How To Make Money Online: Top Proven Ideas for Online Earning

Are you dreaming of building your own business or just looking for ways to make extra money?

With the advancement of modern technology before our eyes, there are more ways to make money on the web than ever before. Whether you’re selling your used clothes on a local marketplace site, creating merchandise to sell to your TikTok fans, or starting a business out of a hobby, there are tools to help.

And if you still don’t have an idea, this list will show you ideas for making money online, no matter your skill level. Ahead, discover 30 creative money-making ideas, including everything from startup side hustles to innovative business models.

💁🏽‍♂️ User Guide: This list is divided into three sections: How to Make Money Online, How to Make Money Online for Beginners, and How to Make Money Fast. Each idea inside is accompanied by the information you need to implement it today, including the level of effort and time required to get started.

  • How to make money online.
  • Create and sell handmade products.
  • Write and sell books or ebooks.
  • Monetize a blog.
  • Sell digital products.
  • Be an influencer.
  • Sell photos online.
  • Sell services or consulting.
  • Become a reseller.
  • Create online courses and workshops
  • Monetize YouTube Channel
  • Live stream on Twitch (or other platforms)
  • Become a social media consultant.
  • Start a podcast.
  • Create and sell a unique product.

The ideas in this section are for people who want to make money in a long-term, sustainable way. These businesses will require hard work and passion to pay off, but they are also some of the most rewarding and fulfilling ways to start making extra money online.

Make and sell handmade products.

Making handmade products is a great way to turn your hobby or passion into a business. You’re already an expert in your craft — why not sell your work? Or, discover a new hobby and learn a hands-on skill that can earn you money. Handmade goods give you complete control over product development and quality, but it can take time. Also consider allowing customers to customize each order to their specifications. This is called bespoke, or one-of-a-kind (OOAK).

Start Time: Setting up your eCommerce store will only take an hour or two.
Level of effort: Depends on whether you prepare the equipment in advance. High maintenance effort.
Time to First Payment: After selling a product, expect a waiting period of about five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know:

While this is a viable small business idea, scaling this model is difficult. To grow, consider bringing in other artists that you can train.

Most e-commerce platforms require that you be at least 18 years of age.
Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to obtain a license, permit or certification.

Write and sell books or ebooks.

Just as you can monetize your expertise through an online course or YouTube influencer, you can also earn cash by selling books or ebooks online. There are multiple formats and genres, from novels to memoirs to self-help books. Try using a print-on-demand book service to print and sell books online on your e-commerce store, or use a service like Amazon Direct Publishing to sell ebooks.

Start Time: Varies by book, but can take years to write, edit, and publish.
Level of effort: Difficult to get started. Medium’s ongoing effort to market and sell the book.
Time of First Payment: Depends on how and where you sell your books.

What to know:

Grow a following for your personal brand as a writer.
Digital delivery apps can be useful if you plan to sell ebooks directly to consumers on your website.

A publisher or print-on-demand service for printing physical books.
A platform to sell your book or ebook.

Monetize a blog.

While many businesses use blogs to help drive traffic to their products, did you know that you can make money online with a blog alone? You can monetize a blog in a number of ways, including selling ads, using affiliate links, writing sponsored posts in partnership with a brand, or selling merchandise or custom products to an audience.

Start time: A few hours.

Starting Effort: Medium to start, but will require a lot of effort to maintain.

First Payment Time: Depends on how you are monetizing your blog.

What to know:

While blogging can be a low-investment, small business idea, it can take time to pay off.
Use SEO methods to drive organic traffic and read more ways to monetize a blog.

A blogging platform.
An interest or skill you want to write about — Consider a topic where you have a unique perspective

Sell digital products.

Selling digital products is a great way to earn cash with little ongoing effort and cost. These products include guides, ebooks, templates, music samples, projects, printables, and lessons that can be delivered digitally, in formats such as PDF, or through login access to the portal. This is a great option for creators looking to sell music or sell art online.

Another example of digital content is recipes and meal plans. Food blogger Lauren Fit Foodie sells this content to her audience through Instagram.

Startup Time: Once an asset is created, it takes a few hours to get it up and running online.

Level of effort: Medium to high, depending on ability to grow product and customer base. Low maintenance effort.

Time to First Payment: After selling a product, expect a waiting period of about five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know:

Digital goods are scalable, there is no limit to how many times you can sell the same asset.
If you want to license your product or use licensed content, be sure to consult an attorney or research licensing laws.

An e-commerce online platform.
A digital delivery app from the Shopify App Store.

Be impressive.

Influencer marketing is popular with brands that seek influencers with audiences that are similar to their target customers. Brands claim to sponsor content by productivity and stationery creator Amanda Rauch Lee. But you don’t need Amanda’s 2 million followers to get paid as an online influencer. You’ll need an engaged following, but influencer marketing statistics show that influencers with at least 1,000 followers—considered nano-influencers—brand deals on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and Instagram. can get

How to get paid as an influencer:

Open an online store and sell merchandise to your fans.
Sell sponsored posts to brands or become a brand ambassador or affiliate.
Generate ad revenue.
Offer exclusive content through platforms like Patreon.
Onset Time: Varies, but usually, about three to four months.

Effort Level: Popular accounts require fresh content to keep a high audience engaged.

Time to First Payout: Varies depending on the type of monetization you pursue.

What to know:

The Shopify Starter Plan is perfect for creators who want to sell quickly without building a website. Or, you can also use a tool like Linkpop to supercharge your social bio and drive fans to your store.

Meet the minimum age requirements for each platform account.
A passion for content creation and being an on-camera personality (video and photo editing skills are a bonus).
An e-commerce platform for selling fan merchandise.

Sell photos online.

Whether you’re shooting on the latest iPhone or the latest Canon DSLR, you can sell photos online as a photographer. Partner with a local printer to print your photos on specialty paper or other materials, or invest in a high-quality home printer. You can send and sell numbered and signed versions of your photos directly to customers through your website.

💡 Looking for a more hands-off or beginner-friendly way to sell your photos? Jump to Print on Demand or Photo Licensing.

Start Time: A few weeks or months to build your portfolio.
Effort Level: High to start with as you build your portfolio and website. Medium ongoing effort to maintain business and develop new products
Time to First Payment: After selling a photo, expect a waiting period of around 55 days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know:

Build awareness for your brand by growing your following on social media.
Use another method of selling photos (such as licensing to stock sites) to generate interest in your work.

A camera and photo editing software.
An e-commerce platform plan.

Sell services or consulting.

While it may be most common to think of selling physical products online, you can also sell non-tangible items. Consider selling a virtual service like online personal shopping, home decor consulting, or one-on-one personal training. Set up your e-commerce store and visit the Shopify App Store to find an app that integrates to help with appointment booking and live chat.

Start Time: Several hours to set up your website.

Level of effort: Difficult. It will require constant effort to build your client list, serve, and maintain your website.

Time to First Payment: After selling a service, expect a waiting period of about five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know:

Reviews and testimonials are your friends. Ask happy clients to write or record reviews and post them on your site.

A website or e-commerce store.
Expertise in a particular field.

Monetize a YouTube Channel

Monetize a YouTube Channel Top YouTube influencers like Cassey Ho, Wil Yeung, and Katie Carson all started where you are: with an idea. Each of these YouTubers built an audience through authentic content before monetizing their channels.

Once you reach 1,000 subscribers, you can try YouTube ads. You can also offer paid product placement or become a brand affiliate. Selling products like your own branded merchandise is a great way to build your personal brand. Create your own website and link it to your channel to sell t-shirts, hats and other merchandise to your fans.

Start Time: It will take an hour or two to start a YouTube channel.
Effort Level: High YouTube requires constant effort to create and publish video content.
First Payout Time: Once you reach 1,000 subscribers, you can start earning ad revenue to earn money on YouTube. The timing of the first payment varies with other methods.

What to know:

Finding a niche with a niche audience for your channel angle is a great option. Understand that audience and create content that adds value.
YouTube Shorts offer a way to keep your page fresh with shorter, more casual content.

Audio and video equipment and editing software.
Parental permission to start a YouTube channel if you are between the ages of 13 and 17.
A sales channel or online store platform to sell goods (must be 18 to open a store).

Livestream on Twitch (or other platforms)

While the first platform that comes to mind for live streaming might be Twitch, a popular site for gamers and other content creators, many other platforms now offer native live streaming, including YouTube and Instagram. You can live stream everything from gameplay to recipe demos to bike tours. Find a niche to build an audience around a particular interest or skill.

You can monetize your live stream on Twitch in a handful of ways:

  • Selling products like chili directly to fans
  • Brand sponsorships
  • Donations from fans
  • Subscription to exclusive content
  • Rotating ads

Start Time: An hour or so to create an account.
Effort Level: High to start with when you build an audience. High effort to consistently create content.
First payment time: Varies by streaming service. Twitch pays 15 days after the end of each month.

What to know:

Be consistent by broadcasting regularly at the same time of day or on the same day each week.
Monetize your Twitch channel by selling products using the Shopify Starter Plan—an affordable alternative to a full eCommerce website plan.

A camera, microphone, and live streaming software or platform.
Twitch is recommended for ages 15+, but many monetization options may require you to be over 18. Consult each platform’s terms of service for details.

Become a social media consultant.

Are you very online? Do you jump on every new social media platform and trend? Have a knack for spotting trends, writing great copy, or engaging an audience?

As a social media consultant, you can work with brands to brainstorm creative ideas, develop content strategies, produce videos or graphics, and write copy. Once you gather clients and experience, you can become an official Shopify Expert, marketing your skills to brands looking for your unique expertise.

Start Time: Several hours to reach potential clients.
Level of Effort: You will need to consistently maintain client relationships and work on projects to be highly profitable.
Time for first payment: After invoicing a client, in most cases they will have 15 to 30 days to pay you, according to the terms you set.

What to know:

Build your social following first and use it as a portfolio to showcase your talent.
Networking will help you bring in new clients. Be proactive with your outreach.

Experience building a successful social media presence that makes money.
Social media accounts and a website.
💡 Tip: Instead of creating a website, you can use Linkpop to combine examples of your work and links from all your social media accounts.

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