Many of us are looking for the ability to work ‘remotely’ i.e. from anywhere on earth with a computer and an internet connection. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about people making a living as a “digital nomad” and you’re curious as to how they do it. In this article we’ll discuss most of the ways entrepreneurs and others earn money working online, let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
- eCommerce WebStores, and Drop Shipping
- Affiliate marketing
- e-mail marketing
- Services, e-products, subscription services
- Blogs, YouTube, Social Media
- Remote Jobs
- Freelance work (Fiverr, upwork, etc)
- Web Development
- Content creation
- Agencies and outsourcing
Become an Entrepreneur
Perhaps the most common way people earn money online is through entrepreneurship. You can open a business, sell products, offer services that you specialize in, become a content creator, or build blogs and earn money from affiliate or e-mail marketing.
Before we get into further detail, as a disclaimer, becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business isn’t as easy as some make it out to be. If you want to go this route, know that you’ll likely have to put in a considerable amount of time and effort to succeed. Although there are exceptions to this and sometimes it can be quicker, easier, and less time-consuming than you’d imagine.
So why isn’t everyone an entrepreneur? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Firstly, not everyone wants to be one! There are many people who are happy doing other types of work which doesn’t involve being a business owner.
Moreover, some people might lack the confidence or knowledge it takes to be an entrepreneur or work online. Being a successful entrepreneur requires a certain skill set; which includes things like creativity, planning, research, and much more.
We do believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur and can cultivate the skills needed to succeed. We may not all be able to be a CEO or become a business mogul, but I believe everyone can cultivate the skills needed to start a small business.
Hopefully this article will be a good starting point for those looking to learn more and cultivate their inner entrepreneur.
eCommerce And Drop Shipping
Selling online is a potentially lucrative way to earn money without having to put up a lot of capital to get the business up and running. Just look at the success of Amazon, and you’ll understand the power of online shopping.
So how does it work?
There are two main avenues; sell your own product and merchandise, or drop ship merchandise from a supplier.
Most people understand the basic idea of selling your own products, as it’s a fairly intuitive process. Keep in mind that the idea is simple, but actually managing the business can come with a lot of moving parts to keep track of and oversee.
Is when you act a sort of “agent” or middle man between a manufacture/supplier and the customer. The essence of drop shipping is finding a good product and suppliers, then setting up a web store where customers can purchase those products. Your store will act as a gateway between the supplier and the customer, allowing you to net some profits.
The benefit of drop shipping is that you don’t have to stock any inventory or deal with moving your product- the supplier will handle that. This allows an individual to start a business without much money upfront, nevertheless there still are some costs to get things going.
Drop shippers will have to find a platform to build a web store, we recommend using Shopify, as it’s powerful, easy to use, and is bespoke built for online commerce and drop shipping. Shopify starts at around $29/month.
Beyond the cost of the web store you’ll have to pay for some advertising, which can vary, but we’ll say a good starting point would be $50-150/ month in advertising.
Beyond that some suppliers will request that you pre-purchase or do a minimum purchase of a certain item. This is one of the biggest risks of drop shipping. If you pre-purchase items and are unable to sell them, you’ll be at a loss.
How can you avoid this? Well, there are some suppliers that will allow you to send them orders one-by-one or in batches. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to negotiate with a supplier and ask them if they are willing to start off with a few orders as they come in.
Suppliers can be surprisingly flexible as they want to build good relationships. Why? Because, they want to sell their products, if they feel you could potentially be ordering thousands of units in the future, they’ll be willing to start off without any stipulations on pre-purchases or upfront costs.
The Nitty Gritty of Selling Online
Running an eCommerce or drop shipping store isn’t as easy as “set it and forget it”, it’s quite the opposite and often involves daily work. Here are some of the things you might expect if you decide to become an online merchant.
