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In the digital age, there are so many legitimate opportunities to make money on the internet. For some money-making opportunities, you can even get started quickly for FREE without any investment.
Before we move on, I just want to make sure that you are in the right place.
If you are here to find out how to get low-paying online jobs or do online surveys for pennies, then this article is not right for you.
But, if you want to know how ordinary people like you and me are making a living online (even without quitting their job), then you are in the right place.
A few years ago, I started my own online business.
And it has changed my life.
Today, I have complete control over my time and my income.
More importantly, I can spend more time with my son and watch him grow up.
But it was not like this just a few years ago.
Both my husband and I lost our jobs unexpectedly because of the company we worked for closed down suddenly.
It was a difficult time for us back then.
But, if not for this painful experience, I would never have started my online business and be where I am right now.
And the only regret I have, when it comes to my online business, is that I wish I had started it much earlier.
So, I want to share what I have learned so far with you.
Hopefully, you can benefit from it, and even use this information to start something of your own on the side and change your life.
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The Truth About Making Money Online
If you want to make money online, you have to sell something online (for a profit).
So, what can you sell online?
Basically, there are TWO things you can sell:
It works just like the physical world.
The only difference is that all the transactions are done online and the entire sales process happens online.
So, how do you make money selling products and services online?
And what products or services can you sell online?
More importantly, how do you actually get started?
For the rest of the article, I am going to show you exactly where to start even if you have no idea right now.
#1 Method: How To Make Money Selling Physical Products Online From Home
When it comes to products, you can either sell physical products or digital products.
Physical products are well understood.
Personally, I buy a lot of physical products online, ranging from clothes to gadgets. And I bet, you do it too.
If you want to sell physical products online, you either create your own or you can sell private label products.
Private label products are those manufactured by one company for sale under another company’s brand. Private-label goods are available in a wide range of industries from food to cosmetics. Simply put, a private label product has your brand name on it but is manufactured by someone else.-STARTUPBROS
To sell your physical products, you can either sell it on platforms such as Amazon or Etsy, or you can start your own online store.
One of my friends started an online store selling private label products – handphone case covers.
He sourced the products from China at a very low cost per unit from Aliexpress.
Then, he redesigned the packaging to sell it under his own brand name at a much higher price – about 500% higher than his cost price. (yes, that’s how high the profit margin for handphone accessories.
To market his products, he made a few videos of his products and then spent some money running Facebook ads on these videos.
Did he make any sales?
He made a lot of sales in the first two months.
His competitors started to bring in the exact same products and undercut his prices.
He had to keep sourcing new products with a good profit margin.
So, the challenge with private label products is that you don’t really have much competitive edge.
The entry barrier is also pretty low, therefore you will face a lot of competition.
Another downside of selling physical products online is that you might have to invest some money upfront to buy inventory.
If you are tight with money or don’t want to risk your hard-earned money stocking up inventory, your next best option is to start a dropshipping business.
Dropshipping is a type of business model which allows you to sell products online without keeping inventory or even having to ship your products to your customers yourself.
Here is how dropshipping works:
- The customer places an order for a product on your online store
- The order is then automatically (or manually) forwarded to the dropship supplier
- The dropship supplier then packages and ships the order directly to the customer in the name of your online store
Dropshipping is a pretty great business model for a first-timer. It’s a low-risk and low-investment way of starting your own business.
But, there are also some disadvantages.
The profit margin is low and you often have high fulfillment costs.
Let’s not forget that the competition is pretty high and you also have no control over the supply chain.
What if you don’t want to sell your own physical products online, but you still want to get a piece of the big e-commerce market?
You can choose to promote other people’s physical products online and make money as their affiliate.
As an affiliate, you earn a commission when people buy something at no extra cost to them using your link.
Here’s an example of me promoting books on my website.
Basically, I signed up to be an Amazon affiliate.
As an Amazon affiliate, I can promote any product that is being sold on Amazon using my unique affiliate link.
I recommend these investment books at the end of some of my investing blog posts because I felt that it was relevant and it might even be helpful to some readers who want to read more on the topic.
If any of my readers think that the book is good and decides to buy, then I will be paid by Amazon a small commission at no additional cost to him or her.
I have been doing affiliate marketing myself for quite some time, promoting a wide range of products and services such as web hosting, Amazon products, and email marketing software on this website.
My revenue from affiliate marketing contributes to at least 50% of my total revenue.
This is the BEST type of revenue in my business because it’s totally passive and some are even recurring!
