So, where are we supposed to turn to make money the legitimate way online? This isn't just about generating passive income; this is also about finding ways and means to create an active income through the conveniences afforded to us by the internet that will not only help us with our debt obligations, but also empower us to save, invest and get really rich in the future.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
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.
Do you constantly come up with witty one-liners? Do you dream of the days of Mad Men-style advertising? If you’ve got some branding chops or just come up with imaginative copy, there are lots of opportunities to make money online through company naming and slogan contests. If you think you have a knack for names check out the Squadhelp platform where you can earn a little extra money online by naming brands, services, products, company slogans and even help out on the logo design front if you've got the chops.
Another great option is Acorns and my experience is that Acorns can make anyone an investor. It helps you start saving by rounding up your purchases on the debit or credit card of your choice. Then, every time you hit $5 in savings, Acorns invests your money in ETFs. Mighty convenient. Acorns cost $1, $2, or $3 per month depending on the plan you choose – making it a cheap option for young investors. Here’s our review of Acorns.
When one of your customers makes a purchase, you purchase the product from a third-party company (the drop shipper, usually a manufacturer or wholesaler) for a lower price. This process is as simple as forwarding the order from your customer, a process that can actually be completely automated. (Remember you don't have any risk here of buying inventory because the sale has already been made).
As merchants switch their sales to e-commerce, online marketplaces for handmade goods, like Etsy and ArtFire, make it extremely easy for artisans who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade products, such as crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. If you have a unique craft, this is a good way to earn income while you're at home, doing what you love.
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.
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
Are you a professional in a field that can help answer questions for people looking for your expertise? Websites like JustAnswer and LivePerson match you up with people looking for answers to technical or professional questions. You can make money online by simply answering these questions and providing the right information to people based on their individualistic circumstances.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Be professional. When you submit a résumé, don’t type it in ALL CAPS and please don’t avoid the caps lock like the plague. Know how to use it without looking incompetent. Write in complete sentences with proper grammar. Of course, there will be exceptions, but even with the exceptions, you must keep it professional. You’re building their view of you.