If you are looking for ways to make money online and you are not currently doing so, this post will give you plenty of ideas to get started. We’re going to share eleven different strategies that almost anybody can use to earn an income online.
Read along, or jump straight to the section that most interests you:
At fourteen, I realized I wanted to to be an entrepreneur...
“I’m gonna be an astronaut!”
That was my response at age seven when my mother told me I could do whatever I wanted when I grew up (thanks, mom!). She didn’t like my response and told me being an astronaut was risky. She said going into outer space was too dangerous.
This broke my heart.
By age ten, my plans had shifted. I wanted to be a professional football player, but my mom’s response was pretty much the same.
“Playing in the NFL is too dangerous! You’re gonna get injured out there and lose your brain cells!”
This made me shrug. I felt like all the occupations I wanted were the risky ones. By fourteen, I realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and run my own business. When I told my mom this, finally I got a positive response. “Now that sounds like a better plan.”
So that was it. Being an astronaut or a professional football player was too risky, but being an entrepreneur was okay. I had made up my mind at fourteen.
11 of the Best Ways to Make Money Online
I get a ton of emails from people telling me that they’re not sure making money online is a viable option. They think it’s too risky, and they’re not sure it’s legitimate. They’re not sure it can be a legitimate source of income.
Well I have good news for you, it has never been easier to make money online, and it’s only going to get easier.
We didn’t include every way to make money online, but we laid out eleven to get your thoughts churning, so get ready.
#1: Freelancing A Skill
The reason I’m listing this first, is because regardless of skill level, freelancing a skill is a great way to make an online income. You might be thinking, “What skills do I have that someone would pay for?”
Well, there are a lot of different things online that different business owners, wish to accomplish. And most don’t have time to do it all on their own. They don’t necessarily need to hire full time help.
If you learn a skill that people are willing to pay for, you’ll find it’s possible to make a nice living online. With sites ranging from Fiverr to Upwork, there are thousands of ways to get people to pay you for your skill set. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:
Podcast editor: With the podcast industry booming, show hosts are happy to outsource the editing to someone else, so they can focus on the content. Don’t believe me? Just ask Ben Krueger who built a business off editing podcasts.
Writer: Blogging, social media writing, copywriting, email marketing, there are so many ways you can get paid for your words these days. Danny Margolis is a classic example, who made over $110,000 in one year as a freelance copywriter.
Designer: Whether it’s websites, graphics, or logos, it has never been easier to make money as a designer. Jake Jorgovan managed to make over $1,000 a week doing website design and his background at the time had nothing to do with building websites.
Here are some other ideas that may not get you rich, but still can help you make money online: transcriber, video editor, translator, voice over artist, actor, and many more.
How Freelancers Help Businesses
In Drop Ship Lifestyle, we have about ten full time people working on our team, but we also have a ton of other people who freelance for us. We pay per job and they do loads of different work that helps us out. These freelancers are very much a part of our company.
Freelancers are brought on when a business owner has a heavy workload or tons of tasks, but doesn’t need to hire a full time employee. Freelancers can work on one project to help a business meet a short deadline, or they can be brought on for more long-term tasks that require a specialized skill set.
To give you an idea of how many ways a business can use a freelancer, look at our Drop Ship Lifestyle YouTube channel. Every week I share a video with drop shipping advice and eCommerce strategies. The logo and thumbnail on the video was created by a freelancer, the video was edited by freelancer, and later it will be transcribed by a freelancer. Even our blog— a lot of articles are created with the help of freelancers.
So if you want to get started, you don't need a website, and you don't need a portfolio of all your work experiences. You could pretty much get started by reaching out to businesses and saying, “Hey, I want to do XYZ freelance work for you.” Now, if you're wondering where to get different jobs like these, Upwork, Fiverr, and Craigslist are great places to start.
Ready to jump into freelancing? Check out Seth Godin’s course on freelancing here.
If none of these skills jump out at you, then that may mean you need to start building some skills yourself. If that’s the case, no worries. Everything is learnable.
#2: Create a Blog
Having a blog alone won’t make you a ton of money, but pair it up with a few other tactics on this list, and you can build yourself a nice business. Starting a blog forces you to learn the basics of building a website and writing.
