So you want to make money online.
You’ve probably already found a lot of bloggers that explain how to do it. And most of them are probably not earning a single dollar (run away from whoever tells you to fill out surveys or click on ads to generate revenue).
Not to mention those who only earn money selling courses where they teach how to earn money. Paradoxical, right?
It is not my style. I’ve been living on the Internet for years, generating thousands of dollars and learning the ins and outs of online business.
First of all, you should know that making money online is not easy or fast. It never has been, despite what you read or wants to sell you.
I have had to dedicate a lot of effort and sacrifice much of my free time. I have spent sleepless nights, I have spent hundreds of hours learning, and I have given up my vacation while trying to earn my first euros.
But it was worth it.
The great advantage is that it is no longer necessary to have technical knowledge. Before you should know how to program to create a website, but today there are systems so intuitive that even a child would know how to do it.
So the opportunity is now.
In this article, I will reveal the 10 best ways to make money online for its economic potential, simplicity, and ability to generate income in a stable way. And since I want to be totally transparent with you, I will also show you my own results.
I remind you that here you will not find high-risk systems or ridiculous income such as filling out online surveys or playing poker. If you want to make real money, you will have to work it out.
Active income versus liabilities
Before you start, you should know that there are two ways to make money online: active and passive systems.
- Assets are those that require that you have to be doing something to generate income, such as selling crafts made by you, translating texts or playing poker.
- Liabilities are those that, once created, require virtually no further action on your part. Think about the advertising revenue generated by the readers of a website or the dividends you get with an investment. After the initial effort, then you don’t have to do practically anything else.
The last one is the most desired.
Thanks to passive systems you can continue to generate income while you sleep, are traveling or dedicate your time to anything else. They not only give you money: they also give you freedom.
And it is not that active systems are bad, but the Internet is like a showcase that never closes. It is always in operation, and you can take advantage of it to get a steady income stream.
How to earn money online: 9 formulas that work
Let’s now look at the best ways to earn money online for its economic potential, simplicity, and reliability.
Earn money with affiliate marketing
This is the system with which I earned my first dollar, and in my opinion, it is one of the most affordable ways for any beginner who wants to generate passive income.
It hardly requires knowledge, the investment is almost nil and its income potential is very high. In addition, once assembled you can practically forget about it: only minimal maintenance will be necessary.
Affiliate marketing consists of creating a website where you will publish analysis and product recommendations. In these analyzes, you will put links to other websites where they sell the product. If you end up buying it, the seller will give you a commission for referring a customer.
Logically, you must first have reached an agreement with those web pages. Luckily, today there are affiliate platforms (the best known is Amazon Affiliates) where you only have to register to be part of that agreement.
Let’s say you’re passionate about photography. You could create a web page where you would publish analyzes of different cameras or lenses with a link to the Amazon product page for readers interested in buying.
Your website would appear in search engines like Google when people searched for analyzes or comparisons of those cameras. They would enter your article, click on the affiliate link and if they ended up buying, Amazon would give you a percentage.
Do you see where the business is? You create a web page, publish articles and, once they have visited, it becomes an automatic system that you should not be attending constantly.
The income potential of this system depends on the market you have chosen (the more that category of products is sold online and the more expensive they are, the better), but also on the time you invest.
Basically, these are the tasks you will have to do:
- Create a website. You can do it in 15 minutes with this tutorial.
- Write analyzes, comparisons, and recommendations. You will invest most of your time here. You can pay someone to do it, but I recommend that at the beginning you write to acquire knowledge and practice.
- Position your website in search engines. Although in the markets with less competition your website can be positioned practically alone, sometimes you will need to present your website in other places on the Internet to make it more visible.
Earning some money with affiliation is relatively straightforward, but if you want real money you will have to dedicate many hours and effort.
So forget about anyone who sells you that you can set up such a system on a Caribbean beach overnight. To earn more than a dozen dollars a month you will have to sacrifice much of your free time.
The good news is that, after the initial effort, you can devote yourself to picking the fruits. Not to mention that you can keep the system at a distance, working from anywhere in the world (something important for a travel lover like me).
Create a website and monetize it with Adsense
Another of the best ways to make money online passively is by monetizing websites with advertising.
The concept is similar to affiliate marketing: you create a web page on a topic, you attract readers and once they are there you earn money when they perform a certain action.
