Want to do more than type words but instead create? Consider a career in writing. There are so many ways to be a writer (think blogging, fiction writing, and children’s books), and most of them can be done from home either as a telecommuter and a freelancer. The great thing about writing is you can start small with very little experience. You won't make a lot at first but as you build your portfolio you can expand into more lucrative types of writing.
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.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of.
White labeling products involve purchasing pre-made products from a supplier and then adding your own labeling and branding. Products could range from candles to gym equipment or even tea, but all will come without labels, allowing you to create your own new range of merchandise. Most suppliers will advertise the fact they offer white labeled goods on their websites, so pick your niche and then find the right supplier and product for you. Once labeled, products can be sold via sites like eBay and Amazon, or from your own eCommerce store (discussed in a moment).
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
Write and publish an eBook. You don’t need a traditional publisher and financial backing to publish your own book anymore. In fact, Amazon.com makes it possible for you to publish your own eBook and sell it independently – with no financial investment on your part. And with Kindle eBook publishing, your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Just be prepared to market it yourself on social media, your blog, or elsewhere if you expect to generate sales.
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.
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.
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.
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.