The past year encouraged all of us to embrace the great indoors. No surprise, then, that the interest in making money online from the safety of our homes is now on the rise.
What once felt like a distant daydream is now a reality for millions of people. Those of us who worked remotely from our home offices for the last few years have a lot less explaining to do at family events—the path to earning a meaningful amount of money online has become much clearer.
The magic of the internet is that it’s a sales channel, marketing network, and community hub all in one—plus so much more. There are many creative ways to make money online beyond online surveys and selling used goods on Craigslist.
That said, some businesses and side hustles are better suited to the laptop lifestyle than others. In this guide, we’ll break down the strengths and shortcomings of a few of the top money-making options.
1. Become a Virtual Assistant
With so many entrepreneurs building businesses, the demand for virtual assistants is increasing almost daily. As a virtual assistant, you’ll do a variety of tasks. Writing, order processing, bookkeeping, social media, and customer support are just a few of the tasks you might be asked to do as a virtual assistant.
You can earn money online on websites like Virtual Assistant Jobs, Indeed, or Upwork. Many virtual assistants have also found ways to make money online by reaching out to brands and entrepreneurs, asking if they’re interested in hiring a virtual assistant. Using a combination of job posting applications and outreach, you’ll be more likely to start earning fast. Build an active social media presence either on Facebook or LinkedIn to help you find new clients.
I know that many VA-s find clients on Linkedin or Facebook, but in my own case, as I love Social Media, I focused on Instagram and found all my clients (or got found) on Instagram.
2. Consider Freelancing
The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job in your 9 to 5 role and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, administrative assistant, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can market these skills and find clients online who are willing to pay you for them.
There’s a never-ending list of websites for each sector of freelance jobs too. For example, freelance writers can apply for jobs on specific online writing job boards, but also general freelance websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, and all the others. If you find that your job doesn’t have direct online money-making streams of income, you can look for other transferable skills you may have.
To make money online as a freelancer, you need to start by building out a strong portfolio. That may mean doing some free work with some reputable mid-tier brands to start. Once you gain a strong portfolio, you can start reaching out to potential big clients to earn more money online. Remember, freelancing is a numbers game: the more personalized emails and applications you fill out, the more likely you will get a response back.
3. Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the oldest methods for making money online. People who love writing tend to start blogs with a niche focus. For example, a blog about procrastination, cars, dropshipping, toys, etc., is often a narrow enough focus so you can build a loyal following, but big enough that you can cover a lot of ground.
You can start a blog on various platforms, from Shopify (remove the checkout feature, so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) to SiteGround, BlueHost, and WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords with a tight focus and continue to expand into other but relevant categories as you grow and dominate new spaces. This will allow you to build a massive blog over time. Remember that design is also important for making a good first impression on visitors.
There are several ways to make money blogging. You can add affiliate links in your posts (don’t forget a disclaimer). You can monetize with AdSense by placing ads strategically on your website. Sponsored posts can help you make money from specific brands – this is popular among review bloggers. Bloggers can also sell digital or physical products on their website either. You can also use it to build authority so that you can eventually get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from
4. Become an Influencer
Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Did you know in 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo earned $975,000 for every sponsored Instagram post, making him the highest-paid influencer? While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back.
To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The easiest platforms to do that: YouTube and Instagram. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out How To Grow Your Instagram Organically if you want to build a big Instagram audience.
To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, speaking gigs, create your own online store and sell products, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, get paid as a brand ambassador, create a book, get paid to appear at events, and more.
5. Become an Online Tutor
You can make a lot of money online and choose your own hours by being an online tutor. According to Studenomics, Bohdan made $2100 from tutoring. What’s interesting is that he built up his client base through word of mouth, visibility, and great group rates. While sciences and maths often have a high demand for tutoring positions, you’ll also find English popular among international audiences. If you’re an expert on a topic, tutoring may be the right platform for you to make money fast.
