You’ve heard the story before. Some unknown genius creates an amazing online blog or business that takes over the industry, makes them a fortune, and suddenly they’re crisscrossing the globe, having the time of their lives. You’ve probably seen the articles in major publications, usually led by a title somewhere along the lines of “Man Quits Finance Job to Travel the World” and paired with photos of these individuals lounging on a beach, sipping coffee and working from a rooftop bar overlooking a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Yet while these stories excel at selling the dream, they leave out the part about how just about anyone can do it too.
You don’t have to be a genius to become location independent and chase your dreams. All you have to do is set goals, devise a plan and put in a little hard work. Now, we know that version might sound pretty oversimplified – and it is. But don’t worry: we’re going to take you step by step through the process of how to make a living online. First, we’ll help you figure out where to start.
When you’re thinking about how to make a living online, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the endless options, and be intimidated by all of the scams and pitfalls out there. The first thing you have to do is set aside your feelings of intimidation. Realistically, becoming location independent is not easy, but it’s also not as hard as most people think. Once you’ve got your mindset right, you can tackle the first and biggest question involved in making a living online: what services will you offer?
The easiest way to answer this question is to figure out what your strengths are and what skills or certifications you possess. Once you’ve identified what value you have to offer, you can figure out which industry or target market can benefit from these services. (If you want more information on how to figure out where to start, check out our article on how to create a location independent business which offers tips on how to get started in 9 different industries.) Here, we’ll break down a few things to note before getting started and then outline the best ways to make a living online.
Qualify Potential Revenue Streams
Typically, your skills and experience will be diverse enough to adapt to many different online jobs and industries. So once you’ve identified your strongest skills, and potential jobs or businesses you can use them in, you’ll want to rank which ones will work best for you.
Evaluate Profit Margins
Some remote jobs and online gigs can have very slim profit margins, meaning you’ll have to do a lot more work in order to make an income you can live on. This is particularly important if you are selling products. Since you’ll be working remotely, it’s easy to keep overhead costs low as you won’t need to rent office space, equipment and so on.
Put some thought into what products or services you want to sell and analyze any costs you may have both financially and in terms of time before moving forward with your plan.
Decide What You Will Sell
Whether you are selling yourself as a business asset or selling a product, you will need to decide the value of what you are offering to the target market. This also means evaluating the price of your services before agreeing to do any work. When looking for new clients, you want to make sure any products or services you are selling will be worth the effort.
For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you wouldn’t want to write 1000 word articles for $8 since you’ll be spending a lot of time and effort for very little financial gain.
Websites like Fiverr are great if you’re trying to make some spare cash, but make sure that you price your services based on how much time and effort you’ll be putting in. Otherwise, you might sell yourself short.
Create a Scalable Business
As you create your location independent business, you want to make sure that your work isn’t going to consume your life. The whole point of the nomadic lifestyle is to get away from the rat race, so creating an online business that can be scaled means you’ll be able to increase your income without having to increase the amount of time you put into it.
You also want to consider whether your business has passive income potential or not. Passive income is the holy grail of web based income and the nomadic lifestyle.
What is passive income? Basically, passive income is money that you make without having to put in a lot of effort. Typically, it means creating a product or service that can be sold repeatedly without you having to put in any extra effort for each additional sale. Some examples include: investing in the stock market, owning real estate and writing e-books. All of these endeavors, and more, can contribute to your passive income and free up more time for you to explore the world.
11 Ways to Make Money Online
1. Sell Courses Online
If you have a background in education or are an expert in a particular field, you can use your knowledge to create and sell courses online. You can sell courses directly on your own website, or if you are intimidated by creating your own platform you can use something like Teachable, which does the hard work for you. Teachable is an online platform of more than 22,000 instructors where they can offer courses on everything from graphic design to finance and investing. You can also sell digital products such as e-books or study guides to earn extra money.
2. Become a Freelance Designer
With the Internet increasingly taking over every aspect of our lives, there is a huge demand for design services. As businesses move online, there is the need to create visually stunning websites and graphics such as logos and business cards to market to larger audiences. If you are skilled using web design tools such Webflow and design tools such as PhotoShop, you can start an online business creating beautiful imagery and websites for your clients.
3. Sell Products Online
Back in the day, you used to have to sell products directly to consumers in your local area, pay for television advertising to reach new markets or spend a ton of money to create a distribution network large enough to reach customers. Today, you can sell products right out of your own home thanks to websites like Craigslist, eBay and Etsy. As you build up clientele and a good reputation, you can turn your favorite hobby into a full-time job.
By setting up your online store, you can offer both used and new products to earn a living online. eBay allows you to sell old clothing and tools to make some extra cash or scour your local store for flash deals and resell the items for a profit.
