The internet is a cesspool of people trying to get you to buy into ways of making money to fulfill their personal greed, so how do you separate the chaff from the wheat? How can you look beyond the hidden agendas to find legitimate ways of making money online?
Let’s be clear. There are a gargantuan array of ideas, all of which are plausible. What those with hidden agendas won’t tell you is that there is no such thing as a quick buck. It takes grit and skill to accomplish good things and it’s no different starting an online business.
All four methods in this article are legitimate, but legitimacy doesn’t guarantee profit. If it did, then 90% of startups would not fail. But the reality is that they do fail, and one of the top reasons for this is lack of business acumen.
Talking of business acumen…marketing is key. You can offer the world’s most useful service or value-add product, but if no one knows about it, it won’t generate profit. Having a solid marketing strategy is key to making any idea work.
Once you’ve hit on The Idea, do your homework before gunning it, or you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.
#1. Selling online courses
If you have followers or are considered an authority on something that’s teachable, you could produce online courses as a way to make money. Selling courses is still a legitimate money-making endeavor even if you’re a newbie, but it will take a little longer to start generating a good profit.
When you consult or coach offline, your freedom is still dependent on time, because you need to spend time to make money. With online courses, you can set up automated systems that don’t require you to be present, which means you can generate a lot more profit with the time you do input.
Although there are a number of ways to set up online courses, you can speed up the process and eliminate much wasted time by utilizing an online course platform like Kajabi, which also removes much of the “pain” of setting up a coaching business because it’s like an all-in-one business-in-a-box kinda thing; pay monthly and get a website, course platform and processes, as well as marketing tools.
A course presented via the Kajabi platform.
Other ways of setting up online courses are with course marketplaces, WordPress Learning Management Systems and Membership plugins.
Do your homework before diving in, because each comes with pros and cons or additional costs you may not be aware of if you’re not yet familiar with online marketing.
#2. Promoting other people’s creations
The Internet is full of entrepreneurs who make a substantial living by promoting other people’s stuff, i.e. affiliate marketing.
Pat Flynn, here with his family, is one of the most successful affiliate marketers on the Internet today. In the last 12 months, he generated a whopping $1,761,715.04.
Affiliate programs provide unique links to affiliate marketers to identify the source of traffic; you’d use this link to send traffic to the merchant’s website. When someone you’ve sent to the merchant’s site buys from them, you get the commission.
As with setting up online courses, the best way to get results fast is when you already have a following that needs the products you want to promote. Expect a slower start if you’re starting from scratch.
If you’re not sure of what kind of products to promote, the recommendation is to decide on which target audience you’d like to serve, and then base your product selection on this. Doing it this way is easier than learning a target audience you have no clue about.
If you have a computer and the Internet, you can start promoting products immediately, but the top affiliate marketers know that they need an email marketing plan in place too, so their aim is not to simply send traffic to a merchant’s website, but to first secure email addresses so that they can make sales over time.
#3. Remote freelance services
If your talent can help others achieve their dreams, or help businesses reach their goals, remote freelancing is often profitable. You won’t make millions from it, but many are earning substantial incomes by offering services to others. Once they freelance for a few years, they often start building entire businesses around the services they provide.
The trick is to secure clients, but there are freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Guru that can give you a push as a starting point. You may need to initially offer your expertise at a low rate while you build a portfolio, but as you gain credibility and ongoing work, you won’t need to rely on those kinds of sites anymore and can depend on, in addition to your own marketing activities, word of mouth advertising instead from the satisfied clients you’ve worked for. This would of course mean that you’d need to provide stellar service.
Any service that can be done remotely is a viable online freelancing option.
#4. Flipping apps
Instead of building an app from scratch, a developer can purchase the source code of an app that’s doing well, give it a makeover, and resell it.
The reason for app flipping’s popularity is that it’s cheaper to improve the source code than it is to build an app from scratch.
But make sure you do your homework, and that the app is in the appstore, or it may prove difficult to sell.
What you want to aim for, is to buy source code that can be enhanced in various ways and packaged multiple times for different audiences.
Most ideas to make money online are legitimate, but this does not mean it’s going to make you money.
It’s vital to do your homework thoroughly before taking the plunge, and to have a marketing strategy.
Add a dash of patience, a dit of realism and a glob of perseverance, and there’s a good chance you’ll come up smelling roses.
Image: Author’s Own