One of my favorite things to talk about at conferences and write about on the blog is the many different ways to make money online. The internet has made it extremely easy and cost effective for anyone to start a business of their own. Not only is there really no excuse to not get started with an online business, there’s actually little-to-no investment required as well. This is especially true for anyone who just wants to test the waters and see what opportunities might be right for them.
While startups are always making news and headlines for the massive amounts of funding and investment money they are getting, this isn’t always required. In most cases, online entrepreneurs aren’t going to need to borrow money from banks, take out a small business loan or ever-present their business idea to a room of investors.
With this in mind, today I’m going to be providing you with 10 different ways to make money online and even start a personal brand or business in the process. Many of these opportunities are free, but at the most won’t cost more than $100 to get started.
Be sure to read through each of the methods below and see which ones might be of the most interest and value to you.
Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to get started with a website and putting your expertise to work. This is something I personally did back in 2007, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Through the use of content creation and putting my expertise to use, not only has my blog turned into a business of its own and help me grow my brand into much more than it ever was, it’s also helped me teach others how to make money online in the process. Since starting the blog, millions of people have been to the site and have generated millions of dollars as a result of my free tutorials, guides, and resources.
One of the greatest things about blogging is that the majority of sites on the internet today are powered by the free WordPress CMS platform. This means all you need is a domain name and web hosting to get started with a website or blog of your own.
Estimated cost: Free domain + $100 for 3 years of hosting (with Bluehost)
I always get a little frustrated when I hear people say it’s too hard to make money online. Sure, it’s quite hard to make money online as a full-time income, but there’s always going to be ways to make money on the side. One of the easiest ways to actually start making your first few dollars online is through the use of freelance writing.
With more than a billion active websites on the internet today, there is a massive demand for content creation services and hiring freelance writers. Thanks to sites like TextBroker, anyone can join these open marketplace writing sites and simply get paid the start writing content that is being requested from other sites owners, blogs, and brands on the internet.
Best of all, there are no costs for setting this up. You can join any of the freelance marketing sites out there for free. However if you do have a hundred bucks to spend, I would recommend starting a freelance portfolio site of your own, which would fall under the same pricing as starting a blog.
Estimated cost: Free to join writing marketplaces. Improve results with a personal blog and writing portfolio.
Outsourced Expertise on Fiverr
Just like there are platforms out there for freelance writing, there are also micro job sites that allow you to create an online business for pretty much anything you can think of. One of the most popular sites out there right now is fiverr.com. On the site you will find everything from micro jobs that focus on SEO, content creation, people doing video work, pranking people with silly voices, and much more.
This is just another example of a platform and audience that is already in place and waiting for you. There is no need to start a website a blog or even a social profile, all you need is to get active on these sites and start getting a few customers and reviews. Some of the top users on Fiverr are generating over six figures per year.
Estimated cost: There are no costs to create an account or start selling through Fiverr.
Creating Courses to Sell on Udemy
As we all know, content creation and putting your expertise to use are always going to be some of the most effective ways to make money online. As we’ve seen in two of the previous examples, getting your content and expertise in front of an audience is key.
This is exactly what we are talking about in this example as well. Udemy is one of the top websites on the internet for online courses and learning. Not only are there are millions of users on the site actively taking courses and purchasing them, Udemy is also making their instructors a lot of money in the process.
If you have access to a computer, you can start creating an online course of your own. I personally like to use Screenflow or Camtasia to record my screen when doing online courses and video training, but there are free options out there as well. You can also use your computer’s microphone which will work fine for recording your audio. Once you’ve created a course, you can then throw it on Udemy and start earning 95% on all direct sales and 50% of sales generated through their organic traffic.
Estimated cost: Free to sell on Udemy. Screenflow recording software costs $129. Find a promotional or discounted copy to knock it under $100 🙂
Start a Podcast
If you already have a website or blog and looking for that next level of content creation and audience engagement, a podcast might be a good idea for you. The benefit of podcasting is that this industry is growing at a rapid pace and advertisers are throwing a ton of money at podcasters to get featured on their shows.
Another great benefit of podcasting, is that audiences are now more interested in consuming content through audio and visual, over text content. As mentioned earlier there are now more than a billion sites on the internet and it’s becoming quite competitive to rank in the search results or even get people to your site. With podcasting still in its infancy, it’s a great way for anyone to jump into this market and grow a successful brand and following of their own.
While I have personally invested around $1,000 into my own podcasting equipment, this is not a requirement. Anyone can start a podcast by simply recording audio into their mobile device and uploading it online. However if you did have $100 to spend on a podcasting business, I would recommend you get a high quality microphone from Amazon.
Estimated cost: Spend $70 to get a high-quality Blue Yeti microphone from Amazon.
Having been successfully making money online for over 20 years now, affiliate marketing has to be my favorite method. The concept of affiliate marketing is quite simple. All you need to do is join an affiliate program and every time you sent a specific lead, sale, or action to a website, you will earn a commission. The benefit here is that you never have to hold any inventory, deal with any of the customers directly, or even process their orders. You are simply required to send the best quality of content possible while also making sure you’re advertising cost or less than the amount you are generating revenue.
When we start talking about building an online business with affiliate marketing and not spending over $100, you still have a few options to play around with. For example, if you were to create a website or blog focused on product reviews, coupons or “how to guides”, there are plenty of affiliate programs that you could join and recommend products and services through. This is a perfect example, but also one that will take some time to establish as you will need to rank in the search results and get some decent traffic to your site.
If you wanted to spend your $100 on marketing affiliate campaigns, you will need to do this at a slow and steady pace. A good way to get started with this might be through promoting dating offers or email/zip submit offers through media buying. Since these offers are pretty easy to complete and turn a commission on, it will allow you to spend a few dollars per day and split test in the process. The goal here is to not blow through your $100 in a short time. You need to make this initial investment money last so you can reach profitability and then scale the money back into the business when you are paid.
Estimated cost: Spend $5 a day on Facebook Ads and keep a close eye on your daily numbers, ad spend and conversions.
Create an Online Review Site
Another business opportunity with affiliate marketing and earning commissions in mind is to create an online review site. When someone goes to Google and searches for something, they are very interested in what the results are. This is especially true if there are looking for information to buy something, looking for coupons and definitely when searching for online reviews.
With this in mind, one could create a coupon or review site that could rank in Google for long tail keywords and start generating some decent revenue in the process. However, as with all site-building and search ranking efforts, you will need to go after a niche market that isn’t saturated and has a lower level of competition. Revenue generation for such a website could be done through affiliate marketing or simply placing Google AdSense on your site.
Since we are focusing on starting a business with just under $100, this money could be spent on a domain name and web hosting. If you are serious about growing out your site and getting visitors to keep coming back for me, you should also invest in a mailing list, which can be done through a service like ConvertKit. The rest of your time and effort would be focused on creating content and getting your site to rank in the search results.
Estimated cost: Free domain + $100 for 3 years of hosting (with Bluehost) + mailing list
How to Make Money Online… One Dollar at a Time!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make money online or even starting a business of your own for under $100. When I first started making money back in the mid-90s, I was actually using free AOL discs and hosting my sites through free platforms like Geocities and AOL member pages. I started to generate a few dollars per day with affiliate marketing and the Amazon Associates program, which then turned into $10 per day, then hundreds per day and eventually growing into what it is today.
The most important thing for you to take away here, is that you take action and build something today. It’s easy to read through all of this and see how many opportunities are available, but if you don’t take action someone else will, and you will miss the boat.