6 Ways to Make Money Online
Do you want to start your own business? Are you looking to make some extra cash on the side?
Whatever your reason for wanting to make money online, I'm here to help. Everyone should start a business at least once, so let me share six ways you can make money online.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
The following ways to make some extra cash are listed in order of easiest to hardest. However, just because something is easier doesn't mean it'll make you the most money.
Watch on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/plokgH7jNI0
1: Become a Trader
Time Involved: Varies
Possible Profits: Varies
One of the easiest ways to make money is to buy something at one price and sell it later at a higher price.
Sometimes the products go up in value, sometimes you get a good deal from someone who either doesn't know the value of what they have, or they're just ready to get rid of it. Either way, you make money when you can sell something for more money than you paid for it.
Traditionally this was done offline. You could buy and sell baseball cards, pick your way through garage sales, or sell stuff your parents didn't want any more.
Today, however, there's a much more sophisticated option that's based on the same principle: Fulfillment by Amazon.
The basics of Fulfillment by Amazon is that you buy products locally and sell them via Amazon's online store. You can also create your own products as I did with Exit Strategy, but that takes a lot more time and effort. Essentially, you can buy items at closeout sales and off the discount rack, ship them to Amazon, and have them take it from there.
For more information about Fulfillment by Amazon, click here.
While becoming a trader is simple, it's not as easy as it sounds. One of my friends who tried this strategy spent a lot of time driving around town to find and pick up deals. He also spent a lot of money on gas. Just be aware of what you're getting for what you're doing.
2: Do “Gigs”
Time Involved: Low-Medium
Possible Profits: Low-High
Some people have said we now live in a “gig economy.” There's even a show on YouTube about it. But doing gigs is a great way to make money online.
“Gigs” are like extremely short contracts. Someone needs something done, usually, something quick and clearly defined, and they're willing to pay money to have it done.
While companies like Fiverr seem to have driven the cost of a gig to about five bucks, ie “a fiver,” by offering add-ons and upgrades, you can increase the value of every customer and make decent money. If Fiverr isn't your style, take a look at Upwork.
You could also build a quick website to showcase your talents and offer your skills and training in the form of gigs. Many of my clients make several thousands of dollars each month by doing contract work building sales funnels and websites and offering copywriting services.
3: Write Articles for 3rd Parties
Time Involved: Medium-High
Possible Profits: Low-Medium
While I'm much more of an advocate for creating content on your own website, writing articles for other sites is a great way to make money online. Although most sites won't pay you for your work, some do.
However, don't avoid non-paying sites just because you're looking for a quick buck. Kimanzi Constable has been able to build a massively successful speaking, coaching, course-creating, and corporate consulting career (see tip #6) as a result of writing for large publications.
And, if you're looking to make the big bucks online by selling your time and attention, writing articles for third-party websites is a great way to gain publicity, attract the right kind of attention, and build a brand around your message.
Side note: I get pitched at least twice a week by people who want to guest post on my site or have their content featured here. I'm ALWAYS skeptical when those people don't have a website of their own. If 100% of your content is on sites you don't own, and therefore you don't have a home base to send interested traffic to, then what's the point? If you need help building a website that will be a good face for your brand, click here to learn more about my course, 8 Weeks to Exit.
4: Make Affiliate Referrals
Time Involved: Low, but extremely high
Possible Profits: Low-High
The undisputed king of affiliate marketing is Pat Flynn. Pat makes over $50,000 a month in commissions paid out by his affiliate partners. And making affiliate referrals is an awesome way to make money online.
However, there's a catch. To make a lot of money from affiliate marketing, your audience has to trust you. One thing I learned after being on the Smart Passive Income Podcast (session 239) is that the level of trust between Pat and his audience is higher than just about any other audience I've come across. The catch to affiliate marketing is that while it's easy, it's hard to build the kind of trust that will make you a lot of money.
Second, create content around the products you're wanting to recommend. Document the buying process. Test each product and show people how to use it. Talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so people know enough about the product or service to make a confident and educated buying decision.
You can see the tools I use and recommend on my resources page here. Also on that page, you'll see my affiliate disclaimer – that I only recommend products I use and enjoy; nothing else.
Trust is one of the hardest things to build online, and you don't want to squander it by recommending shitty products. If you want to make money with affiliate marketing, you'll have to build trust with your tribe.
5: Sell Digital Products
Time Involved: Medium-High
Possible Profits: Medium-High
My first taste of making money online was creating and selling digital products. The first product I created was a toolkit that walked people through the process of creating a personal brand. I made a few hundred bucks and I was hooked!
It's difficult to sell products online. Prospective buyers wonder if their identity is safe, if their payments are secure, and when (sometimes if) they'll get their products.
And those problems are all before the customer realizes you created the product!
To successfully sell digital products, your customer has to trust you, the results you're going to deliver, and the reason why you created the product. Customers can smell a money-grab and they won't buy from someone who's just out to make a buck.
You'll also need more trust than with any other way up to this point.
Becoming a trader requires almost no trust, as the customer places their trust in the marketplace, not you. Same with gigs, the customer trusts that if you screw them, the platform will have their backs and shut you down. With articles, the readers' trust is in the third-party site and in their vetting process which filters out incorrect information. Even when making an affiliate referral, the buyer's trust ultimately is in the person who created the product. If you're the one creating that product, digital or otherwise, all of that trust is placed in you.
If selling digital products is how you want to make money online, I've got two resources for you to check out.
First, read this post about the software that powers my business. These are the tools that allow me to make money from clients around the world while sitting in a coffee shop in Savage, Minnesota (not where I normally live). I've also listed several e-commerce tools I use, so check it out.
Second, if your plan is to build your website yourself, check out my e-commerce training course, 8 Weeks to Exit. I spend a significant amount of time teaching how to set everything up, and the included Q&A calls are a great way to make sure you get your awesome website set up right.
Digital products can include ebooks, audiobooks, courses, membership programs, music, access to information, recipes, templates, and all sorts of things. So, be sure to think outside the box!
6: Sell Your Time and Attention
Time Involved: High
Possible Profits: High
The most profitable way to make money online is to sell your time and attention. Most people do this through becoming a “coach.”
However, most coaches make no money because they've failed to build the level of trust required for someone to spend that kind of money with them. Most coaches can't coach for shit and have no right telling anyone else what to do. And, since they do little to prove that they know what they're talking about and to show they can deliver real results for their clients, they make no money.
I've been able to make a pretty solid living by offering 1×1 business coaching to entrepreneurs, but I also give 98% of my information and content away for free. Between blog posts like this one, my podcast, and my book, I give away most of what I know.
When people want more information, help with a specific solution, or more time with me than what they'd get from reading, watching, or listening to me online, they hire me to coach them. When they do, they get a LOT more of my time and attention.
That, in a nutshell, is how coaching works. We live in a world where information is everywhere and we can get answers to most of our problems with ease. When we need someone to spend more time with us and give us more attention than Google or WebMD will provide, we pay someone for it.
Being a coach is extremely rewarding. Seeing my clients achieve their goals is one of the coolest, most satisfying things I've done. It's a dopamine rush for sure.
But it's a lot of work to be a good coach, and it's a lot of responsibility. When you give someone advice or help them make changes in their life, there's a weight to that and prospective coaches shouldn't take that role lightly.
And those are 6 ways to make money online that you can start working on or working toward today! My suggestion is to come up with a 3, 6, and 9-month plan, and a 1 and 5-year goal. By beginning with the end in mind, you can map out your steps, incorporate many of the strategies outlined above into your daily activities, and track your progress.
But I know there are more ways to make money online. How do you do it?