17 IDEAS TO EARN MONEY ONLINE
We included an overall score for each online business idea based on the following factors, ranging from 1 to 5 (with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best):
1. Setup time and speed. How long will it take for this business to make money? (Think of a 1 as several years and a 5 as starting within days.) | 17 Ways to Make Money Online in 2021
2. Investment is required. How much money will be required to get the business up and running? (Think of a 1 as thousands of dollars of your own money and a 5 as practically free.) | 17 Ways to Make Money Online in 2021
3. Level of experience How much experience will you need to start the company? (Think of a 1 as having decades of experience and a 5 as having no prior experience required.)
4. Profitability. How much money can you expect to make from the business? (Think of a 1 as a few thousand dollars in side income and a 5 as a six-figure business.)
We’ll assign a weighted score to each business idea based on these factors. Remember that a higher overall score is preferable!
1. GET STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of affiliate marketing, it entails promoting someone else’s products online and earning a commission (up to 75%!) on each sale you bring them. | 17 Ways to Make Money Online in 2021
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic opportunity because you don’t need a large staff, a lot of capital, or even a product idea! All you need is a special affiliate link and the ability to direct qualified traffic to an online offer – from there, you get a percentage of the sale and can continue on your way.
Affiliate marketing is obviously more complicated than that – there are different commission models such as CPA vs Revshare, one-time or recurring commissions, joint venture partnerships, and key metrics to track such as average order value (AOV) and earnings per click (EPC).
But we’ve ranked affiliate marketing first because it’s one of the quickest ways to start making real money online! It is also uniquely suited for monetizing roughly half of the other ideas on this list – yes, affiliate marketing is that important.
2. ONLINE SALES OF PHYSICAL GOODS
The fastest way to make money online after affiliate marketing is to sell physical items. There are two approaches to selling physical goods online: the casual approach and the hardcore approach. | 17 Ways to Make Money Online in 2021
With a casual approach, you simply look for old items around the house and sell them on a marketplace such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Etsy, or eBay.
Consider retail arbitrage for a more aggressive approach. This is a fancy term for capturing the difference between what things sell for in one place versus another. What is your goal? Purchase low and sell high!
For example, suppose you find a nice suit on clearance at your local department store for $100, then sell it the next day on eBay for $250. It’s a risky business unless you know what you’re doing, but it’s a great way to make a lot of money quickly.
You don’t even need to leave your house to do it. Simply get good at finding a place online that sells something for a low price, buy it there, and then sell it elsewhere online for a profit!
Use your knowledge of market trends and cycles to stock up on items that will become scarce later, driving up demand with low supply for even greater arbitrage success.
3. MARKET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY OR ARTWORK
Do you enjoy the arts? Do you have a thing for money?
Well, you can combine your two interests by selling your artistic work online – including photos and art!
There are several approaches you can take with this:
A) Sell to interested buyers directly.
When most people think of becoming an artist and selling their work, this is what they envision. As an artist, you’ll need a storefront to reach out to buyers online. The most common methods are to use a Shopify store, a third-party marketplace such as Etsy, or your own website.
Having a store is the most effective way to maintain control over your work and prices, reach your target audience, and build a brand.
B) Sell your photos on stock photo websites.
You can also sell your work on stock photography websites such as Getty Images, Alamy, Adobe Stock, and Shutterstock. You will be compensated with an upfront payment, a percentage of direct sales/licensing fees, or both.
NOTE: If you only submit work to one platform, you will usually get better rates.
Finally, consider submitting your work to sites such as Pexels and Unsplash. As a contributor on these sites, you will not be paid, but you will often receive attribution as a way to generate more traffic for your paid licenses – or even lead to work as an artist or photographer.
4. BECOME A FREELANCE PERSONNEL
What are the things that writers, editors, coders, marketers, photographers, and designers have in common? Of course, the ability to find clients and work for themselves as freelancers!
The most appealing aspect of freelancing is its adaptability. You can do as much or as little as you want, set your own prices, and choose which clients and projects you want to work on.
Furthermore, freelancing has a lower barrier to entry than traditional jobs, so you don’t necessarily need the most advanced skill set if you just want to make some extra money. A sales professional, for example, could make money as a real estate photographer on the side – and a professional copywriter could make money building WordPress websites.
Freelancing is one of the quickest and most profitable ways to make money online if you have an in-demand skill that people will pay for.
Of course, connecting with companies directly helps to build a sustainable freelance business. To find clients, I highly recommend LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Reddit. Job boards, online forums, and social media groups related to your niche or skill may also be beneficial.
For years, I ran my own successful freelance content marketing business, so my best advice is to focus on a few specialties in which you can become an expert (mine were affiliate marketing, B2B, and biotechnology). Once I had a sufficient number of clients, my business grew steadily through referrals, with almost no marketing required.
