28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
Online savings accounts usually come with crazy good interest rates to help you grow your money faster (regular in-person banks can’t offer rates as high). We’re fans of CIT Bank and Discover Bank (among others) because their interest rates are often over 25 times the national average. That means the money in your savings account will grow 25 times faster than the pace it’s most likely growing at now. Really, though, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any online savings account that offers over 1.50% APY 🙂
Equally, you can charge businesses to ‘claim’ their listing, a method used by many large directory sites like Google Business and Yelp. This involves companies paying to upgrade their listing and adding information such as their web address, social media links, images, and more. Other revenue streams include charging for ad space, adding affiliate links and even charging for services and products on your directory site.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service, refunds and so on. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. Sound like a lot of work? Sure, it is. Especially if you do it all on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Drop shipping is another great ‘hands-off’ way to sell products. Firstly you will need to find businesses that sell products in your niche that offer a drop shipping service. Then you will need to create a website promoting and selling the products. When you make a sale, you take the payment on your site and then the manufacturer ships the goods to the buyer. The profit comes from charging a higher rate than the manufacturer, and if you are selling a high number of products this can quickly add up to a healthy revenue.
You may not be able to write a novel about your thoughts and feelings, but that doesn't keep thousands from making money thanks to their ideas. By completing paid surveys, you merely jot down your feelings about particular items and services and you can earn money through a particular provider. Many paid survey resources offer respondents a fixed amount based on the length of a questionnaire and the amount you complete. That means you may be able to collect as much as you want as long as you're willing to answer questions online.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.
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.
Robert said he did an average of 4-6 of these gigs per year for a while depending on his schedule and the work involved. The best part is, he charged a flat rate that usually worked out to around $100 per hour. And remember, this was pay he was earning to advise people on the best ways to use social media tools like Facebook and Pinterest to grow their brands.