Ways to make money online

Established Ways to Make Money Online

Disclosure: Just so you know, we may sometimes earn a small commission from affiliate links on this site.

The Internet is a great place for entrepreneurs and side-hustlers to earn money because it offers opportunities that are free (or very cheap) and easy to start, limited only by your imagination.

Easy to start. Yes.

Easy to make money. Not so much.

Making money online is about working smarter, not harder.

Find the gaps. Know how to find the gaps. Understand your niche. Know how to research online. Know how to market and promote your business. Know who your target audience is. Know how to reach them - at the right time.

Find a way to take an ordinary idea and turn it into something unique. Here's what I've put together for you.

  1. Work From Home Job (with Remote Job Listings)
  2. Drop Shipping
  3. Amazon Seller
  4. Niche Blogger (with Unique Ideas)
  5. Affiliate Marketer
  6. Bonus Ideas

You'll need a great website to get started.

Website Quick Start

Make money online using one of the most popular website builders for a painless, quick and cheap setup.

  • WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world
  • WordPress

    WordPress powers approximately one third of all websites on the Internet.

    It's free, quick & easy to use. Popular with both small and large blog sites because of the short learning curve and huge range of services - from domains to responsive templates.

    Create a beautiful new website in seconds. No experience needed.

1. Work From Home Job

Ever wished you could browse through a never ending list of genuine, high paying work from home jobs? Here's a list of current home based job offers (courtesy of Indeed) at great companies, offering some of the highest pay in the market.

1.1 Current Remote Job Listings

Please note that because this list is updated on a regular basis, and depending on the area you are browsing from, results may vary.

Work from Home Jobs

If you can't find any opportunities that interest you from the list provided here, use the search form to look for other positions listed on Indeed.

Hint 1: In the 'What' area, type in a keyword like 'home' or 'home based'. This will limit the search to listings that have the word home in the title or description. You can also use the keyword 'Remote' for the 'Where' option to filter the results to ones that specifically mention remote in their area.
Hint 2: Not all home based jobs can be done completely from home. Some require you go into the office occasionally or on a semi-regular basis. If you don't mind having to go into the office every now and then, it's worth broadening your search to ones that include 'some work can be done remotely' or 'some work can be done from home'.

It's worth keeping in mind that some jobs are for permanent employees and some are on a contract or freelance basis. If you are after stability and security then permanent positions are the right option.

If, however, you value diversity and change - and possibly the chance to grow your own consultancy or freelance agency, then building relationships with a wide range of companies on a freelance basis can serve as a great stepping stone to starting your own business.

Work From Home Highest Earners

Check out this list of the top 10 highest earning people doing work from home jobs.

  • Top 10 highest paid people working from home
  • Top 10 Highest Paid

    Some high earners can generate up to $1 million for a single social media post!

    From designing apps to making music, writing books or creating art, there are people earning tens of millions of dollars a year doing things that you can easily accomplish from home - with a decent Internet connection.

1.2. Home Based Freelance Gigs

It's also useful to keep in mind that once you have managed to secure a few contracts it might become important to be able to hire a few people to help manage the workload.

Once of the best platforms for finding and offering freelance work is on freelancer.com. Here's a few sample freelancer listings to give you a feel for what the competition looks like.

Whether or not you decide to work full-time or as a freelancer, I'm sure you'll enjoy the wide range of employment opportunities available and the rate at which the home job industry is growing.

2. Drop Shipping

Combine an online store with drop shipping to lower costs and start earning from day one - without the hassle of warehousing and delivery operations.

While some drop shipping services also offer a website building facility it's better to maintain your own eCommerce site. This means you:

  • are not reliant on one distributor
  • enjoy greater speed, power, flexibility, and SEO
  • have greater control

Using a leading eCommerce site builder also has significant advantages when it comes it integrating other software that can streamline processes, lower costs and make your business more efficient (think along the lines of integrated cloud accounting software that captures sales and revenue automatically).

How Drop Shipping Works

Drop shipping is a simple, repeatable process.

