5 Ways to Earn Money Online in 2021

The new frontier of jobs, careers, and side hustles across the world is the ability to make a living by working online. So much in the economic marketplace has shifted, especially since the covid-19 global pandemic. But this shift has actually been taking place for years, perhaps even decades for some industries. More and more people are seeking creative ways to make a living and have been finding opportunities to work from home and build streams of income that allow one to work remotely, be an independent contractor, and work from anywhere in the world.

Here are 5 creative ways with a low barrier of entry to begin making money online. Starting or building upon existing income streams is a great way to ensure all your financial eggs are diversified.

  1. PRINT ON DEMAND (POD)

Print on demand is a printing technology and process where a product is not printed or produced until it is ordered. This means that you work with a supplier/print partner who customizes white-label products (shirts, tote bags, mugs) with your designs that are then sold on a per-customer basis within the umbrella of your brand.

This is a form of dropshipping- a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep any of its products in stock. You don’t touch any of it; your print provider does all the work, handling, and shipping on behalf of your brand.

Dropshipping explained
Print on demand/Printify

Check out a few of the top print on demand companies that are free to sign up:

Top 5 free design apps for creating t-shirts

Printify and Printful have been our go to print providers and after a year of learning the ins and outs you can read our take on how they stack up. Some of the print providers above double as selling platforms which is pretty convenient. Once you have products, you’ll need a platform to sell them on. You can create a store within these website to sell your products. The most popular selling platform for all things custom and handmade is Etsy. The big pull about Etsy is that they’ve been around for over a decade and already have a devoted client base which drives consistent traffic to their platform. The only thing for you to do is to settle on a niche and get in where you fit in. It’s free to sign up for an Etsy account and establish your store, although their are a few fees here and there for hosting you on their platform. One of which is .20¢ for product listings. If you’re not already familiar with Etsy, learn from a few of our lessons. If you have the ability to create and direct traffic, consider Shopify. Shopify is a membership based platform that allows lots of customization to host your brand.

Travel quote poster

2. DIGITAL PRODUCTS

A digital product is any product that doesn’t have physical form – it’s intangible. You don’t need to worry about shipping and delivery times since these transactions take place online. Digital products are often easier to produce than physical products and are a good source of passive income. If you’re a creative, this might be path to explore. Popular digital products include templates, inspirational posters, courses, printables, graphic design work, stock photos & videos, memberships to exclusive content/resources, and the list can quite literally go on and on.

There are a bunch of design resources to feed your creativity. The industry standards include the Adobe Suite and Affinity software. But there are great FREE resources like Canva & Inkscape.

3. DESKTOP PUBLISHING

Get paid for what you know! Bring out your keyboard and start producing ebooks, travel/city guides, how-to guides, etc. This is a passive income source that will allow you to earn long after its creation. Link your content as a download on all your social media accounts. Use open source software like Scribus, read up on Lucid Press, or dive into Canva to create your ebook. People will pay to know something that you are already knowledgeable on. The key is finding out how to access that market and get your product into the people’s hands. One way to do that is to self-publish for free with Kindle Direct Publishing (who has the reach of Amazon’s millions of readers).

4. FREELANCING

This is a job where you work for yourself rather than for a company. You are self-employed and might take on contract work for companies. If you have a skill set that puts you ahead of others, you have a major competitive advantage. To start freelancing, take inventory of your skill sets and determine your target audience. Create a portfolio, package your skills to make them sell-able, and market yourself on one of these platforms: Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, We Work Remotely. There’s so many platforms to join that can broaden your potential customer base. Check them out and see which one(s) work for you.

Top freelance jobs include writer, copywriter, developer, designer, transcriber, virtual assistant, and social media manager to name a few. If you’re curious about freelance jobs, scroll through the freelance platforms above to see skills that people are selling and what companies are after.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA/VIDEO SHARING

If you have a decent following on today’s social media sites you can explore monetizing your popularity.

Let’s start with Youtube. Once your channel reaches at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours it will be eligible for monetization. Once monetized (or waiting to become monetized) create an account on Google Adsense. This account links to your Youtube channel and is the avenue to start making money through Youtube with ad income.

Sponsorships are another way to make money from your social media accounts. Companies have been shifting their marketing efforts towards everyday consumers (non-celebrity) with the belief that their reach is received with greater influence if it’s ‘someone you know’ vouching for a product or service. This could take the form of a shoutout on a youtube video or an Instagram/facebook post or story.

Another form is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission by promoting other people’s/company’s products. You’ll know if someone is a part of an affiliate marketing program by their disclaimer which might look something like this:

Disclosure: We only recommend products/services we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you; we may earn a small commission.

how does affiliate marketing work

Companies are constantly looking for ways to sell their products and bring traffic to their sites and one way they increase their reach is through affiliate programs. There’s a good chance that the company of a product you use has an affiliate partner program. Do you order from Amazon? They have the Amazon Associates program for affiliate marketing. Clickbank and Commission Junction are both affiliate networks with a large client/company base for potential affiliate marketers to partner up with.

Check out this article on beginner friendly affiliate programs.

Dive into one or more of these opportunities and see what sticks. Take advantage of Youtube, Google and Udemy universities along with similar readily available resources to learn more about the skills you’re looking to learn or build upon.

If you’re interested in a PDF version of the links listed throughout this post, click here.

Let’s make it a prosperous year!

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