How to Make Money Online

How To Make Money Online

There are lots of ways to make money online – I have been researching them, trying and failing at some of them for several years.

(Full Disclosure – this page contains Affiliate Links – If you click on a link and sign up for something, I might get paid a small commission, but you won’t get charged any extra – keep reading to find out what affiliate marketing is and why it is awesome.)

With each method of making money online I ask myself the same three questions:

  1. Is it PASSIVE? Can it be made passive or Automated / Delegated?
  2. Can I SCALE it? Do I need to spend twice as long to make twice as much?
  3. Is it SUSTAINABLE? Can I still be doing this in one year? How about 5 or 10 years?

Ways to Make Money Online

Without further ado, here is the full list of ways of making money online. Some are better than others. One or two are terrible, others could be amazing.

As this is such a long list, it is best to break it into categories:

if you want to skip to a particular section, just click on its name in the list.

Here goes:

Make Money Online with Work From Home Jobs

I call everything from Surveys to Freelancing a ‘work from home job’ because they all involve swapping time for money, just like a standard job.

None of these methods scale particularly well, but they are better than nothing and can act as a gateway to better things.

Online Surveys

Make Money online with Swagbucks surveys
Click the image to go to Swagbucks (affiliate)

How does it work?

You sign up with a website and they give you surveys to complete. Once you complete the survey, you get paid / a reward in some kind of token which can lead to getting paid.

My view

Don’t bother.

Really. I’m not even joking.

I have never found a survey site that is worth the effort, even the ones that claim to have bigger payouts.

Every time I try doing a survey that looks like it would pay me more for my time than a minimum wage job, I get half way through and the survey decides that I am ‘not the target market’ and promptly ditches me out of the survey.

You have to complete the survey to claim the reward, so no reward for you!

There are a limited amount of surveys and each company that has paid for the market research is interested in certain people from certain demographics, so if you live in the wrong country or a the wrong age, you won’t have much to go at.

The only survey sites that you should even consider are ones which do cashback offers, like SwagBucks.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? No

Verdict – Can you make money online from surveys?

Not really.

If you are just testing the water with making money online and don’t fancy trying any of the more technical stuff yet then you might be able to make a bit of money doing this, but I would try just about anything else on the list before doing surveys; they are only here for completeness.

Competitions

make money entering competitions
Click the image to check out this competition site

How Does it Work?

You find websites that are giving away promotional stuff as part of a competition. This can be anything from a tea bags to iPads to a new car.

If you win, you get free stuff which you can either sell or use, having not had to buy it.

My view

I read about someone doing this full time around 10 yeas ago, here in the UK – they were registered disabled and couldn’t work or leave the house much, but by entering lots of competitions they actually won quite a few things, not cars, but laptops and high-end electronics.

I tried doing this not long after I read about it, but I very quickly became demoralised and stopped, mainly because:

  • You have to give away your email and get relentless spam
  • Sometimes you have to sign up or commit to something wi
  • The end dates for the competitions were often 6 months away

I made a separate email address for that purpose and I never went back to it after I stopped, which might sound silly but I thought that even if I won something I would be able to make a better life for myself doing something else.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? No

Verdict – Can you make money online from competitions?

Not much.

If you find some of the other methods overwhelming and want something to do for fun, this might be OK, but otherwise I would try something from further down the list.

I checked out one website here in the UK which is dedicated to ‘Compers’ (people who do this a lot) and even they describe it as a ‘hobby’ not something you can live off.

Cashback Sites

make money online with quidco
Click the image to go to visit Quidco (opens a new window, affiliate)

How Does it Work?

When you are going to buy something online, you go to the retailer via a cashback site and get a small portion of your purchase price returned to you as a reward.

The cashback site gets a commission for ‘sending’ you to the retail website where you made the purchase and they share some of that commission with you.

It is technically Affiliate Marketing (see further down the list) but in this instance, the cashback website is making the affiliate commissions and you are the customer, spending your money.

My View

I use cashback sites, particularly Quidco.

I have written a post about the best cashback sites, you can read it here.

It doesn’t cost me any more to go to a site via Quidco or Swagbucks than it does to go there directly, but after a few transactions, the numbers can really add up.

I make most of my purchases on eBay, where the cashback rate is only 1%, but if I buy clothes or sportswear I can expect more like 5%

You can also get money for referring your friends (another type of affiliate marketing – keep reading to see what this is) so you can join up to this type of site and tell your friends on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter and get paid for each one of them that joins up too!

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from cashback sites?

Just about.

Cashback sites are not going to change your life, but they will make you a bit of extra cash on the side while you are doing things that you were already doing.

If you find yourself buying in bulk from eBay to resell (see further down the list) that 1% cashback would scale nicely as your purchases grow in size.

Website Curation

Make money online with usertesting
Click the image to visit Usertesting.com (Opens a new window)

How Does it Work?

You can make money online by reviewing websites and recording yourself while you do it.

Various companies offer reviews of websites, so that the website owners can understand how real people behave on their sites. This allows website owners to improve their sites and ultimately make more money.

The going rate for website testing is around $10 USD for a 15 to 20 minute test, which is around $30 per hour, which beats the crap out of anything so far in this list!

There are several sites that do this, the most popular is Usertesting.com but there are others, such as:

My view

Most of the websites which offer to pay you for reviews state that you won’t be able to make a full-time income from them alone and that you should only expect a few reviews per week – but there are quite a lot of sites doing this, so it might be possible to make this more than just an hour or two per week.

I haven’t tried this yet, but I want to try lots of the sites and do a proper review of them.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online reviewing websites?

Yes, some.

Despite not being passive or scaling very well, this is the first item on the list which comes close to offering a decent income when compared with a normal day job.

This is something I am going to be trying and writing about soon.

Micro Jobbing

How Does it Work?

Micro Jobbing is very similar to freelancing (see below) and you can do both on most of the same sites; but I consider Micro Jobbing to be when you go to a website that has small / short tasks to be completed for money.

You go to a site like Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), sign up and complete menial tasks to get paid.

Some of the tasks are very quick / trivial and they pay is generally quite trivial too, especially on AMT.

Upwork and Freelancer are more geared up for longer, contract-type work, but they also offer some short-term and one-off jobs too.

The most popular sites are:

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • Upwork
  • Freelancer

My view

The rates of pay for Mechanical Turk are very, very low and I wouldn’t even consider trying most of them unless you live in a country where $0.10 can buy you something.

A lot of the jobs tend to involve writing short descriptions for things, editing bits of writing, or transcribing things.

