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12 Ways to Make Money Online

Janet Berry-Johnson • May 29, 2024

Multiple dollar signs of different shapes and designs.

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The internet isn’t just for sharing memes and catching up on celebrity gossip. It also offers money-making opportunities, whether you want to replace your 9-to-5 or supplement your income with a side hustle.

But before you put in a lot of effort or enter your personal information into a platform, you should know there are many scams that promise fast money-making online. Here’s what you need to know about making a legit online income.

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Is making money online possible?

Today, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Millions of people make money online every day by leveraging their unique skill sets or selling products online.

While earning online income isn’t necessarily a ticket to a life of leisure, the upfront investment is often minimal. Building a steady income stream with effort, skill, and creativity is possible.

How fast can you earn money online?

If you’re hoping to trade the daily grind for an early retirement, you should know that earning money online isn’t a fast and easy path to riches. While it can be profitable, be wary of anyone promising a shortcut to financial freedom.

The speed at which you can earn money online depends on the type of work you do. If you have marketable skills and a strong profile, you might be able to land your first gig or make your first sale within days. However, building a steady customer base and mastering the art of negotiation might take weeks or months.

Unfortunately, many online scams prey on people’s desire for quick cash. These scams often masquerade as high-return investments, passive income opportunities, or remote job offers, luring people in with too-good-to-be-true promises.

As with any financial endeavor, thorough research will help you avoid scams and focus on building sustainable, legitimate income streams. Always avoid pressure to act quickly – this is a sure sign of a scam.

12 ways to make money online

If you’re ready to explore the possible ways to earn money online, here’s a list of 12 popular online money-making ventures.

1. Establish an e-commerce website

Establishing an e-commerce website is like opening a digital storefront. You can sell anything from handmade crafts to digital products or even flip thrift store finds for a profit.

Once you decide what you want to sell, select an e-commerce platform that meets your needs. Then, invest time writing product descriptions, taking photos, and marketing your store on social media to attract potential buyers.

2. Acquire proficiency in utilizing AI tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) opened up new opportunities to earn money online for people who can use it to generate content, analyze data, edit images, or deliver other services.

To get started, choose an AI tool or platform that aligns with your interests and take online courses or watch tutorials to build your knowledge base. Start by offering basic services to build your experience and portfolio, then expand your offerings as you gain confidence.

3. Launch a YouTube channel

A YouTube channel is an exciting way to share your passion, creativity, and expertise with a worldwide audience while earning income. YouTubers can earn money from ad revenue, brand sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.

Making money on YouTube isn’t necessarily fast or easy. To earn money from ads, you have to join the YouTube Partner Program, which requires 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000+ public watch hours within the past year or 10 million public Shorts views in the last 90 days.

To start growing your audience, create engaging, high-quality content that resonates with viewers and encourages them to subscribe. You’ll need to invest in essential tools like a microphone and basic video editing software and research how to optimize titles, descriptions, and tags to improve searchability.

Building an audience takes time, so stay consistent, engage your audience in the comments, and learn from feedback to turn your channel into a reliable income source.

4. Start a dropshipping enterprise

“Dropshipping” is a retail fulfillment method where you, as the seller, don’t stock the products you sell. Instead, you partner with a supplier who handles storing, packing, and shipping products directly to customers.

To get started, look for a high-demand product niche and research potential suppliers. Then, create an e-commerce website and customize it with clear product descriptions and high-quality images to build trust and attract buyers.

Marketing is essential for driving traffic to your store, so leverage social media, paid ads, and email marketing to reach your target customers.

5. Author and monetize blog posts

Starting a blog is a fun way to share your interests and insights while earning money from ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, or digital products like e-books or online courses.

One way to make money blogging is to add Google AdSense ads to your blog posts. AdSense is free to join. You just place ad spaces on your website, and Google fills those spaces with ads that are relevant to your blog. You earn money when readers view or click those ads.

Choose a subject you’re passionate about and have expertise in, such as travel, personal finance, health, or technology, and set up a blog using a user-friendly platform. Create high-quality, consistent content and familiarize yourself with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to attract readers.

6. Pursue freelance opportunities online

Freelancing online is a flexible way to monetize skills like freelance writing, graphic design, programming, or digital marketing.

Identify your core skills and niche, and create a solid online portfolio showcasing your best work and communicating your skills and experience. Once you land a client, work to meet your deadlines and consistently deliver high-quality work to build a reputation as a reliable freelancer and get more projects in the future.