The great advantage of advertising is that you do not need the reader to buy to take a commission. Most commonly, you earn money when the reader clicks on an ad (what is known as PPC -Pay Per Click-).
In fact, this is the way the world’s most important ad network works: Google Adsense.
Adsense is so popular thanks to its ease of use and number of advertisers. You simply register and, once your application has been approved, you can already place ads on your website by inserting a small code.
With Adsense, you do not choose what type of ads appear: Google is responsible for doing so automatically according to the theme of your website and the profile of the reader. This way you can display personalized ads for each reader, which means three benefits:
- Maximize the money you can earn with advertising. The more relevant and specific an ad is, the more likely the reader will click on it.
- It avoids you having to contact directly with any advertiser. There are hundreds of thousands of companies advertising through Adsense.
- That the ads do not seem forced. Being customized for the reader and the theme of the web, they are integrated quite naturally in the pages.
Unlike affiliate marketing, here the idea is to create a web page that provides general information on a given topic instead of publishing comparisons and analysis.
For example, you could create a website where you publish recipes or information about dogs. The potential of this system depends fundamentally on three things: the theme you have chosen, the number of visits the website has and the percentage of those visits that click on the ads.
The first point, the theme, is fundamental because according to that you will earn more or less money per click. For example, on a website about cats, Adsense may advertise cat food. However, on a website about university courses there will surely be postgraduate and master ads that cost a lot of money.
Which would you earn more money when a reader clicked?
Indeed, in the second. As the product advertised is more expensive, the advertiser is willing to pay more money. To find out what potential a theme has with Adsense, use the Keyword Planner. Enter the theme there and see if it is something that is much sought in Google, and how much advertisers will pay you per click (what is called a bid).
A part of the bid (68%) is for you and the other Google, so the higher the bid, the more money you can earn with a website on this topic.
For example, if you created a website with information on recipes, each click of your readers would generate between 0.16 (68% of 0.24) and 0.19 dollars (68% of 0.28). This is an average of 0.175 euros per click.
The percentage of readers who click on an ad is usually around 1.5%. Therefore, if you had two thousand page views per day, the calculation of monthly income with Adsense would be as follows:
- 60,000 page views / month x 1.5% clicks x 0.175 euros -> $157.5 / month
In this case, the click is paid little, so to earn a good figure you would need to have a huge volume of visits.
If you created a website with information on forex and currency trading, with the same number of visits you would earn much more money: Each click would generate about 4.6 euros (68% of the average bidding), so 60,000 page views per month would result in:
- 60,000 page views / month x 1.5% clicks x 4.6 euros -> $4,140 / month
In addition to what you get paid per click, the revenue potential is determined by the number of visits the website has. And that depends on the number of people looking for information on this topic on Google.
Fortunately, Google Keyword Planner also offers an approximate range of the number of times a month a particular word or phrase is searched
I know first-hand people who bill thousands of euros a month with Adsense. In my case, I have only used it as a complement in poorly paid and unimproved topics, and yet it provides me with about one hundred dollars per month.
Sell courses and services with your blog
If the previous two were two of the best ways to earn money online, this is the BEST way to make money online. But like everything else, the more money something can generate, the more effort it requires.
It’s about creating a blog about a specific topic, positioning yourself as an expert on it, and selling your own online payment courses. Sounds difficult? It requires effort, but it’s not that complicated. The key is to choose a subject that you master, where there are people interested, and build a reputation by publishing content.
The advantage of online payment courses is that they can become totally passive systems because once created it costs you the same to sell one than two hundred. You just have to publish it in video or PDF format and sell it through an automated system to your subscribers.
This is what I do on my social skills blog. As I am passionate about social psychology, a few years ago I decided to start a blog offering scientific and practical information to shy people who seek to improve their social relationships.
At first, I had hardly any readers, but little by little it became popular. Today I monetize it with online courses where I teach how to overcome social fears and achieve a more charismatic personality.
Every time someone subscribes to the blog, a sequence of emails that send you valuable information is activated. After a week, you receive an email presenting the premium video course in case you want to register.
In this way, I invoice an autopilot an average of 1,000 dollars a week with something that makes me proud.
There are blogs and online courses on almost any subject you can think of. From courses to learn to read faster, family finance management or Excel for students of letters.
The only requirement is to solve a problem for which your audience would be willing to pay.
