popular get-rich-quick money-making ideas that always pop up. Do they work? Not really. Will you make money doing it? Maaaybe. But you’d probably make more money from your 9-to-5 job. At least then it’s a guaranteed paycheck.
The truth is there are real ways to make money online—millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop and a solid internet connection. So let’s break down some real ways to make money online.
How to Make Money Online: 28 Real Ways
1. Start dropshipping
Let’s start our list off with one of the most popular ways to make money online. According to Google Trends, dropshipping’s popularity is rising, highlighting its viability as a business idea. With success stories about how an entrepreneur made $6,667 in eight weeks or how a store owner made six figures selling just one product, there’s plenty of proof that dropshipping is a real way to make money online.If you don’t know what dropshipping is, it’s a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier stores, packages, and ships the product to your customers on your behalf. With Shopify dropshipping, you have access to millions of products that you can add to your store. Some Shopify dropshipping apps allow you to hand-pick your product images, edit item descriptions, and give your business a personalized vibe, so people will love shopping with you.
2. Try print on demand
Print on demand (POD) is another popular way to earn money online. Many individuals have adopted this business model because it has lower overhead than other businesses.
Print on demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences, though. First, you can make your own custom products, which is great for brand recognition. Second, you can choose from specific items rather than a vast range of categories. Most print-on-demand companies offer products that are easy to print on, like t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags.
The best way to make money with your print-on-demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram and Pinterest, and through social media influencers who convert their audiences well.
You can get a complete overview of print of demand versus dropshipping by watching us get into a healthy debate with Wholesale Ted about the pros and cons of each business model.
3. Make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to be a stable way to earn through the internet. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you choose from a vast range of companies to partner with, including Shopify, Amazon, Uber, and FabFitFun.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, software, apps, and more. While earning a commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and include several affiliate links on a single blog post.
If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you create an asset you can call your own. Strategically place affiliate links in your blog posts to drive traffic to your affiliate partner’s website.
4. Start a YouTube channel
If others can make money from YouTube, so can you. The highest-paid YouTuber is Jimmy Donaldson (a.k.a. MrBeast), who uploads bizarre stunts on his YouTube channel, which made him $54 million in 2021. Another high earner is Jake Paul, who’s made $45 million on YouTube by sharing high-energy prank videos and boxing content. His YouTube (and boxing career) fame helped him use his influence to make money online beyond his YouTube earnings.
Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.
The secret to making money on YouTube is to create content that people want. Create witty headlines to entice people to watch your videos and use keywords in your description to optimize for YouTube search. Once you’ve reached the 1,000-subscriber milestone, you can officially monetize your channel with YouTube ads.
5. Become an influencer
Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Did you know soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo charges between $880,259 and $1 million, on average, for a sponsored Instagram post? While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back.
To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The best platforms to get started on? Instagram and TikTok. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out how to get more Instagram followers if you want to build a big Instagram audience.
To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, create your own online store and sell products, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, make and sell merch, get paid to appear at events, and more.
6. Create an online course
Selling courses is one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re an expert on a subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating courses online. You can sell your course on Udemy or, if you already have your own audience, through your own website. Some entrepreneurs earn as much as $5,000 per month with online courses.
To create a popular and successful course, take inspiration from trending courses in your niche. Then, look at the reviews. What are the aspects that people praise, and what are the things people hate? How can you create something better than what’s already been created? Focus on creating content that solves the biggest complaints while emulating the positive aspects people rave about.
The platform you sell your course on will determine how to best make money. If you sell your course on Udemy, you don’t have to do much to promote it. You can almost set it and forget it. Maybe promote it to some blogs or on social media networks. However, if the course is hosted on your own website, you might want to run ads to promote the course. You can also build an email list to promote future courses without needing to pay for marketing.