When I started my first online business back in 2008 (GreenExamAcademy.com, formerly IntheLEED.com), the idea was to help aspiring architects pass the LEED certification exam. I hardly spent any money at all. All I did was start a blog, which at the time cost $6.95 per month for webhosting, and I used Bluehost. (As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Bluehost. And, because I have an affiliate relationship with them, you can get your business website going for much less than where I began, starting at only $2.75 per month!) [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
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.
Perhaps you’re raising kids and you’re committed to not using daycare. Maybe you’re a little older and can’t commit to a full-time job. Or you might be injured or disabled, making it difficult for you to leave your home each day. Whatever your reason is, if you’re stuck at home most of the day, you’ve probably thought about the income you could be making by taking a work-from-home job or running your own business.
These three points may seem like common sense, but the truth is that the people who run these scams are very good at what they do. They’ve been able to deceive many intelligent people because they present their “opportunities” so well that almost anyone will believe them. When you’re looking for a new job or extra income, it’s easy to get lulled in to a comfort zone where they can take advantage of you. Keep your guard up – always.
To do that, you have to harbor a few fundamental guiding principles in your mind. Today, if you're at all serious about generating a full-time income (and more) from your online activities, then you need to focus on passive income as opposed to active income. Sure, the active income will help you survive. That's the scarcity mentality at play. But it's the passive income ideas that will help you thrive.
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.
A large subset of our society is earning a full-time income by selling items on Craigslist and Ebay. You can do this by selling your own items, or you can help sell items for other people and take a small commission. Selling on Ebay offers more friction than Craigslist and you'll need to establish solid reviews before you can begin to move high-ticket items.

Did you ever guess that your obsession with Twitter or Pinterest could become a key employability skill? I know! You first start Pinterest, you think it’ll be a little harmless fun, and then you’ve got hundreds of boards with thousands of pins on DIY projects you’re never going to do and recipes you’re never going to make (sorry, real talk) – but you also understand all the lingo, know who the influencers are, and have an experienced eye for what makes an enticing Pinterest post. Maybe this same story applies, except with Facebook (you know the power of groups and how FB ads work), Twitter (you’re always up on the latest trending hashtags), or Instagram (you follow all the influencers in your niche).
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
If you have an eye for color schemes and website layout, pick up CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and other programming languages so you can do full-on website development for private clients. If you’ve always wanted to work on apps, learn C++, C#, Objective-C, and HTML5 (among others), depending on the platform or device you’d like to design for (Apple, Windows, Android). SQL, Java, and Python are also great languages to have experience in if you’d like to work in software development in general. Like freelance writing, you can get experience on the job and increase your rates (or salary expectations) as you complete projects or add more practical experience and earned certifications to your skillset.

Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early.  I make over $40,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial.  You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!).  Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
If you are a budding photographer and would like to be paid for your craft then you should consider setting up your own photography website. This is a great way to not only promote your services as a photographer but also to sell your images. You can charge visitors a fee to download your images. Or, if you’d rather, turn your site into a paid membership site, with free downloads of all images for paying subscribers.
Styling companies are springing up across the country and need fashion stylists to work with their clients. It’s like playing dress-up, but with a paycheck. Fashion stylists usually get their start working retail or costume design, but a love of fashion is the main requirement. With personal shopping sites like Stitchfix or Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, it’s possible to be a stylist right in your living room.
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.
The answer to that question is really up to you, depending on your business model, and your timeline. I started off not having to spend much money, something I remember well because I had just been laid off from my job and didn’t have a lot of money to spend. With GreenExamAcadamy.com and SmartPassiveIncome.com, I didn’t spend more than $1,000 a month for the first two years of those businesses. It wasn’t until those businesses started growing significantly that I started to spend more money, and then I had the revenue to support additional costs.
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.
Sites like Cookening, EatWith, and MealSharing are to restaurants what Airbnb is to hotels. Sign up as a host to earn dough by cooking and serving meals to guests in your home. It's up to you what you want to cook and how many people you can accommodate. Cooks are paid directly through the site, so no cash ever changes hands. The earning potential for becoming a cooking host is $50-$100 per meal.

Tools. You don’t need much to work as a home-based freelance writer, but there are some tools that you must have. The most important will be your computer. Get the fastest Internet access that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you get. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough to spend a lot of time with it. Most clients will request that you submit your work as a Microsoft Word document, so make sure that whatever programs you use are compatible. In addition, because you’ll be spending so much time at the computer, make sure that you have a good work area with proper lighting. Some clients will want to be able to reach you by phone or Skype, so have both set up and accessible. You’ll need an invoicing program, such as Freshbooks, and a good bookkeeping system to keep track of sales, orders, and accounts receivables.
With apps being constantly developed, competent app developers are in high demand. Again, if you have the experience or skills to create successful apps then this could be something you could end up working on as a full-time freelancer. Check out adverts for developers on Toptal, a higher paying jobs site for experienced freelancers wanting to make money online.

