From online poker to selling your collection of Beanie Babies, there are lots of popular get-rich-quick, money-making ideas that always pop up. Do they work? Not really. Will you make money doing it? Maaaybe. But you’d probably make more money from your 9 to 5 job. At least then it’s a guaranteed paycheck.
The truth is there are real ways to make money online – millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop and a solid internet connection. So let’s break down how to make money online… the real way.
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How to Make Money Online: 28 Real Ways
1. Start Dropshipping
Let’s start our list off with one of the most popular ways to make money online. According to Google Trends, dropshipping’s popularity is rapidly growing, highlighting its viability as a way to make money online. With success stories about how an entrepreneur made $6,667 in eight weeks or how a store owner made six figures selling just one product, there’s plenty of proof that dropshipping is a real way to make money online.
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In case you don’t know what dropshipping is: dropshipping is a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier stores, packages, and ships the product to your customers on your behalf. With Oberlo dropshipping, you have access to millions of products that you can add to your store. Oberlo’s toolkit also allows you to hand-pick your product images, edit item descriptions, and give your business a personalized vibe, so people love shopping from you.
The best way to make money online dropshipping? Most entrepreneurs have been focusing on a few marketing strategies: running Facebook ads, having influencers promote your products, and sending Direct Messages (DMs) to potential customers on social media.
P.s. if you want to build your first dropshipping store, don't miss out on our Dropshipping 101 course.
2. Try Print on Demand
Print on demand is proving to be a popular option too. Graphic designers are turning to the business model to sell their designs on clothing and other products to monetize their art better. With their unique designs, they can create a consistent and established brand for their business.
Print on demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences, though. First, you can add branded labels on packages, which is great for brand recognition. Second, shipping costs are quite expensive, making it difficult to create a sustainable business unless you charge higher prices or sell higher quantities. But you have great suppliers in US, Canada or Europe like Printify or Printful to get started right away and reach your dream of creating your own clothing line.
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The best way to make money with your print on demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram, Pinterest, or with Instagram influencers who convert their audiences well.
You can get a complete overview of print of demand vs dropshipping by watching us get into a healthy debate with Wholesale Ted about the pros and cons of each business model.
3. Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to prove to be a stable way to make money online. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can be an affiliate for nearly any company, from Shopify to Amazon to Uber to FabFitFun.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, software, apps, and more. While earning a commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and include several affiliate links on a single blog post.
If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you essentially create an asset you can call your own. The best part about focusing on content marketing is that if an affiliate program shuts down, you can switch the affiliate link to a competitor without negatively impacting your side hustle income.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
If others can make money from YouTube, so can you. The highest-paid YouTuber is 7-year-old Ryan, who reviews toys on his YouTube channel, which made him $22 million in 2018. Another high earner is Jeffree Star, who’s made more than $18 million on YouTube and has a cosmetics brand that sells about $100 million in products annually. His YouTube (and Myspace) fame helped him use his influence to make money online beyond his YouTube earnings.
Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.
The secret to making money on YouTube is to create content people want that either educates or entertains. You can use a headline that’s witty to entice people to watch, or you can use keywords that are optimized for YouTube search. Once you’ve reached the 1,000 subscriber milestone, you can officially monetize your channel with YouTube ads.
5. Become an Influencer
Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Did you know in 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo earned $975,000 for every sponsored Instagram post, making him the highest-paid influencer? While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back
To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The easiest platforms to do that: YouTube and Instagram. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out how to get more Instagram followers if you want to build a big Instagram audience.
To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, speaking gigs, create your own online store and sell products, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, get paid as a brand ambassador, create a book, get paid to appear at events, and more.
6. Create an Online Course
Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re an expert on a subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating courses online. You can sell your course on Udemy or, if you already have your own audience, on your own website. Some entrepreneurs earn as much as $5,000 per month with online courses.
To create a popular and successful course, your best bet is to watch other courses on your topic. Then, look at the reviews. What are the aspects that people praise, and what are the things people hate? How can you create something better than what’s already been created? Focus on creating content that solves the biggest complaints while emulating the positive aspects people rave about.
The platform you sell your course on will determine how to best make money. If you sell your course on Udemy, you don’t have to do much to promote it. You can almost set it and forget it. Maybe promote it to some blogs or on your own website. However, if the course is hosted on your own website, you might want to run ads to promote the course. You can also build an email list so you can continue to promote future courses to that same audience.
