E-commerce sales topped $6 trillion last year and are growing at around 10% annually. Which means there’s still huge potential and plenty of room for newcomers. So, if you’re new to generating revenue online and not sure where on earth to start, keep reading. This article will show you how to make money online for beginners and guide you through 15 strategies perfect for newbies.

From freelance writing and dropshipping to social media management and affiliate marketing, I’ll provide you with practical steps and insights to help you begin your journey to earning an income online. No previous experience? No problem. That’s where I started. Let’s explore the possibilities that are literally at your fingertips.

Key Takeaways

  • Start your online money-making journey with freelance writing by creating a compelling profile, finding your niche, and building a strong portfolio to attract clients.
  • Capitalize on the e-commerce boom by setting up a dropshipping business or your own store, focusing on product selection, supplier partnerships, and smart marketing strategies.
  • Leverage your expertise and interests to generate income through affiliate marketing, offering virtual assistant services, and creating digital products or courses that resonate with your target audience.
Man writing article on laptop

Venturing Into the World of Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is an excellent avenue for making money online. With the rise of digital marketing, businesses are constantly in need of unique and engaging content. Whether it’s blog posts, social media content, or product descriptions, freelance writers are in high demand. And the best part? You can start making money online from the comfort of your home and at your own pace.

Starting your freelance writing journey involves establishing a professional profile, discovering your writing niche, and assembling a good portfolio.

Setting Up Your Freelance Profile

If you’re serious about freelance writing, setting up a professional profile is your first step. It’s a virtual business card – a snapshot of your skills, experiences, and services. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are excellent platforms to showcase your skills and connect with clients globally. A professional profile should include:

  • A profile picture that presents you in a professional manner (no drinking cocktails on the beach)
  • A compelling headline that grabs people’s attention and highlights your expertise
  • An engaging summary that showcases your skills, experiences, and what you can offer to clients

Spend some time on this: it can set you apart from the competition and attract potential clients.

However, it’s not just about creating a profile – it’s about optimizing it too:

  • Clearly state your role
  • Highlight past work samples (best examples first)
  • Clearly list your services (and skills) and pricing
  • Incorporate relevant keywords that clients will be searching for

Your aim should be to stand out in the crowd and make it an easy choice for potential clients browsing a long list of writers.

Finding Your Writing Niche

Every successful freelance writer has a niche or two they specialize in. It’s the subject matter you know inside and out and feel passionate about. Whether it’s technology, health, finance, or travel, your niche is your ticket to standing out and attracting the right clients. The key to finding your niche is to identify the centre of 3 overlapping circles: (1) your interests and passions, (2) your expertise, and (3) a healthy market.

This lets you to create exceptional content that deeply connects with readers and sets you apart in a fiercely crowded market. The goal isn’t to be a generalist – it’s too competitive – but to become an expert in your chosen niche.

Building a Portfolio

Assembling a varied portfolio is vital for freelance writers. It’s your proof of expertise, your brand’s showcase, and your key to attracting potential clients. A portfolio should highlight your best work across relevant genres, writing styles, and content types. Some examples of what you can include in your portfolio are:

  • Published articles in reputable publications
  • Blog posts on different topics
  • Copywriting samples
  • Social media content
  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Press releases
  • Self-published articles (self-publishing is easy if you don’t have any yet)

Remember, a portfolio isn’t a repository of all your work – it’s a curated collection of your best work that aligns with your niche and audience. It should boost your credibility and provide valuable context for your specialized work.

Dropshipping concept displayed in wooden blocks with images of the process

Crafting an Online Storefront: Dropshipping

If writing isn’t your thing, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to make money online. Starting a dropshipping business has become a very popular method for selling stuff online. And that’s a lot to do with the fact that you don’t need to hold any inventory. Instead, when a customer buys a product from your online store, you order it from a third-party supplier who then ships it directly to your customer. You don’t have any of the hassles of packaging and delivery.

This makes the dropshipping business model a great choice for beginners because of its minimal startup costs. You don’t need to invest in stock or worry about storage and shipping. All you need is a website, a supplier, and a knack for marketing. Ok, I made that sound easy. It is hard work, particularly because it’s so competitive. But, the rewards can be huge, as the profit margin is often so high. You’ll also need to find reliable suppliers, market your store effectively… and, of course, choose the right products to sell.

