In 1994, the internet went mainstream. This is the year the first AOL discs came out to let people “dial up” to the internet. They were everywhere. You could get them at the grocery store, and they came in the mail. People made art out of these shiny discs. I’m not kidding.
And the way you connected to the internet back in 1994 was crazy. You put the disc in your computer and dialed the internet up on your phone line. Do you remember that sound? Screeeeeechhhh… as your phone connected into the mysterious world wide web.
At that point, most people didn’t know what the internet was or how it could be used. There was mostly a lot of talk about it being a bad influence on teenagers at the time and how it would be used for horrible things. Meanwhile, just about everyone was getting an account.
Nobody knew then that the internet would morph into the biggest information, entertainment and shopping portal ever seen in human history. But that is exactly what it’s become. And even though your Aunt Martha might tell you otherwise, there are tons of ways to make money online, at home, in your pajamas or even over-looking a beach if that is what you prefer.
Here are five ways to earn money — and often a full-time living — online.
1. Making money with Google Adsense.
Adsense is a program run by Google. Google acts as a broker between people who buy ads and other people’s websites. If you own the website that the ads are on, you get money when people click.
There are two types of ads you can display on your website — text-based ads and display (image) ads. What you choose to put on your site is up to you. But if you have a website that gets traffic, Adsense is a great way to monetize that traffic without having to do any ongoing work.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can only make small amounts of money with Adsense. Some people make thousands of dollars a month by placing Adsense on sites they own. The impact can be huge on your bottom line, especially if you have information sites or content related blogs.
2. Selling other people’s products with affiliate marketing.
I’m sure you’ve seen affiliate marketing before. It’s where one person recommends someone else’s stuff and makes a commission. Affiliate marketing is a great way to learn how to market online because you can focus strictly on marketing and nothing else.
You don’t have to source any products or do any delivery. You just recommend the products, and when people click on the special link the company gives you, you make a commission on that item. Commissions range from 3 percent up to 75 percent on some items. It all depends on what you are recommending.
One thing to note: Sometimes it is tempting to only go with high percentage commission items, but I’ve found that actually going for lower commission, better-selling items often makes more money.
3. Selling ebooks on Amazon.com.
People have been selling ebooks on the internet since the early dial-up days I was talking about, but it was Amazon.com that made ebooks both popular and accessible.
One lady I know writes and publishes her own ebooks about her traveling adventures. Another gentleman, who had wanted to be an author since high school, is self-publishing his horror novels with great success.
Becoming an author on Amazon.com is pretty easy, and every time your book sells, you make money.
4. Selling your own information products.
There has long been a market for study-at-home courses. A guy I know bought a study-at-home photography course back before the internet — when it came in a box with audio tapes. But the internet has changed the nature of study-at-home. There are two factors involved in this.
First, the amount of information available today is overwhelming. So even if the info is available for free, many people will pay for you to pack it up neatly for them so they don’t have to search for it.
Second, you can now deliver information in interesting ways, like videos, how-to guides and interactive software. So if you are an expert at anything — it can be woodworking, winemaking, how to get six-pack abs, how to have great relationships or any other subject you can think of — you can often put together that information and sell it online.
5. Promoting services like coaching and consulting.
The internet has broadened the reach of coaches, consultants and people who provide services everywhere. Think of the explosion of online schooling. This is a service that used to be provided solely in a classroom or with a tutor. Now it can be provided in a virtual setting.
Whether you want to do coaching online, or just attract people to your existing local service, using online avenues for generating traffic and delivering service can net you a lot of money and dramatically increase your business.
Making money online used to be a pipe dream. But walk into any Starbucks and most days you’ll see people typing away at their computer. A good portion of them are using the the power of people working remotely, running online businesses and using their computers to generate income.
If they can do it, so can you. These five ideas are a great place to start, and the good news is you don’t have to do it on screechy dial up.