I was just reading on Facebook that some guy made his first million dollars in 2014, and it got me thinking — can you really make millions without leaving home? And if so, what would be the most realistic way for someone like myself (a former salesperson) who has no experience or special skills to start making real income at home?
This post originally appeared on The Simple Dollar.
For my part, I've been going through our current financial situation and trying out various things here and there. Some have worked well, others haven't quite panned out as expected, and yet other projects keep getting delayed until they're not even started anymore. So far, none of these efforts have produced any significant results. But I'm still hopeful that one day soon something will take off big time.
In the meantime, though, let's look into how you could reasonably expect to make good money working from home, what kind of work environment might suit you best, and what kinds of skills or experiences might help you get started. Here we go!
If you want to make easy money online, then selling digital products is probably the simplest approach available right now. You don't need extensive training, materials, inventory, customer service staffs, etc., which means you only need a computer and Internet access to set up shop. All you need to focus on is developing those items, marketing them effectively, and collecting orders from interested buyers. This is why many people choose this method over anything else when starting their own businesses.
The downside is that while it may be simple, it takes very little skill to become successful at this business model. That said, if you know what you're doing, it's possible to create premium quality eBooks, software applications, video courses, audio programs, and similar types of product offerings within days. Once again, however, this requires a lot of planning, research, testing, tweaking, and fine tuning before you actually launch such products. In short, it's relatively easy to generate revenue by creating digital products, but it takes much longer than launching physical goods.
You also run the risk of being copied easily because anyone can copy your idea and put it on sale under another name. With that said, if you have excellent writing ability, knowledge of programming languages, or other specialized skills, you have a better chance of succeeding in this area.
On top of that, if you decide to sell digital content rather than tangible goods, you'll need to figure out how to properly package and deliver each item. There are plenty of tools and services available to assist you with this task, including PayPal, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. However, these services require payment processing fees, shipping expenses, order fulfillment, etc., which add costs to your bottom line. For example, using these services typically involves paying around 30 cents per transaction plus 3% fee on credit card payments. These charges eat away at profits. If you plan to use these services anyway, you should consider setting aside enough funds in advance to cover these expenses.
If you're looking for an easy way to earn some extra cash, there is no better place than the Internet. In just one year alone, more and more people have turned to the Web as their main source of income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 5 million Americans made at least $10k per month through freelancing or contract work on sites like Fiverr. So why not use that opportunity yourself? Here are 28 ways how you can make money online today from the comfort of your own home.
It doesn't matter if you want to start part time or full time, it will only take you around 20 minutes a day to get started. The best thing about these methods is they require zero investment. All you need is a computer (and/or smartphone) and free time. If you don't have those things yet then this list should help you out to pick up any other basic tools needed along the way.
1. Sell stuff on eBay.com - Selling items on eBay.com has been proven time and again to be the easiest method to quickly turn a profit. You can sell anything on eBay. Just search "selling" and click on the top result. Select "buyer pays postage", choose shipping option and fill in details such as payment options, minimum bid price, etc. A few tips: check seller ratings before bidding, set lowest starting bids, always try to offer item at its highest value possible. Once you've sold something on eBay, repeat the process until you reach your financial goals.
2. Become a freelance writer - Writing articles, press releases, blogs posts, white papers, business reports etc. -- is still a great way to make money online. With so many websites offering content writing services nowadays, you can easily find clients who would pay good amount of money for high quality written materials. Freelance writers often charge by word count, project basis, hourly rate or flat fee depending upon complexity of the task. Don't forget to add additional fees for editing, proofreading, formatting and marketing. Make sure you know what kind of projects you prefer. For example, if you enjoy creating technical blog posts, you may wish to become a professional blogger instead.
3. Get paid to test products - This might seem too simple to be true, however companies regularly post job offers where you'll receive compensation for testing new products. Such jobs usually include product sampling, filling surveys, answering emails, uploading photos, watching videos and participating in focus groups. Some companies even provide rewards based on performance. Companies advertise these opportunities in classifieds, forums, social networks, newsletters and ezines. There's also Amazon Mechanical Turk which lets anyone participate in microtasks without worrying about any skills required. Pay varies from company to company, while most commonly pay between $0-$25 per hour.
