Top Income Ideas for Making Money Online... Ways That Actually Work

From the desk of Kyle:

Looking to make some money online and on your own terms? I've been making money online since 2015 and have come across A LOT of different ways to do so, some legitimate and some not so much. 

I currently make a living working online for myself (yes it is possible) and below are some of the top ways I have found to go about doing so.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you earn commissions promoting products online and helping make sales. This is a very beginner-friendly way to make money online because there is no need for your own product and it is relatively simple, which is why it is what I recommend for beginners.

There are various ways to promote products, through free methods and with paid advertising, and you can promote just about any product under the sun. 

With this business model you are your own boss, so to speak. You promote products for companies but you do not work for them, which allows you to set your own schedule.

Wealthy Affiliate is a great training program to learn how to do affiliate marketing, one that I am a member of myself. If you are looking for structured step-by-step training and a lively community of other affiliates you can communicate with, then this is the place to go.

*Wealthy Affiliate has a free membership for people just starting out. You can join for free here.

2. Blogging

Blogging doesn't have to be a feminine thing for women only. I mean, it can be a feminine thing, but doesn't have to be. You can start a blog about anything, cooking, playing ping pong, building sheds, water painting, meditation, and the list goes on to infinity.

Blogs are nothing more than small websites where you write about a certain topic and provide people with information they want to hear. They are a great way to make money and once you have traffic coming to a blog you can monetize it in a number of different ways, including with affiliate marketing as mentioned above and also including things like advertising.

This is actually how I make 95+% of my income online.... Blogging coupled with affiliate marketing. I know how lucrative it can be and know some people who make much more than I, over $10k a month doing this (and more).

You can check out how I make money blogging here (I'll go over how others can get started too).

3. Dropshipping

There was a massive trend for a while where dropshipping was the thing to be doing, and because of this I got involved for a couple years. 

Dropshipping is when you set up an ecommerce website using a platform like Shopify (most common) and sell products directly from your site. You will be the one processing payments, dealing with refunds, etc. The good thing is that you don't keep any inventory. When someone purchases products on your site you simply have them shipped directly from the manufacturer. 

I know people who make a killing doing this but my experience with it wasn't all that good. There was one point where I was making $100 or so a day in profit selling tote bags with cats on them, but that was short lived. It can be a hit or miss depending on what you are selling and your target audience.

This is also a more risky business model than affiliate marketing and blogging, mainly because you will pretty much have to rely on paid advertising.

4. Sell an Ebook

Ever thought about selling an ebook?

You could write your own ebook or you could also hire someone else to do it, which is what a lot of people actually do.

Selling digital products like ebooks can be incredibly lucrative and is without a doubt still an amazing way to make money online. There is no inventory and there is no hassle with creating more copies. You simply create one copy and can duplicate it to infinity.

You could promote your ebook with paid advertising or you could even do it through a blog, which is another one of many ways you can monetize such. 

5. ESL Teaching Online

ESL teaching online is becoming more popular and there are a fair number of companies that will pay you up to $20 or more an hour doing this. Sometimes it is freelance work and sometimes you are an employee, it depends on the platform.

VIPKID is one of the most popular platforms like this out there right now. Most platforms are for children of Asian countries to learn English. Basically you will teach through a webcam and interact with the children, which can be fun and rewarding.

There are some people that make a full-time income doing this but it should be looked at as an extra income opportunity when starting out, because there usually aren't guaranteed hours.

6. Usability Testing

Did you know that you can make money testing out websites and apps? It's true.

There are websites that will pay you to test out other websites and apps just to make sure they are working okay. The point of all of this is to make sure that there are no glitches, that websites and apps are easy to navigate and so on.

Many of these sites pay around $10 for a test that might only take 20 minutes of time, which is great pay, but unfortunately you can't get tests to take back to back to back. And for this reason it is a good way to make money in your spare time, not a reliable way to earn an income.

Other "Not So Good" Income Ideas Worth Mentioning...

Below are other ways to earn a bit of money in your spare time but the reason I call them "not so good" is because I see them largely as a waste of time.

7. Paid Surveys

I'm sure everyone has heard of taking paid surveys online before. Yes the exist and yes they are an incredibly easy way to make money... BUT... You will hardly make any money and it can be one heck of a frustrating experience.

Back in the day, in the earlier days of the internet, you could actually make some decent money taking surveys, but since it has pretty much continually went downhill.

I would only recommend this type of opportunity for someone looking to earn some extra pocket change in their spare time.

8. "Get Paid To" Sites

A lot of sites that offer paid surveys are also "get paid to" or GPT sites. These sites pay you to do things like watch videos, play games, sign up for free trials, and so on. They basically offer a bunch of dumb little ways to make money where they get paid for collecting data and advertising.

They are also incredibly easy ways to earn but you will also earn very little.

Some examples of popular sites like this include Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars.