Last Updated 10th May, 2017.
Looking for how to earn money online can be a minefield!
It certainly is perfectly possible for anyone to earn money online and here ae 7 of the best ways to earn real money online today.
The problem is, it's easy to become unsuspecting prey to internet scammers and self-proclaimed money online gurus who are out to make a quick buck by any means necessary.
Instead of putting money into your wallet, the online world could easily take money out, if you're not careful.
I've been earning money online in various ways since 2008. My online businesses and the methods I use have changed dramatically over the years and I'm sure they'll continue to do so.
I want you to understand the road I took on my personal journey to earn money online wasn't a straight one.
I meandered, got distracted and I too, fell victim to online scam artists. I wasted time, money and effort trying to find the right way to earn money online so you don't have to.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that earning money online is just that – earning money. There's no ‘special secret' to building an online business but there are many completely honest and legitimate ways you can earn money online for many years to come.
In this post we'll look at just some of the possible ways you can be successful online, including the one that allowed me to quit my call centre job and earn money online full-time.
There are NO get rich quick schemes here.
What I Look For When Earning Money Online
It took me years to get where I am today. There were times when I was frustrated, disappointed and yes, even angry at the empty promises of overnight success. Let me help you to avoid all of that.
Today, when decided which methods I use to earn money online I look at the following criteria –
Can I Earn Decent Money?
Yes you absolutely can. But you have to forget silly survey sites like Opinion Outpost where youslave away for hours for a few cents and let's get serious here.
If I'm going to invest time and effort to earn money online, I look at efforts vs reward. I want to earn serious money. And I definitely don't want to get paid in vouchers…
Is There Passive Earnings Potential?
One of the main reasons I love to make money online compared to having a traditional brick business is that it's more potentially passive.
If I work at a 9-5 job I put the hours in and get paid for my time – once. Online, I put the work in once and get paid time and time again.
The beauty of online earning is that you don't have to physically be there. This is the life I want. Earning money online can give you the freedom to control your own hours and live the life you want to live.
Is There A Limit To How Much You Earn?
I look for ways to earn money online that have unlimited growth potential. It makes sense right? Why would anyone want to cap or limit their online earning potential?
This is why I only invest my time and energy into ways to earn money that I can build on and grow my income as I go.
Let me give you an example of how you need to start small but think big: let's say you set yourself up as as a freelance writer in a specific topic and let's say you build your reputation, get lots of regular clients and you're doing high quality work for them so you keep getting more people coming to you asking for your services.
Why not scale it up? Find and build a team of writers who work under you. Train them, show them what you expect and you outsource the work to them but keep your profit margin. There's no limit to how far you can take it!
Can you create an income generating asset you can sell if you want to further down the line?
Thinking more long-term, let's say in 5 years time I get bored of showing other people how to make money online. My online business is set up in such a way that I can sell it if I want to.
I've normally got at least 4-5 websites on the go at any one time and I've got so many ideas but not enough time.
What I'm trying to say is sometimes change is good. So don't box yourself in.
Whatever you do, aim to create an asset you can sell if you want to further down the line. In other words, it's always good to have an exit strategy.
So, with all this in mind, the best ways to earn money online are where:
- You make significant PROFIT
- The income can be made as close to PASSIVE as possible
- You have PASSION about some aspect of the business
So now you know what I personally look for, let me introduce you to 7 ways, with examples, that real people use to earn real money online – including how I earn more $6,000 a month online.
1. Earn Money Online with eBay
Although I've never done this full time, lots of people are still running respectable business from selling on the internet's favourite marketplace.
If you have anything you want to sell and you need to make money quick then eBay is the first place to consider.
If you're looking to earn serious money online with eBay, you'll have to have a plan. Just selling random items and spending a lot of money on listing fees is not the way to go.
Not everything sells on eBay and you need to keep in mind the storage and shipping costs. I used to find it a fun and relaxing deviation from work at night and the weekends and a way to make a little extra pocket money.
Personally I don't earn money from eBay anymore. I found the customer service and sourcing items to sell to time consuming and I don't have the patience to build up decent customer feedback before I can sell items for a decent price. Let's look at the next way to earn money online…
2. Earn Money Online by Freelancing
Finding and using your skills can be a great way to earn money online. Struggling to think of what skills you have?
Trust me, you have lots you probably can't even think of right now.
You could research, write blog posts, create a spreadsheet, proofread or even teach your first language. For example, you don't have to have a degree in English to be able to teach English as a second language or help proof read international student's essays.
In terms of websites to help you find work, there's tons of options, here are just a few to get you started:
Create a free account and take a look at some of the jobs being offered. Is there anything you could see yourself doing? You could easily create a profile, include what skill sets you can offer and even make a couple of bids for projects.
This method takes a little time to build up a reputation and feedback and it might not pay well at the beginning. So be patient, build up a portfolio and develop your skills as you go along and build p a loyal customer base.
“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Honestly, simple things like being able to speak English, finishing projects on time, responding to email inquiries and being professional will put you in the top 10% of bidders.
If you’re just in the beginning stages it's natural to worry about whether or not you can meet people's expectations but try not to think about it too much.
