As the work-from-home movement continues to grow, there are more opportunities than ever before to make money online.
But as a beginner, sorting out real opportunities from the time-wasters and scams can be a bit mind-boggling.
Even if you learn about a legit opportunity to make money online, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to begin.
To help mitigate the overwhelm, let’s look at some of the best ways to make money online as a beginner and how to get started.
While any of these methods for earning money online can be achieved by a beginner, keep in mind that some require more time, patience, and training than others.
1. Work From Home Companies
Work from home companies are a relatively easy way to get started with making money online. Most offer flexible hours, and there is a variety of work to choose from, from online customer service to transcription and captioning.
These types of jobs are attractive for beginners because, in most cases, it’s really simple to get started. It’s usually just a matter of applying and then passing a simple vetting process.
Once you get approved for work, you don’t have to find or pitch clients; you simply do the work that’s provided to you.
However, most companies like these don’t offer enough pay for you to make a full-time income. It’s more ideal if you are looking to make a little extra cash or if you’re testing the waters in a specific industry.
For example, TranscribeMe is a work-from-home company that uses crowdsourcing to service their clients. As a transcriber, you receive a small segment of an audio file that’s up to a minute long. Once you transcribe that, you’ll get another random file to transcribe.
TranscribMe boasts that they pay $15-$22 per transcribed hour, but the reality is that one hour of audio may take you multiple hours to transcribe properly.
Most people end up making much less per hour in real-time.
Another example of a work-from-home company is NexRep, which hires independent contractors to service their clients across several different marketplaces in the food, fashion, music, and health industries.
The pay is usually about $10-$20 per hour. Again, it may not be ideal for becoming your primary source of income, but it’s great if you need something flexible where you don’t need to find your own assignments.
2. Freelancing and Virtual Assisting
Freelance writing and VA work are similar in that they are both service-based businesses that require pitching and landing clients.
The good news here is that there’s a ton of demand for both!
Freelance writers commonly find work writing blog posts, copy, or white papers, while virtual assistants typically offer administrative services such as social media or email management.
If you know where to look for clients, the pay in either of these fields can be excellent. Many people have been able to build a full-time business this way.
Better still, no prior experience is required for either freelancing or VA work. However, it does help to zero in on a specific service offering to establish yourself as an authority in that area. (The more specialized you are, the more you can charge for your work!)
For example, a freelance writer could choose to focus specifically on copywriting, or a virtual assistant could specialize in podcast-related services.
As a beginner, there are a few challenges to overcome, like learning how to find clients as a newbie. You need to source your prospects through social media, your personal network, or job boards like We Are Virtual Assistants and Problogger.
In order to succeed, you must be willing to put yourself out there and pitch your tail off until you fill your client roster.
As a new freelancer or VA, you may not know where to start when it comes to getting yourself established and landing your first clients. That’s when an online course (like those offered on Horkey Handbook) can become an invaluable resource.
3. Digital Products and Printables
Digital products and printables have been growing in popularity because the customer can consume them immediately after purchasing.
From a business standpoint, they’re great because the overhead is extremely low; there’s no product to keep stocked and nothing to ship.
They also don’t cost much to make! You can even use free programs like Canva to create products like calendars, checklists, trackers, and more.
After you’ve created your product, it just becomes a matter of setting up shop, either on a platform like Etsy or with an e-commerce website like Shopify.
If you already have an eye for design, this might be a good option for you. However, there is a learning curve to successfully creating and selling digital products and printables. You need to research what type of products will sell, how much to sell them for, and how to get your products found on the internet.
Fortunately, there are both free and paid resources for learning how to get started with this kind of business!
4. Blogging and Affiliate Marketing
Blogging and affiliate marketing often go hand in hand and are a great way to generate passive income, which means you get to make money even while you sleep!
The idea is that you grow an audience by creating valuable content surrounding a particular niche. That might be written content through a traditional blog or other mediums like YouTube videos.
Once you have an audience, you can become an affiliate for companies or products you support and earn a commission by plugging them into your content.
You can also make an additional income by utilizing ads and sponsored content.
While that sounds like easy money, the reality is it can take a lot of work up front to build up your traffic and audience.
As someone who both blogs and freelances, I can tell you that blogging can take much longer before you start seeing a payoff.
You absolutely can make money as a blogger or affiliate marketer as a beginner; you just need to be aware that it will likely take a greater investment of time (and money) to get it off the ground.
All businesses require time and patience, but this one probably requires the most of both.
The flip side is that it’s arguably one of the most rewarding businesses to have!
If the prospect of starting a new blog seems overwhelming, this post on how to set up a blog is a great place to start!
Final Words on Making Money Online as a Beginner
My best advice on making money online as a beginner is to invest in yourself and your skills if you can.
Yes, you can figure it out on your own. But the journey is a hundred times easier (and shorter) if you can invest in some training.
No matter which path you choose, it will be a learning process. But it’s a journey worth pursuing because there’s no feeling like getting that first paycheck from your work online!