Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
If you have a knack for creating unique images, there’s no need to fuss over your own inventory. If your creations can be easily printed onto a product, then you can make money. Upload your designs on a variety of websites like CafePress. If someone likes them, the company prints them up and ships the product. You could create unique designs for calendars, books, T-shirts, bags, hats, greeting cards, or posters and get a commission for each one sold. Some of these sites include Zazzle, Teespring and Lulu.
No matter which way you do it, it’s passive income—money you earn while you sleep because you put these products up for sale on your website and a customer can buy and download them any time of day or night, automatically. All you have to do is check the sales periodically to see what topics or types of products are selling best so that you can make more of those.
In an increasingly visual internet, website owners, bloggers, epublishers, video makers, and others need quality photos for their content. However, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to make money from your pictures. Quality photos from your smartphone are often good enough to sell online. Most stockphoto sites pay 15 to 60 percent of the sale of your photo, usually through PayPal.
Some subjects are much better paid than others, so although you may love the idea of writing about travel (badly paid) a better bet would be a niche like finance (much higher rates of pay). Check out the Pro Blogger job board for high paid freelance writing jobs – other places to look might be Textbroker or you can look at the “gigs” section on Craigslist.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
If you have a background in marketing and a passion for a particular niche, then organizing a virtual event may be just up your street. A virtual event could span across a day or longer. Individual live sessions would be run by experts in the field. And conference features would include live question and answer sessions, forums, and plenty of free giveaways. Visitors to the virtual event would pay to attend, so the more effective your promotion of the event the more money you would make.
Along the same lines as trivia, you can get paid for just using your mobile phone and allowing companies to know what you're doing on it. For example, Nielson Mobile Panel is an app that you can earn rewards on just for having it installed. It will take snapshots of what you're doing and use those for advertisers to know more about your demographic. It takes away some privacy, but you get paid for it.
Evaluate Web sites. Another way to make extra cash in a short amount time – $10 for about 20 minutes of work – is to sign on with UserTesting and evaluate Web sites. You need a computer with a microphone and Internet connection, and you’ll have to fill out a one-page demographic profile. You’ll receive work if your profile matches that of the target audience of sites being tested. Then it’s just a matter of using UserTesting’s screen recorder, which you'll need to download to your computer, to record your verbal comments and on-screen movements as you click through a site. Site owners typically are looking for feedback about whether the Web site is confusing to navigate.
Rent out a room on Airbnb. Living near a tourist area has its perks, including the prospect of renting out a room for a profit. With home sharing sites like Airbnb, you can rent out a room in your home – or even the entire place – for a day, a week, or longer. If you have extra space and might enjoy the company of travelers, renting out a room is great way to earn some extra money with little effort on your part. See our post, “How to Make Money as an AirBNB Host.”
One of the best places to sell unwanted personal possessions is Decluttr, a website that buys used items directly from consumers. Unlike trade-in marketplaces such as Gazelle and auction websites such as eBay, Decluttr doesn’t act as a middleman between buyers and sellers. Rather, it’s best understood as a bulk buyer: an enterprise with deep pockets and an unsatiable appetite for used consumer products.
A lead magnet is basically a piece of content that you give away for for free to potential customers, in order to capture their attention and convince them to hand over their contact information. Most people aren’t going to sign up to your mailing list just for the sake of it, so a lead magnet allows you to ask for something in exchange for something your audience finds valuable.
If you have your own eCommerce store, social media is the perfect platform to showcase your products. Demonstrate your products in use and tell your social following why they need to buy your merchandise. Most social media channels allow you to add ‘buy’ buttons your pages, allowing your followers to easily click through to your site and make a purchase.
Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
By building an extensive following, this will allow you to gain profit by attracting key advertisers or get commissions by promoting other brand products (think affiliate). Blogging is big business; just ask Heather from Dooce.com. She’s a mom that blogs daily about her children and pets and has successfully turned her daily adventures into a very lucrative business by simply making money blogging. One of my favourite ways to make money from a blog is by creating your own online course.
I didn’t collect an email list when I built GreenExamAcademy.com or when I started SmartPassiveIncome.com in 2008. That was a huge mistake. It does cost money to build an email list, but it’s worth every penny. I recommend using ConvertKit for this. They have really good pricing, and you pay more as you grow. By far, it’s the best service out there. On SPI TV Ep. 28, I did a full ConvertKit demo you can check out if you’re interested! [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
Focus on what makes you stand out. If you’re using an ecommerce marketplace, pay particular attention to the quality of the images you use on your page. Good product photography can set your listing apart. But remember, hosting your own ecommerce site isn’t a free pass for using mediocre images either. Either way, customers will rely on images to form an opinion about your product or service’s value.
Many of my readers aren’t hip on the idea of becoming a rideshare driver. It can be a little intimidating being in a car alone with a stranger. A great alternative in the same industry is becoming a courier. Sites like Postmates, UberEats, Amazon Flex and others can be a great opportunity to earn extra cash delivering everything from lunch to packages. These can be good side hustles with flexible schedules. In some areas, I have also seen a big boom in medical courier opportunities, and these don’t pay too shabby!
How much will you make? I think my best month with Google AdSense was almost $5,000 over the last ten years. That amazing month blew my mind since it was actually near the beginning of my blogging journey. When you go from making zero to $5,000 in a month, that will rock your world. For me, it also got me even more excited because I knew there were other ways to monetize.