In Europe and North America I don’t believe that it is possible to make minimum wage on AMT, but it is possible on Upwork and Freelancer.

All of these sites will want you to develop your user profile with them to some degree, so you may not be able to jump straight into the best jobs at first, until you have proven yourself on some of the smaller tasks.

I am on Freelancer, but I will go into that more in the next topic (Freelancing). It goes without saying that these types of jobs still involve swapping time for money, but you might be able to make better money online doing these than you can in a normal day job.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from doing microjobs?

A little.

This is a good place to start making money online if you don’t want to sell things and don’t have a career or profession yet.

if you have any kind of skill set or if you live in Europe / North America, you are unlikely to make useful money doing this.

Freelancing

Make Money Online with Fiverr
Click the image to go to Fiverr (Opens a new tab, affiliate)

How Does It Work?

Freelancing can be a great way to make money online and a lot of people make a good living this way.

Register yourself on one or more platforms as a freelancer and explain what services you offer. You can apply for work on most of the platforms too.

You set your own prices and get paid when work is complete, with the platform / website taking a small cut.

Some sites have premium features, often increasing your chances of being hired at an extra cost.

To get started on any given site, you might need to have low prices or pay to get exposure on the platform, but once you build a reputation for yourself you can set whatever price your market will stand and make a very reasonable life for yourself.

The most popular sites for this are:

Whilst it is against the T’s and C’s of all of the sites, some people engage in the practice of service arbitrage. This is where you find someone on Konker offering a service for $3 and then you advertise the same service on Fiverr for $5.

My View

My Fiver Gig
Click the link to go to Fiverr (Affiliate)

I am on both Fiverr and Freelancer as a seller of services, although to date I have never been hired for anything, yet.

I have written a more in-depth post about Freelancing, you can check it out here.

Once, I nearly got some work on Freelancer, but the employer wanted examples of really specific things, to prove I could do the work. I had done roof design before, but I just didn’t have any portfolio examples, so I didn’t get the work.

The sites I concentrate on are:

Upwork and Freelancer are quite similar in the way they work, but with Fiverr it is much more about the workers showcasing their services than employers posting work needed.

On Freelancer you get work mainly by bidding for it – you make your profile and set your hourly rate, then bid on work which is placed by people who need tasks completing.

Sometimes the tasks are one-offs, some offer full time work, but there are lot of employers looking to get something for nothing or at least for not very much.

Upwork is very similar to Freelancer, but on upwork you can see how much people have earned and how much they charge per hour for their work. There are people earning $180 per hour on there, and you can see that people pay it because it tells you they’ve earned $100k in their time on Upwork.

With all of these sites, your personal circumstances will determine what your rate could / should be and what you are prepared to accept.

The engineer I found on Upwork getting $180 per hour was an older, experienced and professionally qualified man from the USA; on the same page were younger, less expereinced people from places like Bosnia and Pakistan charging $10/ hour.

In my day job (which I am trying to escape from) I am a civil engineer and I get paid around £36 per hour ($44/hr USD at the time of writing) before tax, more like £24 per hour ($30/hr) net, which is a good wage and way better than average for the UK.

If I went to do some cash in hand work in a pub or delivering pizza or something I could probably get £8 to £10 per hour, but it would be difficult work, unsociable hours.

Ideally I want the same hourly rate I get now or better when I sell on Freelancer et al, but to build up my profile and get a bit of extra cash to pay my bills, clear my debt or whatever, I will probably work for £10 to £15 per hour, at least to begin with.

Advertising my skills as a content writer, I have less experience but I am a native speaker / writer of British English which carries a premium with those kind of jobs, as it does with engineering work.

There is a balance to be found with pricing (isn’t there always?) so if you price yourself to low, people will think there is something wrong with you or think there is a catch.

If you price yourself too high, people will go to the other sellers who will give them more bang for their buck, however you measure your ‘bang’ in the world of services.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online as a freelancer?

Yes, definitely.

Freelancing can be a way of earning more money per hour than working for any standard job.

Whenever I have freelanced in the real world (ie not online) it was always the highest earning work I have ever done.

I still haven’t managed to do any freelance work but if I lost my day job tomorrow I would probably try this in a big way, because it allows you to work from home, often to hours that suit you and around family commitments in a way that a regular job would not.

Make Money Online with e-Commerce

E-Commerce is my go-to way of making money online and I have tried several projects in this category already, some with more success than others.

You can check them out here.

if you are new to selling online, the best place to start is…….

Selling Your Own Stuff

My eBay Reselling project - Zero to Deposit
This is me selling my old clothes

How Does It Work?

Easy.

You get some of your own stuff that you don’t use any more and you sell it on eBay or Facebook, or maybe even an app like Poshmark or Depop.

People either come to where you live and give you cash for your stuff, or they pay you via PayPal and you post it to them.

This is one of the most straight-forward ways to make money online and almost anyone can do it.

You don’t even need a proper camera or a computer, most smart phones from the last 3 or 4 years have all the cameras and software you need to sell things on eBay or Facebook.

The chances are, if you have never sold anything on eBay or Facebook before, you will have lots of things you could turn into cash; things like:

  • Old phones
  • Clothes
  • Footware
  • Electronics
  • Books
  • Toys

My View

This is possibly one of the most important methods in the list because just about anyone can do it and it is also the gateway to a huge industry: selling things online.

I started a project called ‘Zero to Deposit’ where I start by selling my own stuff online and use that money to buy more stuff to sell. The idea is that I keep doing that until I have enough money for a deposit on a house.

You can read about it here.

If you have never tried selling things on eBay before I would definitely recommend starting as soon as possible, because many of the lessons you will learn from selling things on eBay will help you in the future if you decide to venture into other areas of e-commerce.

Facebook can also be a good place to sell, but I find there to be a higher concentration of time wasters on there with a smaller pool of buyers; so if you have to pick one, pick eBay.

You can also sell things on Amazon, even used / second hand items, but Amazon has a lot more restrictions for new sellers, so I would recommend you starting on eBay or Facebook for selling your own things.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? No
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online selling your own stuff?

Yes.

It is not something you can scale easily, other than to buy things, use them and then sell them, but it is an excellent way of making money and clearing up your home.

Selling your own stuff can be a great way to learn about selling online and could be your gateway to bigger and better things in the world of making money online.

Once you are comfortable selling your own stuff, the next step is…..

Buying Things to Sell

Lego that I bought to Sell on eBay
These bits of Lego cost me around 50p and I sold them for £25 on eBay

How Does it Work?

The concept is simple, doing it is harder: Buy Low, Sell High.

