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.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
Bootstrap: This means you’ll be self-funding your business. While not everyone will have the funds to pay for everything they need to start a startup, bootstrapping means that you retain 100% control over your company. You’ll be using the financial tools you have at your disposal—whether that’s financing your business growth with credit cards, personal loans, traditional business loans or a home equity line of credit. The payoff if you can bootstrap your company to an exit or IPO though, is that you might not ever have to work another day in your life.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Flipping a website is a lot like building and monetizing a personal blog. The key difference is that when you flip, you’re working toward the clearly defined short-term goal of selling the site for a tidy profit. You can and should earn money through advertising and affiliate relationships along the way, but you’re not looking to hold the site over the long term.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Your blogging journey begins with an idea. This is an early make-or-break decision for your blog – if it’s not entirely unique, your idea must at least be sharper and more compelling than your competitors’. You should know your blog’s subject matter cold – ideally from personal experience or formal training – and have no trouble writing fluently about it.
Become a Query Machine. Once you’ve gained confidence on freelance copywriting platforms and built a modest portfolio, look for companies that actively advertise for writers – both traditional publications and companies with obvious content needs, such as PR firms. Do some research on crafting and personalizing query letters, which is an art form in itself. Then, start sending out queries to blogs, magazines, dailies, and other content-hungry organizations that fit your writing style and knowledge base. If you’re looking for byline work, each query should include a clear pitch for a single article or article series. For behind-the-scenes gigs, such as ghostwriting ad copy or press releases, condense and communicate your value proposition. Don’t sweat nonresponses. This is a numbers game, and more queries than not will be ignored.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to start a side hustle or a small business, make sure you have the right tools. Start by setting up an LLC through LegalZoom. This will help separate your business assets from your personal assets. Next, open a business checking account through Novo (you’ll earn a $25 bonus with a new account). Finally, Freshbooks, a cloud-based accounting software, will allow you to invoice clients and track all your expenses.
EBay. EBay is one of the most popular websites in the world. That means it’s an excellent way to attract lots of eyeballs to your unwanted items, fast. Initially designed as an auction site for DIY sellers, it’s now primarily a venue for fixed-price – and often heavily discounted – sales by professional merchants. As long as you include high-quality photographs and thorough descriptions in your product listings, you can likely break through the noise. EBay’s fee schedule is complex, but as a general rule, expect to lose 10% of your final selling price to the site’s commission.
However, with online employment comes fraudulent companies who scam job seekers into signing illegitimate offers. "There is currently a 61-to-1 scam ratio among work-at-home job leads on the internet — that is, for every legitimate job, there are 61 scams," says Christine Durst, cofounder of RatRaceRebellion.com and consultant to the FBI on internet scam.
As with online teaching, to maximize your chances of success as an online tutor, stick to subjects you know well. Use a reputable and high-visibility venue, structure your sessions sensibly, price your services in line with the market, follow scheduling best practices, and promote yourself enthusiastically (or choose a platform that does so on your behalf).
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.