The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you purchase a product using my one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep things like my 25,000 word ultimate guide to starting a blog free of charge to you. Know that I also only recommend products I personally stand behind.

What will also help your earning potential is to specialize in one style of writing, and maybe even one particular subject. You see, writing on the same subject for hundreds of hours each year makes you an expert on it. To paraphrase Cal Newport, “…you’ll build up a lot of career capital through deliberate practice.” It’s how you become so good that clients can’t ignore you.
However, if you do understand the mechanics of paid advertising, then you could easily launch an ad management business. Considering that ads are fueling the growth of tech giants like Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube, with loads of others coming into the mix, understanding and navigating the murky waters of paid advertising could poise you to reap massive riches. 

You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.


Hey Tammy, that’s really a question every writer has to answer for themselves. For me, the most important thing is consistency. I am better at writing long pieces if I do a little bit every day. Like, half an hour. If you have more time, you can do more, of course. But the important thing is to work continually. Aside from that, there are many blog posts and books on this topic. I suggest you start there.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be an easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not. 
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.

Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.


By building an extensive following, this will allow you to gain profit by attracting key advertisers or get commissions by promoting other brand products (think affiliate). Blogging is big business; just ask Heather from Dooce.com. She’s a mom that blogs daily about her children and pets and has successfully turned her daily adventures into a very lucrative business by simply making money blogging. One of my favourite ways to make money from a blog is by creating your own online course.
Work as an online interpreter or translator. If you’re fluent in a foreign language, it makes sense to look for work as an online interpreter or translator. Depending on your individual skillset, you could find work translating blog posts or eBooks, transcribing recorded lessons or speeches for clients, or translating through Skype or another online video service. And, thanks to the increased use of foreign languages in the United States, getting started could really pay off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for interpreters and translators is expected to increase 17% nationally through 2026.

Become a proofreader. All kinds of businesses hire professional proofreaders to look over their copy and content for errors before they publish. This side hustle is one that could work for nearly anyone since you can work from home provided you have a computer and an internet connection. You can find online proofreading jobs through websites like Indeed.com and FlexJobs.com
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.

Open an Etsy store. If you have a creative talent or skill – whether it’s creating art, sewing clothes, or making keepsakes – you can open an online store on Etsy.com and sell your wares for some quick cash. With your own Etsy store, you’re left in charge of pricing and, ultimately, how much you make. See our detailed primer, “How to Make Money on Etsy.”
By building an extensive following, this will allow you to gain profit by attracting key advertisers or get commissions by promoting other brand products (think affiliate). Blogging is big business; just ask Heather from Dooce.com. She’s a mom that blogs daily about her children and pets and has successfully turned her daily adventures into a very lucrative business by simply making money blogging. One of my favourite ways to make money from a blog is by creating your own online course.
If you’re a website or blog owner, you can sell a portion of your page space to advertisers and earn money passively each time the ads are clicked on by your target audience or visitors to your website. While the actual placing of the ads is completely free, the earning capacity of cost-per-click (CPC) advertising is based on the level of traffic to your site and the cost per click and click-through rate, or CTR. The most popular way to earn money today through advertising clicks is through Google AdSense or similar advertisers.
If you have “extra” money sitting around or want to get serious about building wealth for later in life, consider investing it in the stock market with Ally Bank (whose investing branch is included on our list of best investment apps). If you don’t have immediate debts and aren’t currently living paycheck to paycheck, investing can be a powerful tool for generating passive returns.
The other option is to offer white label SEO services to web design agencies. What this means is they handle the web development side of things, and you take care of the search engine optimization work. The perk of this approach is you never have to deal with their clients. Most SEO consultants start here  because all the client-finding work is already done. That leaves them to do what they’re best at – ranking sites in Google.
If you hate the idea of writing you can always outsource that work to somebody else. But writing great content for an affiliate site really isn’t that difficult. It just takes a bit of practice, and once you see those first commission checks you’ll be up writing articles for your site before work, during your lunch break, and when you should be sound asleep in bed.

Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Clarity.fm and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.


If you’ve got some free time and don’t live in the middle of nowhere, becoming a Lyft driver can be a very lucrative side hustle. And right now, they’ve got a promotion going on where any new driver can earn up to a $1,000 bonus after completing their 125th ride. If you start now and hustle hard on the weekends, you can probably unlock that bonus within a few weeks of driving (the bonus is cleared on top of your normal earnings).
Sell plasma. After passing an initial screening, you can usually sell your plasma for anywhere from $25 to $50 per donation. To qualify, you’ll have to stand in a long line or show up early, be willing to fill out a very personal questionnaire, and endure a painful needle prick or two. Still, selling plasma is a great way to raise money fast – if you can stand the hassle.
Ebates: This app offers a simple way to make money online by buying whatever you're already buying and then getting a cash-back reward. With eBates, there is no scanning receipts. Simply click a link in the app and buy it from the store. You'll automatically be credited with your cash rewards upon purchase along with receiving an email confirmation.  
These ways of making extra money cover a wide range in terms of compensation and prestige. Check out the options to see what could work for you, keeping tabs on a projected per-hour rate so you can see what would be worth your time. The list is loosely arranged by 1. jobs requiring more skill or expertise, 2. gigs needing less and 3. things you can sell. And if you think of any good options I missed, please let me know in the comments.
6. IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow you Twitter following.  Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).
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