The interwebz iz good for more than just porn and video games – it can make money too! Think of the web as a giant public space where all types of business goes down. If you’re looking to make some money, the interwebz provide a myriad of ways to get yourself financially solvent. Check out 30 easy ways to make money online, if you know what you’re doing.
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s program for bloggers and other webmasters to earn money by placing Amazon links and banners on their site. You can earn residual income through this site – this means even though you’re only receiving 6-10% of each sale, once you build the link, the income is automatic.
While advertising is the easiest way to make passive income over the internet, it depends on driving traffic, which means you have to place relevant links. Focus on content you would want to see to convince you to click through, rather than trying to trick site visitors into clicking a link.
If that sounds like too much work, there’s an easy button – Google’s advertising platform is as simple as signing up, enabling (on Blogger) or pasting a small code on your website, and allowing the advertisements to automatically roll in. The problem with this program is that you don’t get any commissions – and you don’t get to control the ad content.
Also it doesn’t work with WordPress-hosted sites, although you can use it with a Worpress site hosted on another server. This is useful for some, but powerful users will want something a little more robust.
Another great affiliate option outside of Amazon is offered by Rakuten. Each advertiser has their own terms and conditions for applying along with commission structures. All are routed through one simple interface.
Through Rakuten, you can advertise iTunes, Starbucks, The Honest Company, and other vendors that offer products and services outside Amazon. Linking directly to these sites can also assist your site ranking, in addition to passive income.
- Company Referral Programs
I often attend trade shows and deal with PR companies. They all want their products and brands advertised on the mainstream and high-traffic media companies I work with. While I maintain journalistic integrity for sites I’m paid to write for, others want free content from me, so I make money side hustling links and obtaining review units to write about.
Not only does this boost income, it gets me free or discounted products. Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands to communicate your needs and offer services.
Klout is a San Francisco-based startup that rewards social media influencers with free samples and other giveaways. While the majority of Klout’s offerings are promotional samples, there are occasional gems being offered, so if you’re already spending all your time on social media, you may as well be compensated for it. Think of it as a social media rewards program.
EBay is the premiere internet auction site, spawning PayPal along with a slew of imitators and haters. Instead of holding a garage/yard sale, where you have to make signs, advertise in the paper, and get up early in the morning to haggle with yokels over how many Star Wars collector cups $5 buys, you can create an auction, set bid and reserve prices, and mail boxes off at your convenience.
Amazon is constantly trying to compete with EBay, so it’s no surprise their marketplace allows independent sellers to offer new and used goods. Other than site branding, there’s very little difference between the two sites, aside from EBay allowing obscure items with no SKU and Amazon allowing the sale of ebooks and other digital content.
- App and Play Stores
Musicians and other audio/videophiles can create podcasts and other media to sell through the App and Play stores. Even programmers can make apps and games, although the App store is a bit more difficult to get listed, and you’ll be competing with tens of thousands of similar products, so marketing is the ultimate key to making money – these stores simply provide a marketplace.
When I was a kid, we advertised everything in the Classified section in the back of the newspaper. Now people under the age of 40 only know of newspapers from their parents or vague memories from childhood. These days, we post classified ads on Craigslist, a localized posting board where you can find a job, offer services, find a job, or sell any of your old junk.
Like classified ads before them, Craigslist is the subject of a variety of paranoid (often untrue or exaggerated) stories of people being killed, kidnapped, raped, etc. via Craigslist. While this can and does happen, the site is far from the only culprit. Common sense will save you in a variety of situations, so don’t use any site blindly – if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you’re crafty, try selling crafts on Etsy. Handcrafted items are the bread and butter here. Plenty of people make good side money on the site, which is basically an EBay for crafters and artists. Set up a sellers account with Etsy, and you’ll be asked to set up your virtual storefront and put up at least 5 goods for sale. Once you have this initial process done, you’ll be ready to sell to anyone.
Once you have this down, you’ll be a budding Etsy entrepreneur. Provide great quality to your customers, and they’ll often return. Many people are willing to pay a premium for quality handmade designs. Etsy (like EBay and Amazon) takes a cut off the top for selling items through their site. PayPal takes another cut, and you have to be careful with taxes on all income, so be diligent while building your online business.
- Website Building
The interwebz iz filled with two kinds of people – content creators and service providers. The barrier to entry for service providers is financially impossible to overcome individually, so focus on creating content. In order to do this, you need a website. In order to build a website, you need a host (i.e GoDaddy), a template (i.e WordPress), and content.