Once you build up an audience and start getting blog traffic, you’ll find that there are many ways to monetize your blog.
You might be thinking, “It’s 2023, surely blogging is dead.” Well I have some news for you, it is not! We only started the Drop Ship Lifestyle blog nearly two years ago, and it’s contributing to an extra 2,000 unique site visitors every day.
When we started this drop shipping blog, it didn’t cost anything since we already paid for our web hosting and server. That’s one of the biggest pros to creating your own blog to earn money online.
There’s Huge Potential in Blogging
Along with a low startup cost, there is huge potential with creating a blog. If you do this the right, and put out quality content that people actually care about, the scale of how many readers become loyal followers is almost infinite. It's only capped at how many people are in your niche market.
So if it's a big market that you are writing and blogging about, the amount of people you could reach is capped at how many people are actually interested in that niche. You're building a loyal following that you can eventually promote products and services to.
On the other hand, there are definitely some cons to making money online through blogging. The first, and most important, is that creating and growing a blog is a lot of work. It’s a huge commitment. This isn't something that you just consider, buy a domain name, and hope it works out.You need to be consistent to earn money online with a blog.
Once people find your blog, they are going to want to come back and read the next thing you have to share. Now, if the next thing that you want to write about is three months later, they are going to forget about you. If the next thing that you want to write about is just a poorly written article, that just doesn't connect with your people anymore, your customer avatar, etc. Your audience is going to leave and not come back.
What Makes Blogging Work? Consistency
In order to make blogging work and bring in a steady stream of online income, is to realize what it takes to be successful: consistent publishing and quality content. Not only do you have to publish consistently, but you need quality over and over again.
For anyone considering this option as a way to make money online from home, just know that if you are going to do this, it should 100% be something that you are overly passionate about. You are going to have to put in a lot of work and a lot of time before you see the results ($$$). And even when you see the results, you need to maintain consistency. Make sure that if you want to blog, you're willing to have delayed gratification, putting in the work first.
For a detailed guide on how to start a blog, check out Neil Patel’s article here.
#3: Teaching Online Courses
Teaching is an industry that will not die anytime soon. These days, you can even teach English online through Skype for money! Online courses are becoming more and more popular, and the topics are endless.
If you can teach others, there’s plenty of money to be made through online courses and classes.
Teaching Topics to Consider:
How to build a website, how to start a podcast, how to speak English fluently, how to become a better writer, how to travel the world cheaply, how to play guitar, how to lose weight, etc.
The topics are endless! If you can teach others, there’s plenty of money to be made through online courses and classes.
Ever wonder why college is so expensive? I surely don’t know the answer, but I know for a fact that I’ve learned more from a few months digging online than I did in my entire four years at college. That’s the reason I have no problem paying for courses and investing in my education.
Learning online is a market worth over $107 billion dollars, and it’s growing at around 9%. There are plenty of opportunities to make money teaching something online.
Teaching is the main aspect here at Drop Ship Lifestyle. I started the company in 2013 and now we have over 10,000 students from over 50 different countries. We have over 600,000 people on our email lists and even Shopify has recognized us as the “Best eCommerce Course”.
Reach People in a Massive Way
Clearly, online courses can be a massive way to reach people. And this is where I have a ton of experience in addition to eCommerce. One of the pros of selling courses is that you get paid to help people. People sign up for online courses because they are wanting to learn something from the individual leading the program.
The next biggest upside to making money with online courses is you can make money off your passion.
Take for example, my company, Drop Ship Lifestyle. I love eCommerce, and I loved eCommerce years before I started creating online courses. It’s what I read about, talk about, dream about, etc, etc. By having online eCommerce courses, I can spend even more time (and add another revenue stream to my businesses) just by teaching people something I am passionate about: eCommerce.
Endless Possibilities to Teach Your Passion
When it comes to course creation, whatever you are passionate about (fitness, motorcycles, Facebook, life advice, etc.) there’s a good chance there is the potential to easily create an online course and make money online. The hard part will be marketing the course…
That’s one of the cons to creating an income from online courses. Not only do you have to create (and continue to update/upgrade) quality content, but you have to get people to buy it. It’s certainly not as easy as taking the knowledge, making the course, and waiting for people to show up.
