Ready, Set, Let's Make Some Money.
Are you tired of schlepping away at your 9-5 job but barely getting ahead? Are you sick of working hard to pour money into someone else’s coffers?
Do you wake up each day wishing you had a better lifestyle –one filled with excitement and passion? Do you ache for the freedom to design your own workday – to earn more money and escape the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle?
If all of this describes you, I totally get it. And I’ve absolutely been there, too.
My Journey Toward Earning More Money
When I was 19-years-old, I landed my first “cool job” in the mall. Suddenly, I went from being broke to making “real money” for the first time in my life. As a teenager who had never really worked before, I felt I had finally gotten my big break.
After I deposited my 1st paycheck, however, I went completely off the rails. I went straight to the mall to stock up on new clothes and nutritional supplements (protein powder and creatine for my big guns!) without worrying about how much I was spending – or if it made sense at all.
Unfortunately, the feeling of euphoria I initially felt was short-lived. Why? Because I found out how bad I was with money just a week later.
I had bounced not one – but two – checks!
Not only was I broke once again, but I had to pay stupid overdraft fees, too. I was irate!
Although I felt like the world’s biggest loser, this was a pivotal point in my life. Once my dad heard of my struggles, he offered sound fatherly advice.
“Try budgeting your money,” he said.
As a 19-year-old, I balked at the idea. In fact, the idea of budgeting made me downright nauseous.
Instead of cutting
back on things,
I wanted to make
While his advice was solid, I decided to take an alternate approach to improving my finances. Instead of cutting back on things, I wanted to make more money instead.
And, what a huge, life-changing difference that’s made.
But, here’s the thing: My dad’s advice was, and still is, awesome. Cutting back on spending isn’t a bad idea for anyone, and it can make a big difference in your finances over the long haul.
However, I always believed (and still do) that finding ways to make more money would make a much larger impact on my life.
It turns out I was right.
Here's the truth all the savings gurus in the world refuse to acknowledge: There are only so many ways you can cut your expenses. You can cancel your cable television subscription, quit dining out, and make your own laundry detergent if you want, but your bills can only be hacked so far.
On the flip side, there are literally hundreds of ways to earn more money. And with each new strategy you learn, you can begin working towards building real wealth and achieving financial freedom.
How You Can Get Started
No matter where you are in life – or where you hope to be – earning more money is the ticket to the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. Once you start earning more money, you’ll gain control over your life in ways you never thought possible.
You might have to fail a thousand times to make it happen, but you’ll eventually realize the secret most wealthy people already know – that earning more money is your ticket to freedom.
It won’t always be easy. The bulk of successful entrepreneurs and side hustlers don’t get rich overnight. The majority of the time, you have to experiment with more than one money-making venture before you can decide your best path to building real wealth.
But, if you learn anything from this guide, I want you to learn this:
The spoils of life go to those who show up every day.
The fact you’re even reading my words tells me you’re a go-getter who is tired of struggling with a regular income. You showed up, you’re ready to earn more, and I’m here to help.
WHO AM I?
My name is Jeff Rose and I’m a financial advisor turned blogger turned entrepreneur. I’m the author of Soldier of Finance, and I’ve earned over $1 million of dollars blogging on my website, Good Financial Cents.
I write popular columns that help people manage their money in magazines like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and U.S. News and World Report. I also created my own online course for financial advisors, which earned six figures in revenue in its first year alone.
As featured on:
Who is This Guide For?
This guide is for the hustlers who just don’t know where to start, the fathers who want so much more for their kids, and the mothers ready to get paid what they’re worth.
Most of all, this guide is for anyone who feels helpless to increase their income. Your heart is in it, but you need guidance and ideas to get started.
Maybe you maxed out your pay at your full-time job but still want more. Or perhaps you’re just tired of cutting expenses to achieve minimal results.
Or maybe you’re:
- a hard worker who has the drive to succeed
- sick of wishing you had more money, but never doing anything about it
- not afraid to work hard to get what you want
- wanting more out of life than your parents and their parents had
- ready to get started making more money today
- someone who refuses to give up
Heck, maybe you’re all these things. Either way, this guide to making money will solve your problems – one dollar bill at a time.
Why Frugality Isn’t Enough
Remember my dad’s advice on cutting expenses? It’s fine and even factual, but it won’t help you get rich. Why? Because not spending money can only take you so far. Here’s why:
No matter how much you save on your cable bill, you can't grow rich if you don't earn more.
- There are only so many bills to cut. You can switch to a cheaper smartphone, eat beans and rice every night, and shop thrift stores all year long, but you’ll only be able to cut so much. After all, you still have to live!
- Sacrificing all the time gets old. It’s hard to restrict your spending for a week, let alone your entire life. Raise your hand if you want to spend your life scrimping and saving! Nobody? Oh, ok.
- You’re still limited by your income. No matter how much you save on your cable bill, you can’t grow rich if you don’t earn more. Why? Because you’re still limited by what your boss agrees to pay you.
- Inflation eats away at your paycheck every year. The worst part about relying on the income from your 9-5 job is that it won’t get any better if you only get a small annual raise. In fact, your money will be worth even less with each passing year.
Why Earning More Money is Your Ticket to Freedom
Frugality can turn you into an old, miserly cheapo fast. Once you get in the habit of never spending cash, you start to forget what it means to have fun. Worse, it forces you into a scarcity mindset that doesn’t help grow wealth.
But, earning more? Earning more money has the opposite effect. Here’s why it’s your ticket to freedom, too:
- There is no limit to the amount of extra money you can earn. The best part about earning more money is that the potential is exponential. In other words, there is no limit to the amount of cash you can earn on the side. The sky is the limit!
- You don’t need permission. You don’t need to ask your boss for a raise to earn extra cash on the side. Once you decide you’re ready, you can get started.
- You can use extra money to build even more wealth. Wealth tends to snowball on itself. Once you have some extra money to invest, you can use it to get even richer over time.
- You can afford to splurge and have fun. Being broke taught me I prefer having extra cash to spend. It’s nice to take your spouse out to a nice dinner or treat your kids without worrying over each dollar you spend.
The Change You Crave Starts Here
Do you constantly complain you don’t have enough time, resources, or connections to make more money?
If you approach every situation focusing on the things you don’t have – the scarcity mindset – instead of what you have – the abundance mindset –, then your situation will never improve.
By shifting to the abundance mindset, you’ll focus on the possibilities of making more money and begin working towards those goals. Most importantly, you’ll take action.
No matter where you are in life, it's possible to make extra cash and use it to pay down debt, build wealth, and start living the life of your dreams.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and don't let anything stand in the way of what you truly want.
If you want to make more money, you have no choice but to get out there and take it.
No matter what, nobody can – or will – do it for you.
Making Quick Money
Fast cash won't make you rich, but it can help get you out of a bind or pay down debt.
