My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
Salvage and resell. Do you love antiques or have a knack for finding valuables at flea markets or yard sales? If you do, it might be time to consider salvaging items for resale – or even scouting out antiques to sell for a profit. While you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time searching for prospects and spend some money buying upfront, you could easily turn a profit if you know what you’re doing.
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 att 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!)
Use your home to work from home. If you live in an area where there is a demand for short-term rentals (like near a university or the downtown of a large city), you may well be able to find renters by networking in your community. However, with the rise of Airbnb and places like it the Internet has once again made it much easier to make money from home. Using these sites you can rent out a private room, shared room or even your whole house for a night or month or whatever period of time you like.
I’m a huge fan of blogging because I love writing and connecting with people all over the world. To give you an idea of what is possible with blogging, DollarSprout.com is part of a group of blogs that routinely brings in over $100,000 a month in revenue. While it takes time to build your blog up to that income level, you can get the initial set up done in under 30 minutes (no experience needed).
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
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OneOpinion— signing up is completely free, as it should be. This survey site, like many others, works on a points system: 1,000 points = $1. Once you reach 25,000 ($25), you can choose to cash out via PayPal or an Amazon gift card. OneOpinion also offers product testing, which means you have the opportunity to test new products at home before they hit the market.
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 not having impossible standards for cashing out. As always, be careful with your personal information. I recommend using an entirely separate email address for survey sites so they don’t clutter your inbox.
Sell photos. If you have a decent camera and a good sense of light, color, and composition, you can take and sell stock photos – i.e. nondescript images that lend themselves to many applications and are commonly used to illustrate online articles or products – with minimal effort. Stock photos of locations (a fire hydrant, a bare wall near an interesting tree, or anything you might find as a default background image on your computer) are easier to take, but stock photos of people (i.e. people arguing, people kissing, people laughing) usually sell for more, as they have more uses and require the written legal consent of your subjects. Hunt for a reputable stock photo dealer or database that will pay you fairly before signing on with anyone.
User-friendly App: Decluttr is a mobile-ready platform made for selling on the go. The mobile app is a great help when you’re hunched over miscellaneous boxes in your dank basement or sweltering attic. You can use the app to scan in your items directly and utilize Decluttr’s “valuation engine” to quickly and easily see exactly how much you can earn. Many popular online selling platforms, including eBay and Amazon, are designed first and foremost with desktop and laptop users in mind.
Yet another Amazon service providing the possibility to make money online is the Audiobook Creation Exchange. You can create a standalone audiobook, or create an audio version of your eBook as complementary media. And you can narrate your audiobook yourself, or Amazon can put you in contact with a professional to help. Once sold, you can then earn up to 40% royalties per audiobook.
If you are really short on cash and need some immediate funds then you should start by looking around your house. Clear out your cupboards and find any items lying around that you don’t need or haven’t used for a while. Then sell them on eBay. Just because they are gathering dust in your cupboards, doesn’t mean someone else won’t snap them up. Simply sign up with eBay, list your products and then, as they are sold, send them off to the buyers.
I recently stumbled on the Trim app and I have to say, this one is a game changer. It’s a simple app that acts as your own personal financial manager. Once you link your bank to the app, Trim analyzes your spending, finds subscriptions you need to cancel, negotiates your Comcast bill, finds you better car insurance, and more. And of course, the app is free! My bet is that it will only take a few days for Trim to put an extra $100 in your pocket. So easy!
This has become a popular business model for online entrepreneurs over the past several years, and will probably just continue to grow in popularity. The best thing about selling online courses is that once you do the up-front work in creating the course and setting up your marketing strategy, you can get paid over and over again for work you do once.