This topic is near and dear to my heart. I spent years trying to fight my way out of the corporate world and into a situation where I was free to create my own income sufficient to support my family. I became restless and frustrated with missing out on family events, or significant moments in my children’s lives because of my job. Frankly, I put a significant amount of time and effort into my job and received very little in return. I felt that through all of my effort, I should be receiving more. My hard work shouldn’t be lining someone else’s pocket – so I set out to find a better way.
Maybe you’re looking for ways to generate a decent side income that doesn’t demand a lot of your time. Maybe you’re interested in building an online business that will sustain you for years to come. Regardless of your intent, there is real opportunity out there to generate income from online sources. You just have to know where to look. Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried a number of techniques and strategies to generate income. Some have worked well, while others were a colossal waste of time. In large part, the success of any online venture depends on you and your interest. In an effort to save you some time, I’ve collected a small list of the most lucrative strategies for generating a sustainable online income and shared them below.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
Investment Required: $50-$100
Earning Potential: $1-$10k/mo.
Affiliate Marketing is widely accepted as the most effective online money-making strategy available. More people have been successful utilizing this method than any other method on the internet. The concept is fairly simple – generate commissions through the promotion of a product or service utilizing your blog, website, or social media accounts. Understand, however, that the key to success through affiliate marketing is not through the mindless promotion of random products (otherwise known as spamming). There are thousands of affiliate programs out there, and you can easily become one of the most hated people on the internet by soliciting everyone humanly possible by promoting them. There is a subtle art to becoming successful in this practice, so you don’t want to jump into this without the appropriate understanding of it.
There is a boat-load of info and training on how to become an affiliate marketer out there. Some of it is really good, some of it – not so much. Here’s a couple of really good and inexpensive affiliate marketing training programs that I have completed. I strongly recommend you complete at least one of these training programs before jumping into affiliate marketing. They give you a very good perspective of the do’s and don’ts, as well as a strong understanding what truly works.
Affiliate Marketing Mastery 2017 – How to Create Profit Really Fast
This is a step by step training program that not only teaches you about the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, but it also gives you very detailed information on how to build and market your business, develop an email list, conduct effective market research, and drive huge, targeted traffic to your website.
The course includes 28 lectures and lasts approximately 4 hours. This course will give you a very strong foundation in affiliate marketing, as well as how to build and market your WordPress website.
Right now, there is a significant discount (90%) for this training, if you’re interested. However, it expires at the end of June – so you will need to act quick. Here is the link:
Wealthy Affiliate University
The Wealthy Affiliate University is unique in its own right. It actually has a large number of functions, beyond a simple training program. That said, the initial affiliate marketing training is free and very informative. If all you do is join Wealthy Affiliate and attend the ‘Getting Started’ course, then you will have a very good foundation to work from.
The ‘Getting Started’ course is a 10-lesson program that walks you through understanding what affiliate marketing is, how to identify what markets to choose, how to setup your website, and how to use powerful keyword research techniques. Once you’ve completed this training program, you will have the option to upgrade your account and attend the full-scale training program, which will give you very detailed training on in-depth marketing techniques, PPC advertising, social media advertising, and so on.
If you are really serious about making money through affiliate marketing, Wealthy Affiliate is the place to start. The full certification includes 5 courses and each course consists of 10 lessons. Once you’ve completed the certification course, you can choose to attend dozens of additional tutorials, trainings, and videos on industry secrets and techniques to truly give your affiliate marketing business a shot in the arm.
In addition to the training programs, Wealthy Affiliate offers a whole host of other tools and services to simplify your job. Among them are:
- Hosting service called SiteRubix, which includes multiple tools to help you monitor the performance of your site day over day.
- An extremely helpful community who are readily willing to help you build your business at every turn.
- Keyword research tools that will significantly reduce the amount of time required to discover appropriate keywords for your niche.
- Active site owners that are quick to respond if you are in need of assistance.
- Writing tools that will help you enhance the content of your site.
If you would like to get started right now, here is the link: Sign Up for Free Wealthy Affiliate Account
I’ve also completed an in-depth review of their service, which you can check out here before you join: Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam or What?
Become a Freelancer
Investment Required: $50-$100
Earning Potential: $50-$5k/mo.
Freelancing is quickly becoming one of the more popular methods for skilled professionals to earn a full-time or part-time income. It provides more flexibility and control over your work schedule and most of the time you can work from virtually anywhere. This is an attractive option, especially if you are simply looking to earn some extra money through side jobs.
On average, a full-time freelancer works an average of 36 hours per week, with average earnings of around $21/hr. ($39k/yr.). However, those averages are based on global figures, which means earning potentials can vary widely depending on what industry you’re in, or whether you are full-time or part-time.
There is a long list of different opportunities for those interested in freelance work. Below is a table of some of the most common skills that potential clients are looking for in a freelancer. This is, by no means, a complete list –
- IT, Software and Web Development Services – All types of software development are in strong demand right now, and have potentials for huge payoffs. With the strong demand for app developers, companies are turning towards freelancers for their development needs. Through this method, they are able to hire and pay for their developers on an as-needed basis. In addition, there are huge opportunities for folks with specialized skill-sets in database administration/development, data warehousing, cloud computing, computer security, computer graphics, etc. This possibilities in this industry are massive.