Even better, it could help you earn the money you need to launch your own business, which could set you up for long-term success.
Don't Make MY Mistake: Leverage Your Strengths
Graduating high school was one of the most exciting times of my life. Unfortunately, I had a huge problem that I couldn’t seem to get away from. I was broke – as in, flat broke.
I was working part-time and earning some money, but it wasn’t enough to afford my social life or my regular bills.
I needed money and I needed it fast. So, I did what a lot of people do when they’re desperate for extra cash; I started checking the classified ads.
After flipping through a few pages, I found what I thought was the solution to my problems. I learned I could donate plasma.
The headline made it all sound too easy.
“Make $40 for 30 minutes of your time,” the ad noted in boldface print.
I couldn’t get there fast enough.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to realize that this “quick and easy money” would be anything but. I had never donated plasma before, so I had no idea I needed to be hydrated beforehand. I showed up in poor shape, which meant my plasma donation took way longer than it should have.
And after 90 minutes of sitting in the chair, I felt nauseous and miserable.
I thought to myself, “Was this worth $40?”
The experience was so horrible I vowed I would never, ever do it again.
While my plasma donation wasn’t one of my best moments, I did learn some important life lessons sitting in that chair. First, I learned that quick money isn’t always easy money. I mean, there’s a reason they’ll pay $40 for 30 minutes of your time – giving plasma sucks! Along the same vein, I learned that some easy money schemes just aren’t worth it.
Lastly, I learned that I could probably make more money by leveraging my strengths.
I mean, anyone can sit in a chair and give plasma, right? The thing is, I knew I had other talents I could capitalize on to make money fast. At the time, I just hadn’t figured out what they were.
Fortunately, I got a firsthand taste of making real money in my spare time a few years later. I had just landed a job at an electronics store, and I was killing it in my new role. More importantly, however, this new job taught me all I needed to know about the side hustle.
One day, after selling a guy a new computer, I received an offer to come and set it up at the customer’s home for $250.
I was only making around $10 per hour at the time, so I couldn’t believe it! Yet, there I was at his house just a few hours later setting things up. It took me less than an hour to plug everything in and install the software.
That side hustle was the easiest $250 I had ever made. And from that point on, I was hooked.
So, do you need money fast?
While earning $250 to set up a computer was sweet, this isn’t something you can necessarily execute right now. If you need money now and don’t have time to wait, this guide provides actionable strategies you can implement today.
While these strategies won't necessarily make you rich, they can help you earn extra side income or help you pay down debt. They can also help you earn the money you need to launch your own business. From there, you can graduate to make even more money.
How does that sound???
The #1 Secret to Making Money Fast: Find Your Secret Skill
What if I told you that anyone could earn quick money on the side? What if I said you don’t need a fancy college degree, pricey technology, or a skilled trade? Would you believe me?
I certainly hope so, because it’s absolutely true. No matter who you are or where you live, you can make some easy cash right away.
All it takes to get started is to figure out your secret skill – the one thing you’re especially good at and passionate about. It doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking or mind-blowing, either.
You don’t have to give plasma like I did to earn quick money. If you look around you, you’ll find that people are earning easy cash for performing everyday tasks – you know, the kind that don’t make you miserable.
For example, do you know how to….
No matter who you are or where you live, you can make some easy cash right away.
- take care of animals?
- drive a car?
- pick up dry-cleaning?
- babysit children?
- answer survey questions?
- take care of a house?
If you can complete any of these simple tasks, you can make money on the side. You just have to know where to look.
Step #1: Set a Goal
Need to earn money fast? Start by coming up with a goal. If your main priority is earning an extra $100 in the next few days, you should start by coming up with a list of extremely simple tasks or side hustles to complete.
A few ideas to consider:
- Watch your friend’s kids while she works
- Join a focus group
- Mow lawns in your neighborhood
- Paint the interior of a home
- Sign up for TaskRabbit.com and run errands
- Give plasma
- Sell unwanted electronics on Gazelle.com
- Have a yard sale
While none of these strategies can help you build wealth for the long-term, they can let you earn some quick and easy money.
Step #2: Execute
The key to earning quick money is finding something to sell, whether it’s your time or an item you own. Once you figure which strategy works best, you can ramp it up and start earning some fast cash!
And sometimes, it’s possible to earn free money – as in, money you don’t even have to work for. By signing up for a credit card signup bonus, opening a new bank account for a checking account bonus, or participating in market research, you can get paid for doing almost nothing.
As you look for ways to earn extra money, make sure to think outside of the box. Sometimes the easiest and fastest money comes from sources you never even knew existed!
Pros and Cons of Making Quick Money
Earning Quick Money: 3 Easy Examples
We’ve already covered some of the quickest ways to make some cash. But, what if you want to earn quick and easy money for the long-term?
Well, you’re in luck. Despite what anyone says, there are a ton of ways to earn quick money. Most of them do require an investment of your time, but the payoff can be well worth it. Need quick money? Here are three possible work scenarios to consider:
Option #1: Become an Uber driver.
Love to drive? If so, you can become a driver for Uber. Of course, you’ll need a little more than your driver’s license to get started. Beyond a clean driving history, you’ll need a reliable and newer vehicle and a smartphone.
Once you apply to become an Uber driver and get started, it’s easy to earn $10 – $30 per hour driving people around in your local area. The best part is, you can decide exactly when you want to work. When you’re ready to earn quick money, you turn your Uber app on and wait for a ride. When you’re ready to quit, you turn your Uber app off. It’s as simple as that.
Why is Uber such a good option for earning money quickly?
- You only need a car, a smartphone, and a clean driving history to get started.
- You can work whenever you want.
- You can earn considerably more than minimum wage, and even up to $30 per hour.
Option #2: Take surveys online.
While driving for Uber is a no-brainer if you want to earn money fast, not everyone wants to spend time away from their family. If you want to earn quick money but are mostly home-bound, taking surveys at home can be both profitable and fun.
Believe it or not, companies will pay you to complete simple tasks online. With certain companies, your tasks are limited to answering survey questions on your home computer. However, other websites will also pay you to watch videos, print coupons, or use their search engines when you browse the web.
Online surveys offer one of the fastest – and easiest – ways to make money quickly. With a website like Mysurvey, you can earn from $0.50 to $3 in rewards just by answering a handful of questions every day. If you meet certain qualifications, you can earn more than $5 per survey taken from the comfort of your own home. Make sure to check out some other survey sites that offer cash back, gift cards, free products, and more:
You can also sign up for InboxDollars, which offers yet another way to earn free cash fast – and from your couch! Just by signing up, you can score a quick $5 bonus. Beyond the bonus, you can earn money by using their search engine when you browse the web, watching videos, printing coupons, and more. If you’re always on the internet and want to earn free money for doing nothing, this is a no-brainer.
Why are online surveys such a good option for people who want to earn cash fast?