  1. Create a relationship with a drop shipper
  2. Sell products online
  3. Transfer orders to the drop shipper
  4. Drop shipper fulfills the order
  5. Repeat steps 2 - 4

Advantages of Drop Shipping

Drop shipping requires very little capital outlay. Traditional businesses need to buy and store stock before it can be sold. This is a great expense - especially for small or home business startups.

Drop shipping avoids this problem entirely by allowing merchants to accept payment from their eCommerce store before placing an order with the drop shipping service and paying for it. Instead of working off a deficit, eCommerce stores that use drop shippers only ever pay for stock that has already been sold.

In addition, drop shippers can fulfill orders far more cost effectively than an individual startup because they have warehouse, transport, packaging and delivery infrastructure and processes already in place. This leaves a greater share of the profit in your hands.

Disadvantages of Drop Shipping

Anytime you rely on a 3rd party service, you're at the mercy of their performance. Ensure you only work with trusted and reputable drop shipping services.

  • Drop shipping suppliers of poor quality products can harm your business' reputation
  • Unreliable distributors can lead to delays, leaving customers dissatisfied

There are a few well-established, high quality drop-shipping services that combine with the leading shopping carts and online eCommerce website builders.

Shopify now offers comprehensive facilities to help manage and streamline drop shipping stores.

Decide on the best one for you based on which one has the service terms, and the products and brands you need.

Drop Shipping Quick Start

Make money online using an industry leading drop shipper.

  • WorldWideBrands is a 20 year leader in drop shipping
  • WorldWideBrands

    WorldWideBrands has sourced a huge inventory across every major category.

    It is possible to use WorldWideBrands as a warehousing and distribution agent that stores and manages your own inventory. You control stock, so it is less likely that new orders will be placed on back-order leading to delays

    Trustpilot rates it at 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Amazon Seller

Selling on Amazon can be a fantastic way to build a successful thriving online retail business, earn a decent second income, or simply get rid of unwanted junk for cash.

The good news is that it isn't hard to get started, it doesn't cost much, and there are unlimited possibilities to generate good profits.

3.1. How Big is Your Business?

There are two types of Amazon seller account:

  1. Individual - no monthly fees. $0.99 per sale plus other fees. Sell up to 40 items
  2. Professional - $39.99 monthly fee + other selling fees. Sell more than 40 items

However, if you are serious about building a strong online store then you also need to consider setting up your own eCommerce site that integrates tightly with Amazon. This allows you to build up your own brand and attract customers through multiple channels.

Fortunately, Volusion, one of the leading online eCommerce site builders has excellent Amazon integration that makes it cost effective and easy to manage both platforms in one place.

Amazon Seller Quick Start

Get started easily with one of two types of seller account .

  • An Amazon seller account is quick and easy to start.
  • Amazon Seller Account

    The process is fairly straightforward to follow and you will need to provide and verify personal and business information, including:

    • Credit card
    • Seller information
    • Identity verification by text message or phone call

According to Bloomberg, more than 50% of shoppers begin their online search for products on Amazon.

That might have you shaking in your boots as a web-store owner, but it shouldn’t. It means Amazon is a great place for your store to get discovered. Thousands of online brands sell from their own webstore as well as Amazon.

Here's an example.

3.2. Case Study: Folding Chairs and Tables

Folding Chairs & Tables
Folding Chairs and Tables, a wholesaler of folding chairs and tables based in Tennessee, thought launching on Amazon would be:

  1. Difficult
  2. Devalue their brand

But that wasn’t the case.

Using their eCommerce platform, Bigcommerce, which offers one of the more extensive eCommerce integrations with Amazon, Folding Tables and Chairs listed only 1 product - and it wasn’t even a product they offered on their store. Instead, they bundled their own best selling items into a completely new listing for Amazon, and sales grew tenfold.

Folding Chairs and Tables had to launch a new warehouse due to unprecedented growth.

Now, they are looking at an eBay test (still using BigCommerce's Channel Manager) hoping to generate similar results. At the same time, they are gaining orders from Amazon customers looking for even more product deals not offered on Amazon (i.e. offered on their website only) and seeing revenue spikes from Amazon customers who just want that bundle and nothing else.

Integrating your online store with Amazon provides marketing opportunities to a huge audience that can generate additional sales.

