Starting a business these days is also surprisingly cheap. If you’re dying to get out there and start making money online, but you think that surely you’ll need thousands in the bank first, we’re about to prove you wrong.
For the past several years, I’ve been on a mission to experiment with the best ways to create sustainable online income and chase my dreams of self-employment. And while I’ve seen my fair share of success, things haven’t always been easy either.
Starting a blog isn’t as hard as you think. All you need is hosting and a domain. To make money online from a blog you need to gain large amounts of traffic from a specific niche. See how I do it here. You can earn cash using:
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.
Strategy #2: Be specific about exactly what you’re offering. We’ve already talked a bit about this, but this is such a common mistake I see website owners making–whether they’re selling a service or a product–that I think it warrants further explanation.
TechCrunch is a popular Web 2.0 blog and makes a reported $200,000 per month. Originally started by Michael Arrington, it was eventually acquired by AOL for a reported $25,000,000. There is money to be made by blogging and it’s cheap one of the cheap and easy home based businesses to get started with.
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.
“I always tell podcasters to use as many streams as possible. Don’t just sell ads on your show. Don’t just sell T-shirts. Don’t just do crowdfunding. Do all of it. Combine it and find the right mix, and together it adds up to something that’s stronger and more dependable.”
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, 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.
The dramatic growth and success of eBay has spawned many competitors featuring auctions or online marketplaces for diverse items. Whether you want to clean out your closet and sell your designer clothing online, or develop a high-volume online store, you can make extra money or big dollars on sites such as Amazon.com, Etsy.com and more.
Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
For example, on his website, the owner of a martial arts school offered basic summary descriptions of his classes. Instead of general descriptions, he’d be better off breaking his sales copy down from his existing summary descriptions into more detailed copy that explains the key differences between his child, teen, and adult classes. By focusing on these client groups separately, he could more closely target their unique needs (and therefore attract more customers) by emphasizing the benefits that apply directly to each.
If you’re willing to take the time to learn the development skills necessary to build high-quality software products (or even MVPs to help you get funding), there’s a growing roster of reputable online learning platforms like Treehouse, CodeAcademy, and Skillcrush to get you the skills you need.
You’ll also need to provide evidence that other clients have been satisfied with your services. Depending on the nature of the service you provide, you may choose to do this in a few different ways. Testimonials from clients are a great way to establish your credibility. An online portfolio of your work might be another option (for example, landscapers might include pictures of well-manicured properties they designed and maintain). However, if the confidentiality of your clients is important, you may need to approach this a bit differently by including more general descriptions of problems you’ve encountered and steps you’ve taken to solve them, with no names or clues that could give away identities. If privacy is important to your clients, then visitors to your site should be able to understand why you can’t reveal names and exact details. But again, don’t assume they’ll know. Be sure to explain this.
Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things ecommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming.She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in ecommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.
If you’re a longtime reader of Foundr, you’ll be familiar with this simple tool. If you’re not, the business model canvas is basically a worksheet that helps break down the nine essential elements of your business. It’ll allow you to take an objective look at your business idea and consider areas that you might not have thought about before.
If you happen to have a bit more free time, then reach out to the event organizers and see if you can volunteer or help in any way. That way you’re guaranteed a backstage pass and a higher chance of striking up a conversation with an expert one-on-one than if you just walked in through the door.
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.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off, there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as a way to make money online. Before you dive in, however, beware that some experts doubt the long-term viability of this idea for making money online. However, there’s always the change you might just land on a lucrative domain name for a future billion-dollar company. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names.
Set strategic prices: The $37.50/hr you earn at your day job doesn’t even come close to the hourly rate you’d need to charge, in order to create the same net annual income, once you’re self-employed. This infographic on calculating your freelance hourly rate can help you decide what to charge.
Your favorite artist, musician, or entrepreneur often needs help maintaining their fan pages on Twitter and Facebook. If you have a bit of a background in social media you can make money online looking after these pages by looking for jobs on Fiverr.
While YouTube recently changed its monetization program, if you’re able to hit their new minimum bar of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past 12 months, it’s still an incredible place to make extra money online.
If you are not familiar with some of the prices that domains have been sold for, then the all time list here is worth looking out. Checkout hotels.com, which went for $9,500,000! One of the highest domain sales back in 2012 was silver.com which sold for $875,000.
You might not have even heard of Zappos, an online shoe store. Well, that goes to show how big the internet really is and how big your online business could be. Maybe it might even come to close to the acquisition of Zappos by Amazon for a reported $900,000,000.
Podcasts are super hot right now, and for good reason. With how busy our lives are getting, more and more people are looking for passive ways to take in content. Which makes them both a great opportunity to build an audience and to make money online.
In 2017, there were almost 90 million pet dogs in the US. Which has opened up a huge opportunity to make money online as a dog watcher or sitter. Specialized sites like Rover or Care.com connect pet owners with pet walkers, sitters, and boarding houses to help look after their best friends when they’re at work or on a trip. If you’re an animal lover, you can make extra money and get to spend some quality time with a furry friend.