Having a degree or experience in a language is essential for this type of job, so showcase your degree, high grade average in a course, or other proof that you’re qualified to tutor that topic. If you have a teaching degree, you may be more likely to land a tutoring position. If you’ve spoken at a conference or event about the topic, you might also be considered for an online tutoring, teaching, or mentoring position. Focus on tutoring in your field of expertise. If you’re not the best, you probably shouldn’t be tutoring on that specific topic.
You can find online tutoring jobs on platforms like these:
6. Create an Online Course
Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to make money online. If you feel you have something to teach on a subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating courses online. You can sell your course on Udemy or, if you already have your own audience, on your own website. Some entrepreneurs earn as much as $5,000 per month with online courses.
To create a popular and successful course, your best bet is to watch other courses on your topic. Then, look at the reviews. What are the aspects that people praise, and what are the things people hate? How can you create something better than what’s already been created? Focus on creating content that solves the biggest complaints while emulating the positive aspects people rave about.
The platform you sell your course on will determine how to best make money. If you sell your course on Udemy, you don’t have to do much to promote it. You can almost set it and forget it. Maybe promote it to some blogs or on your own website. However, if the course is hosted on your own website, you might want to run ads to promote the course. You can also build an email list so you can continue to promote future courses to that same audience.
Other platforms you can build your Online Course:
7. Publish an E-Book
With Amazon KDP, it’s never been easier to publish an ebook. All you need to do is write the ebook, format it, create an ebook cover, publish, and promote it.
You can choose to hire a writer for your ebook, a graphic designer to design the cover, or a freelancer to format the ebook for you to help minimize the work you need to put into it. It’s best if you focus on keywords based on popular searches on Amazon. I often use the Keyword Tool, which allows you to find the words people use while searching so you can craft your title around it.
To make money online selling ebooks, you can market it in a number of ways. You can give away your ebook for free for a few days. This helps you rank high in search results for some time and get some reviews, which helps you rank better for paid listings.
You don’t even need to use Amazon, or another platform. I sell my own eBook on my website jut using a WooComerce plugin. Instagram Roadmap 2021
Plus, I like to create custom graphics on Pinterest that match the “Pinterest style” rather than just placing the ebook cover as a pin. This has helped me get some clicks to my ebook from Pinterest.
8. Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to prove to be a stable way to make money online. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can be an affiliate for nearly any company, from Shopify to Amazon to Uber to FabFitFun.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, software, apps, and more. While earning a commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and include several affiliate links on a single blog post.
If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you essentially create an asset you can call your own. The best part about focusing on content marketing is that if an affiliate program shuts down, you can switch the affiliate link to a competitor without negatively impacting your side hustle income.
9. Start a YouTube Channel
If others can make money from YouTube, so can you. The highest-paid YouTuber is 7-year-old Ryan, who reviews toys on his YouTube channel, which made him $22 million in 2018. Another high earner is Jeffree Star, who’s made more than $18 million on YouTube and has a cosmetics brand that sells about $100 million in products annually. His YouTube (and Myspace) fame helped him use his influence to make money online beyond his YouTube earnings.
Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.
The secret to making money on YouTube is to create content people want that either educates or entertains. You can use a headline that’s witty to entice people to watch, or you can use keywords that are optimized for YouTube search. Once you’ve reached the 1,000 subscriber milestone, you can officially monetize your channel with YouTube ads.
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10. Create Side Gigs
Side gigs can help you make money online while you keep your full-time job. If you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred dollars per month, this is a great idea. The work doesn’t always last long-term, but it can.
Use platforms like Fiverr to create gigs. When you’re new to Fiverr, you’ll want to focus on offering a low price so you could get your first review. I’d recommend getting a friend to buy your gig to leave your first review so you can get started faster. Treat the friend like a client and actually deliver a finished product that you can feature on the platform on your portfolio.
The thing with Fiverr is that it’s also a numbers game. If you look at top Fiverr users, you’ll see that they have multiple gigs available. The more gigs you have, the more likely you are to be found.