If you build an online course, that does not mean they just will come. You have to get people to find you. And that requires becoming an excellent marketer.
Creating an online course is one of the best ways to make money online. Better still, it's a way to make a scalable income. Instead of having to work on one project at a time, you can create one course that is updated periodically.
How to Sell Online Courses
But there are a number of great business models for selling online courses.
Two of the most popular options are SkillShare and Udemy. Just know that if you go with either one of these platforms, you are going to be earning a lot less revenue. You’ll have to share your sales and the course with that platform.
If you do choose to pursue a path making money creating online courses, put in the work and build your own. That way you get to keep all of the money and you could charge whatever your course is worth. You won’t be competing with a bunch of people from around the world that might not even have a quality product at all.
#4: Coaching and Consulting
Rather than simply teaching and providing information, you can take it a step further and make money online offering coaching and consulting services. With Skype, FaceTime, and the hundreds of other applications that make calls across the world easy, there’s never been a better time to run your consulting practice online.
Coaching and consulting have been around for awhile— mostly done offline. But these days, technology makes it very easy to take those same business models online to earn extra income.
Here are a few examples of using technology in the consulting world:
When I say coaching and consulting, this could literally be on anything in the world. You know, you could be a personal trainer that does this online. You could be a nutritionist, or you could be a business consultant. You could help people outsource their businesses. You could be a web design consultant. You could even be a marriage counselor… Literally you can consult on anything people need coaching on.
Some other ways to make money online with consulting: business consulting, confidence coaching, PPC consulting, personal development coaching, confidence coaching, presentation coaching, relationship coaching, career consulting, etc.
There Has Never Been a Better Time to Take Consulting Online!
My friend Christopher Browning makes a great living doing business and confidence coaching (for those of you who came to the annual Drop Ship Lifestyle 2015 Retreat in Krabi, Thailand, you probably remember his inspiring presentation).
I also know a few SEO consultants that make a great living. You could even run a law coaching practice online if you wanted to! There’s never been a better time to run your consulting practice online.
Considering I have actually done this business model in the past, I can say the biggest benefit of making money online by coaching is how rewarding it is. With coaching and consulting— the people that work with you, that pay you for your time, especially if it's a small group setting or one-on-one— are going to be passionate about what you have to say and they are going to be there for a reason. They are going to be showing up for your calls because they are paying you. They want what it is you have to give.
When you see direct results and correlation between your coaching and your students’ success, it is extremely rewarding. If this is what you want out of life, then this way to earn an online income could be very, very beneficial for your wallet and your peace of mind.
Getting Started with Consulting Online
To be a consultant, you’ll need to build a website and have a way to invoice people. So there’s not much barrier to entry.
Just know that the cons are that obviously if you're going to do this and be successful, you should be an expert. You need credibility in your field. If people are going to work with you, they want to see that you actually are legit.
As a consultant, time is money. This can have drawbacks if you're not prepared.
When I first started some of my online courses which we'll cover in a little bit, I was actually offering coaching and consulting-- and people were signing up and it was great. It was extremely rewarding, but then I realized I just can't keep doing this and hope to scale. I'd rather spend time on other activities and enjoying life because the amount of people that want me coaching isn't scalable. If you're just starting out trying to make money online, this is something important to keep in mind.
Looking for more tips on becoming a consultant? Click here to learn more.
#5: Write eBooks
“But, I thought writers were broke?”
Truthfully, most are. But the writers who realize that self-publishing on Amazon is a booming industry aren’t penny-pinching at all.
Writing a book takes a lot of time and effort, but once your book is done— if you market it correctly— it can make money for years to come. Even if you don’t want to self-publish on Amazon, you can still make money off of your book, assuming you know how to market it.
Great Option for Earning a Passive Income
Don’t think there’s opportunity with writing? Just ask Mike Fishbein, who used to be your average blogger. In under three years, he published over fourteen books on Amazon, including four best sellers.
I’m not a fan of the term “passive income”. Usually I say, “semi-passive” meaning you have to do a little bit of work. But writing and publishing eBooks is about as passive as it gets. Once the book is done there really isn’t much to do besides wait for the money to come in. That definitely makes it a huge benefit to making money online if you don’t want to deal with marketing or customers.
