Making money on the Internet is a pipe dream for many — and all kinds of scammers or just dishonest employers prey upon those people. Still, you can absolutely earn your living online. You just need to know what you are doing — and here you can learn of 3 different ways that will let you reliably make bank sitting at home.
1. Freelance Work
Freelancer is a contractor hired for a single job. For example, a writer hired to produce a single article or a cycle of them, but not a constant position with the company. Or a graphic designer tasked with designing a logo for the company.
Before the internet, freelancers were more of a curiosity — there wasn’t really a good way to find jobs. Most freelancers were journalists or writers that didn’t land a proper gig just yet and stuck around the publishers’ offices.
Things changed in the online age — now there are widely available platforms where anyone can post a job and anyone can complete it. There are all kinds of freelancers nowadays, making their living completely online.
The most in-demand freelance professions are:
- Programmer. Programming isn’t easy to learn. However, FreeCodeCamp provides free courses for anyone that wants to be a software engineer. That said, they’ll take you at least a year to complete.
- Designer. There are a lot of branches of design, but the most requested online is web design. There isn’t a definitive guide to this discipline, but Hackdesign has a pretty decent collection of articles and courses you might look into.
- Copywriter. Almost everyone can write but writing well can be a challenge. If you want to pursue your career as a copywriter, consider studying the Chicago Style Guide and Neil Patel’s blog. Also, Google the words that you don’t understand — copywriters often tend to use internal terminology even in the guides for beginners.
Once you are familiar with the subject enough to start selling your skills, create a gallery of your works and an account on Upwork. It’s the largest platform for freelancers and despite remarkably high competition, you can find good work there.
Benefits of Freelancing
- You set the working hours
- You pick the jobs
- You get whenever the job is done
Downsides to Freelancing
- A lot of competition
- No guaranteed income
- Heavily dampened prices
Freelance work won’t make you rich quick — in the first month, you’d probably make 100-200 USD. However, once you have better ratings on Upwork and a larger pool of customers, you will be able to make a lot more than that.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another type of business that could only be realised in an online environment. Affiliate marketers are essentially marketers for hire — their mission is to attract traffic to a website and they get paid for each customer that visits it. A lot of smaller companies use affiliate marketing to simplify the work of their own marketing department.
There are several ways to do affiliate marketing:
- Content Promotion. You own a popular website where you post promoted posts from your sponsors.
- PPC (pay-per-click). You order ads on Google Adwords or other networks and attract customers to your sponsor’s website.
Content Promotion is rather tricky, so unless you already have a popular website — start with PPC. It’s not a very complicated job — as long as you know how to design a simple banner ad, you have a chance to succeed. However, if you don’t have any experience with online marketing, you’ll need to catch up first.
The best place to start is PPCHero’s Ultimate Guide to PPC. It won’t explain everything but it’s more than enough to let you understand what you are about to get into. Other good resources are:
- Neil Patel’s Google Adwords Guide. It’s not particularly great but Neil has a way with words and provides decent basics. This guide won’t lend you a job but it will help you understand what you are getting into. Consider it the Affiliate Marketing 101.
- Advanced Guide to PPC Audit by TakeSomeRisks. It’s free and doesn’t even require you to provide your email. On the other hand, it is pretty advanced and might go over your head at times.
- Udemy’s Ultimate Google Ads / AdWords Course. 200 USD is a hefty sum for a training course but this is one of the best ones. It also goes on sale fairly often so it’s worth keeping an eye on either way.
- Google Academy Ads Course. Google’s own course is pretty limited and not very applicable to the real-world situations but it’s a good certificate to have in your CV.
That said, Affiliate Marketing is not the best job if you don’t have any disposable income at the moment. You will pay for your own marketing campaigns and you won’t see returns for at least a month. If you need to make cash right now, freelance is a superior choice.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
- You rarely need to actively maintain a working campaign
- You can work with several brands at once
Downsides to Affiliate Marketing
- You need a starting capital
- There is a risk that your campaign will fail
- Some employers are scammers
Finding affiliate marketing jobs is pretty easy — just check out the online services you use regularly and most of them will have a “partners” or “affiliate” section on their website. There you will be able to learn the conditions of their affiliate program and apply for it. Usually, they will accept everyone, as long as you can lead customers to them. The average pay for one attracted user is 5-40 USD, depending on the industry.
3. Asset Trading
Trading is the most profitable and also the riskiest way of making money online. If the freelancers and affiliate marketers are a part of the world’s economic system, the traders are gaming said system. Namely, the Foreign Exchange market, or Forex.
NOTE. Forex is not the only asset market recommended for online traders. However, you can start on Forex with 100 USD and do not feel particularly outmatched. Stock and mercantile exchanges require at least 1000 times more.
Forex was established back in the 1970s, when the world switched from the Gold Standard to a free market. Originally designed to provide the world trade with currencies, it soon also became a massive trading operation for corporate banks and private traders. Forex is considered the simplest and the most profitable asset markets in the world, but it is also the second riskiest one — right after the cryptocurrency market.
However, unlike crypto, Forex has rules that traders can exploit. They may not be written in the Codes somewhere, but years of observing the market allowed expert traders and analysts to define patterns. The study of those patterns is called Price Action and it’s pretty much a list of market situations and instructions on how to trade during them. A good Price Action trader can make around 20% monthly profit on a single currency pair. That means, that from each 10 USD, you will get 12 USD at the end of the month.
One of the best guides to Price Action is Trading Without Indicators on Babypips.
Benefits of Forex Trading
- You need only 2 hours/day to set up your trades;
- You can rely on custom indicators to find the patterns for you;
Downsides to Affiliate Marketing
- You need a starting capital;
- Market is unpredictable and you have to either risk or not trade at all during those periods.
Until 2009, it was largely unregulated and it allowed malicious brokers and outright scammers to run rampart. Things changed after the CrownForex — the largest (and dumbest) scam in the history of European trading.
Both the European and American governments updated the legal base for traders and gradually forced the scammers from the market altogether. However, Asian and African countries are still having issues with scammers — even if they are becoming less and less common.
One of the best brokers in SEA is JustForex. It’s a smaller enterprise compared to something like Dukascopy of FXCM, but they provide a really solid trading experience. Their support is very responsive and helpful, which is important for beginner traders. If you are not confindent in your skills, open a Demo account that allows trading with virtual currency at no charge.
JustForex also provides a lot of learning information in the Education section on their website. The quality of their material varies, but it’s a good enough intro into the asset trading altogether and Forex in particular.