You could approach it this way when contacting potential new clients:
“Hi, my name is… and I think I could do a great job the project you posted. I've just become a freelancer and I want to do a good job so I can get more clients. This is why I've intentionally bidded so low on your job offer. Not only will this help you keep your costs down, it's help me gain experience and build a reputation as well.”
Just an idea, but you get the gist!
There are thousands of people who make a full time income doing this. There's no reason why you can't too.
3. Earn Money Online with Etsy
If you’re artsy, Etsy could be a great way to turn your passion into an online income.
Handcrafted items are the bread and butter here. Plenty of people make decent side money on the site, which is basically an EBay for crafters and artists. Set up a sellers account with Etsy, and you’ll be asked to set up your virtual storefront and put up at least 5 goods for sale.
Once you have this down, you’ll be a budding Etsy entrepreneur. After graduating from Arts college she was looking for both a way to express her creativity and earn money doing it at the same time, my cousin joined Etsy to promote her unusual greeting card designs. Today she is earning a very respectable income online.
This just goes to show that if you offer a good quality product with great service, you'll turn your first-time customers into raving fans.People are willing to pay a premium for something that is quality, handmade and unique.
It's also worth keeping in mind that, just like eBay and Amazon, Etsy takes a small percentage for every item you sell. PayPal takes another cut for online payments, so be diligent in building your online business.
4. Earn Money Online with iTunes
Okay, so to be fair this isn't for everyone. Not if you sing like me anyways…
But if you’re a budding musician, vocalist, songwriter, artist, if you can produce any type of audio or video then earning money online through iTunes may be worth a look.
Gone are the days of traditioning record labals and talent scouts – since the rise of YouTube, artists are getting their work out by singing covers and writing their own songs to gain a large base of subscribers on YouTube and leveraging that to promote their work within iTunes store.
So if you've got a decent vocal range and a natural flair for music, there's no reason you could not earn a decent online income and there’s no better time to start than now.
4 More Ways To Earn Money Online (*Website Required)
These next 4 income generating methods require you to have your own website. It's easy to start your own blog these days and with no technical know-how required.
You website is your very own virtual storefront, your own piece of online real estate if you like.
In my opinion, these next four possible earn money online income streams are the best if you're looking for a consistent and unlimited way to make money online that will serve you for years to come.
5. Earn Money Online by Selling Advertising Space
Huge websites you've probably heard of like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post earn money by selling advertising space on their site. Most people use a program called Google Adsense – it's probably the easiest and highest paying ad program online.
Once you sign up you’ll receive a line of code to copy and paste into your site.
More traffic = more ad revenue.
I like this way to earning an online income because it's super simple.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than getting people to your visit your site; how well an ad performs will depend on where’s located within your site.
You don’t want people to view your website as spammy so you’ll want to think carefully about the number of ads you allow on your site.
Typically, you need a lot of traffic or at least a trusted brand to earn good money doing this.
This is why it might be best to hold off on this method while starting out. First, concentrate your efforts on building a website with at least two hundred daily visitors.
6. Earn Money Online By Promoting Your Own Products
Similiar to the Etsy example I gave earlier, hundreds of online entrepreneurs are now earning serious money by turning their passion into a successful online business.
So whether you're good at photography, making jewelry, painting or pretty much anything else you can think of – this could be the way forward for you. Build a website related to what you'd like to promote, build an audience and watch as your sales start to come in.
Can't think of any products you could create? Mashable.com have a great list of companies you could outsource your product creation to.
7. Earn Money Online with Affiliate Marketing
This final way to earn money is by building an affiliate website. Don't worry if you're not too sure what this means yet – I'm going to show you and point you in the direction of further free training.
Affiliate marketing is my favourite way to earn money online. In fact, it's the method I use to create 90% of my income today.
It started when I accidentally stumbled one night onto a site called WealthyAffiliate.com and created my free starter account. I will never forget that night – I was desperate to learn how to earn money online and I was ready to take action.
I completed all of the Wealthy Affiliate training and started my own affiliate website. I chose to create a website around my passions: leadership and personal development.
I had written a few posts and was starting get some traffic coming through.
One day I was writing a book review on a brilliant self-development book I'd just finished reading.
I wanted to put a link in my review so that other people check it out if they wanted to.
I signed up as an affiliate with Amazon and linked to the book.
After a couple of weeks I noticed a few sales start coming in. It was only $2-3 a time so not time to retire, but I thought,
“Great, it will help cover the domain costs and leave me with some extra pocket money.”
Over the following months the money I earned through that one blog post continued to grow. I joined some other affiliate programs related to my niche and developed that site to promote coaching programs I knew would help my readers.
Today that one site earns me over $2000 a month and I don't even update it anymore (I suppose I should get round to it though…!)
But the point I'm trying to make here is that I am where I am today only because I was willing to apply what I learned at Wealthy Affiliate.
Affiliate marketing is my favourite because you don't have to deal with payments or shipping or customer complaints and there's very little outlay or risk involved but at the same time it can become incredibly lucrative if you stick at it. It meets all of the criteria I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
At Wealthy Affiliate I learned this simple four step process to making money online:
There are literally hundreds of companies like Nike, Walmart, Sony to name a few that are ready to give you an affiliate link you can put into your websites.
