As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more people are looking for ways to make money online. In 2023, there are numerous opportunities for individuals to earn an income from the comfort of their own homes. Here are a few ways you can start making money online in 2023:
From online lottery to stuffing envelopes at home, there are lots of popular get-rich-quick money-making ideas that always pop up. Do they work? Not really. Will you make money doing it? Maybe. But you’d probably make more money from your 9-to-5 job. At least then it’s a guaranteed paycheck.
The truth is there are real ways to make money online—millions of people are doing it each day. From freelance digital nomads to savvy marketers to rising entrepreneurs, there are plenty of business ideas you can try at home using your laptop and a solid internet connection. So let’s break down some real ways to make money online.
How to Make Money Online: 25 Real Ways
1. Start dropshipping
Let’s start our list off with one of the most popular ways to make money online. According to Google Trends, dropshipping’s popularity is rising, highlighting its viability as a business idea. With success stories about how an entrepreneur made $6,667 in eight weeks or how a store owner made six figures selling just one product, there’s plenty of proof that dropshipping is a real way to make money online.
If you don’t know what drop shipping is, it’s a business model where you sell a product to a customer, but the supplier stores, packages, and ships the product to your customers on your behalf. With Shopify dropshipping, you have access to millions of products that you can add to your store. Some Shopify drop shipping apps allow you to hand-pick your product images, edit item descriptions, and give your business a personalized vibe, so people will love shopping with you.
The best way to make money drop shipping? Most entrepreneurs have been focusing on a few marketing strategies:
- Running Facebook ads
- Having influencers promote their products
- Sending direct messages (DMs) to potential customers on social media
Ready to start a store but need products to sell? Handshake is where online entrepreneurs go to buy products at wholesale prices.
2. Try print on demand
Print-on-demand (POD) is another popular way to earn money online. Many individuals have adopted this business model because it has a lower overhead than other businesses.
Print-on-demand is similar to dropshipping in the sense that you don’t need to carry inventory or ship out products to customers yourself. There are two slight differences, though. First, you can make your own custom products, which is great for brand recognition. Second, you can choose from specific items rather than a vast range of categories. Most print-on-demand companies offer products that are easy to print on, like t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags.
The best way to make money with your print-on-demand business? Free marketing channels. Your best bet would be to promote your products for free on Instagram and Pinterest, and through social media influencers who convert their audiences well.
You can get a complete overview of print of demand versus dropshipping by watching us get into a healthy debate with Wholesale Ted about the pros and cons of each business model.
3. Make money with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Throughout the years, its popularity has gone up and down, but it continues to be a stable way to earn through the internet. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you choose from a vast range of companies to partner with, including Shopify, Amazon, Uber, and FabFitFun.
Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a living by promoting other brands. If you’re a savvy marketer, you can earn a commission from sales by promoting retail products, software, apps, and more. While earning a commission may seem small, keep in mind that you can be an affiliate for several brands and include several affiliate links on a single blog post.
If you really want to make money online doing affiliate marketing, your best bet is to focus on content marketing. By building out a blog with several pages of high-quality content, you create an asset you can call your own. Strategically place affiliate links in your blog posts to drive traffic to your affiliate partner’s website.
4. Start a YouTube channel
If others can make money from YouTube, so can you. The highest-paid YouTuber is Jimmy Donaldson (a.k.a. MrBeast), who uploads bizarre stunts on his YouTube channel, which made him $54 million in 2021. Another high earner is Jake Paul, who’s made $45 million on YouTube by sharing high-energy prank videos and boxing content. His YouTube (and boxing career) fame helped him use his influence to make money online beyond his YouTube earnings.
Your YouTube channel should focus on a single niche so you can build a strong, loyal audience. For example, you can create makeup tutorials, stream video games, review products, teach skills, create prank videos, or anything else you think there’d be an audience for.
The secret to making money on YouTube is to create content that people want. Create witty headlines to entice people to watch your videos and use keywords in your description to optimize for YouTube search. Once you’ve reached the 1,000-subscriber milestone, you can officially monetize your channel with YouTube ads.
5. Become an influencer
Building a personal brand can also help you make money online. Did you know soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo charges between $880,259 and $1 million, on average, for a sponsored Instagram post? While it may seem like reality stars, singers, and athletes are the biggest influencers, keep in mind that even smaller-scale influencers can make more money today than they did a few years back.
To become an influencer, you need to build a healthy following. The best platforms to get started on? Instagram and TikTok. Some of the biggest non-celebrity influencers often gained their first taste of exposure on these platforms. You might want to check out how to get more Instagram followers if you want to build a big Instagram audience.
To make money as an influencer, you can charge for sponsored posts, create your own online store and sell products, add affiliate links in your bio, sell your photos, sell ads on your own podcast, make and sell merch, get paid to appear at events, and more.
6. Create an online course
Selling courses is one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re an expert on a subject, you can monetize your knowledge by creating courses online. You can sell your course on Udemy or, if you already have your own audience, through your own website. Some entrepreneurs earn as much as $5,000 per month with online courses.
To create a popular and successful course, take inspiration from trending courses in your niche. Then, look at the reviews. What are the aspects that people praise, and what are the things people hate? How can you create something better than what’s already been created? Focus on creating content that solves the biggest complaints while emulating the positive aspects people rave about.
The platform you sell your course on will determine how to best make money. If you sell your course on Udemy, you don’t have to do much to promote it. You can almost set it and forget it. Maybe promote it to some blogs or on social media networks. However, if the course is hosted on your own website, you might want to run ads to promote the course. You can also build an email list to promote future courses without needing to pay for marketing.
