How to Make Money Online: The Definitive Guide

How To Make Money Online: The Definitive Guide

“There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.” — Marlene Dietrich

If you’re like every other red-blooded human being, you dream of a life of leisure and pleasure, one steeped in wealth and financial means rather than replete with stress, bills and a near-endless fear of impending fiscal collapse. However, attaining what we’ve coined as financial freedom is no small feat. Many have tried, but only few have succeeded in this endeavor.

Still, the pathway to good fortune and achievement is open to any man or woman out there. There exists an ability for any person, no matter their age, the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their present economic situation, education, or anything else for that matter, to generate an income and make a substantial amount of money online.

But wading through the sea of seemingly perpetual money-making opportunities can be tiresome at best.

That “urgent” email from a wealthy Nigerian Prince who claims to have a fortune with our names on it, to the blaring online video by the latest rambling internet marketer who swears we can get rich by using their system, to the late-night infomercial that beckons us to try a simple system that countless others have used to get rich, we’ve just about seen it all, haven’t we?

Today, thanks to technologies like smartphones, social media and the internet, there’s no shortage of people attempting to cheerlead their offers at every bend and turn. While the web has given us virtually boundless ways of improving our lives, it’s also delivered some unsavory characters who are more interested in extracting dollars from us rather than helping us to make them.

Clearly, making money online is no simple feat. If it were, the world would be filled with far more so-called dot-com millionaires. If it were really that easy to get rich in life by clicking a few buttons, typing some lines of code and shooting off several dozen emails, don’t you think that more people would do it?

The harsh reality and truth is that in order to make substantial amounts of money online, you need to deliver real value. You need to contribute something meaningful to the world rather than looking for ways you’ll achieve instant wealth and riches. By no means does it happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen by signing up to some internet marketer’s “proven” system. It happens slowly and painfully over time.

The two biggest problems that most people seem to face is one of disinformation and misinformation.

  1. They’re disinformed about the ease of making money online by being falsely misled into buying some system that will help them become a so-called internet million.
  2. They’re misinformed about just what it takes to reach the masses without having to break the bank. What it really takes to reach the masses is pre-established authority and age in any website.

Simply put, you can’t just throw up a blog and expect to rank at the top of Google with some secret stealthy system that will help you to generate hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. It doesn’t work that way. It takes an increasingly hefty amount of effort exerted consistently over time.

It takes delivering real value that people will benefit from. It takes an almost-altruistic attitude of doing the most amount of work for the least initial return. If you’ve come across some system that all-but guarantees you’ll get rich, scrutinize it before buying into the hype.


What Does It Take To Make Money Online Today?

So what does it actually take to make serious amounts of money online today? While many might buy into the hype, there are hordes of others out there who’ve been scorned. They’ve put their hopes up and hinged their expected financial wealth on the supposed success of these internet marketers who’ve sold them some system that was going to make them rich.

No. No. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it simply doesn’t work that way. It takes real sweat equity to make serious cash on the web. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the internet marketing space. There’s nothing wrong with trying to help others make money online.

The space is filled with some legitimate individuals who sincerely do desire to help others create real value out there. The problem? They’re too few and far between. And even the ones that are sincerely trying to help you make money are still trying to extract a great deal of hard-earned cash from you.

Yet that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. It doesn’t mean that you can’t make money online the legitimate way. It just means that you need to analyze things with a fine-tooth comb. Allow me to help you peer beyond the hype and the pizzaz. But, this article is more than just that. This article is a serious look at just how you can make money online today. This is a definitive guide, if you will, for analyzing, extracting and pursuing the right method for you.

I’m not sitting here and telling you it’s going to be easy though. It’s going to be downright difficult. At times, you might kick and scream in frustration, wondering when it’s ever going to happen. The difference between those that succeed with any type endeavor online and those that fail, are the ones that have cloud-nine dreams of lightning-fast internet riches. That might be because of all these supposed experts out there who tout these overnight systems, or it might just be our general desire for instant gratification.

We want what we want, when we want it, isn’t that right? Isn’t that why, as a culture, we’re so impatient? Isn’t that why we have fast-food joints around every corner? Isn’t that why we demand instant service before taking our business elsewhere? Isn’t that why we complain when we don’t get our way as quickly as feasibly possible? Yes, it most certainly is. We’re simply a byproduct of our own culture and society.

