No matter what method you end up using to generate an income on the web, you need to adjust your mindset to help empower you rather than discourage you. The truth? Making money online can be fraught with avoidable pitfalls. There's no shortage to the rah-rah cheers of internet marketers looking to find ways to ensure they part you from your hard-earned cash. The trick? Cancel the noise and get to the real meat and potatoes, so to speak.

Holly told me she started writing content in 2011. At the time, she still worked a full-time job but created content online part-time to supplement her income. Over time, she was able to double and triple her rates until she could quit her full-time job to write. These days, she makes bank as a freelance writer and teaches others to do the same via her online course, Earn More Writing.
I have been really disappointed with the survey gig. They underestimate the time they take to complete by like a third and often I find myself spending 10 minutes in what seems like a survey only to find out it’s a pre-survey qualifier, where it feels like I’m giving them so much personal information that I ought to be paid, but at the end of it I’m told I don’t qualify but the award like the equivalent of a penny or two to thank you for your time.
Another option that isn’t quite cash back but is along the same lines of “make money by saving money” — the Honey Chrome extension. Whenever you head to your cart to check out, Honey searches for online coupon codes or better deals from different retailers. That means no more wasted time Googling “[insert store name] coupon code” just to come up empty-handed. Honey does all the legwork for you!

If talking on the phone is not practical for you, you can still work a customer service job from home. Many of the same companies that hire call center agents, also hire chat agents. And in addition to these customer service chat jobs, there are other online chat jobs from home. These include answering questions, doing internet research, moderating in social media and more. 

Become a moving advertisement. “Wrap” your car in an advertisement, go about your usual commute, and get paid monthly to do it. (Some car-wrappers in San Francisco make as much as $400 a month doing this,[2] but of course this varies depending on how big a city you live in and when / how often you make your commute.) You can also get paid to wear a company’s logo t-shirt around (particularly if you wear it someplace conspicuous, like at your school; see ShirtsInSchools.com as one example).


5. Create your own travel business. If you know a city or tourist destination particularly well, you can easily make an extra $1,000 by running a small travel business. Here is an example. I have a friend who loves scuba diving. He knows a few locations very well. Someone asked if he would act as a guide, and my friend had the bright idea to start doing it all the time. He started putting together scuba vacation packages, and now that's his full-time job. He offers a full pre-paid package that includes lodging, meals, and scuba equipment, plus a markup for him.

Improving communication, which leads to business growth. We all know what it’s like to have an avalanche of messages waiting in our inbox or voicemail, which makes it hard to stay up to date on everything necessary. As a virtual assistant, your job could be to make sure every important email gets a good reply in good time, which can help a business build trust among its customers and employees.


What types of businesses work best? Find one in any of the following highly-profitable  three industries: make money online, diet and fitness or relationship and dating. Any business targeted to one of these industries can reap the benefits of massive consumer spending occurring every single day. While you can certainly sell products for other companies as an affiliate, creating your own, also presents significant upside.
If talking on the phone is not practical for you, you can still work a customer service job from home. Many of the same companies that hire call center agents, also hire chat agents. And in addition to these customer service chat jobs, there are other online chat jobs from home. These include answering questions, doing internet research, moderating in social media and more. 
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Improving communication, which leads to business growth. We all know what it’s like to have an avalanche of messages waiting in our inbox or voicemail, which makes it hard to stay up to date on everything necessary. As a virtual assistant, your job could be to make sure every important email gets a good reply in good time, which can help a business build trust among its customers and employees.
If you’ve got gift cards lying around that you never manage to use – maybe you’ve got $50 to Longhorn Steakhouse, but you’re a vegetarian – you can sell them at a discount through gift card exchange sites such as CardCash.com. Once the site receives and verifies the balance on the card (e-cards are obviously handy, but they’ll pay for you to mail in physical gift cards), you can get paid in as little as two days.
Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.

Whether you have a website or are still dreaming up ideas for a blog, you can also look into affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you partner with brands and businesses within the content of your website. If you mention a product or service, you link to that produce or service using a unique affiliate code you received when you signed up for that particular affiliate program. From there, you’ll make money any time someone buys a product or service through your link.
Freelancing is the next best thing to being paid more for your full-time work, because professional work always pays more than unskilled. To find opportunities, let former colleagues or other personal connections that you’re available for freelance gigs. (Here are some ideas on how LinkedIn could be useful for that.) Or, post on marketplaces particular to your field. For instance, Mediabistro, a journalism site, allows freelancers to post profiles of their experience and services. Though these are more up to chance, designers can bid on jobs at 99Designs.com or submit a design at Threadless, to see if it will be crowdfunded. Elance-Odesk also lists many freelance opportunities, and you can also post your own services on Fiverr, although some freelancers say these services create a race to the bottom on fees and so are not very lucrative. If you're new to freelancing, here's how to set your rates, and here's how to negotiate raises with clients.
What are dividend stocks? They are just like regular shares of stock, but with one exception: For every share of a dividend stock that you own, you are paid a small portion of the company’s earnings. Basically, you get paid just for owning the stock! If you are looking to get started with dividend investing, check out Ally Invest (which is included on our list of best investment apps).
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