3.3. Plan for Order Fulfillment

Amazon has one of the world's best delivery networks on the planet. They can deliver almost anything, anywhere, at any time. But, they also expect you to be able to match a minimum set of delivery standards (most often 3 - 5 business days).

If you are going to deliver the items you sell, then you will need to make sure you can meet their standard delivery criteria. They will take a delivery payment from the customer and pass that cash onto you (in the form of shipping credit) to cover the costs of shipping.

Remember, the faster you can ship, the more likely you are to attract sales. So it's worth doing some research into the best ways to package and deliver products locally, nationally, and internationally if required.

You can learn more about Amazon shipping credits and delivery expectations at shipping orders to buyers.

You might want to take a look at small business packaging and delivery services offered by USPS and UPS, since it is up to you how you choose to deliver packages. You can also get great discounts and savings on packaging and post using an online service like Stamps.

Shipping Quick Start

Streamline shipping using automation to lower costs and reduce mistakes.

  • Shipstation eCommerce Shipping
  • Shipstation

    Shipstation automates and consolidates shipping (via any major delivery service) from over 40 different sales channels.

    It allows you to import orders from any sales platform you're using and create shipping labels and deliver and monitor packages quickly and easily online.

Alternatively, you can simply have Amazon fulfill orders and handle all packaging and delivery on your behalf. Take a look at the features and benefits of the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service.

Using FBA means sending the products to an Amazon fulfillment center where they will warehouse, pack and ship items as they are ordered. This means that the items you sell can take advantage of Amazon's logistics and shipping deals and specials.

3.4. Add Listings & Product Pages

Amazon sells tens of millions of items. Unless you are selling something that is absolutely unique, it already has a product page. All you need to do is add your own listing to this page.

Do a very comprehensive search for the exact version you are selling (including color, size, etc) - otherwise there will be irate customers receiving items they didn't order.

Once you have found the product page on Amazon, click the Sell yours button (please note, you have to be logged in with your seller account for this to work) and specify the :

  1. Items' condition - new, like new, used, etc
  2. Quantity in stock
  3. Price
  4. Shipping option(s)

Once that is submitted the product will be made available as a listing on that product page, along with all the others.

It is in your interest to be completely honest about the quality and condition of the items you sell. There are a host of benefits for sellers who are popular and highly rated.

If you have a new product altogether, add a new product to the Amazon catalog. You can learn how to do that at creating a product page. This can be quite a bit of work as you need to provide product descriptions, images, ownership info, versions and formats, and more.

Don't try promote your own website or blog via Amazon listings. It is against Amazon's policy and is a great way to have your account removed.

3.5. Account Management

Once your items are all listed and available for purchase, you will be able to monitor orders and payments, manage refunds, view inventory, and so on. All of this can be managed via the seller account, which can be accessed by clicking Your seller account when logged in.

From here you can also update orders with information that is important for potential buyers and customers who have purchases items already.

Continually monitor customer feedback and ratings as these will have a huge impact. Pay close attention to what people are saying and offer professional and efficient customer service.

4. Niche Blogger (with Ideas)

It might seem like a cliche idea but the fact of the matter is that it is possible to make decent money from blogging. Not easy, possible.

The real attraction is that making money blogging has significant residual, or passive, earning power. A single article can generate hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the months and years it drives traffic.

The trick is finding the right topics for the right audience with the right content and promoting it with the right network and strategies.

Niche Blogging Quick Start

Create amazing blog content that attracts engaged readers to drive earnings.

  • Make money blogging with sales funnel content
  • Make Money Blogging

    Learn a new approach to creating game-changing blog content that drives high value traffic and funnels it to conversions, like a machine.

    Learn to make conversions from your very first post.

    Unleash your potential to radically grow earnings with online content using our free blog post business plan. Learn to differentiate your content from millions of competitors and dominate your niche.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

4.1. Personalized Gifts Guru

Creating a site focused on personalized gifts is an absolute winner because there is virtually an unlimited number of products available to be reviewed. Not only that, but I think that this is also a fun topic that you will be able to enjoy doing - something that is really important for success in blogging.

You can cover a range of sub-topics, including everything from gift ideas to corporate gifts, including deals and specials to save readers a bit of money when buying gifts.