If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
The best entrepreneurs are always the most curious ones, and getting a library card, or the other free alternative of your choice, can open up a whole world of information for you. And if you make sure to actually return your books on time, then you don’t have to worry about late fees either!
Affilorama is a great resource for anyone looking at starting their journey in affiliate marketing. The email marketer’s best friend is their email list; you have to have an email list! I use Aweber to collect subscribers.
Being a new teacher can be nerve wracking. Which is why so many people are looking to buy your old teaching plans to help them feel more comfortable in front of their first class. If you’re a teacher, you can make money online through a site like Teachers Pay Teachers, which lets you buy and sell your original teaching materials.
Mobile applications are more popular than ever, and people are willing to pay good money for ways to manage their lives from their smartphones. If you have a great idea and happen to know coding, you can run with it and create your app yourself. If you just have an idea and don’t know the ins and outs of how to turn it into a reality, there are plenty of software developers looking to collaborate with people on app creation.
Sites like SocialSpark offer bloggers cash for authoring and posting original copy about products or services to their sites. Just make sure to pay attention to FCC disclosure requirements when you’re getting paid to promote.
Bluehost even has a nifty domain name availability checker you can use right here to quickly find out whether or not your desired website URL is available (and if it’s not, they’ll give you suggestions on the next best idea):
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Everyone is an expert in something. Maybe you know a lot about copywriting or meal planning or raising a credit score. And, if you can teach what you know, there’s probably someone who’s willing to pay for it.
Every day, couples in love get engaged. And every day, couples who have fallen out of love separate or break an engagement. When the latter happened to Josh Opperman, his fiancee was kind enough to return the engagement ring, and he didn’t know what to do with it. Since the wholesale markup on engagement rings is insanely high, he would have taken a huge loss in returning it. So instead, he started his business, I Do Now I Don’t, an online marketplace for unwanted engagement rings. Customers can buy rings at prices far cheaper than you’d find at a traditional store, and you can sell at rates that are better than you’d get if you tried to return the ring. Business started booming, and now you can buy and sell other jewelry items there too.
If you can consistently provide companies with successful social media campaigns and improve their profiles, they will pay. Clorox Bleach had some huge success with one of their recent social media campaigns.
The audiobook industry is booming, yet only 5% of books ever get made into audio format. If you’ve got a background in acting, or if people have said you’ve got a voice made for the radio, you can make extra money recording audio versions of independent and popular books. Sites like ACX connect authors with audiobook performers. So, whether you’re an author looking for more ways to sell your book, or an actor/voice actor looking to make some extra income, you can sell your services online.
You know you have the right product, who your customer is, and how to set up your business. It’s time to get the physical product. We’ll walk you through different ways to source your product and how to avoid common pitfalls.
A common mistake that many people make when it comes to validating their business idea is that they’ll need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars developing an MVP. You actually want to spend very little at this stage.
If you’re a crazy-good writer, you can (and should) charge crazy-good prices. Proof is the pudding, though, right? Where has your work been published? If you haven’t been published, your “perceived value” will be less.
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
The benefit here is that you don’t have to risk buying up stock in a product and losing money if it doesn’t sell. The entry barrier is lower and you don’t have to invest nearly as much to get started.
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Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make money online, not to mention open some doors for you to travel the world if you’d like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker and have the ability to teach, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to tutor them English via Skype. Check out Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co for remote english tutoring jobs or sign up on a specialized site like VerbalPlanet or Chegg Tutors.
With North Pole Notes, subscribers sign up to send personalized and unique letters as Santa Claus, not just in the holiday season, but ALL year. Perfect for parents, Godparents, Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, or just about any gift giver!
Your platform should give you the flexibility you need to stand out, the data orchestration you need for operational efficiency and the low total cost of ownership that lets’ you reallocate dollars to marketing spend, not technology debt.
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.
While you’ll certainly have higher levels of success if you can nail creating and marketing your own unique product, from my own experience (and that of many other entrepreneurs), I know the extremely high costs and risk associated with starting a product-based business.
For those who are getting into the world of ecommerce or looking to start their own online businesses, then do be sure to check out our recent in-depth reviews of ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Big Cartel, and Squarespace, which offer free trials.
Do you have impeccable organizational skills? What about cleaning skills? Can you quickly and efficiently carry out these tasks? Maybe it’s time to put those skills to good use by becoming an online personal assistant or task manager. Companies like TaskRabbit or Zirtual allow you to sign up for tasks you want to complete — including data research, virtual assistant or running errands — and begin building clientele.
Journalists, doctors, lawyers, academics, and researchers record interviews every single day and need someone to transcribe what’s been said. So, if you’re comfortable with listening to the same audio over and over while writing it down you can make good money online doing transcriptions.
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.
It gives you a place to deliver your content, allows your community members to interact with each other, allows you to limit access to qualified members, and also allows you to moderate and control the group.