If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
Do you have a ton of followers on your personal Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media? You can leverage those followers into cash dollars. “Influencer Marketing” is becoming really popular these days as brands are looking for more authentic ways to connect with their target audience. Check out this (free) Step-By-Step Guide To Becoming An Influencer In Your Industry.
Become a freelance photographer and sell photos online. If you have a nice DSLR camera and take good photos, do photography sessions or take photos of events, like parties and weddings. As another option, create fine art photos that people may want to hang on their walls, or take stock photos to sell online on sites like iStock Photo, Shutterstock, or Alamy.[15]
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with my guide to launching a freelance (consulting) business and then use my breakdown of crafting an effective cold email to convince local small business owners to hire you.
Furthermore, carefully consider your likely attendees, and what schedule would be attractive to them. For example, if you’re planning on teaching a tutoring class, you obviously couldn’t schedule it during school hours. Likewise, a class aimed at mothers of young children will either have to include babysitting services or be scheduled at night, when they’re more likely to have help with the kids. Find the delicate balance of times that fit your prospective students’ schedules as well as your own.
Your Price. When establishing a price for your classes, start by calling around and finding out what other choices your clients have. If you plan to offer cooking classes, call some commercial establishments and other in-home teachers. Compare your own talent and experience to what they’re offering, and set a price accordingly. You should always come in a little lower than classes offered by commercial establishments as that will be one of your selling points: expert information for less money.
Everyone says you're a fantastic writer, so isn't it about time you got paid? According to Durst, Good writing is in demand, especially for online content. Good freelance writing websites to find job listings include JournalismJobs.com, upwork.com, and MediaBistro.com. If you have experience as a copy editor, writer, or proofreader, go to editfast.com to find freelance opportunities in these areas. Rates average at $32, $28, and $26 an hour for remote writing, editing, and proofreading jobs, respectively.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable? What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
If you're savvy with computers and coding, you may be able to charge $50 or more per hour helping businesses with their websites. You may actually create a corporate website, arranging it to work efficiently, building databases, and designing the site structure. More specifically, for example, you might build a page that collects information from site visitors, enters it into a database, and then sends a communication to the visitors.

Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Most of us are guilty of hanging onto things that we never use, myself included. Take a day and go through all your old stuff and get rid of some of it! One tool that is really helpful for this is Decluttr. You can enter the number on your item’s barcode [into their valuation engine] and they’ll give you an instant offer. Then you simply pack all your items into a box and ship them off for free.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Note: There are dozens of other survey sites out there. These just happen to be the more well-known ones that have a reputation for paying out in a timely manner and having reasonable standards for cashing out. As always, be careful with your personal information. We recommend using an entirely separate email address for survey sites so they don’t clutter your inbox.
Having your own site to sell gently used handbags is probably going to be a really, really difficult endeavor for what its worth. It will be hard to get enough eyeballs/visitors on those bags to generate enough sales to make you any meaningful income (it’s an incredibly small niche and almost too specific in nature). Not to deter you from the idea completely but you’ll need to commit to several years of patience to really hit a home run in that field.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Selena Maranjian owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Etsy, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and Uber Technologies and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $18 calls on eBay and short January 2020 $39 calls on eBay. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you’re looking to build a new career online or test your way into launching a small business, the first ten ways we just ran through are some of the best, long-term plays for making money online. However, for a lot of people (myself included), you probably want to find other, quick online business opportunities where you can start seeing a return faster.

One of the simplest ways you can make money on the side with a full-time job is to become a Neilsen panelist. “By participating in Nielsen research, you can improve products and services you use online today. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel combines your unique internet usage with people like you to build a picture of internet behavior,” according to the company’s website.
Dosh: An up-and-comer among cash back apps, Dosh is quickly earning a reputation for offering some of the strongest cash back offers in the space. Pay with your linked card at 1,000s of stores and restaurants, and get up to 10% cash back automatically in your Dosh Wallet (in addition to a $10 sign up bonus). Refer your friends to Dosh and get $5 for each one who signs up and links a verified card.
If you have “extra” money sitting around or want to get serious about building wealth for later in life, consider investing it in the stock market with Ally Bank (whose investing branch is included on our list of best investment apps). If you don’t have immediate debts and aren’t currently living paycheck to paycheck, investing can be a powerful tool for generating passive returns.
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