You’re here because you want to learn about some fresh ways to make money online?
You dream of building a business that works around the things that are most important to you:
- Taking care of your family
- Going on an afternoon hike with friends
- Achieving the perfect work-life balance
You want to build an online business around things you love.
You want to pack up and take a trip out of the country (and work from an Airbnb). Or, you want to work from home and spend extra time with your kids and family. Or, you dream of creating the perfect workday, filled with mid-morning walks, healthy meals, and daily gym sessions. Or, you just want to earn some extra money.
When you have a sustainable way to make money online, you have more freedom and more control over your time.
The goal of this post is to get you fired up and excited about the legitimate ways that exist to make money on the internet.
Table of Contents
Fresh & Trendy Future-proof Ideas
Below you’ll learn over 22 different ways that you can make money online. No outdated strategies here either, every method above will work in 2021 and beyond.
This page may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced and review only what I recommend. This is at no additional cost to you, in some cases you get even a special discount. If you think, a product or service is worth mentioning here, please leave me a comment 😎.
Or click here to learn: How to make money with a Blog
Fresh and Trendy Ways to Make Money Online
You’re here because you want to make money online, but you don’t want to risk pursuing an outdated idea. Or, something that’s very time consuming, like listing items on eBay.
The internet moves fast, so you want an income stream that will not dry up, or slowly fade away over the years.
Below you’ll find over 21 different cutting-edge ways to make money online. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
1. Start a Blog and Make Money
Blogging is a tried and true way to make money online. Even though making money with a blog has been around for quite some time, it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Making money blogging will take time, but the process is simple:
- Choose an evergreen niche like finance, hobbies, relationships, or health.
- Create the best content out there on the given topics you choose.
- Optimize your content for the search engines
- Start building relationships with other website owners in your space.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the overarching process you’ll follow. In fact, we’ve written an in-depth step-by-step post that’ll show you how to make money with your blog.
Once you’re starting to get a decent volume of traffic, it’s time to start monetizing your site. You have a multitude of different ways to monetize your site including:
- Paid advertising via direct sales or an ad network like Google Adsense
- Create your own courses, products, or eBooks
- Create affiliate content and receive a commission from product recommendations
Below we dive more into a few of these methods. Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of how you can apply these to your blog and make money.
2. Start a Membership Site
Membership sites are popular and they’re a great way to achieve recurring passive income.
The idea is simple. You create a steady stream of membership content that sits behind a paywall. To access that content users will need to pay a monthly subscription.
For example, Food Blogger Pro is a membership created by Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom the successful bloggers behind Pinch of Yum.
Users pay a monthly subscription to gain access to all the information required to start their own successful food blog.
No matter your niche, or existing skill set, you have some valuable knowledge to offer the world.
There are a variety of tools that can help you start a membership site quickly and easily.
If you’re starting from scratch, then you’ll want to use Podia. This tool gives you everything you need to create, manage, and sell your online course. Pricing starts at $39 per month.
While, if you have an existing WordPress site, then you can easily add membership functionality to your own website with Wishlist Member. This tool will add course functionality to your WordPress site in minutes. It costs $197 for a lifetime single site license.
3. Make Money on YouTube
YouTube offers content creators a multitude of different methods for making money via their passion.
For starters, you have the built-in YouTube Partner Program, which will help you earn revenue via advertising revenue, recurring memberships, merchandise, and more.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Most YouTube channels will also monetize their channels by:
- Selling products
- Selling your services
- Offering channel sponsorships
- Recommending affiliate products
- Publishing Kindle books
- Selling courses
For a step-by-step breakdown of how you can make money in all these ways via YouTube, make sure you check out our post on the topic.
4. Make Money on Instagram
Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks in the world, it has over 1 billion monthly users. Thousands of creators are using the platform to earn full-time incomes, all from their smartphones.
You don’t have to become a massive influencer either to make money with Instagram. The hidden key is engagement and building an audience of followers who trust you and look forward to your posts.
Here are some of the most common ways that people make money on Instagram:
- Sell sponsored posts and do a brand shout out
- Recommend products via an affiliate link
- Sell physical products
- Sell print on demand products
- Create an online course
If the approach above appeals to you and you want to get started making money on Instagram, then you have to read my in-depth guide that shows you how to make money with Instagram step-by-step.
