Writer, side project aficionado, and part-time entrepreneur. Join me here, on ryrob.com and learn how to start a business while working full-time. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.
There are quite literally hundreds of clever ways to make money online. From taking online surveys, to renting or selling your old clothes, flipping your iPhone to someone in a different country, and even buying low-cost products locally, just to resell them for a higher price on Amazon. There’s truly no shortage of unique ways to make money online.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
The ease and convenience of having a prepaid shipping bag sent to your home which you can stuff and send back to be sold online is a trend I see catching fire in the next couple years; I would not be surprised to see a number of other players in this space emerge. It’s a novel alternative to donating a $200 shirt for instance when someone might be willing to give you $50 online for it.
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It works like a map app, but instead of just showing you the businesses around you, it will show you their products too. So if you want to know where the closest, cheapest snickers bar is, you can two finger tap your way there and find it within walking distance for $0.75. But you may be able to find it within 10 miles for $0.25 if you’re willing to drive.
And while building, launching, and marketing an online course does take a considerable amount of upfront effort, their earning potential is through the roof (especially compared to a lot of the other online ways to make money we’re talking about).
Why not turn your hobby into an online business? You can monetize most hobbies multiple ways. You can create a blog about your hobby where you sell advertising. You could also write a book, create an online course, or provide training online. You could set up an ecommerce site where you sell your products. If you are ready to get started, check out our guide to start a small business.
But here’s the reality; the internet has opened up so many possibilities to people regardless of age, location, or background to build a sustainable, online business or side project that can make extra money online every single month.
At the forefront of the internet revolution has been ecommerce stores. Nowadays you can get an easy to use, fully functional ecommerce store design for as little as £500; then you just need a domain and hosting. Of course, how much you profit depends on your methods and effectiveness of marketing which might include:
The reason this is a great online business idea is because, while hundreds of thousands of people start their search for business insurance online, the majority still deal with a brick-and-mortar agent to buy and manage their policy. This takes a lot of time and can be a hassle (in both managing the physical paperwork as well as working around an agent’s schedule).
How many email newsletters are you bombarded with every single day? There’s a reason for that. Marketing to an actively interested group of email subscribers is one of the best ways to make money online. There have even been million-dollar businesses built from simple email newsletters like TheSkimm, or Mister Spoils. Each newsletter targets a specific type of user with interesting, daily content, while also partnering with relevant companies and affiliates to bring in extra money. If this seems daunting, it’s not. Tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit, AWeber, and ActiveCampaign, make it easier than ever to get started with email marketing.
The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path.
Consider building a Shopify store. Shopify is a system built for ecommerce. With some basic web knowledge, you can set up a good-looking store very quickly, with a low-cost investment and with no coding needed. Shopify has a 30-day free trial too, so you can get started without spending a dime.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Cultivate leads with email marketing software. ($20) You’ll want to start building your email list as soon as you can. Take advantage of the free trials and inexpensive plans on offer so you can get started. Total cost so far: $97
Shipping restrictions, zoning laws, and trademark considerations. These can all make or break your business. With this list, you can avoid the ecommerce landmines that derail your business before it gets off the ground.
If you possess a great deal of business experience and knowledge, why not create a business that helps aspiring entrepreneurs find success? You can use your skills to help new business owners get off to a good start and help experienced entrepreneurs keep up with demand. To show off your knowledge and skills and bring in clients, you can also write articles about business on platforms like LinkedIn.
Who doesn’t want to earn more money? Whether it’s through part-time jobs or freelance work, adding more dollars to your cash flow every month is always nice. But unfortunately, not everyone has the time to pick up another job or do additional work on the side. If that’s the case for you, don’t give up. Instead, turn to the one thing you probably spend a majority of your time on: the internet.
However, the majority of the site would focus on establishing the value of the actual product–the gift baskets–and providing detailed information about guarantees, delivery procedures, etc. Including reams of misplaced information about the website owners could actually hurt sales more than help because, in this case, visitors’ chief focus should be directed to the value of the product.
Once you’ve got your domain name, you’ll need a platform to build your site on. While you could pick a free option like Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress.com, these won’t give you the flexibility or authority you need to build a truly successful affiliate site.
The site has one more feature to leave a review for the person after you meet them. Let’s say you go out with someone on a date who seems creepy so you end it early. Then when you get home, you leave a review saying the person was creepy, and didn’t look at all like his or her profile picture. This would help other people that might be considering dating them!
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.
Normally Santa is only associated with the Christmas season, but with North Pole Notes, he can become a part of the family all throughout the year as he dresses in different outfits and also sends poems with news ideas on how to remain in Santa’s nice list. After all, shouldn’t we always be encouraging children to stay on the nice list?
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.