- You can earn money in your spare time- even while you watch television.
- You don’t have to leave the house, so you can “work” while your kids are in bed.
- It’s free to get started. All you need is a home computer and internet connection.
Option #3: Babysit dogs with Rover.com.
If you love dogs and want to make money taking care of them on your own schedule, Rover.com provides an awesome opportunity. With this website, you can create a profile online then get connected with people who need animal lovers to watch their pets overnight or during the day. Not only can you set your own rates, but you can decide which type – and size – of animals you want to watch. Best of all, you can watch dogs only on days and weeks when you’re available.
While rates start at around $29 per night, many people charge up to $50 per night for each dog they watch. That means you could earn up to $250 per week just by watching a dog at least 5 nights per week!
Why is Rover.com a good option for earning money fast?
- You can watch dogs from your own home.
- You need few supplies to get started.
- If you love pets, this job will be a breeze.
These are just a few examples of ways you can earn money quickly. Remember, the sky is the limit when it comes to earning quick and easy money. To get started, you just need to find one task you’re passionate about that someone is willing to pay for.
What You Need to Earn Quick Money Today
Earning quick money is so easy anyone can do it, but that doesn’t mean we’re all the same. The right way for you to earn cash fast depends on your unique abilities and skill set. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you map out your path to quick dough:
- What am I best at? Most of the time, the best way to earn quick money is doing something you’re passionate about. If you love something or find you’re especially good at it, try to find a way to monetize it. If you absolutely adore children, for example, the best way for you to earn quick money could be babysitting. If you love fixing cars, on the other hand, helping friends with their automotive problems could be a safer bet.
- Do I have any unique skills? If you have any unique skills, you should look for a way to put those skills to use. Just like I earned a quick $250 for setting up a computer, you can earn quick and easy money utilizing any unique skills you have.
- How much extra time do I have? While some side hustles are more time consuming than others, certain money-making strategies don’t take up much time at all. Before you dive into any money-making strategy, make sure you have the time to make it work.
- Do I need to earn quick money from home? If you have small children at home but can only earn extra money at night, you need a side hustle that you can do from home. Fortunately, there are plenty of jobs you can do online and at any hour of the day or night.
Find One Profitable Idea…and Execute
Remember, you don’t need to pick up five new ways to earn quick money. In other words, you don’t need to be an Uber driver who also watches dogs and babysits and tutors while completing online surveys on their smartphone.
What you really need is one good idea you can execute over and over and over. By focusing your efforts in just a few areas, you’ll earn more extra cash over time – and save your sanity in the process.
So, let’s recap.
- If you want to earn quick money, you need to:
- figure out what you’re good at
- find a simple money-making idea, then execute
- perform your money-making task over and over
It really is as simple as that.
Whether you want to earn more money to pay down debt, finally get ahead, or start building the life you really want, the time to get started is now.
What are you waiting for?
Making Money On The Side
By boosting your income substantially every month, you have the freedom to invest in real estate, start a business, or just live the good life.
This is why earning some money on the side is so important. Sure, earning some money fast can get you out of a jam, but the real key to growing wealth is growing your income.
How Earning a Side Income Helps You Get Ahead
When I was in college, I earned a nice side income by joining the Army National Guard. While my side hustle wasn’t glamorous, I did earn enough benefits to pay for most of my college tuition and fees.
In addition to getting help with college, I also earned some cash on the side. While this was mostly spending money to me, this cash came in handy when I was first building my career as a financial advisor.
I had a level of financial security my friends didn’t have.
Money was tight at the time, but the cash I earned in the National Guard made it easier for me to get by. Because I was making that extra money, I didn’t stress about paying the bills. I could also afford to take my girlfriend (now wife) out to dinner – and not just to Taco Bell!
Several of my friends were also graduating during this time, but they didn’t have any extra income to lean on. Because of this, I watched them struggle to get by and get their careers off the ground. Because they didn’t have any extra money coming in during lean times, every step they took was much, much harder.
Over time, this helped me realize that having an extra stream of income was always a good thing. Because I had more than one job, I had a level of financial security my friends didn’t have.
Moreover, if you invest the extra income for the long-term, it snowballs. Did you know that if you invested an extra $1,000 month for twenty years and earned 7 percent, that money would be worth $507,536 by the time you were ready to retire?
Of course, I’m not the only one if my family who hustled fairly early in life. My wife Mandy also picked up a side hustle after college.
Since she was the captain of the dance team during college, she started looking for ways to capitalize on her skills shortly after graduation.
Fortunately, she got the opportunity to coach a little girls dance team during the early years of our marriage. That worked out great for a while, but eventually, she started coaching the dance team at the high school she graduated from.
Both hustles were great for my wife because she was able to utilize her awesome dancing skills, stay fit, and earn extra cash in her spare time.
Does it get any better than that?
Pros and Cons of Making Money On the Side
Yes, You Can Earn Money in Your Spare Time
Right about now, you’re probably thinking I’m absolutely nuts. You’re probably saying you don’t know how to earn money on the side – and that you don’t have a special talent or skill.
If you think that way, you’re not only holding yourself back – but you’re wrong.
The truth is, everyone has a skill they can market to earn money on the side.
You may need to dig deep to find it, but everyone has a talent they can monetize in some way, shape, or form.
Think about your greatest skills at your 9-5 job. Do you have exceptional computer skills you could sell to people who need help in your area? Are you awesome with people?
Are you obsessed with gardening and helping others maximize their green space? Do you know the best exercises that can help people lose weight?
No matter what, you do have something – some skill – that people will pay for. You just have to find it.
A Warning About MLMs
Before we dig too deep into potential side hustles to consider, I want to talk for a moment about MLMs, or multi-level marketing companies. These schemes promise to help you get rich quick, but usually come with more work – and more expense – than you ever imagined.
I tried several MLMs early in my career before finally deciding I had had enough. No matter what your MLM “salesperson” says, it’s extremely hard to make a ton of money in a MLM like Advocare, Scentsy, It Works!, or Mary Kay.
The vast majority of the time, all the profits go straight to the top and the little guys (like you) wind up spending their own money to meet specific sales goals. Worse, you usually need to recruit a lot of people beneath you to make real money – regardless of how much you sell.
I’m telling you, MLMs are nutty that way.
If you don’t believe me, all you need to do is look at some of their income reports to see for yourself.
Let’s use It Works! as an example. According to the company’s 2015 annual income disclosure statement, 82% of their workers were still distributors. Their monthly earnings ranged from a low of $1 to a high of $3,847, with a monthly average of $54.
With Thirty-One Gifts, the average consultant (92.1 percent of distributors) earned $548 per year. And with Advocare, the average annual compensation paid by to active distributors was $1,586 in 2015.
Are there exceptions to this? Of course there are. You may encounter a MLM rockstar that’s doing really well, or at least “claims” they are doing really well.