5. Start a Podcast, Get Sponsorship & Advertisers
If you love speaking, or have a passion for interviewing people, then podcasting might be a great avenue for you. With podcasting, the amount of money you can earn ties directly to the size and engagement of your audience.
You can monetize your podcast by selling your own products, creating a mastermind or membership, selling sponsorships, or even opening your podcast up to donations.
John Lee Dumas, the host of Entrepreneur on Fire turned his podcast into a multi-million dollar business via masterminds, selling products, and sponsorships.
If you want to start a podcast, then check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast.
6. Start an Affiliate Business
Affiliate marketing is another timeless method of making money online. Although it’s been around for a long time, affiliate marketing is here to stay.
With affiliate marketing you send people to other online stores via your affiliate link. Then, you receive a commission for any of those sales generated from that visitor.
Not only can this be lucrative, but it helps established businesses earn revenue as well!
The biggest and most well-known affiliate network is Amazon Associates. Once you sign up for this program, you can recommend any Amazon product and receive a commission.
Here’s a breakdown of the commission percentages you can expect, depending on what niche you’re in:
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck with affiliate sales, then you’ll want to join some high-paid affiliate networks.
Higher commissions means more money per sale and sell traffic required to make good money.
Here are a handful of high paying affiliate programs in the technology, travel, and fashion niches worth checking out:
- Bluehost. Recommend hosting and get $65 per new customer.
- SEMRush. Recommend this SEO software and get 40% recurring commission every month.
- Wix. Recommend the website builder and get $100 per sale
- TripAdvisor. Receive up to a 50% commission when people book on this platform.
- Expedia. Receive a 2-6% commission anything booked through this platform.
- H&M. Receive a 7.4% commission on any clothes purchased through this site.
- Nordstrom. Receive a 2-20% commission on any clothing bought on the website.
7. Start an eCommerce Store With Virtual/POD Products
If you’ve been wanting to build your own online store, but don’t want to deal with creating your own products, or managing inventory, then selling virtual products is perfect for you.
With this store you create a design and sell a variety of products that feature that design. For example, you can print your design on items like hats, t-shirts, stickers, posters, and more.
For example, maybe you’re a photographer with a thriving Instagram account. You can partner with a service like Printful to sell prints of your photos. All you have to do is upload your photos and their service will handle the rest. Including printing and shipping.
You can do the same with virtually any kind of design, and offer multiple kinds of products like mugs, blankets, pillows, blankets, and more.
With a service like Printful you’re ready to profit from day one. There are a number of integrations available through Printful as well, so you can plug this tool into your existing site.
8. Start an eCommerce Business With Physical Products
If you’ve always dreamed of creating and selling your own product, there’s no better time than right now. eCommerce stores are growing in popularity, plus there are a variety of different platforms you can use to sell your own products too.
Shopify is probably the most commonly used. It’s an all-in-one eCommerce platform that will host your website, help you build it, provide you with a bundled domain name, let you add products, and process payments. You can get all of this for a monthly fee.
Beyond Shopify there are a handful of other widely used platforms:
- Bigcommerce. An all-in-one eCommerce tool that’s built for growing and large-scale stores.
- 3dcart. An easy-to-use eCommerce tool that’s optimized for the search engines.
- Wix. A website builder that allows you to build a quick and simple eCommerce store.
- WooCommerce. The number one eCommerce plugin for WordPress site owners, just install the plugin and transform your existing site into an eCommerce store.
- Squarespace. An easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder that’ll let you build a simple eCommerce store.
- Selz. An eCommerce tool built for beginners that makes it easy to start and scale your eCommerce store.
9. Start an Ecommerce Store Via Dropshipping
If the thought of developing your own products, managing shipping, orders, and more is too overwhelming, then you might prefer dropshipping.
With dropshipping you have products listed in your store, but you work with a product distributor who handles the manufacturing, shipping, and tracking of products. But, on your customer’s end it seems as if the products are 100% coming from your store.
Oberlo has a selection of products from all over the world, while Sprocket focuses on products manufactured in the US and Europe.
