Once you have one or two samples to show prospective clients, it's then time to find some. Sites like Freelancer and Upwork are good places to start out. But you don't need to stick to the same path taken by every other freelance writer. Use some lateral thinking to find clients. Join relevant groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Have a look for forums dedicated to web development, digital marketing or SEO – there's almost always a “writers for hire” sectio” you can use to find new clients.
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In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.
Just about any home business with a website can profit by placing affiliate ads on their sites, but there are also many who pursue affiliate marketing as a full-time Internet business in and of itself. The most successful affiliate marketers either use a funnel system or a blog (or both) to promote their affiliate products. Further, they also have an email list.
“I first learned about TTEC from the university I was attending. I thought it would be a great idea to get a job working from home while going to school. When I first started working for the company, I was a seasonal agent. This grew into a permanent agent position. TTEC has enabled me to earn a degree, provide support to my family, gain skills in communication and technology, and meet great people from different parts of the world. What a wonderful company to work for! Every day is a great day here at TTEC!”
Sell blood or donate plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process of extracting it is similar to donating blood: your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. Laws may not technically permit you to sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating. In the United States, you can make about $200 a month by registering with a plasma center near you.
But, as I said, development costs money. For the Smart Podcast Player, it’s a plugin so it requires constant validation, testing, upgrades, and a solid customer support system in place, all of which costs money. If you have a plan to do something similar for your online business, you’ll need to think about this before you even get started so your processes are covered. Read about the lessons we learned in building the player and how we validated it before launch.
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Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!
Websites like Care.com connect parents with babysitters. The company does all the background checking and other due diligence to put parents' minds at ease. Of course, you can appeal directly to people in your personal network, but if you're looking to generate recurring revenue sign up with a site marketing to parents looking for child care services.
Naturally, the next one on the list is coaching people how to deliver great speeches. Public speaking is the number one fear on most people’s list – some fear it more than death! This skill can prove to be handy in many areas – from pitching to investors, to delivering key messages at global conferences. If you’re a natural on stage, help entrepreneurs rediscover their in-born ability to communicate by selling effective presentation templates and online coaching classes.
Blogging is a great path to choose especially if you have a keen interest in a particular area and feel that you can share valuable or entertaining information with others. Building a profitable blog requires high-quality content that is regularly posted to keep audiences interested in coming back to your website. A good way of trying out this particular writing career is guest posting on other people’s blogs. This way you can not only test your skills but also build a good reputation. The most commonly used free content management platforms for blogging are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Hubpages.
For a deeper look into this idea, I recommend checking out the case study in Will It Fly? on Noah Kagan, who is really detailed and transparent about starting his business. He validated a beef jerky subscription company (yum!), which proved to be a unique and inspiring example of determining the costs of items before starting a business. He didn’t pay for anything up front; he was just smart about asking: how much does this cost, and how much money do I need to reach my goal? His goal was to validate his idea by making $1,000 profit in twenty-four hours, and that’s exactly what he was able to do.
How to Get It: You can apply directly through the companies, such as Stella & Dot, a jewelry company that had over $100 million in sales in 2010. A few other good ones include Avon (household and personal care), The Cocoa Exchange (chocolates and more), and Alice's Table (flowers). You can also visit the Direct Selling Association website—all the companies listed there agree to abide by a code of ethics, so they only offer legitimate opportunities. Typically reps make a small investment to get started (this is a legitimate and standard practice), and sometimes pay a fee for the merchandise being sold. After that you can work as much or as little as you want, and see profit based on how much you sell.
What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. "You basically follow the instructions you're given to check out the website," says Anna Thurman, founder of RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, a site that has reviewed more than 500 online work opportunities. "It usually only takes about 15 minutes per test." Thurman recommends registering with 10 to 12 different companies since the opportunities to test these sites are doled out first come, first served. "There are people who make $100 to $200 a month by staying on top of those tests," Thurman says.
Freelancing via the Internet is a great way for experts in their individual trades to help a variety of clients overall. Several freelancing and project-based websites let businesses that need extra help to list their projects. Small businesses and freelancers offer proposals, ideas, or bids, whereby the buyers can easily choose what they want and need. Sites like Elance or Upwork cover just about everything including writing content, creating graphic design, programming, and data entry.
Sites like Patreon allow interested patrons to donate either a monthly fee (in exchange for content produced by the artist/entrepreneur) or a fee per creation. To learn more about how you can make this model work for you, read our guide on How to Use Patreon to Start a Business, and check out our favorite Patreon profiles, which should give you some good ideas. If you’re looking to start a side business online, this one might be right up your alley!
Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Something else I recommend is taking the free 7-lesson mini-course on general transcription offered by Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere. This will help you to understand if you're a good fit for a transcription career, what you can potentially earn, and also where to get started. Janet also has free legal transcription mini-course if you're more interested in going that route.