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.
Time is Money: How to Maximize Both as an Entrepreneur or Business Owner
Are you wearing too many hats? Being pulled in a hundred different directions? Having trouble completing tasks because new things keep coming up?
The hours you spend working are as important as the money made in that hour. Your time is money; wasted time results in wasted cash. You can change this with some simple time management hacks.
Your productivity depends on your time management. Once you master this, everything in your business will become simpler. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your time as a business owner.
Invest in Great Employees
Many business owners find themselves hiring employees far too often. A high turnover of staff means the time you take to plan and to train goes to waste.
The trick to saving time on hiring is making the right hires in the first place. And, making the job so great they don’t want to leave!
You can do this by creating an Employee Development Plan. Any employees that you truly value and depend on should have a path for growth. They should have benefits and perks that make working for you worthwhile.
When recruiting new hires, be very detailed in what you’re looking for. Weed out the lazy, unenthusiastic applicants from the hard working and passionate candidates.
Once you hire great employees who love working for you, they can take a load off your plate. Remember to ask for their feedback and input on new ideas. You trust them to do a good job, so you can delegate tasks to them.
Track your Time
Spend a week recording everything you do from morning to night. You can do this with Google Calendar or on paper. Write the tasks you work on each hour or the free time you spend.
After one week, review your log.
How many tasks did you switch between in any given hour? How many tasks comprised of you fixing other people’s work? Did you miss any deadlines or lose out on any profit?
You may realize you’re working an extreme number of hours per week. Or, that you’re struggling to move projects forward because you aren’t focused enough.
This problem is very common for business owners. It gets solved by automating and delegating tasks.
Thanks to the magic of technology, we don’t have to manually complete many tasks. If you haven’t leaned into automation, now’s the time to start.
Automation is when you let technology automatically complete tasks without your constant approval. You set up the rules and expectations, then the frequency of the automation. After that, your load is a little lighter.
Here are some tasks automation can help with:
- Email marketing
- Assigning inbound leads
- Following up with networking peers
- Offering free content to attract leads
- Identifying the hottest leads
- Tracking accounts receivable
The list goes on and on. Did you know that 80 percent of top-performing businesses use automation for marketing? 80 percent of these highly successful people can’t be wrong.
Look at your business’s tasks and systems. Where could automation help you?
Not all tasks can get automated; some should get delegated. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you’re used to doing everything yourself. “If you want it done right, do it yourself” right?
Most of the time, “done is better than perfect.” You need to decide which tasks demand your attention and which ones your employees can do.
This might mean training your top employees on new roles and duties. This is great because it shows them you believe in them and it lightens your workload.
Look back at your time log for the week. Find at least three things that you can delegate. Start the process of transferring those responsibilities to someone else.
This will give you more time to do the things only you can.
Work in Batches
Jumping from one task to another in completely different realms is awful for productivity. Switching gears all the time ruins your focus and lowers your energy.
Instead, start working in batches through calendar blocking.
Schedule your day to complete all like-minded tasks in the same block of time. That could mean spending all of Monday morning working on payroll duties. Or, all of Monday afternoon updating the company website and planning new components.
Consider using an app for all your scheduling needs, like this company. Every employee can download the app and have access to all work-related things.
By staying in the same realm of tasks for a larger chunk of time, you can focus completely on that umbrella of tasks. You can use your time more efficiently and get more done.
Look around your office. Is it messy? Is there clutter everywhere, especially on your desk?
This is a subconscious productivity-destroyer. How can your mind think clearly when your space feels confused and chaotic? Both you and your employees are less productive when the space is messy.
Start by cleaning your personal office. Your desk should only have things you use every day or make you happy. File loose papers or shred them.
Declutter the floor. Boxes should get put away and objects returned to their home in the office. Hire a cleaner to deep clean the space.
Then, set new expectations for your staff on office cleanliness. Like tools need to get put back after use and don’t leave rotten food molding in desk drawers.
You may need to buy some organizational systems to keep this momentum going. Get some low-maintenance plants to put around the office and lift the mood. Make the office a calm and clean place to work for everyone.