Generating money with this system is not fast since you must work hard to gain the trust of the readers, but you will be building a long-term, solid and differential online business.
The biggest obstacle is not technical (nowadays it is tremendously simple to create a blog), but mental: many people believe that they have nothing to teach, fear exposure to criticism or spend months doubting what theme to choose.
You should know that the vast majority of bloggers have started with those doubts. But they took the step, and as they created content for their blog they gained more experience and knowledge.
So if you think you have something to contribute, however small (there will always be someone who knows less than you), and you are not afraid to expose yourself publicly, this is your best option.
Offer your services on specialized pages
If you do not have or do not want to create a blog or a website (although anyone without technical knowledge can do it today), another way to get a handful of euros online is by doing small online services.
The operation is very simple:
- You sign up for one of the online platforms that put you in touch with potential customers
- Publish your service and you put a price on it
- Wait to be hired
The jobs that are usually offered on these platforms are simple things, such as translating a text, editing a video, designing a logo, writing a resume or preparing a powerpoint presentation. There are even those who offer to write irresistible profiles in Tinder, your imagination is the limit!
Your income will depend on the number of hours and effort you can devote on a regular basis. Some people get a full salary or even several thousand euros a month, but generally, it will be useful if you need extra income.
Currently, the most popular platforms and therefore with the greatest capacity to bring you customers are Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer:
- Upwork: it is only in English, but if you master it, it has enormous potential because of the number of clients it has.
- Fiverr: has many customers demanding services, but prices are low.
- Freelancer: it has less customer volume and is not so easy to use.
All usually stay around 10% of your billing and rely on customer reviews to increase or reduce your popularity. The better your reputation, the more attractive you will be for users interested in services like yours. That’s why the usual thing is to get few jobs at the beginning or have to offer them at a lower price, but little by little you will have more customers and you can raise your prices.
Work as a Writer
Generating content that attracts readers is a fundamental pillar of any digital strategy, and it is well known by large companies and small entrepreneurs.
That is why every day more than 3 million articles are published in blogs. There are posts about economics, animals, photography, food, health, marketing, video games, philosophy, politics … Anything you can imagine.
This need to create content has led to the appearance of another highly demanded professional profile in the online world: the writer.
Working as an editor is a very quick way to start making money online, as there is a constant demand. You also don’t need great skills to do it: you just have to like to write and be good at doing it.
How much money can an editor earn?
It depends on your experience, quality of the texts and your specialty, but in general, the rates usually move between 3 and 10 dollars per 100 words, so that an article of 2,000 words can be paid perfectly to more than 100 dollars.
I have been working with copywriters for years for my affiliation projects and several of them, dedicating themselves full time, generate monthly income above 2,000 dollars. But some can earn much more!
The editors specialized in creating sales pages are usually the best paid, as they are responsible for creating those messages that must convince people to buy. Thousands of euros have been paid for such a page.
If you are interested in starting to carve a path (and some income) as an editor, I recommend that you register on specialized platforms to contact editors with clients who need content, such as:
- iWriter: one of the most popular. It doesn’t pay too well, but it makes up for it with the number of customers that need content.
- LowPost: Pay something better and have a decent customer volume.
- Textbroker: allows you to negotiate the price directly with customers, but you will not find much demand.
If you consider that you lack creativity or prefer something more mechanical than working as an editor, and you have a good level with some language, you can make your knowledge profitable by performing online translation services.
There are many companies that need to translate texts from their blogs, websites or posts on social networks and are looking for natives to do that job. In addition, it is usually quite well paid.
Gengo is an online platform that has provided translation services to YouTube or Sony, among others. You just have to register on their website and pass their level test. From there, you will increase your rank and access better-paid jobs as you translate.
The great advantage of Gengo is that you can choose what jobs you do and organize the schedules to your liking, which gives you enormous flexibility to earn money from anywhere.
Other interesting options are One Hour Translation (they also ask for a level test) or Textmaster.
And now the key question: how much money per month can be earned by translating?
Well, according to Gengo’s own calculations, if you regularly translate from other languages into Spanish, you will earn an average monthly income of $ 435.
Create a YouTube channel
With the purchase of YouTube by Google and the exponential growth of content consumption in video format, there were people who, overnight, began to earn a lot of money with their video channel.
Yes, there are more and more competitors, but YouTube is the second Internet search engine, just behind Google, and it is expected that in a short time it will become the first. That means that its economic potential is booming.
