“It’s never been easier to make money online, and it’s only going to get easier.” Anton Kraly
“I’m gonna be an astronaut!”
That was my response at age seven when my mother told me I could do whatever I wanted when I grew up (thanks, mom!). She didn’t like my response and told me being an astronaut was risky. She said going into outer space was too dangerous.
This broke my heart.
By age ten, my plans had shifted. I wanted to be a professional football player, but my mom’s response was pretty much the same.
“Playing in the NFL is too dangerous! You’re gonna get injured out there and lose your brain cells!”
This made me shrug. I felt like all the occupations I wanted were the risky ones. By fourteen, I realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and run my own business. When I told my mom, finally I got a positive response.
“Now that sounds like a better plan.”
So that was it. Being an astronaut or a professional football player were too risky, but being an entrepreneur was okay. I had made up my mind at fourteen.
I get a ton of emails from people telling me that they’re not sure making money online is a viable option. They think it’s too risky, and they’re not sure it’s legitimate and they’re not sure it can be a legitimate source of income.
It’s going to get more competitive, but whether you’re looking to work from home or from a coffee shop on the other side of the world, there have never been as many opportunities to do so than the second you are reading this post. Yes, you!
If you’re looking for ways to make money online, then this post will give you plenty of ideas to get started. In each section, we’ve also added some resources/courses that will help you get started. These resources were chosen because they are the best ones out there, not because we make money off of them. There are no affiliate links included in this post.
We didn’t include every option, but we laid out eleven to get your thoughts churning, so get ready.
1. Freelance a Skill
This could be an entire article in itself, but if you learn a skill that people are willing to pay for, you’ll find it’s possible to make a nice living online. With sites ranging from Fiverr to Upwork, there are thousands of ways to get people to pay you for your skillset. Here are just a few ideas get you thinking:
Podcast editor: With the podcast industry booming, show hosts are happy to outsource the editing to someone else so they can focus on the content. Don’t believe me? Just ask Ben Krueger who built a business off editing podcasts.
Writer: Blogging, social media writing, copywriting, email marketing, there are so many ways you can get paid for your words these days. Danny Margolis is a classic example, who made over $110,000 in one year as a freelance copywriter. Our own content manager got started this way!
Designer: Whether it’s websites, graphics, or logos, it has never been easier to make money as a designer. Jake Jorgovan managed to make over $1,000 a week doing website design and his background at the time had nothing to do with building websites.
I hire design freelancers all the time on UpWork. There’s plenty of jobs to get you started there.
Here are some other ideas that may not get you rich, but still can help you make money online: transcriber, video editor, translator, voice over artist, actor, and many more.
Pros: Low barrier to entry, you can get paid to do something you enjoy, flexible hours,
Cons: Trading your time for money isn’t scalable, some clients are troublesome, finding consistent work is time-consuming
Ready to jump into freelancing? Check out Seth Godin’s course on freelancing here.
If none of these skills jump out at you, then that may mean you need to start building some skills yourself. If that’s the case, no worries, everything is learnable. One great way to learn a lot of skills is to…
2. Create a Blog
I use WordPress for the blog at Drop Ship Lifestyle, but there are other options out there as well.
Blogging is not dead, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s not dying anytime soon. Starting a blog forces you to learn the basics of building a website and writing. Once you build up an audience and start getting traffic, you’ll find that there are many ways to monetize your blog.
Of course, I am very proud of the blog I built at Drop Ship LIfestyle, but to show you some other success stories, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income made $115,47.00 in profit March 2015. His blog started back in 2009 and he also has a stellar podcast as well, but it just goes to show that there is plenty of possibilities a blog can bring.
Having a blog alone won’t make you a ton of money, but pair it up with a few other tactics on this list and you can build yourself a nice business.
Pros: Easy to start, high upside for outreach, gives people a reason to visit your website
Cons: Must update regularly or it will become outdated, blogging and site maintenance takes time/money, can take a lot of time and work before you monetize it (click here to read Derek Halpern’s take on more about why most bloggers fail)
For a detailed guide on how to start a blog, check out Neil Patel’s article here.
3. Teach An Online Course
Every wonder why college is so expensive? I surely don’t know the answer, but I know for a fact that I’ve learned more from a few months digging online than I did in my entire four years at college. That’s the reason I have no problem paying for courses and investing in my education.
Teaching is an industry that will not die anytime soon. Heck, these days you can even teach English online through Skype for money! Online courses are becoming more and more popular, and if you can create something of value, then people will pay you for it.
Here’s a sneak peek of what my Drop Ship Lifestyle training courses look like.
Some ideas to teach for those of you who can’t think of any:
How to build a website, how to start a podcast, how to speak English fluently, how to become a better writer, how to travel the world cheaply, how to play guitar, how to lose weight, etc.
The topics are endless! If you can teach others, there’s plenty of money to be made through online courses and classes.
One of my courses, Drop Ship Lifestyle is all about teaching! I sell a 7-module video course that teaches people how to build an online store and make money through eCommerce.