- Design and run a web store:
- Logos, branding, images, text, media
- Understand and manage inventory systems
- Market research
- Incorporating your business
- Payment gateways, refunds, etc…
- Dealing with customers and suppliers
- Craft and understand how to use advertisements and marketing tools
- Create visually appealing adds
- Understand how to use and implement online marketing tools such as GoogleAds and Facebook Ads
- Negotiate with suppliers and manufactures
- Strike deals about products
- Answer emails, texts, and phone calls regarding mutual business
- Book Keeping
- Managing finances, orders, taxes and other important financial information
- Managing stock and inventory
- Dealing with customers
- Provide customer support
- Returns and disputes
- Following up on leads
- Getting feedback and reviews
This may seem like a lot, but the majority of the work will be at the start. Once you’ve got your web store up and stuck a deal with a supplier, you can focus on running ads and making sure the orders get delivered, and the customers are happy.
Online stores can vary wildly in their monthly and annual revenue. Some stores will only rake in a few thousand, while others will do millions of dollars in sales. Research your potential market, understand what people want, find a great product, and help bring value to people by answering a question or fulfilling a need, and you’re likely to succeed.
Services, e-products, and Subscriptions
If you have a particular skill or service you can use a website to monetize that skill or service! Business consultants, marketing consultants, coaching, therapists, graphic designers, web development, nearly anything you can image can be a way to make money through a service.
Many of these aforementioned occupations are already offering their services, but using a website or other online marketing methods can open up doors for revenue, clients, and other amazing opportunities.
For example, a life coach could just stick to local clients and do in-person sessions. That’s fine, but it’s a bit limiting in terms of potential. Instead, they could offer online consults, which expands their marketplace dramatically in size. They can also start to build a mailing list, which could be a future avenue for passive income.
The life coach could also start to build an online audience through YouTube, web forms, and other online outlets (Twitch, Reddit, Facebook, etc.). These new audiences could serve as the basis for a myriad of new products, services, and streams of income.
For example, the life coach could offer a course, a product, or a new type of service designed for online clients, to try and generate new streams of income from these customer bases.
Similar to drop shipping but instead of selling a physical item you’re actually selling an electronic item such as an e-book, a course, ‘insider’ information, software, or something of the likes.
Selling e-products, such as e-books, courses, and software can be extremely lucrative.
There are a few upsides to e-products; mainly that you don’t have to stock an inventory, there are no fees associated with shipping, product delivery is instant, and profit margins can be large due to low overheads and other associated fees.
Many websites require you to pay a regular subscription fee for access to their content. Similar to services, you can offer your services through a subscription based platform.
Content creators or people with special knowledge or information can also do well with subscription based services.
One example might be financial newsletters or information. Many people are willing to pay for regular, high quality information about stocks, cryptocurrencies, and markets.
Note- Although subscription based services can be lucrative, they are probably one of the most work intensive ways to earn money online. Generally(not always), they require you to constantly be creating new content, information and services for your subscribers. If you’re crafty and able to outsource the work to other individuals this could help reduce workload and turn it into a somewhat passive type of income.
If you can think of a way to provide a subscription service that is mostly automated, you’ll be in the money! Think of things like providing access to a software, application, or information that is on a pay to play/use basis.
Affiliate and e-mail Marketing
One of the most popular and lucrative ways to earn money online is through affiliate and e-mail marketing. Sometimes when I explain affiliate marketing to other people, they just don’t get it, but I’ll break it down very simply for you.
In its simplest terms, affiliate marketing is nothing new or fancy. Essentially, affiliate marketers earn commissions on sales, just like a salesman would be working at a brick and mortar store.
Affiliate marketers promote other peoples’/businesses products or services and when someone signs up or buys that product via the affiliate marketer they earn a commission. The brilliancy of affiliate marketing is the income potential is nearly uncapped, whereas the start-up costs are extremely low.
Furthermore, you don’t have to create a product or service, you just have to promote and sell an existing one.
One of the amazing thing about affiliate marketing is that as time goes on, and the more your business grows, generally you can enjoy more passive income with less and less work(input).
Affiliate marking can be a great way to earn a living online, but it can be a lot of work depending on how you approach it. Many bloggers and affiliate marketers work full-time.
Some people think working online isn’t “hard”, but the reality of it may be much different from what people who know nothing about it perceive it as.
Arm yourself with as much knowledge and experience as possible, and you’ll be sure to succeed.
