7 Genuine Ways to Make Money Online
There are many ways to make money online, whether as a side hustle or full time job.
Lately I can’t open my social media accounts without being bombarded by the latest ‘make money from home’ ad. So are there genuine ways to make money online? And more importantly can you travel and earn an income at the same time?
The short answer is yes.
Yes you can make money from home using just your laptop and an internet connection, however it takes work and dedication just like a normal job. That is where the difference ends. A standard job is a fixed wage, if you don’t work, there is no wage. An online business however, has the potential to generate passive income for years.
As long as you are willing to put in the effort, you will reap the rewards from it.
So here are 7 genuine ways to build a long term sustainable online income.
#1 - Blogging
You might be wondering why I would say blogging is the number one way to earn money online… the reason I put it as number one is because so much ties into it.
Blogging is more then just a personal site that you put up articles onto, it can be ghost writing for other sites, it can even be via video or v-logs on YouTube.
For personal blogs, creating a website is the first step to building your online presence. It provides a way to display your skills, personality and provides vital information. It is also a huge part of your personal branding.
Writing about a topic that you are passionate about or knowledgeable on is the best way to start. Like me, I started with travel, which has been a lifelong passion of mine.
Your passion will show through your writing, which will then allow you to expand and monetise the site. There is no need to be an expert, you just need to be passionate and willing to learn more about your niche.
While creating a website on its own will not generate income – the products, skills and services you promote through it will help you monetise it. Which means its success is limited only by the time and effort you put in.
#2 - Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is the next logical step after setting up a blog.
The most basic description for affiliate marketing is that you are promoting someone else’s product on their behalf. So when a customer purchases a product or service through your link, you then earn a commission on the sale.
Affiliate marketing is extremely common, more so then I think most people realise. There are thousands of companies that offer affiliate programs, in every niche available.
There are also no limits to the number of programs you can join and minimal costs involved – only those associated with operating a blog (domain, hosting etc).
However, what is critical is to remember is that is a legal requirement to add a disclaimer to every page that you promote a link through. Even on Pinterest pins you create, if it is a direct affiliate link you must add “#affiliate” or “#afflink” in the description.
Sites like Wealthy Affiliate are a great introduction to world of affiliate marketing.
#3 - Sell Your Skills and Knowledge
Have a good think about your skills. What are your hobbies? Are you an expert at a certain software or love baking?
Everyone has a skill to sell. The hardest part is working out the best way to monetize it.
You can create an online course and sell it directly on your blog, or through platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare. For every download you earn a commission. Thanks to the internet, you are no longer limited by your location, now you can reach the whole world.
Or, if you are not comfortable in front of a camera, then you could write instruction guides and sell them as eBooks.
A great example is an Italian grandmother from Rome who has become famous for her online cooking classes. Nonna Nerina’s granddaughters film the pasta making classes and uploads it online. It started as a local cooking class run through AirBnB, but since tourism has stopped due to the pandemic, they took it online. Have a look for yourself at NonnaLive.com!
#4 - Sell your photos, designs and illustrations online
There are a number of different ways to sell your images. From leveraging paid stock photo sites (Shutterstock, Adobe), to design sites (Etsy, Creative Market) and Print on Demand (Redbubble, Society6).
All these options involve you earning a commission every time someone purchases a product with your image on it.
Stock images are a great tool. I personally have contributor accounts with both Shutterstock and Adobe images.
On Etsy you can sell the pre-design images, or custom designs. Sites like Redbubble allow you to choose which of their products your design can be printed on.
The main thing will all these is time and consistency. You need to build a reasonably sized portfolio and promote.
Blogs, Instagram and even Pinterest are great ways to promotes your work.
#5 - Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is a popular service. Writing takes time and a large number of business and websites utilise freelance writers to build their content.
Starting out with freelance writing can be a bit slow to begin, but as you build your reputation, you will find it increasing. Especially if your writing is unique and well written (publishers can spot copy and paste jobs easily).
The key here is to pick a niche area to specialise in and focus on that. Specialists are able to charge more, based on their knowledge and skill in a particular area.
#6 Drop Shipping
Sell physical products without the hassle of storing the product or shipping it out.
Drop shipping is similar to affiliate marketing in the sense that you don’t own the product you are promoting. You earn a markup on the sale price.
One of the perks about drop shipping is that you can trial different products to see what sells, without having heavy overheads and is much easier to scale. There have even been examples of people who have travelled, found a great local product and came to a business agreement to promote and sell on the creator’s behalf.
The risks with drop shipping is lack of quality control. Because you are not physically handling the products, you are relying on the third-party company to take care with packaging and posting the product.
#7 - Virtual Assistant
A growing market is outsourcing. Especially now with so much uncertainty in the world, many businesses don’t want or need to hire full time staff. So they hire ‘virtual’ staff to complete jobs as needed.
Building from selling skills online and freelance writing, is the demand for micro-tasks that can be completed online.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a well known platform that allows businesses or people to advertise their task. While individual fees are small, the faster you are and the more you complete, the more you will earn.
Tasks can range from translating a paragraph, to research, moderating content, data de-duplicating, and even completing surveys.
As you can see this is just a short list of sustainable online businesses that you can develop and build on. Do one, or all. Cross promote your projects so expand your audience and network, and take advantage of the free adverting you create for yourself across the various platforms.
The common thread here is time. Choose your niche (or niches) and learn everything you can about them. You won’t make money fast at the beginning, but give it time and dedication and you will find it becomes a long term sustainable source of passive income.