- Writing, Content Creation, and Copywriting – Skilled writers are in high demand in a variety of areas. The opportunities for writers vary widely, including topics such as; simple resume writing, Bid/Proposal writing, financial research papers, press releases, product descriptions, medical/technical writing, PowerPoint presentations, etc. Like software developers, writers are typically needed for a specific project – so companies tend to lean towards freelancers to do the work. There are thousands of opportunities out there, and payouts can range from $20 to $1k depending on the level of effort required.
- Media, Architecture, and Design – Opportunities include services such as video production / editing, 3D graphics design, logo design, corporate identity and branding, flyer / advertising material, interior design, photography, voice / sound production, etc.
- Marketing and Advertising – Many companies will hire professionals who have much more experience in marketing and advertising to manage their advertising campaigns. This is especially true for those who specialize in online marketing, including search engine optimization, social media marketing, Google AdWords, etc.
- Accounting and Legal Services – This includes services such as, business plan development, risk management services, legal writing, change management, finance, employment law, tax law, tax filing services, business analytics, and a variety of accounting related services.
- Translation Services – Translation services are in high demand within a range of different applications. If you are fluent in another language or two, you can easily freelance your services in written or verbal forms. Payouts for this type of service typically depend on the language, with less common languages yielding the higher payouts.
- Local Services – There is a whole host of other local freelance opportunities that are available if you have specialized skills in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, landscaping, etc. These types of jobs are generally more labor intensive and require more hands-on interaction, but there are plenty of them out there if you know where to find them.
All of the options above are available abundantly, if you know where to look. One of the most commonly used websites to help you locate freelance opportunities is freelancer.com. The basic concept of this website is to provide a resource for potential clients to post jobs (small, large, or anything in-between) and request bids from freelancers to perform the work. As of this post, there were over 11.9 million jobs available on this website ranging across all of the categories I listed above, and dozens more. If you are interested in becoming a freelancer, check out the possibilities here: Become a Freelancer
Become a Social Media Manager
Investment Required: $37
Earning Potential: $10-$7k/mo.
If you are very comfortable in the social media environment, and the idea of helping companies grow their social media accounts is enticing to you, then this opportunity may be within your wheelhouse. As a social media manager, you should have a very strong understanding of social media, be willing to interact with your client’s customers, and have strong written communication skills.
There are some good training programs and tools out there to help you grow and marketing your social media management business. Here is a link to one of the best, and most common training programs available to help you learn everything you need to know to make your business successful.
This website provides a 4-module training program that gives you all of the information you need to know in order to identify potential clients, effectively grow their accounts, and how to brand. In addition to the training, they offer a resource where you can find companies who are looking for assistance managing their social media accounts. This is a great place to start – but make sure to expand your horizons and look for other opportunities on freelance websites such as the one I discussed above.
Sell Wholesale Products Online Through Drop-Shipping
Investment Required: $67/yr.
Earning Potential: Varies widely
The reason I listed ‘varies widely’ in the earning potential category is because there are some folks who have not made anything doing this, while others have made literally millions. The earning potential largely depends on you, and how you market. However, most people do make money at this – you just have to have a good plan and an understanding of what types of products you plan to sell.
The concept of drop-shipping is fairly simple. It’s basically like having a brick-and-mortar retail store, except you don’t maintain any inventory, and you only pay for the product once someone has paid you. This is huge, because it requires no up-front investment on your part. Typically, you will work with distributors who will provide you with a catalog of products and pricing. Then, you mark those prices up and sell them to potential buyers through any number of ways including:
- An eCommerce website
- Google Store
The good news is – you don’t have to have an eCommerce website to successfully make money at this. There are plenty of ways to sell products without one.
Here’s a great resource to get you started in the drop shipping business:
SaleHoo is not only a great resource to identify thousands of potential wholesalers, but they also offer some outstanding training on effective strategies to sell your products on numerous services, how to benefit from importing & shipping, techniques for product sourcing and identifying what products sell best, how to setup your business and website, and how to prevent fraud. They also have an active forum of people who are willing to provide the necessary advice you need to get going in your business. Take a look, read through their material, then decide for yourself if drop-shipping is the right idea for you.
Write and/or Sell Kindle eBooks
Investment Required: $67
Earning Potential: $50 – $7k/mo.
If you’ve always aspired to write a book, this may be the option for you. Back in the day, writing a book was generally only one step in the process. Those process as a whole comprised of:
- Figuring out what type of book you wanted to write and what genre is belonged to
- Finding an agent/publisher willing to work with you to publish your book
- Preparing submission materials including things like a query letter, a novel synopsis, sample chapters, and a novel proposal
- Submitting your materials
Here’s the challenge – this is a very long, drawn out process that may or may not pay off. You could spend hundreds of hours locating someone willing to pay you for your work and get nowhere – especially if you aren’t already a known successful author. For most aspiring authors, this process only leads to frustration and disappointment.
The other option, which is typically much simpler and has a strong potential for a decent income, is through self-publication using Kindle. Through this method, you completely avoid all of the hassle associated with finding a publisher and getting your book on bookshelves. This also gives you the opportunity to prove the marketability of your book beforehand, which improves your chances of becoming a published author down the road, if that is your ultimate goal. However, there are plenty of authors out there making a good living by simply using Kindle.
Below is a link to a good 21 lesson training program on how to market and publish your book on Kindle. On a side note – this program also offers training on how to sell eBooks from other authors, if writing is not your cup of tea.
This is just a summary of some of the ideas that I have either experience success myself, or personally know someone who has been successful in these categories. I hope that these ideas have given you some serious things to consider. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your way.