Learning online is a market worth over $107 billion dollars as of 2015, and it’s growing at around 9%. There’s plenty of opportunities to make money teaching something online.
I don’t want to share too many specific numbers, but in 2015, we grossed over $1,000,000 in revenue. The Drop Ship Lifestyle course I created is not cheap, but there are plenty of other ways to make money while teaching online.
Pros: Get paid to help others, you can make money off your passion, online courses are scalable
Cons: Marketing your courses is harder than creating the content, low barrier to entry means high competition, some students will cause a headache, must update the course regularly
Similar to teaching, another way to earn some bucks online is…
4. Coaching & Consulting
Rather than simply teaching and providing information, you can take it a step further and offer coaching and consulting services. I don’t want to get into semantics and what each word means (to be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is), but I know many successful coaches and consultants out there.
My friend Christopher Browning makes a great living doing business and confidence coaching
I also know a few SEO consultants that make a great living as well, and you could even run a law coaching practice online if you wanted to! With Skype, FaceTime, and the hundreds of other applications that make calls across the world easy, there’s never been a better time to run your consulting practice online.
Some other ideas: business consulting, confidence coaching, PPC consulting, personal development coaching, confidence coaching, presentation coaching, relationship coaching, career consulting, etc.
Pros: You’ll get to do rewarding work, this profession has been around for a while
Cons: Your time is limited so it’s hard to scale, can be stressful dealing with certain clients, usually require extensive background in the given field
Looking for more tips on becoming a consultant? Click here to learn more.
5. Write (e)Books
“But, I thought writers were broke?”
Truthfully, most are. But the ones who realize that self-publishing on Amazon is a booming industry aren’t penny-pinching at all.
Don’t think there’s opportunity here? Just ask Mike Fishbein, who used to be your average blogger. In under three years, he published over fourteen books on Amazon, including four best sellers.
Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort, but once your book is done, if you market it correctly, it can make money for the years to come. Even if you don’t want to self-publish on Amazon, you can still make money off of your book assuming you know how to market it and include some upsells as well.
Pros: Anyone can do it, provides passive income, writing a book is cheap and only takes your time
Cons: Low profit margins per sale, writing a book is HARD, marketing your book takes time and/or money
Interested in writing ebooks? Check out Tim Ferriss’ post: “How to make $1,000,000 selling ebooks.”
6. Affiliate Marketing
So, you don’t want to teach people and you also don’t want to sell your own products. That’s fine, enter affiliate marketing: a simple way to make money online by selling other people’s products.
Affiliate marketing is simple: If you bring a business a sale, you get rewarded. It’s that simple. I suppose it could also be called, “referral marketing” but that makes it seems like it’s only through word of mouth.
Here’s a clear example, I offer an affiliate program with my Drop Ship Lifestyle coaching program. If you are able to sell this course for me and refer someone my way, I will reward you by giving you $300! A lot of businesses also have an affiliate program (even Amazon), so if you are able to find customers for their products, you’ll get a piece of the profit.
Tung Tran of CloudLiving.com started a niche website in July 2015 and as of February 2016, he was making roughly $100 per day from affiliate sales.
According to Tung, it takes about “at least six months to a year” to start making consistent money through affiliate marketing.
The most common way to succeed in affiliate marketing is by creating a niche site focusing on one topic. Once you do that, it’ll be easier to sell products that relate to the content on your site. If you run a site about deep water fishing, you can sell fishing equipment to your visitors.
Some niche site ideas: pet care, fitness, gluten free living, health & beauty, boats, makeup, 3D printing, martial arts, travel, and WAY MORE.
Pros: Income can be passive, low startup cost
Cons: Takes time to build websites and credible traffic, low barrier to entry means it’s getting more competitive over time, highly dependent on google and SEO
To learn more about affiliate marketing and how it works, check out this epic post by Authority Hacker.
7. Create a Community/Membership Site
If you enjoy bringing people together but don’t enjoy being in the spotlight, then a membership site may be for you. Membership sites have existed long before the internet in the form of fitness centers, newspaper subscriptions, religious organizations, and more. People are more than happy to pay for exclusive access, especially if you can provide value in return.
Some membership sites charge monthly, quarterly, or annually, which can be a nice recurring business model to enjoy. In this day in age, who you know matters more than what you know, and paid communities are a great way to surround yourself with rock stars from all over the globe. Most communities include a forum or some sort of group where the members can interact and answer each other’s questions.
The community is a vital component of my business, Drop Ship Lifestyle. Myself and others have created a group of like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world and brought them together. The value in the community is infinite: connections are made, lifelong friendships are established, and business partnerships start.
Plus, once you build a community, you can get creative and come up with new ways to make more revenue such as launching new products, making money through affiliate sales, throwing events, or offering premium VIP membership status for additional benefits.
Besides my Drop Ship Lifestyle community, I’m a part of a few other online communities, of them includes the Dynamite Circle, a home to many internet entrepreneurs making money all sorts of different ways.
Pros: Revenue can be recurring, passive income, scaleable business model
Cons: Requires a lot of upkeep to keep members, the value of a community depends on its members, requires a decent amount of members to be successful
Looking to get your own membership site started? Check out this free mini course on starting your own Membership site.