The SEO phrase 'personalized gifts' also drives plenty of monthly searches with 49 500 coming from the U.S alone.

It has a moderate CPC, weighing in at $3. What makes this particular niche so valuable is that you will find plenty of retailers willing to pay to advertise or review their products, once the site is established.

4.2. Business Cards Creator

I was absolutely floored when I discovered just how big business cards search volumes are.

The phrase 'business cards' generates 246 000 monthly searches in the U.S. alone.

Capturing the top ranking for this search, assuming a modest average CTR (Click Through Rate) of about 30% will drive 73 800 visits per month.

The phrase business cards also has a really good CPC of $8, so there is a relatively high average value on conversions. Not only that, but there is a huge printing industry that will pay top dollar in advertising or affiliate earnings for any blogger who is able to get to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for topics related to business card printing.

Naturally, there is a lot of competition in this niche, but I believe it is still possible to capture really high page rankings with a dedicated site, because most (but not all) of the leaders in this niche are general printers who also print business cards - i.e. they aren't completely dedicated to business cards.

4.3. Plus Size Clothing Evangelist

What I like about plus size clothing as a topic, is that it has a really broad selection of sub-topics, which means that you will always have plenty to write about in well-defined niches. For example, a blog on plus size clothing could have sections dedicated to swimwear, wedding dresses, and the all important maternity clothes.

The phrase 'plus size clothing' generates a more modest 74 000 visits per month in the U.S with a CPC of about $2.

While these figures aren't as impressive as others we've looked at there are lots of related terms that can be easily targeted to bring in high volumes of Web traffic. Obviously, being a part of the clothing and fashion industry, there would be no shortage of retailers and advertisers clamoring for coverage on your site.

4.4. Current Events Commentator

This is a really interesting niche because current events is just that... current. Google favors topical and current content matter, so the very fact that you are writing about things that are happening right now gives an advantage.

Of course, the problem is that you are potentially competing with the big news networks, which is, effectively, impossible for a small blog. To get around this, you'll have to bring a unique and original perspective to your coverage. In other words, don't position yourself as news, but rather as opinion.

If you can talk about serious issues with real humor, you'll quickly become popular. If you can write in such a way as to spark action and emotion, you'll become popular. If you can bring unique insight to current events, you will become popular.

The phrase 'Current events' generates an impressive 165 000 visits per month (almost entirely from the U.S) and has a CPC of just under $2.

It will be slightly harder to make money from this topic, but what you lack in CPC, you'll make up for in high website traffic volumes.

4.5. Identity Theft Adviser

Identity theft (the crime, not the SEO keyword) is a serious problem, and one that many individuals and businesses need to take seriously.

The phrase 'identity theft' generates around 60 500 monthly searches with a healthy CPC of about $7.

What's nice about this topic is that you can create plenty of articles that are genuinely useful for readers - like how to cope with identity theft, what to do, what precautions to take, what to look for, and so on. Naturally, you would need to become an expert in this niche in order to really be able to help people, but if you crack it, you would have a really loyal following of readers and fans.

Helping people is a fantastic way to grow a business, and it feels good at the same time. Making money from talking about identity theft would be relatively easy because there are a number of services that would advertise or set up affiliate relationships with a leading blog in this field.

5. Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketers need all the skills required to drive sales and revenue that traditional or online business must have. The only difference is that starting a business takes a lot of time, money and effort. Starting an affiliate campaign is quick and easy.

Affiliate marketing is a business process that incentivizes the promotion of products and services by offering commission on sales.

In other words, companies outsource their marketing efforts to people like you.

In return they share sales revenue. Every time someone makes a purchase, you get a cut of that sale.

5.1. Pick a Niche

The first thing any new affiliate marketer must do is pick a niche. You can pick and choose the type of product or service you want to sell.

A niche is a definable segment of a broader industry.

Don't spread yourself too thin. Selling online requires focused content that is relevant to a target audience. The more focused the content, the more likely it will generate sales succesfully.

5.2. Plan Your Campaign

Work out how to get the right message across to the right people with the least amount of effort and cost.

Market Research Quick Start

Research your niche market and competitors to quickly understand how to construct high converting funnels.