7. Publish an ebook
With Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, it’s never been easier to publish an ebook. All you need to do is write the ebook, format it, create an ebook cover, publish it, and promote it. In 2013, I created several ebooks on Amazon, and even though it didn’t make me rich, I still made some money from it.
You can choose to hire a writer for your ebook, a graphic designer to design the cover, and a manuscript editor to eliminate errors from the content. When researching the topic, focus on keywords based on popular searches on Amazon. I often use the Keyword Tool, which allows you to find the words people use while searching so you can craft your title around them.
To generate sales for your ebook, focus on marketing tactics that are proven to attract customers. For example, you can give the first few copies of your book away for free. This helps you create buzz on social media and get some reviews, which helps you gain customers via social proof. Other effective strategies for promoting your ebook include influencer marketing and video campaigns.
8. Start a blog
Blogging is one of the oldest methods for making money online. People who love writing tend to start blogs with a niche focus. For example, a blog about procrastination, cars, dropshipping, toys, etc., is often a narrow enough focus to build a loyal following and big enough that you can cover a lot of ground.
You can start a blog on various platforms, from Shopify (remove the checkout feature, so you don’t have to pay a subscription as you build it out) to WordPress. When you start your blog, focus on very specific keywords with a tight focus and continue to expand into other but still relevant categories as you grow and dominate new spaces. This will allow you to build a massive blog over time. Remember that design is also important for making a good first impression on visitors. Here are 20 blog design inspirations to help you launch your blog.
There are several ways to make money blogging. You can add affiliate links in your posts (don’t forget a disclaimer). You can monetize your blog by placing ads strategically in your posts. Sponsored posts can help you make money from specific brands—this is popular among review bloggers. Bloggers can also sell digital or physical products on their websites. You can also use a blog to build a personal brand that helps you get speaking gigs, television deals, or big contracts from clients.
9. Consider freelancing
The easiest way to make money online is to take your current job in your 9-to-5 role and do it online instead. For example, if you’re a writer, administrative assistant, graphic designer, teacher, developer, etc., you can market these skills and find clients online who are willing to pay you to apply them.
There’s a never-ending list of job platforms for each type of freelancer too. For example, freelance writers can apply for jobs on specific online writing job boards, but also on general freelance websites like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, and all the others. If you find that your skills can’t be directly used to create income streams, you can try monetizing other transferable skills you may have.
To make money online as a freelancer, you need to start by building out a strong portfolio. That may mean doing some free work with some reputable mid-tier brands to start. Once you create a strong portfolio, you can reach out to potential big clients to earn more money online. Remember, freelancing is a numbers game: the more personalized emails and applications you fill out, the more likely you’ll be to get a response back.
10. Create an app
If you’re not a developer, you’re probably looking at this money-making idea and feeling a bit stuck. Fortunately, though, you can hire someone with programming skills to build an app for you. Sites like Toptal will connect you with plenty of app developers who are open to working with entrepreneurs to turn their visions into reality.
All you have to do is come up with a unique app idea, identify the audience you want to target and create a brand image for your product. The programmer you hire will take care of things on the development front.
When it comes to making money on your app, your best bet will be to add it to Google Play and the App Store. And while it may seem counterintuitive, having a free app can help you make more than a paid app. With a free app, you can add ads or premium features to help you make money. Since the free app will attract a higher volume of people, it’ll be easier for you to upsell them.
11. Become a writer
With a growing interest in content marketing, more and more companies are looking for writers who can fill their web properties with great content. The secret to succeeding as a writer is to focus on a specific niche. A lot of writers try to be generalists, writing for a wide range of categories, from food to tech. However, having a niche focus as a writer sets you apart and makes it easier to attract clients in your target market.
When you have experience in the niche, you can add a different perspective to a piece of content. That means you’re not just saying the same thing as every other writer online. And that’s what brands really want to pay for—your thoughts, experiences, and insider perspective on a niche.
When applying for writing jobs, make sure to send relevant samples to the recruiter. If someone asks for a marketing writing sample, send them a marketing writing sample. Don’t send a finance article. Or a fitness one. It’s hard for a hiring manager to know how well you understand the niche’s industry if they can’t see a relevant sample. Apply to opportunities suited to your skills and experience.
12. Do side gigs
Side gigs can help you make money online while you keep your full-time job. If you’re looking to make an extra couple hundred dollars per month, this is a great idea. The work doesn’t always last long-term, but it can.
Use platforms like Fiverr to find part-time gigs that you can do online. As a new entrant in the gig economy, you’ll want to focus on offering a low price so you can get your first review. I’d recommend getting a friend to buy your gig to leave your first review so you can get started faster. Treat the friend like a client and actually deliver a finished product that you can feature in your portfolio.
The thing with Fiverr is that it’s also a numbers game. If you look at top Fiverr users, you’ll see that they have multiple gigs available. The more gigs you have, the more likely you will be found.
If you don’t want to get paid Fiverr prices, you can turn to platforms like FlexJobs to find side gigs. Under its jobs section, you can search for contract or telecommute opportunities. The great thing about the telecommute opportunities on FlexJobs is that you can apply for them in any city in the world.
FlexJobs has a variety of side gigs including writing, business, design, accounting, and more. So if your talents don’t match up with anything else on this list of money-making ideas, you might want to try a side gig from FlexJobs. Applying to multiple opportunities will increase your chances of landing a few gigs in a short period.