Monday, January 14, 2008

Seven ways to make money on the Internet - no scams!

Photo: U$D by Paul Keller

In the last 10 years while I was mulling quitting my job to become a stay-at-home Mom, the Internet became the BIG thing. Its use became widespread and has revolutionized many people’s lives – including thousands of women who discovered that they could make money at home. In their pajamas. When I learned about this, I became even more optimistic that I can make this WAHM thing work.

I’ve been researching about different ways to make money through the Internet. Most of the time, what I discovered were scams. Almost made me want to forget the whole thing. I am particularly averse to schemes that you have to pay to join and the only way to make money is by selling the same scheme to others! Some seemed legitimate enough, but I didn’t like the idea of making money without actually providing anything valuable.

However, I did find some legitimate money-making ideas. Below is a list of some of the ways that a Mom (or anyone else for that matter) could make money on the Internet, including a brief description and the pros and cons of each one:

1. Sell products online.

This is probably the most common way for a person to make money on the Internet. If you like to make things as a hobby, now is the time to cash in on it! Many of my sewing and knitting friends sell their handmade goods on Etsy. Selling online is now much easier than selling in a brick-and-mortar store. If you don’t want to make the products yourself, you can “buy and sell”. That is, source out the products you think there is a demand for and sell them online. You could either create our own website or use a collective website for vendors. The most popular selling sites are EBay and Etsy.

  • You get to do what you love and make money at the same time.
  • If you buy and sell, you no longer need an excuse to shop garage sales.
  • If you sell through a selling site instead of your own, you only need basic Internet skills.
  • You need to process orders and ship them, which takes time. Shipping items requires you to leave the house.
  • When the demand for your products get heavy and you're the only one producing them, you may have to either turn down orders or take time away from your family.
  • You may have to invest some money to market your products.
2. Create a monetized blog.
A blog is an online journal or a type of website wherein the contents are arranged in chronological order (newest post to oldest). A blog can be monetized or earn income through advertisers. My Life Shift is an example of this. By providing useful content, I hope to bring potential customers to advertisers who pay me when my blog readers click on their ads or buy products through links in my blog. Notice the Adsense ads on the side and bottom of the site? The other way a blog can make money is through affiliate programs. For example, I am an affiliate of, my all-time favorite online store. Whenever a reader purchases from Amazon through the link on my blog, I get a small commission.Very popular blogs can sell advertising space directly.

  • Low-cost setup. Some free blog hosts will allow you to monetize your blog.
  • You write about the topics that interest you and are useful to others.
  • This is a good way to make passive income. Your blog can keep earning even while you’re sleeping.
  • You need good writing skills. And you have to write new and useful content regularly.
  • You have to know something about the Internet, blogging, search engine optimization and other potentially geeky stuff.
  • From what I’ve heard, income may be slow to come and is not guaranteed. It all depends on how popular your blog becomes.
3. Showcase and offer your skills through a website or blog.
A website can be your online portfolio to “sell” your talents and advertise your services. An example is Skelliewag, an advertisement-free site. However, the site does get the author freelancing and consulting jobs. Other blogs have become so successful that their authors have moved on to publish bestselling books and become paid speakers. Good examples are Angry Chicken and The Yarn Harlot.

  • Easy to set up on the Internet. You can use text, photos, audio and video to display your skills.
  • Provides an online archive of your best work.
  • A good opportunity to create a community of like-minded people.
  • May not be applicable to some skills, such as cooking.
  • You have to know something about the Internet, blogging, search engine optimization and other potentially geeky stuff.
  • Your site needs to be seen by your target market, which means knowing how to drive a particular demographic to your site.
4. Write, publish and sell an E-book or E-mail newsletter.
An E-book is a digital book that is usually distributed in PDF. If you know how to do something unusual, or have a great collection of recipes, or have some really useful but not-so-common information, you might have good material for a best-selling E-book. A newsletter is a regular E-mail that you send to subscribers who pay you for them. Amy Karol of Angry Chicken did this on her blog as well. You can sell your E-book on your own website or blog, or you could use one of many self-publishing sites on the Internet, such as Newsletters are usually sold on their own websites, or through affiliates.

  • Allows you to share yourself and your talents to others.
  • An E-book or newsletter can be put together really quickly using computer software and digital photography.
  • Another great way to earn passive income.
  • You have to write well, or else hire a writer.
  • You’ll most likely also have to hire a graphic artist to do the book’s layout. Unless you don’t mind having an amateur-looking book.
  • If you don't have a publisher, you have to market the E-book yourself.
5. Ask for donations.
This is another way that bloggers and websites make money, aside from advertising and affiliate programs. Few people think of actually asking for money, but if you believe that your site provides something valuable, then you’ll be surprised at how many people would be willing to support the site and, in effect, you. This works better if your site is free of advertising. Good examples are Simple GTD and Steve Pavlina's blog, which claims to make significant amounts through donations.

  • Fairly easy. Just ask.
  • Another good way of earning passive income.
  • You may feel uncomfortable about asking for money.
  • Your primary goal must be to provide a valuable service, product or information for free. Donations are optional.
6. Teach a skill online.
If you’re really good at something, you can make good money teaching others how to do it, too, but without conducting classes in person. Just put together a step-by-step learning module online and charge a fee to enroll. Depending on the skill involved, you may have to include lots of photos and videos. Provide personal coaching through E-mail, Internet telephone or a Web cam. Students can support each other through an E-group or online forum.

  • Builds on what you are already an expert at.
  • Teaching is gratifying.
  • Allows you to interact with students.
  • You have to know the principles of teaching.
  • Giving immediate support to your students may take a lot of time.
  • You may have to invest some money to produce educational materials, such as hand-outs and videos.
7. Build a website for a specific community.
If you think many other people share a particular interest that you have, and information on that topic is not yet plentiful on the Web, consider creating a website on that topic. The website can earn money in the same ways as a blog does. A good community website provides plenty of useful information, including online discussion boards or forums, reviews, links and other resources. The BabyWearer and Craftster are good examples.

  • It costs very little to set up a good website nowadays.
  • Excellent opportunity to build a community and interact with like-minded people.

  • Building a community takes time as well as marketing and social networking skills.

I'm sure I missed something, so here are longer lists of money-making ideas through the Internet, from two sources I trust:

Top 10 Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear

30 Ideas to Help You Start Working Through the Web

So what are you waiting for? Ready to try making money on the Internet yet?

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