7. Participate in online surveys

Companies use online surveys for market research, and participating in these surveys offers a simple way to earn extra cash by sharing your opinions on various products and services.

Register on a survey platform and fill out a profile questionnaire to help the platform match you with surveys that align with your demographic. After joining, you’ll receive invitations to participate in surveys. Some platforms offer additional earning opportunities for activities like watching videos, testing products, or completing offers.

Survey income is usually modest, but it’s an easy way to earn extra cash in your spare time.

In addition to taking surveys, discover other jobs that pay instantly.

8. Engage in affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services.

To make money with affiliate marketing, you need an established audience: blog or newsletter readers, YouTube subscribers, or social media followers. If you already have an audience, look for affiliate programs that align with your content. You can find affiliate programs on an affiliate platform or by searching for the name of a brand you like and the words “affiliate program.”

You typically need to apply for the affiliate program. Once approved, you’ll get a unique affiliate link to share with your audience. When someone uses your link to make a purchase, you get a commission.

9. Become a social media influencer

Becoming a social media influencer involves building a following and leveraging your audience to promote brands and products. Influencers earn money through sponsorships, affiliate marketing, product sales, and ad revenue.

Being an influencer might seem like easy money. But make no mistake: gaining a follower base, creating engaging posts, stories, and videos, and connecting with followers takes time and effort.

However, influencers who build a reputation for authenticity and quality content can turn their social media presence into a lucrative business.

10. Develop and offer online courses

Do you have expertise that other people want to learn? If so, consider developing an online course.

Several online education platforms offer tools to help you create and market your course and process payments.

Course creation involves a lot of upfront time planning content, breaking it into modules or sessions, and creating and uploading videos and other resources. However, selling an online course allows you to do the work once and get paid for it over and over again.

11. Provide dog walking services

If you love animals, consider offering dog walking or pet sitting services. This is a fun way to make extra income while exercising and enjoying the outdoors.

To get started, sign up with a platform like Rover or Wag. These platforms serve as intermediaries to connect dog walkers and pet sitters with pet owners. Setting up a profile involves providing details about your experience with animals, your availability, and your rates.

Build a reputation for reliability and care; positive customer reviews will lead to more frequent bookings.

12. Build websites

If you know how to design and develop websites, you can offer your services to help other business owners create, maintain, and update their websites.

Create a portfolio website to showcase your work and start taking on small projects for local businesses, friends, or non-profit organizations to gain real-world experience.

Communication and project management skills are crucial, as you’ll need to manage client expectations and deliver projects on time.

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How to maximize your online earnings

Once you choose an online money-making venture, you’ll want to maximize your time and resources. Here are some key strategies to boost your online income:

  • Follow your passion. Focus on opportunities that genuinely interest you. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Watch out for scams. Conduct thorough research before diving into any new opportunity. Avoid schemes that promise fast money with minimal effort. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Promote yourself. Harness the power of social media, networking, and digital marketing to increase visibility. A strong personal brand will help you attract more clients or customers. Create and maintain profiles on LinkedIn and whatever platforms are relevant to your industry.
  • Diversify your income streams. Don’t rely on a single source of income; explore multiple opportunities to spread your risk.
  • Invest in upskilling. Stay on top of industry trends and invest time in learning new skills. The more versatile you are, the more marketable you’ll be to potential clients or customers.
  • Prioritize customer satisfaction. Delivering stellar service can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Happy customers are your best marketing tool.

Carve out a profitable niche to make money online

Whether you pick up some freelancing gigs, turn your social media addiction into affiliate income, or create and sell online courses, remember to watch out for scams and maximize your potential through effective self-promotion, continuous learning, and a customer-centric approach.

With patience and effort, you can carve out a profitable niche and turn your internet connection into a tool for financial freedom.

Want to learn more about paying taxes on the money you earn online? Check out our guide on how to file taxes as an independent contractor.

FAQs about how to make money online

How can I make $100 a day on the web?

To consistently make $100 a day online, focus on scalable activities like freelancing, e-commerce, or digital content creation. Start by offering in-demand services on freelancing platforms or selling niche products on an e-commerce website.

How can I make money with zero investment?

Plenty of online opportunities require little to no financial investment upfront. Consider freelancing, where you only need a skill and an internet connection. Many freelancing platforms allow you to start earning with just a profile setup. Online surveys are another option with no upfront costs, but the earning potential is low.

How can I make legitimate money online?

The best way to ensure you’re earning legitimate money online is to engage in established and proven methods. Stick to recognized platforms and businesses and avoid schemes that promise unrealistic returns.

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