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5 Legitimate Ways to Earn Money Online ~ For the Self Motivated

If the recent economic upheaval has your brain in overdrive and your stomach in knots…you’re not alone.

If you’re a self-starter and motivated it’s probably also crossed your mind that this is a great time to find a legitimate way to earn money online.

Huge life disruptions always bring positive change down the road.

I totally believe that and have experienced it many times in my life.

But, just watching the news right now can be mind-boggling at best.

The only thing any of us can be sure of is that this crazy disruption to our daily lives (due to the COVID -19 virus) will change many things in the years to come.

Some of the changes will be temporary and some of them will be permanent.

But guaranteed, most of it will be out of our control. 

What we can control, however, is how we react to it all. 

This new health crisis is forcing us home and after the novelty wears off there will no doubt be some serious soul searching going on.

We can wallow in self-pity and fear or we can take a step back and use this downtime to regroup and focus on what’s really important in our lives.

Especially around the topic of money, how to earn more of it, and how to recoup our losses.

If you’ve been considering ways to build another income stream, boost your savings, supplement your retirement plan or hell, just survive, there is no better time than now!

And if you have no idea where to start… then this will be helpful, even if it just gets you thinking in a more positive direction.

I’ve been working from home for eleven years now and there are so many legitimate ways to work online (from anywhere) that I wonder why more people aren’t jumping on board.

I realize it takes a certain kind of person to make a real go of it.

But in these uncertain times, I really think it’s important to have money coming into our homes from different sources.

All your eggs in one basket…

That’s never been the best strategy but these days our world is so volatile that this approach to your finances can flat out bankrupt you.

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

Now that I got all that off my chest…and you’re still reading, let’s dig in and find a solution that works for you.

I’m going to focus on five ideas that I have personal experience with and that I know are “doable” even if you’re not the super “techie” type.

There will be a learning curve to all of it, but that’s normal and expected for anything that’s worthwhile. Besides, you decided to read this when the title clearly said this article was for the self-motivated!

Just know that the skill set you develop will be highly sought after for many years to come and will open many more doors of opportunity.

Oh, and in the spirit of doing my part during this world crisis, I’d like to offer some help (free of charge) to anyone just starting out online.

You can contact me through my website to ask specific questions via email or we can set up a video chat.

Seriously, I wish someone who was already working in the trenches could have given me a bit of guidance or just let me bounce a few questions off them so I didn’t waste a ton of time.

So I’m guessing that some of you are wishing the same.

Paying it forward with gratitude is my motto. So pick my brain …you just need to ask.

So let’s get at it…this is a great time to learn something new and exciting!

1 ~ Affiliate Marketing

Photo by Nikolay Tarashchenko on Unsplash

FYI — This blog includes affiliate links — which means I may receive some sort of compensation (at no cost to you) if you sign up or make a purchase through these links.

Essentially affiliate marketing involves a business paying a commission (usually a percentage) to others, known as affiliates, for referring new business to the merchant’s website.

It’s also performance-based, which means affiliates only get paid when their promotional efforts actually result in a transaction.

How do these Affiliate Programs track your transactions and commissions?

They do that by providing you with an “affiliate link”. 

When you sign up for their program you will provide a name you wish them to track you under. They’ll all have their own parameters and instructions when you sign up, but they’ll create a unique link just for you to share.

That unique link is then embedded in the URL of the product you’re promoting. Anyone who clicks your link and completes a transaction will track back to you.

That link also tracks all your commissions.

Examples of who offers affiliate programs;
  • Walmart
  • Best Buy
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • eBay
  • Shopify

There are plenty more, but I listed huge companies that you’d recognize so you understand that this is real.

This form of marketing has been gaining ground and has become more and more popular.

Most businesses have adopted this method of advertising because of how the industry has changed over the years. I see new ones showing up all the time.

So how do you get started?

You can be an affiliate of as many businesses as you wish, but it’s a good idea to choose companies you trust yourself and feel good about recommending.

Go online to their websites and find the link to their Affiliate Program. Some will use a different name — for example, Amazon uses the term “Amazon Associates.”

Note: Sometimes you have to go down to the bottom of the website page to their footer to find the links to sign up.

Each program will be slightly different as far as the percentage of commissions paid and how often, but there is usually a simple step by step process to follow.

Once you’ve done that, they’ll assign you an Affiliate Link (as we discussed above) and you’re in business.

Share your unique links on Social Media Platforms, in messages or with your email list.

If you already have a website it’s pretty simple to set up the referral links with banners that the company will also provide you.