Most of us are guilty of hanging onto things that we never use, myself included. Take a day and go through all your old stuff and get rid of some of it! One tool that is really helpful for this is Decluttr. You can enter your items barcodes into their valuation engine and they’ll give you an instant offer. Then you simply pack all your items into a box and ship them off for free.
Evaluate Web sites. Another way to make extra cash in a short amount time – $10 for about 20 minutes of work – is to sign on with UserTesting and evaluate Web sites. You need a computer with a microphone and Internet connection, and you’ll have to fill out a one-page demographic profile. You’ll receive work if your profile matches that of the target audience of sites being tested. Then it’s just a matter of using UserTesting’s screen recorder, which you'll need to download to your computer, to record your verbal comments and on-screen movements as you click through a site. Site owners typically are looking for feedback about whether the Web site is confusing to navigate.
Daily Surveys can be taken one or more times per day. This is indicated in the survey description. Other targeted surveys can be taken as you see them. Be sure to complete these when you see them. Some surveys may accept a limited number of responses from people matching your demographics, and can sometimes disappear quickly. New surveys come out all the time too!

There are also shopping apps like ibotta, MobiSave, and checkout 21 that give you money back for shopping. And the Walmart app has a savings catcher feature where you take a picture of the barcode or upc at the bottom of your receipt and they search all surrounding store and if a lower price is found they give you the difference back. I have made about 50 bucks total from this app and 20-30 from things like ibotta.


This can either be done locally or through an online service like Fiverr. Resumes are something that people can be very insecure and self-conscious about, which means there is always a demand for services that will help spruce them up. Holly Hanna from The Work at Home Woman wrote a really useful article on How to Make Money from Home with Resume Writing.
Get ecommerce software. You'll need this so your customers can view your products, enter their information and make a secure purchase. The software safely stores customer information. Don't skimp in this area, since the ecommerce software you choose will make a big difference in how easy it is for customers to feel secure buying something from your store.
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.
Read product reviews before you buy. Decide whether a desktop or a laptop is best to suit your needs (Ex. You will likely need a desktop to get a customer service position. On the other end of the spectrum, proofreading can be done on a tablet if necessary.) And, while you’re budgeting for new hardware, don’t forget to factor in a good headset – many remote jobs require them. (To increase your marketability, you can also add a decent mic and an all-in-one printer. Or even a foot pedal if you’re going into transcription.)
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For example, if you register for free with Textbroker.com and submit a writing sample, you’ll receive a rating based on your content quality. Then you can choose which projects you want based on your quality rating and earn 0.7 cent to 5 cents per word, or more. FreelanceWriting.com provides a long list of freelance writing opportunities culled from several top sites. Many of the recent listings offered hourly rates of $25 or more. For $21 a month, you can join Mediabistro’s freelance marketplace to post your qualifications for review by media managers seeking writers.
If you’re a website or blog owner, you can sell a portion of your page space to advertisers and earn money passively each time the ads are clicked on by your target audience or visitors to your website. While the actual placing of the ads is completely free, the earning capacity of cost-per-click (CPC) advertising is based on the level of traffic to your site and the cost per click and click-through rate, or CTR. The most popular way to earn money today through advertising clicks is through Google AdSense or similar advertisers. Other ways of effective online advertising include RSS feeds and direct banners.
One of the easiest ways to make a few bucks online is affiliate marketing. An affiliate is essentially someone who receives a commission for selling products for other companies, whether it’s on their own site or through another channel like eBay. The best part is that you don’t have to develop any products yourself, just sell other people’s products.
When creating a membership site, always offer different plans and pricing tiers to appeal to your different categories of audience. Access to specific types of content is then dependent on the plan selected by a member. Membership fees can be a one-off payment or a repeat subscription. And you can even sell products on your membership site to boost your income.

This can include advertising, but many businesses also need help just filling up their social media profiles with relevant (and consistent) content. If you enjoy learning about social media and want to take things a step further and make extra money, social media management is a great option. If you’re good at it, it can also open up a lot of doors for you down the road. This is a great article from Small Biz Trends on How to Start Your Own Social Media Business.


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.

Having your own site to sell gently used handbags is probably going to be a really, really difficult endeavor for what its worth. It will be hard to get enough eyeballs/visitors on those bags to generate enough sales to make you any meaningful income (it’s an incredibly small niche and almost too specific in nature). Not to deter you from the idea completely but you’ll need to commit to several years of patience to really hit a home run in that field.
If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
The money is most certainly in the list. If you're at all interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It's often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.
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.

Work remotely for a call center. Because many call center jobs are location independent, finding work in this field is an easy way to earn some money from home. Dozens of sites list job openings for call-center representatives, including Freelancer.com and SimplyHired.com. Meanwhile, you should check local job listings for openings and opportunities as well.
Need help deciding which business structure is right for you? Try our handy business structure comparison chart. LegalZoom’s business formation services include filing your paperwork with the state, obtaining your EIN from the IRS, and connecting you with independent lawyers and tax professionals through our business legal plan to answer any questions you might have.
Profit from you photos. If you’re skilled with a camera, you can turn your photos into cash by selling them to stock image sites, such as Shutterstock.com. If the photos you submit are accepted, they can be downloaded by Shutterstock’s subscribers and you can earn anywhere from 25 cents to $120 per image download. Other sites that accept photos from contributors include iStock, Dreamstime and Sqeeqee.
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.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂
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