You don’t have to start your own online business from scratch. Instead, you can build one (very quickly) by helping out people who already have a successful business. Every service business has a long list of past clients they’re most likely not doing a good job of keeping up with—but their neglect is your opportunity. It’s up to 5x more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. By helping businesses follow-up and bring back their old customers, you’re saving them money (and making your own!). A follow-up business like this can be as simple as a series of emails you write for a client to help them bring back old customers (check out this step-by-step guide for videos and example pitches). All you need is some writing skills, time to research and craft an effective outreach campaign to prospects in a profitable niche.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
Advertising and Promotion. You won’t have a huge budget to promote your at-home business, so use cost-effective outreach targeted to your most likely customers, such as fliers in local craft and clothing stores, a basic website (preferably with booking and payment portals), a referral network, and friends and family willing to sing your praises. Also, consider joining the American Sewing Guild for $50 per year. It’s a great way to meet other enthusiasts and get your name out there.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write—plus guest blogging is also one of the best ways to build up the authority of your own blog over time. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Create a Home Office Space. First things first: You need a professional setup that helps, not hinders, your prospecting activities and writing work. If you don’t already have one, set up a home office – anything from a spare bedroom to a corner of your living room – with a comfortable chair, spacious desk, ample lighting, and physical storage space for papers. Buy a reliable laptop with a reputable word processing suite, like Microsoft Word, and video chat capabilities via Skype or a cloud-based phone system. Strongly consider investing in a printer. Upgrade to the fastest consumer Internet package your Internet service provider offers. Purchase a lightweight cloud accounting program such as Quickbooks or sign up for a free version. You’ll need it once you have more than a few clients. Note that many business-related expenses qualify for tax deductions.
Pay varies by vertical but seems to be pretty generous. JustAnswer claims you can earn upward of $35 per hour – and sometimes significantly more – if you’re an expert in a high-demand subject. Your work volume depends on the quality of your answers and the volume of questions users are asking, so you may not find as much work as you expect at first. Still, JustAnswer is ripe for multitasking, making it a perfect work-from-home opportunity.
Companies will pay you to virtually sit on mock juries to give attorneys and other jury consultants feedback on cases they are currently handling. Think of these as focus groups. The cases are real, but your verdict will do little more than give those involved a prediction of how things might go when it's time to go to court. You can earn fees ranging from $5 to $60. Be sure to read all the disclaimers and details. If this sounds interesting go to eJury.com or OnlineVerdict.com to find a case.
17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
If you’d rather sell locally, ask around at non-franchised cafes and restaurants near you if they’d be willing to display your art for sale in their dining area. If the owner or manager likes your work, most will gladly say yes. You’ll probably still end up paying a commission on any sales, but at least your art will be enjoyed by patrons in the meantime instead of sitting in your home.
Pricing and Deals. As with any professional pursuit, you need to know how much your teaching skills are worth and price them accordingly. Unfortunately, at-home teaching is a competitive business, so you’re likely to find someone who charges less for similar work. Ways to get around this include multi-course discounts, package deals, and complimentary products or information for early sign-ups.
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends, Google’s Keyword Planner and other key blogging tools to do keyword research and look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
Buy and Host Your Domain. Your domain name should be catchy and relevant to your niche. It should also roll off the tongue and sound as similar as possible to your site’s actual name. If the domain isn’t yet registered, you can probably find it on GoDaddy or a comparable domain warehouse for less than $15 per year. Already-registered domains can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on the quality of the name. Already-built sites can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on traffic, revenue, and other factors. High-performing domains are out of reach for low-budget flippers.
Websites like Care.com connect parents with babysitters. The company does all the background checking and other due diligence to put parents' minds at ease. Of course, you can appeal directly to people in your personal network, but if you're looking to generate recurring revenue sign up with a site marketing to parents looking for child care services.
If you’re a college student or have graduated within the last year or two, chances are good that you still have some textbooks that you could easily sell for a few extra bucks. Usually, when you sell back textbooks, you get a tiny fraction of what you paid for it. I remember getting around $40 for a $300 physics textbook that I sold back to my university bookstore — a horrible deal.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you’ve built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
Amazon makes it fairly easy to list and sell old books, games and devices on its marketplace. You can make more than just a few bucks If you have pricey textbooks from college. Be sure the books are in good condition. You'll get negative reviews if you attempt to sell books that are falling apart or games that are scratched up. Remember, be upfront about any defects, no matter how small they might be and no matter how few people might readily notice it.
18. CraigsList – Some things don’t ship very well. Other things may make you feel uncomfortable to sell to someone across the country. Anytime you’re selling a large item or something you just don’t want to ship, Craigslist is a great place to go. It’s simple to list your item (again, take good pictures!). If you don’t like the idea of putting your phone number out there, the interested individual can send you a message to your inbox without even getting your email address.