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Entrepreneurial Lifestyle, Working From Home

Earning extra money online: a no-nonsense guide

Topping up your income can make life a little bit easier. Unexpected costs like vets bills or car repairs can happen at any time, and, you need some extra cash.

There are legitimate ways to earn money online that don’t involve visiting an online casino! What’s more, you don’t need any special skills or training. It’s about monetizing the things you are already passionate about, proficient in, or prepared to take the time to become great at. 

If you are interested in using the power of the Internet to improve your earning potential, but you’re not sure where to start, listen up. Here is a list of options that call for skills and knowledge that you may already have or which are easy to learn. 

Sell your stuff 

These days, you can sell pretty much anything using your computer or smartphone. Whether something is new, used, or could be broken down for parts, there does seem to be a buyer for anything. The most common places to list stuff for sale include auction powerhouse eBay, local listing site Craigslist, or popular handmade platform Etsy. 

For the best chance of selling your stuff, an understanding of which marketplaces are necessary. Some products just sell better on eBay than on Etsy or Amazon, and vice versa. Let’s take a quick look:   

  • Ebay 

Ebay is a huge platform with many great features for selling products, fast. EBay is a top choice for merchants who enjoy built-in trust from the recognized brand, and top-rate seller and buyer protection. Since eBay has an option to auction off products, it can be a great place to sell rare items. With this platform, you can get your items in front of the most potential buyers. 

Ebay screenshot
Ebay screenshot

Further Reading: Start Selling on eBay

  • Craigslist

Craigslist is a local listing site for people looking to make some extra cash online. In a few clicks, you can sell your old TV, offer your gardening services or find someone to rent your spare room. You can get cash-in-hand and you don’t have to pay a network or shipping fees. If you don’t mind managing selling and disputes on your own, plan to sell locally and prefer to manage your transactions in person, use Craigslist. It’s also the simplest way to selling items that cost a lot to ship like furniture. 

Craigslist screenshot

Further Reading: How to Submit a Free Craigslist Post

  • Etsy

Lots of people have skills others could only dream of. If you can craft something cool, make something useful or build something unique, there’s a good chance you can sell that on Etsy. Etsy buyers enjoy the nature of buying unique products, they might not find elsewhere preferring this platform for it’s handmade and vintage goods.

This does limit the variety of things you can sell therefore if you’re selling books, gadgets, and cars, for example, this rather niche-specific market isn’t the one for you. If, however, you make niche stuff or you’re particularly good at finding quality vintage items or sourcing wholesale craft supplies, list it on Etsy. 

Ebay screenshot
Ebay screenshot

Further Reading: Learn How to Sell on Etsy

Provide Services Online

You can also make extra money by providing services. Paid tasks include everything from unskilled work like answering questionnaires, testing new websites and providing professional services like logo design. Here are a few examples:

  • Test websites There’s potential to earn money testing apps and websites for a small fee, and you don’t need a background in anything technical here. With site testing jobs, we recommend you use caution because some offer curious payment terms, such as assignments paid in vouchers. For legitimate paid-in-money gigs, check out Improb’s guide to the best sites paying.
  • Provide professional services via Upwork, the largest online marketplace where just about any professional services are sought and offered. The only drawback is having to compete with many others who are constantly bidding on open jobs.
  • Complete simple tasks for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Amazon pays a small amount for each ‘Human Intelligence Task’ (HIT) you do. If you’re proactive and do a high volume, this can be a nice little earner. Otherwise, you won’t see much revenue. One word of caution; jobs are competitive and to take an open HIT, you bid against others.

Get paid to write

Provided you have the skills to write engaging texts, it’s possible to earn money creating online content. We mean everything from blog posts to white pages and website copy.

Gold dropping from mobile phone
  • Start a blog—Instead of creating something or flogging old stuff, you can also just be really invested in something and get paid to write about it. If you are passionate about a topic, possess a unique skill set or advanced knowledge, share your skills to help others. This is known as authority blogging, which requires niche expertise — and the more focused your blog topic, the better. Starting a blog might seem like an effort, but it’s actually one of the simplest online income sources. All it takes is a solid blog setup. From here on, you will be creating content targeted at the right audience with a product, offer, or service that complements your content. To make money this way, you need a self-hosted blog (we’ll come to this in a  moment).
  • Write for someone else—If you’re a great writer, why not use that skill to make some extra coins? There are heaps of websites and blogs that pay for reviews, blogs, and white papers. Alternatively, check out the Mallee Blue Media roundup of the best sites for hiring.  

Make money through your existing website or blog 

You don’t even need to sell anything to make money online. If your website or blog has a steady audience, you’ve done the hard work already. Now’s the time to monetize that traffic work for you. But how does that work? The most common ways are as follows:

  • Market products as an affiliate—If you think you’ve got the skills to market products online, earning cash as an affiliate might be a smart move for you. Affiliate marketing happens when you promote other people’s products. If people visiting your site end up buying products thanks to your marketing, you earn a commission paid by the merchant. For more on how to get started with that, check out Affiliate Marketing 101.
  • Place Ads With Google Adsense—An easy way to make some extra cash is by placing ads on your website or blog. They can be pretty lucrative if your website brings in a steady stream of traffic. What’s more, it’s mighty easy to set up. You take a unique code and paste it onto your website or blog, and Google takes it from there. Since you don’t have to do any upkeep or maintenance for Adsense to run smoothly, it’s a no-brainer if you’ve already got a website up and running.
  • Sell Online Resources—Sharing your unique knowledge as training resources is one of the best ways to make money on a website. Your experience is yours; you earned it! Now you can take that time investment and turn it into money by educating others through your website. Your course can be as simple as an eBook, insider email, video demonstration, or anything that applies to your field. Creating online resource materials takes time, but then can be distributed for months or even years.

Further reading: Flog your blog for money.

Setting up your new side hustle

Launching your own website or blog is a great way to share your expertise and show people what you’re all about. If you’re serious about getting a side gig off the ground, you need somewhere people can find it on the web. Check out our concise guide to building your first site.

Chicken and hedgehog working together

Here’s a rundown of the main points:

  • Choose a unique and complementary domain name—You should get one that matches what you are offering. Here are some tips to get started.
  • Go live with hosting—Now that your website is ready, it’s time to bring it to potential customers. To make it available on the Internet, you need web hosting
  • Plan and build your website—Even if your site will cover just a few pages, some planning is involved. Off the top, you’ll need to know which topics will you cover, over how many pages, and they are categorized. This guide can help with planning your site 
  • Build trust for salesYour site should make the following things clear: your services, scheduling, pricing, policies, returns, and payment options. You should address anything that leaves people guessing on how to do business with you or would cut into your ‘trust factor’ and affect sales.
  • Add an online payment and SSL—accepting payments through your website comes with some extra responsibilities. For starters, you’ll need an SSL certificate (Namecheap shared hosting customers get SSL for free), And a safe way to process payments. Popular merchants include PayPal, Amazon Payments, Square and Stripe. Learn more about these payment options.
  • Spread the news on social mediaGet the word out about your side hustle to friends, family, and anyone else who might take an interest in what you are offering.

What are you waiting for?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully, it got you thinking about how you can use the Internet to create your own online side hustle. You never know — it might prove lucrative enough to become your main gig. If you have some spare time, a passion for almost anything, and at least some creative skill, you may be able to build a steady income stream — or several — this way. 

Are you making some extra money through the Internet? Let us know in the comments!         

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Isobel Weston

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