Unless you’re a freegan and have found a way to live completely off-grid, you probably need some kind of stable income to survive. The traditional way to earn money, of course, is to have a job. You work for a company or start your own company, and the work you do makes you money, which you spend on things like a mortgage, rent, food, clothing, utilities, and entertainment.
Most people often work from their company’s central location, a physical space where all members of that organization meet to brainstorm and organize their efforts. But many people have found ways to earn money in the comfort of their home, thanks to the internet. Some of these concerts are best for those looking to earn a little extra cash, while others can lead to full-time jobs and great success.
Many web-based jobs require you to be your own boss, which will take advantage of your sales, marketing, and customer service skills. However, some companies will hire people to work from home, which means that you receive a salary or give them a percentage of what you earn.
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We have put together a list of our top 10 ways to make money online, in no particular order. On the next page, we’ll start with an old favorite.
1. Sell things on eBay
Most people today are familiar with the concept: You have things you don’t necessarily need, but others are willing to buy, and you can auction the items on eBay or other online auction sites. Just put your products together, create a seller profile and start selling.
It sounds simple, but it takes some practice to sell successfully. You must create persuasive and legitimate product pages for the products you sell so that buyers are interested. It is also important to establish reasonable minimum offers to ensure that people buy. And remember to provide the kind of customer service that will get you positive feedback ratings and reach out to buyers to let them know you are trustworthy. The more positive feedback you receive, the more people will be willing to do business with you. And that, of course, means more money. (EBay takes a 10 percent reduction on anything it sells, plus a 35-cent fee for any item that appears beyond the 50 free listings it gets per month) [source: eBay].
It may be the best garage sale of the 21st century, or it can turn your eBay job into a full-time business. In fact, many people start by selling unwanted things at home and progress to looking for goods, for example in thrift stores, to resell. It’s about finding the right niche (perhaps vintage vases) and then building trust with your regulars. As with everything online, the competition is fierce and you will have to fight to survive, but many people make it work.
If you have a particular passion for something and have a lot to say about it, blogging could be a profitable way to pour your endless stream of thought. The key here, as with many other services on the Internet, is to be consistent (in this case, blogging several times a week), sell advertising, and use your blog as a platform to promote other companies.
After starting a personal blog, many writers subscribe to advertising services like Google AdSense, which publish those family sponsored links that are often seen at the top and on the sides of websites (like HowStuffWorks.com). The more times your blog readers click on those ads, the more money you will earn through the ad service. This works well if you are a casual blogger and just want a little extra money to spend. But if the blog is consistently interesting, well written, and really takes off, you may be approached by companies that want to reach your fan base with graphic advertising on your blog, giving you more money.
You can also sign up for affiliate links. Affiliate links allow you to get a cut of any product sold through a link from your website to the advertiser’s site. So if you write a blog post and a hyperlink to a product in the post, if a reader clicks on that link and buys the product, you will get a percentage of the sale. Shareasale is just a place where you can sign up for links.
But advertising can only take you so far. You can earn more money by thinking of your blog as a springboard for other concerts. For example, the Digital Photography School blog has a community of over 2,000,000 readers and makes money from advertising, affiliate links, e-book sales, and photography courses [source: Sparring Mind].
A travel blogger can start documenting the highlights (and minor highlights) of their travels around the world. They enhance the text with video clips, lots of hashtags, and of course, shareable social media links. From there, they can decide to take guided tours of where they have been, participate in conferences, or create e-books with travel tips and sell them from their sites. They can even run workshops to teach others how to make money from a blog. (The Nomadic Matt and Adventurous Kate blogs are good examples of these principles in action.)
3. Rent your house or your trip
These days, there is an app for just about anything you can imagine. And many of these companies offer ways you can earn money using your own possessions or time.
Uber and Lyft are the heavyweights of the world of carpooling. With just a few clicks, people in need of a ride can summon drivers to any GPS-marked location for easy pickup. Drivers must pass a background check, but after that, you’re ready to start hauling passengers day or night. By providing exceptionally friendly service, your passengers can tip you well at the end of the trip. And that is definitely your goal, because you can work long hours, not receive benefits, and face the potential dangers of picking up total strangers and driving them around town.
