My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and grow my blog to over 400,000 monthly readers and $50,000/mo in side income.
More than half a billion products are sold on Amazon every month, making it an incredible opportunity to make money online. But, like everything else that involves making money online, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. One option on Amazon is to find products that are already made and buy and sell them at a discount. For example, you could research generic products such as clocks, keychains and mugs to attach to your brand.
If you want to help shape digital products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.
While some might think that starting a blog is an arduous effort, when you understand the precise steps you need to take, it becomes far easier. It all starts in the decision of choosing a profitable niche and picking the right domain name. From there, you need to build your offers. You can easily sell things like mini-email courses, trainings and ebooks.
Get samples. When you first start out as a freelance writer, it can be hard to get work without any published samples. However, it is possible to get quality samples if you are willing to do some writing for free. First, you can publish content on your own blog or website. Also, you can write guest posts for someone else’s blog. Finally, you can write blog posts for free in exchange for a byline.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest blogging on relevant sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up. I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Many retailers are outsourcing their customer service operations to third-party companies like Alpine Access () and Working Solutions (), who in turn contract with home-based workers. The reps, who typically work 20 to 40 hours a week, take calls for large and small companies. The hourly rate is about $9, but agents can earn up to $13 with incentives and bonuses or up to $30 for special projects. Some companies offer benefits like health and dental insurance and a matching 401(k) plan. LiveOps () is similar, but service reps operate as independent contractors, typically invoicing LiveOps $10 to $15 per hour depending on the type of call and performance. And with LiveOps you can work as many hours as you want. The hiring process is rigorous: Expect a comprehensive written or online application, skills exam, phone interview and background check.
If you're serious about making money online, start a blog. Blogging is one of the easiest and most sustainable income sources. As long as the blog is setup the right way, in the right niche, with the right content targeted at the right audience, and the offer is complementary to the content, you could make a tremendous amount of passive income from a blog.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund. It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts. If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you. Try out Paribus.
Create a writer website or blog. A website not only demonstrates your technical ability, but it also creates an online hub that allows clients to connect to you. Keep the design of your website clean and uncluttered. Include examples of your work that demonstrate the kind of writing you do. Make the samples easy to find and to read, and make it easy for visitors to figure out how to contact you..
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.