8. Selling Sponsored Content or Ads
If you have a website that gets a ton of traffic, you’ll be able to make money with advertisements. How much depends on you 🙂
If you’re not sure how ad revenue online works, think of the internet like a giant highway system. If your road (website) gets a lot of cars driving by, you’ll be able to put up a billboard and charge a nice amount for it.
This doesn’t only count for your website, though. As long as you have an audience, you can get paid to advertise on many platforms these days: Instagram, your podcast, YouTube channel, and more. In 2015, John Dumas made over $50,000 a month selling sponsorships on his podcast. He even explains how he does it here.
Pros: You can get paid to create, revenue is scaleable
Cons: Requires a big audience (which usually takes a long time), not everyone appreciates advertisements
Looking to sell ads? Check out this guide to ad sales here.
9. Brokerage: Buying and Selling
Buying and selling websites is becoming more and more common these days. As investors are looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, some are looking to invest in websites instead of pouring all of their money into the stock market.
Empire Flippers is a prime example of how this works. They act as a marketplace, buying and selling websites while keeping a percentage of every sale. Essentially, they’re a middleman, connecting buyers and sellers across the world.
If you’ve got some capital saved up, you could buy existing sites in hopes of reselling them for a profit. This is more of an investor’s play, but it’s possible to make a nice living while only connecting to wifi. Or, if you’ve got the connections, being a middleman can also bring in some big checks as long as you can connect the right people.
Pros: High ceiling for profitability, one sale results in a nice payout
Cons: You need a list of buyers and sellers or lots of capital, the sales process can take a long time, investing has its risks
10. Online Poker
I DO NOT recommend this one, but it’s definitely a way to make money online these days.
I highly advise NOT to get into online poker or blackjack or anything of that matter, but it just goes to show that there are plenty of ways to make a living online.
Please promise me you’ll consider other options and not pursue this. Your mother will appreciate it!
Pros: You can get paid to play games
Cons: You can lose all of your money very quickly, the odds are (and always will be) against you, it’s highly addictive, it’s illegal in some countries
11. eCommerce Drop Shipping
Last, but certainly not least, we have my personal favorite: eCommerce Drop Shipping (and of course I am a little biased here!). When done correctly, eCommerce is the perfect lifestyle business and a great way to make a living online. You can sell products online, make a healthy profit, and never have to carry inventory…and the ceiling is higher than you’ve ever imagined.
In 2014, Amazon alone netted over $107 billion dollars in sales. And that number is only going up each year. There are plenty of ways to make money with eCommerce: drop shipping, eBay, and Amazon. Here’s a brief rundown on each option:
Buying good for cheap and reselling them at a higher rate. This method may work in the short-term but it’s nearly impossible to scale and is extremely time intensive. This is a dying method that I do not recommend.
FBA stands for fulfillment by Amazon, so “Amazon FBA” is a redundant title. For those of you who aren’t upset by that, here’s how FBA works:
You send your product to Amazon and they do all the dirty work. They market your products, handle customer service, ship your products, and process refunds if need be.
Your job is simple to make sure you send in your inventory before you run out of stock! You can ship things directly to Amazon yourself from China or any country outside the US. For more info on getting started on Amazon FBA, sign up for this mini course from my friends at FBA Empire.
This method involves finding suppliers and creating your own products/and or brands. You’ll need a nice chunk of capital to get started, but there’s plenty of opportunity to here. If you can build a nice brand and sell products with nice margins, this business model has the biggest upside of them all.
Drop shipping is the most automated of these options and works like this:
- A customer makes a purchase from your eCommerce store
- You purchase that product from the supplier
- The supplier ships that product directly to the customer.
Sounds pretty sweet, right? This means you don’t need to invest in inventory, you simply act as the middle-man and make profits off of each sale.
You still have to build a website and drive customers to it, but the rest is completely hands off. You can automate almost everything and be making sales while you’re traveling the world or hanging out with your kids.
Pros: Scaleable, don’t need to trade time for money, easy to delegate, lots of opportunity as eCommerce continues to grow
Cons: May require initial capital to get traffic, may change your life forever as you earn more money than your entire family
So…Are You Ready To Make Money Online?
But now that you’re all excited, let me admit that starting a business and making online is not easy. It’s not. No matter what people tell you, it’s still difficult.True, starting your own venture comes with pain, uncertainty, a learning curve, time investment, and of course, the risk. That’s right, risk. Not the board game, but the noun.
For some odd reason, most people today are convinced that starting a business or trying to make money online includes so much more risk than any other job opportunity. What they fail to realize is that starting your own business actually minimizes risk.
How? Because you’re in control. “Jobs” as our parents knew it to be are dead. Entrepreneurship and making money online is what’s alive. And it has never been easier.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of having one boss that controlled my financial destiny scares the living crap out of me. Given today’s economy, nothing is guaranteed.
Being an entrepreneur or freelancer is not about taking risks, it’s about eliminating and controlling risk.
The good news is it’s in your control. The bad news? You have to take action.