If you’re reading this blog, chances are it’s not the first website that you’ve come across that talks about the subject of making extra money every month using online methods. After perusing enough articles, you may have noticed a few recurring themes, and one of those is this: Have multiple streams of income. One of the keys to having a sustainable, independent living without having to have a job is to not limit yourself to a single income source, that way if something happens to one of your money-making methods, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a way of increasing your fault-tolerance, and it’s one of the huge advantages of going into business on your own.
Now, besides being an entrepreneur, I’m also a writer, so I’m going to let you in on a few ways that I make money online by writing or otherwise providing content for people. You can do these yourself, too, and you can even do all of these methods at the same time in order to have multiple channels of income. You don’t even have to be a writer. It’s preferable, but not mandatory. If you want to sell content, but can’t write very well, there’s always the option to outsource, and in fact, I would recommend it after you have a certain amount of capital. The only thing that matters, after all, is that you’ve solved people’s problems—exactly how you solved their problem, so long as it was done ethically, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
How I make money now and how I’ve made it in the past is not really this great secret. In fact, you could say it’s painfully obvious in its simplicity. I merely gave people what they wanted, and everything else fell into place. Let’s take a look at some examples of how I did this:
Though I no longer use this method, it’s where I got my start. People would buy content from me and I would write and fulfill the orders. It’s a pretty straight-forward site, where you make a listing about what you can produce for people (called a “gig”), and potential customers look at your description and reviews from past clients before hiring you for a one-time job. Originally, the idea was that you would list what you were willing to do “for five dollars,” but the site has evolved past that over the years, and though the base increment of a gig is still $5, you will find that many people have bigger jobs that they need to be done, and you can charge them a lot more.
If you go onto certain Internet marketing forums, you might get the impression that Fiverr has a bad reputation because of how low the pay can be. There are tons of armchair criticisms of the site (“I’m not going to do that for only $5!), but I find that it’s because people don’t understand it and use the service incorrectly. It is true that some buyers there can be stingy, but you can simply avoid them by raising your prices.
If you’ve ever used Fiverr, you know that the site takes 20% of what you earn (1 USD out of every 5 USD that you make). This is obviously not ideal, which is why I said that Fiverr is where I got my start. After that, I moved onto another freelancing site, one where the pay was better and the buyers were a little less…cheap.
PeoplePerHour.com is a decent option and it’s worth a try if you’re passed those initial moments of getting your feet wet, though you can also try UpWork or one of the other popular freelance sites. The advantage of these kinds of platforms isn’t even really the money; the goal in this step is to acquire clients. Since all of these freelancing services, from Fiverr to PeoplePerHour must take a cut of your pay to be able to provide the site, you are effectively “taxed,” and fairly heavily. However, you can use some of these platforms to build relationships with clients that you can then turn into private clients. What this means is that you have built enough trust to bypass the escrow service that a freelancing site represents, and they can pay you directly, saving both of your money in terms of fees. The fees can certainly accumulate on both sides, especially if you work with each other a lot, so this is the ideal direction to go in if you start finding clients that are ordering from your consistently. (Make sure to check the TOS of the site, though, or else you could get kicked out for soliciting your client’s contact information.)
After dealing with all the fees and requirements of these third-party websites, I got sick of giving such a large portion of my pay away, and I also wanted to make my own rules and build my own independent income. Call me a rebel. This is what led me to what I am doing now, and it’s been working great for me:
Finally, we’re here at the Holy Grail of making money online. You can use all the third-party sites you want—and they can be great in the beginning when your monetary and social capital are non-existent—but after a certain point, it just makes sense to run your own website, especially if you’re a writer. There is so much you can do with your own website that you just can’t when you are making money for someone else. You can write a blog and make money from ads; you can write reviews and make money from affiliate offers; you can sell your own products and services. There are probably literally hundreds of ways to monetize your own site.
Personally, I do a few different things with my various websites, and I use a couple of different monetization strategies, but keeping with the theme of making money with something as simple as a writing service, one of my main sources of income is my content-creation business. After learning to build websites, I built my own little storefront where I could sell my writing services to clients. Though of course this isn’t an overnight solution and it did take awhile to get it off the ground and for word of my business to spread, now I have a very profitable enterprise that I own and control myself—and as far as I’m concerned, that’s priceless.
So, how do you do this yourself? In short: Build a website (which I can help you do, by the way), get your first few clients, and do good work. If you really do a good job, people will be glad to pay for it, and they’ll be happy to tell others about you, too.
You don’t have to stop using third-party freelancing sites when you’ve built your own websites, by the way. Again, having multiple options and multiple streams of income is good. In fact, a model that works for a lot of people is to initially vet their clients through a freelancing site and then transfer them over to their private website once they’ve built trust.
There it is; pretty simple, isn’t it? This is how I started making money online and you can do the same exact thing and get similar results. Remember to focus on giving people what the need as best you can, and the rest will fall into place fairly quickly.