Personally, I would want to see their checking account and see what’s being deposited!
While some of those numbers are better than others, none of them are great. I mean, you’re not going to get rich making an extra $54 per month, are you?
Instead of letting someone lure you into an MLM, you should strive to find a side hustle that relies on your strengths and your skills – not one that requires you to sell substandard products or recruit people to sell beneath you.
No matter what, I always suggest side hustles over MLMs or even part-time jobs. Like part-time jobs, MLMs offer paltry pay and take away all your control.
Finding the Ultimate Side Hustle
The problem with most part-time jobs is that they pay very little, yet create intense demands on your schedule. If you get a job in a restaurant or a retail store, for example, they’ll expect you to work hours they decide whether you like it or not.
That’s why I normally suggest picking up a side hustle instead of a part-time job. While a part-time job will help you earn money, it transfers all your power to an employer. Why? Because your employer makes the rules.
While a part-time job will help you earn money, it transfers all your power to an employer.
A side hustle works completely opposite. With a side hustle, you’re in control of the hours you work. You get to decide when you show up and how to set your rates. Simply put, side hustles transfer the power away from an employer and back into your hands.
With that being said, the best side hustle for one person isn’t the same for everyone. Finding the ideal side hustle takes time and patience, along with a willingness to try a few new things.
The key here is thinking about your specific skill set. What are you good at?
In addition to finding a side job that nurtures your existing talents, you’ll also want to look for a side hustle that:
- lets you work flexible or part-time hours
- has the potential for unlimited income
- could potentially turn into a long-term revenue source
Here are some examples:
- If you’re a college student looking for new ways to make money, try tutoring other students in the subjects you’re best at.
- Love kids? Pick up some ongoing babysitting gigs to fill up your spare time.
- If you have exceptional writing skills, pick up ongoing writing gigs online.
- Love the great outdoors? Try gardening, mowing lawns, or laying mulch on the weekends.
- If you enjoy being out on the open road, you could try driving for Uber or Lyft.
When it comes to side hustles, the sky is the limit. If you have any sort of skill you can monetize – and someone will pay you for it – there’s no limit to the amount of money you can earn.
Earn Sweet Side Income with Your Hobbies
Do you have a hobby that people actually pay for?
- love taking high-quality pictures at weddings and birthday parties
- enjoy writing essays
- obsess over a specific sport like football or hockey
- work on cars for fun
- play an instrument and love teaching others
- have extensive knowledge of certain social media platforms
- love to dance (like my wife)
Here’s how you could turn your hobby into a side hustle that pays:
|You love taking pictures at weddings and birthday parties.||Offer low-cost family photo sessions to family and friends.|
|You love writing simple, concise essays.||Look for freelance writing gigs or start a blog in your spare time.|
|You’re obsessed with hockey or football.||Look for a coaching or referee job at a local school or athletic club.|
|You work on cars for fun.||Tell your friends and neighbors you perform basic repairs for reasonable prices.|
|You play the flute, trombone, or piano.||Offer coaching or tutoring lessons to kids in your area.|
|You are a social media expert.||Offer to run social media accounts for businesses in your area.|
|You love to dance.||Teach children’s dance classes in your area.|
As you can see, nearly any hobby can be turned into a money-making venture. And no matter what your secret skill is, you can almost always find somebody to pay you for it!
How to Find People Who Will Pay You
While everything I’m saying here is true, there’s one final step that can turn your dream of side income into reality.
You need to find people who will pay you real money for whatever you’re offering in return.
This part can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. However, it gets a whole lot easier when you know what to look for.
For example, let’s say you love kids and want to babysit during the evenings when you’re not in school. Where will you look for new clients? At the grocery store? The mall?
You don’t want to blindly approach people in a store or other social setting. They’ll think you’re a weirdo, and they won’t want you to watch their kids.
Instead of throwing arrows in the dark, you should try to approach them in a safer setting that makes more sense.
For example, you could…
- create a profile on a website like Care.com, which connects parents with babysitters who need jobs
- post a note on your neighborhood Facebook page to let people know you’re available
- tell your family and friends (people you already know) you’re looking for babysitting jobs
All these options will leave you much further ahead than just blindly approaching people with kids and hoping for the best. The best part is, once you start babysitting, you can usually get more jobs through word-of-mouth advertising.
Now, let’s go back to the chart we were just talking about. Once you figure out your passion, you try to monetize it, right? During this round, we’ll highlight the best ways to find clients who will pay you:
|Side Hustle||How to Find Paying Clients|
|Low-cost family photo sessions to family and friends.||Tell family and friends and create a Facebook page for your new business. Offer to take some free pictures at first so you can use them on your portfolio.|
|Freelance writing gigs or a blog in your spare time.||Post a profile and look for jobs on websites like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, and Linked In Pro-Finder.|
|A coaching or referee job at a local school or athletic club.||Contact schools and athletic clubs and submit an application. Let friends who have children in sports know you’re looking.|
|Basic repairs for reasonable prices.||Set up a Facebook group to advertise your new service. Then ask family members and friends to share.|
|Coaching or tutoring lessons to kids.||Create and drop off flyers at schools in your area.|
|Run social media accounts for businesses.||Create social media accounts to advertise your new business. Then, reach out to businesses who have an unimpressive social media presence.|
|Teach children’s dance classes.||Advertise your services in Facebook groups or online forums that focus on dance in your area. Reach out to schools to let them know of your availability.|
See how that works? The best way to find people to pay you for a service is to target groups who might need you – either in your area or online.
A lot of times, that means spreading the word through family and friends or posting on social media networks. Other times, it means utilizing online websites that bring buyers and sellers together.
How Do You Stand Out?
Once you’ve identified your niche and what you want to offer, how you offer it could be the difference of you closing the sale vs. getting passed over for someone else.
A simple technique that works for almost any service is the simple act of naming your offer or service.
Yes, just by giving your service a name, you'll make it stand out from the rest of the competition. Let’s use an example we previously used: wedding photographer.
Just by giving your service a name, you’ll make it stand out from the rest of the competition.
What sounds more legit?
“Hey, potential client. I would like to offer my photography services for your upcoming wedding. Would you be interested to learn more?”
“Hey, potential clients. I would like to offer my photography package called The Happily Ever After Wedding Collection. This package was created specifically for newlyweds to capture the best moments of their perfect day to cherish for the rest of their lives. Would you be interested to learn more?”
See what a difference it makes naming your product or service? It oozes professionalism and also makes your service more memorable and, most importantly, stand out from the rest.
I learned this with my wealth management firm and our financial planning process. Almost all financial advisors offer a financial plan. To be unique and stand out I needed to create something to differentiate myself from the competition. That’s when I named our financial planning process The Financial Success Blueprint.
After giving our process a simple name we saw an immediate uptick in the amount of inquiries for our services.
