Let’s 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.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up. I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
If you’re creative or can come up with catchy sayings, you can make money online designing and selling your own T-shirts. Sites like Teespring, Bonfire, and Printify allow you to design and sell custom shirts without paying anything upfront or holding inventory. Similar to dropshipping, you create your own storefront that includes your personal designs. When a customer places an order, the site creates the product and ships it on your behalf. You’ll still need to promote your storefront, so it’s helpful to have an online following, whether it’s on Instagram, YouTube, or another social media platform, to make money online with this idea.
The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path, making this a lower-cost, but higher time investment to make money selling apps.
I’m sharing everything I’ve learned over the past decade, pulling from my own experience in learning how to start a blog that now earns a consistent $30,000/mo or more (on the side of my day job)—from online sources like affiliates, courses, freelancing, sponsorships, drop-shipping and other ways to make money online that we’re exploring in this guide.
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.
The most common transcription jobs fall into three categories: legal, medical, and general. Companies in the medical or legal realms may require that you have some knowledge or experience in the respective field. As a transcriptionist, you’ll listen to audio files and transcribe them into written content. Pay varies depending on the industry and your level of experience. If you’re interested in transcription, here’s a free 7-day course that includes more details about what it takes to work as a transcriptionist and how to get started.
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.
Write down your consistent income streams: full-time salary, child support, etc. — any income that stays the same from month to month. Then include your side hustle income as a separate item. Write in less than you think you can make so that you don’t end up going over budget if you make less. Once you have your income, decide how much to save, invest, put toward debt, and then what’s left over to spend until each dollar is accounted for.
If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with my guide to launching a freelance (consulting) business and then use my breakdown of crafting an effective cold email to convince local small business owners to hire you. You can even get hired as a consultant by putting your work online and publishing helpful content (take my roundup of honest Bluehost reviews as an example) and prospective clients will want to hire you for more personalized help if they like what they see.
How much will you make? I think my best month with Google AdSense was almost $5,000 over the last ten years. That amazing month blew my mind since it was actually near the beginning of my blogging journey. When you go from making zero to $5,000 in a month, that will rock your world. For me, it also got me even more excited because I knew there were other ways to monetize.
Writing is one of the fastest and most accessible ways to make money online. You don’t need perfect grammar skills or a padded portfolio to become a freelance writer. You can use personal blog posts, newsletters, or stories you’ve written in the past as samples of your work. Join the ProBlogger and Freelance Writing job boards to start pitching your services to clients.