Choosing Products to Sell

Selecting products to sell is the first step on the road towards establishing a thriving dropshipping business. To do this, you need to do your research. Look at market trends, identify customer pain points, and find products with high demand and, ideally, low competition. The key is to sell products that are not only popular but also align with your brand and target audience.

Next, you need to evaluate the competition. By checking the number of sellers for your product, you can see how competitive the market is and determine whether it’s worth entering. Remember, the goal isn’t to sell products everyone else is selling but to find unique goods that differentiate you from the competition. Equally, if you find a gap in the market, you need to make sure there’s a market in the gap.

Partnering with Reliable Suppliers

In the dropshipping business, your supplier will be your most important ally. After all, they’ll be storing, packing, and shipping the products on your behalf. Therefore, it’s essential to find reliable suppliers who offer high-quality products, fast shipping, and excellent customer service.

But finding reliable suppliers isn’t enough – you also need to form strong partnerships with them. This involves communicating your expectations clearly, negotiating terms, and maintaining good relationships. You’d be amazed how a strong relationship with your supplier can lead to better prices, faster shipping times, and potentially higher product quality.

Marketing Your Dropshipping Store

After establishing your online store and selecting your products and suppliers, the next step is to promote your store. Marketing your dropshipping store involves driving traffic to your website, converting visitors into customers, and retaining those customers for repeat purchases.

There are multiple ways to market your dropshipping store. These include:

  • creating a high-converting website
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Blogging to create awareness for your brand and products
  • Customer data analysis
  • Encourage customer reviews
  • Influencer partnerships
Diagram of the different parts that make up ecommerce

Launching Your Own E-commerce Site

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to making money online, consider launching your own e-commerce site. Unlike dropshipping, running your own e-commerce store gives you greater control over your business. You can choose the products you sell, manage your inventory, and handle shipping and customer service yourself.

Although starting an e-commerce site seems intimidating, it’s simpler than you might think, which makes it one of the most popular online businesses for people starting out making money online. You need a user-friendly website, a selection of products, and a strategy for driving traffic to your site. And with platforms like WooCommerce, Wix, Shopify, and BigCommerce, setting up an online store has never been easier.

Designing a User-Friendly Website

The success of your e-commerce site largely depends on its design. A well-designed website not only looks good but also makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. This means having clear and intuitive navigation, high-quality product images, and detailed product descriptions.

But a user-friendly website isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s also about performance. Your own website should load quickly, be mobile-friendly, and provide a secure shopping experience for your customers. In the realm of web development, the key to a successful e-commerce site is to make the shopping process as easy and enjoyable as possible for your customers.

Optimizing for Search Engines

To attract visitors to your e-commerce site, you must fine-tune it for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) involves using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and building backlinks to improve your site’s visibility on search engine results pages.

Getting traffic volume is important, but you also want the right traffic. By understanding what your target audience is searching for (called ‘search intent’) and tailoring your content to match their needs, you can attract more qualified visitors to your site – people who are ready to buy. The goal of SEO isn’t just to rank high on search results pages but to attract visitors who are likely to become customers.

Managing Inventory and Shipping

Administering inventory and shipping forms an essential aspect of operating an e-commerce site. You need to ensure you have enough stock to meet demand and that your products are shipped quickly and efficiently to your customers.

To manage your inventory effectively, consider using inventory management software like Zoho or ShipBob. These tools can help you keep track of your stock levels and prevent overstocking or running out of stock. For shipping, consider partnering with reliable providers like FedEx, or UPS to ensure fast and reliable delivery.

A group of young people distracted by social media on their smartphones

The Power of Social Media Management

Social media has transformed the mode of communication between businesses and customers. With billions of users worldwide, social media platforms provide an unparalleled opportunity to reach a wide audience and engage with them directly. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, managing a social media presence has become an essential part of running an online business. And with Facebook Marketplace, you can connect with potential customers in an even more targeted way.

Managing social media goes beyond merely posting content. It involves constructing a brand presence, interacting with your audience, and monetizing your accounts. These three elements form the backbone of successful social media management and can help you turn your social media presence into a profitable business.

Building Brand Presence

Building a strong brand presence is the first step to successful social media management. This involves creating a consistent look and feel across all your social media platforms, posting regular and relevant content, and engaging with your followers.

By identifying your target audience, understanding their needs and interests, and tailoring your content to match, you can create a brand presence that really resonates with your followers and sets you apart from the competition.