Airbnb allows owners to rent spaces to anyone who needs accommodation. Therefore, if you are a homeowner, you can rent one or two rooms to strangers, even when the house is still occupied. Or you can rent the entire property to, for example, tourists who want to visit New Orleans but don’t want to stay in a hotel. But be very careful about planning your livelihood on Airbnb: The company faces a backlash in some cities, where residents are pushing to ban short-term rentals.
There are many other short-term jobs that you can do from the Internet. Are you good at putting together IKEA furniture or doing home repairs? Advertise on Task Rabbit. You like to buy? Take a look at Shipt or Instacart. Don’t you mind leaving pizza or other restaurant food to customers? Look on GrubHub, Door Dash or Postmates.
All of these sites tend to work the same way: You can usually publish your services for free, and the app takes a little bit of what you do. You can set your own hours. In some companies you can set your own prices; in others, the company decides the prices. You’ll want to read reviews of the companies of people who have worked with them to see which ones are best for your time.
Freelance work is similar in some ways to blogging. For one thing, you can work from your own home most of the time. But there are some important distinctions. With freelance work, you’re generally selling your writing to another post rather than just putting it on your blog (although some bloggers do both). Many freelance writing positions cover specialized topics for online publishing and may require expert knowledge of the topic. You could specialize in writing about food, healthcare, business, or just being an all-rounder. Experienced journalists, who may not have specialized knowledge but are good at interviewing and investigating for that knowledge, have independent careers for various newspapers and magazines. However, it helps you get more work if you can target the expertise or experience in a particular niche
To get started, you may need to write for free. Many small websites seek free help with writing. Once you get some clips, you can show them to someone who offers paid work. Check general job sites like Indeed.com or the “About” section of your favorite post to see if they’re hiring and what the requirements are.
You might also consider posting your original work instead of working on contract-based tasks. Desktop publishing offers many of the same benefits as freelance writing. However, this additional step is risky, as it requires marketing for your target audience so that they can buy your work.
As with any type of career, networking is key. Freelancers are well aware that at one point, a concert could run out, and if money is tight, that’s a problem. Developing a consistent group of customers is one way to ensure that you are really making (and saving) money while working.
Writing isn’t the only way to make money freelancing, of course – anyone with a background in graphic design or programming can find contract jobs that pay well and also provide challenging work.
5. Social media manager
Whether you’re talking about Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, social media is a trend that is here to stay. From large corporations to family stores of all kinds, absolutely every business owner must either understand the basics of social media, or be hesitant. Many large companies have entire departments dedicated to managing social media issues, but many medium and small companies don’t have time to do it on their own. Instead, they hire many of these tasks to people who better understand the challenges and rewards of Twitter and the like, and that’s where you come in.
You already know that your smartphone allows you to view (and post) reviews of almost any product or service on the planet. Those reviews, and the way companies approach them, can make or break a business. After all, when was the last time you intentionally bought a one-star product? Expert social media managers know that there are a lot of ways to get great customer feedback, and that there are also many ways to get negative feedback. They understand that in many ways the web is a double-edged sword, one that can increase profits or lead to the ruin of public relations.
Success in this field requires understanding the ins and outs of various social media platforms and how they intersect not only in a technical but also in a cultural sense. Expert social media managers know who uses Snapchat versus who uses Facebook. They can create engaging messages for your content that can be shared and take great photos and videos. They also understand metrics (why a particular post received so many clicks) and are good at multitasking.
6. Financial services
Financial services include accounting, tax preparation, accounting, and payroll processing – these are the types of services few people want to seek, but for their own peace of mind, they are often willing to pay an expert to help them balance the books. and deal with the complexities of tax law. And today, you can perform most of these services using specialized software. For companies, this means hiring fewer people to handle these tasks. For people, it means doing it on your own and hiring an online consultant when needed.
These savings opportunities for consumers mean opportunities to earn money for you. You can create your own website or work with an existing web-based service group to advertise the financial services you offer. You can then communicate with customers through that website and by email.
First, make sure you are trained or experienced in the services you plan to provide. If you are advertising accountant services, you must have a degree in that field, although a tax preparer may have completed a short course. Having a niche (like entertainment accounting) will help you stand out from the crowd. Also, make sure you know whether you will need government licenses to offer certain services, and refrain from falsifying or working illegally to avoid being sued for fraud.
Although this is an internet based business, you will probably have to leave home at least sometimes to meet with clients or connect to get more clients.
