This article was last updated on January 19, 2022
When Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard he went on to become one of roughly fifty billionaires created by the university. And he did so purely with a laptop, an internet connection and a great idea. For many people, the thought of working from home and using the tools Zuckerberg relied on to earn money online sounds like heaven. Regardless of how rich (or not) it’s likely to make them.
In reality, nothing is quite that simple. However, there’s no escaping the fact that we live in an age where the ability to make money without ever leaving the house is open to virtually anyone. But where do you start? If you’ve been wondering how to earn money online but don’t know which niche to work your way into or how to find people willing to pay for your brain power, read on!
Start a blog
Let’s get one thing straight: you probably won’t make much money from a blog. Go into such an endeavour with the above mind-set, however, and you stand a far greater chance of turning it into a mini business. The reason is simple: if you start a blog with the singular aim to make money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. If you instead do it out of immense passion for a particular subject, post consistently and build a following on social media, you’ll soon attract an audience that can eventually be monetised.
Auction on eBay
Whether or not eBay is partly responsible for the fact 44% of retail jobs are at risk from a ‘AI takeover’ is open to debate, but it remains a great way to make money online. What’s more, there’s a market for virtually everything; what’s your old, unwanted trinket could be the missing piece of the jigsaw for someone’s mantelpiece.
Rent a room on AirBnB
AirBnB has completely disrupted the hospitality sector. This isn’t the best news for hotels, but it’s great news for anyone who wants to make money online and who doesn’t mind giving up a space within their home to holidaymakers. It requires research and plenty of planning, but could be the ideal way to raise some extra household income – particularly if you have a spare bedroom that isn’t used.
Sell your photos online
iStock and Shutterstock offer great ways for amateur or professional photographers to sell their work online. You won’t make big bucks per image, but if you’re persistent and can regularly add from a library of well-taken and cleverly-composed images, you might just create a nice little passive revenue stream for yourself.
Drive for Uber
Never far from the headlines, Uber remains one of the most controversial tech firms of the digital era. Despite this, if you want to make some short-term cash and enjoy driving, it might be worth a go. Just remember to do your research and ensure long days behind the wheel ferrying strangers is something for which you have the stomach.
If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you’ll doubtless have spotted the ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ label on certain products. This indicates where Amazon has taken on the responsibility for picking, packing and shipping the order for a third party retailer. It’s another huge market and you’ll be fighting for attention, but if you have a nice range of products priced anywhere between $10 and $50, you could make a tidy penny.
No, really! Websites like JustAnswer do a fantastic job of connecting people with experts. If you have a wealth of knowledge in a certain area, you might just find a significant number of people who will happily pay for your advice.
Create video walk-throughs on YouTube
When you need to find out how to do something and your smartphone nearby, what do you do? Chances are, you’ll pick up a device, head to YouTube and consult the world’s largest directory of videos for the answer. The question of how to earn money online has been answered by YouTube for hundreds of thousands of its contributors. If you’re particularly skilled at a piece of software, video game, sport or hobby, why not film yourself delivering tutorials? You can break down whatever discipline it is and show how it’s done. The more subscribers you get over time, the more likely you are to be offered a share of ad revenue from YouTube. It’s a slow burn, but worth exploring if you have the time and skills.
Be a virtual assistant
The gigging economy is booming, and you could be a part of it. ‘Gigging’ principally refers to the ability for people to make money from performing specific tasks. If you’re a handy gardener, for example, someone might want to hire you for a weekend to sort out their front hedges. Or if you don’t mind playing secretary occasionally, certain businesses will look for such freelancers to share the load when things get busy. Equally, fellow freelancers may need a hand on a variety of tasks – and you could be their knight in shining armour.
Write for other websites
If you’ve started your blog and have failed to secure any form of passive income from it but enjoy the process of writing, there are other options. Certain websites will pay for articles if you’re up to the task. Businesses may also invest in your services if you’re capable of writing engaging, unique and well-researched blog posts. There’s money in words online – if you’re persistent and willing to continually improve your craft.
Create and sell an eBook
Consisting of roughly 3,000 or more words, eBooks are not quite full-blown books. Rather they are digestible documents for people to download and learn the specifics of a certain topic. If you’re an expert in a particular niche, creating an eBook and selling it is a great way to make money.
Develop an app
This requires technical skill. However, if you’re a budding developer, you can immerse yourself in the world of app development. The market has exploded since Apple introduced the App Store in 2008. Yet there’s still room for talented developers, and if you create a tool that benefits a particular audience, people will invest in it.
Sell your design services
99designs is a great commercial outlet for creatives. If you’re handy with the digital pen and love creating logos, why not put that skill to use and make some extra cash? You won’t make quite as much as you might when working directly with clients, but if you’re introduced to new people via a site like 90designs, who knows where that relationship might head?
Create a PeoplePerHour profile
Just like 99designs, PeoplePerHour is a website built for freelancers who are looking for a wider audience. For a relatively small commission, PeoplePerHour features access to a ready-made audience that’s looking for all manner of skills. Jobs can be quick ‘help me now’ affairs, or longer-term projects. However, by creating a profile on the site, you’ll at least put your skills in front of an audience that would otherwise take forever to build yourself.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is effective. Three-quarters of businesses that use email marketing agree it offers an “excellent to good” return on investment. There are few better, more direct ways to get it in front of lots of people than via email. Just avoid buying lists (grow them organically by creating a website and sign-up form first), and be patient. Email marketing – just like any form of organic online commerce – takes time.
Try a combination of the above!
How do you think Gordon Ramsay makes his money? It’s through TV work where he spends most of his time shouting at restaurant owners, isn’t it? Not quite. Mr Ramsay makes his money from TV shows, books, and his Michelin-starred restaurants. That’s quite a portfolio, but it’s working for him. And it could work for you, too; if more than one endeavour above has caught your eye, nothing is stopping you from trying them all out!
One of the greatest lessons learned in life by people who make money online is that it’s possible with the right mind-set. Remember – find your niche, be patient, believe in yourself and don’t be put off by big markets; there’s a space in the digital realm for all of us to make money online.