If you’re old enough to remember the “Avon Lady”, the woman who showed up at your door and tried to sell your mom some make up and beauty products then you’ll understand the core concept of how e-mail marketing works. If you don’t remember the Avon Lady, no worries we’ll still explain how it works.
Instead of going door to door to make a sale, you’re sending product offers to people’s e-mails.
Essentially, you build a list of e-mails and send them products or affiliate offers which you think they may be interested in.
It’s said that 1 email is worth about $1 of monthly income. Therefore, if you can scrape together 1,000 e-mails you’re looking at about $1,000/month, and so on.
E-mail marketing really excels when it comes to work load and cost. E-mail marketing can be heavily automated and therefore most of the work comes from the initial effort of setting up a “lead magnet“, sign up form, and a few other details. After that you can automate most of the work with software like ActiveCampaign , or ConvertKit.
Furthermore, the barriers to entry for e-mail marketing are extremely low, with high income potential. Those looking to get started with e-mail marketing can potentially get started with less than $500 dollars.
YouTube has become a ubiquitous staple around the world, allowing billions of people to broadcast themselves. It also is a great place to watch content, music, and learn at the click of a button. Furthermore, places like YouTube have given rise to “content creators”; people who create content (videos, articles, or information) as a profession.
Many people earn very good money as content creators. There are many ways to approach content creation but for this article we’ll use the example of YouTube’ers, Podcasting, and Bloggers.
YouTubers create interesting and entertaining videos and in exchange earn revenue from ads. High earning YouTube’rs make millions of dollars per year.
Furthermore, YouTubers can earn extra revenue from promoting their merchandise or affiliate offers.
Podcasting has exploded in the past decade and has been a popular way to make a living. Podcasters earn money from their “sponsorships”. If you have a large audience people will pay you to promote their product.
Podcasters who have a large following can also monetize their audience by offering products, services or affiliate offers just like YouTubers might.
If you want to get into podcasting we recommend checking out BuzzSprouts
Bloggers on the other hand use a mix of media(videos, articles, pictures, audio), but generally focus on written content. How do bloggers make money?
Well there are a large variety of ways to monetize a website, but generally bloggers will make money from four main sources:
- Affiliate links- Earn commissions for generating sales
- Advertisements– Earn money from allowing advertisers to place adds on your website
- Sponsored posts– When a company or person pays you to write content about their product or business
- Selling Websites– Building, flipping, or improving websites for a profit
Develop a Social Media Following
Instagram, Twitter, and other social media outlets can be powerful resources. If you’re able to build a following you can monetize it.
How do you monetize it? Through the same methods we’ve talked about above. You can promote offers to your followers, use affiliate links, or even become an “influencer” and get paid to promote products.
Furthermore, you can build a course or offer an e-product and sell it to your followers. Social media is powerful because it allows you to build a reputation. You gain clout and the more your reputation grows the greater the opportunities become for networking, deals, and business opportunities.
Building a following isn’t as hard as you’d imagine. In general, people will want to follow you if you can provide valuable or insightful information, entertaining or visually appealing content, are a “name” within a certain niche, or have accomplished or done something that others want to copy. There are lots of other reasons people might want to follow you on social media, these are just a few ideas to jog your mind.
Remote Jobs/ Work
More and more jobs are moving online and becoming remote. People skilled in marketing, community management, coding, finance, and a host of other sectors can find remote work.
Work for a company, typically full time, and earn a salary just like you would go to work in an office for an employer.
Check out these websites for jobs with remote listings:
- https://angel.co/ – generally very high level jobs for start ups
- https://www.crypto-careers.com/ – many remote jobs are offered
There are lots of other places to find job postings, these are just a few of the better ones.
If you’re not ready to become an entrepreneur you can still earn money on your own schedule by offering gigs or look for work on websites like Fivver, UpWork, or Freelancer.
Some examples or fields of work that are popular for freelancers are:
You can earn money from teaching English and other languages through several online platforms such as VIP-Kid and Out School.
Sell your skills on a freelancer website (Fivver, Upwork, Freelancer)
If you can code, or have some other special skills such as: musical recording abilities, translation, writing, coaching, etc., you can search for clients on freelance websites to try and make some cash.
