I am about to share my top 10 methods for making money online. This is what I have learned over the last 10 years of working online in my efforts to make a full time sustainable income from my laptop. This is not an exhaustive list and there are many methods for building an online income which are not included here. Here I am including the methods which I have personally tried and have been met with either success or lack of success.I deliberately don’t use the word failure because I simply used my results as feedback as to whether to continue down the path I was on. For the methods I stopped using I would say that for some, success is possible with any method mentioned here. For me, however, I have been on a quest for several years to find the holy grail of internet income!
Here are my qualifiers as to what makes a particular method of internet income particularly attractive:
My internet income must be portable. That is, I can take my laptop anywhere in the world and so long as there is an internet connection, I can work on my business. In the early days this wasn’t the case for me and I had a tonne of stock to lug about which made it impossible to be completely flexible. Now, through trial and error and the evolution of my ideas, I can operate my internet business from anywhere, providing I have a laptop and internet connection.
It must have multiple income sources and not rely on only one. Having only one product to sell can present some problems. For one if you are selling someone else’s product and they stop providing it! This happened to me several years ago when I was selling an internet based course teaching aspects of internet marketing. I had built a tonne of content around this product and the guy whose course it was simply took it down. It was a course by a guy called Peter Lexis and I had started selling them quite well making my first real breakthrough in affiliate marketing.
I don’t want to handle any stock or deal with any customers! During my early years online I sold on ebay and spent half the week looking out for emails and replying to messages. I was also queuing up in the post office for a lot of time weighing products to be posted. For my ideal internet business, I don’t want to deal with anyone personally over the phone.
It must be scalable. A scalable business is what really made me take note of the potential of the internet. The problem with my ebay business (in the early days) was that there was only one of me. It relied on my ability to keep working continuously. Even if I worked full time and continuously, it didn’t offer any greater potential. With a scalable business, all the systems are automated and there is an unlimited potential for growth. With a one man operation, growth is always limited. Using the many tools which are now available on the internet, anyone can have a scalable business.
These qualifiers are the result of my changing ideas about how to make money on the internet over the last several years of working online. However, there is no reason why any of these income methods cannot work for you. So these are my top 10 methods for making money online. They are not in any particular order of preference and some of them I have abandoned over the years because they no longer fit with the above qualifiers.
1. E-bay: My first venture in profiteering online started about 15 years ago when I opened an ebay account and began selling items from my bedroom. This quickly led to selling items I had bought from car boot sales and charity shops. I sold just about anything from designer jeans to 80’s toys and gadgets. I always had an eye for bargains in the charity shops and this interest made it easy for me to spot items which were going for less than someone would pay. Finding the items at a bargain price was the real key to making money through Ebay. I also found items from pound shops and sold them at profit. There is still a huge potential in this despite the growing number of sellers on E-bay keeping prices down.
I bought a few ‘e-books’ on the subject of making money from e-bay itself and tried a new method which was described in one of these books:
2. E-bay selling badly listed items. There is a huge amount of items which have been placed on E-bay to sell which don’t get the interest they deserve. The reason is that they have been listed badly. Poorly listed items, with keywords missing, incorrectly spelled titles and bad pictures almost always sell for less than they are worth – or don’t sell at all. Finding these items is an absolute gold-mine! I used two websites: www.misspellsearch.com/ and www.bargainchecker.com/ to find poorly listed items. Simply type in a keyword of an item and the website will find badly listed items of the same name with spelling errors. Here’s a quick video to show how it’s done:
I used to find items, buy at a low price, then I would re-list them with better pictures, better descriptions and as many keywords in the title as I could possible find. I listed with a low starting price (0.01p) to attract more buyers and almost always came out with a profit. At the very least I would break even. The ideal type of products to look for are high cost items with a low postage cost so ideally low weight items. I used to search for items like berghaus, panasonic, nokia, and even found a sat nav under tomtom which was miss spelled and had been listed only as ‘tmtom’. ‘Diamond’ is another popular misspelled item. Of course it pays to do your research before buying items and it’s worth using www.auctionsniper.com to do your bidding so you can set an upper limit on your purchase price and not enter into a bidding war. Also by using this website you avoid bumping the price up and only enter your bid 5 seconds before the auction ends. Beware however as there are many who use this software also!
3. Adsense. After a while of working through ebay I decided there had to be a different way. A method of making money online which didn’t really on me scouring the internet for bargains all day long! I didn’t want to be chained to my computer all day. The whole point, or so I thought, in having an internet business was to use it to leverage my time and allow me to be free! I bought a few ‘how to make money on the internet’ programs with varying levels of success. The next one I tried was from a guy called Shaun – I can’t remember his last name. The method was Google Adsense. Google Adsense allows you to place adverts on your website or blog and earn money from visitors clicking on your adverts. I also later joined a program called ‘The Keyword Academy’ which taught this same method and persevered with this for quite some time.
The thing is you need a lot of traffic to your website or blog. This is a good income method but it takes a long time to generate the kind of traffic needed to make a full time living. I have heard of people making a great passive income from this method and all of a sudden it dried up because they got banned from the Adsense program for one reason or another. This happened to a good friend of mine who made film review videos on YouTube and was making a nice passive monthly income. They cancelled his account and it took him months to get it back. However, knowing all that it is worth having an Adsense account and putting adverts on your blog – if only to create another source of income. I still make a small trickle income from Adsense but I wouldn’t rely on it as the sole source of income.
