How to Make a Living Online: 15 Smart Ideas That Actually Work
Whether you’re looking for easy or fast tips for how to make a living online, I've curated a list of great options for you to consider.
Read about each way to make money online, including:
- How it works
- Who it’s for
- And income potential
These are great for replacing your full-time income or supporting your income with extra money as a side hustle.
So, let’s go!
- How To Make A Living Online
- 1. Create A Blog
- 2. Write An Ebook
- 3. Become An Online Course Creator
- 4. Online Tutoring
- 5. Freelancing
- 6. Website Flipping
- 7. Sell Your Crafts
- 8. E-commerce
- 9. Podcasting
- 10. Affiliate Marketing
- 11. Become A Virtual Assistant
- 12. Virtual Customer Service
- 13. Rent Your Home
- What Are Some Tips For Making Money Online?
- Can You Make $100 A Day Online?
- Is It Hard To Make Money Online?
- Bottom Line on How To Make A Living Online
How To Make A Living Online
These are all ways to earn money 100% online and make a living to support you and your family. There are a variety of different online paths to pursue. Take your time reviewing each one before ultimately deciding what path you’ll take to start your journey of working online.
1. Create A Blog
Blogging can be a creative and therapeutic outlet to share what you know and build an audience online.
You’ll choose a niche to blog about, like gardening, finance, food, or any other interest or passion you have.
Next, you’ll create your blog, which you can do easily with our step-by-step guide on how to start a blog that actually makes money.
Then, you can make money blogging through channels like:
- Online ads like Google Adsense or Mediavine
- Sponsored posts
- Selling products and services
- Affiliate marketing
What you’ll need: You’ll need a small budget to cover web hosting and domain fees, which should run under $100.
And for the best results in the shortest amount of time, you'll likely want to a go-to destination for a step-by-step guide you can follow.
For this, you should definitely check out the Affiliate Lab.
It's like an online business school guiding you through the entire process of starting, growing, monetizing, and even selling an online business.
You'll learn blogging (content creation, web copy, etc.), SEO, CRO, email marketing, how to build a team, flip sites, and a whole lot more to bring you value!
Average pay: $35/hour
2. Write An Ebook
Creating and selling an ebook is a chance for you to earn a potentially very lucrative living online. It’s also a way to earn passive income.
Choose an ebook topic to write about, create your ebook, market it, and sell it online. You can sell on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Gumroad, or others.
This is one of the best work-from-home jobs for introverts.
Authors earn a median salary of around $73,000/year.
And, because ebook writing can be a passive income source, imagine setting up your ebook and sales, then sitting back and earning $70K/year with little to no maintenance.
What you’ll need: A word processing software like MS Word or Google Docs. You’ll also need a graphic design software program like Canva for creating book graphics like your book cover.
Average pay: $78,000
3. Become An Online Course Creator
Course creation has some similarities to ebook writing. You’ll create this digital product, an online course, to solve your audience’s problem with your course.
For example, if a mom has trouble keeping her family on a budget, a budgeting course could solve her problem.
Build your course on a platform like Teachable or Kajabi. You can also use a free platform for sellers to upload your course, like Udemy or Skillshare. Then, do marketing and sell your course to customers.
What you’ll need: Course creation software like the examples shared above.
Average pay: $86,000
4. Online Tutoring
For people strong in subjects like science, math, or other subjects, consider tutoring people online. Online tutoring companies like Preply are options for starting virtual tutoring right away.
You could also build your own online tutoring business. Read how to create an online tutoring business in 11 easy steps.
What you’ll need: A computer with an internet connection. Sometimes, a webcam and headset will be needed, too.
Average pay: $58,000
Freelancing is a great way to make a living online. Anybody with skills can do freelance work, from freelance writing to freelance web development and beyond.
Figure out what skills you’ll use for doing freelance work, then start finding opportunities:
- Job boards like FlexJobs
What’s nice about freelancing is that you can choose your clients, take on as many or as few freelance projects as you wish, and earn a part-time income (for extra cash) or full-time income online.
What you’ll need: This varies based on your freelance work. A freelance writer will need a computer, internet, and potentially word processing software.
Average pay: $29/hr (for a freelance writer)
6. Website Flipping
Website flipping can be a fun, rewarding, and lucrative way for how to make a living online. This is about selling websites at a price point above your investment, thus earning you a profit.
For example, buy a website for $500, then invest $500 in improvements. Sell it for $3,000, pocketing a $2,000 profit!
And again, to learn how to rank, monetize, and flip websites, we recommend learning from Affiliate Lab.
What you’ll need: A startup budget is required for website flipping. You could build and flip websites, which is cheaper and would only run you the cost of web hosting and domain purchase, under $200.
You can also buy and flip. Websites can cost up to hundreds or thousands of dollars, so more of a healthy investment is required for this route, but you’d probably be able to sell these sites for a lot more and with a quicker turnaround since they’re already established.
Average pay: This varies but this website seller made nearly $180K in one year.