Engaging with Your Audience

Engaging with your audience is a crucial part of social media management. It involves responding to comments, asking questions, and sharing user-generated content. Audience engagement not only makes them feel valued but also fosters a sense of community and loyalty.

Responding to comments is important but so is being proactive and actually starting conversations. By asking questions, sharing interesting facts, or posting behind-the-scenes content, you can create a dialogue with your followers and keep them engaged and active on your page.

Monetizing Social Media Accounts

Last year, almost $2 trillion was spent on social media commerce worldwide. Ways to monetize your social media accounts include:

  • Converting your followers into customers
  • Sponsored content
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Ad revenue

By leveraging your growing audience, you can generate a steady income from your social media accounts.

To make money, you need to provide value. Whether it’s through informative blog posts, engaging videos, or exclusive deals, you should always provide value to your followers. Once you have their trust, the income will follow. The key to successful monetization is to balance your promotional content with valuable, engaging informational content that keeps your followers coming back for more.

Course instructor presenting an online course showing how to make money online for beginners

Capitalizing on Digital Products and Courses

Creating digital products and online courses offers another revenue stream, especially for those looking at how to make money online for beginners. Whether it’s an ebook, an online course, or a downloadable design template, digital products allow you to share your knowledge and skills with a wider audience and generate passive income.

Creating is only half the story – you also need to know how to sell your digital product. This involves once again identifying your target audience, creating engaging promotional content, and choosing the right distribution platforms. The downside to digital products is that the workload is mostly front-loaded. However, the benefit is their ability to continue earning you money for many years afterwards.

Identifying Marketable Skills

The initial phase in crafting a digital product or course involves recognizing your marketable skills. These are skills you have mastered and that others are willing to pay to learn. Some examples include:

  • Photography
  • Graphic design
  • Cooking
  • Gardening

Actually, the possibilities are endless.

Yes, you need to identify which skill you’ll choose, but you also need to validate it. This involves researching the market demand for your skills and then evaluating the competition. You need to make sure there are enough customers for what you’re offering.

Creating Quality Content

Once you’ve identified your marketable skills, the next step is to create quality content. This involves making engaging, informative, and well-structured content that provides value to your audience.

The course market is very competitive, so you want to stand out. And the best way is to make something that’s better than the rest – providing not just information but an experience. By using visuals, interactive elements, and personal stories, you can create a learning experience that is engaging and memorable.

Selecting the Right Distribution Platforms

Choosing the best online platforms and distribution channels is crucial to your success. As well as listing your product or course, you need to reach your potential customers. Popular distribution platforms for digital products and courses include Udemy, Teachable, and Gumroad.

Once you’ve found your audience, you need to provide a seamless user experience. By choosing a platform that is user-friendly, reliable, and supports your content format, you can ensure a smooth learning experience for your audience and increase your chances of success – and repeat business for future courses you may create later.

Screen displaying an affiliate program

Engaging in an Affiliate Marketing Program

Like dropshipping, affiliate marketing lets you earn money without ever creating your own products or services. You earn a commission for endorsing other people’s. By sharing an affiliate link on your website, blog, or social media profiles, you can earn money for every sale or lead generated through that link.

Sounds easy, but you need to promote products that resonate with your audience. By choosing programs that align with your niche and audience, you can create authentic, valuable content that also drives conversions and generates affiliate income.

Finding the Right Affiliate Program

Look for programs that offer competitive commission rates, reliable tracking systems, and products that align with your niche and audience. By assessing the commission structure, product quality, and support provided by the affiliate program, you can ensure that you choose a program that offers the best potential for earnings and fits your marketing strategy.

Promoting Products Effectively

Once you’ve selected your affiliate programs, you need to promote your product. This involves creating engaging content, sharing your affiliate links in a non-spammy way, and providing honest reviews and recommendations. You need your audience to trust you, or they won’t buy through you.

By promoting products you’ve tried and believe in and being transparent about your affiliate relationships, you can build that trust with your audience and increase your chances of generating sales.

Tracking and Optimizing Performance

Constantly monitoring your links is vital in affiliate marketing. By analyzing the data and your performance in the search engines, you can see what works – and what doesn’t… which keywords easily get traffic – and which are too competitive. Monitor your website’s rankings with tools like Google Analytics.