The con, however, is there is usually a low margin per sale. If you want to sell eBooks passively, sell through Amazon Direct Publishing. You’ll just upload a PDF of a book you write, and after that, Amazon will do the work and publish it.
In 2023, Amazon has more than 200 million paid Prime members globally, making it one of the leading online retail platforms worldwide. Millions of those customers browse for books on kindle.
Should they find your book, they can order it, leaving all the selling and marketing to Amazon. Then, you’ll be paid by them every two weeks, over and over again for all the eBooks you have written.
You can write as many eBooks as you want, plenty of writers do. The successful authors have dozens or hundreds of books.
Interested in writing ebooks? Check out Tim Ferriss’ post: “How to make $1,000,000 selling ebooks.”
#6: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a simple way to make money online by selling other people’s products. A lot of businesses also have an affiliate program (even Amazon), so if you’re able to find customers for their products, you’ll get a piece of the profit.
The most common way to succeed in affiliate marketing is by creating a niche site focusing on one topic. Once you do that, it’ll be easier to sell products that relate to the content on your site. If you run a site about deep water fishing, you can sell fishing equipment to your visitors.
How Can You Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing?
The way affiliate marketing works is pretty simple. Take my company, Drop Ship Lifestyle; if someone is an affiliate for us (it’s members only, so you have to be a student of the course), every time someone buys one of our courses, we pay a $300 commission to the referring affiliate.
Let's say you want to promote Drop Ship Lifestyle as an affiliate. You can make videos on YouTube talking about your experience with Drop Ship Lifestyle or a members area tour of Drop Ship Lifestyle or some bonus content for Drop Ship Lifestyle.
Then you post your affiliate link in the description. People click that. They go and sign up. You earn your commission automatically. And I'm giving the example because this is the Drop Ship Lifestyle blog, but this process is true with anything with affiliate marketing.
Some Niche Site Ideas: pet care, fitness, gluten free living, health & beauty, boats, makeup, 3D printing, martial arts, travel, and WAY MORE.
Very Low Startup Cost is a Huge Benefit!
If you follow my blog, you’ll know we’ve talked a lot about affiliate marketing. A great upside to making money online this way, is the startup cost is very low. You don’t need to put up a ton of cash to get started making money online.
With any business, there are ways you can get started putting a lot of money down upfront. There are also ways to start an online business that don’t cost much. With the affiliate marketing business model, the startup costs are low, but you will be relying on organic traffic. Some affiliate marketers rely too heavily on paid traffic, which will quickly eat into your profits. Put work into your search engine optimization (SEO). It will pay off in the long run.
You’ll need Google to send people to your site or YouTube account (I highly recommend the latter). YouTube is going to recommend videos to people, and you want the platform to feature your videos to people interested in the product you’re selling.
To learn more about affiliate marketing and how it works, check out this epic post by Authority Hacker.
#7: Creating a Membership Site
If you enjoy bringing people together but don’t enjoy being in the spotlight, then a membership site may be how you make money online. Membership sites have existed long before the internet in the form of fitness centers, newspaper subscriptions, religious organizations, and more. People are more than happy to pay for exclusive access, especially if you can provide value in return.
Now if you're wondering what the difference is between a membership site and an online course, I’ll explain. When I’m talking about online courses, I'm talking about things you pay for one time . With membership sites, you are paying for access to the membership— sort of like a gym versus a set of fitness DVDs.
TIP: If you're trying to decide between making money online with a membership site or an online course, remember one requires regular updating, and the other you must constantly provide new value.
So there are definitely pros and cons like everything on this list of ways to make money online. And the pros with creating a membership site is that you have a recurring revenue. While nothing is guaranteed, you can have a close idea to how much money you will make in the next few months.
With Membership Sites, There is Plenty of Upkeep
However, anytime in life, when someone is paying every month, they are going to expect something great in return. If you decided to create a membership site that was based around fitness training course, why would they pay again next month if they got the training they wanted out of it in the first month? That amount of upkeep is one of the big cons to making money online with membership sites.
Some membership sites charge monthly, quarterly, or annually. Which can be a nice recurring business model to enjoy. In this day and age, who you know matters more than what you know. That makes paid communities a great way to surround yourself with rock stars from all over the globe. Plus, most communities include a forum or some sort of group where the members can interact and answer each other’s questions.