While it is important to continue prospecting for new clients, your top priority should be to provide excellent service to your current clients – and, of course, never miss a deadline!
5. RENT YOUR EQUIPMENT ONLINE
There are numerous successful businesses that rent out cool items to people (sorry, Blockbuster!).
Do you have amazing items that others would be willing to borrow for a fee? There are more opportunities than ever before thanks to the internet if you want to manage a (mostly) online rental business!
Here are a few of our favorites!
- Airbnb is used for real estate. Airbnb is the holy grail of short-term home or room rentals, with hosts earning an average of $924 per month.
- VRBO. Do you have an unoccupied vacation home? No, neither do I… But if you did, this site would be an excellent way for you to profit from it. VRBO is a service that allows you to rent out large spaces such as entire houses, condos, and apartments for a short period of time.
- Turo. If you have a high-demand car like a Tesla, Lamborghini, Cadillac, or BMW that you’re willing to let others drive, Turo can make you a lot of money. The average car earns more than $10,500 per year, according to Turo!
- RVShare. Recreational vehicles (RVs) are a lot of fun, but they’re also a lot of money. Why let your money sit idle in between adventures? RVShare and other similar sites will allow you to rent out your RV for $2000 or more per month!
For Miscellaneous Purposes
Lend your style. Are you a fashionista on the side? Don’t let those lovely shoes and dresses gather dust when they could be earning you money! Style Lend lets you rent out your designer clothes for hundreds of dollars per week.
RentNotBuy. RentNotBuy is a no-fee platform where you can rent out any valuables you own and start making money. Just keep in mind that RentNotBuy does not provide identity verification, payment processing, or insurance.
6. ONLINE TUTOR STUDENTS
Do you have a talent for assisting others in learning? There are numerous opportunities for tutoring students available online.
Isn’t it true that everyone has at least one good subject in school? It was English for me – perhaps you were good at music, chemistry, or calculus!
There is some good news: parents are willing to pay good money to help their children do better in school, particularly when it comes to test prep for the ACT or SAT. Quality tutoring positions can start at $30-50 per hour, with some tutors charging up to $150 per hour. (Who says you can’t make money as a teacher?)
To be an effective academic tutor, you should develop your own area of expertise, which should be defined by grade level and subject. You could be even more specific, focusing on either homework assistance or exam preparation.
Of course, in addition to K-12 and college test prep, teens and adults require tutoring in a variety of other subjects and job skills – some popular options include music lessons, foreign languages/ESL, and coding.
Finally, while “in person” rates are higher, online allows you to connect with more students than you could in your local area. To maximize your income, strike a balance between in-person and remote tutoring.
7. WORK AS A CONSULTANT
If you’ve accumulated years of experience in your field, you might be surprised at how much your knowledge is worth in the market!
Consider how much money you could make simply by telling businesses how to solve a problem. That’s how consulting works! Even better, because you’re only selling your ideas, your overhead is extremely low – and consultants can be found in almost any industry or job function, from accounting and marketing to career counseling and human resources.
Consultants are typically hired for a variety of reasons, including:
1. To respond to questions or come up with solutions to problems.
2. To act as a neutral sounding board.
3. To instruct others on how to perform a task.
4. To put solutions into action.
Some professions may require licensing or certifications to work as a consultant, but in most cases, your qualifications are all that is required. If you can find companies that value your expertise enough to pay you for it, you’ll be in business!
The top three most in-demand consulting services for businesses right now, according to a small business insurer that works with consultants, are IT, marketing, and financial consulting! But, regardless of your field, someone is likely to be interested in what you already have in your head.
8. INVEST YOUR MONEY
Investing is one of the most dependable ways to make money.
I know everyone talks about investing as if it’s difficult, but you can always invest in Gamestop and Dogecoin, right?
Most likely not!
If you are an investor rather than a speculator, you should be cautious about where you put your life savings. Here are a few places to invest your money online (along with the average annual returns from 1998 to 2018):
- High-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) – annual returns of 1-2 percent on average
- Stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs – S&P 500 average annual return of 5.6 percent
- Bonds or Treasury bills – bonds have an average annual return of 4.5 percent.
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs) – 9.9 percent average annual return
- Commodities and cryptocurrencies – gold has a yearly average return of 7.7 percent.
Without going into too much detail about investing or portfolio theory, it is critical to build a well-balanced portfolio if you want to be a successful investor.
Put some money into, for example:
1. Cash positions that are extremely safe, such as savings accounts, Treasuries, and money market funds.
2. High-yielding assets such as corporate bonds or dividend-paying stocks.
3. Higher-risk, higher-reward growth stocks, funds, or currencies with greater upside potential.
4. Inflation-protection hedges, such as gold or REITs.
Investing online, regardless of how you make a living, is an excellent way to increase your income and wealth over time!