Still, you have to shift your thinking if you’re serious about making money online. You can’t think about days or weeks. Rather, you need to be thinking in terms of months and years. This isn’t some overnight expedition or something you’ll accomplish quickly by any measure. We’re talking about a long and very drawn out journey that will invoke every fiber of your being and zap you of your time and energy at every level imaginable.

Okay. Okay. So enough of the red flags. Enough of the cautionary words. Let’s look at what it really takes. In this guide, I’m going to introduce you to several ways that you can really make money online. By no means is this simple. Sure you can generate a few dollars or even a few hundred dollars doing things like selling your used electronics on eBay, but that won’t get you rich. What will get you rich is when your money-making capabilities shift into autopilot.


What Is Passive Income?

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the difference between active income and passive income. This distinction will be paramount to your ability to produce serious capital on the web. So what is passive income? Passive income, if you don’t already know, is income that’s earned automatically. It doesn’t require much maintenance once that income stream has been created. However, it does require an enormous amount of effort at the outset to establish that stream of income.

Active income requires your time and you can only produce as much money as your time allows. For example, a doctor or a lawyer who charge high per-hour or per-consultation fees and make exorbitant amounts of cash are stifled by the amount of time they have in a day. We all have the same 24 hours. Not one person on this earth gets more time than the next. It’s the greatest equalizer in life. When the time you work directly correlates to your income, it’s called active income.

With active income, you’re actively working to produce those wages. So if you work for someone else and you’re earning a per-hourly fee or you have clients and you’re working for yourself, you’re still engaged in active-income employment. However, if something were to happen to your ability to work, for example, you would be unable to produce an income. This could be anything from an injury to an illness or disease, and everything in between, when you can’t work, you can’t earn.

Still, much of the world is engaged in active-income work. They work so that they can earn. When they don’t work, they don’t earn. Yet, there’s almost zero chance that you’ll get rich or make any significant amount of money when you’re solely reliant on active income. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s possible. People do it by slowly saving and investing over the course of 30 or 40 years, but we’re not talking about that here.

If you seriously want to make money online, you need passive income. You need your income to come automatically so that you can use the precious little time you have to produce more streams of income that will pay you on autopilot. That’s the holy grail of income-producing activities. Now, it’s not easy to do, so I’m not going to sit here and try to insult your intellgience. It takes an enormous amount of effort and very little financial gains at the outset.

Over time, however, nothing beats passive income. No matter what sacrifices you have to make, if you focus on passive income, your future money-making self will thank you for it. So, what are some examples of passive income?

  1. Real estate rentals – Clearly this takes some capital to setup. It’s not easy by any means. But it is passive income. Real estate rental brings you automatic income on a monthly basis. It does require some maintenance, for example if a problem arises and repairs are required. But it’s still considered passive income.
  2. Dividends from stocks – Dividends are a great source of passive income revenues because they pay you on a periodic basis. While you do need to own a substantial amount of shares for there to be a noticeable income, if you have money laying around, this is a great way to invest it.
  3. Blog, YouTube or website ads (i.e. Google AdSense) – Clearly, this requires much less of an investment of capital upfront, but it does require a significant amount of skill and time to build both age and authority. However, this will only really provide substantial income when you’ve reached tens of thousands of visitors or views per day.
  4. Book and audiobook sales (i.e. Kindle and ACX) – This source of passive income offers you the opportunity to make money online far quicker than launching a blog and earning money off of advertisements or affiliate sales. However, it does require skill and knowledge or a tremendous acclivity of research and effort.
  5. Automated drip-campaigns through email marketing – Email marketing is something that also requires a great deal of time to produce an income from. You first need to build and establish authority, then get thousands of people to sign up to your email list, and only then can you market and begin earning an income. Think in terms of years here.
  6. ATMs and vending machines – This requires a bit of upfront investment and sales skills. You need to buy the machines and then make contracts to place those machines in a variety of destinations based on volume of traffic. Still, you can get up and running relatively quickly with this passive income stream.
  7. Online courses – Creating an online course is a great way to make money online, but don’t expect to get rich doing it. Like with anything else out there, there is a lot of competition with many people vying for the attention of others when trying to sell their courses. Quality counts here. So does the necessity to deliver a lot of value.