There are lots examples of people who start off making money online selling a few things on eBay or Amazon and then go full-time as professional re-sellers as their business grows.

I have made a post all about eBay Business Ideas which gives examples of real eBay businesses and where they might be getting their stock from.

Some examples of where you can buy things to sell are:

  • Buying from charity shops (Thrifting / Goodwill)
  • Buying from Car Boot Sales (Garage Sales)
  • Buying at Auction Houses
  • Buying Wholesale
  • Buying privately from the general public locally
  • Buying from eBay / Facebook

Within each of these categories there are a myriad of sub-categories which I could (and probably will) write chapter and verse on.

Depending on what you are selling, you might be able to sell it in more than one place:

  • You can sell almost anything on eBay
  • Etsy and eBay are great for vintage items
  • Amazon is great for new and some used items
  • You can make your own website or online store to sell on
  • Facebook can be used in different ways to sell things too

My View

If you didn’t already know, this is my go-to method for making money online.

I have tried buying to sell with each of the methods above – for me, part of the battle is finding a balance between things which you can make a profit on and things which are actually worth your time selling.

I tried two different methods recently in my money-making projects, one for JM Coins and another for Zero to Deposit.

With JM Coins I decided to buy coins from eBay which were worth over £40 and try to sell them for at least 30% profit. This proved difficult.

In Zero to Deposit I bought a wholesale lot of bulk Lego which I sorted through and sold small portions of for a fantastic profit in terms of percentages (like over 1000% in some cases), but I spent quite a lot of time sorting, listing and packing.

I have found that having more money to spend on inventory is the key to getting the best deals with the least effort.

With that said, you can always start small and grow your sales.

You can buy things in bulk at auction on eBay, spilt them up and resell them on eBay for a profit and re-invest until you have enough to get the best deals from wholesalers or proper auction houses.

I have bought at car boot and charity shops before, but the most consistent success I have had has been in buying in large quantities at either auctions or wholesale / bulk suppliers.

I have made some excellent purchases on eBay and sold straight back to eBay for a good profit, but these deals are few and far between.

eBay and facebook are both very easy to sell on and beginner friendly.

If you go down the route of having your own store you need to drive people to it which can take time and or money, but it gives you the most control over your business in the long run.

Amazon is more advanced and less beginner friendly than the others, but it is also the easiest to scale of any of the platforms, thanks to amazon FBA.

Amazon has the highest fees of any of the platforms, but they also have the most customers; Etsy is the opposite.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – can you make money online by buying things to sell?

Absolutely.

Whether you are starting from scratch or an experienced seller with an existing retail operation, buying things to sell online is something that just about anyone can do and I heartily recommend it.

People all over the world have stopped doing their full-time jobs and made a better life for themselves doing online retail – this is something I am aiming for too!

Making things to sell

How Does it Work?

This category is really two categories:

  • Making things yourself to sell
  • Having things made to sell

Making things yourself can be a good way of making money if you have skills, but you will always be limited by how much time you can spend making things.

You also need to consider:

  • What are your material costs going to be?
  • Do you have enough storage for both materials and finished goods?
  • What do I need to charge to make it worth it?

Etsy is geared up for people who make things and there some really weird and wonderful things on there that you wouldn’t think you could make money from, but you can!

My friend Steve has been making things and selling them on Etsy for a while now, you can check out his shop here:

Click the image to see how my friend Steve sells his work on Etsy

Steve makes incredibly detailed models from scratch or modifies Warhammer 40k models and then paints them in outrageous amounts of detail.

This sort of art is difficult to scale, because there is only one of Steve and if he hired more people it would not be his ‘Art’ anymore.

If you have a hobby or skill like this, which is time consuming but is ultimately a passion which you want to work on full-time, there are ways making money at it other than selling your work, but I will cover that later on in Content Creation.

For people who don’t have as much creative flair or manual skills (like me) there is another option; go straight to the professionals and get them to make you stuff.

Alibaba is full of manufacturers waiting to make things for you.

This requires more money up front, but the paradigm goes a little something like this:

  1. Manufacturer in China makes you things with your own logo on them.
  2. Manufacturer sends them to a different company (maybe still in China) who package them up, brand them, barcode them and sends them to your country….
  3. ….directly to an Amazon warehouse, where Amazon sort them out and store them for you.
  4. When someone buys your thing on Amazon, it automatically gets picked, packed and sent to them without you having to do anything.

My View

I am not really skilled at making things that people would want to buy, so I don’t think making things myself to sell is for me.

If you do have skills, particularly if you can make interesting or beautiful things, you can probably make as much money telling people about it as you can doing it, by using social media and YouTube etc.

I do have some design skills though, and if I had the money I would definitely get into Amazon FBA and getting products made.

I have watched adverts for courses on FBA and it has been suggested that you need something like $5,000 up front if you want to make a good go of it, so this is something that is a little way off for me, but I do intend to do a project on it in the near future.

  1. Is it Passive? Yes (with Amazon FBA or similar)
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – can you make money online by making things to sell?

Yes. To both of them; making stuff yourself and getting things made for you.

If you make things yourself, take videos and pictures of it and get yourself all over social media.

Once you grow a following on one or more platforms, you can make money doing what you love, even if it is not from selling your wares – see the some of the sections below on social media, websites and affiliate marketing for how to do this.

Getting things made for you is nothing new, but it is a lot more accessible now than it ever was; some of the success stories I have heard from Amazon FBA are amazing and it is an excellent model to pursue if you have the capital.

Dropshipping

Make money dropshipping from Aliexpress
Lots of people dropship products from Aliexpress – click the link to see what they sell (affiliate)

How does it work?

Dropshipping is where you list items for sale without buying them first.

I have written a Dropshipping for Beginners post, which you can read here.

When someone buys your item, you go and buy it from somewhere else and get your supplier to send it to your buyer directly.

There are lots of ways of doing this, common ones are:

  • AliExpress to eBay
  • Amazon to eBay
  • eBay to Amazon
  • Online Retail to Amazon / eBay
  • AliExpress to Shopify (Your own Online Store)
  • Wholesalers / Dedicated dropship suppliers to eBay / your site

This subject is covered a lot by YouTubers, particularly dropshipping with Shopify, although I suspect that has a much to do with the Shopify Affiliate commissions as it does the success of the platform.

Dropshipping sounds like an excellent business model, but it is not without its problems:

  • Who do they send returns to?
  • What if your supplier is out of stock?
  • Who pays when it gets lost in the post?
  • How long will it take to get it from China to their country?