Become an Amazon Associate and then use Keyword planner to find an in-demand niche: With more than a million different products to choose from and up to 10% commission the sales you drive, Amazon’s affiliate program is a great place to get started. Browse their available products and see what connects with you. Or take it a step further and use Google’s Keyword Planner to quickly check how many people are searching for a specific term. With affiliate marketing, the more relevant traffic you can pull in, the more you’ll make off your site.
Here’s my online business idea: A website where you can enter in the name of your online date and the business will research the person for you. So let’s say you find someone on a site like Match.com that you want to set up a date with, but you want to learn more about them first. You can submit the name into this website and the business will research all of the social profiles and anything else they can find online about the potential match for a flat fee. There would also be an option for a background check.
Bootstrap: This means you’ll be self-funding your business. While not everyone will have the funds to pay for everything they need to start a startup, bootstrapping means that you retain 100% control over your company. If you can bootstrap your company to an exit or IPO, you’ll most likely never have to work another day in your life.
When Alchemy owner Eli Reich’s messenger bag was stolen, he decided that instead of buying another, he would make one himself. With plenty of bicycle inner tubes lying around, he decided to make it the primary material for his new bag. Long story short, the completed product was a huge hit at the office, and Eli began to make them on a much larger scale. Today, Alchemy products are carried in many stores across the country.
Once you’ve established yourself in any of the numerous freelance verticals online, spending your time focusing just on doing inside sales (booking freelance contracts with high-value clients) and then subcontracting your work out to other freelancers can be a great way to make money online.
Shopify is a great example of the freemium model. By offering some applications for free, they get exposure for their whole business. Since the company was founded in 2004, they have acquired 30,000 customers, including Pixar and the Foo Fighters. Their revolutionary “build-a-business” competitions in the past have produced over $70,000,000 in revenue for over 14,000 entrants.
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 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.
But he managed to sell a necklace for $200, and with that $200, Branson finally had the money to call potential advertisers for his fledgling magazine. The rest, as they say, is history. That $200 would eventually grow into the Virgin Group, now a multibillion-dollar brand, operating in industries ranging from aerospace to communications.
FakeSpot is a web tool dedicated to helping Amazon shoppers weed out fake reviews and find the most authentic products! Simply copy the Amazon product page URL, paste it in at Fakespot.com, and click “analyze.” Fakespot then calculates a letter grade that rates how much you should trust the reviews of the selected product. Use Fakespot before making your next electronic, beauty, fashion, or household purchase. You can also visit Fakespot’s website to see their curated lists of the most authentic products by genre.
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.
If you don’t already have an audience, it might be better to self-publish on Amazon first. That way, you can validate your course idea, grow your email list (just make sure to have an email opt-in at the front and back of the book!), and more or less create a rough draft of the course (since it will probably be similar to the book).
How many postings are there for jobs similar to what you do? If there’s a decent amount and it looks like there’s steady demand, put those skills down on a shortlist and start researching the companies and industries that are hiring.
1. Network with other local businesses. If you want local traffic, start making personal connections with other local business owners–preferably those with sites of their own. Look for ways to position your service and your site as a resource to their customers, and then request a link on their site or get permission to leave your business cards (printed with your URL, of course) in their lobby or next to their cash register. Even consider rewarding local business owners for sending traffic and leads your way by offering them a special gift, a discount off your service or even a portion of the profits.
There’s a variety of ways you can get in touch with influencers, or just get on their radar, which you can read about in this article: The Ultimate Guide To Finding, Reaching, And Interviewing Top Influencers
On the other hand, with our Facebook audience, we’ve found videos to be particularly powerful in terms of bringing in new followers and engaging our existing followers. It’s also a great platform for us to promote the latest post on the Foundr blog, and the occasional motivational quote as well.
Since it’s safe to assume that the purchase intent on searches for hiking backpacks is pretty high, the next logical step is that a reasonable number of site visitors would click through using my affiliate links and complete a purchase, over time.
When you sell a service, you are the product, whether you’re a real estate agent, doctor, lawyer, bed & breakfast owner, auto-mechanic, caterer, hair stylist, fitness trainer, accountant, investment advisor, childcare provider, housekeeper, dog walker, landscaper, whatever.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
This would all be accomplished by a cloud based bar code / QR code reader stream that coalesces all of this data for the users to tap into through GPS data and preferences, the seller and user ratings, and finally reliability reviews and the like.
If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re selling your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
You can get a decent 3D printer these days for around $3,000 large (2), but be warned: if prices continue to drop and ease of use continues to increase, it may not be long before 3D printers reach critical mass.
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.
Strategy #7: Encourage referrals and repeat customers. Always, always, always follow up with existing clients! Are they happy with the job you did for them? Is there anything else you can do for them? Do they know anyone else who might benefit from your service?
Selling your know-how can really pay off. Even if your know-how is super nerdy and small — I created an online course that teaches people how to start a business proofreading transcripts for court reporters. Lives have been changed in the process, including mine! The course has earned me over $166,000 in profit since its launch in February, exactly four months ago today.