You provide useful, honest and helpful content on your website and then link to specific, relevant products you use or recommend.
So for example, if you choose to start a website on how to organise children's birthday parties, you can recommend some fancy dress costumes you think are great.
Or let’s say you start a website about bodybuilding – you can link to some top quality whey protein that you have used and can recommend.
The beauty of earning money through affiliate websites is that you get to write about what you are passionate about, help people and make money at the same time.
Earning money online is simple – but you'll probably want support and help along the way.
As I hope you’ve already seen, there a lot of different ways to earn money online. It’d be impossible to list them all in this guide, but I’ve given you the ways which are the most popular and effective, especially if you’re a beginner just starting out.
I’ve always found the best way to make money online is by building affiliate websites. The great thing about owning an online website business is you don’t necessarily have to choose one method or the other.
In fact, the most successful people all agree that you must have multiple income sources.
The more years I gain in this business, the more I realise how true that is. This is why I started my second, third and fourth websites on different topics – so I can diversify my income.
Whichever option you decide is best for you, or if you’re still not quite sure on what next steps to take – the worst think you can do is to wait and do nothing. You have to get started.
They’ll never be a perfect time and you’ll never feel like you know enough. You just need to start right where you are with what you have.
Just do it.
You'll get the right know-how, expert support and state-of-the-art web building tools you need to be successful at this
So are you ready to start earning serious money online? Then I have some great news – I’m going to show you where you can get all the training, help and support, domains and hosting all in one place.
I know for a fact that I'm only where I am today, enjoying the tropical Thai climate because of the support I got and the training I took at Wealthy Affiliate. You can ready my Wealthy Affiliate success story here.
They showed me how to choose what my website should be about, what to write about, how to attract targeted visitors to my new site, how to get ranked on the first page of Google and of course – how to earn money.
And the best part of all is – you can do all of this for free.
As soon as you become a free Wealthy Affiliate Starter member you'll get access to:
Interactive training modules that will transform you from a beginner to an affiliate marketing pro
Wealthy Affiliate is perfect for beginners because everything you need to know if broken down and each lesson builds on the previous one.
As you go through the courses you'll be acquiring the knowledge and skills in an easy-to-understand way. Plus, with the question and answer areas, you'll alwasy get help if you're not quite sure about anything or feel stuck. You can always contact me directly too – as Wealthy Affiliate is my usual hangout.
More than just training, Wealthy Affiliate will give the tools you need at your fingertips. There's the SiteRubix website builder, keyword research tools, content management systems, website feedback and so much more.
Never created a website before? Never fear! Because at Wealthy Affiliate it's never been easier. It's as simple as clicking a few buttons and a few minutes before you're the rpoud owner of your very first website. No technical knowledge needed!
Expert support and help 24/7/365
The Wealthy Affiliate online community is one of the most helpful and active I've ever seen. It's a place where everyone supports one another and pushes each other on to succeed.
Ever been stuck, frustrated and not knowing where to go next?
You don’t have to at Wealthy Affiliate because there’s literally hundreds of other members all committed to your success. I love this about Wealthy Affiliate.
Even with the best training, when you're starting out doing something you've never done before it can all be a little daunting and there might be times you need a helping hand. This is live chat, direct messaging and the question and answer areas come in.
There are so many ways to get expert help and support fast and when you need it most.
I'll also give you one-on-one support
I would not recommend Wealthy Affiliate if I didn't completely believe in the system it teaches. If you are serious about learning how to start a website business then this is the logical next step for you.
I log into Wealthy Affiliate every day to give support and advice to people just like you you who are taking their first steps in creating an online income for themselves. I will support you every step of the way because I really want to see you make it online.
Here's a screenshot of my WA profile page:
Wealthy Affiliate will give you access to all this and more with your Free Starter Membership
This is where Wealthy Affiliate really shines.
You can get in the doors in seconds with just an email address and a password. No credit cards required. You’ll be inside, viewing the training, meeting the community, and working on your business at absolutely no cost to you.
If you like what you see, there is a Premium level that unlocks more powerful, advanced tools and training to help you further your business.
This is optional and completely your choice – something you could maybe think about further down the line once you start seeing serious online earnings already coming through.
Create Your FREE Starter Account at Wealthy Affiliate
Well done for getting this far! You’ve already learned so much! Now it’s time to take action and actually start making money online. Are you really ready for this?
All you need is a name and an email address to start building your online business immediately.
Your first assignment is to create your free Starter account now!
These 7 ways on how to make money online will actually make put money into your wallet. These are not just ‘theoretical’, or ‘ideas’ that might work.
These are real business strategies.
I’ve been doing this consistently for about 3 years now, so don’t hesitate to ask me any questions in the comments area below before you get started.
Here's to your online success!
Simon Crowe is the founder of The Make Money Online Blog and is on a mission to help as many people as possible kiss their bosses goodbye.
Get his free Affiliate Marketing Guide For Newbies to learn exactly how to build a real income online and make your dream business a reality.