  • Analyze competitors' backlinks and SEO using SEMRush
  • Analyze competitors using SEMRush and learn the secrets to their success.

    Understand your niche to make better marketing decisions, capture higher page rankings in Google, make valuable new connections and boost your earnings quickly.

    Don't waste time guessing what it takes to win valuable search keywords. Work out who is winning. Find out who links to them. Build your own backlinks.

    Try it out. Research a website right now.

You are able to use SEMRush for free by signing up. However, the free plan is limited to 10 requests per day - thereafter a paid plan is required.

Part of planning your affiliate campaign is also deciding which businesses you want to partner with. There are tons of different affiliate schemes available. Not all of them are reliable, so approach with caution.

The world's most popular affiliate scheme is run by Amazon, and you can sign up with them at their associates page. Amazon is reliable and converts well.

If you're after some variety or specialty niche products and services to sell, I recommend trying the following networks (that I can personally vouch for):

Remember that each affiliate program is unique. Run by different people with different requirements, goals and terms of service. In particular, many only want to partner with established publishers so be aware that not every company you'd like to partner with will accept your request (until you can demonstrate solid, quality Web traffic levels).

5.3. Create Content

In order to really start driving traffic through to your Web pages you need to create content that is focused, relevant and engaging.

Sales Funnel Quick Start

Learn how to make your own high converting sales funnels right now.

  • Sales funnel for a blog post
    Chart by AdEspresso
  • Understand how sales funnels can help drive conversions and increase earnings.

    Quickly learn how to implement effective sales funnels for a diverse range of conversions, from email sign-ups to eCommerce purchases.

Simply copying and pasting sales information from one site to another is actually worse than useless. Google will ignore you and no one will visit. Wasted time and effort.

Instead, find an angle that interests readers. People want to be entertained and informed without feeling like they're being pitched every second of every day. If you can find a way to get people to trust you, you can get them to make purchases through you.

Building trust is something you will need to do in your own business, so it makes sense to practice the technique first.

5.4. Promote, Analyze & Refine

At this point your job splits into a repeatable three step process:

  • Create more content
  • Market & promote it
  • Analyze results

Email Marketing Quick Start

Grow your own email list and secure a reliable source of passive income that doesn't depend on Google.

  • Start and grow an email list using AWeber
  • Get everything you need to grow an email list with AWeber (free for 30 days).

    Easily create a platform to build a sustainable income using cutting edge email marketing technology.

    Quickly and easily create attractive, responsive signup-forms and popups and dazzle subscribers with beautiful emails designed using drag-n-drop templates.

Be careful not to become spammy or overly self promotional. Make sure you offer content of real value. It could be a funny video clip, a podcast, a blog post, a landing page... anything - so long as it is interesting.

Better content leads to greater trust and authority, which leads to higher traffic and conversions.

Affiliate marketing is a numbers game. Keep the cost of creating and marketing content below the revenue generated and there's profit to be had.

6. Bonus Ways to Make Money Online

Here's a growing list of possibilities that might spark an interesting idea for you. I'll keep adding new ideas over time so check back every now and then.

There are unlimited ways to make money online. You only have to find one.

6.1. Current Affairs Satirist

One of the hardest things about creating content is having to consistently come up with great ideas for blog posts that are on-topic, relevant, and engaging.

Start a blog that comments on current affairs. This way you can browse the daily news each morning, find things that irk or enrage you and tell people what you think in a funny/sarcastic way.

If friends and family think you're funny, it's a good bet other people will too. Plus you have a never ending pool of inspiration from the political buffoonery that fills the news.

6.2. Online Talk Show Host

Talk shows don't have to be big budget network affairs. Film yourself talking about issues that matter to you and post the clips to YouTube. Combine the YouTube clips with a blog to create a multi-channel marketing strategy that will quickly bring plenty of Web traffic, and make good money from advertising (YouTube clips can easily be monetized).

Youtube star PewDiePie earned $15 million in 2016.

All you need is a great niche. What drives you mad about life? What do you love? What do you think is stupid, funny, great, awful? Find what you are passionate about, and tell the world.

6.3. Professional Webinar Host

Are you trained or qualified at something, anything? Personal trainers and fitness experts, doctors, lawyers, yoga instructors, plumbers, electricians, etc, can take their skills online.