So, I highly recommend affiliate marketing to anyone who wants to start an online business for the first time because it’s cheap and simple to get started.
Most importantly, it’s one of the fastest ways to get results, compared to other online passive income ideas such as selling online courses or blogging.
But, to do it right, you must learn how from successful affiliate marketers who have gotten massive results themselves.
Here’s a FREE affiliate training that you can sign up for to get yourself started in the right direction.
#2 Method: How To Make Money Selling Digital Products Online
Digital products are information products that are offered in a digital format.
The best thing about selling digital products is that the startup cost is extremely low and you don’t have to worry about all the logistics (i.e. inventory, storage, shipping, etc)
So, what are some examples of digital products?
Type #1: Writing
Examples include eBooks, online courses, research papers, lesson plans, and recipes.
Type #2: Audio
Examples include music and sound effects.
Type #3: Video
Examples include video animation intro, video courses, and short films.
Type #4: Design
Examples include web design templates, fonts, printable, Photoshop templates, and Powerpoint presentation templates.
There are also many other types of digital products such as stock photos, lightroom presets, apps, games, and even trading indicators.
The list is endless.
In fact, it has never been easier to start an online business.
All you need to get started is a profitable digital product idea and a good platform to sell it.
For example, one of the best platforms for creators to sell digital products is Sellfy.
It’s very easy to use and has everything you need to promote and sell your products online (including social media).
In fact, you can get your store up and running in 5 minutes (yes, I actually timed it).
You can sign up for a free trial here (no credit card needed) and start selling online right away.
Personally, I have been selling digital products (mainly online courses and coaching programs) online for years, and I still do today through my personal finance blog.
It’s a really passive income because you can automate the entire sales process using email autoresponder software such as GetResponse ( I use it in my own online business).
Let’s take online courses for example.
Basically, for online courses, you just need to create it once and then get paid over and over again.
Here’s a sneak peek of the online course “Service Arbitrage Pro” that I have created.
The reason why I created this online course is that I started my own service arbitrage business and grew it to a consistent 4-figure income on the side with most of the work outsourced to other freelancers.
As more people are interested to find out how I did it, I decided to create an online course to share exactly how I did it.
If you don’t want to create online courses, you can also choose to offer coaching programs where you can either help your paying client one-on-one or in a group setting.
Regardless of whether you are selling online courses or coaching programs, you are essentially selling your knowledge online to help other people solve their problems and get the results they want.
So, what do you need to get started?
You will need to get a domain name and set your website up.
Typically, you can get a decent website set up with a $3.95 per month website hosting plan from Bluehost (I used it to set up this website).
An email autoresponder software is good to have because you can use it to build a list of email subscribers.
The reason why you want to build an email list is that you can keep in touch with your audience and send them back to your website whenever you have new content published.
Also, having email autoresponder software allows you to send marketing and promotional emails to sell your digital products.
What if you are having a tight budget?
There is an email marketing software called MailChimp which allows you to use it for free as long as your list of subscribers does not exceed 2,000.
However, my experience with MailChimp was not very pleasant.
When my free account was still under 1000 subscribers, it kept getting suspended a couple of times for no good reason.
After getting fed up with the FREE service, I finally decided to sign up for GetResponse which I am still using right now to this day.
Of course, you can also get started for free WITHOUT A WEBSITE.
What you do is that you sign up for free with online learning platforms such as Udemy, and then create and sell your courses there.
What if creating an online course is NOT something you want to do?
The good news is that you can still get into the “online course” business even without creating your own course.
How do you do that?
By promoting other people’s courses and making money as an affiliate.
For example, I signed up to become an Amazon affiliate to promote investment books on my website.
Here’s how I earn passive income with affiliate marketing.
When you click my affiliate link, it will take you to that investment book on Amazon.
If you think that it’s a good book and decide to purchase it, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
#3 Method: How To Make Money Selling Services Online
The best thing about selling services online is that it is one of the fastest ways to earn money online.
Here is how you make money from selling services online:
- You can turn your own skills or other people’s skills into services that other people already want and are willing to pay for
- Or you can package your expertise and knowledge into service to help your clients get the results they desire (i.e. coaching or consulting)
- Or you can sell other companies’ services as an affiliate
Selling services is all about solving problems and providing value for other people.
Just think back about what services you have paid for in the past.
What are those services?
Why did you pay for them?
Personally, I have paid for many services before.
Each of these services either helps me solve a problem or offers a benefit that I really want.
