Yes, you can make money online. There are thousands ( if not millions) of articles online talking about how to make money online.
Unfortunately, most of these are scams. Or, too many of them are just sales pitches to convince you to sign up for some seminar, webinar, training session or some other way to become an online millionaire.
These offers are too good to be true, most of the time. And there give online money making a bad name. But it is possible to make money online!
There are legitimate ways to make money online. The problem is that the real ways to make money aren’t “get rich quick” schemes. It’s not easy to get rich, okay?
Most of the jobs online require a lot of work and sometimes a lot of dedication before seeing a return on your time. But if you really want to make money online, work from home or turn an idea into a business, you can do it.
You can even earn money with apps if you don’t want to venture all the way to the computer.
Here are some I’ve discovered.
1. Earn from websites that pay you for various errands.
There are websites that will pay you for doing a manifold of tasks like shopping, taking surveys, or testing products. These websites won’t make you a millionaire, alright? But they are great for earning some extra cash.
Here are some legitimate websites that pay:
- Swagbucks – Swagbucks is great for earning some extra cash. You can do a variety of things to make money, from taking surveys to using their search engine. You won’t get rich, but you will earn a few bucks. If you have the time to kill, you can spend it earning some extra cash, instead of surfing the web.
- 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 (I’ve been lurking on GlobalTestMarket for quite some time; not bad).
- Project Payday – Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.
- User Testing – User Testing pays $10 a pop for testing websites. A test usually takes about 15-20 minutes. The purpose is for a website owner to watch someone, who is new to their site, try to navigate it. The value that the site owner gets by watching an actual user experience is worth a ton, but $10 isn’t a bad pay-out.
- 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.
- IZEA – IZEA works in addition to a blog or on its own. You get paid to blog, tweet, take photos and take videos. The pay is mostly based on your following, so if you want to make money with your tweets, you’ll need to grow your Twitter following. Likewise, if you want to make money with blogs, you’ll need substantial blog traffic (more on blogging below).
2. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing – this is what I’ve been doing. I finished college doing just this. In fact, freelance writing is one of the most popular ways to earn money online.
Many successful freelancers can earn an average of 50 cents to a dollar per word. Some are earning twice that!
Of course, it doesn’t start out like that. You’ve got to build your portfolio and your résumé, blah blah blah. If you are really into writing, then go try it. But if you are in this just for earning money, I wouldn’t recommend freelance writing for you. It’s not easy to do if your heart’s not into it. I tell you.
It takes dedication and time, though it can be highly profitable if it’s what you love. Assuming it is what you love, let’s talk about making money with it.
Now for what you’ve all been waiting for; once you’re ready to actually start making money, here are 10 websites you can start with:
- Listverse – Listverse pays $100 for each accepted post. The article must be a list, it must be at least 1,500 words and you must include at least 10 things. Other than that, you can get pretty creative with it.
- TopTenz – TopTenz pays $50 for each accepted post. Again, the article has to be in a list format and it must be at least 1,500 words, with few exceptions. They post often so your chances of getting accepted are fairly high.
- A List Apart – A List Apart pays $200 for each accepted post. They’re not first on the list, because they tend to publish less articles, which means you have a smaller chance of getting accepted. Same guidelines as above, 1,500 word minimum.
- International Living – International Living pays $75 for each accepted post. They are mostly looking for travel experiences from countries you have visited. For this site, it’s more about your experience than your writing ability.
- FundsforWriters – FundsforWriters pays $50 for each accepted post. They are looking for articles about writing and making money with it. They only accept articles between 500-600 words, but they want you to make each word count.
- Uxbooth – Uxbooth pays $100 for each accepted post. They do tend to take four to eight weeks to accept and post articles, so don’t count on this being a quick money maker. They take so long, because they pair with editors to only publish amazing content.
- iWriter – iWriter pays up to $15 for each accepted post. That may seem small, but they aren’t as strict as many of the others above and they also allow you to pick exactly what you write. You can write as many or as few articles as you want.
- Textbroker – Textbroker pays up to five cents per word, if you’re a 5-star writer. You’ll start by submitting a short sample article and you will most likely start as a 3-star writer, but you can work your way up by writing more and writing great content.
- Matador Network – Matador Network pays up to $60 for each accepted post, but standard pay is around $20-$25. They don’t really focus on a minimum word count, but they have a maximum count of 1,500 words.
