One of the biggest business success stories of the 21st Century started out as an “online mixer” for college students. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as an Internet forum for Harvard University students to see pictures of and make electronic connections with their classmates. The site was initially marketed exclusively (and very successfully) to college students before exploding onto the cultural and societal landscape in the US and then internationally.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
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I love referral and affiliate marketing. It’s where the vast majority of my income comes from these days. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can get in on the action as well. You can get paid to refer your friends to a wide variety of legitimate services. While there are many companies like StitchFix that will give you store credit for referrals, we are focusing on those that offer cold, hard cash today. Keep in mind, you will need to be signed up for the program yourself to take advantage of the program. But, you shouldn’t be referring people to things you don’t use anyway.
Whether it’s an important consumer application, a specialist app to solve a particular niche problem, or even a time-wasting game you can play on your phone, you can create a massively successful business if you build software that helps people. (Look at the rise of Slack—the team communication software that went from side project to billion-dollar company in just 2 years.)
Word-of-Mouth Campaigns: These campaigns rely more on conversations among consumers than advertising or marketing materials touting the product or service. Brand exposure is low key and subtle, such as sponsorship or giveaways at events or establishments frequented by the niche market. As a result, these campaigns take longer to develop and yield results, but the returns can be extremely high, given that word-of-mouth recommendations generally carry a lot of weight with consumers.
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.
Specialty food trucks are becoming increasingly popular for consumers who wish something other than traditional fast food fare such as burgers, fries, and hot dogs. Enormously successful Clover Truck of Boston, MA runs a fleet of trucks that provide a seasonally changing menu that serves vegetarian meals made from mostly locally sourced, organic ingredients (and actually, they do serve french fries).
Now, it’s time to plan out your show. If you’re doing an interview-style show, you’ll now want to start getting some guests involved. You can use your existing social network to reach out to people you already know or are connected with on Twitter or Facebook. You can also head to Medium or Amazon to find authors or experts on topics specific to your niche.
This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.
Start by considering all the product or service variations you might offer. When it comes to marketing soap, for example, not much has changed over the years. But suppose you were a soap maker and you invented a new brand to gently remove chlorine from swimmers' hair. You'd have something uniquely compelling to offer a niche market--from members of your neighborhood pool to the Olympic swim team.
With the byzantine complexity of modern medical billing practices, there is a definite need for patient advocates. These individuals take the time to track down hospital billing paperwork and potentially argue with insurance companies. Considering the fact that many of those who need to hire advocates are either ailing or grieving, this is a very necessary service.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
Creating and selling courses on your blog can be a successful way to make money online. The course itself should be relevant to your blog, and based on a topic that will benefit your audience. Although it may take time to create the course in the first instance, once completed, you can then repeatedly make money from the course each time you sell it.
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
If you want to help shape products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.