Here are some benefits most people would be willing to pay for:
- Save Time
- Make Money
- Save Money
- Personalized Service
- Remove Pain
- Have Fun
- Become Happier
- Impress Others
So, what skills do you have that can be turned into a service that is already in demand?
Before you start telling yourself that you don’t have any sell-able skills, I want you to do me a favor to suspend that thought for a moment and read on.
Believe it or not, everyone is good at something.
Sometimes you just don’t realize it.
This is because what is so natural and normal to you might be something that many people are struggling with and are even willing to pay you money to help them.
Let’s say that you are into fashion and have a great sense of style.
This might just be a hobby of yours.
But what you might not realize is that there are people out there who would actually be willing to pay you money to teach them how to dress well.
Here’s another example.
Let’s say you are a stay-at-home mom who is very good at cooking healthy and delicious meals for your kids in a very short time.
You might feel this is nothing special. But I bet there are many moms out there who would pay you for your recipes or coaching.
So, here’s what I want you to do next.
First, identify your top 5 skills.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas, it helps to take a look at the following:
- Books you usually read
- Activities you do in your free time
- Websites you frequently visit
- Tools you often use
- Results you’ve gotten for yourself or others
Also, you can ask your friends and family what they think you are good at.
Once you have identified your top 5 skills, I would like you to think about what problems you can help other people solve with each skill.
You see, all the services out there serve ONE purpose – to solve problems for people.
When you have a human resources problem, you will want to look for HR consulting services.
When you have a tax problem, you will want to look for tax consulting services.
When you have problems with your Facebook advertising, you will want to look for FB ads consulting services.
Next, who are you helping with your service?
Are you helping other businesses?
Or are you helping individuals?
Here are some ideas for each.
Ideas For Selling Services To Business Online From Home:
- Digital Advertising Service
- Graphic Design Service
- Social Media Marketing Service
- Copywriting Service
- Translation Service
- Website Design Service
- Legal Service
- Accounting Service
- SEO Service
- Project Management Consulting
- PR Service
- Tax Service
- HR/Payroll Service
- Video Editing Service
Ideas For Selling Service To Individuals Online From Home:
- Career Consulting/Help (Resume editing / Interview Prep / Finding job)
- Give Lessons (Music, Language, Arts, Sports)
- Fashion Consulting
- Relationship Consulting
- Wedding Planning
- Interior Design
- Travel Planning
- Tax & Financial Planning
- SAT Prep
- College Application Review
Generally, it is easier to sell to businesses because they are always looking for help to solve their business problems.
Also, business owners have the willingness and the ability to pay for solutions.
A few years ago, I started my own online business offering graphic design services to businesses.
The interesting part is that I didn’t have any graphic design skills.
What I did was I found a group of talented freelancers online from platforms such as Fiverr, and asked them to work with me because I always have projects that I want to outsource.
The freelancers need work.
And I need talented people to deliver the work for my clients.
It is a win-win situation.
So, if you don’t want to sell your own skills or don’t have the time to deliver the services yourself, you can consider Service Arbitrage.
Basically, you are reselling other talented people’s skills and services.
How you make money is that you will charge your clients at a higher rate than what you are paying your freelancers.
Now, for all service businesses, the most challenging part is to get a paying client.
Where do you find them?
And how do you close the sale?
This is something that a lot of people struggle with.
Not everyone is a natural salesperson. Many people have never had any sales experience or training before.
For me, I had no sales experience prior to starting my own business.
To be honest, I even felt guilty about asking for the sale when I first got started.
Maybe you feel the same way.
But, I was able to overcome my fear and learned the art of selling from my experience of growing this business.
So, what is it that I do that allows me to be my natural self and not feel bad about asking for the sale?
A mindset shift.
Yes, all you need is to change your mindset from selling to genuinely helping and serving.
You are out there to provide value and offer solutions to people’s problems.
This way, you stay true to who you really are.
Also, it takes away the pressure on you and your client.
When you are genuinely trying to help your clients regardless of whether they will hire your service in the end, they can tell that you care and not just go after the money.
If you want to be good at selling, you need to understand two things:
- We only buy from people whom we believe can solve our problem and get us the results we desire
- We only buy from people whom we trust and like
Once you can internalize these two points, you will find it is not so hard to close a sale.
There are many ways to make money on the internet legitimately. It’s my belief that the same money-making strategies and principles can be learned by everyone, but only those who actually take action will reap the rewards that a profitable online business can bring.