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.
Running a coupons website can be very lucrative. Find a coupon niche, select a WordPress coupon theme, and then display relevant coupons on your site. When your audience uses the coupon codes or discount links, you will earn an affiliate cut, for example, you could set-up a site dedicated to iHerb Coupons or add a page to your website with Web Hosting Promo Codes. Coupon websites are quite high maintenance as they need to be constantly updated with new offers. However, if you build up an engaged audience and allow them to post coupons and discounts they have found themselves, then quite quickly your workload will reduce.
A website helps your business stand out from competitors and gives you far more control than you'd have competing on a large marketplace with other sellers. With your own website, you can define your own store policies, show off your products to their best advantage and take payment in the ways that you and your customers prefer. Your website will also become the central hub for your social media and marketing efforts. In today's world a website is truly essential, but don't worry; it's easy to create a website for your business and optimize it to build and grow your brand.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
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.
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.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Tutor students. If you have an academic specialty and can squeeze in a couple of hours during the week while Junior is taking a nap or Janie is at gymnastics, share your knowledge with struggling students. Find students looking to improve their grades on your own through your kids' schools – check a site such as Craigslist.org to gauge hourly rates in your area – or sign on with an online tutoring company, such as Tutor.com. You must be available to tutor at least five hours a week and have a college degree to tutor certain subjects for Tutor.com. Tutoring is done virtually from home via a computer, not in person. Tutor.com tutors are paid an hourly rate based on the subject.
In my (unpopular) opinion, getting a raise is harder than getting a promotion. Think about it from your boss’s perspective, would you rather a) pay more money for the same service, or b) pay more money for additional responsibilities. Alas, if you feel you’re overdue a raise, check out Dr. Randall Hansen’s article on Getting the Raise You Deserve. There are some really useful strategies there.
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.
Whether you want to become your own boss, start a side hustle, or earn extra money on the side, any of the strategies listed above can help. By finding ways to increase your income, you can free up more cash to pay down debt, save for the future, or invest for retirement. Saving money is only half of the equation. And if you truly want to get ahead, you might want to figure out how to make money – and hopefully, lots of it.
It’s one of the oldest and most proven ways to make money – buy low, sell high. The buy low part comes from searching garage sales, estate sales, and even thrift stores to find items that are in good condition (“gently used”) but selling well below what they would if they were brand-new. In this way, you might be able to acquire an item for $5, and later sell it for $50.
Look through your attic and closets. It's time for a purge. Selling on eBay is an easy way for you to clear up the clutter in your home while making money. But you can also look at eBay as an income opportunity through its many business models. Besides selling your own stuff, you can browse garage sales to find inventory or even open your own eBay consignment business to sell other people's belongings while earning a cut.
When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking it up online beforehand? Or bought a product that didn’t have at least a few 5-star reviews? It seems like more and more our world is run on reviews. And you can make money online by writing them. Get started by creating accounts on sites like Vindale research, Software Judge, FameBit, CrowdTap, Influence Central, and Modern Mom. However, before you run off and start writing, be sure to check the small print on each of these sites. Writing reviews isn’t a huge source of guaranteed income and you want to make sure that it’s worth your time before you get going.
Since time is the most precious commodity on this earth, invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. It's obvious that this is the preferred route, but clearly the road less traveled.
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.
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.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Improving communication, which leads to business growth. We all know what it’s like to have an avalanche of messages waiting in our inbox or voicemail, which makes it hard to stay up to date on everything necessary. As a virtual assistant, your job could be to make sure every important email gets a good reply in good time, which can help a business build trust among its customers and employees.
I know that in the ecommerce and physical product world, there are a lot of costs up front, which vary depending on the product. Sometimes you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of money up front to pay for a mold, like Bret Miller did with his product Brik Book, which is a physical product with a specific shape that needs to be reproduced on a large scale. The mold itself could cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this case, a crowdfunding campaign could be an excellent option to cover those costs. Listen to Bret talk about the story of Brik Book on SPI 217.
Walk around your neighborhood or town and I’m sure you’ll see tons of great local businesses with terrible design. However, with increasingly easy-to-use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Venngage, Stencil, and Visme, just about anyone with a creative mindset and a good amount of motivation can start making money online by being a graphic designer for local companies.
