It’s important to consider all of this before starting. In a way, you’d be working backwards from your end goal (to create a successful business) to before you even start. By doing so, you’re making sure all your bases are covered so you don’t have a surprise like I did with my WordPress plugins. And, perhaps most importantly, by doing this, you’ll soon realize if your business idea is something that truly aligns with what you’re actually trying to do in your life. If it’s not, you at least have the knowledge to make adjustments or try something else.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
If you have a background in a specific field, you may find there is a demand for writing industry papers in your area of expertise. For example, there are often adverts for doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, and business experts from particular niches, to write white papers on different subject areas. These are well paid jobs that you will need to stake your reputation on, but that can often be worked on from the comfort of your own home.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
But it’s also easier for consumers to compare similar products, which makes your ability to differentiate yourself more important. For instance, if you decide to use Etsy to sell handcrafted cutting boards, when a potential customer searches for cutting boards on the site, they’ll wade through potentially hundreds or thousands of relatively similar listings.
Earn cash back for shopping. Earning cash back on your purchases is a smart idea, and credit card rewards aren’t the only good cash-back strategy out there. With sites like ShopAtHome.com, eBates.com, and TopCashBack.com, you can earn up to 10% cash back on purchases made with approved merchants. Many frequent shoppers also love the Ibotta app, which lets you earn cash-back on every purchase.
Advertising. You’ll need to get the word out about your sewing business, and one of the best places to start is with your friends and neighbors. Make sure they are all aware of your services and are willing to pass around your business cards. In addition, you should put up fliers in local fabric stores and get to know the employees so that if someone asks, they’ll be able to refer you. Any business needs a website, and yours will be no exception; you can put up a simple one that outlines what you do, and tells the reader what kinds of prices to expect. Finally, by joining organizations like the American Sewing Guild, you’ll be able to stay in touch with others who are doing the same thing as you.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
It’s possible to set up a website yourself, but unless you’re a designer or Web developer, you can expect a pretty steep learning curve. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional to help you with some or all of the following: configuring the site to look the way you want and include the features you need; creating and inserting a logo; optimizing the site for search engines; and creating text and images.
You can sell your products in numerous ways. 1. Link your website on other similar sites, and in exchange, you link their website on your pages. 2. Look for free websites like Craigslist.org, local.com, Google+, etc. 3. Use all the social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin.com, or Google Hangouts. These sites give you a free account, then you search their site for people or business with similar interest and engage and follow those people. Be careful of the spam policies. This is free but time-consuming. 4. Pay for ads on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Travel blogging is a hard industry to break into. However, the rewards can be worth it, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be paid for traveling around the world! There are numerous ways to monetize a travel blog, but affiliate marketing should predominantly be your focus. On your blog, promote hotels, tours, equipment hire services, flights, and anything else travel related. Then take a cut of the proceeds as your audience books their holidays based on your recommendations.
Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.
I love referral and affiliate marketing. It’s where the vast majority of my income comes from these days. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can get in on the action as well. You can get paid to refer your friends to a wide variety of legitimate services. While there are many companies like StitchFix that will give you store credit for referrals, we are focusing on those that offer cold, hard cash today. Keep in mind, you will need to be signed up for the program yourself to take advantage of the program. But, you shouldn’t be referring people to things you don’t use anyway.
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Location. The most successful bed and breakfasts are those that are convenient to airports, historic parts of town, or other tourist attractions. That’s because there are two types of guests who tend to frequent B&B’s: business travelers who are tired of sterile hotel rooms, and families looking for a unique experience. That’s not to say that you can’t develop a successful B&B if your home isn’t located in the perfect spot, but you might have to work harder to make it a success if it isn’t.
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.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
Back at the beginning of this post, I mentioned how easy online side businesses can be due to how easy and accessible technology is. The truth is, there is really no excuse not to be making some side income from home via an online business. If you want to, you can. These are just six examples; there are dozens of other ideas and online businesses that you could start tomorrow. Why not wake up an hour earlier tomorrow to get the ball rolling?
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.
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.
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.
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
For many years, freelance writing has been a great opportunity to earn extra cash with a flexible schedule. The latest online content need is video. If you can turn your client’s written content into professional, high-quality video, you may find yourself with no shortage of business. And these don’t necessarily need to be you in a “talking head” video. They could be PowerPoint presentations, screencasts, photo montages, animations and more. Use an optimization service like TubeBuddy to help them get even better rankings and engagement on YouTube.
These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website - and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it's a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the amount of clicks you get, meaning more income.
If you're serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.
Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce store that matches Chinese suppliers with buyers all over the world. Prices are extremely cheap, providing the possibility of large profits. However, with the potential profits comes more risk. As you are dealing with suppliers in China, if the quality of the product that arrives isn’t up to standard there is little that you can do about it.
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.
Keep in mind though, you don’t need a website to do sponsored content since you can also get paid if you have a lot of social media followers. My wife has a pretty big Instagram following, and she gets all kinds of sponsorships. Not only does she get paid in cash, but we get a lot of free stuff, too. We’ve received free rugs, free lights, and free carpet cleaners. She only promotes things she loves though, so this strategy works really well for her.