11. Do Translation Work
If you need to make money now, translation work is a fairly underserved niche. You’ll need to be fluent in at least two languages to do this successfully. So if you’re bilingual or majored in a popular language in school, this may be a great money-making idea for you to try out.
You will need to show proof of your ability to translate. If you have a language degree or experience translating text, make sure to show samples of your portfolio. Most companies will require a translation test. Keep in mind that you need to be fluent in the languages you’re applying to be a translator for. So you can’t use translation tools.
Sites where you can make money online include:
12. Become a Writer
With a growing interest in content marketing, more brands are looking for great writers to create content. The secret to succeeding as a writer is to be an expert in a niche. A lot of writers try to be generalists, writing for a wide range of categories, from food to tech. However, having a niche focus as a writer allows you to write better content.
When you have experience in the niche, you can add a different perspective to a piece of content. That means you’re not just saying the same thing as every other article online. And that’s what brands really want to pay for — your thoughts, experiences, and inside information into their niche.
If someone asks for a marketing writing sample, send them marketing writing samples. Don’t send a finance article. Or a fitness one. It’s hard for a hiring manager to know how well you understand the niche’s industry if they can’t see a relevant writing sample. Apply to opportunities suited to your skills and experience. Also, if your pitch doesn’t have a list of links to writing samples, it’s going to get ignored.
You can make money online on sites like these:
If you don’t want to get paid Fiverr prices, you can turn to platforms like FlexJobs to find side gigs. Under their jobs section, you can search for contract or telecommute opportunities. The great thing about the telecommute opportunities on FlexJobs is that you can apply for them in any city in the world.
FlexJobs has a variety of side gigs from writing, business, design, accounting, and more. So if your talents don’t match up with anything else on this list of money-making ideas, you might want to try a side gig from FlexJobs, and start making money online. Apply to multiple opportunities to land a few small side gigs.
13. Sell Your Stuff
When you’re desperate to make money now, sometimes the only option is to sell your stuff. If you’re unemployed and struggling to find a job, selling your possessions is a great way to make money fast. You can earn money online using the links below, or you can head to a pawn shop. Keep in mind the shipping costs associated with selling online. Be sure to charge the buyer for it if you’re shipping products internationally.
Most people immediately think of selling their junk like books, DVDs, and CDs. But most people don’t want to buy those things. It’s 2021 – are you really going to buy a CD? Probably not. So don’t waste your time trying to sell it. When you’re thinking about how to make money fast, focus on items of value like laptops, TVs, phones, furniture, designer handbags, or clothing. Try selling the same items on multiple platforms. For example, you might try selling your product in Facebook groups and Instagram instead of just one of them. If you sell your stuff everywhere, there’s a chance of someone finding it.
Be sure to take amazing photos and edit them. An online retailer doesn’t upload images as is. They hire a photographer to take great photos. Images are enhanced. The background is often removed. Approach your product post like an online retailer. Avoid taking pictures of products on tables. If a product is on a table, remove the background to make it white. If you don’t own high-end photography equipment, you can consider taking this product photography online course to learn how to take stunning product photos without the fancy gear.
After you’ve figured out stuff to sell online, start your own online store using Shopify. You’ve proven that you’ve got what it takes to be an online retailer. So, now you can start making money from home.
14. Sell Your Clothes Online
You likely have clothes you haven’t worn in the past year. And you don’t have the intention of wearing them ever again. Rather than letting them take up space in your closet, why not make money off of them?
Whether you sell your clothes, handbags, or shoes, there are quite a few websites that allow you to sell your used fashion items. Poshmark, Refashioner, TheRealReal, ThredUp, Tradesy, Vestiare Collective and VINTED for Europe, are a few of the online sites where you can sell your used apparel.
You could make money online by selling on several different platforms. If you’re looking to sell items in person, you can use Facebook buy and sell groups in your community to find people online and sell the items in person. I’ve personally sold in these groups before and know they work.
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