Both of these platforms easily integrate with your existing site, no matter what eCommerce platform you’re using.
Each of the platforms highlighted above will also make product selection easy. You can search and import products directly from the tools into your website.
10. Sell Handcrafted Goods on Etsy
If you’re a craft-oriented person or enjoy making handcrafted goods, then you can turn these skills into a business with the help of Etsy.
This platform gives you a way to start an online store without a website or existing online presence.
Here’s how you get started on Etsy:
- Create your own Etsy shop.
- Give your store a name and customize your settings for the products you sell.
- List your products and optimize your listings by adding photos and writing compelling descriptions.
With your store populated with products, it’s time to open your store to the world. If you have any existing platforms, like a related Instagram account, YouTube page, or blog, then you can drive traffic that way.
But, Etsy also has a very large built-in audience, just like Amazon. So, if you optimize your listings with relevant keywords and make your product listings pop, you can start making sales automatically.
Amy Yee, of the Etsy store Maeven Vintage, is able to take a full-time income from the sales of her store and has currently sold over 3,500 items on Etsy alone.
11. Get Paid to Write for Blogs
The web runs on quality content. If you love writing, then you can make a great living writing content for blogs and other websites.
There are countless examples of people making a living as a freelance blogger. For example, Jorden Makelle of Creative Revolt was able to build up a $5k per month writing business in 4 months.
One of the keys to successful freelance writing is to establish yourself in a niche. This gives you an advantage over other writers who position themselves as generalist writers.
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s time to build your website, open a PayPal account for invoices, create some samples to showcase your skills, and start pitching jobs.
Here are some of the best places to look for jobs as a freelance writer:
- FlexJobs. Here you’ll find a variety of freelance jobs, including a ton of freelance writing jobs. It’s a premium service, but well worth the subscription.
- SolidGigs. SolidGigs is a curated list of high-quality freelance jobs, you can filter by category, including freelance writing.
- Fiverr. With Fiverr you create a profile and offer a service like freelance writing, then you can offer upsell services for a higher price.
- Problogger Jobs. This job board features only freelance writing jobs, some are high-paying long-term gigs.
If you’re looking for a local remote gig, then you also might want to checkout your local Craigslist job postings.
12. Start a Consulting/Freelance Business
If freelance writing doesn’t speak to you, there are dozens of other freelance services you can offer.
Here are a few that are easy to get started with:
Work as a social media manager
Brands and small business owners of all types need help managing and growing their social media accounts. If you’re passionate about social media, then this could be a great business for you.
You can help manage Facebook pages, Instagram pages, YouTube channels, and even schedule and upload Pinterest accounts.
Work as a virtual assistant
Instead of hiring in-person staff, a lot of business owners are turning to virtual staff to help manage day-to-day tasks. If you’re a person who thrives on managing details and working on a wide variety of projects, then this could be perfect for you.
Gina Horkey offers a variety of resources on developing skills as a VA and getting your first clients.
Work as a graphic designer
Skilled graphic designers are in high demand. Whether you choose to freelance for a handful of clients, or work for an agency there are a variety of design tasks you can work on.
For example, you might create graphics for blog posts, custom infographics, full web designs, app interfaces, logos, and a lot more.
The graphi design roles above can either be done on a freelance or consulting basis. Typically, freelance is project or retainer based, where you’re completing the work yourself. However, on a consulting basis you’re offering your knowledge and a plan of action, which their team will implement.
When you’re just starting out, freelancing will be the best route to take, since you can build practical skills and experience. Once you’ve showed success you can elevate into a consulting role.
Here are some job boards that can help you find your first clients:
13. Become a Transcriptionist
With transcribing you take existing audio and transcribe it into readable text. If you’re a fast and accurate typist and want to take on a wide range of projects, then this could be the perfect fit for you.
Working as a transcriptionist gives you the ability to set your own hours and take on as little, or as much work as you desire.
Transcription work is typically found in the medical, legal, and more generalized niches. But, there are some new categories that have sprung up recently like transcribing podcasts or YouTube videos.
The hourly rate will typically range from $15 to $25+ per hour. But, by specializing in a specific niche that requires training (like the legal niche), you can earn more.
Once you’ve got the necessary skills and know how, you can start looking for work right away.
Here’s a handful of companies that hire brand new transcribers:
14. Write a Kindle Book
It’s one of the best times to be an author. With the rise of self-publishing, the gates have opened and you no longer need a publishing deal to make a living as an author.
For example, Mark Dawson earned over $450,000 a year by self-publishing his crime thriller novels.
Another breakout success is the author A.G. Riddle whose first self-published series The Atlantis Gene had the film rights purchased by CBS Films.
When you self-publish a Kindle book you’re in charge of editing, cover design, book formatting, marketing your book, and more. It’s a lot of additional work, but you’ll also receive a 70% cut of your book’s royalties.
If you’re looking to succeed with selling Kindle books, then keep the following tips in mind:
- Choose a market that isn’t too competitive, but still has enough readers to buy your books
- Write a high-quality book that’s professionally edited and formatted
- Invest in a book cover designed by a professional (a lot of readers will buy books on the cover alone)
- Publish your books in a series to maximize your income and offer readers more books to buy (like the two successful authors above).
Making a full-time living as an author isn’t out of reach, all it takes is getting the math right.
15. Become a Web Search Evaluator
Search engines operate via complicated algorithms. But, since humans uses search engines, they need people to regularly examine the search results to ensure the algorithms are on the right track.
A web search evaluator will examine search results, ads, and more to make sure the listings are relevant, accurate, and benefit the end-user.
If you regularly spend hours surfing the web, then you might as well get paid to do it. The pay for this role ranges from $12.50 to $15 an hour.
Getting work as a web search evaluator is as simple as applying for an open position.
These companies are regularly hiring:
16. Take Paid Online Surveys
Doing paid online surveys probably isn’t the most efficient way to earn a living, but it can be a great way to earn some extra cash or win some fun prizes and gift cards.
The great thing about online surveys is there’s a low barrier to entry. You don’t have to learn any new skills. All you have to do is fill out a survey and get paid for your time.
If you want to earn cashback or receive cool gift cards by taking surveys from the comfort of your own home, then check out the sites below:
17. Test Apps & Websites
Do you enjoy checking out new websites and apps? Or maybe you consider yourself someone who has a great eye for design?
If so, then you can earn good money by testing out different websites and apps.
For example, can you tell when a website is unclear and confusing? Can the interface of an app be more intuitive? Is the page you’re looking for hidden in a navigation menu?
There are a handful of different platforms that’ll pay you for this experience:
18. Become an App developer
There are hundreds of apps created every single day. In 2018, there were over 190 billion apps downloaded. Plus this trend only continues to scale upward.
With all these apps being released, someone needs to create them, and that someone could be you!
There are all kinds of online resources that’ll help you grow your skills:
Once you feel confident in your skills you can create a profile on sites like Upwork and Freelancer, then start pitching app development gigs.
There are also a variety of remote jobs where you can apply to be a full-time app developer. These job boards are worth checking out:
19. Buy and Sell Domain Names
You’re probably familiar with the process of flipping houses, but did you know you can also flip domain names?
There are currently over 1.7 million websites in existence, and every single one of those websites also needs a domain name.
Buying and selling domain names is a process known as domain flipping. Basically, you purchase an undervalued domain name and sell it for a profit. Then repeat.
- Use a site like Just Dropped to find good domains that have expired.
- Purchase and re-list the domain on sites like Flippa.
- Wait for buyers to get in touch.
- Sell and repeat.
It can be very lucrative as well, some people have been able to earn over a hundred thousand dollars per year following the strategy above. Or, it can be a fun side hustle, while you build a business using another method on this list.
20. Join a Social Investment Network
If you’ve been looking to invest in the stock market, but you want to minimize your risk, then consider joining a social investment network.
eToro has been one of the most popular online trading platforms for over a decade. The trades you can make are wide ranging, from stocks, commodities, currencies, indexes, and even crypto currencies.
The real power of this platform comes from the social trading aspect. If you don’t have time to investigate your own trades, you can copy the trades of the most successful investors on the platform.
This helps to take a lot of the risk out of investing, while still earning money off your trades.
21. Crowdfund Your Business
Crowdfunding provides a way for your fans to directly support you creating your art or projects. It’s a common method of funding for YouTuber’s, bloggers, and more.