7. Publish an Ebook
With Amazon KDP, it’s never been easier to publish an ebook. All you need to do is write the ebook, format it, create an ebook cover, publish, and promote it. Back in 2013, I created several ebooks on Amazon (took all but one down), and even though it didn’t make me rich, I still make some money from it.
You can choose to hire a writer for your ebook, a graphic designer to design the cover, or a freelancer to format the ebook for you to help minimize the work you need to put into it. It’s best if you focus on keywords based on popular searches on Amazon. I often use the Keyword Tool, which allows you to find the words people use while searching so you can craft your title around it.
To make money online selling ebooks, you can market it in a number of ways. You can give away your ebook for free for a few days. This helps you rank high in search results for some time and get some reviews, which helps you rank better for paid listings. Plus, I like to create custom graphics on Pinterest that match the “Pinterest style” rather than just placing the ebook cover as a pin. This has helped me get some clicks to my ebook from Pinterest.
8. Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the oldest methods for making money online. People who love writing tend to start blogs with a niche focus. For example, a blog about procrastination, cars, dropshipping, toys, etc., is often a narrow enough focus so you can build a loyal following, but big enough that you can cover a lot of ground.
You can start a blog on various platforms, from Shopify (remove the checkout feature, so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) to WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords with a tight focus and continue to expand into other but relevant categories as you grow and dominate new spaces. This will allow you to build a massive blog over time. Remember that design is also important for making a good first impression on visitors. Here are 20 blog design inspirations to help you launch your blog.
There are several ways to make money blogging. You can add affiliate links in your posts (don’t forget a disclaimer). You can monetize with AdSense by placing ads strategically on your website. Sponsored posts can help you make money from specific brands – this is popular among review bloggers. Bloggers can also sell digital or physical products on their website either (hint: you can add Oberlo products to your website). You can also use it to build authority so that you can eventually get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from clients.
9. Consider Freelancing
The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job in your 9 to 5 role and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, administrative assistant, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can market these skills and find clients online who are willing to pay you for them.
There’s a never-ending list of websites for each sector of freelance jobs too. For example, freelance writers can apply for jobs on specific online writing job boards, but also general freelance websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, and all the others. If you find that your job doesn’t have direct online money-making streams of income, you can look for other transferable skills you may have.
To make money online as a freelancer, you need to start by building out a strong portfolio. That may mean doing some free work with some reputable mid-tier brands to start. Once you gain a strong portfolio, you can start reaching out to potential big clients to earn more money online. Remember, freelancing is a numbers game: the more personalized emails and applications you fill out, the more likely you will get a response back.
10. Create an App
If you’re not a developer, you’re probably looking at this money-making idea and feeling a bit stuck. Fortunately, there is a way to have an app made that doesn’t involve any programming skills.
These days, marketers are using freelance platforms to find affordable developers to create apps for them.
When it comes to making money on your app, your best bet will be to add it to Google Play and the App Store. And while it may seem counterintuitive, having a free app can help you make more than a paid app. With a free app, you can add ads or premium features to help you make money. Since the free app will attract a higher volume of people, it’ll be easier for you to upsell them.
11. Become a Writer
With a growing interest in content marketing, more brands are looking for great writers to create content. The secret to succeeding as a writer is to be an expert in a niche. A lot of writers try to be generalists, writing for a wide range of categories, from food to tech. However, having a niche focus as a writer allows you to write better content.
When you have experience in the niche, you can add a different perspective to a piece of content. That means you’re not just saying the same thing as every other article online. And that’s what brands really want to pay for — your thoughts, experiences, and inside information into their niche.
If someone asks for a marketing writing sample, send them marketing writing samples. Don’t send a finance article. Or a fitness one. It’s hard for a hiring manager to know how well you understand the niche’s industry if they can’t see a relevant writing sample. Apply to opportunities suited to your skills and experience. Also, if your pitch doesn’t have a list of links to writing samples, it’s going to get ignored.
You can make money online on sites like these:
12. Create Side Gigs
Side gigs can help you make money online while you keep your full-time job. If you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred dollars per month, this is a great idea. The work doesn’t always last long-term, but it can.
Use platforms like Fiverr to create gigs. When you’re new to Fiverr, you’ll want to focus on offering a low price so you could get your first review. I’d recommend getting a friend to buy your gig to leave your first review so you can get started faster. Treat the friend like a client and actually deliver a finished product that you can feature on the platform on your portfolio.