My View

I have tried dropshipping several times, on eBay and with Shopify.

You can see the progress of my Shopify project Rogue Princess here.

I am currently doing another eBay dropshipping project right now, but with digital products.

eBay and Amazon frown deeply upon dropshipping and it is against their T’s and C’s because you have to own the product before you sell it. That doesn’t stop thousands of people doing it, but it is their rules and in theory they can ban or suspend you if you do it.

eBay make it difficult for you to pretend that you are in one place and shipping products from another. If you lie about where your products are, you are also going to have issues with negative feedback pretty quickly.

Negative feedback was something that came up a lot when I researched Amazon to eBay dropshipping, as buyers were initially confused about receiving an eBay item in Amazon packaging, then annoyed to find that they could have bought it themselves for 20% less and got it faster with Prime.

I tried dropshipping from a UK wholesaler to ebay; they advertised themselves as a specialist wholesaler who also did dropshipping.

The problem was that their dropshipping prices were nowhere near their wholesale prices and they always added shipping and VAT (20% UK Value Added Tax) on top of that, so by the time you allowed for eBay fees, the items were well overpriced.

I started 2 different Shopify projects and stopped both of them because I was using the AliExpress-to-Shopify model and aiming at US clients and felt that there were too many risks.

The potential for profit was much better between AliExpress and Shopify than on any other platform, because the fees are much lower and you can present yourself as a ‘premium’ brand and charge more, whereas people who go to eBay are looking for bottom dollar.

On top of that, I also had to bring in my own clients to a new website, most likely with Facebook adverts which can be expensive if you want good results.

I would like to try dropshipping again, but I think I will try local / UK-based drop shipping to reduce some of the risks involved.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes (if you do it right)

Verdict – Can you make money online with dropshipping?

Yes, if you have skills.

I think dropshipping done correctly can be sustainable and very profitable.

My last dropshippnig project Rogue Princess was flawed from the start, but I think I could restart it as a local dropshipping business in the UK, doing T-shirts or other print on demand items.

Retail Arbitrage

How Does it Work?

Retail arbitrage is a very specific form of ‘buying things to sell’, usually involving a seller going to retail shops and looking for bargains, so that they can sell them online for a profit.

There are several YouTubers I follow who sell online full-time and do this as their number one source of products, they typically go to places like:

  • Charity Shops
  • Big retail outlets
  • Seconds shops (TK Maxx / TJ Maxx)
  • Cash & Carry type stores (Costco)

The good thing about retail arbitrage is that anyone can go to places like this and buy things, you don’t need lots of money, although you might need to register a business to get into places like Costco.

Amazon and eBay apps will allow you to scan barcodes as you go around these shops; the Amazon Seller app will even tell you how much profit you will make from a given item when you scan it.

My View

I have done a bit of retail arbitrage and it can work, but given that many of the shops you can go to on the high street are also online, the bargains are not that easy to find.

The most success I have had has been opportunistic; I find charity shops very hit and miss, but there is one near me which has a lot of ex-Amazon stock which is always on sale for about half the price of the going rate on eBay!

Some of the best examples I have seen are quite unusual – people buying up cases of limited edition soft drinks or promotional CD singles and selling them online to people in other countries or who live in more remote areas with less access to supermarkets.

The one thing that struck me when I watch people doing this online was that they had to spend a lot of time shopping for things to make it worth their while and also spend a lot of money doing it too.

I did a bit of retail arbitrage in my project Zero to Deposit (Part 02) and I made a decent return on something I bought in this manner only 2 days after listing it.

To match my current income, even at 50% profit margins, I would need to be spending £400+ per day (Monday to Friday) or nearer £300 per day if it was every single day.

I am a little way off that target yet, but it is something I would encourage people to do because it is ultimately making money with money!

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online with Retail Arbitrage?

Yes, lots of people already do this.

This is definitely something to consider if you have good access to the right kind of shops. It does take some leg work to do all the sourcing but there is ample proof on YouTube who make a career and lifestyle out of retail arbitrage!

Online Arbitrage

Online arbitrage is (you guessed it) similar to retail arbitrage, only you are comparing prices between different websites, rather than physical shops.

Common ways of doing this are to buy from big name retailers (usually high-street names and bricks n’ mortar stores) and resell them on eBay or Amazon.

As all of the sourcing is done online via websites, several people / companies have created software to compare products on sale in retails sites with the same products in Amazon or eBay, such as:

  • Jungle Scout
  • Tactical Arbitrage
  • FBA Wizard
  • Source Mogul

Most of these software products are aimed at selling on Amazon because of their FBA feature.

The ideal way of doing Online Arbitrage is to find cheap products, buy lots of them, send them to an Amazon warehouse and sell them via the Amazon website, where the picking, packing and shipping is all done for you.

My View

I trialled the Tactical Arbitrage software for 7 days (mentioned above) but I was not convinced enough to pay for it beyond the free trial.

The software is quite powerful but I think it would take quite a lot of practice to get profitable information out of it consistently.

Another issue with arbitrage deals is money – you will need a few hundred pounds in you pocket to make a go of this; you might be able to start with only 50, but it might take you a few months to get it back.

If you do have the funds, you can potentially buy quite a lot of stock in one go from a retailer and make that profit over and over again on the same thing.

Equally, every purchase is a gamble and if Amazon decides to compete with you on price for that item, or other sellers drop their prices, or even if you didn’t check that you were allowed to sell that thing on Amazon yet, because you are new, you could end up with a loss.

I found myself severely restricted by Amazon as a new seller.

Some of the best deals which I could afford to buy were in Health and Beauty – I can sell shampoo on eBay no problem, but not on Amazon.

If you are new seller on Amazon, you need to apply for permission to sell:

  • Automotive / Car parts
  • Clothing & Footware
  • Alcohol
  • Hair & Beauty Products
  • Food and Drink
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Jewellery & Watches

On top of that, you will also be restricted from selling certain brands – The first thing I ever tried to sell on Amazon was an iPhone and all Apple products are ‘gated’.

It is possible to get ‘ungated’ for different categories on Amazon, but you have to build up a seller profile and keep applying, which can take months, if not years.

I still think this has potential as a business model, mainly because you can send things off to Amazon and use their FBA to make it relatively passive.

  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from Online Arbitrage?

Yes.

I think this could be an excellent way to make money if you have the funds to invest in it.

Amazon FBA is they key to making it passive and there is an art (or science) to making money with Amazon FBA which I am only just learning about.

I will almost certainly be doing a project on this in the future when I have more money.