There is a large market for unique, vintage and handmade goods and Etsy is arguably the top site for buying and selling these kinds of goods. If you know how to sew, make phone cases or are an expert in woodwork, you can set up an Etsy store to sell your products to an international audience.
4. Be a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is one of the easiest industries to make money online if you have excellent writing and communication skills. As a freelance writer, you can create everything from short content such as product descriptions to in-depth research studies and lively blog posts. As a writer, you can work on your own time as long as you hit deadlines and consistently provide quality content. This job is easy to transition from part-time to full-time as you gain more clients, and the only tool you need is a laptop.
5. Brand Ambassador/Influencer
Brand ambassadors use social media to earn money by promoting products from their favorite companies. If you want to be a brand ambassador, you’ll need to have followers on social media that are interested in the products offered by the company you will represent. You’ll be expected to post products on your social media and include links to the site where they can purchase them.
Typically, only the most successful people or those with huge amounts of followers will be able to make this their main job. However, if you have great engagement and a decent amount of followers on social media, this is a great way to make extra money. To become a brand ambassador, you can start by reaching out to some of your favorite companies and pitch a potential partnership by letting them know why you would be a good fit to represent them. If it’s your first time, start by approaching smaller, local companies that are more likely to respond to a brand ambassador just starting out.
6. Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, you’ll support clients with everything from data entry to customer support. If you are already an assistant or secretary, you can approach your current boss and propose turning your existing position into a location independent one. If not, there are online such as Zirtual that connect virtual assistants with entrepreneurs and professionals. You can also offer your services on Upwork to find your own clients.
7. Host a Podcast
Podcasts aren’t profitable by themselves; you actually make money through ads that are heard by your listeners. So to make money as a podcaster, you’ll need to grow an audience in order to be attractive to advertisers.
First, though, you’ll have to start broadcasting. Besides having expertise in a certain field, you’ll need to purchase sound equipment (and, potentially, computer programs) to create and edit your podcasts.
Once you have the hang of the technical aspects, you can focus on growing your listenership. One of the quickest ways to grow your podcast is to feature prominent guests on your show. Their audience will tune in and if they like what they hear, they will return week after week to hear what you have to say.
8. Sell Website Domains
Are you good at picking out the next trend long before everybody else does? If yes, you can make good money flipping domain names. The idea here is that you buy a website domain in the hopes that someone will want to buy it from you in the future. While riskier than most of the other ways to make money online that we’ve gone through, there is potential to make big bucks if you’re good at it.
You can buy domain names you think will be popular in the future, or try to snag a few that are already popular now. When it comes time to sell, some buyers will approach you directly, or you can reach out to people you think may be interested in your domain names.
This money maker has skyrocketed to fame since launching the careers of huge stars such as Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Kate Upton, who got their starts after being discovered on their YouTube channels. It’s not just for singers; the beauty of the YouTube platform is that it is versatile enough for hundreds of industries. If you’re a musician, you can post videos of yourself playing an instrument or singing a song, but you can also use the platform to post instructional videos, funny skits, or daily travel vlogs depending on your target audience.
10. Affiliate Marketing
If you have a website or are a social media influencer, you can make money as an affiliate marketer. As an affiliate marketer, you promote products you love and earn a commission every time someone buys those products through your links. While it’s difficult to earn a full-time income as an affiliate marketer, you can still make a nice chunk of change if you have a large following.
These days, many major companies – including Amazon, Target, and Walmart -offer their own affiliate programs where you can make money. All you have to do is set up an account and include affiliate links in your blog posts or on your promotional videos. Make sure to read the fine print of your affiliate contracts as some offer payment in the form of gift cards while other pay through PayPal.
Many online entrepreneurs start of as bloggers or create a blog to share their expertise. When blogging, you want to create content that will drive traffic to your website so you can sell your products or make money through partnerships and affiliate marketing.
Focus your blog posts on a niche market and try to create content that isn’t already out there. Once you figure out what you want to write about, identify target keywords that people may type into search engines, and increase your chances of being found by creating content to fit those queries
You can increase traffic to your website by paying for ads using Google AdWords or by promoting your content on free sites. Pinterest is a great choice if your blog is visual and can be particularly useful for things like photography, cooking and beauty blogging.
Start Earning Money Online
With some of these ideas, you can start to earn money online today. Others require a little more preparation and planning to scale or build your income. You can choose one income stream or you can mix and match a few of these ideas to create a bigger and more diversified income. Thanks to the Internet, there are hundreds of legitimate ways to make money online.
Speaking of all the resources the web has to offer, our Location Indie community is dedicated to helping you chase your dreams and develop your own location independence.
Our community is made up of hundreds of individuals just like you who are looking for ways to make money online or have already created remote businesses that allow them to travel. You’ll have access to the forum where you can ask questions, get support, and receive community updates and guidance for making your location independent lifestyle a success.