- The Penny Hoarder – The Penny Hoarder pays up to $800 (rarely), depending upon the number of page views you receive. The pay starts at $100 for 50,000 pageviews, so this isn’t a guaranteed paid article, but it can potentially be highly rewarding.
3. Sell stuff online.
Online shops are everywhere! Right? Why? Cause it works! If you have interesting stuff to sell, you can sell them. But how exactly do you sell online?
Well, it depends on the platform you wish to use, but there are general principles to remember. Here are a few general tips when selling anything online:
- Get a PayPal account. You will need a PayPal account if you’re doing business online. It’s the standard in online business for receiving payment and paying others.
- 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.
- Be honest. If you’re selling used items, be honest about every dent, scratch, blemish, etc.. This will reduce many issues you could run into and keep your reviews positive.
- Do good business. Plain and simple. Whether you’re selling on a small site or opening an online store, your customer service matters. You’ll want to get those positive reviews and make a good name for yourself. Respond to questions, concerns and complaints. Offer a guarantee if available.
Follow those guidelines and you will do well in online sales. When you’re ready to start selling, here’s where you go:
- Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
- eBay – Of course you can’t read an article about making money online that doesn’t mention eBay. You can start an eBay store and get serious about it or you can just sell some stuff to declutter your home. Either way, I’ve made my fair share from selling on eBay and it’s still a popular way to earn money. If you decide to start an actual eBay store, you’ll want to find a drop-ship business like Doba that will store and ship items straight to your customers so you don’t have to deal with an inventory.
- Etsy – If you like to create arts and crafts, you can sell them on Etsy.It’s completely free to open an Etsy store. You simply sign up, post pictures of your creations and starting selling. You can choose your payment option, but PayPal is generally the easiest. Etsy makes it easy to sell and keep track of your inventory. There is a small listing fee and they take 3.5% of every sale you make.
- Facebook – Facebook swap shops are great for selling things locally. It’s like CraigsList, but a little easier. You simply search for swap shops in your area and ask to join the group. Once you’re in, take a picture of the item, write a quick description with the price and post it. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can generally expect to get about what you would get at a yard sale, maybe a little more.
- Or get your own e-commerce website. You can set-up your own website at WordPress, or get website designers and developers to do the job for you.
Blogging is a legitimate way to earn money online. If you have a hobby, passion, or interest, and you want to share this with others, you can earn from it the same time. We will talk about how, but for the meantime, some important words of caution.
Blogging requires a lot of patience, persistence, and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
Some people argue that you can make money without a lot of traffic and while that is true in some circumstances, you will generally need a lot of website traffic to start earning from a blog and that takes a while. Once you’ve reached that point, here are the primary ways to monetize your blog and start earning:
- Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
- Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
- Membership – Many people have created a paid membership area on their blog. This is typically for exclusive content that you can only access in the “member’s area.” If you have a really great idea on what to include, this can be a great idea. You’ll have to create something that can’t easily be accessed around the web.
- Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.
- Services – You can offer a paid service, such as life coaching, blog coaching, goal setting or financial planning. Just be sure to investigate all the legal implications and make sure you’re not claiming to be a professional if you’re not one. With a service like this, you’re basically using your blog to sell yourself. You’ll need to convince people that you’re worth buying and then be able to back up your claims once they purchase your service.
- Sponsored/paid posts – Many blogs publish sponsored and paid posts. Sponsored posts are basically just posts about a specific brand, product or service. A company will pay you to publish an article about it. It’s similar with other paid posts as well. Your basically selling the spot for the article on your site. If you decide to take this route, you’ll want to build your traffic before you will get many offers.
- Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
- Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
If you’re truly interested in becoming a blogger, start by looking through the archives of ProBlogger, Copyblogger and Boost Blog Traffic. Then go read through all the free guides over at Quick Sprout. It may take you a year to complete those tasks alone, but it will be worth it.
Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!
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Globaltestmarket.com. (2017). [online] Available at: https://www.globaltestmarket.com/make_money_online.php?lang=E [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].
Lewis Howes. (2014). Top 10 Ways to Make Money Online With Integrity. [online] Available at: http://lewishowes.com/entrepreneur/10-ways-to-make-money-online/ [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].