If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
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.
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.
If you can do everything, then you can become a one-man film crew who allows a company to cut costs while still enjoying video advertisement revenue. That makes you powerful asset, because it allows the company to reduce risks and can help keep you employed full-time. So, if you’re already a pro at setting up a shot, make sure you also have mastered the software you need. If you’re a wiz on the computer, try doing some Facebook Lives, interviews and other sorts of videos to make sure you’re prepared for anything.
Trading options might seem risky if you have very little capital to spare. But it's also a great way to enter into a market that would otherwise cost you an arm and a leg if you were to buy the stocks at full price. With options, you can participate in the movement of a stock without having to put up all the money to actually buy that stock. For example, if Amazon costs $1000 a share, buying a 1,000 shares will cost $1 million. But, 10 call options at $10 each (with each option representing 100 shares of stock) costs $10,000.
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.
If you’ve got expertise in a certain area, package up your knowledge into an online course and sell it. This has become a very popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years. The two big websites that are used to sell online courses are Udemy and Teachable. Check out this awesome article by Regina on How to Create an Online Course that Sells.
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.
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.
So many people dream of writing a book, but never go through with it. Yet no matter what, I’m sure you have experience and value you could give through writing a book. By packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that helps people learn a skill, advance their careers, or start a businesses, you can change someone’s life and even make good money online.
Your Idea. It’s not enough to say that you’re going to offer an exercise classes. The people considering your classes will want to know exactly what they are going to get for their money, and it will be up to you to explain it concisely and effectively. Understand that you’re basically giving a sales pitch to potential attendees. You’ll have to really narrow down your topic.
It’s something akin to picking stocks. You want to buy undervalued domains, and sell them later on at a higher price. For example, you can pick a domain that is out of favor, but could be related to some future event. So if you decide that the stock market is likely to crash in the future, you can buy a domain that includes the words stock market crash during a rising market, and then sell it in a falling market.
There are loads of resources for making money online as an affiliate. You could source products from ClickBank, Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, Share-a-Sale, Impact Radius and many others. Plus, many of the larger companies have their own affiliate programs as well. Do your due diligence and find the right company with a relevant product or service to your audience that you can sell as an affiliate.
Use your home to work from home. If you live in an area where there is a demand for short-term rentals (like near a university or the downtown of a large city), you may well be able to find renters by networking in your community. However, with the rise of Airbnb and places like it the Internet has once again made it much easier to make money from home. Using these sites you can rent out a private room, shared room or even your whole house for a night or month or whatever period of time you like.
You have likely heard of subscription boxes such as Birchbox and Julep. While almost anyone can start a subscription box service, they can be incredibly labor-intensive and the profit margin usually isn’t so great for those operating on a small scale. Did you know you could start a subscription for your knowledge that’s almost pure profit? With sites like SubHub, you can offer a monthly membership offering anything from meal plans to workout plans to crocheting patterns and beyond. The sky is the limit. You do need to provide new content on a consistent schedule to keep your customers happy. But if there is something your friends are always looking to you for new ideas, you may have an easy little side business on your hands.
Research selling prices of items similar to yours. Look up completed sales or current listings of items similar to yours. Find the high- and low-end prices, and price your object around the median price level. If you want your item to sell quickly, price it at the low end. The condition of the item also affects the price. Items in poorer condition should be priced at the lower end. Also, consider how many listings there already are of items similar to yours. If many similar items will be competing with yours, you may have to set the price lower to get the sale.
Or, if you’d prefer more something more editorial and less salesy, you can find that, too. Media companies (including Entrepreneur) offer digital writing and editing positions for the digital publication, which essentially can be accomplished from anywhere in the world -- as long as you have an internet connection. In fact, we have some writers at Entrepreneur who work from Paris or their home offices instead of the office in New York City.
Set up an account on Rover.com. Enjoy furry company once in a while? These days, many professional pet-sitters set up an account on Rover.com. With Rover.com, you can reach people in your area who are actively looking for someone to watch their dogs, cats, hamsters, or turtles, either in their home or your own. You can set your own rules and schedule and come up with your own pricing through the Rover.com pet-sitting platform.
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.
In 2014, Caitlin Pyle made over $43,000 by working as a freelance proofreader…part time. When she wasn’t working, she even had time to go on several fun vacations. After she had a ton of success doing that, she decided she wanted to teach others how to do the same thing, so she started up Proofread Anywhere. Sign up for one of her free workshops to learn more about making money as a proofreader.
For a deeper look into this idea, I recommend checking out the case study in Will It Fly? on Noah Kagan, who is really detailed and transparent about starting his business. He validated a beef jerky subscription company (yum!), which proved to be a unique and inspiring example of determining the costs of items before starting a business. He didn’t pay for anything up front; he was just smart about asking: how much does this cost, and how much money do I need to reach my goal? His goal was to validate his idea by making $1,000 profit in twenty-four hours, and that’s exactly what he was able to do.
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.
You can also market your ebook on your own website or blog, particularly if the site gets good traffic. Still another method is affiliate marketing. You can offer to pay sites related to your ebook a percentage of the sale price – say, anywhere between 20% and 50% – for them to post an ad or linked article for your book on their site. This could enable you to market your ebook on multiple platforms for greater market exposure.