There are numerous methods of making money online, but we’ll be focusing on just 7 popular methods below. It is also important to note that none of these methods are passive. They all require hard work and consistent effort to be sustainable.
METHOD-1: AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online, even as a side income and it’s a very simple concept. This is effectively a business model where you act as a sales person in order to earn commission and by selling digital products, you can often stand to make up to 70% of the profit!
But how does it really work? Is it water-tight? Do you always get the money you’re owed? And how are the creators benefiting from giving away such a big slice of the pie? Let’s take a closer look at affiliate marketing and precisely how it works…
How It Works
Affiliate marketing essentially works via cookies. Marketers (that’s you) are given a unique referrer URL that they can use to send potential customers to a seller’s website. When they click that URL, they are briefly redirected to another site, where a cookie will be stored on their computer via their browser. This cookie will then inform the seller that you were the one who sent them and that in turn will ensure that you make a profit and money will be credited to an account you have with that site.
Why are creators willing to give away such a large share of their profit? It is because they want to attract more marketers. Consider that they don’t lose anything by giving away profit share. They are still making just as much money from their own direct sales and so anything sold by you or another affiliate is all going to be money on top. The more marketers they get promoting their product, the more money they can make!
Can Affiliate Links Go Wrong?
Right away, this means there are some ways that you might refer a seller and not get paid. For example, if you have a visitor whose cookies are turned off, perhaps because they’re browsing in private mode, then there will be no way to track their movements on the web.
Likewise, depending on the nature of the affiliate program, you may lose your commission after a certain amount of time. If a visitor lands on your page, clicks the link, goes away and then comes back then you will only earn money from that referral depending on how long the cookie is set to last (this varies from cookie to cookie).
Likewise, you might lose the commission if the user clicks on the URL of another referrer after you, or if they had clicked on that link before they clicked on yours. Again, this depends on the nature of said cookie, which will be set by the brand owner. They can decide to use a ‘first in’ policy, or have the cookie overwritten by each successive referrer.
These are things to look into before accepting the product as something you want to promote. And finally, you might want to consider ‘link cloaking’ to avoid people from bypassing your link entirely!
It is fair to say that affiliate marketing is not an easy business model to make a lot of money. You will need to work on it consistently, driving traffic, building your list and engaging your list. It’s hard work and it is repetitive work.
METHOD-2: eCOMMERCE / DROP-SHIPPING
Selling Products via an eCommerce Storefront
If you decide to open an online store to sell some products, this is what it will entail…
- A suitable domain name for your online store
- A webhosting account to host your website
- Shopping Cart and Payment Processing + SSL Certificate
- Web design services to design your website
- Sales funnel for your website – 3rd party services
- Lead magnet to build an email list
- Autoresponder service to handle your email marketing
- Stock handling and possibly warehousing / other forms of storage
- Customer support services
- Order fulfilment – shipping – possible refunds
- Advertising campaigns to drive targeted traffic to your website
ALL THE ABOVE cost money, especially if you have no technical skills yourself. Sounds like a lot of hard work and a risky endeavour? You bet! This business model is by no means a stroll in the park. If you do not have sufficient cash flow to sustain, you may not even make any sales!
The alternative is to jump onto one of several established drop-shipping platforms such as AliExpress or Amazon’s FBA. You can start selling on these established platforms very quickly.
With Amazon FBA…
- No need to worry about setting up your own website
- No need to worry about warehousing infrastructure
- No need to worry about payment processing / refunds
- No need to worry about driving traffic
- You just need to pay a commission for all the convenience
Other drop-shipping platforms have a different model to Amazon FBA. With most of the others…
- You still need your own website
- You still need your own payment processing
- BUT you will never likely ever see the goods – they are handled by the drop-shipper on your behalf AFTER you have received an order
METHOD-3: CREATE A DIGITAL PRODUCT
If you have a specific passion about something that you have expert knowledge on, you could create your own digital product in the form of an eBook that can then be sold via an affiliate network.
This approach will give you maximum profit as you will be able to leverage on the huge number of affiliates on those affiliate networks to promote your eBook for you in exchange for a handsome commission of usually 50% when they bring you a sale.
If you have programming skills, you could create an app or some other software as your digital product and offer it to be sold via affiliate networks as well.
Another approach is to offer your digital product (usually an eBook or video course) as a PLR product whereby customers are granted certain resell and editing rights to the product when they purchase a copy from you.
