You offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. It varies depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either.
If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the thirst for curious things with a steady source of income. TheSomethingStore and Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…
At around the time I started selling my ebook and making a living online, I had yet to even consider getting involved in outsourcing some of the work. I look back now and think that I could have potentially done that earlier to help with things like finding a webhost and creating my website. Back then I did everything myself. That’s one of the positives to first starting out. You don’t really have any overhead. It’s all about the effort you want to put in on your own time and your own terms. So, when I first started, I found my WordPress theme myself, I set it up on Bluehost with a very easy one-click install. I was able to get everything set up, and start building my audience, trust, and authority online with those who I was going to deliver my product (ebook) to down the road. I did not spend money on hiring a team until 2013, which came after having a full-time Virtual Assistant for two years, which cost me about $800 per month.
Some people just seem to intuitively know more than others – they don’t get involved in destructive relationships or suffer from loss of self-knowledge. If you can relate to that description and feel your relationships have been fairly happy and stable, then maybe you’re one of them. You’ll need to invest in relevant workshops and books, get knowledgeable and certified before you can start coaching others, but it’s a fascinating business idea that will reward you both financially and morally.
For example, Amazon affiliates can potentially rake in obscene amounts of commission dollars if they work at it. Simply sign up as an affiliate to sell a company’s products using your special referral link, and you can get a commission for each product sold without lifting a finger. Commission ranges from product to product and also goes up in stages according to how many products sales your clicks generate. The top commission tier is 8%. That adds up to some serious amounts of cash each month if you’re promoting products with that high rate of commission ( Home & Garden is one such product area with high commissions).
Who can resist the dinging sound of a new email? You, that’s who, especially if you want to stay on task. And forget about signing in to Facebook “just for a minute.” It’s easy to get distracted when you telecommute—unlikely distractions that just don’t exist at work abound at home. At the office, for example, you might visit the company kitchen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a cup of joe (because that’s what’s appropriate), but at home, you’re hitting the fridge every hour on the hour. Or more.
Be genuine. Yes, your blog is supposed to make money. But you can’t make marketing pitches all the time. Focus on useful content so that your readers come to know, like, and trust you. Then they will naturally click on your advertising or buy the products you recommend. In this era of the internet and social media people are looking for authenticity.
YouTube is the third largest site in the world, so there’s no surprise that video is becoming one of the main communication mediums for businesses of all types and sizes. If you have video filming or editing knowledge, it won’t take you long to build your clientele. Everything from video production workshops and video editing services to soundtrack libraries and DIY tutorials can appeal to the business world. Producing video might be one of the most attractive online business ideas with lots of creativity and challenges.
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers (a.k.a. you). Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.
Another option is to again set up a Shopify store. But instead you have customer orders drop-shipped to them by the manufacturer, or distributor. You know those super-cheap items you see on Facebook that seem too good to be true? The catch is always that it can take 30 – 45 days for your order to arrive – that's the drop-shipping model in operation right there.
Google AdSense. These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website - and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it's a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the amount of clicks you get, meaning more income.
What will also help your earning potential is to specialize in one style of writing, and maybe even one particular subject. You see, writing on the same subject for hundreds of hours each year makes you an expert on it. To paraphrase Cal Newport, “…you'll build up a lot of career capital through deliberate practice.” It’s how you become so good that clients can’t ignore you.
To avoid any confusion, I want to make it clear first that virtual assistant work is not always non-phone, but it can be. Virtual assistants tend to do a little bit of everything, just depending on their skills/expertise. So if you are good at various non-phone tasks (social media marketing/moderation, writing, graphic design, research etc.), then you may be able to do work for some of the companies below putting those non-phone skills to work.