7. Sell Your Crafts
For crafty folks, consider making and selling your crafts on a platform like Etsy. Setting up a shop on Etsy is easy, and listing fees are affordable, at around $0.20 each. When you make a sale, you’ll get a notification from Etsy then, you can ship the order to the customer.
Some ideas for crafts to sell include:
- Baked goods
- Holiday ornaments
- Knit scarves
- Digital templates
What you’ll need: An Etsy account and a small budget (to cover listing fees). You’ll also need to invest in supplies and materials based on the crafts you’ll be creating.
Average pay: $53,000
Start an e-commerce store online and sell goods to the public. Decide what products you’ll sell, source the goods, set up your store on a platform like Shopify, do marketing, and launch your shop!
This can be a very lucrative way to make a living online, but it comes with a lot of hard work and effort.
While you can make money in your sleep with e-commerce, you won’t ever make passive income here. That’s because you’ll continuously have to work on the store, finding new products, ordering inventory, managing the fulfillment process, etc.
Top e-commerce sellers earn millions per year.
What you’ll need: An e-commerce store platform + a moderate budget to invest in supplies, materials, overhead costs, and inventory.
Average pay: $91,000
Podcasts are like independent radio stations.
You’ll get to choose the podcast niche, decide on what format your show will have, bring on one or more co-hosts, choose who to interview, if anybody at all, and more.
Starting a podcast can be a time-intensive project, but it comes with rewards like the chance to meet and network with a variety of people, opportunities to potentially travel, and unlimited income potential.
Average pay: $16/hour
10. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is about referring products to your audience. When they purchase with your affiliate link, you earn a commission. This is one of the most lucrative online careers, with top marketers earning over $150,000/year.
You can refer products online through:
- A Social media platform
- Video networks like YouTube
- Email marketing
Choose a niche, decide on how you’ll attract your audience and where you’ll run your affiliate marketing business (i.e. a blog, social media, etc.), and join affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing income can be a passive income stream, too!
What you’ll need: Affiliate links, which you can get by applying to an affiliate program in your niche. Also, a landing page and sales funnel, which you can set up with Systeme.
Average pay: $64,000
11. Become A Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants (or VAs) help clients with admin-related tasks. Your work will vary a bit based on your clients' needs.
Some examples include:
- Email management
- Calendar management
- Social media management
You can have one or more clients and charge a flat rate or hourly rate for your work. This is the perfect example for how to make a living online for people who like helping others and are well-organized and detail-oriented.
What you’ll need: A computer and an internet connection.
Average pay: $34/hr
12. Virtual Customer Service
Working in virtual customer service involves helping customers over the Internet. You may work in a virtual call center environment where you handle routine tasks/requests by phone, email, or chat.
Examples of tasks you might do include:
- Responding to basic questions or inquiries
- Processing routine requests like providing a balance, sending a ticket to IT support, or handling returns
- Collecting feedback from customer
If you have a customer service or admin work background, this might be the online job you’re looking for!
What you’ll need: A computer and an internet connection. You may also need a headset and/or webcam.
Average pay: $37,000
13. Rent Your Home
Get your home up on Airbnb or VRBO and make money passively with short-term rentals! This could work if you have more than one residence available to you.
You could rent out your home on weekends only or consider renting out part of your home, like the pool and poolhouse or a spare bedroom.
Some Airbnb hosts earn a full-time living online, from renting out their homes to short-term renters. You can make good money with this.
While the average pay is only around $34K/year, top hosts can top $70K to $100K+ per year, based on their property’s location, seasonality, amenities, etc.
You don’t have to stop at listing on VRBO or AirBNB either. Here are 12 sites like VRBO for vacation rental listing and booking.
What you’ll need: Your listing needs to be on Airbnb, VRBO, or a related site. You may need to invest money into making your home renter-friendly.
Average pay: $34,000
What Are Some Tips For Making Money Online?
Making money online is within reach for anybody who has internet access. Here are some tips to help you master how to make a living online:
- Think about your long-term goals: Look at the big picture and consider your long-term goals. Do you want to run your own business? Do you want a stable, consistent income online? Ask yourself questions like these to help you craft your long-term online income plan.
- Identify your niche: Look at your skills, interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and choose a niche you want to work in.
- Don’t rule out getting a full-time remote job: Many times, we forget about getting a traditional job in an online setting (and you can learn how to get a remote job here). Starting an online business isn't the only way to make a living online. More jobs than ever are available to work remotely. Don’t forget about these opportunities.
Can You Make $100 A Day Online?
Yes, you can make $100 a day online. There are genuine ways to earn a living over the internet, and it’s actually easier than you think. Here are 40+ money-making ideas to review to learn how to make $100 a day, online and offline!
Is It Hard To Make Money Online?
Making a living online isn’t as hard as it once was. It’s becoming increasingly easier for people to make money online, especially with the evolving internet.
Bottom Line on How To Make A Living Online
If you’ve been thinking about making a living online, I hope these ideas inspire you. There are tons of different ways to earn an online living.
Whether you want to eliminate your daily commute or work as a digital nomad and be free to explore international living, there are many different money-making ways to get you there.
What do you look forward to most with making a living online?
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