It definitely pays to be different!
No matter what anyone says, you can earn money on the side. It may not be easy to get started, but you’ll pick up steam and confidence as you go along.
Like anything else in life, the hardest part is just getting started in the first place. To earn extra money, you need to find the courage to get started – then move forward no matter what.
Making Money Online
Whether it's by consulting, blogging, or selling a product, there is real and significant money to be made online — but it doesn't happen overnight.
Success takes time, but the first step is always the same: get started.
The Growth of Good Financial Cents
If you expected to see me standing in front of a Ferrari here, you’re probably disappointed. But, here’s the thing: I think that type of grandstanding is lame.
And I don’t like lame.
But, do people fall for it? Absolutely.
Most “make money online” gurus pose in front of exotic cars and bikini-clad women because they’re desperate to sell the dream. And their viewers love to cheer them on!
Unfortunately, their version of the dream is far from reality. Most people who make money online don't live lavishly; they work hard, and they pour their souls into building a business that works. No sports cars are required. No gold chains, either.
It took me almost a year to make my first $100 online, and that was March of 2009.
I’m just a regular guy. I never dreamed of starting an online business until my career path somehow led me there. I didn’t even know what an “online business” meant at first. I mean, could an average person really make money online?
It wasn’t until I launched my blog, GoodFinancialCents.com, that I discovered there were thousands of different ways to make real cash on the internet. That was 2008, and years later I’ve made well over $1 million dollars with my blog and other online businesses.
Does this type of success happen overnight? Not by a long shot.
Despite what most of the “make money online” posers want you to believe, online business success takes time.
My story towards online business riches offers the perfect example of slow growth. It took me almost a year to make my first $100 online, and that was March of 2009.
If you’re not an online business owner, that probably sounds sad. The thing is, I knew that first $100 check was really a sign of things to come.
If I could earn $100, why not $1,000? $5,000? Or even $10,000?
It had to start somewhere, right? For me, it all started with that very first $100 check.
Heck, even my wife was kind’ve impressed – or at least impressed enough to let me continue pursuing my online business dreams. Still, I was desperate for those bigger checks – those four and five-figure checks – to roll in.
The good news is, it didn’t really take that long to get there.
That first $100 check soon turned into $200. A few months later, I doubled my blog’s monthly income to $400. Then, six months later, I received my first check for over $1,000.
Trust me when I say this was a huge milestone for me. $1,000? Hell yeah!
Once again, however, that milestone was short-lived. I was completely blown away when, a few months later, my blog started raking in $2,000 per month. Then $3,000 per month….then $4,000 per month.
Just thirteen months after placing ads on my blog, I received a check for $4,319.00. At that point, I was completely floored at my success and convinced it was all up from there.
How to Start an Online Business
If you’re ready to start an online business, you’re probably wondering what steps to take next. While it’s smart to spend some time finding the right niche for your personality and goals, it’s crucial to avoid overthinking it too much.
Far too many people spend so long figuring out the best way to start an online business that they never get started in the first place. Don’t be that person!
If you’re ready to start an online business, the time is now. I’ve spent years researching online business ideas, and the options I’m about to share are some of the best.
What are you waiting for?
Starting a Blog.Online Business Idea #1
If you’re uber-passionate about a specific topic, starting a blog might be right up your alley. Creating a simple WordPress blog is so easy even an internet novice could do it. Plus, start-up costs are cheap. Most of the time, you can get a basic website up and running for $100 or less!
Spend a few days thinking up a simple yet concise concept for your blog. Most blogs that succeed tend to circle around a specific topic. For me, the easiest topic to write about was personal finance and money. I mean, I am a financial advisor after all.
But your blog doesn’t have to be about money. Maybe you love art or poetry or professional football. If you love something, then chances are good other people will want to read about it. Still, you should try to make your blog concept broad enough so it appeals to a large base of readers.
Once you’re ready to start your blog, the first step you should take is searching for domain names on a site like GoDaddy.com. From there, you can follow the steps in my guide on How to Start a Blog.
Once your new blog is up and running, you’ll want to focus on creating killer content for a while. Once you’re ready, you can start turning your blog into a money-making machine like I did. Here are a few easy ways to get the ball rolling:
Blog Monetization #1: Google Adsense
This was the lowest barrier for entry for me when I got started. Once your blog is up and running, you can sign up for a free access account to Google Adsense, get a code, then paste it onto your site. Once you build up a considerable amount of traffic to your website, Google Adsense will start sending you money. How much money? It really depends on how much traffic you have. Like any other online business, building traffic takes time.
Because of how my business was set up as a financial advisor, Google Adsense was the only type of revenue I could pursue at the beginning. Once I changed my business structure, however, I was able to add affiliates and sponsored posts.
Blog Monetization #2: Affiliates
Affiliate advertising may sound complicated, but it’s not that hard to implement. With affiliates, you promote a product or service then get paid when someone clicks on your link and signs up. Affiliates can include anything from Amazon.com to credit cards to debt consolidation programs and more.
When I started promoting companies I believed in and weaving their affiliate links through my website copy, I couldn’t believe the difference it made. By promoting Scottrade, for example, I started earning real money reviewing a company I use and trust myself.
No matter what niche your blog is in, you’ll find affiliate programs that fit the bill. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you set up the links and let it ride. Once you start earning money with affiliate marketing, the cash rolls in while you sleep.
Blog Monetization #3: Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts offer another easy way to make money with your blog. Once your readership is large enough, companies will pay you to mention or promote their products.
Since you should never promote products you don’t believe in, there is definitely a line here that shouldn’t be crossed. As a financial advisor, I would never promote a gambling company. But, have they asked? Absolutely. As a blog owner, it’s up to you to determine what makes sense for your brand.
Sponsored posts can be easy money, but they can also be time-consuming. Also realize that, unlike affiliate marketing or Google Adsense, sponsored posts usually only bring in a one-time fee. Before you agree to a sponsored post deal, make sure the one-time fee you're being paid is worth it.
Are you scared to get started? Then you’ve probably let at least one of these thoughts pass through your brain:
- “I don’t know enough about anything to start a blog!”
- “I don’t have anything to write about.”
- “I’m not an expert.”
- “My life is boring.”
- “Nobody cares what I have to say.”
Please trust me when I say these are all lies – lies you tell yourself to avoid putting yourself out there. If you never try something new, you can never fail, right?
Keep in mind, there are blogs on every topic in the world. There are blogs about pens. Pens!!! ThePenAddict.com writes reviews about pens, and people actually show up to read them!
There are blogs about pug dogs and motherhood and anime and video games. Remember, the internet is a big place – you have billions of potential customers at your disposal. Don’t let limiting beliefs stand in your way of following your dreams when all you need is one good idea to get started.
Creating a Product.Online Business Idea #2
Creating a product may sound crazy and unrealistic, but there are thousands of people who successfully market products online. It can be anything – or a combination of things. Your product can be something you made up, or something you repackage and resell.