Amazon is also a great starting point for the next topic, which is Affiliate Marketing, which I class as ‘Content Creation’ rather than e-Commerce, although it is effectively a bridge between the two.

Keep reading to find out why!

Making Money Online with Content Creation

Content creation is a very broad-brush category in which I could equally have called “everything that’s not e-com, trading or freelancing”.

Most of the methods of making money in this category involve growing an audience and monetising them, whether it be on a website or social media.

Affiliate Marketing

Some of my affiliate earnings from early 2019

How Does it Work?

Affiliate marketing is the practice of getting people to buy other people’s things, in return for a commission.

In reality, you place a special link to a website you are ‘affiliated’ with and if someone clicks on your link and then buys something, you get paid.

If you wanted a deeper understanding of affiliate links, check out my post Affiliate Links and Why They Are Awesome.

Companies and websites have affiliate programs which you sign up to, in order to get affiliate links which you can use to make money online.

The most popular companies for affiliate marketing are:

Many big brand high street names like Nike will have an affiliate programme which you need to apply to and which will have quite strict requirements in terms of branding, content and no. of visitors.

eBay and Amazon are very easy to get on to, as are most of the Clickbank programs.

Once you are accepted, you put links on your website or social media, and away you go.

Here is an example:

If you click on the picture below or on this link here, it will open up a new page and take you to Amazon.com.

Make Money Online with Amazon Affiliates
If you click on this image and then buy something from Amazon I will get a commission!

Behind the picture or text is not just any old link like “www.amazon.com” it is a unique link with lots of characters in it which tell Amazon that I am the one who sent you to their site.

You don’t have to have a website to use the links either, although you may need one to sign up for some of the programs.

You can post affiliate links on:

  • Twitter posts and in your bio
  • Instagram bio
  • Facebook Page, posts, groups etc
  • YouTube video description or comments

Your browser will also use a cookie (not sure what they are but I know what they do) which tells Amazon that you got there from widgetflogger.com and if you buy something it will store the data and tell me that I got a commission because you bought a PS4.

The commissions are between 1% and 10%, depending on what category the purchased item is in.

If you click on that link and buy the PS4, I will get 1% of $287, which is $2.87.

That doesn’t sound a lot, which it isn’t, but if I have 10,000 views of this page (that’s a lot but it is possible) per month and only 1% of them click the link and only another 5% of that 1% buy a PS4, I would get $14 per month.

If you have a twitter account with 10,000 followers and 1% of them clicked a link you posted, and 1% of that 1% bought a PS4, you would get $2.87.

These numbers look small, but if my link was on a gaming website in an article about how amazing the PS4 is, I might get 10% of people clicking on that link, not 1%.

There are companies who pay commissions of 50% to 90% to affiliates, such as Clickbank and JVZoo; so imagine if every sale brings you $50 now, not $2.87.

My View

eBay Partner Network Earnings
My eBay Partner Network earning for Jan – Oct 2019

I started looking into affiliate marketing in 2018, but I didn’t have a website or following of any kind to show my links to, so I found it slow going.

The chart above shows that I had between 1 and 4 clicks per day to my old website needfulthingies.com which I closed in May 2019 and you can read about here in my money-making projects page.

For the whole of 2019 I have only made £6 from eBay affiliate links, with 3% of the people who clicked on them going on to buy something.

In contrast, in late 2018 I spent £40 on Google adverts for about 36 hours and got one sale for a Clickbank product.

That sale made me around £70 that month, but it was for a recurring subscription and the buyer kept the subscription going for most of 2019, so that £40 spent actually made me around £500.

As I write this, I don’t really have a following on this website or any of my social media accounts (44 on twitter, 46 on Instagram, 0 on Facebook) but most of the pages and blog posts on this site have affiliate links on them, so if I do start to get traffic, I should start to make money too.

  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online with Affiliate Marketing?

Oh Yes!

Affiliate Marketing can be a very passive way of making money online, depending on how you do it.

If you are growing a twitter or Facebook page then you will need to keep posting more links, but if you have a website or YouTube channel, people will come to find your old content by searching and find your links without you having to do anything.

Affiliate links are something I am actively doing because of the potential they have for passive income, I would encourage you to do the same!

Blogging / Websites

My first respectable go at a website

How Does it Work?

You make a website (like this one) and get people to visit it.

Once you have a steady stream of visitors, you can monetise your site in one or several of the following ways:

  • Adverts
  • Affiliate Links
  • Selling physical products directly
  • Selling digital products directly (e-books and courses)
  • Sending visitors to somewhere else where they can buy your things (like an Etsy shop or eBay store)
  • requesting donations / sending people to Patreon / Kickstarter
  • Selling your skills or services
  • Writing sponsored content for other companies

You don’t need to know any code or computer programming to make a website or blog; there are several platforms available which are very user friendly and which allow you to publish your website for free, with some restrictions.

The most popular website platforms are:

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace

Building and running a successful website is a full-time job for some people and there is a whole industry dedicated to it, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Once you have built your website, you need to get people to visit it; traditionally this is done in several ways:

  • Get found by people searching search engines (SEO)
  • Advertising
  • Social Media (e.g. Twitter /Instagram / YouTube)
  • Forums / Special Interest sites

If you can drive traffic to your site, you can make substantial sums of money; there are lots of bloggers who claim to earn between $5,000 and $15,000 per month from their blog.

A quick image search of the term ‘Blog Income’ on Google revealed figures between $37 and $139,233 per month for some bloggers.

My View

I would hope that you had guessed by now that I am pretty keen on websites and blogs, given that you are reading my blog!

I treat websites and blogs a bit differently because to me a blog is something more personal, about me the author and my personal take on things.

For example, if I was just making a ‘make money online website’, I would tell you that online survey sites are lovely and a great way to make money and you should definitely give them a go.

But this is my blog, and I am telling you that I think surveys are a complete waste of time.

This is my 5th attempt at a website, if you don’t count my shopify stores, in which case it’s number 7.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it is easy, because it isn’t. There is a science to making a good website that will get found by google when people search for things (that science is called Search Engine Optimisation) and keep people on it once they have arrived.

Most of the other methods of driving traffic are also have whole industries attached to them, such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and paid advertising.

My plan for this website is to keep adding new posts as I try out new ways of making money online, in the hope that they will be found by google when people search for things related to what I am writing about.

This way my traffic will be free and I can make money from adverts and affiliate links. It can take up to 6 months for Google to send you traffic though, so it is definitely a long term game.

I used google adsense on my last website and the earnings were pitiful; between $0.5 and $2 per thousand visitors.