Benefits of Joining a Membership Site
With membership sites, there needs to be that hook, that thing that keeps them. I’ll give you some examples of people that do this well. Besides DSL, I’m part of a few other online communities, like the Dynamite Circle from a lifestyle entrepreneurship podcast called Tropical MBA. What members get when they pay the $70 monthly fee is access to the ‘Circle’. This is a valuable forum where we can all connect with other listeners.
But that's not the only benefit of paying for access to Tropical MBA’s membership site. There is also all these other benefits. There's live events that happen three times a year and monthly local meet-ups. It makes sense to have a monthly fee because the members are getting something new every month.
The community is a vital component of our business here at Drop Ship Lifestyle. We have created a group of like minded entrepreneurs from all over the world and brought them together. The value in the community is infinite: connections are made, lifelong friendships are established, and business partnerships start.
#8: Creating Sponsored Content
If you have a website that gets a ton of traffic, you’ll be able to make money with advertisements. How much money you make online depends on you. As long as you have an audience, you can get paid to advertise on many platforms. Examples of these platforms include Instagram, YouTube, your podcast, and many more.
If you’re not sure how ad revenue online works, think of the internet like a giant highway system. If your road (website) gets a lot of cars driving by, you’ll be able to put up a billboard and charge a nice amount for it.
This doesn’t only count for your website, though. As long as you have an audience, you can get paid to advertise on many platforms. In the past year, John Lee Dumas made over $50,000 a month selling sponsorships on his podcast.
Creating sponsored content is an excellent way to make money online. Basically, you are getting paid to create. If you enjoy blogging, having conversations on podcasts, or making videos, you can sell advertising space. The more you create and promote, the more money you’ll make.
You Need a Following Before the Money Comes in
But there is something huge missing from that equation: if you are going to earn an online income from creating sponsored content, you need a following— preferably a big one. The amount of money you make is directly correlated with how many people are going to read, listen, and watch and engage with that content.
Remember, you need a following before the money starts to roll in. So just like with some of these other ways to earn an income online, they are not instantly getting money. Later, we will talk about which ones you can start doing to make money online now.Looking to sell ads? Check out this guide to ad sales here.
#9: Buying and Flipping Websites
Buying and selling websites is becoming more and more common. As investors are looking for ways to diversify their portfolio, some are looking to invest in websites instead of pouring all of their money into the stock market. If you’ve got some capital saved up, you could buy existing sites in hopes of reselling them for a profit. This is more of an investor’s play, but it’s possible to make a nice living while only connecting to Wi-Fi.
Empire Flippers is a prime example of how this works. They act as a marketplace, buying and selling websites while keeping a percentage of every sale. Essentially, they’re a middleman, connecting buyers and sellers across the world.
Or, if you’ve got the connections, being a middleman can also bring in some big checks as long as you can connect the right people.
Flipping and selling websites, or website brokerage, works better based on experience. While one of the biggest benefits to flipping websites is the high ceiling for profit, you need to know what you’re doing. Making money from flipping websites requires a specific skill set and set of traits to be successful. There are a ton of talented people that are doing very, very well with this online business model.
Flipping Websites Requires a Certain Set of Skills
One of the barriers to entry to website brokerage is the advanced skill set required to enter into the field. You need to have experience improving online businesses and optimizing websites. You also need to be a good negotiator.
And you need to be a deal hunter. A successful flipper doesn’t jump at the first website they see that fits their budget; that’s the worst thing you can do. People that do this the right way spend their working hours looking at deals.
If you are going to work towards earning a good income online flipping websites, don’t jump at the first website that catches your eye. Wait, and keep your eye out for that great deal with huge potential.
The Vetting Process
When it comes to buying websites, there’s a vetting process one should go through. On some website marketplace sites like Flippa, there are websites for sale that are legit, but sometimes people inflate their numbers. If you find a site that’s super low priced, it could usually mean you are not getting much of anything great.
Sometimes you can find real gems on the website marketplaces. Just like when people inflate their numbers, some online business owners under price their site. They do this because they don’t know what it’s really worth.
It’s definitely possible to make money with sites like Flippa, but the one we recommend to our members is Empire Flippers. My friends have had great success both selling and buying websites using this company. Empire Flippers also has a solid vetting process and website marketplace.