Ways to Make Money Online Today

Okay, so passive income is where it’s at. Clearly, it will allow you to scale things out and make far more money. But it doesn’t happen quickly. However, most people don’t have the upfront investments to get things off the ground when it comes to areas such as real estate, dividends from stocks or ATM and vending machines. For that reason, they need to turn to digital avenues for income generation.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you need to make money online with passive income. Passive income should be something you’re constantly working towards, but you also need to produce an active income. There are several ways to earn money actively, using your time, on the Web. Here they are.


#1 — Web and graphic design services

Have some web or graphic design talent under your belt? Even if you don’t, it might serve you well to find a course you can sign up to and learn. These skills are in high demand on the web, and with so many businesses moving into the digital space or trying to expand and market their services, it’s ripe for the picking.

However, like with any other industry, there’s fierce competition. You can use sites like Fiverr and other similar sites in the gig economy to create countless kinds of web or graphic design micro-jobs that you can do for as little as $5. I know, it sounds really low, but you’d be surprised at the success of some of the Fiverr all-stars.

If you’re looking for more serious work, you could try your hand at a site like Upwork, where you can find bigger projects in the web and graphic design arena. Again, competition here is also fierce with many people attempting to undercut others. If you don’t have a solid portfolio and track record, you’ll find it difficult to make very much money at all.

#2 — Software development

One of the most in-demand services that you can offer to fit the active-income bill online, is software development. Software development, or coding as it’s generally referred to nowadays, is in high demand and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future as the reach of technology continues to unravel its tentacles further and further into our lives.

Some of the most successful digital nomads in the world are coders, working from the most obscure places while traveling from city to city, globe trotting around the earth. However, the learning curve is high. I’ve been a software engineer for over 15 years now and it’s been one of my obsessions, and it most certainly takes an acute drive and passion to excel in this industry.

However, if you’re serious about software development, then you can also use a site like Upwork to seek work. If you’re looking to learn web development, then you should definitely check out my web development course on Udemy. It covers much of the ground for getting you started and going from a complete beginner to an advanced web developer.


#3 — Article writing

Professional article writing and journalism is by far one of the most sought-after fields that not only lend to flexibility of location but also to ease of generating an income online. Of course, like with any other profession, you need to be highly skilled at it if you’re going to be taken seriously. This doesn’t happen quickly by any means.

To get really good at writing, you have to commit to writing every single day no matter how you feel. For example, first thing that I do, after I complete my morning routine, is to write 2,000 words, no matter what. It doesn’t matter if I’m feeling under the weather or even full-blown sick, I still commit to writing 2,000 words.

I believe it’s that good-habit development that’s at the heart of success in any endeavor. But writing takes some serious grit. If you can find on-going work as a professional writer, or even get the chance to write for some of the biggest names in the digital publishing industry, then you’re certainly one of the lucky and talented ones.


#4 — Start an ecommerce business

One way to tap into the tremendous reach of the internet is to build an ecommerce business. By setting up an online shop, you can sell products, services or even information to people from around the world. This is a great way to bring your wares to the masses and generate an income no matter where you live in the world.

However, as you might already likely know, this does require a tremendous amount of effort. Not only do you need to have the products, services and information that you intend to sell, but you also need to build an online shop then get people to visit it. You  need some serious knowledge of online marketing and search engine optimization in order to do this. It’s not easy by any means.

Still, that doesn’t stop people from trying. My suggestion? Do a great deal of research first, build out a quality site and ensure that you back it up with raving customer support. Even if you don’t start today, register a domain and find someone who can help you build out your dreams. It will take time. But it’s worth it in the long run.


#5 — Sell used and new products through existing marketplaces

While this won’t get you rich by any measure, you can sell products online using sites like Craigslist, Alibaba, eBay and even the Amazon Marketplace. In fact, these are some of the top online destinations where you’ll be able to easily reach the masses. Instead of building your own ecommerce shop, selling products on these marketplaces, can be an instant boon for you.

Now, this isn’t anything new. Most people are used to selling on sites like Craigslist or eBay for example. But if you’re trying to sell on Alibaba or Amazon’s Marketplace, you’ll need to go through an approval process. Still, both of these will open up the doors to a flood of potential instant buyers.

