Find work. When you first start out, you may have to accept work writing about a topic you don’t find all that interesting. You must keep an open mind and be willing to accept work that may not be in your desired field. However, as you continue to write, you not only learn about more topics, but you also build your reputation. With time, you can be choosier about assignments you want to accept.[19]
So, where are we supposed to turn to make money the legitimate way online? This isn't just about generating passive income; this is also about finding ways and means to create an active income through the conveniences afforded to us by the internet that will not only help us with our debt obligations, but also empower us to save, invest and get really rich in the future.
Alexis Dawes created a product called “Desperate Buyers Only”. I interview her for an upcoming case study on Inspiring Innovators, where she mentions that she is able to make up to $97 from ebooks as small as 12 pages. The key? Finding people who are incredibly desperate for the information you provide and then doing good research to find a real solution to their problems. The result? Happy customers whose problem is solved, and money for you — a win-win situation! Caveat: It may be tough to find a real desperate buyer niche (Alexis reveals some in her case study). Here are some hints: When were you last in a situation where information would have either saved you a lot of money or a lot of pain? Has someone else close to you been in a situation where they could have used information to avert pain? Think legal, medical, and financial niches.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. [7]
As per the previous point, often the logistics of growth makes a method unappealing to me, however I do want the income streams I go after to have the potential to scale, and scale big. This means if you do discover something that makes you money, the possibility to grow it to a life changing amount of money is a reality, and you understand how this can happen.
Anything from Amember to Quickbooks is fair game here. In the hosting industry, iDevAffiliate and Plesk Billing were the pieces of software we would have paid a lot of money to have someone else deal with. The more niche and more complex/annoying/frustrating the software, the better! Even if the software company offers free installation, you can make hundreds or thousands of dollars training business owners or their employees on its usage. Focus on one piece of software and become the trusted expert. Create videos and tutorials using screencast software like Camtasia to increase your profitability; this may also lead into a niche product that you can sell. (Amember offers “free installation”, but it took my boyfriend and I over 10 hours to configure it properly. That’s definitely something I would outsource next time!)
You can sell product from your own website store, via community sites and classifieds (like Craigslist) and of course eBay and collectively make good money. The challenge, like with any business, is defining what is your competitive advantage and can you come up with a model that meets your needs. For me selling physical product was a great proving ground, but I eventually learned that profiting from information was a preferable model if I wanted to meet my aforementioned business goals.
Start by taking other courses you’re interested in: Not only is this important competitor and opportunity analysis, but it also gives you an idea of how a course could or should look and feel. What’s the pacing like? Is it via email, video, in-person chats? Once you understand how you want your course to look, it’s time to decide what it should include. Those same courses are a great starting place. How can you make your course better or more interesting? Do you have experience others don’t?
You can earn above average rates of return because peer-to-peer lending eliminates the bank function. That means that you participate in nearly the entire interest rate being paid by the borrower, rather than the less than 1% that you will typically earn on certificates of deposit. And you can reduce your risk by investing in slices of hundreds of different loans.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
The list of options when it comes to making money via the internet is literally limitless. But just like making money offline, it is no easy feat. It also takes time, energy, planning and persistence to succeed. If you’re into affiliate marketing or blog advertising for instance, you need to gain trust from search engines to get your blog or website rank high in the search engine results, as well as gain trust from online users for better conversions.

It was a very simple card shop made up of text listings of the cards I had for sale, the quantity available and the cost per card or per pack. I maintained the inventory myself from my room, sorting and listing cards online by hand using plain text. I didn’t use any software and most of the payments I received back then was via check or money order in the mail. Some kids would even send money and even coins (!) in the mail to pay for their purchase.
You can set up a website, gradually build up the content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.), then eventually monetize the site through advertising, affiliate marketing, or even the direct sale of specific products or services. Even better, you can generally find whatever services and technical assistance you need online and free of charge. Later on, when your site develops a reliable cash flow, you can begin working with paid providers who can take your blog to the next level.
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