8 Ways to Make Money Online

I absolutely believe the “average” person can make legitimate income online. I believe it because I’ve done it myself. At the beginning of 2010 I was not making any significant money online. Less than two years later, my husband quit his job and my online income now supports us. (My current income streams are listed on my Tools I Use page if you’re interested.)

The crucial first step

If you want to make money online, my first recommendation is to start a blog or websiteLet it serve as your internet home and branch out from there. Your own site is a must these days if you want to work online. Not sure how to do that? No problem, here’s my step by step guide: How to Start a Blog or Website.

Once you’ve got yourself set up with a site, it’s time to work. And when I say work, I mean it. Making money online is not a way to get rich quick. If anyone tells you differently, be extremely skeptical. Still, you can do it!

1. Turn your skill(s) into a service online.

If you have a skill (who doesn’t?), why not offer your services via the internet (a.k.a. virtually)? From counseling to administrative assistance to design to consulting and anything in between, thousands of people (myself included) are taking advantage of the internet to grow viable businesses from home. I highly, highly, highly recommend The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More!, an ebook by Lisa Morosky. This ebook blew my mind; it’s loaded with tips, resources and step-by-step instruction. It’s a steal at $12.99–it’s like a college course! Seriously, if you’re thinking about offering a service online, do yourself a favor and make this your first business investment.

2. Generate income directly from your site.

Niche blogs or websites are sites that offer some sort of helpful or entertaining information to a highly-targeted group of people. Sometimes it involves doing keyword research to find out what people are searching for in the search engines and tailoring your site to be the go-to place for that search.

If you have a highly-specialized interest with accompanying expertise you can share your knowledge and generate income from it. How? Advertising or affiliate marketing.

The absolute best tool for keyword research is Market Samurai. I know, because I’m a paying customer. If you want to see how it works, check out their very informative tutorial videos. Highly recommended.

3. Sell on Etsy.

Are you crafty? Consider selling on Etsy. You can set up your own shop for free and it’s simple to get started. It’s not so simple to stand out from the crowd, so that’s likely to be your biggest challenge. Here are some tips on how to market your shop.

4. Write for someone else.

The advantage of writing for other sites is that you get to be a part of something that’s already established. Also, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of running and maintaining your own site.

Write for Squidoo. Here’s one woman’s story. Or write for eHow and make $15-$20 per hour. Become a guide (compensation at least $500/mo) or contributing writer (compensation at least $250/mo) at About.com. At the time of this writing, they’re looking for guides for Breastfeeding, Home Furnishings and Country Music. They’re looking for contributing writers for Soul Food, Wedding Planning, Children’s Activites and Digital Scrapbooking. To name a few.

5. Are you a photographer? Illustrator?

Why not sell your photos on a site like iStockphoto? SomeGirl has an excellent series about how to become an iStockphoto seller. A significant portion of her family’s income comes from selling photos.

6. Like to travel?

This is clearly not for everyone, but I throw it out there because I think it’s cool and it demonstrates the freedom of working online. If you have the flexibility to travel, be a guide for The Lonely Planet like Gayle who lives in Ghana. Speaking of travel, more and more people are becoming “Location Independent” meaning, their home is wherever they feel like going next. Check out Lea & Jonathan’s story.

7. Create and sell your own tangible products (not necessarily the handmade kind).

If you have an idea for a product you’d like to sell but aren’t sure where to start, this couple tells you how they started selling wedding linens online. Their Online Store Tutorials are particularly helpful.

8. Write a book. Better yet, write an ebook.

Many bloggers have dreams of being published authors. Many have indeed accomplished that goal and their blogs were a major catalyst in doing so. If that’s you, then write and write well. Get involved in online writing communities like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Follow a blogger like Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent who explains the ins and outs of getting published the “traditional” way. I also recommend following Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson (the biggest Christian publisher as of 2010). If that doesn’t work for you and you’d like to self-publish, try Lulu or CreateSpace (from Amazon).

But don’t overlook ebooks! Their popularity is on the rise and they are simple to create. I turned down a traditional book deal in favor of self-publishing. My ebook, Tell Your Time, started out as an experiment and has turned into something I never imagined. I’ve sold thousands of copies and counting. This has turned into one of my biggest income streams. Check out my How to Write an Ebook series to see how I did it and all the steps involved.

Would you say this post was helpful? Gave you some good ideas? If so, I’d be most obliged if you’d give me a thumbs up on Stumble Upon (or shared it via the links below)! Thank you! :)

There’s lot more in part 2, Even More Ways To Make Money Online. And if you have any tips or ideas, by all means, share in the comments!

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases made via the referral links in this post. Here’s my disclosure policy.

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  1. says

    Hi Amy
    I found your post very useful and full of great information.I am just starting my own blog after I quit the internet game about 2 years ago,cos I was not making any money.Now I am making a fresh start,and I was told that the first thing that I must do is start a blog.So I have started my blog and will follow some of the tips that you have shared in your post.

  2. Ross Archibald says

    Hey There Amy,

    I was wondering if you accept solo ads to be sent out to your list of subscribers? I would be interested in working with you! How many subscribers do you have too?