You will need to ensure that you adhere to a few principles when doing this. You need excellent photos, so investing in a good camera is well worth it here. You also need to ensure a meticulous description of the product, new or used. People appreciate the attention to detail and it will go a long way when trying to sell anything through these bustling online hubs.


#6 — Rent out your home as a vacation rental

Since the rise of sites like VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnB, people have been flocking to the vacation rental marketplace to rent out their homes as short-term rentals in sought-after destinations around the planet. If you have a home in a vacation destination, it could well be worth looking into renting it as a short-term rental.

Of course, you need to abide by any local laws, rules and regulations. Depending on where you live in the world, this could vary. Also, if you’re not the actual owner of the home, you need to ensure you have the permission of the owner before trying your hand at vacation rentals.

Do a bit of research and due diligence. How much are people renting out their homes in your area on sites like AirBnB? What’s the going rate and just how do those homes compare to your own home? There are a lot of issues to cover if you’re thinking about doing this, so don’t expect to profit simply from it. The more care and attention you put to the finer details here, the better it will be.


#7 — Create a smartphone app

Okay. I know. This isn’t an easy one to implement. Creating a successful smartphone app today, in a field littered with apps, is monumentally difficult. But it’s not just the app creation that’s hard itself, it’s the marketing of that app. With so many apps vying for peoples attention, and so much money to be made by the sheer volume of the industry, it’s no wonder why competition is tremendous.

Still, this doesn’t stop people from attempting to succeed with smartphone apps. With a market that spans into the billions, with users from all around the world, there’s no wonder why this is so alluring. If you’re trying to build a smartphone app, however, be sure to create something of value.

The best smartphone apps are based on the freemium model, which allows some level of game play or usage without having to purchase. But this also means that you have to build something with real inherent value. It also has to be highly engaging if people are even going to consider paying for an in-app purchase. Take the time to really research this money making opportunity before diving in head first.



#8 — Become a search engine optimization specialist

The world of search engine optimization is convoluted at best, filled with outdated or misinformation by so-called experts. To add to that, there are loads of scams out there implemented by unscrupulous individuals that are looking to take advantage of folks that might be ignorant to the complexities of online marketing.

Overall, there is a general lack of trust in the industry, with a few leading minds that are at the forefront of this delicate and intricate field of online marketing. But by learning and truly understanding this industry, arming yourself with the right knowledge wielded with integrity, the opportunities are endless.

Professional SEOs command tremendous per-hour fees, and can take in thousands of dollars per project. It’s not easy, but you can learn SEO and become an expert in the field, thus having the ability to provide invaluable services to the masses. If you’re serious about learning SEO, check out my course here.


#9 — Become a remote salesperson

If you’re good at sales and you’re a self-starter, there are a nearly unlimited number of opportunities that you could seize upon to generate an income solely online. You never actually have to go door-to-door or meet anyone face-to-face. All you need to be is very good on the phone and highly able-bodied at selling just about anything.

Becoming a remote salesperson also still gives you the flexibility to work at your desired times. For the most part, you can set your schedule as long as you’re able to produce. If you can sell a product to someone and do it with high efficiency, you’ll likely excel in any industry you choose.

The goal? Find remote sales opportunities on sites like Glass Door, Monster and other job-seeking websites.  Put together a resume of your skills in sales and go out there and sell like it’s nobody’s business. All you really need is that deep down motivation to succeed in life and you’re just about half way there.


#10 — Become a virtual assistant

It might not sound all that glamorous, but becoming a virtual assistant is something that can help you get by, especially if times are tough. Depending on where you live and what the wages in that area are, becoming a virtual assistant can either be a solid move or something that can simply help to keep the lights on, so to speak.

However, if you’re highly organized and able to manage your time effectively, you can most certainly help a business executive out that’s trying to manage his or her own time while making some money online in the meanwhile. Build yourself a solid profile or resume that you can push out there to the world and find someone willing to hire you.

In the beginning, you might need to work for a next-to-nothing rate just to prove yourself. However, you can use sites like Upwork and Freelancer to help find gigs for this type of work.


Interested in learning other ways you can make money online? Download my audiobook, The Income Bible, for free from Audible >>