It is difficult for me to replace an entire salary, but if you can bring knowledge or fun to users and you have fun in front of the camera, in the medium term it is possible to generate some extra money with a YouTube channel.
How much money are we talking about?
Surely you have heard that some Youtubers bill millions of euros a year. But you can count them on the fingers. To make your calculations, you should know that, on average, YouTube advertising pays between 0.30 and 3 dollars for every 1,000 views of a video.
This figure depends on the theme of the channel, since the contents about Forex or health are usually paid better than the channels about video games or curiosities.
Suppose that after 18 months you manage to build a channel with 100,000 subscribers, which is not bad at all. If you uploaded a video a week that got 75,000 views and YouTube paid you 1 dollar for every 1,000 views, your income would be approximately 300 dollars per month.
As you can see, you should publish videos consistently if you want to make money with YouTube, so it is not really a passive system unless they are viral or have thousands of searches a day.
Fortunately, there are also alternative ways to increase revenue:
- Contact companies and offer to put their advertising on your videos
- Sell personalized merchandise, such as t-shirts and caps with your channel’s logo (when popular)
- Accept donations with Patreon
If you already have a stable income in some other way, betting on a YouTube channel is not going to be too much investment and over time it can give you more of a pleasant surprise.
Sell online through dropshipping
Another good way to make money online is by selling products online. I know people who are making more than 4,000 euros a month of profit with very simple but specialized products, so if you do it right it is possible to generate a good income.
You should know that, mainly, there are two ways to sell online:
- Creating your own website (again, it’s easier than it seems) and selling your products there
- Sell your products on third-party platforms (such as Amazon)
If you don’t make products, don’t worry. It is as simple as finding a manufacturer with little popularity, buying the product and selling it to the final public through your website or platform, adding your margin to the price.
For this reason the majority usually look for Chinese suppliers. Although you will have to carry out the import procedures, you will have more margin. The main drawback is that you must perform the billing and product shipping tasks, which can be a lot of work. To avoid this nuisance, it is better to look for suppliers that work through dropshipping.
The dropshipping system will allow you to turn your online store into a passive business. With it, you do not save stock or take care of shipments, you just take care of sending the order data to the manufacturer (there are very simple automated systems) and he takes care of sending the product to the customer.
Note: there are already websites like Oberlo that put you directly in touch with manufacturers that work with dropshipping.
The profit margin is usually between 20 and 50%. The inconvenient? If the shipment does not arrive or you have to meet a return, customers will claim you and you will have to resolve the issue with the manufacturer.
The keys to the success of this system are:
- Find a product with more demand than offer
- Achieve a serious and reliable supplier
- Have a good profit margin
- Bring traffic to the web with organic positioning, Adwords or Facebook Ads
It is also possible to earn money by selling your own handmade products. If this is your case, I recommend you take a look at Etsy.
Sell courses on online platforms
If you are not attracted to the idea of selling products online, having to find distributors and create a website, an excellent alternative is to sell your knowledge on online platforms.
The concept is simple: you create a video or text course on a specific topic, upload it to platforms like Udemy, and put a price on it.
To create the course you can record yourself on video, record a presentation on your screen, or do it in text format (in pdf files), just as you would for your blog. These types of platforms receive thousands of daily visits from users looking for courses on some subject, so, if yours meets some demand and meets the expectations of users, you can earn enough money.
Ok, but how much money can you earn?
In general, these types of courses are usually not very expensive (according to Udemy, 90% of the courses that are sold are priced less than 50 dollars).
Udemy also has a calculator, the Udemy Marketplace Insights, which allows you to calculate the potential of your online course according to your subject.
For example, if you created a course on photography for beginners, this would be the potential:
As you can see, most photography courses generate more than 20 dollars per month, while the most successful courses exceed 11,000 dollars per month.
If you want to build a successful course in Udemy, I recommend this strategy:
- First list those topics in which you think you know more than the population average
- Create an instructor account in Udemy and enter your topics in the Udemy Marketplace Insights to calculate the potential of your course
- Stay with the theme where the monthly income of the popular courses is higher
- If the demand is also HIGH and the number of MEDIUM or LOW courses, you are facing a good opportunity
- Creating a course is laborious and not many instructors reach large numbers, but if it is of quality and the evaluations are positive, little by little you will increase your turnover.