There are plenty of get rich quick schemes out there. However, there are also some legit ways to make money online. With more of our life being online these days, it’s worth looking into some other options for your income.
Remember, a business is a lot like investing. You have to diversify! If your income streams were only based on in-person activities, you might be hurting a lot right now. It’s not your fault. Who could have expected this?
It’s up to you to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Start incorporating one or two and add more when you have the free time. Even if it doesn’t sell quickly at first, having it there will help make sales in the future. Any legit way to make money online is about the long game.
# 1: Become an Affiliate
You don’t have to be an “influencer” to make use of affiliate links. Maybe you own a spa and have some favorite skincare products that you are always promoting. Or you might be giving advice about the best camera equipment to get. When you direct people to those products you should get a kickback.
You might not make much with affiliate links without a large audience, but something is better than nothing. Amazon is a great place to start. You can apply to their affiliate program and get unique links that you can share.
The best part? If someone clicks your link but buys a different product on Amazon, you still get the kickback for that. Plenty of people are buying from Amazon right now so just getting someone to click that link can be super helpful for your business.
You can write a blog, share on social media, or email it out to your clients.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of regulations associated with affiliate marketing. Different companies or states may require that you declare a link is an affiliate link or that you have special phrasing on your website to make it clear. Do your research before you start so you don’t get shut down.
Other companies also use affiliate marketing so feel free to look at some other options and ask companies you really like if they have any programs like that.
If you’re in a creative field, Patreon is a great place to expand your business. It allows people to subscribe to you at various tiers. You can decide what each person in those tiers receives.
For instance, if you’re a writer you could get onto Patreon. Maybe you release a short story to all tiers every month. Then, people who are in the top tier for $50 a month get a custom story that includes them as a character. It’s up to you what you think is manageable.
This one might be hard to apply to all industries but if you have something you’re willing to provide every month that will work for a lot of different people, Patreon is great for that. Even if you just have a committed fan base, maybe they get special treatment when they’re a Patreon.
Just keep in mind that because Patreon is subscription-based, you have to commit to consistently sharing content. People can unsubscribe at any time so if you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, people will stop paying that monthly fee.
YouTube offers a variety of ways to make money. If you’re uploading videos, you can decide if your video includes ads. Views on those ads then translate into money for you. You do have to meet certain requirements to monetize your videos though. If you start building your YouTube now, you’ll be able to count on that income stream in the future. Again, this one is about the long game.
Similar to Patreon, you can also have people who are considered channel members. For monthly payments, these people get special perks that you can decide.
If you like going live on YouTube, you can encourage your viewers to share Super Chats or Super Stickers. This just means that they’ve put a little bit of money behind their comment. You can give them a special shout-out or just ask that people viewing consider donating in this way.
This would be a great way to do fitness classes. You can be live but ask people to donate a certain amount or have special classes for members. Aside from the donation/subscriptions, if your videos get enough views you can also get a kickback from YouTube’s advertisers.
Keep in mind that you can combine some of these options as well. Maybe you want to share a make-up video and include affiliate links in the description or you’re talking about something funny you saw on Amazon and want to provide a link for it. YouTube gives you a lot of options.
#4 Online Classes
Online classes are one of the most popular ways to monetize your business online. The great thing about them is that you can create a class once and people can buy it or watch it whenever (so long as the content stays relevant.)
You might already realize that you can do online classes through Patreon or YouTube. However, there are also some other options like Kajabi and Skillshare.
Skillshare is based on views of your video from people who subscribe to Skillshare. This way doesn’t make the most money but does get your content in front of a larger audience. If you’re going to use Skillshare, do your best to also encourage people to make purchases elsewhere. For instance, you might have a short 30 minute course on Skillshare and encourage people viewing that to buy your 5 hour course elsewhere. The great thing about this technique is that you’re already speaking to people who like and are interested in online class.
With the Skillshare model, you can also build your email list with a downloadable freebie. Then when you do have other things to sell, you have a list to share that with.
Aside from being able to monetize your own company through online classes, you can also learn a lot from the online classes that others are putting out. If you need to come up with a new skill or something new to offer your clients, there’s probably an online class that can help.
#5 Facebook Paid Events
I’ve talked about live streams (Facebook and Instagram) before and they’re great for building community with your audience. However, they’re a bit harder to monetize. You can ask for donations or encourage people to make a purchase but that’s about it.
However, Facebook recently introduced something call Paid Events. I haven’t used it yet and it’s only available to certain pages but it’s exactly what it sounds like.
If you’re used to having in-person classes or events that cost, this is a way to charge for online events through Facebook. You can do everything from non-profit fundraisers or paid seminars. Find out more about Facebook’s Paid Events here.
#6: Templates or Downloads
Whenever I’m in need of a new resume, I look at Etsy. That might sound strange but a lot of graphic designers create fancy resume templates and sell them for cheap on Etsy. Don’t think just in terms of physical products that you can offer. If you have a vintage store, then, of course, you’ll want to sell your products on sites like Etsy or eBay but consider what other types of digital products you could be offering.
There are tons of templates that exist for graphics, planners, or whatever else you can think of.
Sites like Fiverr also have some options for tasks or downloads that you can provide. It could be anything from voice overs to editing. Don’t limit yourself to what you currently know. Think of new services that you can provide or ways to provide the same service in a new way.
Diversify to Make Money Online
The moral of the story is that you need to think of ways to provide something new for your clients in unique ways. What do your clients need right now? How can you adjust what you used to provide to fit a digital world? Do you have a way to reach your clients when you can’t see them in-person?
This is a great time to start thinking about these questions. Don’t rest on what was working and expect that it will always be that way. Come up with some new ideas.