The thing with Fiverr is that it’s also a numbers game. If you look at top Fiverr users, you’ll see that they have multiple gigs available. The more gigs you have, the more likely you are to be found.
If you don’t want to get paid Fiverr prices, you can turn to platforms like FlexJobs to find side gigs. Under their jobs section, you can search for contract or telecommute opportunities. The great thing about the telecommute opportunities on FlexJobs is that you can apply for them in any city in the world.
FlexJobs has a variety of side gigs from writing, business, design, accounting, and more. So if your talents don’t match up with anything else on this list of money-making ideas, you might want to try a side gig from FlexJobs, and start making money online. Apply to multiple opportunities to land a few small side gigs.
13. Do Translation Work
If you need to make money now, translation work is a fairly underserved niche. You’ll need to be fluent in at least two languages to do this successfully. So if you’re bilingual or majored in a popular language in school, this may be a great money-making idea for you to try out.
You will need to show proof of your ability to translate. If you have a language degree or experience translating text, make sure to show samples of your portfolio. Most companies will require a translation test. Keep in mind that you need to be fluent in the languages you’re applying to be a translator for. So you can’t use translation tools.
Sites where you can make money online include:
14. Sell Your Stuff
When you’re desperate to make money now, sometimes the only option is to sell your stuff. If you’re unemployed and struggling to find a job, selling your possessions is a great way to make money fast. You can earn money online using the links below, or you can head to a pawn shop. Keep in mind the shipping costs associated with selling online. Be sure to charge the buyer for it if you’re shipping products internationally.
Most people immediately think of selling their junk like books, DVDs, and CDs. But most people don’t want to buy those things. It’s 2021 – are you really going to buy a CD? Probably not. So don’t waste your time trying to sell it. When you’re thinking about how to make money fast, focus on items of value like laptops, TVs, phones, furniture, designer handbags, or clothing. Try selling the same items on multiple platforms. For example, you might try selling your product in Facebook groups and Instagram instead of just one of them. If you sell your stuff everywhere, there’s a chance of someone finding it.
Be sure to take amazing photos and edit them. An online retailer doesn’t upload images as is. They hire a photographer to take great photos. Images are enhanced. The background is often removed. Approach your product post like an online retailer. Avoid taking pictures of products on tables. If a product is on a table, remove the background to make it white. If you don’t own high-end photography equipment, you can consider taking this product photography online course to learn how to take stunning product photos without the fancy gear.
After you’ve figured out stuff to sell online, start your own online store using Shopify. You’ve proven that you’ve got what it takes to be an online retailer. So, now you can start making money from home.
15. Become an Online Tutor
You can make a lot of money online and choose your own hours by being an online tutor. According to Studenomics, Bohdan made $2100 from tutoring. What’s interesting is that he built up his client base through word of mouth, visibility, and great group rates. While sciences and maths often have a high demand for tutoring positions, you’ll also find English popular among international audiences. If you’re an expert on a topic, tutoring may be the right platform for you to make money fast.
Having a degree or experience in a language is essential for this type of job, so showcase your degree, high grade average in a course, or other proof that you’re qualified to tutor that topic. If you have a teaching degree, you may be more likely to land a tutoring position. If you’ve spoken at a conference or event about the topic, you might also be considered for an online tutoring, teaching, or mentoring position. Focus on tutoring in your field of expertise. If you’re not the best, you probably shouldn’t be tutoring on that specific topic.
You can find online tutoring jobs on platforms like these:
16. Drive Your Car
If you own a car, you can make some spare cash as an Uber driver or delivery person. If you don’t own a car, you can still be a delivery person using your bicycle or moped. Uber drivers looking to make even more money off their car can turn their car into an advertisement using Free Car Media. Your car will be wrapped with a removable vinyl decal. There have also been cases of Uber drivers selling products in their cars. As a driver, you’ll often start talking about what you and your passenger do for a living.
Want to know how to make money fast driving Uber? If you own your own side business, you can showcase your products to your passengers if they’re interested. Not all will be, though. However, if one expresses interest in your products, you can have products for sale under the driver’s seat for a passenger to sift through. If customers don’t have the cash, you can ask them to pay its cost with Uber’s tip function.