What the Keyword Academy taught ( and Shaun Smith – I remembered!), was building traffic through targeting keywords on your website. This method has since become a little outdated due to the many algorithm updates which Google has had. Keywords are not the main driving force behind traffic as they once were but you can still create an authority site and generate a nice passive income from Adsense, but don’t give up your day job just yet!
4. Affiliate Marketing – digital products. I worked on the above method for quite some time and did generate some traffic and the occasional click on a advert. I still was on the lookout for something which worked and was faster and took less effort – as everyone is on the internet! Luckily there is always a course which promises this!!! (I’m being ironic of course). The next shiny thing was a course by a guy called George Brown who had a course called Google Sniper. I used Google sniper to create multiple websites which targeted high traffic but low competition keywords with some success. However, I often wondered whether the real winner was the sellers of these kinds of courses and whether the success they profess to is often more due to them selling their courses than using their methods alone! Google Sniper taught affiliate marketing through free traffic generation. Anyone who has given any time to making an online income will tell you that traffic is the number one problem for a beginner. You can have the best products and service but with no customers ( or traffic – in the first place) you won’t make any sales.
After quite some time of attempting to get my sites to the top of Google using this method, I began to get dismayed! Google had changed its algorithm and there were another 100,000 internet marketers doing the same thing by now! I had learned something however, and the knowledge hadn’t been wasted.
Affiliate marketing is basically selling someone else’s products and services through the internet. This is probably the best way to make money online. There is still the small matter of bringing customers to the products but that is your job as an affiliate marketer. The product is already there and proven to sell. You just need to put yourself between the customers and the product. Selling digital products (link the link above does), is basically promoting other people’s online courses. This could be a membership site like the one above, or access to a downloadable e-book, for example. There is nothing to post and the customer gets instant access to their product/service through the internet. The systems which provide this product are already in place and the process is completely automated!
5. Affiliate marketing – physical products. Having done e-bay years before I vowed not to handle any products in my quest for the perfect online business. Affiliate marketing allows you to do this and you don’t need to sell digital products either. You can also sell physical products. Amazon (and E-bay) are probably the best known places where this can be done, although there are thousands of sites which do the same. You can market any product from Amazon on your website which make it such a versatile income source. Whatever your website or service is about, you can usually find a related product which you like, and which you can promote on your site for the minimal amount of time and energy. It is just a matter of placing a small piece of code on your website and forgetting about it! Generating traffic of course is another matter entirely!
6. Affiliate Marketing – Membership services. Selling memberships is a great way to build a solid dependable income from the internet. This is because you earn a monthly residual income from those sales. Selling one-off products is fine but you will need to keep selling them in order to generate a dependable income.
7. Product Reviews. One of my first successes in affiliate marketing came from a product review I did of a program called Xsite pro – a website building program. I used the program to build some of my earlier websites and then did a review about the program. I made a sale from the review which was on a free blogging site called Hubpages.com. Anyone can open an account with Hubpages and start writing. Blogging and writing reviews is probably one of the best methods of generating an income from the internet when combined effectively with affiliate marketing.
8. Affiliate Marketing – High Ticket Commissions. High ticket commissions are usually personal one-to-one training courses which can sell for pretty much any price someone is willing to pay. I can personally sell courses up to the value of $20000 because I am with this company. This obviously is a game changer for affiliate marketing because of the commission value on each sale. Not only that but membership services and multiple income streams are also factored into the mix. This makes affiliate marketing a much more viable prospect than trying to continuously sell small value items again and again.
9. Selling your own products. Affiliate products are good for a newbie to the internet scene because they offer a quick way to promote and sell proven products. Creating your own product is risky because you haven’t yet tested it or proven there is a market for it. It takes time and energy to create it. However once you have done so you can join an affiliate program as a vendor through a website such as Clickbank.com and get other people to promote your product. This is by far the best way to make money on the internet – having your own proven product which hundreds and potentially thousands of people will promote for you all over the internet. But before you rush off to create your product, remember that there are hundreds and thousands of products which don’t sell and which have taken up a huge amount of time to make. Even though this is potentially the best way to make money online, you still need a viable product and in order to get affiliates to promote it, it will need to have proved itself. This certainly isn’t the quickest method for generating money online, unless you already have a proven product you are far better promoting someone else’s product in the short term.
10. Building the list. Although building a list of subscribers isn’t a means of making money in its own right, I am including it in my top 10 methods of making money online for good reason. The reason is this: Looking back through all the methods listed here and through my preferred methods for generating income online there is one thing in common with them all – customers/ visitors. You can’t make money through Adsense without visitors coming to your site. You can’t make money through affiliate marketing without people coming to your site. Traffic is key to building a long term sustainable business model online. Traffic methods include: Paid advertising, free advertising (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask), incoming links, your list of subscribers. Google is the main search engine and the main free method of generating leads to your business (website) online. However Google can easily change its mind about your site at the drop of a hat! Algorithm changes happen all the time and building an authority site with white hat techniques is your best defense! Paid advertising costs money and visitors can always leave your site. By building a list of subscribers, and building your relationship with those subscribers by offering value, you create your own source of continuous traffic. You are not then relying on Google, paid advertising or anyone else for your source of income. Building a list ensures you are in control of who you send to your website. You can promote your products and services to that list and as it grows so will your income.
Please comment below for anything you can add to this list!