Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
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.
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’ve probably heard the overused term “pivot to video” at some point, which is both a joke about and an acceptance of the fact that many publishers are pushing their resources into video. Video advertisements are more expensive to buy than banner ads because they lead to higher click-through rates, which means a business can potentially make a lot more money through video than through other forms of content. So, if you can create great videos that make people want to watch and that drive ad revenue or subscriptions back to a website, you can become a very valuable asset.
If you have previous experience as a computer programmer or have skills in this field, then there is plenty of work you can pick up as a freelancer. If lack of confidence is holding you back, then Free Code Camp is an excellent way to get your foot in the coding door. This organization provides free courses where you will build real-life apps and programs, giving you experience and plenty to add to your CV.
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If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
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.

Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Whether it’s through part-time jobs or freelance work, adding more dollars to your cash flow every month is always nice. But unfortunately, not everyone has the time to pick up another job or do additional work on the side. If that’s the case for you, don’t give up. Instead, turn to the one thing you probably spend a majority of your time on: the internet.
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.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
I have been really disappointed with the survey gig. They underestimate the time they take to complete by like a third and often I find myself spending 10 minutes in what seems like a survey only to find out it’s a pre-survey qualifier, where it feels like I’m giving them so much personal information that I ought to be paid, but at the end of it I’m told I don’t qualify but the award like the equivalent of a penny or two to thank you for your time.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Photographs. Because your customers won’t be able to touch or hold your items, you need to give them as much of a visual feel for the products as you can. You’ll do it with photographs – but not just any photos. They have to be pleasing to the eye and make the item look fantastic. You’ll have to learn the art of photography, and if you can’t get the hang of it, you’ll have to hire someone to do it for you. Yes, it’s that important.

There's nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.
Similar to a YouTube vlogger, if you have a large following on Instagram then you could become an Instagram Influencer. You will be paid to promote products in your photos, from wearing certain clothes to action shots of you using particular merchandise. As your Instagram following grows, you may start out simply receiving freebies in return for a picture of you with the item in the shot. However, for those with followings running into millions, you can expect large payments to display products in your pictures. Use sites like Hype Factory to help connect you with companies prepared to pay for your influence.
Work your own hours and be your own boss. Start an online business that puts you in control of your destiny. You're only limited by your imagination but your dream online business could include an online travel agency, membership site or even a drop ship business where you could sell gift baskets, baby products and more. As with any business, you need to make sure your online business follows the law with proper business licensing and sales tax collection.
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.

If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)

eBay: eBay is one of the most popular websites in the world, period. That means it’s a great way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price (though often heavily discounted) sales by professional merchants. Still, as long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. eBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
Sites like Cookening, EatWith, and MealSharing are to restaurants what Airbnb is to hotels. Sign up as a host to earn dough by cooking and serving meals to guests in your home. It's up to you what you want to cook and how many people you can accommodate. Cooks are paid directly through the site, so no cash ever changes hands. The earning potential for becoming a cooking host is $50-$100 per meal.
Yes, companies will pay you to install apps (or place ads) on your cell phone and leave them there. These apps often run in the background and track your spending/purchasing habits but if you’re not one to really care who knows what groceries you’re buying that week then this is seriously the easiest way to make upwards of $300 per year for no reason.

Become a proofreader. All kinds of businesses hire professional proofreaders to look over their copy and content for errors before they publish. This side hustle is one that could work for nearly anyone since you can work from home provided you have a computer and an internet connection. You can find online proofreading jobs through websites like Indeed.com and FlexJobs.com


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.
Equally, you can charge businesses to ‘claim’ their listing, a method used by many large directory sites like Google Business and Yelp. This involves companies paying to upgrade their listing and adding information such as their web address, social media links, images, and more. Other revenue streams include charging for ad space, adding affiliate links and even charging for services and products on your directory site.
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.
Socialize. Especially when you’re getting started, you need to establish contacts who are already immersed in the business. They can act as mentors, keep you up to date on industry changes, and even help you land your first or subsequent job. Look for the local chapter of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) in your area and join.
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort. 

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.
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