From online poker to selling your collection of Beanie Babies, there are lots of popular get-rich-quick, money-making ideas that always pop up. Do they work? Not really. Will you make money doing it? Maaaybe. But you’d probably make more money at your 9 to 5 job. At least then it’s a guaranteed paycheck. The truth is there are real ways to make money online – millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop and a solid internet connection. So let’s break down how to make money online… the real way.
How to Make Money Online: 10 REAL Ways
1. Start Dropshipping
Since we’re a dropshipping blog, we might as well start our list off with one of the most popular ways to make money online. According to Google Trends, dropshipping’s popularity is rapidly growing, highlighting its viability as a way to make money online. With success stories about how an entrepreneur made $6,667 in eight weeks or how a store owner made six figures selling just one product, there’s plenty of proof that dropshipping is a real way to make money online.
In case you don’t know what dropshipping is: dropshipping is a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier stores, packages, and ships the product to your customers on your behalf. With Oberlo, you have access to millions of products that you can add to your store. Oberlo also allows you to send suppliers the customer details in only a couple clicks instead of doing the work yourself.
The best way to make money online dropshipping? Most entrepreneurs have been focusing on a few marketing strategies: running Facebook ads, having influencers promote your products, and sending Direct Messages (DMs) to potential customers on social media.
2. Try Print on Demand
Print on demand is proving to be a popular option too. Graphic designers are turning to the business model to sell their designs on clothing and other products to better monetize their art. With their unique designs, they can create a consistent and established brand for their business.
Print on demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences though. First, you can add branded labels on packages. Second, shipping costs are exorbitant, making it difficult to create a sustainable business unless you charge higher prices or sell higher quantities.
The best way to make money with your print on demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram, Pinterest, or with affordable influencers who convert their audiences well. This will help you make money online instead of breaking even with paid marketing channels like Facebook Ads.
3. 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 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.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
The highest-paid YouTuber is 7-year-old Ryan, who reviews toys on his YouTube channel which made him $22 million in 2018. In the number 5 spot is Jeffree Star, who made $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 clickbait 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.
5. Become an Influencer
Building a personal brand can help you make money online. Did you know in 2018, Kylie Jenner made $1 million for every sponsored Instagram post, making her 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 year ago.
To become an influencer you need to build a massive 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 get more Instagram followers 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.
6. Create an Online Course
Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re an expert 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.
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.
7. Publish an Ebook
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. Back in 2013, I created several ebooks on Amazon (took all but one down) and even though it didn’t make me rich, I still make some money from 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 used 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 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 a few days and get some reviews which helps you rank better for paid listings. 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. 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 a number of platforms, from Shopify (remove the checkout feature so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) to WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords on 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.
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 (hint: you can add Oberlo products to your website). You can also use it to build authority so that you can eventually get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from clients.
9. Consider Freelancing
The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job at your 9 to 5 job and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, administrative assistant, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can take those same skills and find clients online who are looking for it.
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 a direct online money-making stream 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 are to get a response back.
10. Create an App
If you’re not a developer, you’re probably looking at this money making idea and feeling a bit stuck. Fortunately, there is a way to have an app made that doesn’t involve any programming skills.
These days, marketers are using freelance platforms to find affordable developers to create apps for them.
When it comes to making money on your app, your best bet will be to add it to Google Play and the App Store. And while it may seem counterintuitive, having a free app can help you make more than a paid app. With a free app, you can add ads or premium features to help you make money. Since the free app will attract a higher volume of people, it’ll be easier for you to upsell them.
Making money online can help you earn some extra side hustle money but it can also help you escape your 9 to 5 job so you can become a full-time entrepreneur. By making more money, you gain more financial freedom, improve your financial security, and inch closer to living life on your terms. It really is possible to earn a living online if you work hard and stick with it. So, which side hustle will you try out first?