If I can get my monthly site visitors up past 30,000 it opens up more lucrative advertising networks who pay between $5 and $10 per 1,000 visits. At 80k+ visitors per month, even more lucrative networks will work with you and you can earn $15 to $40 per 1,000 visits.

Getting $15 dollars per 1,000 visits with 80,000 visitors is $1,200 per month without really doing anything, other than the initial building of the site.

To get to $139,000 per month like the bloggers I found on google, they must be selling their own digital products.

I have come across lots of bloggers who sell their own video courses (I have even bought some of them) which go for $1,000+ each.

I paid around $17 for one course which quickly became nearer $200 with up-sells. The same guy has a new course which starts at $300!

Another option is paid membership sites / clubs, where people give you access to special / useful / valuable information in return for a monthly subscription.

Some blogs or sites suit certain monetisation types better than others; this site would suit online courses and adverts, but there are less opportunities to offer affiliate links for clickbank or Amazon than if it was some sort of hobby blog like cycling or woodworking.

I have started some other types of sites (woodworking, gambling, trading) in the past which are perfect for Clickbank products but not so great for advertising or affiliate links to Amazon.

I do intend to get these sites going again, but these will not be blogs, just stand-alone sites with a set amount of content, designed to sit there and get found by google or had people fired at them from paid advertising.

This site is made with WordPress, but it is hosted by Bluehost, so I pay one fee every year and I can have as many websites as I like, I just have to pay for the domain names. (This is an affiliate link btw – see what I did there?)

  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from a website?

Yes, yes yes!

If you are serious about making money online, you are probably going to need a website at some point.

The thing I love the most about websites is that once you’ve written it, it’s done and it can make you money for years to come without you having to do anything.

With that said, I think the bloggers who make $100k+ per month are actively working on their blogs and marketing them full-time, so it can be passive, but it doesn’t have to be.

Online Courses

These guys are my favourite YouTube content creators and they also do a course – click the link to find out more (Opens a new window, Affiliate)

How Does it Work?

You make a course teaching people how to do something that you know about.

Usually courses are made up of short videos which break the topic as a whole down into smaller chunks. Each video could just be powerpoint-style slides and doesn’t have to be you in front of the camera.

Making money from online courses can be done in several ways, the most common are:

  • Selling through online platforms like Udemy
  • Selling through your own website
  • Uploading it for free on YouTube and making money from adverts

Making courses takes quite a bit of work up front but once it is made, it is made and you can keep selling it again and again (in theory) without too much extra work.

With that said, some courses I have seen date quite badly, particularly if they are based around technology or internet-related things. If you make a course about “How to grow followers on Platform X” and a year later Platform X disappears, your course is redundant.

My View

I have tried several courses over the years; some have been better than others, but I have usually gleaned something from them that I didn’t get anywhere else.

I think making a course is a lot of work up front, but the financial gains made by bloggers and site owners who make their own online courses is enormous.

That course in the picture shown at the start of this section is $500 per person and £200 per year thereafter, which is a lot of money. I would only need to sell 10 or 12 courses per month at those prices to exceed the income from my day job – that figure is easily doable if you can get enough visitors!

It can be tempting to think “oh I’m not an expert at anything, I couldn’t do a course in it” but you don’t have to know that much about a thing to be considered an expert.

For example, I do a lot of AutoCAD at work, so I am fairly good at it.

There are at least 2 other people in my office who are way better than me at AutoCAD and know it in far more depth than I do; but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t make a course about it.

I have been using that software on and off for 15 years, so compared with someone who has just downloaded the free version for the first time, I am an absolute ninja!

If I was going to do an AutoCAD course I might try to sell it on Udemy, and promote it on YouTube by doing small examples or how-to’s, because at least then people would get used to me and my style of talking / teaching.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to YouTube to watch a how-to or a tutorial and had to stop 2 minutes in because I found the narrator so annoying for some reason or other.

There is one course I haven’t bought yet but that I am seriously considering and that is ‘Project 24’ from Jim and Ricky at Income School. (affiliate link btw)

I found these guys on YouTube and I really liked the way they do their videos, they are easy to listen to and not full of sh*t like a lot of YouTubers.

If I had a spare $500 I would have no problem buying their course because I know that they give great advice and are easy to listen to; in fact I have already followed a lot of the advice they gave in their YouTube videos on this site!

I might do a course at some point, but I want to try YouTube and making videos first before I get into making courses, so it won’t be happening for a while yet for me.

  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from selling your own courses?

Yes.

Online courses are an extremely powerful way to make a lot of money, but they take a lot of work up front and need some serious marketing behind them unless you already have an audience of followers to sell it to.

This is definitely one of the more advanced things on this list and is probably best done in conjunction with either a website or social media platform, if not both.

Self Publishing

Amazon is one of the largest publishers on the planet with Kindle Direct

How does it work?

Publishing your own books is easier now than it ever has been with the advent of online self-publishing.

There are numerous platforms which will allow you to publish a book as either an e-book or more traditional print varieties, namely:

As well as writing the book, you will also need to get a cover made for it (if you don’t make one yourself) and promote it.

I read about one guy from the UK who started writing murder mysteries and didn’t get many sales from the first few books, but once he was on his fifth or sixth book some of the earlier books started gaining sales and he was making millions of pounds from books he had written two years earlier.

You don’t just have to write fiction either; you can write kids books, how-to books, literally anything you like.

My View

This is something I spent quite a lot of time looking into because I would like to publish both fiction and non-fiction books.

The fiction books are very much a pipe dream, but the non-fiction books could start quite soon.

Now that everything is done online, I don’t think you need to write a 400 page mega book to get published. I have bought (or downloaded for free) books of 30 pages or less which were very informative.

Turning the idea on it’s head a bit, I could probably turn this 8,000 word web page into an e-book on Amazon and give it away for free as a way to generate traffic for my site.

I could even leave all of the affiliate links in it so that people reading it on the right devices might actually make me some money, even though I gave the book away for free.

Another perspective on this genre entirely is a guy I follow on YouTube who has published 100’s of e-books and has it down to an assembly line of production. His method, as far as I can gather, is this:

  1. Finds a ghost writer to write a non-fiction book (e.g. cook books. diet books, how-to books of any kind)
  2. Gets a designer to make a nice cover for it
  3. Hires a promoter to promote the book

He has done it so many times that he knows he can spend $500 to $1500 up front on getting a book made and get all his money back within the first month and then have a profitable asset making him money for years to come.