If Time is Money, Are You Spending Yours Wisely?
As a business owner, you’re supposed to be hustling and grinding. But, you can do more by working smarter, not harder.
Boost your productivity and profits by getting better at time management. Put systems in place that save you time and let you focus on important things. Your time is money; making better use of it will result in higher earnings.
For more tips on being a business owner, productivity, and making more money, check out this article.
The Ultimate Guide To Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Process
Let’s face it: the process of improving and streamlining your accounts payable process can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of busywork. It’s also one of the most important, yet overlooked, processes within a business that can actually make you go from negative to positive in monthly ROI. This is especially true with online businesses, as many of use are using various automation, SEO, and marketing tools that have built-in recurring monthly costs… but how many of them are we actually using, yet still paying for?
This is something I occasionally talk about on the blog, as it’s a great reminder to always keep an eye on not just what your monthly expenses are, but also what they are actually being spent on. We all watch the incoming and outgoing money within our businesses and brands, but many of us will forget to actually look through our credit card and banking statements to see who is billing what. Soon enough, you could have thousands in monthly recurring bills, and not even realize that you aren’t utilizing such services.
It’s not just affiliate marketers and bloggers that have to deal with these types of issues, it’s businesses of all sizes — and it really comes down to the various payment processors, invoice tracking, and tax software being used. The truth is that an inefficient accounts payable system costs you in time , money, and anxiety. Between chasing down your tax information, waiting for invoices to be verified, and frantically paying bills at the last second, things will slip through the cracks.
You won’t just lose money. Your company’s reputation will suffer as a result. You might lose important business relationships that you’ve worked hard to build.
It’s time to make a change for the better.
Read on to learn how to improve your current accounts payable procedures.
1. Look for Patterns in Your Payments
The first thing that you need to do when you’re ready to make over your accounts payable process?
Think about how you can get out in front of upcoming payments.
The best way to do this is to look for payment and invoice patterns, and then create a matching schedule of accounts payable.
For example, do you know that your supplier sends you a bill on the first Monday of every month? If so, you know that this payment to your suppliers is a fixed cost every month. You should schedule an automatic payment, since it will likely be in the same amount each time.
Additionally, figure out who you sent the most money to, the most frequently.
This will help you to keep better track of your spending pattern, and know who to prioritize when it comes to getting payments out on time.
One more thing you might discover during this review process?
The fact that you’re not exactly spending your company’s money in the most effective way. Taking a closer look at things won’t just help you to spend less time each month on accounts payable.
There’s also a good chance that it will help to save you some serious money.
2. Define Your Invoice Payment Strategy
You know that paying invoices on time and in the correct amount is an essential way to maintain excellent relationships with freelancers and suppliers alike.
However, if you’ve noticed that your accounts payable process seems to be missing the mark when it comes to invoices?
You need to make a change — and fast.
First of all, decide when you’ll pay the invoices that are sent to you. Is the goal simply to get them paid as quickly as possible? Or, is it better to send payments at a set date?
Determine the payment method that you use. Will you write them a check, or do they prefer to get their money sent to them via systems like PayPal? And which method of payment works best for your business?
You should also make sure that you have a strong record-keeping system in place when it comes to your invoices. That way, even if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to track exactly when and how it happened.
One final piece of often-overlooked advice?
It’s simple: make sure that you have the right employees working on accounts payable.
Is now the time to create a specific accounts payable department, as opposed to assigning invoices to “whoever has time” to complete them? What short of qualifications do the people working in accounts payable have? What sort of training program have you implemented?
These are certainly all things to consider — and to speak with your team honestly about.
If you need to hire someone new, then the cost of bringing them on will likely pay for itself in the time the rest of your team members will earn back.
3. Consider a Payment Automation System
Of course, if you’re truly serious about improving your current accounts payable process, then you’re likely going to need to invest in a payment automation system.
Look for a system that allows you to make payments in a variety of currencies and payment methods. You should also decide on an option that helps you to eliminate as many rejected payments as possible.