The first two parts are easy to find, and content is only as difficult as you make it. You can post blogs, items for sale, pictures, videos, or whatever you want. Opening up your own website gives you the potential to make money from the avenues I’m going to mention.
Once you get used to designing websites and driving traffic to them, you can start charging others to build and maintain a website. Some small businesses only want basic sites that will require a one-time fee, while others are web-savvy and will pay a subscription fee for you to maintain the site.
- SEO and Content Marketing
Any time you type a keyword into a search engine and press Enter, you’re presented with a list of (often millions of) results. The order of this list is carefully determined by a variety of search algorithms developed and maintained by the search engine company. Optimizing your site for all search engines increases visibility, so learning the secrets of Search-Engine Optimization and Content Marketing is essential.
Once you have these skills, you can begin finding clients to offer marketing services, which can carry monthly subscription fees of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These projects take a lot more work than you think, though, so be prepared to spend 20-hour days placing relevant anchor links and building traffic to show results.
- Buying/Selling Social Media Accounts
Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever other platform, it’s all social media, and both brands and advertisers are aware these services have our attention. This is why services exist to pay users to advertise, buy/sell accounts, and buy/sell followers. Often these services are against the site’s terms and conditions, so be sure you’re dealing with a reputable company that won’t get you banned.
I make most of my income blogging. This includes finding pictures, coming up with content, building links, formatting posts, etc. It’s a full-time job in and of itself, but over time, it pays off. If you want to start blogging, sign up with Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, or Joombla, and get started. Tumblr is more of an advertising platform for blogging, but all exposure is good.
Monetizing a blog involves the residual affiliate advertising methods described above, along with obtaining payments for blogging. My clients include media outlets, ghostwriting clients, and more. Sometimes I pitch stories (Like my Main Street Bud Trimmer’s Guide), and other times they’re assigned to me (like my original Lifehack of 24 Ways to Make Money on the Internet). Either way, being paid to write is my ultimate goal, and it beats flipping burgers or hustling on the corner.
For more visual artists, YouTube provides a great platform to make money generating traffic to videos. A variety of Internet stars have been birthed on Google’s YouTube service, which focuses on user-created content to stay alive. However many of them are rushing to reroute traffic to their own personal sites to regain control over their income as YouTube continues to tighten its terms and conditions.
Probably not your first choice to make money, there’s no denying porn is the largest traffic driver on the internet. If you’re a female, you can make money getting naked online, although your content will likely be stolen and advertised better than you’re doing. A variety of Internet porn stars make decent money off subscriptions and by posting their Amazon wish list in public (lonely guys will do anything for attention).
During my school years, I supported myself trading bootleg movies, TV seasons, albums, and software. By simply installing thousands of dollars of software on a cheap computer, tablet, or phone, you can instantly raise its value. Look for high-value stuff like pro audio/video/photo editing programs, emulators and roms, web design software, and new release movies (skip cams). With a printer and Lightscribe burner, you can create any DVD, game, or Blu-Ray you want to sell.
If you haven’t seen South Park’s episode about Kickstarter and Washington Redskins Go Fuck Yourself, you’re missing out. Crowdfunding is a popular way for startups and entrepreneurs to raise money for projects though. Be prepared to provide some graphs, stats, and proof of concept, but if you have a great idea for an invention or service, Kickstarter can get it off the ground in no time.
- Extreme Couponing
I used to have a newspaper delivery route as a kid. Every Sunday and Tuesday, the paper included a variety of coupons and advertisements, as the editions were distributed to a wider audience. We often provided free copies to everyone in the neighborhood. Before delivering the papers, however, I made sure to search through it for any valuable coupons. Extreme couponers take this concept to the extreme.
Once you get started searching for freebies, free samples, and store coupons, you’ll find a variety of apps and sites all helping you do the same thing – stock up on coupons, watch sales cycles, and buy in bulk to beat the system and pay pennies (or even get paid) for the food, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies you buy and use all the time.
Although Wikipedia is a non-profit reference site, it’s also one of the most heavily trafficked sites online, so everyone wants to be on it. It’s not difficult to find companies and other interests looking for Wikipedia editors. Create a profile and start editing all those articles you complain are inaccurate. Not only will you be maintaining the integrity of the site, you’re building your portfolio so you can apply for jobs editing Wikipedia.
