Knowing how to earn money online means you can generate income without being tied to an office. This gives you the flexibility to work where and when you want, and as much or as little as you want. You can experiment with multiple different hustles, and potentially land on a million-dollar idea.
So whether you’re tired of working for the man and want to escape the rat race, or you just need a quick cash injection to supplement your income; making money online might hold the answer. There are many different strategies for earning money online though, and the best one for you will depend on your precise goals, free time, and more.
Read also: The top online jobs you can work in 2020
In this post, we will explore how to earn money online, discussing both the bigger picture with broad strategies and some specific tips that will help to ensure your success.
Earn money online: the top strategies
Working online is very different from making a quick buck online. Likewise, providing services is very different from generating passive income. As with “regular” work, there is an endless selection of different options when you start to earn money online.
Fortunately, these can be categorized in a relatively straightforward manner.
Work from home jobs
Perhaps the simplest way to earn money online is to find a job that will let you work from home. If your main interest is in being able to earn money from the comfort of your own four walls (or perhaps from a coffee shop in Paris), then this can provide stability and predictability while still freeing you up to work remotely.
These days, more and more businesses allow their employees to work from home. In fact, even if this is not an official policy where you work, you might find that your boss is open to the idea, as long as you can demonstrate that it won’t negatively impact on your productivity or your performance.
Of course, this method of working online won’t afford you the same freedom, sense of accomplishment, or ownership that you get from the other options on this list, however.
How to find work from home jobs
Try speaking with your manager. Even if you can’t work online full-time, they may be more open to the idea of you staying at home at least a couple of days of the week. Of course, the nature of your work may limit your potential for working from home; if you work with specialist tools, speak directly with customers and clients, or need to answer a switchboard.
If that doesn’t work, the next best option is simply to browse through job-listing sites as you normally would.
Selling services online
Another way to earn money online is to sell some kind of service, either directly to consumers, or to businesses.
You get to set your own rates, choose the type of work you take on, and pick the hours that suit you best.
Selling services is the method I’ve used to work online for the past 10 years. This offers a lot more flexibility than working for a single employer, as it gives you the option to take on as much or as little work as you like. You get to set your own rates, choose the type of work you take on, and pick the hours that suit you best. Selling services online can become a full-time career (as it has in my case), or it can be a useful way to supplement your income/gain a quick cash injection.
The downside is that working as a freelancer can be a little less stable than entering full-time employment. You’ll be responsible for ensuring that you have a steady stream of clients, and you’ll need to manage your time and money to account for sudden increases and decreases in that work. Working as a contractor (taking on long-term projects and positions within organizations) is one solution, but this once again represents a trade-off in terms of your freedom and flexibility.
What to sell
In order to provide a service online, you’ll need a marketable skill that doesn’t require you to be physically present. Some of the most popular options include:
Business to business (B2B)
- Web design
- Data entry
- Internet marketing/Search engine optimization
- Graphic design
- 3D modelling
- Digital art
- Music composition
- Video editing
- Cyber security
Business to consumer (B2C)
- Career advice
- Personal training
- Legal advice
- Holiday planning
- Wedding florist
Some of these services will require certification or experience, while others will require no formal training.
How to sell your services online
To earn money online by selling services, you’ll simply need to find a place to market your skills. Good examples include freelancing sites such as UpWork, or Fiverr. Alternatively, you can advertise on forums (especially “webmaster forums” such as Warrior Forum), or you can contact businesses directly.
If you’re willing to share some of your profits in exchange for an easy life, you could contact an agency and let them supply the work.
Once you have found a system that works for you, you’ll need to set your price and begin accepting orders and payments. The “standard” way to receive payments online is through PayPal, but there are other options available too.
Either way, you are now a member of the gig economy, congratulations!
Starting a small business
If you are a freelancer who sells any kind of online service, then you already own a business: you are probably a sole-trader or a sole-proprietor. But if you want to set up a “business business” – one that sells a product, or perhaps a more complex service with multiple employees – then you need to take a slightly different route. That said, there is still no reason you can’t run a complex and multi-faceted business entirely online.
First, you will likely need some cash in order to get your idea up and running. There are lots of ways to do this, which range from speaking with your bank, to launching a Kickstarter campaign.
Before you start though, you also need to spend some time ironing out the details. That means coming up with projections and overheads so that you can decide how much you need. It means creating a more precise business model, and it probably means creating a prototype of your idea. The latter is possible either by working with a manufacturer (you’ll need a bill of materials and some other documents) or by using a 3D printer.
One final tip is to make sure you “validate” your business idea before you go ahead. This means testing that the idea has merit before you invest lots of time and money in it. You can do this by conducting surveys and market research, but better yet is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) or service, and then to start selling it to a limited market.