17. Become a Virtual Assistant
With so many entrepreneurs building businesses, the demand for virtual assistants is increasing almost daily. As a virtual assistant, you’ll do a variety of tasks. Writing, order processing, bookkeeping, social media, and customer support are just a few of the tasks you might be asked to do as a virtual assistant.
You can earn money online on websites like Virtual Assistant Jobs, Indeed, or Upwork. Many virtual assistants have also found ways to make money online by reaching out to brands and entrepreneurs, asking if they’re interested in hiring a virtual assistant. Using a combination of job posting applications and outreach, you’ll be more likely to make money fast. Build an active social media presence on Twitter and LinkedIn to help you find new clients.
18. Become a Twitch Streamer
Twitch streaming is becoming increasingly popular. While it started out as a gaming platform, it’s quickly evolving to include other types of content. To make money fast on Twitch, you’ll need to grow your following. If you’re consistent, streaming on Twitch can help you build a sizable audience fast.
You’ll need to find a popular game or channel that isn’t overly competitive so that people can easily find your content. In order to make money online from streaming, you’ll need to have a consistent style to your channel: is it going to be funny, educational, or entertaining? Engaging in the chat feature on Twitch is another way to grow your following. You’ll want to communicate in popular chats. However, you’ll also want to engage with those chatting on your streams as well.
There are five ways to monetize your Twitch channel: selling products, brand sponsorships, fan donations, subscriptions, and Twitch ads. As a Twitch streamer, you’ll want to focus on tapping into all five monetization methods to ensure the highest financial gains. You could make more on Twitch than YouTube, making it one of the best money making ideas for video creators.
19. Invest in Stocks
You can also make money fast by investing in stocks. If you aren’t an expert in picking stock, you might want to skip this money making idea. While it can have one of the highest rewards, it can also result in money loss if you’re inexperienced. If you currently hold a 9 to 5 job, look into your company’s financial programs.
Do they allow you to invest in company stocks? If so, sign up for it. At least with a company stock program, you have some influence in the company’s success as an employee. If your company has an RRSP matching program, you can also sign up for that if your goal is to save up for retirement or a down payment on your first home.
20. Sell Your Photography
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just love snapping great pictures, you can monetize your photography in several ways. You can make money fast by posting your photography services in local Facebook groups for your community.
If you’re looking for more exposure, you can use a site like Burst. However, if you’re looking to monetize your phone photography quickly, you can use Foap. Learn more product photography tips to help you start making money with photography.
21. Sell Your Clothes Online
You likely have clothes you haven’t worn in the past year. And you don’t have the intention of wearing them ever again. Rather than letting them take up space in your closet, why not make money off of them?
Whether you sell your clothes, handbags, or shoes, there are quite a few websites that allow you to sell your used fashion items. Poshmark, Refashioner, TheRealReal, ThredUp, and Tradesy are a few of the online sites where you can sell your used apparel.
You could make money online by selling on several different platforms. If you’re looking to sell items in person, you can use Facebook buy and sell groups in your community to find people online and sell the items in person. I’ve personally sold in these groups before and know they work.
22. Become an Extreme Couponer
When money is tight, using coupons can help save you a few bucks. However, with websites Coupon Chief, it can also help you make money online. Such websites offer a Pays to Share program where you’ll receive some percentage of sales from the coupons you share on their platform. You’ll need to add coupons that haven’t already been shared. In return, you’ll make a 2-3% commission.
It’s like affiliate marketing where you share referral links and get a commission when someone buys through your link. Coupon companies are known to pay their affiliates regularly, so it’s a legit way to earn money online. Coupon Chief has already paid out over $1.4 million in commissions.
23. Sell Domains
If you regularly buy domain names but fail to use them, you can always try to sell them for a profit. Selling domains is ultra competitive, though. If you own a one word .com domain, you’ll have a better chance of selling. Words that have high search volume sell well too.
Also, domains that are on trend at that moment have a better chance of selling. For example, a year ago, fidget spinner domains were an easier sell than they are now. You can search for available domain names and buy a custom domain through the Shopify domain registration platform.
You can sell your domains on GoDaddy’s Domain Auction. Look through the domains with the highest bids to see what type of domains sell well. It’ll help you know whether or not your domains are worth selling and how much money you can make selling them.
