Shopify is a great example of the freemium model. By offering some applications for free, they get exposure for their whole business. Since the company was founded in 2004, they have acquired 30,000 customers, including Pixar and the Foo Fighters. Their revolutionary “build-a-business” competitions in the past have produced over $70,000,000 in revenue for over 14,000 entrants.
This was the first time I found a business that met all my major criteria – except one – I really wasn’t that passionate about the industry. Initially I enjoyed being the entrepreneur, the thrill of making money and automating the business as much as I could, but after a few years my passion wained. I eventually sold the business, earning a nice payday in the process, making this one of my most personally gratifying projects.
Understand how a niche website works. A niche website focuses on very targeted, specific information. The content must be specific, useful and interesting to your target audience. Successful niche websites get anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 visitors per month. You build content on a particular keyword, and you make passive income with Google Adsense or through affiliate links.
Banner advertising, when set up using a system like I presently use, can be very hands off – in fact for me it’s entirely passive – assuming there is an audience that the sponsors benefit from advertising to. It’s difficult to make loads and loads of money just from banners unless you have significant traffic, but it is easy enough to make some money from it and once you do, it generally proves very reliable unless you stop updating your website.
If you’ve got experience and expertise in a specific area of business, there are hundreds if not thousands of business owners who would love to jump on a phone call and pick your brain. This can be an easy way to make extra money online and to hone your skills to use in your consulting or freelance business. Sites like Clarity.fm let you create a profile where entrepreneurs and business owners can pre-pay to book a phone call with you for a set amount of time. Whether you’re an expert in raising money for startups, building apps, or running a restaurant, you can make extra money selling a few minutes of your time to people in need.
A site called User Testing will actually pay you a fee to evaluate websites. It typically pays you $10 for each video that you review – which typically takes about 20 minutes. If the work is there, and you are particularly good at it, you could earn up to $30 per hour. That’s a pretty solid pay rate for a work-at-home job. You wouldn’t have to work a whole lot of hours to generate a decent part-time monthly income.
Retain some control. If you upload photos of yourself, or friends/family with consent, it's worth going for the 'rights managed' licence option – otherwise you'll have little to no control over how your images are used (eg, you could star in an ad for haemorrhoid cream). See Alamy's page on understanding stock image licensing for more on the different types of licences.
Who doesn’t love cashback opportunities like Ebates? It’s one of my favorite ways to earn extra money with little or no extra work. But what about in-store cash back? Dosh is a newer app that offers just that. You can earn cash back on things like getting your oil changed or eating out in addition to the usual in-app and travel purchases. They give you $5 just for downloading the app and connecting your debit or credit card.
Need more ideas on how to make money online? Another strategy is using webinars to market your product, service, or course. I’ve done webinars to promote my financial planning practice and to drum up interest in my online course for financial advisors. With a webinar, you’re basically offering a lot of tips and advice for free — usually in a live format. At the end though, you pitch your paid product or service with the goal of securing a few deals.