If you find a website that is a good deal for you, consider buying it. Then put time into your new site, make it earn more money, and sell it for more.
#10: Online Gambling
So I’m sure you weren’t expecting something like this on a list of how to make money online, but Option #10 proves that the possibilities are endless these days if you’re looking for ways to make money online.
Online betting is not the top recommendation for creating an income online. It’s actually the worst.
Online poker is fun. You get to play games for money! I even know a few people that make a lot of money playing online poker. But obviously, I had to list it because it’s interesting to think about. Obviously, there are a few drawbacks to making an income from online gambling. It’s highly addictive, whether you’re good or not. And if you’re not good, you can lose everything very quickly.
But hey, if you’re a gambler, have fun with it. You might as well try. Before you do, make sure to look up the legalities of online gambling. In many countries it is illegal!
#11: Drop Shipping
Last, but certainly not least, we have one of my personal favorite ways to make money online: eCommerce Drop Shipping (we’re a little biased here!).
When done correctly, eCommerce is the perfect lifestyle business and a great way to make a living online. You can sell products online, make a healthy profit, and never carry inventory…and the ceiling is higher than you can imagine.
Drop shipping is the most automated of these 11 ways to make money online. It works like this:
Step 1 You list the supplier’s product on your store for customers to buy.
Step 2 The customer purchases something from your eCommerce store.
Step 3 You order that same exact item that the customer paid for from your supplier.
Step 4 Your drop shipping supplier ships this item directly to your customer. So your customer receives the item that they’ve ordered from you.
My favorite benefit of making money drop shipping, is it’s scalable. You could build as many stores or list as many products as you want. You can run as much paid and organic traffic as you want.
Remember, I don't like the word passive. I don't like the word automated. But I'm comfortable saying semi-automated– where using different software and tools help you run a pretty profitable business that isn't taking all the time in the world. So that's a huge benefit of dropshipping.
Just Like Any Business, It Takes Time to Build Something Real
One of the cons to drop shipping is like any business, it takes time to build something real.
If you’re thinking about going the drop shipping route, know that you are going be putting in the hours up front. Like many of these other ways to make money online, you are going to have that delayed gratification. You put in the work before the money starts coming. It’s that simple.
Drop shipping is not a “get rich overnight” way to make money online. And it’s not going to be a push button system. We’re in this for the long-haul. I always remind my Drop Ship Lifestyle members that this is a business and to expect to put in the time before you see the money.
Drop shipping is a pretty hands-off method of selling products online. Instead of keeping inventory, we establish real relationships with real brands. The suppliers of those brands keep inventory for us and ship those products for us.
And the truth is, it’s pretty easy for someone to make $1,000 a month with drop shipping. Especially if they're selling expensive products...
With drop shipping, the average profit margin is around 20% after paying all of your costs.
When it comes down to it though, it takes about the same amount of effort to drop ship a $10 dollar product as it does a $1,000 one, the major difference is you make less per sale. See the table below to see how much more profit you make from selling expensive products compared to cheap items.
This is one of the reasons why I teach high ticket drop shipping, or drop shipping products that are expensive (at least $200). I believe high ticket drop shipping is definitely a proven business model for making money online.
If you are looking for the quickest path to get money right away, freelancing your skills would be your best bet. However, if you’re looking to create long-term income from an online business, drop shipping is the way to go.
So…Are You Ready To Make Money Online?
But now that you’re all excited, let me admit that starting a business and making money online is not easy. It’s not. No matter what people tell you, it’s still difficult.
Starting your own venture comes with pain, uncertainty, a learning curve, time investment, and of course, the risk.
For some odd reason, most people today are convinced that starting a business or trying to make money online includes so much more risk than any other job opportunity. What they fail to realize is that starting your own business actually minimizes risk.
How? Because you’re in control. “Jobs” as our parents knew it to be are dead. Entrepreneurship and making money online is what’s alive.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of having one boss that controls my financial destiny scares the living crap out of me. Given today’s economy, nothing is guaranteed.
Being an entrepreneur or freelancer is not about taking risks. It’s about eliminating and controlling risk.
The good news is that you are in control. The bad news? You have to take action.