Making money online isn’t a new thing…
In fact, it’s a career path I’ve chosen for longer than a decade.
But with more people working from home, unemployment on the rise, and financial pressures increasing – finding a profitable side hustle is a top priority.
The problem is, the online business world is constantly changing. Making money online was a far different prospect last year than it is today, and that could all change again tomorrow.
A common misconception, however, is that the “ship has sailed,” as they say – that earning a living online was once easy but is now saturated with too many competitors.
The reality is quite the opposite. While some tactics to earn money online such as AdSense and Dropshipping are less effective than they once were, new opportunities are presenting themselves regularly.
So, then, how do you earn money online from the comfort of your home? How has this industry changed in 2020?
Let’s start with the benefits of making money online…
What are the benefits of making money online?
You probably wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t familiar with the benefits of making money online. But here’s a quick overview of why this way of working is so attractive
- You can work from anywhere in the world – at a local cafe, near your favorite holiday destination, or sipping a cocktail beside a pool at a tropical resort.
- Everything you need to learn is freely available and easily accessible.
- It provides the flexibility to choose your work hours and manage your own schedule.
- Your earning capacity is only limited by your creativity and willingness to work hard.
- It gives you the freedom to pursue things that you are genuinely passionate about, rather than getting stuck in the 9-to-5 grind.
Still interested? Great, let’s unpack the best ways of making money online in 2020.
The 5 best ways to earn money online in 2020
While there are literally hundreds of ways you can make money online, I’ve chosen the five most profitable to feature in this guide. Each has its pros and cons, so consider these carefully when you’re choosing the best way forward.
1. Become an affiliate marketer
Affiliate marketing is a tried and tested way of making money online.
The way it works is simple. You promote someone else’s product or service using a custom URL, and for any sales you refer, you earn a commission. Some businesses will even pay you for leads generated, rather than actual sales.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you can earn passive income by promoting products in evergreen content such as blog posts, social media posts, and email campaigns.
The key to being a successful affiliate marketer really comes down to the size of your audience and the amount of traffic you attract. If you’re promoting products on social media, for example, the bigger your audience, and the more engagement you get, the more clicks and commissions you will receive. The same goes for a blog, YouTube channel, or any other platform.
How do you get started with affiliate marketing?
The easiest way to ramp up your earnings from affiliates is to use an affiliate marketing network. These networks bring together businesses across numerous industries and make it easy for you to promote their products, track your performance, and get paid on time.
A leader in this space is Admitad. Admitad is a global affiliate network with thousands of advertisers and over a million publishers. You can get started for free with this platform by installing their easy-to-use Chrome extension here.
The money you can earn on the Admitad network alone is pretty impressive. The average affiliate marketer, for example, earns USD$60,198 per year, with the most profitable platforms being blogs, social media, YouTube, and messenger apps.
Here’s how the Admitad Chrome extension works:
- Install the extension in one-click
- Find and recommend the businesses you trust
- Offer your friends and subscribers exclusive discounts
- Make money on every sale you refer
- It really is that easy!
Here’s a video explaining this in more detail:
This Chrome extension simplifies the work of publishers who have to work with many links or compare products of different advertisers. Admitad PRO taps into the power of the Admitad affiliate network by letting you access thousands of ready-made programs. Lite, on the other hand, is easier to use and has more ways to access affiliate offers – it’s simpler to use than traditional affiliate networks.
2. Make money online as an influencer
Making money online as an influencer is not something that happens overnight. To be considered an “influencer,” you need to have an audience that trusts you and acts on your recommendations.
For the most part, influencers ply their trade on social media, where they can grow a following and share relevant content from brands, earning a flat-fee or commission in the process.
Influencer marketing, the process of brands finding influential people on social media and collaborating with them, is a trending tactic for businesses of all shapes and sizes. And they pay good money for the privilege to work with influencers. So it’s well worth your time growing a social media audience to unlock these opportunities.
How do you grow a social media audience worthy of brand collaboration?
It’s definitely hard. For example, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have significantly reduced their organic reach over the past few years. Then you have visual platforms like Instagram and YouTube, which are extremely crowded. Of course, if you can cut through the noise on these platforms, then they can be very profitable, but it’s not easy.
If I were starting from scratch today, I’d jump on the TikTok bandwagon. It’s the fastest growing social network in the world, and brands are only just now starting to collaborate with TikTok influencers.
