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.
There has never been a better time to start a business online. You only need a computer and an internet connection to turn your hobby into a money making side hustle. Starting an online business is one of the most exciting things you can do. There has never been a better time to do so than right now and right here. Here are 6 online businesses you can start today, and you don’t even have to quit your day job.
These endeavors aren’t without traps and challenges, though, so before we take a look at some legitimate ways to make money from your home, let’s review a few things that you should avoid. Unfortunately, if you want to earn an honest living from home, you’re also a common target of scammers, especially in these economically tough times. But if you keep these simple rules in mind, you won’t become a victim of one of the many work from home scams.
Another option that isn’t quite cash back but is along the same lines of “make money by saving money” — the Honey Chrome extension. Whenever you head to your cart to check out, Honey searches for online coupon codes or better deals from different retailers. That means no more wasted time Googling “[insert store name] coupon code” just to come up empty-handed. Honey does all the legwork for you!
We are all really good at something, and have knowledge we can pass onto other people. Becoming a consultant is all about tapping into the one thing that you’re great at, and using it to help, or teach, others. Many businesses seek experts in certain topics or fields because their staff consists of many “Jack of all trades” types. They have knowledge in many different areas, but aren’t experts at any one thing. Popular online consulting gigs are often related to promoting a business, such as social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (such as with Google Adwords or Bing Ads pay per click). If you have design skills, or know about website usability, you can reach out to businesses and provide critiques for their website or online store. People tend to be humble about the things they are really good at, but all that humbleness could be holding you back from a great side business in consulting. If it’s been a while since you’ve practiced your skill, download an e-book, or take a brief online class to brush up on it. Dig up some confidence and put yourself (and your talents) out there.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don't know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
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.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
Writing an eBook and selling it on your blog can be a great money maker. Your eBook should be directly relevant to your blog’s content so you can sell your book to your existing audience. Creating a recipe eBook for a food blog or an eBook full of training plans to complement your fitness site are just a couple of examples that have the potential to sell.
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.
How many email newsletters are you bombarded with every single day? There’s a reason for that. Marketing to an actively interested group of email subscribers is one of the best ways to make money online. There have even been million-dollar businesses built from simple email newsletters like TheSkimm, or Mister Spoils. Each newsletter targets a specific type of user with interesting, daily content, while also partnering with relevant companies and affiliates to bring in extra money. If this seems daunting, it’s not. Tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit and AWeber make it easier than ever to get started with email marketing. And another great option to consider (with the largest free plan available) is SendPulse, with their ability to send up to 15,000 emails per month to 2,500 subscribers, and then affordable plans starting at under $10/month as you grow from there.
When creating a membership site, always offer different plans and pricing tiers to appeal to your different categories of audience. Access to specific types of content is then dependent on the plan selected by a member. Membership fees can be a one-off payment or a repeat subscription. And you can even sell products on your membership site to boost your income.
At around the time I started selling my ebook and making a living online, I had yet to even consider getting involved in outsourcing some of the work. I look back now and think that I could have potentially done that earlier to help with things like finding a webhost and creating my website. Back then I did everything myself. That’s one of the positives to first starting out. You don’t really have any overhead. It’s all about the effort you want to put in on your own time and your own terms. So, when I first started, I found my WordPress theme myself, I set it up on Bluehost with a very easy one-click install. I was able to get everything set up, and start building my audience, trust, and authority online with those who I was going to deliver my product (ebook) to down the road. I did not spend money on hiring a team until 2013, which came after having a full-time Virtual Assistant for two years, which cost me about $800 per month.
Offer to watch children or pets. If you know anyone who has children or pets, you could easily begin a side gig as a babysitter or pet sitter. To let people know you’re interested, send out a group email describing your services, post an ad on Facebook, or tell friends and acquaintances about your availability in person or over the phone. You can also create a profile on a babysitting referral site like Care.com.
Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Another strategy to make money online is to become a social marketing manager. Being present on social media is key for any business that wants to attract new customers, promote their products and grow their following. However, constantly posting, liking and commenting on the numerous social media channels is extremely time-consuming. More and more businesses are recruiting social media managers to run and organize all their social media. And to save money, social media employees are often employed as online freelancers.
