I’m sure you’ve read many articles that promise to share how to make money online. The process is simple right? Start a blog, recommend other people’s products, and slap ads on all of your pages.

At the end of the month, you’ll be making five figures.

While it’s a proven path to make money, you may be looking for a different perspective on how to make money online by this point.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This guides shows tested methods to make money with an internet connection that haven’t entered the mainstream yet. Less competition and more potential. 

How to make money online – 11 effective strategies

1.    Self-publishing

Self-publishing didn’t start with the digital revolution. In fact, it can be traced back to the 1970s. Self-publishing as we know it – the kind that includes Amazon KDP – started in the 2000s and has allowed many people to passively earn a six figure income.

Self-publishing is one of the few truly passive ways to earn an income online. You publish and earn money. It’s that simple. The main deterrent for most people is that they think they need to write a 100,000 word fiction book from scratch.

That’s far from the reality. When you’re self-publishing, the focus is on creating nonfiction books. They don’t need to be long but they do need to be useful.

Think about what you want to learn that has a practical application:

  • Dating
  • Social media
  • Mindset
  • Success
  • Etc.

All of these are great places to start and will never truly go out of style. You can use a platform like Upwork to find writers or a service like Urban Writers. If you play your cards right, you can be making over $10,000/m within your first year.

2.    Membership website

Another powerful way to make a considerable income online is through membership websites. These are websites that people register and pay you a fixed amount every month. It can range from $19/m – $199/m.

The amount you charge depends on how much perceived value your membership website has.

For example, if you have a membership website that’s focused on dating advice, you may be able to charge $27/m. If you have a membership site that’s focused on business training, you can charge $99/m+.

Of course, you don’t want to make a membership that has a topic you’re not familiar with. That wouldn’t be useful for you or the people who sign up.

example of memebership site to make money online

Farnam Street has a membership website that teaches its members how to learn. It charges between $149 and $249 a year.

Do a bit of research to see what people are already offering, where there are gaps in the market, and how much you could reasonable charge.  

3.    Freelance writing

Irrespective of what people say, the internet is run by text content – it’s everywhere. That content was written by humans like you and me. Anyone can write but not everyone has the time or the energy. That’s where you come in as a freelance writer.

Seek out businesses that need various types of content created like blog posts, eBooks, social media updates, etc. The goal is to get experience and develop processes that will allow you to outsource the bulk of the work.

You won’t be trading time for money but instead will focus on building client relationships over time. The best clients come to you but when you’re getting started, take advantage of platforms like freelancer, Upwork, People Per Hour, etc.

You’ll be able to hone your writing skills and develop processes that make it possible to work faster.

4.    Course creation

The eLearning industry is estimated to be over $100 billion in yearly revenue and growing. It attracts people from all walks of life and all interests. Platforms like Skillshare and Udemy have made it even easier to publish and distribute your online course content.

The true power lies in self-hosting courses using tools like Teachable and Thinkific. They come with a lot of marketing features you can take advantage of and allow you to keep more of the revenue you make.

Go to a platform like Udemy or Skillshare and look at the most popular courses. What niche are they in and what do they have in common. Can you create something similar or better using your expertise? If so go for it.

You can also use Amazon KDP, platforms like Reddit, YouTube, etc. to find popular topics that you can make courses about.

I can’t stress it enough that you don’t have to create a ten module course that covers every aspect of the topic from beginning to end. Nobody wants that and few people will complete it. Instead, focus on creating courses around specific topics.

Instead of a beginners guide to photography, create a course about ‘the beginners guide to lighting’ or ‘composition and mastering your camera’. The topics are focused and promise a specific outcome. 

5.    SEO consulting

SEO (search engine optimization) is like a black box that the average business owner can’t wrap their heads around. I agree that when it comes to the in-depth aspects of SEO, it can be difficult to understand.

Most of us don’t need a deep understanding of SEO because the basics are easy enough to learn and will get you results. If you’re using SEO to make money, the most important things to learn are:

  • On page optimization
  • Link building
  • Site auditing

There are countless free guides, online courses, and membership sites that’ll help you learn SEO. After you’ve learned the basics, I’d recommend you start your own project while pitching clients. Your project will be what you point at and say – I know what I’m doing.

SEO can be lucrative but you’ll make even more if you focus on a specific niche or industry. Instead of being an SEO agency/consultant. You position yourself as the SEO firm for photographers or SaaS companies.

You can easily charge over $1,000/m or $350+/link.