Becoming a content creator/influencer
One of the best gigs of all these days is to become a content creator, or an “influencer.” This essentially means you are someone who earns money from blogging, vlogging, streaming, or even posting content to social media sites like Instagram.
The aim is to create a personal brand to build authority and trust. Eventually, people start coming back to your pages because they want to hear more of what you have to say. With that influence then comes a range of possibilities in terms of how you want to earn money online: you can create sponsored posts that are paid for by brands, you can share ads on your content, or you can offer something of your own to sell, whether that is an ebook, an online course, or branded t-shirts!
How influencers make money
Becoming an influencer takes a lot of time and effort, and there is no guarantee of success. The going rate for sponsored posts is around $10-$100 for every 1,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1/10th of that on Instagram (check YouTube Channel Calculator for an estimate).
The going rate for sponsored posts is around $10-$100 for every 1,000 subscribers.
The most common way to earn money from advertising is through a platform called Google AdSense. This displays adverts on your site which then pay out for each unique “click.” On average, this results in a Cost Per Mile (CPM) of $1-$1.5. This means you will earn $1-$1.5 for every 1,000 webpage views.
As for selling a product, “conversion rates” typically hover at around 0.5-1% for things like eBooks. So if you earn $20 per sale, you’d need to get to 1,500 unique views per day just to earn that $20 daily.
It can take years to reach the kinds of numbers necessary to make serious money online then. But eventually, this has the potential to earn a gigantic passive income where you get paid for doing what you love.
The key is to be consistent, to focus on the small steps you need to take every day to get to your goal, and to offer some genuine value with a unique point of view and something to say.
Passive income/side hustles
There are countless additional ways to earn money online. Setting up a small money-making scheme is what is referred to as a “side hustle” and it can be a perfect way to supplement your income.
The very best side hustles generate what’s called “passive income.” This means that they earn money even as you are sleeping, allowing you to escape the trap of exchanging time for money. Of course, you do need to invest some time up-front in order to get everything set up!
Side hustles that can earn you some passive income include:
- Selling online courses through sites like Udemy
- Selling stock footage and photography
- Selling a Kindle book
- Selling a mobile app
Side hustles that will require a bit of your time, include:
- Becoming a reseller (buying and selling products)
Top tips for earning money online
While there are a lot of different strategies for earning money online, there are also some universal truths and tips that will be applicable to a wide range of different situations.
Here are just a few to help you get started.
A lot of people who want to make money online find themselves getting anxious as they get close to launching their business venture. Before you start accepting orders/clients, your business idea can’t go wrong: you can always dream about the successful launch of your business and how it’s going to change your life.
But the moment you actually launch your business, you are vulnerable. Reality can all come crashing down around you rather fast. And so it’s perhaps no surprise that people will often delay the inevitable as long as possible – finding every reason imaginable to wait a bit longer before they go live (the website needs updating, they need to choose a name, they want to conduct more market research..).
The longer you delay, the more catastrophic it will be if your business isn’t a huge success right away. Conversely, as soon as you go live, you’ll be able to start refining your business and improving your model. So get out there ASAP!
You don’t need to choose
Not sure if you want to be an influencer, sell a product, or run side hustles? The good news is that you don’t need to choose. In fact, combining methods of making money online is a great strategy for building a more financially resilient lifestyle and it will help you to avoid boredom and repetition in your work.
For instance, you could spend your mornings writing for freelance clients, and your afternoons building a website or blog. Meanwhile, you could be making side income from online courses and stock photography! The more of these revenue streams you set up, the bigger your profits!
Likewise, knowing how to earn money online gives you the freedom to create the lifestyle that you want. Why go to all the trouble of setting up online businesses and gigs, only to then work 9-5? Think outside the box a little!
For example, you could work longer Tuesday-Friday and take Mondays off entirely. Or how about finding ways to reduce your outgoings, and then reducing the amount of time you work accordingly?
This is called Lifestyle Design. It’s an entire “thing” so stay tuned and we’ll tackle the topic in future.
Do something you love
I liken being successful in making money online to being successful getting into shape. Both these goals require consistent effort and grind. The reason not everyone is generating passive income, is simply that they don’t have the faith in their idea, or the self-discipline to spend years writing a blog that no one reads!
When you truly love what you do, you’ll be happy to grind away at your business.
The answer is to make sure you are writing about something you love. Not only does this ensure that the quality of your content will be better (people can tell), but it also means you won’t get bored of your day-job, even when you don’t see immediate progress.
The same thing goes for launching a product, or selling a service. Don’t just love the end goal: love the work itself – to the point that you would gladly do it for free!
When you truly love what you do, you’ll be happy to grind away at your business. And that is what ultimately leads to success.