Think you can’t market a product online? Check out these ideas:
Product Idea #1: Subscription Services
Years ago, my wife and a friend came up with the idea of putting together a subscription service that caters to moms. Called the “Happy Mommy Box,” this subscription service aimed to make moms happy with a basket of goodies delivered to their doorstep each month.
Since Mandi and her friend were both established “mom bloggers,” they were able to market their new business fairly easily on Instagram. At the peak of their business, they had 1,000 paying customers forking over $30 per month each!
Due the fact we both had growing families, we decided to go a different direction and end the business venture altogether. But it still goes to show how one creative idea can lead to huge profits over time.
Product Idea #2: Selling T-shirts
Another way we made money with a product used the same principle, but worked for a higher purpose. Once we adopted our daughter from the Philippines, we knew we wanted to raise money for her orphanage.
We came up with the idea of selling T-shirts, and we leaned on our Marriage More podcast platform to reach as many like-minded listeners and readers as possible. Over the course of a few months, we wound up selling 1,000 shirts and raising $30,000 in cash for our daughter's orphanage!
If you have an awesome T-shirt idea, this money-making venture is an easy one to try. There are so many platforms that let you try it without ever seeing the T-shirt or handling shipping. Teespring.com is one of my favorites.
Product Idea #3: Write a Book
Maybe you hate T-shirts and want to write a book instead. Believe it or not, it’s extremely easy to create a book on Create Space or Amazon and get it in front of potential readers.
My book, “Soldier of Finance” was traditionally published and initially available in stores like Barnes & Noble. These days, I sell it on Amazon.com and through my own blog.
If you don’t like the idea of writing a physical book, you can focus on creating shorter e-books instead. If you’re an expert on a specific topic or have some interesting stories to share, type it up then use a service like Create Space to put your words into a format that is easily sold and read online.
Product Idea #4: Handkerchiefs or Coffee Mugs
This probably sounds crazy, but a good friend of ours got rich selling baby handkerchiefs online. Steve Chou and his wife (MyWifeQuitHerJob.com) noticed this product was incredibly difficult to find anywhere – including the internet – and set out to change that with their new online store, Bumblebee Linens.
Steve’s goal was to replace his wife’s six-figure income, and that’s exactly what he did. By creating an Ecommerce store and selling baby handkerchiefs, they were able to build up a sizable income so his wife could work at home.
The key to Steve’s success (and many people like him) is that he found a single product to zero in on and got there before anyone else.
Your product doesn’t have to be baby handkerchiefs; but it does need to be something that you can market competitively while turning a profit.
Another friend of mind, Sandy Smith (YesIAmCheap.com), built an online empire marketing a totally different product – coffee mugs. Sandy dreams up ideas for her mugs based on pop culture, designs them online, then markets them online through her Amazon.com store.
One of her most popular mugs was one she designed after Donald Trump famously called Hillary Clinton a “Nasty Woman” during the Presidential debates. Sandy sold so many mugs she couldn't keep up!
Does this sound amazing? Just wait, because it gets better.
Product Idea #5: Digital Products
I just mentioned how Sandy sells mugs through Amazon.com, right? From there, she moved into digital products and started selling courses that show other people how to do the same.
Right now, she offers three courses:
- Build Your Own Business Selling Products on Amazon.com
- All About Drop Shipping
- Start Your Amazon Side Hustle with Periscope Videos
Just think how smart this is. First off, she came up with the crazy idea to design mugs and sell them for a profit. Once she became successful, she started making money showing other people how to do the same.
This, my friends, is what digital products are all about. If you know about something and people are willing to pay for your knowledge, you can make money online.
A lightbulb moment I had a few years back led me to do something similar. I was getting hundreds of emails from financial advisors who wanted to build their online presence, yet I didn’t have the courage to monetize that demand.
You see, I had a lot of self-doubt at the time. Despite my previous successes, I couldn’t help but think the worst. I had some awful self-talk, saying things like:
- “Nobody will buy my course!”
- “I will be so embarrassed when my course bombs.”
- “Why would anyone pay for my advice?”
- “This is a waste of my time.”
Fortunately, a few friends of mine encouraged me to create an online course for financial advisors regardless of my doubts.
And, you know what? It worked. People did pay for my course, and it brought in six figures in revenue during the first year.
If you know about something and people are willing to pay for your knowledge, you can make money online.
Thank God I quit listening to that doubtful little monster in my head. If I had, I would have missed out on huge growth and hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit!
And if you think you don’t have any knowledge to sell, consider this final example. A financial client of mine (a professional bracket racer) used his experiences and triumphs to sell his expertise.
On ThisisBracketRacing.com, Luke offers a paid membership site for $70 per month. In turn, members receive tips and behind the scenes information from Luke himself.
That doesn’t really sound like something people would pay for, does it? Yet, hundreds of people do….month after month after month.
The bottom line with selling a product is that you don’t need to be an expert at everything. You really just need one good idea to get started. From there, you need to commit to a period of trial and error before your product can become the money-making idea you knew it could be.
Don’t let negative self-talk or a fear of trying something new stand in your way. If you can come up with a single product to sell – and do it successfully – you can make money online.
It’s as simple as that.
Coaching and Consulting.Online Business Idea #3
Are you a subject matter expert in your day job? If you know a ton about any subject, you could potentially make money as a consultant.
Does that sound crazy? Think about it. At this very moment, I know people who earn money as:
- Pinterest consultants – these people charge money to teach people how to get better at Pinterest
- Social media consultants – people actually charge money to help business owners come up with a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter strategy
- Blogging consultants – many successful bloggers charge a fee to help other people make their blogs a success
If you work in human resources, you could charge for your time as an H.R. consultant. Build software at your day job? Become a software consultant. Are you awesome at sales? Teach others to do get the same results with your own consulting business.
When it comes to consulting, the sky is the limit. If you have any kind of information people might pay for, you would be selling yourself short if you didn’t at least try to become a consultant.
When it comes to consulting, the sky is the limit.
If you don’t want to deal with the payment side of the equation, a website I deal with can take care of it for you. With Clairty.fm, you set up a simple profile and set a rate to charge for your consulting services.
As you can see on my profile below, I charge $16.67 per minute to get on the phone for a consulting call. That’s $166.70 for every ten minutes on the phone, or around $1,000 an hour.
Imagine if you could earn $1,000 an hour sharing details on a subject you love. Believe it or not, plenty of people out there will pay that much and more to speak to an expert in their niche.
The money is out there, folks. It's up to you to make some of it yours.
Online Business Ideas with the Lowest Barrier to Entry – Blogging
While a ton of business ideas – and even online business ideas – have a crazy amount of potential, some ideas require more capital and time than they're worth. Some business ventures are so complex, expensive, and research-intensive that it takes a crazy person to take them on.
