If you have found this website through a google search, chances are that you are looking for ways to set yourself up for financial independence, living a self-determined life by being your own boss, and, well, just rock it from home, huh!? Preferably by building your own online business, right?
That’s a great goal to aim for! Let me start by saying: Go for it! Building your OWN online business is a fantastic journey. For me personally, it is. And I love doing it every single day! It’s tons of fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work, quite frankly. But earning that first cash on the internet is highly rewarding. And the prospect of building a passive income stream for years to come is truly inspiring for millions of solopreneurs out there.
However, even the longest journey starts with a first, tiny step. In comparison to many other journeys, though, time and money are critical resources in business, and therefore it is very likely that earning your first dollar as soon as possible is a high priority for you. So the question for many people who want to start their own online business remains: What is the easiest way to make money online?
What Is The Easiest Way To Make Money Online
In this article, I want to look at this question from three perspectives and make three practical suggestions of business models that may not be the most obvious when you are just dipping your toe in the water of the online business ocean for the first time.
Some may even seem counter-intuitive. However, the benefits of what I am going to suggest are that you can start all three of them TODAY and even earn your first buck today (or at least this week) if you are willing to do so. That sounds promising, doesn’t it?
Full disclosure, though: These business models are intended to get you started! It’s pretty likely they WILL NOT make you rich over-night. At least not yet… But anyone who promises you that is a charlatan and a quack anyway. Stay away from gurus that make statements like that. Successful, rock-solid businesses, typically, aren’t built that way!
With that being said, let’s get started…
Suggestion #1 – The Easiest (And Fastest) Way To Get Started: Sell Used Stuff
Captain obvious was here… But hear me out!
Selling used stuff online can be a great first step into the world of “making money online” and becoming financially independent.
Yes, it doesn’t scale well, as you can only sell what you already own and once it’s gone, it’s gone. I agree! It’s (most likely) not the type of “business” that you will want to run for an extended period of time (though it has become a passion for many who got into the business of flipping rummage or antiques for a living).
But Then, Why Bother?
The beauty of selling used stuff online is that there is relatively low risk involved and therefore it is an ideal place to get started.
Also, you are selling stuff that you probably haven’t used in ages. So you don’t have to ask for highly competitive prices. You can just do “your thing”.
And the market for used stuff is very active. Chances are high that people will call or email you just minutes after your listing went live and ask if the product you are selling is still available and if they can pick it up today (or if you can ship it to them NOW). That’s great, as it means that you can earn some cash very quickly if the item you are trying to sell is of good quality and in some demand.
In addition, selling your used stuff online will earn you three very important things:
Benefit #1 – Cash
You will earn your very first cash online. You can either use it to pay off your bills or, better yet, reinvest into the online business that you probably want to start anyway, but need some money for as an upfront investment (such as a private label business on Amazon, for example). It’s probably rather $ than $$$, but that’s okay! You are just getting started.
Benefit #2 – Experience
Never underestimate how important experience is when it comes down to being your own boss and running an online business. There are thousands of coaches, videos and written tutorials out there that try to teach you how to earn money online. But NOTHING can compete with actually earning your first cash online…
Even though you are “just” selling used stuff, you’ll learn a lot: How to deal with customers, answer their questions and solve their problems; building a healthy relationship with them. What it feels like to be trading online. How to setup seller accounts with the individual platforms that you are going to use to sell your used stuff (more on that below) and how to create product listings that actually sell. All that with a relatively low risk involved, since you are selling as a private person without any obligations like providing a proper warranty and such.
Benefit #3 – Mindset
Finally, selling your stuff online will give you the great feeling that earning money online isn’t out of reach. It’s quite the opposite: Totally feasible and much easier than you may have thought in the first place! It will teach you the mindset that YOU can do it! You just need to put in the work!
How To Get Started?
There’s a variety of platforms that you can choose from to sell your used stuff. Examples include Amazon, eBay, craigslist, or kijiji.
I’ve recently published an entire article about how to get started selling physical products on Amazon, be it your own used stuff, retail arbitrage, or private label products. If Amazon sounds promising to you, make sure to give it a good read. That is especially true if you are considering launching a private label and Amazon FBA business in the longterm, as it will give you some proper experience with setting up an Amazon seller account and what it feels like to have an internet giant such as Amazon as your business partner and platform of choice.
eBay is another great choice and I will publish an article about selling on eBay as well. I’ll post a link here once it is published.
If you look closely, selling used stuff and maybe even antiques boils down to selling individual items to private customers or other businesses.
That’s a huge difference compared to something like a private label business or any other type of retail, where you would manage a whole stock of “of the shelf” products. Like, for example, you manage a stock of 1000 brooms of the same shape and color to sell to your customers. Selling used products is different in that you only have one or two products of one type, e.g. that one wall clock that you have inherited from your grandma.
Other business models that follow this idea are run on platforms like Etsy, where individuals sell their hand-made crafts to their customers. If you think about it, it is not that different than selling individual, used stuff. So if you are a creative person and know some kind of art very well then running an Etsy store for example might also be an option for you to combine your passion with making some money online!
Suggestion #2 – Lowest Risk Involved: Freelancing
Freelancing may sound a bit daunting at first and I know many people that would claim that “they don’t have anything to offer”. I would argue that EVERYONE has something to offer. Something that they are good at or something that they enjoy doing that others consider tedious work that they simply do not want to do themselves.
Let me put it plain and simple:
YOU Have Valuable Skills!
YOU have a skill that somebody out there on the internet is desperately looking for and is willing to pay you good money for. You just need to figure out what that skill is. That’s the hard part. Everything else then is quite simple! Here’s some inspiration to get your ideas flowing:
- Maybe you know how to tell inspiring stories. You could be a ghost writer!?