The ‘book factory’ approach is not really for me, but a quick look at Fiverr will show you that there is a huge supply (and likely demand) of writers, book cover designers and promoters who do this all the time.

make money online publishing books
Click the image to see book publishing services on Fiverr (Affiliate)
  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online with Self publishing?

Yes.

Once again, this is not a casual or easy way to make money, but it can definitely make money for you if you put in the work up front.

I think there is also a learning curve for the publishing side of things; getting the written text into a format which works with e-readers or paperback books is not something most people do every day, so if you do embark on a venture of this type, expect to learn a few things.

YouTube

How does it work?

You make videos, upload them to YouTube, the world’s second most popular search engine, after Google, who own it.

Your videos can be about anything. People all over the world have gotten filthy rich making videos about:

  • Putting on make-up
  • Cooking food
  • Their Dog or Cat
  • Playing Computer Games
  • Playing jokes on people
  • Fixing things
  • Making things
  • Breaking things

Once you have a set number of subscribers and ‘watch time’ you can have adverts on your videos which will generate you an income.

You can also use your videos to direct people to come to your site / Facebook page / eBay shop / whatever and even put affiliate links in the description and comments sections of the videos.

If you have a large enough following you may be approached to make sponsored posts for companies who feel you have an audience they would like to market to.

You can see on the screenshot I took of Pewdiepie’s YouTube channel that he even has an advert / affiliate link for a cashback site as the first line of the description for his latest video.

My View

I have never had a proper go at a YouTube Channel; there have been half-arsed goes at it in the past, but I only ever uploaded a couple of videos, which were rubbish.

I do think this is a seriously good way to make money and it is something I am going to try in the near future.

From the research I have done and from my own minimal experience of making videos, I learned a few things about YouTube:

  • Making good videos is hard work
  • Editing and storing videos takes up a lot of computer resource
  • Good editing software is expensive but there are some free options
  • YouTube doesn’t pay that well and can reject or demonetise your videos at the drop of a hat without any justification
  • It can take time for your videos to ‘get found’ unless you promote them or pay for advertising

For many of the YouTubers who actually talk about their income, most of them regard the direct income from YouTube as secondary to the benefits of traffic and followers that having a successful channels brings.

I think there is also a science to growing a channel and getting views and subscribers, which are the main metrics upon which success is judged on YouTube.

Consistency appears to be a big thing in YouTube (and in lots of other social media platforms too) so it’ s no good uploading 50 videos on the same day and just kicking back; you have to upload consistently, every week, every day if you can(!)

  1. Is it Passive? Yes
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money from YouTube?

OMG yes.

Just don’t expect YouTube to give it to you the money themselves.

YouTube has lost a some of it’s shine (to creators) since it started demonetising people in the last couple of years, but it is still the number 2 search engine on the planet and can drive traffic to your website and open up other avenues.

YouTube also allows people to get to know you in a way that a blog won’t, which make make a huge difference and build trust much faster than the written word ever could.

Social Media Influencing

Instagram Account
The Instagram account for my project JM Coins Project

How does it work?

You grow social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram and gain a large following.

You then monetise your audience by either driving them to things that make you money or by getting paid to post about certain things on your social media accounts.

There are lots of different social media platforms, but I am just really concentrating on Twitter and Instagram in this section because these are two of the biggest and they allow you to grow organically within their platform without spending any money.

I have deliberately not mentioned Facebook in there because it is inherently difficult to grow a following to a Facebook page unless you pay for adverts or already have an audience somewhere that you can drive towards your Facebook page.

I have not included snapchat or TikTok because the former appears to be in decline and the latter is very new and may be completely irrelevant in a year’s time.

Both twitter and Instagram reward regular, consistent use and engagement with the platform; so if you post regularly and interact with other users, you will get more exposure and get more followers.

My View

Twitter and Instagram both offer a real opportunity to make money online (even just on your phone) if you know what you are doing.

To generalise, Twitter is more about the words, Instagram is all about the visuals.

If you can make very visually appealing content, then Instagram is the way forward. If you are sharp-witted and have things to say, Twitter is the place.

I think for both platforms (if not all platforms) it is better to keep your business and personal accounts separate; so if you are in the fitness / health niche and want to do a blog or a YouTube channel or maybe just Twitter, Insta and Facebook, you should make new profiles for your niche.

It is possible to grow a following just fro your personal account, posting about your life, but only in the following circumstances:

  • You are very attractive and make posts showing this off
  • Being very funny and doing mad stuff all the time
  • Having a hobby or passion that is very interesting and shareable

Even if you are trying to grow a personal brand that is completely about you (like being a model or artist, singer etc) then I would still keep a separate account for that and another one for your friends.

It is OK to put your real name and a photo of yourself in the profile – many commentators encourage it because it builds trust with your audience.

I managed to grow the Instagram page for JM Coins (my coin shop project – you can read about that here) to 150 followers within the first month and that was only by posting every day or two and liking other posts.

On the days I didn’t post I would usually at least like another 10 posts by other people, but that was it. I even made a sale via instagram in my first week on there!

My followers are now up to over 300 on that account without me really touching it for the last 3 or 4 weeks. I think if I had engaged more with other users (ie commented on their posts instead of just liking them) I would have gained a lot more exposure and follows.

Twitter is harder (I find) because you have to think a bit more about what you are going to say and you also have less space to say it in. The main advantage with Twitter is that you can post links directly into your tweets, whereas on Instagram you can only have them in your bio on your profile.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online as a Social Media Influencer?

Yes indeedy.

Instagram and Twitter are excellent tools for making money online and if you are thinking about getting into blogging or videos / streaming and putting yourself out there, social media is a great place to start.

If I were thinking about doing something in say the fitness or health & beauty niche but I didn’t want to start a website or YouTube channel just yet, I would make new Twitter and Instagram accounts based around this niche and use them to drive people to a Facebook page (also for that niche).

With Insta and Twitter alone you can grow followers and send them to a Facebook page where you can make longer posts and put links to affiliate products etc.

Whatever you are doing, these two social media platforms in particular give you the option to grow an audience for free, albeit slowly.

Twitch Streaming

Make Money Online with Twitch
A Twitch Streamer Playing Fortnite

How Does It Work?

Twitch is a live streaming platform, primarily for filming yourself while you play computer games, but you can film yourself doing just about anything.

Be sure to check out my post about streaming: Can You Get Paid to Play Video Games?

There are several ways to make money online with Twitch; they are:

  • Donations (a bit like tips)
  • Subscriptions
  • Adverts
  • Affiliate Links
  • Paid Sponsorship

You don’t get access to all the best money-making options from day one, you have to meet certain standards in terms of your viewership and then apply to be an ‘Affiliate’ or ‘Partner’.