Offer free webinars that focus on teaching people how to do stuff. Build up a loyal following, and then offer paid webinars or memberships for more advanced training, workshops, or online courses. The trick here is to build up trust and authority before attempting to charge. Perhaps even present online workshops in conjunction with a local college or chamber of commerce.

Provided you have the requisite qualifications that show you are an expert in a given field, there is no reason you can't become the "go to person" - and make plenty of cash in the process.

6.4. Freelance Consultant

I love working as a freelance consultant. I get to work on interesting new projects all the time - I'm currently developing an OO PHP ACO (Ant Colony Optimization) solution to the mTSP (multiple Traveling Salesman Problem) with constraints, using the Google DM (Distance Matrix) API, for a leading real-time fleet tracking and management company.

Being a freelance consultant requires you to have experience, expertise or skills in one or more fields - preferably something you are good at and enjoy doing.

Unfortunately, great skills and experience alone are not enough to get work online - you have to go out and market yourself. I strongly recommend setting up a professional blog or website that you can use to both drive traffic via great content, and direct potential clients to get more information about you and your services. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is properly filled out as this arguably the best social network to find jobs, career and business opportunities.

Once you are established as a freelancer it becomes a lot easier to turn regular gigs into a proper business. Check out how to turn a freelance writing job into a home business.

6.5. Information Expert

We live in the information age. Information is vital to our entire civilization. Fortunately, information is also uniquely suited to the online medium. This opens up a whole swathe of potential work from home jobs that deal with information in one way or another.

If you have any type of industry, niche or work skill and experience then there are probably several possible work from home jobs that are perfect for you at any given moment. So long as the job predominantly revolves around information, it is likely a suitable candidate as a home based job. Here are just some of the information related work at home jobs you might consider:

  • Blogger
  • Author
  • Editor
  • Programmer
  • Web designer
  • Researcher
  • Translator
  • Artist
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Data entry
  • Forum moderator
  • Analyst
  • Proof reader

Not only that, but there are plenty of social networks, blogs, forums, websites and communities that cater for people looking for telecommute or work from home jobs. A quick search on Google will turn up plenty of results.

6.6. News Columnist

There are many media blogs and websites out there that pay for great content. Since Google's Panda and Penguin updates, high quality, original content is at a premium. There are opportunities to write in almost any topic (for some very prestigious publications), so you are sure to find someone who needs content on subjects you know something about.

Start by looking at popular sites that cover topics on which you have some experience.

6.7. Forum Moderator

Many large web based businesses require forum moderation services. Often their requirements can be quite particular, and this means that they are prepared to pay well for the right people.

Forum moderation is a great candidate for home based work because Web companies often need to be online 24x7. This means they need remote workers in most time-zones. It's also a great way to get to know a community and get known by a community. This brings great opportunity to grow your own blog by offering advice and information based on what you learn from work.

6.8. Baby Boomer Tech Consultant

Baby boomers are coming online and starting to adopt new technologies at a faster and faster rate. Many of them would value an online coach, consultant, or trainer to help save them time and effort learning how to make use of new technology and tools.

Set up online training for baby boomers using free communication and social media tools, like Google+ hangouts.

Offer paid courses and classes to help them make the most out of new technology for their own startups (many boomers are starting home based ventures to earn extra income).

6.9. Pay Per Performance Internet Marketer

If you already have online marketing skills and knowledge (SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, etc), then put that to good use by helping other companies to grow their Web traffic and increase sales online. It's important to work with companies that are already established as you will be able to make decent profits by increasing conversion rates, and leveraging existing traffic to meet new revenue targets, and get paid.

Pay-per-performance marketing is pretty high risk when dealing with startups or very small companies. Your ideal client is someone who is already driving traffic but not reaching their profit targets - and there are plenty of those to go around.

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Check out our top 3 reasons why there's never been a better time to set up an online business than right now.

If you've got an idea that you think will succeed but are hesitating because you are worried about failing and losing money, then get ready to be inspired to start today - right now even.

Sure, the economy is not great, but there are signs of growth, and successful people didn't get that way by sitting around waiting for the economy to improve.

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