4. Start blogging - Blogging is probably the fastest path to making money online because once you create a successful site, advertisers are going to come knocking at your door. Even though most bloggers earn less than $100 a month, the real trick lies within knowing exactly what to promote and how to optimize traffic flow. To succeed here, you must learn SEO techniques and understand how Google AdSense works. Be patient, persistence and consistent will eventually lead to success. Remember, the key to earning big bucks is having lots of targeted visitors coming to your website every single day.
5. Rent out space on your server - Hosting providers allow users to rent virtual servers running Linux, FreeBSD or Windows operating systems via dedicated IP addresses. They typically provide web hosting space on shared machines or VPSes. One advantage of doing this is that customers get root access, meaning they control everything directly on the machine themselves. Another perk involves being able to host several different domains under one account. However, you could potentially run into problems when hosting multiple sites on one physical server. As a general rule, you should consider reserving enough bandwidth and CPU cycles for each customer. Also remember to keep logs and track usage. Most important, you must configure firewall properly to protect against unauthorized intrusions.
6. Create YouTube videos - Making tutorials, reviews, comedy skits, short films, animations, infomercials, commercials, sales pitches, presentations...you name it! Upload them onto YouTube.com and let them play 24 hours a day. Since YouTube allows copyright infringement, please ensure you've got proper permissions and copyrights reserved. Your video(s) won't hurt anybody unless somebody else makes copies using your footage. Then again, nobody knows who is lurking behind the screen waiting for his chance. Nowadays, even small businesses hire Hollywood production houses to produce original ads. So think hard whether you actually want to go down this road. Otherwise, you may end up losing significant chunks of change.
7. Build profitable apps - App development is another lucrative field that yields quick results. Although it takes years of training, experience and dedication, Apple recently launched its first app store. And we haven't seen anything similar for Android devices yet. What does this mean for us? Well, it means that mobile developers could soon replace desktop software engineers. Apps are everywhere, especially since smartphones have become our primary computing device. From games to productivity applications, apps have revolutionized how we conduct daily transactions. More importantly, they give us freedom to perform tasks wherever and whenever we want. Unfortunately, building an application isn't an exact science either. You'll need to spend countless hours coding, debugging and fine tuning. Fortunately, the process is easier said than done. Today, you can find hundreds of communities and platforms dedicated to helping programmers build innovative solutions across various industries.
8. Sign up for affiliate programs - An affiliate program is simply a system whereby merchants reward affiliates for bringing buyers to their particular website or service. Affiliates can earn commissions ranging anywhere from 1% to 75%. Of course, the higher percentage ones tend to attract the attention of scammers. Before joining an affiliate program, you should research carefully to see whether it is legitimate or not. By signing up for affiliate programs, you'll benefit from lower prices, larger discounts, exclusive deals and special promotions. Plus, you'd gain instant credibility points with potential customers.
9. Find niche markets & market products accordingly - People buy what they believe others will purchase. That's why you should target specific niches like weight loss supplements, golf clubs, pet toys, baby monitors, gardening supplies, sports shoes, health care products, automotive parts, travel gadgets, kitchen appliances, wedding dresses, cell phones, books, DVDs, etc. Whatever industry you decide to venture into, identify areas that need improvement or changes. Research keywords related to your chosen topics and write articles accordingly. Use unique titles and descriptions. Write informative headlines and subheadings. Keep paragraphs short and concise. Include relevant links back to your site. Do keyword optimization. Submit your article to directories, magazines, newspapers, newsgroups, blogs, discussion boards and social networking sites. Afterward, contact editors and ask them to publish your piece. Repeat above steps for all categories you can think of.
10. Start a Facebook fan page - If you really want to make serious money online, you should definitely consider setting up a personal profile and start interacting with fans. Post updates, pictures, quotes, jokes, funny stories and comments. Promote your pages using popular hashtags (#fbfanpage). When someone clicks on your link, he/she will automatically be redirected to your official website. Besides generating leads, you can also share links with friends, family members and colleagues. Try posting interesting status messages that will draw responses from others. Always be honest, polite and helpful. Never spam, troll or harass other members. Simply put, develop trust among your followers. Eventually, you'll begin receiving requests from strangers wanting to join your group.