Recently, a friend of mine shared a story that illustrated this idea perfectly. Believe it or not, his story begins – and ends – with donuts.
A financial planning client and friend of mine was interested in opening a Dunkin Donuts franchise a few years back. Good idea, right? I mean, everyone loves donuts.
Unfortunately, he confronted issue after issue as he pushed to make his dreams come true. First, he realized he didn’t have the financial backing to do it all on his own and had to take on a partner. That was strike number one.
But, even after going through all the financial requirements, he was scared off after learning how aggressive they were and how many new locations they planned to open over the next five years. As they got further and further along, he realized it was going to take a lot more time and money than he had ever dreamed. And even then, the risk of losing it all was huge!
From there, my friend decided to start a blog. It was easier, he said, and the venture came with a lot less risk. I mean, a domain costs what? $15? A year’s worth of hosting is another $60.
From there, you’ll spend a lot of time working through the details of your blogging business. But, you know what? You won’t spend a ton of money.
The idea behind blogging for profit is simple:
Domain name + cheap host = business launched
The barrier to entry for blogging is so low that almost anyone can afford to take the chance.
The big price you’ll pay to build a successful blog is in time. You see, blogging isn’t about spending a ton of money on fancy software or products; it’s about the grind.
It’s about getting up every day and writing when you don’t want to. It’s about researching ways to get your articles on the front page of google. It’s about pushing forward even when only your mom is reading, or when your friends laugh in your face and say your blog idea is dumb.
Successful bloggers aren’t always that smart or even that talented. What they do have is grit; people who succeed in blogging are the type that keep going even when everyone else quits.
If you think you have what it takes, you should at least give it a try. Commit to one year as a blogger. You’ll spend very little cash to get started, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself. And if you stick with it, you could become one of the success stories that people love to share.
What are you waiting for?
Remember that every successful blog started with that very first step. The time to take yours is now.
Building the Right Mindset for Online Business Success
Remember how I said I was scared to create a course for financial advisors? Even though I was successful and other advisors asked for my advice, I felt like an imposter.
That’s because I didn’t have the ideal mindset for online business success at the time. I had great ideas and I had a work ethic to match. Still, I lacked the courage to see my ideas through.
Obviously, all that has changed. Through online entrepreneurship, I’ve learned a ton about the type of mindset that helps people succeed. To succeed in the online business world, you have to believe in yourself all the time – even if no one else will.
To succeed in the online business world, you have to believe in yourself all the time – even if no one else will.
Remember, you just need one big idea to make your business work. And that one idea has to start with you. But you’ll never become successful if you spend all your time doubting yourself.
So, next time you’re feeling down or letting doubt creep in, take a moment to turn the conversation around. Instead of letting negative thoughts take over and stand in your way, look for ways to change the conversation. Here are some examples:
|You’re thinking…||Remind yourself…|
|“I’m not an expert at anything.”||Everyone is an expert at something. Remember that guy who runs a successful website about ink pens?|
|“I don’t have anything to sell.”||I need to find one thing to sell that people will buy – just one thing.|
|“I don’t have time to build an online business.”||The great thing about online entrepreneurship is I can do it anywhere with an internet connection at any time of the day or night. I’ll get up early if I have to.|
|“Nobody wants to read my words.”||The internet is home to billions of people. I need to focus on finding my tribe.|
|“I’m not making any money yet.”||I’m on the verge of making so much money it hurts.|
|“Nobody believes in me.”||I will believe in myself – even if no one else will.|
Are You Ready to Make Money Online?
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You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
The time to start building is now, but it all starts with you.
Building Long-Term Wealth
Saving for the future can seem daunting, but it's not as complicated as most make it out to be.
Just remember: the earlier you start and the more income streams you have, the better off you'll be.
Plan Your Strategy and Then Save Early, Save Often
As a Certified Financial Planner®, I meet with individuals and families with varying levels of wealth. Occasionally, I have clients who are ballin’ so hard they barely need my help. Then, there are clients on the other end of the spectrum – the side where money is tight and time is running out.
I remember an instance like this from my first year as a financial advisor. I was meeting with a couple in their early 60’s, and eager to solve their problems. But it didn’t take long to realize I had my work cut out for me.
Combined, this couple had maybe $50,000 saved in their own investment accounts. Their jobs didn’t offer a pension, but they were counting down the days until they received social security.
I remember looking at this couple and flashing back to memories of my own father. Like him, this couple had no hope of retiring. They had never planned for the future, nor had they taken action. They just let life take its course.
And now, all they could hope for was damage control. It was too late for them to do all the right things – to set up passive income streams, to max out their pre-tax retirement accounts, or to start a business.
It was the end of their lives, and they had nothing to look forward to – only working until death and squeaking by on a meager income.
It was so sad, but also completely avoidable.
While this couple and people like them no longer have time to change, it’s possible you do. If you’re looking for ways to build long-term income that lasts, you’re in the right place.
Whether you have ten, twenty, thirty, or even forty years until retirement, there’s still time to make changes that can lead to real wealth.
Just remember, when it comes to building long-term, passive income, it’s crucial to remember this golden rule:
“The more income streams you have, the better off you’ll be.”
The more income streams you have, the better off you’ll be.
When it comes to building long-term income, you need several irons in the fire. If you have money coming in from several different directions, you’re more secure. Because, even if one of them goes away, you’ll have the others.
Unfortunately, building long-term wealth can seem especially hard. How many times have you heard people say:
- “I don’t have any extra money to invest.”
- “I don’t have time to learn about the stock market.”
- “I have no idea how to build a business.”
- “I’m going to work until I die anyway, so who cares?”
These excuses can be true at times. After all, we’re all busy….and it’s possible you don’t know a thing about building long-term wealth.
Then again, it’s never too late to learn, right? Hopefully, that’s what you’re here for.
My Friend and His $647,365.90 Investment Mistake
When it comes to making money for the long-term, I’ve heard the same lame excuses about a gazillion times. “I’ll invest later,” people say. Or, “I don’t know where to start, but I’ll figure it out when I make more money.”
Whenever I hear someone utter these words, I remind them of a friend of mine who thought the same thing and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
While speaking about investing at a high school, I met a bright young man who was extremely curious about investing and building wealth. He asked for my card at the end of my speech, and I gave it to him. I didn’t want to bug him to invest, but I wanted to be around if had questions.
Surprisingly, he called me a few weeks later. He was working at a local telephone company, he said, and he had around $50 per month to invest. Since he was young and didn’t have a work-sponsored retirement plan, I suggested he open his own Roth IRA to build up some sweet, tax-free money for the future. So, that’s exactly what he did.