    Also do you offer banner advertising? I would love to give you lots of $$ if a little test worked out!

    Thank-You for you time,

    - Ross Archibald

  3. ejobsjunction.com says

    Thanks a lot for sharing this post. Its really useful for people like me who are planning to make money online. Thanks a lot.

  4. says

    Hi Amy,

    Im a new blogger starting out in the MMO niche. Firstly Thank You! this article is helpful and will definitely help to get the cash rolling.
    One thing i have found is that i feel IM Marketers now are caring less and less about there followers and focus more on sales sales sales. Obviously thats how to make money but its refreshing to se someone like yourself who is a successful marketer giving back like this and i hope one day to be able to do the same but for now i have tried to operated slightly differently to status quo.
    I am trying to consume as much knowledge as possible and would love any tips and advice about my blog if anyone has the time to give it a look:


    Much Love guys,


  5. says

    Great article Amy! There are so many opportunities to make money online. And so many scams too. To make money online, you have to be prepared to put in the work, and you should avoid anyone offering very large amount of money for very little work. I write reviews myself for ways to make money online. Most systems rely on producing great quality writing and consistent effort.

  6. says

    These are some great tips.A person that is serious about making money online should definitely learn to have a product or service of their own.

  7. says

    I am new to your site since I read your interview on howtheyblog.com. I feel like I have stumbled upon a gold mine. Thank you so much for all of the amazing information!

  8. says

    Really there are many sites now to share your words and words. The ones you mentioned is really useful. Particularly now a days a large section is favoring online money earning as a global audience is there to but and to appreciate.

  9. says

    Those are all good options. I’d also add that you could do design services. I know it goes along with number one, but I feel like many people just need specific advice sometimes and so I like trying to list out all the ways that you can make your service into a marketable skill. They might not be able to think far enough down the road to connect the dots.

  10. says

    With regards to point number 1, turning your skills into a service online, has anyone tried online tutoring? I’m a Spanish speaker (and English!) so I have been teaching it online via Skype.

    You can either try to get clients yourself using classifieds etc., or you could try using a service like http://www.Chalksy.com, that take a small fee every time you make a sale, but put you in front of an audience.

    If anyone wants to learn Spanish, search ‘Patricia’ on Chalksy.com,

    Good luck everyone!

  11. Chrissy says

    Hi Amy,

    I just discovered your site via Money Saving Mom and wow ! I am completely blown away buy all this info. I am SAHM but looking to start a home business and build my personal brand – this is exactly the information I need to get started. Thank you and I look forward to following you !

  12. says

    HI Amy
    Thank you for the valuable insight. I followed your advice and transformed my Passion into a website and currently transforming both into an E-book.
    Last 2 years have been nothing but the headache after I`ve sustained multiple injuries.
    Rough times but I am not giving up. I am almost there with my e-book called ” Rekindle your Passion”. Once published I am giving back to our community 70% of my first -e-book to 3 charities. World Vision, Leukemia foundation and I will ask all readers to suggest the 3rd Charity.
    So if you are keen help us out by supporting my good cause,please feel free to drop by and write a few words.
    I will publish more details on the website once the e-book gets published.

    Thank you

    Best Regards


  13. says

    The ways to make money online are always expanding, and we always need to stay on top of latest trends to see of they fit with out own ways of working. A few ideas here that I hadn’t heard about before, so thanks for the tips.

  14. says

    The magic to making money on line definetely lays in creating your own product. But you will have had to build your authority and attracted traffic first. Never forget you are the brand.

  15. says

    I can not thank you enough for the content you give to me during my “newbie” days….they for some reason are lasting longer than I wish! :) As I struggle to figure things out sand the time it takes…you always have a post that hits right on for me.
    Seriously……so glad I found you and I have spread your knowledge to many!
    Have a great weekend!

    • Amy says

      I know how it is to feel like I’m stumbling around as a new blogger so I’m so glad it has been helpful. Thanks Kelly!

  16. says

    Very well written post, Amy.

    I have heard both good and bad stories, regarding writing gigs. This includes paid blog post writing, as well as writing articles for other sources.

    I love the Travel one! I mean, who would not love to be off traveling and get paid to blog(write) about it….

    I think I agree with the E book being possibly the best option. There are some sites out there who have done incredibly well, as far as E Book sales.

  17. says

    Thank you for this post Amy. It was very informative and opened my eyes for some new ways to make money online. The only think I did not see you mention is anything about survey or offer sites? Do you have any experience with those? I’d love to hear your opinion.

  18. says

    I think the best idea on the list is to create niche websites and earn from Amazon affiliate network, Commission Junction Adsense, and ShareASale.

  19. says

    Great advice and tips. Completely agree that if your planning to make some money from a blog you have to put in serious work and be really patient, but if you love writing and sharing things just persevere, you may end up with a little extra income for doing something you enjoy.

  20. says

    This is a great article and it introduced me to a number of new possible income streams. The article is so enticing that as you come to the conclusion you are left wanting more. You prsented such good oppurtunities with this post, why not go into a little bit more detail for each one? Or include a couple more suggestions? The post grabbed my attention and kept it the whole time I was reading.


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