24. Sell Your Designs Online
Graphic design is an amazing skill that you can monetize in several ways. You can go the print on demand route and sell your designs on your own custom products. Alternatively, you can pitch your designs on a crowdsource platform like 99 Designs. You can create your own graphics, templates and more and sell them on marketplaces like GraphicRiver or Creative Market. Or you can pick up some clients and work as a freelance graphic artist.
25. Review Websites, Apps, and Software
If you’re passionate about user experience, User Testing pays reviewers $10 to give other entrepreneurs feedback on their websites and apps. That’s one fast way to make money online. You’ll be given a set of questions that you need to answer as you browse through their website.
Through a video, you’ll communicate your ideas and feedback to the entrepreneur while navigating their website or app. Your video is only 20 minutes in length, so if you do three videos per hour, you’ll make $30. It can be pretty competitive, so you have to act fast when a new website or app is added to be reviewed. Those who want to earn money online by reviewing software can use a tool called Software Judge.
26. Get a Part-Time Job
When you’ve done whatever it takes to make money fast but struggle to make an impact, sometimes you’re left with no choice but to get a part-time job. A lot of the money-making ideas on this list are great for building up to. They can be really successful over the long-term too. But if you’re struggling to make money fast enough, you might need to apply for a part-time job in your field. You can browse part-time jobs on job bank websites like Indeed, Monster, or a job website for your industry.
Whether you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred a month or grow a successful six-figure brand, I hope these money making ideas have inspired you to take action. Learning how to make money fast or how to make money from home is an important part of success, but the execution is what helps you make money now.
27. Become a TikTok Consultant
One of the trendiest new ways to make money online is to become a TikTok consultant. Brands will contact you for brainstorming video ideas, developing engaging bios, and more. It’s the perfect money-making opportunity for digital nomads – you can run the entire business from your smartphone. Compared to Instagram, TikTok is relatively new and untapped, so helping brands grow brand awareness on the app might turn fortunes.
However, you need to have a few talents before you begin offering TikTok consultancy to businesses. The most important is knowing how to create viral videos that get people to engage with brands. If you don’t have the expertise in this platform, you can still learn how to create killer contact by taking this TikTok course.
28. Sell Greeting Cards
If you have a knack for picking out the perfect greeting card for different occasions, this might be an easy way to make money online. However, I don’t recommend that you market your services to anyone and everyone – it’s not a smart way to do business. Instead, you can open a greeting cards brand geared towards a certain segment of the population.
For example, you can make greeting cards that cater to C-level executives wanting to thank their Senior Vice Presidents for making profitable decisions last year. Or you can target healthcare professionals wanting to thank their patients for choosing their clinic. For designing the cards, you can use an online graphic tool like Photoshop or Canva. These tools make it easy to put together nice-looking cards that will cheer anyone up.
Making money online can help you earn some extra side hustle money, but it can also help you escape your 9 to 5 job so you can become a full-time entrepreneur. By brainstorming online business ideas and choosing to start an online business, you gain more financial freedom, improve your financial security, and inch closer to living life on your terms.
If you're looking for more online money making ideas, don't forget to check out Shopify's post on 25 Easy Ways to Earn Money From Home.
It really is possible to earn a living online if you work hard and stick with it. So, which side hustle will you try out first?
28 Business Ideas to Make Money Online
- Start Dropshipping
- Try Print on Demand
- Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
- Start a YouTube Channel
- Become an Influencer
- Create an Online Course
- Publish an Ebook
- Start a Blog
- Consider Freelancing
- Create an App
- Become a Writer
- Create Side Gigs
- Do Translation Work
- Sell Your Stuff
- Become an Online Tutor
- Drive Your Car
- Become a Virtual Assistant
- Become a Twitch Streamer
- Invest in Stocks
- Sell Your Photography
- Sell Your Clothes Online
- Become an Extreme Couponer
- Sell Domains
- Sell Your Designs Online
- Review Websites, Apps, and Software
- Get a Part-Time Job
- Become a TikTok Consultant
- Sell Greeting Cards
Want to Learn More?
FAQ's on How to Make Money Online
1. How Can You Make Money Online Right Now?
The truth is there are real ways to make money online – millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop, a solid internet connection, and hard work.
2. What are the Best Jobs to Make Money Online?
There are so many jobs that you can make money online with, but a few jump out as the most lucrative. Dropshipping and print on demand can be started with little investment. Starting a blog or becoming a writer can be more longer term investments to make money online. One thing is for sure -- there are many jobs out there that pay well online.