6.    Podcasting

Podcasts recently arrived at an inflection point. More than 50% of the people in the United States know what a podcast is and over 25% listen to them regularly.

Podcast hosts like Joe Reagan make millions of dollars a year. He’s at the pinnacle of the game but a decent podcast can easily pull down 6 figures a year. This is done through a mix of advertising, product sales, and affiliate marketing.

To start podcasting the right way, it’s important to choose a podcast hosting software that’ll meet your needs, and get the right equipment.

You don’t want to sound like an amateur when there are so many podcasts that have great production quality.

Another thing to focus on when podcasting is choosing a niche that fits your strengths. There are many niches which command a high listener numbers but don’t lend themselves to selling your own products or recommending affiliate products.

Each niche has tradeoffs so choose wisely. When you get to a decent monthly download number, advertisers will start reaching out to you or you can join platforms that help you find advertising partners.

Keep in mind that if you join a platform, they’ll take a cut of the revenue you generate.

7.    eCommerce store

eCommerce has recently become much more popular due to the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic. Though it was accelerated because of an unfortunate event, it seems that more and more people are making the switch permanently.

Even though it’s already a multi-trillion dollar industry, there’s still a lot of room to grow. Platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, Ecwid, etc. make it dead simple to get online and start selling products.

If you want to go this route, it’s important to get your branding right from the beginning and create an inviting storefront. It’s easy to sign up for Shopify but it’s much more difficult to make a sale.

One eCommerce company that focused on its brand and won because of it is Frank Body.

It is irreverent and is supposed to be the confident voice in a woman’s head. People connected with it and bought its products to the tune of $20,000,000 in revenue.

Will you get results like this?

Probably not.

Can you clear six figures in profit? Definitely.

The other aspect to think about are your products. You don’t want to start by stocking 100 products. Instead, focus on one or two high quality products that have a high profit margin and see how the market responds. From there, expand and adapt to customer demand.

8.    Peer to peer lending

Peer to peer lending is a relatively new way to make money online but it holds a lot of promise. People who may not have been eligible to get loans from traditional banks go to peer to peer lending platforms to seek financial aid.

You can invest in one of these platforms and get a sizeable APY (up to 40%) on your principle. There are risks associated with p2p lending platforms – just like with traditional lending.

You can mitigate your risk by thoroughly vetting the people you lend to, going with a platform with a good track record, and only working with an amount of capital you’re willing to lose.

A few platforms to look into include:

  • Peerform
  • LendingClub
  • Upstart
  • Prosper

9.    Email marketing consulting/copywriting

I consider email marketing work different than freelance writing. Most of the time, you’re writing with the intent to get someone to take your desired action. With email marketing, you’re usually writing for informative purposes.

Email marketing can produce direct revenue for a brand within minutes so it’s an in-demand skill. One way to break into the email marketing niche is to subscribe to the newsletters of smaller companies, get their emails, and rewrite them with the aim of improving them.

If you do a good job they’ll want to talk. The only way to hone your copywriting skills is by actually writing, there’s no way around that, to get but here are a few resources you started on the right foot.

  • The adweek copywriting handbook
  • Hey Whipple, Squeeze this
  • The Gary Halbert Letter

These books will point you in the right direction so follow the breadcrumbs to hone your skills.

10.    YouTube – but not from its partner program

Most people think that the only way to make money on YouTube is through the partner program. While that’s a good start, it’s far from the only way.

You can do everything from consulting to affiliate marketing. I won’t go deep into it here because I’ve written another post on the topic that will give you an entire breakdown. You can check it out here.

11.    Casual game app development

How much do you think Clash of Clans makes a year? In 2019, it made $722 million. It’s a casual strategy game that makes millions a day. That’s no easy feat.

While there’s an entire team dedicated to it, there’s nothing stopping you from making a few hundred thousand dollars a year from game development.

I’ll warn you up front, it does take money to advertise but it can be incredibly lucrative. Look at the app store of your device and see what kind of games are topping the charts. Do they have unique features, is it something you can emulate, how much time and energy would it require?

Conclusion

I’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to ways to make money online. Use what you’ve discovered here to start thinking of unique angles you can exploit. For example, instead of just a freelance writer, you can be the go-to writer for the finance industry.

You can create the ultimate murder mystery podcast or the eCommerce store for bearded men. The sky’s the limit as long as there is a market to buy your products. Let me know how you’re making money online in the comments and don’t forget to share.