Sure, Facebook ads are all the craze, but without a serious understanding of the mechanics behind sales funnels and conversion optimizations, which only comes after years and years of in-the-trenches work in the internet marketing field, you're largely wasting your time trying to "get rich quick."
Blogs are one of the most successful ways to start an online business. Bloggers like Darren Rowse, John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn are making six-figure incomes, and they are not alone. Our founder, Syed Balkhi, has built an eight-figure online business that started with a blog. There are also thousands of bloggers running very successful blogs as their full-time online business.
There are few ways to make money while you shop. You can pick up short tasks that involve shopping, like doing price checks or photographing in stores or you can go mystery shopping. Mystery shopping is definitely a real way to make money but you have to be careful because the jobs can be the bait for scams, so you have to know the signs of mystery shopping scams. But there are legitimate companies that hire mystery shoppers.
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.
For a long time, the term “freelancer” referred to someone who didn’t have a day job, and charged high prices for their expertise in their skill. These days, a large portion of the worldwide work force is making extra cash by freelancing from home. If you are skilled at copywriting, online marketing, web design, or coding, you are in a prime position to find hundreds of online freelancing jobs. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork (previously ODesk) and Elance help freelancers connect with businesses all over the world. Freelance jobs can range from one-time paid gigs, to repeat, consistent work on a weekly or monthly basis. The best part? As a freelancer, you get to choose if you want to work an extra five hours per week, or an extra 20 hours. You can seek out and apply for as many or as few projects as you like.
This is the classic work-at-home mom gig, but it's for a lot more people than just moms! Selling stuff you love can be a great way to make extra money from home, even if you work in an office most of the day. Direct selling is scalable to your own lifestyle, ambition, and talents. You can keep it casual and mostly sell to friends and acquaintances. Or, if you really get to networking online and in person, you can build a client base outside your existing circles.
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.
The next payment I made for my business was in October 2008 when I had the idea to sell an ebook. To make this happen, I had to spend a little bit of money on a shopping cart service (e-junkie at the time; I later moved to Gumroad, as I describe in my free ebook Ebooks the Smart Way) that allowed me to deliver the ebook to the people who bought it. It was a flat fee of $5 per month. Different companies have different ways of setting up those pricing structures, but whatever the case may be, it doesn’t have to be a huge monthly fee to get going.
If you want to help shape products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.
MemberPress is a feature-rich plugin that will enable you to turn your WordPress blog into a fully functional membership site. Depending on how you want to run your membership site, you could have a mixture of free and premium membership plans. Premium plans could include no adverts, free downloads, access to extra content, membership forums, and much more. However, it is important to remember that if people are going to pay to view your content then it must be high quality. Otherwise, your members won’t renew their subscriptions when the time comes.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