This is the first post in the Making Money Online series.
Want to live somewhere cheaper to top up your savings? Somewhere sunnier to top up your tan? Maybe you want a flexible way to make some side income. Maybe you just hate the commute. Making money online means the freedom to work – and live – anywhere, anytime.
The only question is: how? When it comes to making money online, the most common advice is to “follow your passion”. If you already know what you passion is, great. Give it a go. If not, here are some practical ideas to get you started. You should be able make one of the following options work with enough effort. I’ve scored each one against earnings potential, how hard it is to start, and the level of risk. There’s one key factor I’ve missed out: fun! That’s because only you know what you’ll enjoy, but don’t forget it’s not all about the money.
People often overlook this skill. If you’re reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume you have a decent command of English. Congratulations! You already have a valuable skill you can sell online.
- Earnings potential – moderate. A tutor can expect to earn roughly $30 per hour with a bit of experience.
- Difficulty of starting – moderate. Registering with a tutoring website is pretty easy, but getting your initial clients isn’t so easy.
- Risk – low. Signing up is free, so you don’t lose much if your tutoring career doesn’t take off.
A lot of people, myself included, enjoy playing with graphic design. If you have the skills and enjoy this kind of work, there’s plenty of customers out there.
- Earnings potential – moderate. You’re likely to be paid per job so it all really depends on how quick you are. An example gig on Fiverr costs around $20 dollars, and could take a reasonable graphic designer less than an hour.
- Difficulty of starting – moderate. As with tutoring, easy to register, harder to get customers. Once the ball gets rolling with good reviews, work is likely to become far more plantiful.
- Risk – low. Offering your services costs nothing.
How: Register with a site like Fiverr [affiliate link].
Close to my own heart. Blogging is good fun, and the rockstars of the blogging world are making money online hand over fist.
- Earnings potential – astronomical. Whilst most bloggers make next to nothing, at the top end bloggers are making millions.
- Difficulty of starting – low. You don’t even need your own site. You can start blogging on Medium in the next 5 minutes for free.
- Risk – high. Creating quality content is time consuming. You’ll put in the hard yards, but there’s no guarantee anyone will read it, never hand over any of their hard-earned cash.
How: Start off on Medium – especially if you want to blog for money – to see if there’s any interest in what you have to say.
If photography is already your hobby, why not turn it into a money-maker?
- Earnings potential – low to moderate. Royalties from stock photo sites tend to be low – around 15% – which is likely to translate to only a few dollars per download. Unlike teaching English, however, once you have your portfolio, the income becomes passive and can scale without limits.
- Difficulty of starting – high. Taking quality photos which will be accepted by sites and desirable to purchase means not taking photos every man and his dog can take on their iPhone. This means potentially expensive camera and lens equipment, as well as a high level of skill, to see real progress.
- Risk – high. Building your portfolio will take time, money and skill and at the end of it, there’s no guarantee of any pay-out.
I’ll take a wild guess this isn’t a hobby of yours. Don’t write it off too quickly, though. It’s a solid route to making money online.
- Earnings potential – moderate to good. $40 per hour is totally feasible here for services varying from proofreading and formatting online content, to producing marketing content and social media management.
- Difficulty of starting – low. You can get set-up on a site like Upwork to offer your services in minutes. I have done this myself, and in my experience it wasn’t very difficult to get work.
- Risk – low. There’s not much upfront work to do before you start getting paid.
How: Get yourself set-up on Upwork and look around. Once you land your first few jobs, try to turn them into stable, repeat business. AngelList is also useful for looking for certain kinds of work. They might often be somewhat specialist – e.g. marketing and SEO – but can be more lucrative than Upwork contracts. Alternatively, reach out to businesses yourself and tell them what benefits you can bring them.
Have you ever made money online? How did you do it? Was it worth it?