As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
While Etsy is fantastic for handmade goods that you’ve already created, if you’ve got killer designs that would look good on phone cases, t-shirts, or even wall hangings, pillows, and duvets, you can sell them on Society6 without paying anything to start. Society6 lets artists upload their designs and create their own shops where they choose what products their designs can be used on. That means one design can be used to make a whole range of awesome products that are printed and shipped on demand whenever someone buys from you. With top creators making thousands every month just from selling their designs.
Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Research selling prices of items similar to yours. Look up completed sales or current listings of items similar to yours. Find the high- and low-end prices, and price your object around the median price level. If you want your item to sell quickly, price it at the low end. The condition of the item also affects the price. Items in poorer condition should be priced at the lower end. Also, consider how many listings there already are of items similar to yours. If many similar items will be competing with yours, you may have to set the price lower to get the sale.
You can set up a website, gradually build up the content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.), then eventually monetize the site through advertising, affiliate marketing, or even the direct sale of specific products or services. Even better, you can generally find whatever services and technical assistance you need online and free of charge. Later on, when your site develops a reliable cash flow, you can begin working with paid providers who can take your blog to the next level.
Merch by Amazon is another service offered by Amazon that will enable you to make money online without any initial outlay. To get started you need to create an account with Merch by Amazon. Then simply design some T-shirt logos or slogans, and upload them to your Merch account. You will need to choose a T-shirt type, color, and price, and Amazon will create product pages for each T-shirt. When someone makes a purchase, Amazon takes care of production and shipping. And you are paid a royalty for your design.
If you're looking to address some immediate financial needs, then the app economy is likely right for you. Thanks to the global sharing phenomenon, launched in part by our smartphones and ever-burgeoning global connectivity, you could easily opt for some quick active income by using well-known apps. From ride sharing to deliveries and even quick tasks, there's an app for that today, as the saying goes.
If you are a professional photographer, or have a real flair for photography, then selling your images on other sites could be an idea. This could be done alongside your own photography site, as it is a good way help get your work viewed by a wider audience. There are numerous stock image websites to contribute to, but choosing a popular high-end site like Shutterstock should ensure your photographs make you some money.
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Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
Here’s a good example of how lead sales can work in real life: My second website, Life Insurance by Jeff, brings in a ton of traffic from people who are searching the web to find answers to life insurance questions. While I used to have the website set up so I could sell these people life insurance myself, it was a lot of work to process all the different requests and clients. As a result, I started selling the leads I gathered instead.