7. Customer service
For each company, customer service is a real, time-consuming concern. Many companies endorse their products through a customer service department. This generally means people who answer customer phone calls, as well as email or online chat. To use the latter, a customer clicks on a link requesting to chat with a live person, and a customer service representative answers the request and talks to the customer through a chat window. For email customer service, the customer fills out a form on the website or sends an email directly to a particular address.
Since these services only depend on having a reliable phone, Internet connection and a web browser, companies have increasingly sought to hire home workers. This can be a great opportunity for someone looking to work when the kids are at school or have gone to bed. Customer service contractor companies like OutPLEX and Alorica cover email and live chat support in addition to inbound and outbound phone calls. Other companies, such as Amazon, Williams-Sonoma, or U-Haul) contract home agents directly. The payout rate may be low, but companies generally offer bonuses if agents meet certain goals.
There are also in-home positions for reservations, sales agents, travel agents, and virtual assistants (these do executive assistant jobs for individuals or companies). You can find work in all of these areas by searching a major job board like Indeed.com or Monster.com.
An online tutor can have clients from all over the world. SCREEN PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES
With each passing year, there seems to be increasing pressure for elementary, middle and high school students to earn good grades and prepare for a path to higher education. For some children, this means getting help from a tutor to close gaps in understanding certain subjects.
Since most families have reliable high-speed Internet connections in their homes, Internet-based tutoring services are growing. When applying for these jobs, you generally have to take exams in the selected subject areas and undergo background checks. Although you could start your own online tutoring service, sites like Tutor.com have already done the work for you in terms of marketing. These sites pair thousands of children (and adults) with tutors each week, both at home and abroad. However, they can also determine your hourly rate or take a share of what you charge, so you can decide if it’s better to work for them or go it alone.
While many internet-based jobs offer flexible hours or multiple shifts, tutoring services may require you to be online for a specific block of time or reward you for doing so. This encourages guardians to be available during the highest demand. For example, when Tutor.com has more tutors than tutoring requests, it places tutors on a waiting list and gives preference to tutors who work at least five hours per week at 4 p.m. at 11 pm. ET hours from Sunday to Thursday [source: Tutor.com].
9. Selling courses online
You can take your teaching knowledge one step further, and instead of registering with a tutoring service, create your own web-based course and charge people who attend. The rise of e-learning is giving rise to an online course industry that could be worth up to $ 325 billion in 2025 [source: Forbes].
Courses can be academic, creative (how to make candles), technical (how to learn Python) or business focused (how to grow a business). If you have no ideas, visit a site like Udemy, which has over 10,000 listings. In general, you will pay a monthly fee to the platform that hosts your business or allow you to host for free in exchange for a reduction in tuition fees.
To be successful in this area, you must be able to break down complicated topics for a general audience and be able to create a video or PowerPoint presentation for your topic. (There are many pre-made templates on platforms designed just for these purposes.) You must also have good marketing skills so that potential students can find your course and be interested enough to enroll in it.
But don’t worry, there is a lot of information on the Internet to help you with the business side of this company, from tips for creating a business plan to deciding how to title your courses and keep your students motivated. You can even pay for an online course that teaches you how to sell courses online.
10. Sale of handmade Products
Sites like Etsy offer an easy setup option for creative guys who want to sell their products online. MARC ROMANELLI / GETTY IMAGES
Earlier, we mentioned using websites like eBay to sell things you don’t need. But you can also use websites to sell your original creations. Certain websites like Etsy.com and ArtFire.com are dedicated to uniting artists who create things by hand with customers who appreciate and want to purchase their handmade products.
If you are like most people, the word handmade will probably remind you of some traditional crafts like knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, painting, and sculpture. However, handmade items do not stop there. You can also market carpentry, glassware, metalwork, and anything else you are capable of building at home. Make sure to focus on projects you are already good at or passionate about so you don’t get burned producing each new item.
Etsy, ArtFire and the like generally allow you to set up your own store for free or for a very small fee for each item you list there. If you have a small home operation this might be a better deal than setting up your own site. For many people, hosting and managing a full website could be a full-time job on its own.
The biggest challenge in selling homemade products is recovering the cost of what you put into it. Not only do you want to be reimbursed for the materials, but you also want to be paid proportionally to the time you spend on it. Keep a careful record of your sales and purchases in the first few months and make the necessary adjustments to maximize your profits.