11. Offer services - We live in a world dominated by information and technology. Therefore, there's plenty of room for outsourcing certain non-core responsibilities. Rather than spending endless hours trying to improve your photography skills, why not outsource it to professionals? Similarly, rather than wasting tons of energy trying to manage accounting records, why not employ a CPA? Instead of keeping inventory, why not order stock from vendors? Or maybe you'd love to trade stocks yourself but aren't confident enough? These are just examples, and obviously, you wouldn't want to replicate my mistakes. But you get the point. Whether you're selling crafts, providing IT support or managing finances, there are thousands of individuals willing to lend a hand. Take advantage of the power of crowdsourcing and leverage the collective wisdom of millions of people worldwide.
12. Market affiliate products - Marketing affiliate products is basically promoting other peoples' products in exchange for commission payments. The commissions vary greatly, with some paying upwards of 50%, and others giving away 95%-99% profits. For beginners, it is advisable to stick with smaller affiliate marketers. Why? Because you'll likely encounter fewer scams and deceptive schemes. On the contrary, bigger corporations generate massive amounts of revenue monthly. Hence, they have resources to handle disputes efficiently. Additionally, big organizations generally have well established relationships with credit card processors, banks, domain registrar and merchant processing partners. Moreover, they have greater negotiating power. Lastly, big players typically have broader appeal. Consequently, you'll make more money targeting huge audiences.
For anyone who wants to find out how they can make quick cash, we've compiled this list of 28 simple and easy ways to earn extra income. You'll learn everything that it takes to set up an online business — whether for yourself or as a side hustle — without spending too much time or energy on research. So what do you say? Are these realistic enough to pull off? We think so! Let’s get started…
1) Sell stuff you already own. There are tons of people looking for items like computers, furniture, books, etc., at very good prices. Take advantage of them by selling unwanted goods through eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Amazon, Kijiji... just name some popular sites. If you're new to selling things online, see our guide to starting an eBay business.
2) Get paid for referring others to products and services. This is called affiliate marketing. Signing up for free accounts on ClickBank, Commission Junction (other major players), and ShareASale will help you familiarize yourself with the process. Affiliate programs usually pay monthly via PayPal or check/cash depending on which site you choose to sign up for. For example, there are thousands of different product categories within Google AdSense, many of which pay well. The key here is to be selective and only market those products and services that interest you.
3) Do freelance work online. Many companies need writers, translators, editors, proofreaders, bloggers, content marketers and more. Freelancers often use platforms such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Fiverr, Scriptlance, Guru, Toptal, Clutch, ProBlogger Job Market, Warrior Forum Jobs, Indeed Jobs, LinkedIn, Twitter Ads Talent Pool, etc., where employers post job openings for freelancers to bid upon. To apply, simply go to one of these websites, create a profile, write samples of your previous jobs, and wait for potential clients to contact you. Depending on your skillset, you could even land fulltime employment after building experience.
4) Start blogging. Blogging has become essential nowadays not because everyone needs their own personal website anymore, but rather because most businesses now depend heavily on digital media. In fact, according to Forbes, 93% of small businesses employ social media strategies. So if you want to know how to make money online, you should definitely consider creating a blog. Once your blog starts gaining traction, you may also decide to monetize it with advertising. And while writing blogs isn't necessarily rocket science, it does take practice and discipline. Not sure where to begin? Check out Saikat's article on How to Write Your First Blog Post.
5) Create short videos. Short films, infographics, animations, explainer videos, testimonials, instructional tutorials, etc., can easily fill up space on YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. These days, almost every company depends on video ads for promoting its products and services. So why shouldn't you join them? See our tips on making money with YouTube.
6) Earn money for recommending brands. Brands hire influencers to promote their products, services, events, brand ambassadorships, etc., on social media. As part of their compensation package, influencers receive commissions ranging between 5% to 20%. That said, you can build credibility and establish yourself as an expert in any niche by simply sharing recommendations about certain brands and products on social networks. Simply share links on Twitter, Facebook, Slack, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Tumbler, etc.
