But, as I said, development costs money. For the Smart Podcast Player, it’s a plugin so it requires constant validation, testing, upgrades, and a solid customer support system in place, all of which costs money. If you have a plan to do something similar for your online business, you’ll need to think about this before you even get started so your processes are covered. Read about the lessons we learned in building the player and how we validated it before launch.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
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.
The best part is that people who use bed and breakfasts are more likely to pay more for the experience. The challenge is that there’s a lot of competition in this field, so if you think earning money this way is right for you, you’ll have to set up your home in a way that makes for a memorable experience for guests. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
Trading options might seem risky if you have very little capital to spare. But it's also a great way to enter into a market that would otherwise cost you an arm and a leg if you were to buy the stocks at full price. With options, you can participate in the movement of a stock without having to put up all the money to actually buy that stock. For example, if Amazon costs $1000 a share, buying a 1,000 shares will cost $1 million. But, 10 call options at $10 each (with each option representing 100 shares of stock) costs $10,000.
Starting a new business online requires much less risk than investing your dollars into a brick-and-mortar storefront or downtown office. Because your business is based online, you can reach more potential customers, work from virtually anywhere and make money online without large overheads. With some basic website and communication skills along with a little maintenance know-how, almost anyone can launch a business online and get it up and running in only days. Think you’re ready to become the next big entrepreneur online?
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.
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.
Everyone says you're a fantastic writer, so isn't it about time you got paid? According to Durst, Good writing is in demand, especially for online content. Good freelance writing websites to find job listings include JournalismJobs.com, upwork.com, and MediaBistro.com. If you have experience as a copy editor, writer, or proofreader, go to editfast.com to find freelance opportunities in these areas. Rates average at $32, $28, and $26 an hour for remote writing, editing, and proofreading jobs, respectively.
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.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
Run virtual errands. If you have a computer with Internet connection and are good at searching the Web and communicating with others, you can become a virtual personal assistant with Fancy Hands. The service hires assistants, who set their own hours, to help its users tackle tasks such as making calls to service providers, scheduling appointments, and finding the best prices for services and products. You get paid per task, starting at between $3 and $7.
Some businesses may be interested in adding other types of paid content to your website. This could include videos, podcasts, or any other material that would work with your site and help a business market itself. Always make sure that paid content isn’t too promotional. It needs to add value to your audience first and foremost, and not just present as an advert.
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.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.