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If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you’ve built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
Join a startup accelerator: Another great option is to apply to a startup accelerator like Y Combinator, 500 startups, or TechStars, where a group of investors will help coach you, connect you with potential partners, and provide startup cash in return for a small stake in your company. The competition is tough to get into these, so don’t rely on them as your only path forward.
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.
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I’m sharing everything I’ve learned over the past decade, pulling from my own experience in earning a consistent $10,000/mo or more in side income (on the side of my day job) from online sources like affiliates, courses, freelancing and other ways to make money online that we’re exploring in this guide.
Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions from people selling a service–or thinking about selling a service–over the web, asking what you need to do differently than those people marketing a physical product.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Some people have made big dollars by owning desired domains and selling them to hungry buyers. For a minimum investment of buying domain names you feel will be popular (typically $10 to $20), you might make a big profit selling it down the line.
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!
Most predictions say the market for 3D printing will reach $16.2 billion by 2018 (1), and you can take a chunk of that by printing 3D blueprints, prototypes, and anything else your customers need. You’ll probably want to start by focusing on one niche, like: 3d printing for dolls, etc.
To be a great graphic designer, you don’t need to be great at drawing, you don’t need a college degree, and you don’t need to buy a fancy expensive computer. But you do need to be a visual thinker, you do need to specialize in something, and you definitely need a portfolio.
If you’re willing to take on some risk and have the heart of a true hustler, you can make extra money online doing commission-only sales for startups and other businesses. While you won’t be getting a regular salary, with the right sales strategies and skills as an inside sales rep, you can make decent money for each sale you bring in. And because you’ll most likely be working with startups, if you can negotiate a little equity you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds.
For those who like to make handcrafted items, websites such as Etsy are ideal to make some money off of such hobbies. Dedicated handcrafters should check Etsy and similar sites to find the best fit for their products.
So, how do you go about putting together your course? One of my favorite online course success stories comes from Bryan Harris of Videofruit, who built and launched an online course in just 10 days that made him $220,750!
There are a few different ways you can accomplish this. First, you should include a good, professional picture of yourself. And no, the picture of you in your Hawaiian-print shorts and “Kiss the Chef” hat from last year’s summer barbecue won’t do. Giving your visitors a professional image to associate you with will go a long way toward establishing your credibility.
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.
They will ship any item from the U.S. to anywhere in the world – in the most personal, transparent, and fast way possible. There are many items, such as tech gadgets or fashion brands, that are only available in the U.S. I have used this service myself many times to get items shipped to Italy – such as the newest Jawbone UP3 fitness tracker. They are always very responsive and great!
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
Of course, there’s a higher price per product and your margins are lower, but you’re able to start your online store with little more than a Shopify theme and some hosted images of your products. When a customer makes a purchase, you in turn buy the product from your supplier who then ships it directly to your customer.
They’re shortcuts that don’t last forever—and many of the “opportunities” like network marketing giants Herbalife and others offer, often pan out to either be a scam or at the very least, damaging to your personal relationships. And I would never advocate for that.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
Instead, go with a self-hosted site (like my blog here is)—this means your blog will be hosted on your own server and you’ll have full control over it. There are tons of highly reputable, affordable companies you can choose to host your website, like Bluehost, Kinsta, or A2 Hosting.
Selling on eBay successfully is not easy. You need to be able to able to target a niche where the profit margins are high and competition is low. If you pick the right product (particularly unbranded products) you have a chance to import items and make huge profit margins. SaleHoo is awesome for finding suppliers.
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.
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.
Consequently, they’re looking for Facebook ad specialists to step in and do it for them. Luckily, this is something you can learn fairly quickly. Once you do, you can reach out to businesses and offer to help create profitable Facebook ads.
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.
Video is growing like crazy. And more and more people are looking for professional help cutting their raw footage into viral-worthy content. If you have the right software and a bit of skill, you can easily make money online as a video editor. Check out these article of Fstoppers on how to become an online video editor and then look for relevant jobs on Mandy.com, Creative Cow Job Search, or ProductionHub.
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:
Through my years of experience and research, I’ve consistently found the following ideas have the best potential to create a steady stream of recurring revenue. They’ll take a lot of effort. But if you’re willing to put in the work, they could change your life, like they have for me.
This is where you dig even deeper to understand your ideal shopper. Who are they? What do they like? How can you tailor both your product and your website experience to appeal to your perfect shopper?
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.
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.
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).
While Etsy is a great place to get in front of potential customers who wouldn’t have otherwise found you, once you’re up and running and have built a decent audience, you can move your store over to Shopify and retain a larger portion of the income you make from selling your goods.
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?
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.
There are tons of sites online that will either buy your old smartphone outright or let you list your phone for the thousands of people out there not willing to shell out $1000+ for a shiny new iPhone. Check out Orchard, Gazelle, Swappa, or Glyde to make extra money online by selling your smartphone or other electronics.
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as “You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech,” seems like something you would want to do, you can make good money online.
With Amazon, you can self-publish a book fairly easily, and really make money from it. There are some simple and inexpensive guides like this one to help you write your book AND have it generate consistent income.
The idea is simple: a global search directory that lists the nearly 2000 crowdfunding sites, as well as the hundreds of third party sites that are designed to help those seeking to raise money (for business startups, charitable causes, political campaigns, etc).