Evaluate the pros and cons. The fact that your customers will have to visit the third party to buy from you has benefits and drawbacks. If you are interested in renting out your vacation property, using Airbnb’s platform means that it will probably be easier for anyone to find you when they search for lodging in your area because of Airbnb’s growing popularity.
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
Leapforce is always looking for people for this work at home role. Their Search Engine Evaluators “conduct research, evaluation, and feedback on search engine results by measuring the relevance and usefulness of web pages in correlation to predefined queries, by providing a comparative analysis of sets of search engine results and various other techniques.”
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.
However, people can still do webinars without all of that. For example, you might have a sizable social media following and you train them every week on something to do with social media. But you will need a product to embed and sell at some point. Don't worry about it in the beginning. And by far, the best webinar platform out there is certainly GoToWebinar. Hands down, there isn't even another platform that comes close.
If you have your own eCommerce store, social media is the perfect platform to showcase your products. Demonstrate your products in use and tell your social following why they need to buy your merchandise. Most social media channels allow you to add ‘buy’ buttons your pages, allowing your followers to easily click through to your site and make a purchase.
I have been really disappointed with the survey gig. They underestimate the time they take to complete by like a third and often I find myself spending 10 minutes in what seems like a survey only to find out it’s a pre-survey qualifier, where it feels like I’m giving them so much personal information that I ought to be paid, but at the end of it I’m told I don’t qualify but the award like the equivalent of a penny or two to thank you for your time.
Your Price. When establishing a price for your classes, start by calling around and finding out what other choices your clients have. If you plan to offer cooking classes, call some commercial establishments and other in-home teachers. Compare your own talent and experience to what they’re offering, and set a price accordingly. You should always come in a little lower than classes offered by commercial establishments as that will be one of your selling points: expert information for less money.
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.
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?
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
Selection. One of the keys to success on Etsy is selection, according to industry insiders. In fact, the goal of most serious shop owners is to have at least 200 items for sale. If you’re creating all of those items yourself, that’s a pretty big time commitment. But the more options you give to your customers, the higher the chances that you’ll make a sale.
This comes back to the implementation of sales funnels within an ecommerce environment. In fact, much of what people think about traditional ecommerce stores taking months or even years to build and costing a small fortune simply isn't true. Dave Woodward, co-founder of ClickFunnels, says that over one-third of their two-comma club (members who have a sales funnel making a million or more per year) are ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Nathan Barry on bootstrapping ConvertKit: I’m a huge proponent of ConvertKit (and now an affiliate and compensated advisor). It’s user friendly, powerful, and an all-around great product. But one cherry on top is its origin story, in which Nathan Barry took it upon himself to create ConvertKit without any venture funding or any upfront capital. It’s fascinating and awesome!
You’ll also need to have some technical know-how if you want to be marketable as an online writer. You don’t need to be Bill Gates, but you should at least know how to add a link and crop a picture. You can practice some of these skills by playing around with a free WordPress site, experimenting with features and publishing a few stories. That way, you can gain experience and create a small portfolio of articles you can share with other businesses when you want to start applying to writing jobs. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a writer in the U.S. is about $48,000.
Persistence and Commitment. You’ll need to have a good amount of persistence while pursuing freelance writing gigs. This business is subjective, and while one person may love your writing, another may not. Do your best to always produce good, solid copy and hold on to your commitment to do the best you can for your clients. Just by committing to do those two things, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
The fewer words it takes you to explain your business, the more solidified your idea has become. You need to be able to craft an elevator pitch: a succinct description based on the concept that you’re quickly describing your business to a stranger within the time it takes to ride in an elevator. Usually, this means explaining your business in about 50 words or less. For comparison, this paragraph is just over 120 words.. Don’t be afraid to modify your idea while you’re in the planning stages. Creativity and flexibility will serve you better than rigid adherence to the first concepts that crossed your mind. However, your idea does need to be at least solid enough to work with in order for you to effectively begin your business plan.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
Tutors are in high demand whether it’s online or offline. Therefore, if you’ve got a brain and like helping others use theirs, become an e-teacher to earn an extra income in your spare time. The only thing you require is to be proficient in your area of expertise and be willing to give up a few hours each week to help someone else. Sites like Tutor.com and TutorVista are places you can sign up with and build a good reputation over time as a coach. If you’re really good, you can conduct lectures, seminars, or webinars that are transmitted online. University and college students are always willing to pay money to gain access into highly-respected online webinars.