Do you see all of those articles, tutorials and guides all over the Internet? Somebody wrote every one of them! If you have decent writing ability (no, you don’t need a journalism degree!), and knowledge in a few specific topic areas, you can be one of those writers. It’s an opportunity to make money online and without ever leaving your home. It’s also the kind of venture that can start out as a small side business, but grow into a full-time career.
Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.

Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).
Freelancing via the Internet is a great way for experts in their individual trades to help a variety of clients overall. Several freelancing and project-based websites let businesses that need extra help to list their projects. Small businesses and freelancers offer proposals, ideas, or bids, whereby the buyers can easily choose what they want and need. Sites like Elance or Upwork cover just about everything including writing content, creating graphic design, programming, and data entry.
Blogging can be a great side hustle. Though the income may not be steady and it can take awhile to get rolling, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. I would recommend that before you start thinking about money, you start thinking about the topics you are truly passionate about. What can you talk about and learn about for days? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing for years to come, after all. Get some more tips on starting a blog here: How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 7 Steps
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If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
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.
Through this experience, one thing I learned is that development, and the selling of the product you develop, takes time and money. This is a lesson I took to heart when I built another software company, SPI Labs, with my partner Matt Gartland. SPI Labs is behind the Smart Podcast Player, which was a significant undertaking that started out as a custom solution for AskPat and eventually became a successful WordPress plugin used by thousands of fellow podcasters.
Freelance writing is such a great industry to get involved in if you want to work remotely. There’s plenty of work available and it’s typically one of the most flexible gigs in terms of scheduling. (You can often do the work whenever and wherever you choose.) Even better, it’s pretty easy to get started with a degree or previous writing experience. Read more at Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners
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.
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