Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent.
You don’t have to start your own online business from scratch. Instead, you can build one (very quickly) by helping out people who already have a successful business. Every service business has a long list of past clients they’re most likely not doing a good job of keeping up with—but their neglect is your opportunity. It’s up to 5x more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. By helping businesses follow-up and bring back their old customers, you’re saving them money (and making your own!). A follow-up business like this can be as simple as a series of emails you write for a client to help them bring back old customers (check out this step-by-step guide for videos and example pitches). All you need is some writing skills, time to research and craft an effective outreach campaign to prospects in a profitable niche.
Photo Editor/Web Editor. Photo and Web editors create or edit visuals that appear on websites and other digital media, such as white papers and corporate reports. This line of work is a great way to exercise your visual skills and become more familiar with layout and editing programs such as Quark, WordPress, and Photoshop. These gigs often require basic to intermediate coding skills, so they’re great for freelancers who want to expand their expertise beyond the written word.
One such writer, Holly Johnson from ClubThrifty, makes over $200,000 per year from her freelance work. She too has a course that teaches others how to do the same. Expect to spend some money upfront in learning how to hone your writing skills and pitch clients. But in as little as a few days, you’ll be able to quickly generate positive cash flow as you build your resume of clients.
YouTube Partner Program. The YouTube Partner program empowers YouTube channel operators to monetize certain types of videos. Finding paying advertisers is hard work, and you need a sizable following before you can find companies willing to pay for direct or indirect promotion. Plus, your videos must meet YouTube’s monetization criteria, which ban explicit or copied content. Pay potential is directly proportional to the size of your channel following and, to a lesser extent, audience demographics.
Now, it’s time to start creating and uploading content. Make sure you’re using a high-enough quality camera (most smartphones will work but I’d suggest at least having a tripod so your footage isn’t shaky), but don’t worry about being perfect at first. The beauty of YouTube is that you can continue to test out different content and styles as you find what works for you. Instead, stick to a regular schedule to build up your subscriber base.
Then, if my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What’s more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Billshark: This service specializes in negotiating common monthly bills. While they don’t claim to be perfect, Billshark says that they have an 85% success rate negotiating bills for cable and satellite TV, cell phones, internet, satellite radio, and home security. Pricing is simple: whatever they are able to save you via negotiation, they take a 40% cut. If they can’t lower your bills, you don’t pay them. Billshark Review
You won’t make a ton of money fast, but that doesn’t make Digit any less of an awesome app. Digit’s purpose is simple: the app analyzes your spending and automatically saves the perfect amount every day, so you don’t have to think about it. From the site, “Share what you’re saving for and Digit does the rest. It can budget for your next vacation, pay off credit cards, or put money away for a rainy day.”
But don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you’re on call whenever you have a guest and you’ll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens’, Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local’s only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
Like the idea of getting paid to write? There are hundreds of thousands of immediate-hire job openings available nationwide for writers who specialize in certain topics. Take advantage of niche-specific bloggers, small business owners, and big brands that are willing to shell out serious cash for high-quality freelance writers. They do this because it’s often cheaper to hire high-rate per project writers than it is to employ a staff member full time with benefits.
Jumping into the field is relatively simple. Most prospective transcriptionists start by taking an online transcription course that teaches them the skills necessary to perform common job duties. Companies, such as Transcribe Anywhere, offer classes that teach students the basics of general, medical, or legal transcription, and just as importantly, how they can go about finding clients for work.
Medical transcription is semi-skilled work. While you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse, you do need to complete an intensive training course that can last a year or more and cost several thousand dollars. During periods of increased demand, some employers may be willing to finance your training course, or at least partially or fully reimburse you after the fact. Once you’re employed, you can expect to earn about $16 per hour on average, according to PayScale.
You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you’ll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites.
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.