The goal here is to find a platform that helps you through every part of the AP process — including making early payments.
Also, ensure that the payment automation system you choose helps you to keeps things secure and compliant. The right system will scan potential payees and identify potentially fraudulent or problematic companies.
Finally, make sure that you take a close look at the transaction fees of any payment automation system you use. Remember that fees are usually charged on a per-transaction basis. So, cut down on the number of individual payments if possible.
Looking to learn more about what makes a great payment automation system?
If so, be sure that you check out the Tipalti website, to learn how their platform could save up to 80% of your accounts payable team’s time.
Once you’ve implemented each of these solutions and accounts payable processes, you may finally be at zen with your personal and business finances.
Ready to Overhaul Your Accounts Payable Process?
We hope that this post has helped you to understand what it takes to truly improve your accounts payable process — and eliminate errors in the process.
Of course, tackling accounts payable is just one smart of what helps you to streamline your time at the office, and get more out of every day.
You need to ensure that you have a strong digital and print marketing strategy, that you employees feel motivated within the work environment, and much more.
Keep on coming back to our blog to score even more tips on how to take your company to even higher heights.
How to Pick the Best Business Credit Cards for Startups
You obviously know about the existence of business credit cards, and you may have even heard about the benefits they give to companies, but you’re still worried about getting one for your startup. If that’s that the case… don’t be. I’ve personally used credit cards for my business expenses for over 20 years now, and as long as you stay on top of your payments, they are perfectly fine.
Right now, you may think you’re playing it safe by avoiding the plastic, but in reality, you’re missing out on a ton of great deals that could help your business grow and become more successful.
There are a variety of credit cards that you could choose from, and each card offers their own unique trademarks that you could use to your advantage. Let’s have a look at some of the best business credit cards for startups.
The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups That You Should Use
Depending on your type of business, you can gain some serious perks to help you level up your business game. Keep reading to find out more.
Decide How Fast You’re Paying the Monthly Bill
The first thing you need to worry about is the amount of time you think you will need to take care of your monthly statements.
Some companies can pay off their fees in full every month like clockwork. Others may only be able to pay off the bare minimum in order to keep things rolling. There are cards for both types of businesses.
If you know how to make the full payment each month, you should go for a card that gives you longer grace periods and a lot of rewards so you can capitalize on all of the benefits.
Charge cards are also handy for those who always pay in full. These little guys give you the money you need, as long as you’re able to pay it off within a 30-day time frame.
If you’d rather take your time paying off the card, then get a credit card that has a low-interest rate or a 0% APR to allow you time to pay everything off without any backlash.
As for my own personal and business expenses, I’ve always been a fan of American Express, and have been a customer of theirs since 2003. You can see a few of my other preferred business credit cards for entrepreneurs and bloggers as well.
Think About Operating Costs
One of the biggest reasons (if not, the biggest) why you want a credit card is to take care of the operating costs that come with every business.
Look through the spending log and see which of your operations takes up the most of your money, and then find a card that gives you benefits directly related to those operating costs.
For example, if you spend a lot on customer service, get a card that offers bonus points on spending in this category. That way you get returns as you spend cash.
The last thing that you should be worried about when choosing a credit card is are the credit expenses.
Different cards offer different costs on their monthly and annual fees. More often than not, this is directly related to the number of benefits and perks you get from using it.
The general rule of thumb is that the more basic the card is, the less you’ll have to pay in fees, and vice versa. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to take the thrifty approach or if your business can fork the extra cash for the bonuses.
If you want to learn more about what card would suit your company best, check out this website for a list of credit card reviews and other things that could help your small business soar.
The One Stop for All Your Startup Business Needs
Now that you know about some of the best business credit cards for startups, you can make moves to grow your business! When starting to apply for different cards online, you may find better success with lower level credit options and stay away from American Express until you have a decent credit score or business history. If all of that already looks good, then apply away!
As mentioned, I’ve been making money online and helping businesses grow their reach and exposure for well over two decades now. If you ever have any questions or are in need of services, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to give you the answers that you need.
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