10 Smart Ways to Make Money Online

online money

Last time I wrote about whether or not an intensive workday is a possibility. In follow-up, let’s assume that you have mastered the art of productive batching and single-minded concentration. You are a well-oiled cog in the sea of fast-moving and disparate company body parts. However, you still earn a bum wage. Or you’re an underpaid intern who rallies to the idea of being a Millennial entrepreneur. Or you may even be on the lookout for an additional revenue stream to add to your ever-revolving portfolio. In any case, the fact remains that you want to take advantage of the great unknown and catch a piece of the internet pie for yourself. Many lists detail ideas on how to make money online. It’s a popular subject.

So why rehash what has already been stabbed to death many times over?

Because I’ve walked around the block hand-in-hand with these online lists. Some of the suggestions work; others belie the point of highly productive online work.

smart job

These are 10 SMART ways to make money online:

1. Start your own niche website

You have the potential to start your own website for whatever reason. However, in this ever-expanding universe, it makes sense to focus on one particular subject. Transform yourself into that big fish in the small subsection of the pond. Besides, the more tightly-focused your website content, the more relevant the Google Adsense ads you’re going to put on it, and the more likely you’ll convince one of your readers to click on them.

2. Make your own themed Youtube videos

Again, we return to the idea of revolving revenue from advertisements. This time, however, you’re not creating a full website from the ether but rather sharing your unique content on an established content-sharing site. Are you funny, entertaining or simply like to talk to cameras and their invisible audiences? Try video blogging or mini-series to capture the wandering attention of our favorite video surfers.

3. Self-publish and sell your books online

Nonfiction sells. Period. If you are an expert in your field (or simply know a lot, making you an authority of some importance), try your hand at writing and promoting an e-book on one of the self-publishing platforms. Amazon is a great site for all self-publishing authors, as is the iBooks section of your iTunes store.

Of course, just because nonfiction sells doesn’t mean that you fiction authors are down for the count. Authorearnings.com reports that around 60% of Kindle books sold are genre fiction, with 39% of the e-books sold in July 2014 being indie-published. In the end, if you write tolerably well and are willing to promote your creation aggressively, don’t discount the revenue you could make by publishing your own book. And besides, it sounds pretty cool to say you’ve published a book, right?

4. Sell an app (or two) in the Apple Store or Google Play Store

I hesitated putting this one up, but truth be told, the potential for unprecedented consumption and $$ requires app-making to be on the list. If you’re a developer, you’ve probably already got this handled. If not, you can dare to dream by contacting a freelance developer on one of the sites in bullet number five. Just be safe and try to find an app developer who’s located near your location, since I’ve heard more horror stories about foreign outsourcing for development than happy endings. (A caveat, though: for other types of projects, foreign freelancers often do a great job for less “creative” type tasks. It’s just, if you need a creative type or are trying to outsource a language-heavy project, spend the extra bucks for a semi-local freelancer. You’ll save yourself and me many worries in the long run.)

5. Set yourself up as a freelancer

Continuing from above, find a freelancer on any of these sites. You may have to search a bit to find a good one, but be persistent and you may strike gold.

Or, of course, you can register as a freelancer yourself. You’ll still have to sift through the badly-paid gigs to find ones worth your time.

6. Invest some of your hard-earned bucks in making an online store

Shopify has great features (with a number of gorgeous and free themes) and a secure network to process online payments. You can also put up an Amazon storefront and even avoid having to stock your products at home by using their Amazon Fulfillment Services.

7. If artistically inclined, sell your work as stock art

Enjoy making vector-art and other sundries? Try putting your work on sites like iStock and get paid royalties for your art.

8. Like to make homemade goods? Sell ’em on Etsy

We talked about batching and how it improves productivity. Take advantage of larger economies of scale by selling your excess homemade/vintage goods on a site dedicated to them: Etsy.

9. Join a VA company and become an hourly virtual assistant

If you’re an adaptable person with a knack for helping others, try working as a VA. You get to work from the comforts of your home and may even qualify for full benefits depending on your company. Try Zirtual and Virtual Assistants.

10. Teach online at web academies, through Skype, or even via your own online school

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the other opportunities available to reach others through the internet. You can teach your own courses on Udemy, offer Skype conversation classes via Craigslist ads or other sites, and if you’re enterprising enough, try your hand at building your own online school. You increase your reach drastically through the internet, and if you’re able to teach multiple students at once, you’ve also managed to multiply your dollar/hour productivity.