Diagram illustrating all the services a virtual assistant can offer

Exploring the Gig Economy: Virtual Assistant Services

If you get satisfaction from assisting others and you possess organizational skills, working as a virtual assistant (VA) might be an ideal way to earn money online. VAs provide administrative support to businesses and entrepreneurs, handling tasks such as email management, scheduling, and data entry. (If this is your strength, you could be a virtual data entry specialist.)

By identifying your strengths, tailoring your services to meet client needs, and continuously improving your skills and processes, you can build a successful virtual assistant business and generate a steady income online without having to ever visit an office.

Defining Your Service Offerings

The initial step towards launching a virtual assistant business is outlining your service offerings. This involves identifying your strengths and skills and tailoring your services to meet client needs.

Once again, this is a competitive market, so by focusing on a specific area of expertise, such as social media management or customer service, you can set yourself apart from other virtual assistants and attract clients who need your specific skills.

Marketing Your Virtual Assistant Business

Next, you want to promote your business your business. This means creating a professional online presence, networking with potential clients, and showcasing your expertise through testimonials and case studies.

By communicating effectively, providing excellent customer service, and exceeding client expectations, you can build long-term relationships with your clients and grow your business. If you’re good, you may find that your next gig comes from a word-of-mouth recommendation.

Streamlining Your Workflow

Efficient workflow management is essential when working as a virtual assistant. Use project management tools, set clear boundaries and expectations with clients, and continuously improve your skills and processes.

Being a VA can be demanding. But by setting clear boundaries, prioritizing your tasks, and taking time out, you can maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout.

Man gaming on his games console

Transforming Play into Pay: Earning Money Through Online Gaming

If gaming is your passion, why not transform it into an income stream? Online gaming offers a myriad of opportunities to make money online fast, from streaming your gameplay to competing in online tournaments. Yes, you’re playing games, but you’re also building a community.

By engaging with your audience, providing entertaining and educational content (and continuously improving your gaming skills), you can build a loyal following and generate a steady income from your gaming activities.

Streaming Your Gameplay

Streaming your gameplay emerges as one of the most prevalent methods of earning money through online gaming. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow gamers to share their gaming experiences with a global audience and earn money through ad revenue, donations, and sponsorships.

By creating engaging content, interacting with your viewers, and showcasing your unique personality, you can attract a large audience and turn your gaming hobby into a profitable business.

Competing in Online Tournaments

Participating in online tournaments and completing online surveys are two avenues for making extra money through online activities. These tournaments offer cash prizes and sponsorship opportunities for top performers, providing a lucrative opportunity for skilled gamers to earn money fast.

By continuously honing your skills, learning from your mistakes, and staying motivated, you can improve your performance and increase your chances of winning.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to make money online, from freelance writing and dropshipping to social media management and stock photos. By identifying your skills, pursuing your passions, and continuously learning and improving, you can turn your knowledge into a profitable business.

Every month, there are new communities across the world connecting to the Internet for the first time, so the potential to earn online is huge – and, crucially, still growing. Still not convinced you could make it online? Last year, only 20% of all global purchases were online. There’s still plenty of room for your online idea – and the price of failure has never been cheaper. If it doesn’t work, it might only have cost you a few bucks. So, what have you got to lose?

Want even more money-making ideas?


How can I make money as a freelance writer?

To make money as a freelance writer, set up a professional profile on freelance platforms, find your writing niche, and build a strong portfolio to showcase your skills and attract potential clients.

What is dropshipping and how can I make money from it?

You can make money from dropshipping by selling products online without holding any inventory. Choose the right products, find reliable suppliers, and market your store effectively.

How can I make money through social media management?

By building a strong brand presence, engaging with your audience, and monetizing your accounts through sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and ad revenue, you can make money through social media management. Start implementing these strategies and see your earnings grow!

What are digital products and how can I make money from them?

You can make money from digital products like ebooks, online courses, or design templates by creating and selling them on your website or through distribution platforms. It’s a great way to leverage your expertise and creativity to generate passive income.

How can I make money through online gaming?

You can make money through online gaming by streaming your gameplay on platforms like Twitch and YouTube and by competing in online tournaments with cash prizes and sponsorships available.

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Image of the author Richard Riviere

Richard Riviere

Richard Riviere is a former wage slave who decided there must be more to life. Turning 50, he quit his job to try earning an income online and get his life back. From knowing zero about e-commerce, he managed to replace his 9-5 income within a year. He now teaches other midlifers how to start living life on their own terms.