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. You can even get hired as a consultant by putting your work online and publishing helpful content (take my roundup of honest Bluehost reviews as an example) and prospective clients will want to hire you for more personalized help if they like what they see.
Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest blogging on relevant sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
Jumping into the field is relatively simple. Most prospective transcriptionists start by taking an online transcription course that teaches them the skills necessary to perform common job duties. Companies, such as Transcribe Anywhere, offer classes that teach students the basics of general, medical, or legal transcription, and just as importantly, how they can go about finding clients for work.
For an easier online business idea that doesn’t require background knowledge or experience—other than the ability to type quickly—you might consider transcription. Offering transcription services online can take many forms: you can transcribe audio interviews for reporters, create captions for TV shows and video, or develop transcripted versions of podcasts.
It can take time to build up your personal freelance business. Yet, there is more demand than ever for freelancers. So, if you want to kick start making money online through freelancing you can join one of the top freelance networks, such as Flexjobs, SolidGigs, Contena, Upwork, Fiverr, or PeoplePerHour. Sign up, build your profile, upload some samples of your work and start making extra money by doing small freelance jobs.
People often need help planning events, from birthdays to graduations. Do you enjoy making plans and working with people? Party planner may be an ideal job for home, although you may have to meet with clients at event locations occasionally. As a party planner you make sure that the events are memorable. This is a great home-based business idea for anyone who is detail oriented.
Editing comes in many shapes and sizes, from copyediting a company’s marketing materials to proofreading novels to indexing academic manuscripts. As long as you’ve got a sharp eye for detail, a strong grasp of grammar, and a willingness to get in the weeds, then editing could be a great business idea if you’re interested in working when and how you want.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look at how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you’re using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
But hope remains. As shelter-in-place restrictions keep most nonessential workers home, opportunities for remote work have been growing. Brie Reynolds, career development manager for FlexJobs — an online job market specializing in flexible and remote work — says the site saw a 4 percent increase in remote job listings in March, compared with February. Plus, with so many jobs shifting home, any stigma against employing remote workers is easing. “Overall, companies seem to be pleasantly surprised at how well remote work is working for them,” Reynolds says. “So that's great. It is providing good solutions right now.”
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Starting a business in this field will require some experience, but as long as there is anxiety, there will be a market for coaching people to create and deliver presentations. Invest in video equipment or use a smartphone to record students as part of the coaching process. If you have a background in radio or TV or specific experience in high-profile public speaking, all the better.
Many of the positions are academically oriented, particularly in teaching, though they offer many other opportunities. These include general management and administration, sales and marketing, technology, operations and customer service, finance and business intelligence. They even offer creative positions, designing the learning experience. Subcategories include branding, graphic and interactive design, campaigns, user experience, and video and animation.
Step back from the full-time grind and try offering your knowledge and skills as an independent consultant. This can be a particularly attractive move for pre-retirees in a variety of industries hoping to ease into retirement, as it lets you trim back your hours as you see fit but maintain your senior-level pay rate if you stick with your area of expertise. You might even be able to talk to your current employer about transitioning a full-time position into a contract role. Otherwise, a number of online job boards — such as Upwork and FlexJobs — and staffing agencies — such as Wahve (which specializes in working with pre-retirees) and Robert Half — can help connect you with clients.
Need more ideas on how to make money online? Another strategy is using webinars to market your product, service, or course. I’ve done webinars to promote my financial planning practice and to drum up interest in my online course for financial advisors. With a webinar, you’re basically offering a lot of tips and advice for free — usually in a live format. At the end though, you pitch your paid product or service with the goal of securing a few deals.
So many people dream of learning how to write an eBook, but never go through with it. Yet no matter what, I’m sure you have experience and value you could give through writing a book. By packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that helps people learn a skill, advance their careers, or start a businesses, you can change someone’s life and even make good money online. You’ll just need to employ an easy tool like Sellfy in order to quickly sell PDF files (like an eBook) to your readers.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Keep in mind though, you don’t need a website to do sponsored content since you can also get paid if you have a lot of social media followers. My wife has a pretty big Instagram following, and she gets all kinds of sponsorships. Not only does she get paid in cash, but we get a lot of free stuff, too. We’ve received free rugs, free lights, and free carpet cleaners. She only promotes things she loves though, so this strategy works really well for her.
One of the cool things about Google AdSense is that it's so easy to get set up. If you have a blog or website, you can sign up for a free Google AdSense Account. From there, Google will give you a unique code that you will paste onto your website. Google takes it from there, tracking your page views, traffic, and earnings on your behalf. There is no upkeep or maintenance to get this thing going, which makes it a no-brainer if you have a website already.
When it comes to organic search keywords, there is sheer value at the top. Considering that roughly 40 percent of people click on the first search results and that the first page accounts for some 91 percent of the search share, appear organically at the top of Google's Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is something that is lusted and longed for by the world's foremost online marketers.
If company blog posts aren’t your style, then you might consider writing and publishing ebooks instead. With Amazon and other websites around, self-publishing has never been easier than it is today. If you think you’ve got something interesting, useful, and worthwhile to say—and if you believe other people will think so, too—then writing ebooks could become a lucrative business.
We don’t manufacture as much in America as we used to, but the phrase “American made” still means a lot to some people. Artisanal items are also popular, making now a great time to start a furniture-making business. This might not be the easiest idea to start from scratch, but if you already own the equipment you need, you can start producing pieces to sell at fairs and online on sites such as Etsy.
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark used Facebook groups to develop and nurture a community around their podcast, My Favorite Murder. This group of Murderinos, armchair investigators who are true crime fans, grew to more than 200,000 members before the podcast sunset in 2018. My Favorite Murder then created its own paid community, the Fan Cult forum, charging members an annual fee. Capitalizing even more on its fandom, My Favorite Murder also launched an ecommerce site with branded merchandise (it also sold event tickets there).