If you don’t have a website and you want to get serious with Affiliate Marketing you’ll need one.

But even that is a lot less complicated these days than it’s ever been. I decided on WordPress because it’s simple, inexpensive and it supports blogging well.

I also put this list together recently of 30 things I wish I’d known before I started building my website. After I figured it all out the hard way, I thought it would be of great value to someone just starting out.

Here are some of the simplest Website Builders I found through my research;

WordPress — WIX.com — Squarespace — Weebly.

The type you pick should be in line with the type of work you’ll be doing online. So here’s a current (2020) in-depth review by Steve Benjamins, who knows a lot more about that stuff than I do.

Websites also require a website host — a company that stores your website on servers so it can be viewed on the Internet. The cost will vary, but it’s not necessary to spend more than about $12–$15/year for the service.

I decided on Namecheap because it’s been around a long time. I also found it to be user-friendly, inexpensive and they offer a matching email address for your business, which I also highly recommend.

There are so many options here that I recommend you do some of your own research on the topic, but Namecheap is very inexpensive, it’s a solid company and I haven’t had any issues with it at all.

2 ~ Sell Products on Amazon

Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

Do you buy things on Amazon? Sure, most of the world does.

Did you know you can also sell your own homemade products on Amazon?

How about turning ‘Your Hobby’ into an online business?

This takes us back to our passions again — what do you love to do that doesn’t feel like work at all?

Maybe you make beautiful jewelry or you spend hours on woodworking projects for fun. Or maybe you’re an artist and you draw/paint? The opportunities here are endless depending on what you like to create.

If selling your products on Amazon sounds like something that might be up your alley…

Here’s a detailed guide on how to do that by Steve Chou. He’s an expert in that field and has lots of great information to share on that specific topic.

If you don’t have your own products to sell, here’s another option;

Create an Online Store with Drop Shipping:

With the explosion of eCommerce, dropshipping has become extremely popular. It works like this: you create an online store that offers products from certain other manufacturers.

A person visits your site and orders a product, and then your system sends the order to that specific manufacturer.

The manufacturer then completes the order by shipping it directly to the customer.

One of the cool things about this type of business is that you do NOT need to order inventory or have those upfront costs that feels so risky when you’re starting out.

The customer pays for the product and you collect the profits, and the manufacturer stores and ships the products to the customer, you’re just the middle man.

It’s that simple.

If you’re interested in starting a dropshipping business, consider using a platform like Shopify or Volusion to build your online store.

They even offer FREE Trials, so you have time to figure out if it’s a good fit for you.

3 ~ Create an Online Course

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Online courses can be a great source of passive income, and they are very popular now. They can be low-cost mini-courses or more in-depth with a bigger price tag.

I know I love taking quick mini-courses on topics I want to know more about, and I love the fact that they arrive in emails or can be downloaded.

That way I can complete them at my own pace and in the comfort of my own home.

Although a course (with great value) can take a bit to put together, you’re doing the work once and selling it over and over again.

Here’s how they work…

You create a value-packed online course that helps solve a problem or fills a need.

Again we’re drawing on your wealth of knowledge — stuff you already know that you don’t realize has a high value on the internet and people are searching for right now.

Pick something you’ve already done at work — let’s say you really enjoy making those spreadsheets 🙂

You could start doing video snippets to visually show people how to do each step. Show them shortcuts you’ve learned over the years or build a guide for beginners with all your quick tips.

Here’s the key…

You inject your own personality and your own unique twist on things. Maybe you’re quick-witted and you can enlighten people learning to do the basics, but also make it fun!

There are no limits here…other than your imagination.

How do you really get a grip on what your course should be about?

Well, start by asking yourself…

  • What do I know that could be of help to someone else? 
  • Are there things you’re known for amongst your family and friends?
  • What do you love to do and what comes naturally to you?
  • What kinds of things do your friends ask you for help with?

Some Other Examples;

  • Are you a natural-born leader or super organized?
  • Maybe you’re good at putting healthy, organic meals together?
  • Do you love family trees and all the research that goes into it?
  • Do you just have a knack for taking great photos?
  • Maybe you’re the “yard sale” queen of your neighborhood?
  • Or… perhaps you love to travel and do reviews.

The course can include videos, e-books, articles and emails with pertinent information.


Maybe you already have a blog that can be repurposed into a mini-course.

Whatever floats your boat and can be of value to others can be turned into an automated course. It’s a great way to share your knowledge online with others and get paid for it.