There are thousands of categories on Fivver these days, so if you can imagine it, there is likely an audience for it.
There are ways to earn money through online ‘gig’s’ such as taking surveys, product evaluations, taking polls, and focus groups.
These may appeal to many people, but often the amount of money generated through these activities may not be sufficient as some gigs only pay small amounts of money per task.
There are three main “task” based places you can earn cash from
Apps, User Testing, and Focus Groups
You probably won’t make much using these apps, but if you’re interested in stacking a few coins or bills on the side.
Here are some apps to look into:
- Earn cents up to $2 per survey
- Pays out via PayPal
- Earn a few cents up to $2 per survey
- Pays out via Paypal
Get paid to review or test websites, products, services or other tasks. You can potentially earn a lot more with these types of services. Possibly up to $500/month or more depending on the program, qualifications, and amount of effort/time you have to dedicate to these tasks.
- Earn $3-$120 per test, average test pays about $10
- Requires PayPal
- $10-$90 per test, average is about $10
- Payouts through PayPal
- $2 per survey, $10+ per test
- 1 point is equal to 20 cents
- Quick surveys, earn points for cash
Focus groups are companies who are looking for information about a product or service from a group of individuals. You can typically make anywhere from $20-$300 per task, but most tasks are under $100.
There isn’t an excess of supply, so you may wind up waiting a long time in between jobs/focus groups for new work to come in.
- Requires PayPal
- Requires PayPal
A lot of new retail traders have come into the market with the emergence of RobinHood, and in a way this is a good thing. Trading can be a way to leverage your money, instead of it proverbially rotting in a savings account.
Many people do make a living from day trading and investing, and it’s possible for anyone to attempt to do the same.
We advise you learn as much as possible, practice, network, and refine your abilities before dumping your life savings into the markets. There are stories of people making millions and also losing.
Many may see trading as a job that doesn’t require a lot of work, but it can be a lot more time-consuming than many realize. There are thousands of assets, and you have to do research and analysis on the assets you’re going to trade. Furthermore, you’ll have to do bookkeeping, and monitor your trades.
If you don’t want to do any of the work for yourself, you can use copy trade systems or use bots/algos to do all the work for you.
There is literally a whole new economy emerging at the moment, and it’s called crypto. Hundreds of new projects and products are being born all the time, which in turns open avenues for making money.
Crypto has shattered the old paradigms of what we thought was possible to earn with our savings. Interest rates on crpyto savings, staking, and other methods are typically around 8% or more, which is unheard of in the fiat banking industry. Some can be as high as 50% or more!
Furthermore, there are other ways to earn money by putting your money(crypto coins) to work with lending schemes, interest rate swaps, arbitrage opportunities, liquidity provisions, and other Defi protocols.
These things are beyond the scope of this article, but we want to just open your eyes to the possibilities that exist within the crypto realm of finance.
Agencies and OutSourcing
Another way to make money is to find jobs and outsource the work. Many businesses work like this and the profit potential is pretty immense. Let’s say you find a writing job for $50/hour. You can then outsource the job to someone who works for $20/hour and pocket the difference.
If you can find a reliable stream of jobs, and people to do the work for you, you’re well on your way to creating an agency or business based upon outsourcing.
There are lots of ways to start earning online, and as you look for information you’ll probably be hit with advertisement for courses from people who claim to make millions from drop shipping or selling e-products. Some of these course can actually be pretty informative and a good stepping stone towards earning money online, but for the most part we suggest you avoid them, as these people actually make most of their money from selling their courses.
Rather, the better thing to do is just to get started. Start learning about a market you’re interested in, and reading more about the various monetization methods we’ve mentioned. So whether you’d like to try affiliate marketing, blogging, eCommmerce, or something else; the first step is to put your foot in the water.
Don’t get discouraged, keep at it and keep learning, and you’ll be more than likely to succeed.
Winners are not people who never fail, but who never quit.Arnold Schwarzenegger
Lastly, this article was meant to inspire you to see how people earn money online and is by no means a totally comprehensive list. There are lots of creative and interesting ways people earn money. Get on reddit, network with people and keep learning and hopefully something will cross your path that helps you on your way to financial freedom.