This has been a hard post to put down because there is a crazy number of methods where you can make money online. Not all of them will make someone rich of course, but they do add up. However, I figured I better not overwhelm myself by trying to list every single one of them, but rather choose the ones that would actually have a decent return of money over time.
I will most likely write another post later on the other little ones that do make money, but not as much as the ones on this list.
So, here we go! A list of the profitable online businesses (in no particular order):
1. Affiliate Marketing
In a nutshell, this is you helping someone else make sales and getting a cut. If there is a particular service or product you have tried and found to be of good benefit, you can sign up for that company’s affiliate program to have a unique referral link, and then start telling your followers/friends about it and every time someone makes a purchase through your link, you get a commission.
Now I have not tried this thing yet because, well, I am just starting out, but mostly people who do make a lot of money out of this are those who have a huge following on social media websites, on YouTube, or on their own Website. So, if you do have a decent number of followers, you might start making money this way.
The most popular affiliate program is Amazon’s; you can sign up and advertise all products that are sold on Amazon and any other Amazon-linked ones like Kindle or Audible. There are some territories that may not be allowed to sign up with Amazon though. A good alternative to that is flexoffers.com, it has a similar affiliate program with variety of categories, and you can sign up from anywhere in the world.
If you want to learn more about how affiliate marketing works and how to approach this in the best way, you can check out Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing For Beginners.
While teaching does not sound like a “passive income” kind of method, there are ways to turn it into one. If you are experienced in one specific field, you can create an online course on a website like Teachable.com or similar ones, where you upload videos of you teaching material of a certain course and every time someone signs up to your course, you get paid.
The good thing about this website in particular (because I signed up and checked it out) is that they provide you with resources to help you make a good course; they even offer a free webinar to show you how to create a professional course to make money. But here is a list of all the other similar websites out there.
I initially thought that to teach, you needed to be some kind of a professor or have a teaching degree, and you ought to be teaching something academic, but, in reality, you can actually teach anything, from languages to crochet or gardening to makeup, anything, literally. You just need to be good at it and also it kind of needs to be something that someone else will have the interest to learn about. Here is a helpful article on how to start, if you want to create your own course.
There is also another option, if you’re anything like me and are not very comfortable in front of a camera, you can then go for an e-book course where people can download your course as a PDF file instead. There are several platforms where you can put your e-book up for sale and they’re mentioned in this article.
If you think of going through the e-book route though, you can go for a course, or just a guide (how-to), or maybe an actual book (which I’m planning to do at some point).
If you love photography you can use that hobby as a means to make money. But there are 2 types of people who love photography.
Those who are like me. (Yea, I keep telling myself I need a better camera..)
And those who are actually good at it.
So, if your love of photography is anything like me, I’m sorry to say, this one is probably not for you. If you’re more of a “I-know-what-I’m-doing” kind of photographer, then please keep reading.
Aside from the fact that you can take on events that require a photographer, as in weddings and conferences and such, which is more of an “active” thing, but from a “passive” approach, you can certainly make money by uploading your photos on websites like Shutterstock and whenever someone wants to use one of your photos, you get paid.
There are actually plenty of other websites you can use to sell your photos, this article lists the best of them and it also gives an insight on the types of photography that sell the most.
(Side note: I’m working on polishing my photography skills a bit, so I will be sharing some useful tips later on for those of you who are like me.)
4. Drop Shipping
This one to me seems to be the most complicated one on the list, because it requires more planning and a lot of work done before it can become “passive.” It took me a while to get everything about it.
Drop shipping is you selling certain products online that you don’t really own or have. You set up a shop for people to navigate and select their desired product. You contact the supplier who actually has the products, usually a wholesaler or manufacturer, pay them for the products that the customer selected on your shop, and then they ship the product to the customer.
The difference between this and a traditional shop is that with drop shipping, you don’t have to purchase a product until you already made the sale and have been paid by the customer. So, that is less chances of losing money.
The trick with this method is deciding on the niche or the market. Because drop shipping is a widely famous business among entrepreneurs and so some markets have a lot of competition. A high competition means that you won’t have the luxury to set high prices for your products and therefore the profit margin you make may be very small in the beginning which will require more effort on your part to reach more customers. Here is an article on how to choose the products to dropship.
The other trick is choosing the right suppliers to deal with. Because they will be the ones shipping the products to your customers, so they need to be reliable and have a good reputation. The better and more professional the supplier, the stronger the business will become since this will build trust between you and the customers who try your shop and whether or not they will want to buy again or tell others about it.
There is a very informative article with some useful tips on the steps required to build this business here.
If you want a longer, more extensive read to go even deeper in understanding this business, Shopify has a free eleven-chapter guide that walks you through the whole thing. Shopify is also one of the most popular platforms where you can build this shop.
5. Online Shop
Now this is also selling products online, but with a more traditional, less tricky approach. And this one can refer to two types of an online shop: one where you actually create and ship physical products yourself and another where you use a website that takes care of the product and the shipping and everything else and you just provide the designs to print on the products. The latter is the online business method on this list that I actually tried so far and which I will discuss in my next post.
As for the former type where you would sell your own physical products, I have read this step-by-step article earlier by Nat Eliason who built his online tea shop in exactly 3 weeks. You might find it helpful as an insight on how to start one yourself. Though I’m not sure if this actually fits in the “passive income” category.
Anyway, this wraps up the list of passive income businesses you can do online. At least, this is the list of things I know can work so far. And as mentioned earlier, I will share my experience with the online shops using print-on-demand websites in my next post.
Till then, happy days!