Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The truth is that working for yourself over the internet is extremely exciting and rewarding. However, no one will or even can become successful over night. It takes time to build a website, build content, build products and services or to build a reputation. During the first few years there will be shortfalls and you will be looking for other sources of income as you build your real on-line career.
During these times you will need to make extra money elsewhere, often in a hurry. Below are fifteen things you can do to earn emergency income. I have done most of these myself, so I know they work.
This is by far the quickest and best way of making money in a hurry. For internet entrepreneurs this is also often the best method, as the income you make will be entirely dependent on your personal skills. And the more skills you have, the better your prospects. You can go all the way from data entry at one end of the scale through article writing, blog posting, eBook ghostwriting to graphic design, web design and programming. The broader your skills base, the better your earnings potential.
The more experience you have, the more you will make, so whilst working on your other jobs build up your portfolio so that if you need to fall back on freelancing you can earn top dollar. But a job is a job. You may even find that you enjoy freelancing.
2. Online Auctions and/or Drop-shipping
There is probably something that you have hanging around that you can sell on an on-line auction (eBay, craigslits etc). Turn around can be a few days and you can have the money quickly. Items could include books, electronics, computer parts (good if you have old laptops or even dead laptops you can break into parts). You can even turn this into an income stream by selling products from third parties who will even distribute the products for you (dropshipping).
3. Start a Home-based Business
Do you have a marketable skill or product that you can create a home-based business around? If you do then you can use this to work either full time or part time.
Here when I am talking about a home-based business I'm not referring to an on-line job. Rather, this is a business you can do from home. Maybe you are a web designer and programmer. You could go round local businesses and offer to improve their website, or if they do not have a website offer to make them one and maybe even host it yourself.
What you an do depends on your skill. But you need a clear knowledge of what you can do and what you can't and how you can offer this to prospective clients.
4. Teach English Online
If you are a writer then you should have good English skills. There are lots of clients, particularly in Asia who want to learn English one-on-one. You can either do this through and agency as a freelance or through you own site. Typically you will need a text to follow and lessons can be taught via skype. All you need is a good headset and a good quality video camera.
5. Coaching or Consulting Services
If you have an expertise in a specific area then you can consult and coach people about it. Internet marketing, blogging and websites are an excellent area here. Often, the people who hire you for consulting purposes know what they want already. They just need an 'expert' to validate their choices or to do a bit of handholding.
You can do this virtually, but you can also offer your services to local businesses. Let them know that you are highly knowledgeable about what you’re saying and make sure you have enough proof to back it up. For example, if I want to be giving small businesses advice on building a blog and using it for their business I can easily back myself up with some points such as having a successful blog, being featured on some of the best blogs in the world etc. things like these boost your credibility, makes your clients give you more respect and trust and helps make sure you stay out of trouble.
6. Product Creation
If you have been writing a blog online maybe you could convert some of the content into an eBook to sell. Maybe you have an expertise in something else: gardening or DIY. Maybe you are a coder who can make website templates or skins or maybe you have a collection of code snippets. All these can be turned into saleable products that will make you money.
For example, I create fonts on my main website to allow me to show historic recipes on my website exactly as the original publishers wanted them to be displayed. I ended up with ten fonts overing almost 1000 years of writing and publishing in Britain and I packaged these into a font collection for sale.
7. Write eBooks
The rise and rise of eBook readers means that there is now a huge market for electronic books on platforms like the Kindle and iPad. If you sell eBooks on Amazon and elsewhere it can take time for your to be paid your earnings. But some places like smashwords pay you monthly. You can also sell these eBooks on your own blogs and websites. For more information about this, see my guide to writing kindle ebooks that sell.
8. Writing Paid Tutorials.
If you want instant money then this is one of the very best ways of making cash. If you are good at Photoshop or Indesign or your are a web designer or programmer then there are lots of sites that will pay you for high-quality tutorials. They're usually quite quick to write and you can make between $50 and $250 for each one accepted.
9. Look for a Niche or an Unique Product to Sell
This can take a lot of imagination, but if you look around you and spot a gap in the market, or an unique way of marketing something you can really make a lot of money. The classic example of this being the guy who wrote the 'million dollar website' where he had just a single page and sold pixels on it for people to attach their website URLs to.
10. Affiliate Marketing
Basically this is selling other peoples' products and getting paid for it. As long as you can write, you can market products. You can write general information and embed product links in this for the areas you are discussing or you can directly write reviews to sell products. There are loads of sites out there that help put affiliates together with product providers. For each product sold you will be paid a percentage of the product sale price. How much you get depends on the product and the program.
Payments range from 60 days after the end of the month (Amazon) to 30 days (the most common) to 15 days (ClickBank). There are programs for electronic products, physical products and services. Another feature of affiliate marketing is that it depends on you, it can take you months to make a single sale and it can take you days. It can be a great way to make quick cash if you’re ready to give it your all. The more and better you write, the more you will make.
11. Sell your Photos Online
This is a source of income that many people who are online ignore. You can make quick cash by selling your photographs (if they are good enough) on stock photo websites. Shutterstock is the big image website and they pay people to upload photographs. Other sites allow you to price your own photographs and you get a commission on each sale.
12. Sell Web Hosting (Web Hosting Reselling)
Becoming a web hosting reseller is very easy, anyone can do it and if you have an established site or blog you can easily begin selling hosting to other people. This is particularly good if you can support this by selling website templates and skins (or even enticing customers by giving them away free) and code snippets.
13. Act as an Agent
This is becoming a more and more common method of making money on the web. Act as an agent or middleman. Bid for jobs on freelancing sites, or offer services on your own website. Then, rather than doing the work yourself, subcontract to others at a lower rate then pocket the difference. This can be a good method of making money from some jobs, particularly programming tasks.
14. Ask for Donations
Yes, I know, it can feel like begging. But if you have a site where you can provide an useful service for free this can be a very quick method of making some spare cash. Tell people what your aims are, and what you hope to achieve, then slap on a PayPal donation button. For the right kind of website this can be golden.
15. Get a Part-time Job
For many this is an option of last resort only. But sometimes just making it online can be extremely, ridiculously, tough. In these cases, you need to accept reality and take a part-time job just to get you through the hard times. Part-time jobs are plentiful and if it gets you through the real hard times so that you can still keep your dream, then swallow your pride and do it (and, yes, I have been there).
If you find yourself cash-strapped on your quest to be financially independent from the web, then hopefully these ideas can help. Even if you just want to make extra money in the evenings or at weekends, there should be ideas here that will help.