make money online

We are living in an unprecedented time where people around the world have an incredible opportunity to pursue their passions and earn an income online. I wrote about this internet opportunity in the Digital Gold Rush post. People from all walks of life and ages are participating in the $4.2 trillion internet economy, some as young as 13 years old!

As with any great opportunity, however, there are people who try to take advantage of others by making grandiose promises which fail to deliver. You may have read or heard some of these get-rich-quick promises:


Stay at home mom makes $700 a day

How I made my first $100,000 in my first month online!

Google sends me cheques while I sleep


The reality is that success in the digital world is the same as in the real world; it requires a plan, hard work, and determination. To earn a decent income online it will require time and patience but it is possible. Below are seven practical ways to earn an income online including examples so you know I’m not making this stuff up!


Article writing


If you love writing but would rather not have the hassle of dealing with maintaining a blog, you could consider article writing. When I first began online I was extremely skeptical that any of this could work so I signed up with InfoBarrel to test it. Writing articles can become time consuming but if you love the topic and are a fast writer this may not be a big concern.

How income is earned: through advertising revenue on article or direct payment for article

Real world example of earning potential: Jason (jcmayer777) earns nearly $3000/month on InfoBarrel

Learn more: List of 37 blogs willing to pay for your blog posts




For those who are comfortable with owning their own website and enjoy managing it, a blog is one of the most common ways to earn an income online. The idea is simple, though the implementation can take perseverance. Write blog posts about a particular topic that people are interested in. As more people begin to visit the website to read the blog content, revenue can be generated via advertising on the page. A well known example of this is advertising is Google AdSense.

How income is earned: through advertising revenue from ads displayed on the site

Real world example of earning potential: Pat Flynn’s SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com generated $2,933.72 from Google AdSense in April 2015.

Learn more: Blogging with John Chow


Affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing

As a blog becomes more popular, it becomes an authority in the space. With a larger number of people visiting the site for a particular topic, the authority of that site becomes more trusted and so to do recommendations. By partnering with digital product and service producers, an authority site can promote those products to their audience and receive a commission, at all no additional cost to the purchaser. This method, known as affiliate marketing, tends to be much more lucrative than simple advertising on a website which has lead to its popularity. Affiliate marketing is one of the main ways people make money online.

How income is earned: affiliate commissions through reader purchases of products or services

Real world example of earning potential: Matthew Woodward made $9,629.72 in affiliate commissions for May 2015

Learn more: Wealthy Affiliate


Membership site

membership site

A membership is a somewhat of a step up from a regular blog or even an authority site. With a regular blog or an authority site, you can write and update content whenever you want without much pressure or expectation from your audience. With a membership site however, you are making a commitment to your readers that you will post high quality content on a frequent basis in exchange for a membership fee. So how it works is that you may charge $50/month from each reader, for example. In exchange you give them access to premium content not found on your free blog (if you have one) and perhaps include a member’s area for members to build a community. There is more planning and work involved in this setup but the benefit is the predictable stream of income from registered members.

How income is earned: membership fees on a monthly, yearly or lifetime basis

Real world example of earning potential: Podcasters’ Paradise earned an incredible $392,989 in membership fees for May 2015 based on sales of their $1297 lifetime membership fee.

Learn more: WishList Insider


Online courses

online course

The market for online courses hit $56.2 billion in 2014 and is expected to double in 2015. This is great news for anyone interested in putting their knowledge into a digital format and creating a course. Unlike blogging which requires continuous attention, a course can be compiled, filmed or written or a period of weeks or months. Once this is complete it is a matter of marketing the course to potential students. You can jump straight into course creation and leave the marketing to online academy Udemy (think Amazon but for digital courses).

How income is earned: course fee

Real world example of earning potential: Miguel Hernandez’s $297 Udemy course titled How to Create an Awesome Demo Video for Your Business has 7214 students enrolled generating over $2 million in revenue.

Learn more: How to Create an Awesome Online Course



skype online coaching

For a more direct approach to earning an income online you can try one-on-one coaching. With video calling programs such as Skype, it is possible to arrange one-on-one coaching with anyone in the world and not be limited to potential clients in your geographical areas. Online coaching can be an excellent way to jumpstart your internet earnings bearing in mind that it will be limited to the number of hours you can commit per day e.g. Celestine Chua, mentioned below, is fully booked for her coaching from May to December 2015. As time goes on coaching can be replaced by some of the more scalable and less time dependent methods described already.

How income is earned: Hourly fee

Real world example of earning potential: Life coach Celestine Chua earns $2388 ($597/month for 4 months) for 8 x 90 minute Skype sessions which works out to roughly $200/hour in coaching fees.

Learn more: How to Build a Sustainable Coaching Business (And Double Your Rates in the Process)




Some people cringe when they hear of software because they assume they need to be a developer or coder to create an application. Although this can be the case, it is not a requirement to have any experience at all with coding software in order to create and sell an application today. Earning an income from online software or SaaS (software as a service) applications has elements of an online course and a membership site. It is similar to an online course in that it is created as a project and similar to a membership site due to the potential for recurring revenue for usage. Software typically is created to solve a specific problem and a monthly fee can be charge for the service. This might be a good fit for those who prefer to work on providing one solution instead of writing various blog posts.

How income is earned: Usually from a monthly service fee

Real world example of earning potential: Carl Mattiola’s software company Clinic Metrics went from $2,700/month in revenue at the launch to become a six figure business in less than a year.

Learn more: Build a software company from nothing…in six months


Well there you have 7 practical ways to earn an income online. Is there a particular one that you liked best? Let me know in the comments.