What, specifically, can you sell on Fiverr? Anything from graphics and design services, to digital marketing, writing and translation services, video and animation services, music and audio, programming and application development, business services and lifestyle services that includes anything from celebrity impressions, to gaming and even astrology readings.
Rather than making money through subscriptions, YouTube channels are based on a traditional advertising system. Meaning the more viewers you get, the more you make. Once you’re approved for the YouTube Partner Program and can start including ads on your videos, with every 1,000 views, you will make approximately $2-$4. Which might not seem like a lot, but if you have 100 videos with 5,000 views a month each, that would be $1,000–$2,000 already. Just imagine if your videos start hitting millions of views!
If you're crafty, join Etsy and set up your own shop. Sell your crocheted scarves, patterns or even blog templates you've designed. Etsy is full of a variety of products for sale. Just take a look for inspiration. However, because Etsy is full of other sellers, you'll have to work extra hard to make your store stand out from the crowd but Etsy has plenty of tools to help you monitor your traffic, put your products on sale and find new ways to increase your revenue.
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.
Tutoring can be done in-home or online. The in-home tutoring will take networking and teaching experience to build your business. Online tutoring, however, can be done through companies that connect tutors with students while providing the needed infrastructure (i.e. web conferencing services) for a cut of the fees. Most require a college degree and teaching experience but for some those requirements may be negotiable.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
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.
Sell plasma. After passing an initial screening, you can usually sell your plasma for anywhere from $25 to $50 per donation. To qualify, you’ll have to stand in a long line or show up early, be willing to fill out a very personal questionnaire, and endure a painful needle prick or two. Still, selling plasma is a great way to raise money fast – if you can stand the hassle.
The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either.
Rent out a parking spot. If you live in a busy or congested area and have parking to spare, you might be able to rent out your parking space for some quick cash when you’re not using it. Simply advertise your open parking space online including details on the location, whether it’s covered or uncovered, and your desired hourly, weekly, or monthly fee. If you want, you can even use a site like Just Park or download the Spot App to reach more potential customers.
Tools. You don’t need much to work as a home-based freelance writer, but there are some tools that you must have. The most important will be your computer. Get the fastest Internet access that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you get. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough to spend a lot of time with it. Most clients will request that you submit your work as a Microsoft Word document, so make sure that whatever programs you use are compatible. In addition, because you’ll be spending so much time at the computer, make sure that you have a good work area with proper lighting. Some clients will want to be able to reach you by phone or Skype, so have both set up and accessible. You’ll need an invoicing program, such as Freshbooks, and a good bookkeeping system to keep track of sales, orders, and accounts receivables.
If you're looking to address some immediate financial needs, then the app economy is likely right for you. Thanks to the global sharing phenomenon, launched in part by our smartphones and ever-burgeoning global connectivity, you could easily opt for some quick active income by using well-known apps. From ride sharing to deliveries and even quick tasks, there's an app for that today, as the saying goes.
The peer-to-peer concept is coming to virtually every corner of human existence. That includes the hospitality industry. Through AirBnB you can actually rent out your house for various lengths of time for a predetermined fee. That gives you an extra income on your house and gives the visitor the benefit of having an entire house, rather than being crammed into a single hotel room.
If you possess a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? You can use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. To show off your knowledge and skills and bring in clients, you can also write articles about business on platforms like LinkedIn.
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Could you make an extra $200 per month? Sure. How about an extra $1000 per month? How would that change your life? To most, it would make a monumental difference. But what if we were talking thousands more per month or even tens of thousands more? How would that alter the trajectory of your life? Clearly, you can make money on the internet. You just have to decide how much of your time it's worth.
This is an hourly job, with the chance to build up hours and wages with peak performances. Some companies offer commissions with upselling – making offers to customers to improve their product while they are on the phone with the representative. The average hourly wage for a call center representative is around $14. The average annual income for call center representative jobs according to ZipRecruiter is$28,086.
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.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
This is something like Experts Exchange, except that it’s more general in nature. As a professional in just about any field, you can offer your expertise on JustAnswer. They are looking for professionals in various fields who will provide answers to reader’s questions. You can make money online by answering these questions and pointing people in the right direction to get the solutions that they need.