- Maybe you know how to draw or you can beautifully handwrite. You could be a (logo-) designer!?
- Maybe you have a beautiful or upfront funny voice. You could be a voiceover artist!?
- Maybe you have tons of experience as a parent or any other field. You could be a “consultant” and offer 1-on-1 calls with a fresh perspective!?
- Maybe you have some experience as coder or are just learning. You could offer your experience, even if you are just a beginner!?
- Maybe you know how to sell stuff online (because you’ve already sold some used stuff 🙂 ). You could offer your skills as a copywriter or just someone who creates listings online!?
Simply put, you can offer ANY skill that you may have as a service and become a freelancer in no-time. All it takes is some confidence in yourself and in the afore-mentioned skills.
What Makes Freelancing Great And Why You Should Consider It
Freelancing is great because it allows you to employ your own skills and personality in a self-determined way and earn a good side- (or even main-) income in doing so.
It also doesn’t come with a lot of risks involved: You can literally start with no upfront investment! You just offer what you have at hand and know how to do well.
It’s simple, it’s straight forward and it is risk free! It’s a perfect business model to get involved and make your first bucks online.
The downside is that it does not qualify as “passive income”, which is something that most solopreneurs strive for these days. I won’t go into the ins and outs of passive vs. active income here, but I have blogged about it recently. If you are interested in the topic, make sure to check it out 🙂 If passive income is your top priority that you are looking for, make sure to read my suggestion #3 below.
Where And How To Get Started
First, have a brainstorm session and write down ideas: What are you good at and what would you like to do? Write everything down. It doesn’t matter if you THINK it is something that others might need or not. Just write down what you would like to do. It’s very likely that there is a market out there for it!
Then head over to fiverr.com and create a new account. You will now be in the “buying mode”. That’s good, as it allows you to browse Fiverr’s catalog of gigs: Browse their categories to get an idea of what people are offering on Fiverr and what suits your skills and preferences. If you find something you haven’t thought about in your initial brainstorming session, add it now!
Now, create your first gig. Click “Switch to Selling” and create your first gig. For examples on how to advertise and price your gig, look for examples in your respective niche. What have others written? How much money do they charge for their service. Take this as an example, but don’t blatantly copy them.
As a beginner, it is totally fine (and even expected) to charge less for your service. Start low and work your way up. With competitive pricing and a good, personal gig description in place, wait for your first customer to contact you. It can happen today, or it may take a few days. But customers are already heading your way! From there on, providing excellent service will set you up for long-term success!!!
If you want to learn more about freelancing and how to get started, make sure to read my fully-fledged freelancing guide (once it is published).
Suggestion #3 – Greatest Long Term Reward: Affiliate Marketing
Finally, there is one more option that I would suggest to basically everybody who asks me, be it my friends or people online: Start an affiliate marketing business!
What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?
Affiliate marketing, in a nutshell, revolves around the idea of creating helpful, free content for other people about a topic that you are interested or enthusiastic about. That way, you can build an audience that trusts you and establish yourself and your website as an authority on your niche. At the end of the day, you want to make money by making good and educated product and service recommendations. If people buy what you recommend you’ll get paid a commission!
I won’t go into all the ins and outs of affiliate marketing here because it would simply go far beyond the scope of this article. But also, because I have already written a bunch of articles on the topic, that I would recommend to you to check out if affiliate marketing sounds like something you would like to get involved in…
(Spoiler Alert: YOU SHOULD!!! 🙂 )
Here are some suggested reads:
- What is affiliate marketing?
- How to start an affiliate marketing business for free?
- What is Wealthy Affiliate and is it worth joining?
Why You Should Care About Affiliate Marketing
One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that the financial upfront investment isn’t high. All you need is a domain and maybe some sort of coaching/an encouraging community if you want to get a head start. But it’s even possible to get started completely for free!
The downside is that building an affiliate marketing business takes time. It takes time to write blog articles, it takes time for those articles to get ranked by search engines, it takes time for your website to evolve into a “traffic machine” and it takes time to set yourself up as a trustworthy authority in your niche.
Is Affiliate Marketing Right For You?
However, the risk involved of losing money or making expensive mistakes is very low. That makes affiliate marketing a great opportunity for anyone who is scared of this and who is just overall a bit careful about the hype that is made around all those promising opportunities of making cash on the internet.
However, if you need money RIGHT NOW then affiliate marketing would probably not be your FIRST choice. But make sure that it is your second (or third): I do suggest getting started with it either way!
See, you can start laying the foundation for your own affiliate marketing business today, right after you have created the listings for your used items and/or your Fiverr gigs as suggested above. While those two can start earning your money relatively quickly, it is worth also getting involved and invested in an online business model that is rather long-term oriented and will certainly you money down the road.
There you have my three recommendations for the, in my opinion, easiest ways to make money online in 2021 and beyond. Remember, though, that this is a recommendation for people who are just getting started and want simple concepts to earn their first cash online.
I know that there are much more advanced business models out there, that take much more advantage of multiple techniques and concepts and therefore bear a much higher reward. However, these businesses are much more complicated to get up and running and in many cases scare people away from the idea of earning money online and being their own boss.
Getting started doesn’t have to be all that hard. And I really hope this article brings that idea across!
Let’s Have A Discussion
What do you think? Do you have a favorite way of earning money, be it on- or offline? What works for you? And what doesn’t? Let’s have an open discussion in the comments below. Also, if you know anyone who should try out one of the three methods described above, please share this article with him or her. As always: Sharing is caring 🙂
All the best,