For example, the popular blog Wait But Why created by Tim Urban has turned to Patreon for funding, so he can remove the ads from his site.
Instead of creating products to sell, or monetizing your website via ads, you’ll offer different donation membership levels.
One of the most widely used platforms for crowdfunding is Patreon. With Patreon you can create different funding levels and offer your fans and followers rewards for their contributions.
22. Start an Online Course
The online education market is absolutely exploding. In fact, the market is estimated to be worth $130 billion by 2023. Not only is the market huge and can probably make you a lot of money, but you’re probably sitting on valuable knowledge that someone would pay you to learn.
Online courses can be combined with other business models on this list, like starting a blog, launching a podcast, or becoming an Instagram influencer.
You can create self-hosted online courses, where the core focus of your site is selling a course. Or, you can rely on an existing course platform that has a built-in audience, like Udemy.
Nikki Brown, creator of A Course About Copy was able to make over $50k from her very first course launch.
If you’re going to be creating online courses, then you’re going to need a course platform to host your course and help you accept payments.
Here are some of the most widely used platforms:
- Thinkific. There’s a monthly fee of $49 with no transaction fee.
- LearnDash. This WordPress plugin will add course functionality to your current site, pricing starts at $159 per year.
- LearnWorlds. There’s a monthly fee of $24 to access this all-in-one course platform.
- Podia. There’s a monthly fee of $39 with zero transaction fee.
- Teachable. There’s a monthly fee starting at $20, with no transaction fees on the higher-priced plans.
- Udemy. It’s entirely free to upload your courses, but you split 50% of your course sales with the platform.
- Skillshare. Free to upload, and pays out between 30 to 50% of course sales, with most courses listed at $10.
The platform you choose will depend on your course needs and goals. For example, Udemy and Skillshare can be cheaper to get started, since there are built-in audiences and there’s no monthly fee. However, if you’re offering a higher-priced premium-level course, then you should be able to make more with the other platforms, even when paying a monthly fee.
What Are the Easiest Ways to Make Money Online?
There are a ton of great ways to make money online, but now you’re wondering which ways are the easiest? Maybe you want to easily make money from an Airbnb in Bali? Or while you’re on a cross-country road-trip?
Granted some methods will be more lucrative than others, but you want to earn without having to acquire a ton of new skills.
Here are the easiest ways to make money online:
- Work as a freelancer
- Buy and sell domain
- Start an affiliate business
- Start a blog
- Make money on Instagram
- Start dropshipping products
- Sell an online course
What Are the Best Ways to Make Money Online Fast?
Maybe you’re not interested in building a long-term business right now, but instead, want to make money online as fast as possible. Maybe you’re looking for a decent side income on top of your full-time job.
Here are the best ways to make money online fast:
- Take online surveys
- Become a web search evaluator
- Test websites and apps
- Freelance on job boards and platforms
What Are the Best Ways to Make Money Online at Home?
Your big dream is to work from home. You already know what your ideal office looks like. You want a flexible schedule, so you can spend more time with your family, and invest more in self-care. Or, you just want a fun part-time online home job.
Here are the best ways to make money online at home:
- Start a membership site
- Start podcast
- Physical product eCommerce
- Sell handcrafted Etsy goods
- Work as a freelance writer
- Work as a consultant
- Start a kindle book business
- Become a remote developer
- Sell online courses
How Much Money Can I Make Online?
How much money can I make online is a very common question for those just starting out. However, there is no cut and dry answer. The amount you can make online differs just like working in the real world.
But, for an added dose of inspiration here’s a few real-life examples of what can be achieved online:
- Mark Dawson earns over $450k a year from selling Kindle books.
- Pat Flynn earns over $2 million per year from affiliate commissions and course sales.
- Solo blogger Ryan Robinson earns over $20k per month from his blog.
- Brian Harris of VideoFruit was able to earn over $200k from his first course launch.
Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired and there’s a few ideas above that really speak to you. When it comes to earning an income online, it’s all about commitment. Sure, there are over 20 different methods above, but choose just one approach to follow.
It’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects, but when you fully commit to a single online business model you’ll greatly improve your chances of success.