Like Wikipedia, many brands and companies will pay you for Yelp reviews, but only if you have a valid account that’s actively used. Keep up with reviewing places you go on any service (TripAdvisor, Foursquare, etc.) and you’ll be available to make a quick $15-50 just for posting a 100-300 word review about a company. I like to keep multiple accounts on every social media account in order to continue taking these types of jobs while maintaining the integrity of my personal online brand.
- 20/20 Surveys
Despite having the capability to monitor our every thought and desire online, some companies still like to ask us what we think. A variety of companies offer marketing surveys, but most are a scam. 20/20 offers panels for a variety of clients and is consistent with pay and participant selection. It’s possible to make $100 or more for qualifying for certain surveys targeting specific demographics. Sign up for their alerts to be notified whenever you may qualify for a new survey.
Another seemingly dark corner of the Interwebz is sweepstakes. Don’t ever click on a banner ad claiming you won something, but legitimate brands you use and stores you shop at often offer legitimate sweepstakes with low entry counts because everyone assumes it’s a waste of time. Follow every brand on Facebook, visit their websites, and check weekly ads to know who’s offering which sweepstakes. So long as you’re not paying for entry, you’re not wasting time trying for something free.
Digital contraband is aplenty on The Pirate Bay, but for physical contraband, you have to log into the Darknet. I’ve discussed the Deep Web and Darknet in-depth throughout my blogs, so if you’re unaware of it, check them out. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to buy and sell anything you want around the world. Ran out of cans to recycle and items to sell in a garage sale? Sell your organs, children, drugs, or more on the Darknet.
A website built off the old TV commercial jingle, “What would you do for a Klondike bar,” Fiverr is where you offer to perform a variety of silly pet tricks or services for $5. It takes time to build your reputation, and, like everywhere visual online, your odds increase if you’re a broad, but money can be made for simple tasks, such as posting a pic on your social media account holding a sign for someone’s brand for a viral marketing campaign.
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program is a great place to get involved in crowdsourcing (not to be confused with crowdfunding). After linking your Amazon account, you’ll perform a variety of micro-tasks for pennies. It doesn’t sound like much, but most tasks only take a few seconds to perform, so it’s possible to earn $5-10+ per hour on the site.
You can look forward to data entry, clicking links, rating pics, describing porn clips, and more. I like to work on Mturk while mindlessly watching TV or killing time in the library in between assignments.
Care.com is the place for experienced nannies and other caregivers to make money peddling their services. By listing yourself on the Craigslist of Childcare, you widen your brand’s exposure and increase your odds of finding a gig. You can be pickier with what kids you watch when you have the reputation and traffic to pull in more customers. Join Care.com and start making money by investing in the future of our youth.
Maybe what you need is a job. It doesn’t matter which job search site you prefer using (even Craigslist) – Indeed tracks them all, and then some. You can find jobs posted on company websites, through temp agencies, and more at Indeed. If money is something you really need, Indeed is most definitely the place you want to visit to browse career opportunities.
Where Indeed excels at finding job postings across the web and acting as a search crawler for employment, maybe a full-fledged career is too big of a commitment at this point in your life. Elance is a site to find freelance work of all types. I’ve used it for quick writing, editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs and temp gigs. The experience has been great.
Elance offers a wide array of technical, data entry, accounting, and other freelance and temp gigs. If you’re just looking for something short and sweet, log in, input and showcase your marketable skills, and begin searching through their job database, using any parameters you desire. Once you submit a bid, you’ll receive an acceptance or denial – you may get a few rejections, but don’t sweat it. Negotiate the terms of your bid, and get to work. You have money to make.
LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals. This isn’t a direct way to make money, but it’s a great way to connect to your current and potential peers, customers, clients, vendors, and more here. You’ll build a reputation and get in the loop on important developments in your chosen career path and/or industry. One day an old college buddy may hit you up for a dream job you never considered at the exact moment you are looking for a new vocation. Whether you like it or not, keeping your LinkedIn profile current is a great way to get surprised with new work opportunities out the blue.
and as a bonus…
Have a car, truck, van, or bus? You can start your own taxi service. Instead of using a cab company, which is prohibited from certain practices, you can be just another Lyft or Uber driver charging fares per person, driving drivers’ unions up the wall faster than you can make $1000 pimping your ride out.
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and writer. Penny has been featured on Main Street, Cannabis Now, Hardcore Droid, and The Huffington Post.