This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
Can you run a successful business by only using the free membership option at Wealthy Affiliate? Well, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, I recommend you sign up for the free Wealthy Affiliate membership as a way to try things out. Honestly, the free membership is set up to be a bit of a teaser to get you to sign up for premium eventually, but most of us expect that going in. What’s nice about it is you can judge for yourself, based on the free membership, whether it is worth it for you to sign up for premium. Ultimately, only you can decide if Wealthy Affiliate is high quality or not. You will get more than enough of an idea by signing up for their free membership option. On average, about 1 in every eight people upgrade to a premium membership.
However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don't have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
Tutor students. Many families prefer the flexibility of using an online tutor. Depending on your background, you could be simply helping a child with homework or providing college-level support. You need to have your own computer and high speed internet. Experience required differs among companies. Some require “strong experience,” while others require a specific educational background. However, most companies do require a college degree.
Upwork: This website offers a great marketplace for selling just about any professional service. You don't need a merchant account, website of your own or anything else for that matter. All you need to do is be able to provide a high-quality service at a reasonable price. But be informed, you will have to compete with many others that are constantly bidding on open jobs.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
Wealthy Affiliate is also very strict on spam, which in the end is a GOOD thing, but I have to be careful sometimes about promoting my sites or referencing them. Sometimes I do have valuable information on my site that I think could help people during live chat sessions or Q&A’s, but I don’t share because I don’t want it to look like I’m spamming. They do allow people to promote their sites in certain areas, but in order to keep the community from filling up with self-promotion spam, there are times when it is best not to share certain information from outside sources, especially my own sites.
Affiliate marketing allows you to recommend products and services from other companies and be paid a commission if someone buys the product as the result of your recommendation. To track which purchases happens as a result of your recommendation(s), the merchant will provide you with a special link to use when linking to their website that contains a unique referral code assigned to you. If people click that unique link, and buy the product or service within a specified timeframe (the timeframe varies depending on the merchant), you get a commission on the sale.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
It’s free to join the SellHealth affiliate program, though you do have to apply and be accepted before you can start promoting their products. Once you’re accepted, you’ll have access to a number of tools, graphics, banners and more that you can use to promote SellHealth products. The sales are actually made at company-owned Websites, which look professional and handle all of the selling. Commissions vary, but the base rate is 30% of all sales and upsells, and SellHealth says you can earn up to $350 per sale.
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.
While joining affiliate programs is a free opportunity, it's a business – and like any business, it will cost some money to start and run it. But those costs will be associated with building, running and promoting your blog or website. There are many tools – free and paid - you can use to assist you with all of these processes. I list a few of my favorite affiliate marketing tools here.
The entire reason I created this site is because as an affiliate marketer, I started getting upset with the lack of ethics and misinformation being spread from MANY affiliate marketers, especially as it pertains to the “make money online” niche. So many online marketers out there promise you quick easy money if you just sign up and pay for this or that. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Growing an affiliate marketing business is just like starting any other business – it takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. I won’t get into it here, but if you’d like you can read my honest article about how long it takes to earn a full-time living with affiliate marketing.
Shopify has three different account types as well as standalone third-party products like themes and apps. Commissions are paid for sales of any of these products, including users who sign up for a 14-day free trial and then convert to a paid account. Shopify also has a wide range of blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials that can be linked to with the standard commission paid on any sales that are generated.
I would also like to see a forum built into the platform. Wealthy Affiliate has a unique way of building a community and I understand why they shy away from a standard forum type of format. Instead, they want to promote live chat sessions, blog posts, private messaging, and public questions where people can comment below. This type of setup is pretty cool at times, but I also do enjoy forums where I can just browse by topic.
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.