In a similar fashion, you could also purchase a PLR product with full rights and then edit it to your liking and then putting your name and brand on the product as if you had created it – all perfectly legal and saves time and money trying to create your own product. The only drawback is that there will be many others with similar PLR rights to the same product, so the uniqueness factor will be somewhat diminished.
However, by doing some creative editing and changing the eBook cover design and even the title, you can easily make it your own if you wanted to. It just requires some effort.
METHOD-4: FREELANCING ONLINE
Depending on your skill set, you can look for freelance work online from one of the following highly active and popular freelance sites:
- Upwork – probably the largest freelance job site out there (it was a merger between oDesk and Elance). Upwork takes a commission of what you earn. There are no shortage of work at Upwork!
- Fiverr – a very popular site where people go looking to outsource a task they can’t do to those who can do for as low as $5! If you offer a Gig that is popular, you could make a decent income from it.
- Freelancer – plenty of demand from companies all over the world to get jobs done for them from graphics design to complex SEO services and project development.
- Guru – boasting over 3 million freelancers who have been paid over $250 million, this freelance job site is proof that jobs galore and demand is high.
- We Work Remotely – offers a variety of freelance jobs including design, programming, customer support, sales and marketing, and many more!
There are many more sites but the above will give you a head start if you are looking to freelance online to generate some side income. In some cases, freelancers have been able to earn steady income from offering their professional services – but you have to be really good at what you do to achieve that.
In order to make any money online with blogging, you must be passionate about something that you can write about on a daily basis. Blogging is all about content and by focusing your content on a specific niche, in time, you will establish your blog as an authority on the subject matter you blog about.
You can monetize your blog via Google AdSense and this will take time to achieve an income worth shouting about. Typically it would take anything between 6 to 12 months for you to build up a respectable amount of traffic if you have good SEO.
Depending on what your blog is about, you can then look for products that you can become an affiliate for and insert your affiliate links within your blog content and when a reader clicks the link and makes a purchase, you earn affiliate commissions.
Blogging is hard work and requires consistency. Instead of writing, you can also mix your blog posts with video posts, often called vlogs or video blogs. If you get good at it you can have a huge following as most people find it easier and more convenient to watch and listen then to read.
Most successful bloggers or vloggers offer a lead magnet on their blog to capture leads to build up an email list. A big list can be like your personal ATM when your list subscribers make a purchase based on your recommendation whenever you send out an offer.
YouTube belongs to Google and to monetize your YouTube videos, you will need to create your own YouTube Channel and link that to a Google AdSense account.
Most people think that as long as their video goes viral and millions of people view it, they will earn a tonne of money. That is not the case!
You earn not on the number of views you have received but on the actual number of viewer engagement with an ad that was served when your video was viewed. And what does ‘engagement’ mean? Engagement means that the viewer either viewed the ad for at least 30 seconds or the viewer clicked the ad – that’s engagement. If none of that happened, you earn nothing!
Before you even consider quitting your full time job to become a YouTube star, make sure you fully understand what it will take to actually achieve that star status. Do not kid yourself by imagining that you can do it all with just your SmartPhone. You will probably need…
- A decent video camera
- Decent audio equipment
- Editing software OR outsource to professional editors
It will require an initial investment and you will need to build up your subscriber base and have the minimum traffic before you can even qualify to be on the YouTube Partner program. Some successful YouTubers are creating like 20 videos a week! Are you ready for that level of commitment?
METHOD-7: WEBINAR TRAINING / TEACHING ONLINE
If you have expert knowledge about any subject matter, there are plenty of opportunities to make money online by either teaching others what you know on a on-on-one basis or hold webinar training for small groups of people at a time no matter where they are in the world.
One-on-one teaching of languages, be it English, Chinese or Spanish, is the easiest way to start earning some money online. You will need to look for some sites that offer online teaching and register with them. The site then finds students for you and for their service, they will deduct a percentage of your earnings. You can negotiate to teach as much or as little as you want and on time schedules that suit you. A fulltime English teacher can earn as much as $3,000 a month!
If you are a professional internet marketer or social media marketing expert, you can offer online training via regular scheduled webinars. You will need to sign up for one of the webinar hosting service providers so there will be an associated upfront cost but the upside can be tremendous especially in a popular and high demand sector like internet or social media marketing.
With webinars there is no middle-man. You just pay for the webinar hosting platform’s service and you charge your attendees whatever you like and you keep 100% of the revenue generated from each webinar. To be successful, you’ll obviously need to know your stuff. You cannot bluff your way through it.