With 42% of the USA’s 53 million strong freelance workforce working via the Internet, the lure of earning a living online is very real.
And why wouldn’t it be? No more morning commutes, no more early bedtimes, and you can attend video conferences in your underwear. It’s perfect.
But figuring out where to begin can be a job in and of itself.
There’s no shortage of online money making opportunities; it’s just that the vast majority of them will only bring in spare change. And then you have the plethora of “get-rich-quick” schemes that do everything except make you rich.
To help you start searching for a genuine and wholesome earning opportunity, here are ten free ways to make money online.
1. Freelance Writing
As a freelance writer, I know a thing or two about freelance writing. It was the path I took when I began my quest to make money online, and four years later, I’m still successfully avoiding homelessness.
The great thing about freelance writing is the flexibility. Thanks to the broad success of blogs and online publications across pretty much every subject matter on the face of the earth, you can write about almost anything – and charge for it.
Logo design, blogging, translation services, video voice-overs, proofreading, and much, much more. That’s a small sample of the services you can offer on Fiverr
As the name suggests, each gig typically sets people back $5. However, you can increase your revenue by selling add-ons – like different logo image formats, for example.
Before you scoff at the idea of doing small jobs for as little as five bucks, you should know that many people earn enough from their Fiverr gigs to call it their full-time vocation.
3. Affiliate Marketing
You may have heard of affiliate marketing before, without fully understanding it.
Affiliate marketers are essentially middle men (or women) who market other people’s goods or services, directing potential buyers towards their website. If they clinch a sale, they claim a pre-agreed percentage. It’s that simple.
As an affiliate, your best bet is to create a website based around promoting a particular line of products, and then working to bring in traffic. But to keep your costs at zero, you could grow a targeted social media following to whom you can market to.
Websites and big brands the world over offer affiliate programs, from iTunes to Amazon. But if you’re looking for a diverse set of options, check out affiliate networks like CJ Affiliate and Shareasale.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
If you aren’t camera shy, YouTube might be your calling.
We all know and love YouTube, mainly for the diversity of content that resides there. Millions upon millions of views are spread out across an untold amount of videos, thanks to the sheer popularity of the website.
It’s not easy to succeed on YouTube, but if you think you can go even just a little bit viral, you should give it a chance.
Once you start gaining some traction, you can become a YouTube Partner in order to monetize your videos.
5. Sell Stock Photos
Handy with a camera? There’s nothing stopping you from turning your snaps into a business.
Stock photography websites, like Shutterstock, need photographers to survive. Businesses and publishers of all types are constantly trawling their archives for imagery to use on their websites and in their marketing campaigns, and your photos can be in the mix.
6. Write an eBook
The eBook market is booming, If you have knowledge on a particular subject, people will pay to read about it
However, books – even traditionally shorter eBooks – are not quick or easy to write. It’s a project that will require plenty of time and effort; but with potentially long lasting rewards.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform makes it easy to get your eBook on the market.
7. Create a Game
If you know your way around code, the app market might be your gig.
Unity is an online game engine that you can leverage to build your very own 2D or 3D game – for free. They provide an ad network, analytics, multiplayer functionality, and more.
They have a community full of game builders who release their apps on iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and other platforms.
8. Join UpWork
Formerly known as oDesk, UpWork is a website that brings freelancers and businesses together.
As a freelancer, you can use UpWork to find gigs that involve; writing, virtual assistance, SEO, accounting, and much more.
But UpWork isn’t just a professional matchmaking service. It provides the freelancer and the client with an end-to-end collaboration environment with secure communication tools, time tracking, and a payment gateway.
9. Start an Online Store
Last but not least, you can start your very own professional online store with Shopify; selling any product or service you want.
Okay, so this option may not be totally free, but the 14-day free trial is long enough to make your first sale. And after that, there’s no stopping you.
The Internet is more than just fail videos and cats. Millions have leveraged it to build careers in a range of industries – and there’s no reason why you can’t, too.
But be warned, none of the above online money making strategies will get you rich overnight. Unless you are a (very) special case, you’ll have to work just as hard as the next guy for your success. But at least you’ll be working hard in your pajamas.
About the Author
Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.