Today, if you're at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, learn how to master PPC advertising and you can use the content to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
Consider selling in lots. A lot is a collection of similar items that is sold in a group. For example, if you have a collection of books, magazines or similar pieces of jewelry, consider selling them all at once in a lot. You many not make as much money as you would have if you sold each item separately. However, the items will likely sell more quickly in a lot than they would individually.
It can take time to build up your personal freelance business. Yet, there is more demand than ever for freelancers. So, if you want to kick start making money online through freelancing you can join one of the top freelance networks, such as Flexjobs, SolidGigs, Contena, Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. Sign up, build your profile, upload some samples of your work and start making extra money by doing small freelance jobs.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
People often have very unique reasons for wanting to start a blog and make money from home. Some blogs, like this one (DollarSprout), are meant to be informative resources for readers. Other bloggers may opt to share personal sides of their lives. For instance, many people will start a blog to document their fitness journey and inspire others along the way.
Suzanne lives in Texas and has been a full-time freelance writer for 20 years. She’s written for numerous business and financial publications, both online and in traditional print media. She also owns her own small business and has a passion to help others achieve their dreams of financial independence. Her goal is to eventually work from a remote island that is equipped with Wi-Fi.
My 10-year-old son brought home a book from our park’s free library box. It was a biology textbook – teachers edition. He said it looked interesting and hey, it was free (having no idea you could sell it). I scanned it in my Amazon seller app and realized it was worth around $150. He was so excited. We listed it for sale for $130 and it sold! Going to tell him, he just made $130!
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.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income.
Rakuten: With over 2,500 stores to choose from, Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a leader in the cash back industry. To date, Rakuten has paid its members over $1 billion in cash back. You can shop directly through Rakuten by visiting the website and choosing your store, or you can install the browser extension in your browser. Read DollarSprout’s Rakuten review here.
If you want to help shape digital products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.
Display. Just as in any retail operation, the way you display your wares will greatly impact your sales. Produce should be placed underneath a cover to protect it from the sun, but be sure to allow at least seven feet of head room. Display your prices prominently, and clearly identify the things that make your product special. Personalize your stand with signs to inform your customers.
It’s not the sort of online money making opportunity that’s covered in glory, but everyone needs a set of eyes to make sure the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that'll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
Billshark: This service specializes in negotiating common monthly bills. While they don’t claim to be perfect, Billshark says that they have an 85% success rate negotiating bills for cable and satellite TV, cell phones, internet, satellite radio, and home security. Pricing is simple: whatever they are able to save you via negotiation, they take a 40% cut. If they can’t lower your bills, you don’t pay them.
Research Pricing (And Set Fair Starting Prices): Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and (if possible) nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle – so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar, but not so high that you’ll scare off first bids. 10% to 15% is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10, or offer x-for-$y deals.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Savvy.is, Clarity.fm, and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
Raise your hand if you love the idea of earning extra income or ditching office life to learn how to make money at home. Well, you're not alone. According to a 2017 telecommuting report by FlexJobs, the number of U.S. employees who worked from home at least half of the time has grown 115% in twelve years, from 1.8 million employees in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2017.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
Finances. You need to be good at quick math and be able to make quick decisions. You have to be careful how much you pay for a book, and then keep careful track of the expenses involved in selling it. For instance, when you sell on a website, they’ll take a commission from the sale. In addition, some sites, like eBay, will charge you a listing fee for each book. If you request that your money be deposited via PayPal, then you’ll be charged a transaction fee per book. If you’re not careful, the fees will quickly negate your profits.
Nice writing style Ben. I’m finding out very quickly that to make any money writing, you have to read, read, and then read some more, no matter how smart you feel you are on a subject, before writing your first sentence. I have always been a fan of multiple income streams and am thrilled by the ideas of proofreading, editing, blogging, freelancing and transcribing. Having spent one of my careers doing just that for a large corporation, it’s a perfect fit, but now I can get credit for my work, thanks again for a great article.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
If you prefer the challenge of buying individual properties yourself, but aren’t quite ready to do it 100% solo, consider looking into a site like Roofstock. Roofstock lets you buy properties with as little as 20% down that already have tenants living in them, which means you start getting paid from the first day of your investment. Since everything with Roofstock is still done online, you don’t even have to physically visit the properties!
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
However, if you're looking for realistic ways you can start earning money online now, then it really truly does boil down to seven paths you can take towards profit. Some will provide you with immediate results, helping you to address your basic monthly necessities such as rent, utilities and groceries, while others have the potential to transform your life by revolutionizing your finances in the long term.