If you have dreams of making bank from the comfort of your bed, you’re in luck. It’s easier than ever to work online or from home in a way that actually benefits both you and your employer, so you don’t have to settle for renting out your place on Airbnb or selling your stuff on Amazon. You can use pursue these different career paths and carve out a place within your chosen industry with nothing more than a laptop, a Wifi connection and the skills you already have.
But that tends to complicate things. Making some extra side hustle cash doesn't actually have to be that complicated. As someone who's been immersed in the field of online income generation for nearly two decades now, I can tell you that it takes some work. However, there are several clear paths forward. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what your goals are and just how much you're looking to automate your income.
While you could launch a regular business selling someone else's products, you could also invent your own product, like billionaire fitness pioneer, Howard Panes who teamed up with Ab Roller creator, Don Brown to create the Stealth, a fitness system that gamifies core workouts. While businesses based on inventions might seem more complex to create, they do present attractive investment opportunities as depicted on popular shows like billionaire, Mark Cuban, and Daymond John's, Shark Tank.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
20. Etsy – If you like to create arts and crafts, you can sell them on Etsy.It’s completely free to open an Etsy store. You simply sign up, post pictures of your creations and starting selling. You can choose your payment option, but PayPal is generally the easiest. Etsy makes it easy to sell and keep track of your inventory. There is a small listing fee and they take 3.5% of every sale you make.
Suzanne lives in Texas and has been a full-time freelance writer for 20 years. She’s written for numerous business and financial publications, both online and in traditional print media. She also owns her own small business and has a passion to help others achieve their dreams of financial independence. Her goal is to eventually work from a remote island that is equipped with Wi-Fi.
Every accomplishment starts with an idea. If you’re interested in starting a business, you probably already have an idea to work from, but it might still be a bit vague in your mind. Validate your idea through market research, and by looking to expand the knowledge you’ll need to apply when running and growing your business — such as by studying the industry and reflecting on the personal experiences of yourself and others when dealing with businesses in the industry in question. This will help you figure out how you’re going to differentiate your business from others.
This is similar in concept to micro-tasks, except that it is oriented toward specific services, such as cleaning services, pest inspection, handyman services, house cleaning, lawn & garden services or any of the skilled trades. It might actually be more accurate to say that it is a platform where skilled service providers can offer their services to site visitors, similar to Angie’s List.
You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
Understand how a niche website works. A niche website focuses on very targeted, specific information. The content must be specific, useful and interesting to your target audience. Successful niche websites get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 visitors per month. You build content on a particular keyword, and you make passive income with Google Adsense or through affiliate links.
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We’ve all shopped on Amazon, and we all know that the company’s reach is far and wide. So why not get in on the action yourself? By signing up to be an Amazon Affiliate, you can earn a commission every time someone coming from your niche website purchases products on Amazon. Amazon niche websites are different than a standard affiliate website, in that the site focuses on one single type of product, like hair dryers, treadmills or microphones. Niche websites have a better chance of being found by search engines like Google and Bing, and by ecommerce storepers who know exactly what they are looking for. Although an Amazon niche website still requires some heavy lifting on the front end (buying a domain, setting up hosting, designing the site, link building and so on). Once it is up and running, you can easily duplicate the website and start earning passive income by selling a variety of products.
If you're a person who loves leaving customer reviews on sites like Amazon, stop doing it for free. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a huge lead generator for many companies, and a lot of businesses are willing to share a portion of their profits with persuasive individuals who will promote their products to the public. If you have a personal website with a large following, this might be easier to accomplish (PR reps are always seeking out brand advocates they can send free samples to). Smart Passive Income breaks down three types of affiliate marketing and explains which one is most profitable.
Social media isn’t just a fun thing you do with your friends. It’s a competitive marketing space where thousands of brands and businesses are competing for, often times, the same audience. If you can help a business get a leg up in that environment, you can carve out a valuable position within a company. However, one of the most important aspects of a good social media manager is someone who understands the tone and voice of the business he or she represents. For example, a social media manager at Wendy’s should use a different tone from at McDonald’s, even though they’re both fast-food burger restaurants.
Display. Just as in any retail operation, the way you display your wares will greatly impact your sales. Produce should be placed underneath a cover to protect it from the sun, but be sure to allow at least seven feet of head room. Display your prices prominently, and clearly identify the things that make your product special. Personalize your stand with signs to inform your customers.
Start a bed and breakfast. If you live in a popular resort area or own a historic property, a B&B might be the perfect side hustle. Not only can you work at home with this career, but you’ll also score some tax write-offs in the process — although most innkeepers caution that the profession requires a lot of hard work and is more of an attractive lifestyle than a money-making pursuit.
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]
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
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.
With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service, refunds and so on. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. Sound like a lot of work? Sure, it is. Especially if you do it all on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
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.
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.
Mentorship. With sites like Etsy, it simply doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel when opening a shop. Instead, look to others who have been down the path and have learned the hard way what to do – and what not to do. Blogs like Handmadeology and EverythingEtsy.com offer hints and guidance for artists just looking to get started in this profitable home-based business.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with printing, warehousing, customer service and so on. The site has over 2 million independent designers that have created products being sold online here. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income.
Running and charging for webinars can be a great way to build a following in your niche, demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, and make a profit. Hosting a webinar can be hard work. They need to first be promoted, provide original and valuable information, and include interactive elements so your audience can ask questions and engage with your topic. However, once you have built up a large blog following, each webinar can be extremely profitable.
Because of the strong interest in quality of life and work-life balance issues, life coaches have become popular in recent years. Unlike the intellectual demands of becoming a technical or executive coach, life coaching can be successful if you possess common sense, a respect for family and a commitment to enjoy life to the max every day and helping others do the same.
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.
Your Ads. The key to success will be in your ability to get the word out about your classes. Word of mouth will play an important role in your marketing efforts because taking classes is something that friends like to do together. Don’t just rely on friends and family, though. Post fliers in supermarkets, churches, and school bulletin boards. You’ll definitely want to have an online presence so people who are searching your area for such classes will be able to find you. You can establish one by creating a website, and then using digital media to spread your message. And don’t forget your neighborhood as a source of business. Take some time to visit your neighbors, even if you just visit one block a day, and tell them about your new business.
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.
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.