Lots of people do it full-time and at the top end there are some streamers earning $500,000 per month (yes, you read that correctly, per month).

The most popular streamers play games, but there are plenty of people who stream from their cars while they work from Uber, people who just sit and chat with music on, or do some specific hobby-based activity which is not on the computer.

My View

I think Twitch is amazing and I would really like to give it a go.

Amazon bought Twitch for just under a Billion dollars ($970M or £585M in 2014) because they saw something promising and I think they were right.

From studying other streamers, they key (once again) appears to be consistency – picking a schedule of times when you will be online and sticking to it.

This effectively make it a full-time job for a lot of streamers, but that is not such a bad thing if you can make in a week or a day what you would make in a month in a normal job!

Other advice I have picked up is that if you want to break into Twitch from scratch and you have no audience or followers, you might need to try something new or different to what is already there.

If you just play Fortnite or some other very popular game, you might struggle to grow your presence because you will be competing against thousands of people doing exactly the same thing.

If I was going to start doing this tomorrow I would pick a couple of evenings per week and try to stream for at least 2 to 3 hours in one go, regularly.

I would either start doing a stream based around my passions / hobbies (eBay? Making Money Online? hmmm….) or maybe play retro games or games from a few years ago which were very popular at the time, which might invoke a bit of nostalgia in viewers who have Fortnite fatigue.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money as a Twitch Streamer?

Yes.

This is not for everyone because unlinke YouTube, you can’t really hide yourself – you have to get your face on the videos and your personality across to the viewers if you want to succeed – but the rewards appear to be well worth it!

If you have a passion which could translate well into online streaming, then this something you should definitely consider.

Twitch is something I would love to do as a job if i had to do something full-time.

I am a bit camera-shy, so this is something I will have to overcome, but it is worth remembering that whatever you do in content creation, (Blogs, Videos, Books etc) you are going to be putting yourself out there in front of people, some of whom won’t be nice to you.

One of my favourite content creators is Gary Vee (Gary Vaynerchuck) and he places a lot of importance on “not giving a f*ck” what other people think about you and rates it as a huge enabler to being successful.

Crowd Funding

Kickstarter Projects getting funded

Crowd funding is a bit of a strange one, but I consider it content creation of sorts for two reasons:

  1. You almost always have to create something to get money
  2. Having an established audience from said content creation is usually required to get a reasonable amount of money

How Does it Work?

There are a few variations of this but they all operate in roughly the same way; you sign up to a crowdfunding platform, write a pitch about yourself and/or your project and try to get money.

The most popular platforms to do this on are:

There are hundreds of platforms, each with their own angle; all of the above are aimed at getting money from the general public, where as there are others which are more business oriented, a bit like The Apprentice or Shark Tank.

Kickstarter is based around projects.

Things people make on Kickstarter

If you want to bring a new toy / coat / camping tool / card game / comic book to market, you make a video about it and offer people things in return for money.

It is also used for art, theatre and journalism projects too and there is some quite high-brow stuff on there.

Kickstarter is structured so that you can offer physical or digital rewards in return for money; so if you were asking for start-up founds for your new cosmetics business, you might promise people who donate £5 that they will get some lipstick, then people who give £20 get a make-up kit, etc.

GoFundMe is more about charitable causes but can also be used for business. A quick glance shows that there are a huge number of memorial funds for the families of the deceased and also for people who are terminally ill.

Patreon is more structured, a bit like Kickstarter, in the way you can reward your subscribers with exclusive access to your content. The key difference is that it is not project-based.

In Patreon you are asking people to ‘patronise’ you (subscribe to you, here in the 21st Century); to help pay for your way of life in return for you doing whatever it is you do (usually content creation of some kind).

Ko-Fi is more of a one-off tipping service, where you can give small tips or donations when you like someone’s work. Again, this is centred around content creators, rather than charities.

My Friend Steve who makes stuff has a Ko-Fi page here, if you want to see and example of what a good page looks like.

My View

The first thing to say is that whichever platform you go on, people are not going to come and find you on their own. You have to send them there to give you money.

Most of the charitable successes on GoFundMe stem from people asking friends and family via Facebook, not from random people who were browsing the site.

If appeals go viral, people will get random donations, but again it is more likely to be the result of sharing posts on Facebook or Twitter than it is the GoFundMe platform itself.

I think Patreon and Ko-Fi also have a limited ability to bring subscribers to you via their platform; not many people go searching their websites to give their money away.

Kickstarter is slightly different in that people can get physical products in return for their money, albeit not for several months (or ever) in many cases. I still think that the people who do the best are people who already have a website or social media following.

Patreon and Kickstarter are the two sites that really stand out for me as having potential for a sustainable income.

There are people on Kickstarter who make physical items like backpacks, pens and multi-tools who come back time and time again with new projects: “This time we are doing a Blue Pen! It’s the Mega Pen 5! and it’s Blue”.

They get a prototype made, make their sales pitch and then get Kickstarter to fund the first big batch of production. They can then sell their product on their own site / Amazon / wherever and start a new product launch.

Patreon is subscriber-based and many content creators use the platform to give exclusive access to subscribers. Some of the top earners on Patreon earn $80,000 per month or more, but even fairly small or obscure creators can pull in $1,000+ per month if they have a big enough audience.

  1. Is it Passive? No
  2. Can I Scale it? Yes
  3. Is it Sustainable? Yes

Verdict – Can you make money online from Crowdfunding?

Yes.

Crowd funding can be a viable way of making money online if you have something to share with the world and can grow an audience.

It is exceptionally good for people who have a passion for something that couldn’t otherwise be monetised easily, comedians and artists especially.

The only potential draw-back is that you need to be consistently producing content (like a full-time job) but if you love what you do and get paid well for it, then it’s not really a drawback.

Conclusion

If you have reached the bottom of the list and are still not sure where to start, don’t worry!

There is something for everyone in this list, regardless of your current financial situation or experience.

I would recommend selling on eBay as a good starter and I have several useful blog posts about selling on eBay, including a project where I am slowly selling my own stuff on eBay to try to grow a deposit for a house; read about it here.

I have also written a detailed post about how to sell on eBay, so be sure to check that out here.

If eBay is not your thing, try social media or YouTube if creating content is more your cup of tea.

Whatever you decide to do, MAKE A START. Right now.

This is the best advice I can give you.

Also, don’t expect your first try to be a winner straight off the bat; I have had numerous failures and you can read all about them here in My Money-Making Projects.