To get started making money as an influencer, much like with affiliate marketing, your best bet is to sign up for an influencer marketplace where you can create a profile and search for brands that are already looking for collaborations. Trend, for example, is a great platform to start with. Once you’re accepted into their program they partner you with relevant brands without you needing to do the manual work.
3. Start an online business
Starting an online business is quite a broad concept. Everything from selling life coaching services to launching an eCommerce store qualifies as an online business.
The global eCommerce industry, for example, is continuing to grow year-on-year, with most Americans preferring to shop online rather than visit a retail store.
What are some things you need to consider when starting an online business?
Firstly, will you sell products via an online selling platform, such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, or will you sell them on your own website with an eCommerce platform such as Shopify?
What will you sell? Will it be services or products? Which industry or niche will you operate in?
How will you sell your products? Is it software, will you design your own products, or will you dropship someone else’s?
None of these questions are simple to answer. They require deep thought, market research, and some critical appraisal. But there is no better time to start the process than now!
4. Earn money from home by freelancing
Believe it or not, but online freelancing can be an extremely fruitful career choice. If you play your cards right, you can earn upward of $100k a year, maybe even more. In fact, over 30% of freelancers earn over $75k a year.
With the remote work revolution taking over the business world, brands are looking for new and innovative ways to reduce overheads and grow without clunky hiring processes. Working with freelancers is an excellent way for brands to hit their targets without taking on full-time employees.
Freelance work is available in just about any profession. Some of the most common skillsets brands are looking for are web development, graphic design, and content writing, but the freelance ecosystem doesn’t stop there.
So, how do you get started with freelancing?
The easiest way to jumpstart a freelance career and earn money online is to register for one of the many freelance job platforms available.
Here are the top ones:
- Upwork – Marketplace connecting brands and freelancers.
- Freelancer – Similar to UpWork but targeted more at small businesses.
- Toptal – Aimed at the top-end of freelance talent.
- Fiverr – Massive range of job opportunities, but typically at the lower end of pricing.
- 99Designs – For graphic designers.
- PeoplePerHour – Network of freelancers, all paid by the hour.
- Guru – Expert freelancers in a range of fields.
There are also a range of industry-specific freelance websites which you can find via a Google search, that provide more targeted and higher-paying work for each industry vertical.
Once you register for these platforms, you can post your resume, develop a work portfolio, search for freelance jobs, get client reviews, and much more.
5. Get paid to take surveys, write reviews or test apps
It doesn’t sound as “sexy” as starting an online business or becoming an influencer, but you can get paid for doing a vast range of tasks for businesses, such as taking surveys, writing reviews, or testing apps.
- Taking surveys – Businesses are craving data, and the best way for them to obtain meaningful customer feedback is through surveys. Luckily for you, they will pay for your help. There are a lot of online platforms where you can take surveys for money, an example being Swagbucks.
- Writing reviews – Getting paid to write product reviews can earn you a few hundred dollars a month, even more, if you have lots of time on your hands. Sites like Review Stream and Software Judge will pay you on the spot for a review.
- Testing apps – Every app or website needs to be tested before going to market. The more complex the tech is, the more critical it is to test how it works. TesterWork and UserTesting are two platforms that facilitate this process where you can sign up and make money online.
This method for earning money online can be a time-consuming process that doesn’t build a professional portfolio or grow a business. So it’s good for some extra cash, but not a long-term career choice.
Other ways to make money online
The five ways for making money online listed above are my top picks, but if you want some more inspiration, here are some options:
- Buying and selling shares
- Teaching courses on a platform like Udemy
- Writing and selling an eBook
- Entering contests or giveaways for cash
- Buying and selling domain names
- Selling photos on a stock marketplace such as Shutterstock
- Selling old stuff on eBay
- Working for another business as a remote employee
- Participating in focus groups
- Becoming a virtual tutor
- Buying a website that is already making money from a marketplace like Flippa.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to make money online; you just need to get your hands dirty and start!
It’s safe to say that the gig economy is here to say.
Freelancers, contractors, digital entrepreneurs, and side hustlers are all making money online, and you can do the same.
Before diving into the world of online business, take a moment to think about what you’re trying to get out of it.
Are you launching a new career? Building a global business? Or are you just looking for some extra cash on the side?
Whatever your driving force, choose something that you’re passionate about so that the fire doesn’t burn out.
Start by creating something. Maybe it’s a blog, perhaps it’s a website, or it could simply be a funky tie-dye shirt you sell on Etsy. Whatever it is, create something that excites you and gets the ball rolling.
If you want to make money online in the long-term, the best thing you can do today is START! You’ll figure the rest out as you go.