7) Join survey panels. Online surveys aren't going anywhere anytime soon. According to Statista, over 1 billion surveys were completed worldwide during 2016. Most panelists earn $20 per hour plus rewards for completing surveys. However, to qualify, you must meet specific requirements determined by each individual panel. But once approved, you'd be able to complete surveys quickly and easily from the convenience of your home. Here are two reputable survey sites to try: Swagbucks and Global Test Panel.
8) Find online courses worth paying for. With so many quality eLearning platforms available, earning passive income from online classes doesn't require much effort. Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, Coursera, Khan Academy, Pluralsight, Open Culture, edX, LinkedIn Learning, Lynda, TED Talks Premium, SkillShare, etc., offer high-quality learning materials for both beginners and experts alike. Some of these platforms allow users to sell course certificates and other merchandise associated with their courses. Additionally, online tutoring services provide opportunities for students to earn money for teaching lessons. All of these platforms typically charge annual fees ranging from $50-$300+, although some of them waive that fee if you enroll directly into their program.
9) Become a virtual assistant. A VA basically offers administrative support to busy professionals across various industries. While working as a VA might sound challenging, especially since you won't have direct access to bosses, training manuals, client emails, etc., it actually requires little to no technical expertise. Moreover, you would need a computer and internet connection. Other than being a VA, you could also open your own virtual office using tools like DeskTime, Fancy Hands, TaskRabbit, Zirtual, HelloTask, Gigwalk, LiveOps, FlexJobs, ZoomInfo, Elance, oDesk, etc., where customers outside your immediate network request assistance.
10) Be a tutor. Tutors are needed everywhere, including schools, universities, libraries, homes, offices, etc., for subjects ranging from math, languages, sciences, arts, music theory, history, geography, literature, chess, tennis, piano, guitar, yoga, art, cooking, photography, dance, etc. Teaching someone else something isn't hard. What really matters is knowing what you can teach effectively. Here are three great resources to get you started: SmartPassiveIncome, Smart Passive Income University, and WealthyTutor.
11) Learn a skill you love doing. If you enjoy sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, cake decorating, drawing, painting, sculpting, gardening, fixing electronics, dancing, skiing, surfing, playing sports, driving cars, riding horses, hiking, camping, reading, studying, traveling, volunteering, etc., then maybe you should pick up another hobby that interests you. Just spend 10 minutes daily checking out relevant forums, watching tutorial videos, purchasing related books, visiting craft stores, attending workshops, etc., until you master the desired skill. Then turn that passion into profits.
12) Create informational products. Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to make money online. Instead, invest your efforts in researching topics that people search for online. Based on your findings, come up with helpful answers to questions that people ask frequently. Next, compile information into downloadable reports, guides, webinars, videos, audio recordings, etc., that answer common queries. Finally, add a killer sales pitch and wrap it all together into a valuable resource that solves problems. Although this approach sounds complicated, it's easier than you think once you gain practical knowledge.
13) Make apps. Anyone can develop mobile applications -- Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, iPad, Kindle Fire Tablet, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M9, Moto X, Nexus 7, LG G4, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear Fit 2, Nook GlowLight 3, etc. -- for virtually any industry. Plus, independent developers can publish iOS and Android versions of their existing software for free. Also, you can develop games for consoles, PCs, handheld devices, tablets, and smartphones. If you want to know how to make money online, you can either code your app idea yourself or contract a development firm. Either way, expect to shell out around $100k+ in total costs.
14) Build a profitable email list. Email lists contain subscribers' names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, genders, ages, occupation, hobbies, relationship status, family size, credit card details, bank account number, income levels, mailing preferences, favorite movies, TV shows, music genres, preferred shopping channels, political affiliations, etc. By collecting data points like this, you can engage your target audience better and tailor future promotions accordingly. MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, MailPoem, AWeber, MadMimi, iContact, InfusionSoft, etc., are trusted providers of email marketing solutions. They typically cost somewhere between $0-$200 per month based on plan pricing structures.
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.