First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
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.
I actually don’t make much money doing this at the moment. I just started a couple of months ago and I only have 400 photos uploaded. But, if you build up a portfolio and upload photos consistently, you can make a good $500 a month a couple years down the road doing nothing each month. I only make $10 a month on Shuttershock right now, but I’m hoping by the time I leave Thailand I’ll have enough photos uploaded to be earning a decent amount. There’s tons of stock photo websites you can upload to, but Shutterstock is my favorite because they help you come up with the keywords to tag your photos with which is the most exhausting part of the process for me.
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers. Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.
Some membership sites charge monthly, quarterly, or annually. Which can be a nice recurring business model to enjoy. In this day and age, who you know matters more than what you know. That makes paid communities a great way to surround yourself with rock stars from all over the globe. Plus, most communities include a forum or some sort of group where the members can interact and answer each other’s questions.
If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
As you might guess, I think the #1 way to make money online is affiliate marketing. This is my all-time favorite method to make money online. You can make money selling ohter peoples products and services. In other words, you don’t have to deal with any customer service, you don’t ahve tod eal with storing any products, you don’t have to deal with any payment processing, and you don’t even ahve to hire any employees. Just create a website, get out htere on social media, start to advertise a little bit, and you will earn commissions on selling other peoples products.
If you have a propensity for writing and you can slay with your prose, consider writing an ebook. While the market has certainly become saturated as of late, books that help teach people about a technical topic still sell extremely well. This is a great source of passive income but does require a large amount of effort at the outset before any money is generated.
Great list! I have another to consider that I personally have 35+ years experience providing. Clean up litter outside commercial properties on foot using inexpensive hand tools. It’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk! I started doing this as a side gig in 1981 and soon grew it into a profitable full-time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots.
Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce store that matches Chinese suppliers with buyers all over the world. Prices are extremely cheap, providing the possibility of large profits. However, with the potential profits comes more risk. As you are dealing with suppliers in China, if the quality of the product that arrives isn’t up to standard there is little that you can do about it.
Online business is how I’ve made a living since 2003 and what has helped me retire early. I make over $20,000 a month through my blog. You can create your own blog here with my easy 15-minute step-by-step tutorial. You can start a blog for as little as $2.95 a month (less than a cup of coffee!). Create a blog and leverage it into affiliate sales or product endorsement deals. Consider topics like:
If you are a creative type, then you could make money online by designing and selling crafty products on Etsy. Etsy sells a range of beautiful and original items from independent suppliers. Categories range from jewelry, clothes, and accessories, to art, collectibles, and vintage. So if you have some stunning crafty creations, Etsy is the perfect platform from which to sell from.
A spin-off for web designers is to offer a landing page creation service. Well-optimized landing pages can be the difference between a successful and a failing business. And, as creating the perfect landing page isn’t easy, this is a service many businesses are prepared to pay for. I know people who are earning 6 figures per year and all they do is create landing pages for businesses. There’s serious money to be made.
Start a bed and breakfast. If you live in a popular resort area or own a historic property, a B&B might be the perfect side hustle. Not only can you work at home with this career, but you’ll also score some tax write-offs in the process — although most innkeepers caution that the profession requires a lot of hard work and is more of an attractive lifestyle than a money-making pursuit.
If you have graphic design skills then you could make money online by creating and selling your own design elements, like templates, fonts, graphics, and other assets. This is a great way to earn extra money and build up a portfolio of work, which could lead to you picking up freelance graphic design jobs. Websites like Envato Elements pay you a fee per element sold, which can become quite profitable if your work is popular.
Most people think that you need to have a lot money stocked away before getting started with investing in real estate, but that isn’t true. In fact, you can start with with as little as $500 by using a platform like Fundrise. Fundrise allows investors of all types (beginners and experts alike) to invest directly in a real estate portfolio that’s managed by a team of professionals.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
As you start regularly putting out content, you’ll hopefully start to build a bit of an audience. But to start seeing real money from YouTube you need to market your videos elsewhere. Share your channel on Twitter and Facebook. Distribute videos anywhere else you can think of. Also, interact with comments and build a community around the videos you’re making so people will share it with their friends.
Whether you have a website or are still dreaming up ideas for a blog, you can also look into affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you partner with brands and businesses within the content of your website. If you mention a product or service, you link to that produce or service using a unique affiliate code you received when you signed up for that particular affiliate program. From there, you’ll make money any time someone buys a product or service through your link.
Also, I’m not sure what you write about on your blog but there are tons of affiliate networks out there with all different offers that can possible earn you much more money than you could earn on Adsense. CJ.com is one of my favorite affiliate networks so I’d recommend checking them out along with Clickbank and MaxBounty. I’ve had great experiences with all of them.
A site called User Testing will actually pay you a fee to evaluate websites. It typically pays you $10 for each video that you review – which typically takes about 20 minutes. If the work is there, and you are particularly good at it, you could earn up to $30 per hour. That’s a pretty solid pay rate for a work-at-home job. You wouldn’t have to work a whole lot of hours to generate a decent part-time monthly income.
Yet another Amazon service providing the possibility to make money online is the Audiobook Creation Exchange. You can create a standalone audiobook, or create an audio version of your eBook as complementary media. And you can narrate your audiobook yourself, or Amazon can put you in contact with a professional to help. Once sold, you can then earn up to 40% royalties per audiobook.
Any skills you have can offer you a legit way to potentially make money online, as well – think about it. Do you have fantastic Photoshop skills? How about photography – are you the queen of flat lays? Maybe you know how to build a killer social media schedule or plan an amazing event (like a party). Perhaps you’re a pro when it comes to designing WordPress sites. With a site like Skillshare, you can actually teach these skills to others online and earn an income off things you already know! It’s easy to get started and Skillshare offers plenty of resources to help you build your class.