Customers sign up to purchase the course on your website, and then your email auto-responder system (I use Aweber ) automatically emails them everything they need to access the materials. 

That way they can do their course at home, and on their own time.

If you prefer face to face teaching you can even do it with live webinars.

You can also set up a membership page on your website; so people will subscribe to your site (for a monthly fee) in order to get access to your course content.

If that all seems too daunting a task to start from scratch — there are platforms such as Teachable that can do all the heavy lifting for you when you’re ready to create your course.

4 ~ Network Marketing

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Most people know what Network Marketing is, and usually have a love/hate relationship with it, as I do, so I won’t go into a ton of detail on it.

If you are still on the fence about the industry and wonder if it’s even a legitimate business, here’s some good information on that.

There are so many of these companies to choose from, but if you’re seriously looking to find one don’t just join because your friend or neighbor invited you to join.

Do your own research and pick something in a category that fits with your beliefs and interests, otherwise, you’ll lose interest quickly.

Regardless of our experiences with it, there is no denying that it remains an excellent way to create a stream of passive income.

It’s been a lifesaver for me more than once, and to this day I still count on a stream that I created years ago but no longer actively work on.

However, it’s not for the faint of heart, it can be a serious emotional roller coaster ride and fraught with rejection.

If you can deal with that part, it can also be very fulfilling. You meet amazing “like-minded” people, have access to some life-changing products, and usually come out on the other side with more self-confidence.

These days a lot of people are working their Network Marketing businesses online because that’s where people spend their time and communicate. 

It also takes a lot of pressure off for those that have more timid personalities.

If you’re going to pursue a Network Marketing business in the 21st century I highly suggest learning how to do it properly on a Social Media Platform(s) right out of the gate.

Here’s a group I can’t say enough good things about – Elite Marketing Pro.

They’ll teach you all the current online methods and they offer a ton of other excellent training about doing business online. They also offer excellent ongoing one on one support.

Even better…they’ll pay you another stream of commission through their affiliate program while you’re learning how to do it!

Yup…who knew!?

Here are 0 Days of FREE Training they offer — it’s loaded with good information about how to build your Network Marketing Business Online.

5 ~ Freelance Writing/Blogging

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Last but not least…this one is near and dear to my heart.

When I dug in to decide what I was passionate enough about to build a business around — “writing” kept surfacing for me.

I just seem to have a ton of thoughts rambling around in my head and I can express myself better on paper.

It’s like I need to write to know what I think.
Seriously…it’s kinda weird.

I just had no idea what to do with that epiphany or how you make a stream of income from it.

I thought blogging and writing articles were a thing of the past. 

That I had missed the boat altogether, and that it wasn’t what people are doing today, but I was really wrong!

Another great place to monetize your writing is right here on Medium.

It makes sense since we’re living in the information age and people are online looking for answers about everything. 

In fact, freelance writers and editors are in very high demand.

It also allows you to merge a couple of these “make money from home” ideas together to get those “multiple streams” of income going.

If you want to learn how to monetize a blog from an expert…

Then Darren Rowse (Problogger) is your guy.

Problogger offers tons of excellent free information that’s fresh and relevant.

He doesn’t yet offer an affiliate program, but when he does I’ll join it because I’ve already referred him to everyone I know that’s interested in this stuff.

He even has a​ ​​​​job site on his website that lists current freelance writing jobs you can do from anywhere.

Many online businesses are desperate for writers who can create fresh content, so if this is something that interests you, there are lots of ways to make some passive income with your words.

The Wrap Up

If you’ve read your way to the end of this article then you’ve got what it takes to set up your own online business.

It will take work — but at least you’ll be building your own dreams instead of someone else’s.

It’s time to capitalize on the “information age” online.

Use some of this unexpected downtime to do a little research…

Remember my offer to help out (free of charge) if you’re just getting started, and I truly hope you found value in this article. 

Cheers to your Inevitable Success!

Paying it Forward with Gratitude ~ Liz

P.S ~ If you like Straight Talk and Practical Solutions you’ll also enjoy…

How Getting Laid-Off Could be Exactly What You Need

5 Signs You’ve Got What it Takes to Work from Home

Liz Porter

I'm Liz, the self-empowered, red wine & coffee lovin', personal growth fanatic behind this website. I've stopped shrinking into places I've outgrown and launched this site in pursuit of my passions. I'm a fan of straight talk and practical solutions - that's why I'm here to Inspire - Educate and Entertain you on your journey to becoming the best version of YOU!

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