Amazingly, he kept in touch with me, at least long enough to let me know he boosted his contributions to $100 per month. After that, he boosted it up to $150, then $200.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. After bouncing around between jobs for a while, he ran out of money. Worse, he got scared when the market dropped and made a fatal mistake. Instead of sticking with his monthly contributions to his Roth IRA – or at least putting them on hold – my prize student quit.
That 18-year-old kid is now more than 30-years-old, and he's a far cry from where he could be. He’s taken some distributions from his Roth IRA over the years as well, depleting it down to around $3,000.
But, here’s the sad part: If he had stuck with the plan, increased his contribution by $50 per month each year until age 30, then stuck with the program for thirty years with a 7 percent return, he would have had $647,365.90!
The bottom line: Don’t be like my friend. Building long-term money – the kind that lasts – takes time and dedication. Whether you’re building up passive streams of income, saving for retirement, or building a business, you can’t give up when times are tough!
The Best Ways to Earn Passive Income
When I talk about making money for the long-term, I’m not talking about picking up a part-time job. Instead of earning more through hard work, you can earn money in your sleep.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, making money while you sleep isn’t a pipe dream. Passive income is just as real as your full-time job. It takes a while to set up systems that work, but the passive income you build can last a lifetime.
Don't believe me? Consider these passive income ideas, some of which I use myself:
Income Idea #1: Invest in Lending Club.
If you’re looking for a way to build passive income that lasts, check out Lending Club. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects borrowers with investors.
While lending money to strangers may sound less than appealing, consider this: Lending Club offers the opportunity to earn returns of 10 percent or more each year. That’s a lot more than you will earn with a high-interest savings account.
The downside with this strategy is that, yeah, there is some risk. Like other investments, Lending Club loans can go into default and bring your returns down with them. The good news is, you can spread your risk out over hundreds or loans in increments of just $25. So, if a loan really goes down the tubes, you’re only out so much.
During the eight years I have invested with Lending Club, I have seen returns of around 9 percent on average. In terms of easy and passive income streams, it just can’t be beat.
Income Idea #2: Choose index funds.
Truly passive income should be mostly hands-off. Index funds are a type of mutual fund that lets you invest in the stock market with almost no effort.
If you invest money in an index fund that is based on the S&P 500 Index, for example, your dollars will be invested in the general market. You won’t have to pick and choose stocks, rebalance your portfolio, or worry about when to trade or sell. All of this is handled for you.
When it comes to index funds, you can open a brokerage account and invest almost anywhere. I always recommend Trade King, now known as Ally Invest, mostly because they offer plenty of tools and make opening an account easy.
If you are not familiar with them, check out more details in our Trade King review.
Income Idea #3: Invest with a robo-advisor.
If you crave passive income but want investing help, signing up with a robo-advisor could work. Online advisors or “robo-advisors” like Betterment take the guesswork at of your long-term investing strategy. For a small fee, they will help you choose a portfolio based on your desired level of risk and investing goals.
You can learn more about this strategy with our Betterment investing review. And if you’re leaning toward earning passive income with the help of a robo-advisor, make sure to check out Personal Capital and Wealthfront, too.
Income Idea #4: Write an e-book.
If you’re knowledgeable about a specific topic or just love writing, you can earn some passive income with an e-book. Becoming an author probably sounds complicated, but it’s not that hard in today's world. These days, you can write a full-fledged book in a Word doc or Google doc, then turn it into a book with a website like Create Space.
Once your book is ready, you can sell it over and over again. This is where the passive income comes in. Because writing a book is a one-time thing and you can sell it forever, the money you earn is as passive as it gets.
Income Idea #5: Sell your own products on the internet.
Do you have a product already, or simply wish you could create one? There are literally thousands of handmade products and services being marketed on the web every year, and yours could be next. Products you can sell might include:
- Created goods on a website like Etsy.com
- A course you created yourself
- An ebook
- Printable guides or resources
- Nearly anything else you can dream up
If this sounds crazy, consider this: Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com got rich by creating an online marketplace to sell baby handkerchiefs – yes, baby handkerchiefs! In our podcast interview, Steve explains exactly how the process worked. If you’ve ever wished you could sell a product and doubted yourself, it’s worth a listen.
When it comes to earning passive income with your own product, the sky is the limit. If you can dream it up and buyers like it, there’s no limit to what you can do.
Income Idea #6: Start a blog.
Blogging is another passive income idea that actually works! I should know; since I started my blog in 2009, I have earned well over $1 million dollars.
It didn’t come easy, and the money didn’t roll in overnight. In fact, it took me a year to start earning more than a few hundred bucks per month. But, after that, the profits surged as I learned to scale things up.
With a blog, you can earn money in so many ways it's absolutely stupid. If you can build an audience, you’ll have advertisers lining up to have you market their products through sponsored posts and ad deals. You can also set up advertising networks like Google Adsense or AdThrive, where you can get paid based on traffic and engagement.
Income Idea #7: Dive into affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is another strategy to try, especially if you have a blog or online review site. With affiliate marketing, you get paid when someone clicks through your link and makes a purchase. This strategy lets you sell the products and services of others, whether those include other blogger’s courses and books or regular, everyday products through websites like Amazon.com or Target.com.
If you have a blog especially, you can earn a ton of passive income by placing affiliate links throughout your copy and strategically promoting products.
The best affiliate marketing strategy is one where you only promote products you use in real life. If you can write reviews and share your knowledge of a product or service with the world, you’ll make money and offer value in return.
Income Idea #8: Open a traditional or Roth IRA.
Whether you have a work-sponsored retirement account or not, you can probably open a traditional or Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, your contributions are tax-deductible now but your money grows tax-free. With a Roth IRA, you make after-tax contributions now and your money grows tax-free. But on the back end, you won’t owe taxes when you withdraw your funds at retirement. Score!
When it comes to traditional IRAs, you can only deduct your contributions if you meet certain income requirements. Roth IRAs also have income requirements that limit who can contribute. Make sure you know these requirements before you set up a new account.
Either way, you can contribute up to $5,500 to either type of account (or both collectively) in 2017. If you’re ages 50 and older, you can contribute up to $6,500 with what is known as a “catch up contribution.”
Personally, I lean heavily toward the idea of investing in a Roth IRA. Not paying taxes on your earnings in the future is huge, especially since tax rates could be a lot higher than they are now. Plus, everyone loves tax-free money, right?
Income Idea #9: Purchase high dividend stocks.
High dividend stocks can help you earn passive income at rates much higher than what you might earn at a bank. And since dividend stocks are stocks, there is always the potential for capital appreciation as well. In that respect, dividend stocks can help you earn in two ways – through dividends and capital gains.
If you hope to invest in dividend stocks, start by opening a brokerage account and learning as much as you can. Once you decide on a handful of dividend stocks, you can set up ongoing contributions at regular intervals.
You can accomplish something similar with a company called Loyal3, but with a lot less research. This company offers 65 preselected large companies that let you purchase dividend stocks with no fees. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.
How to Invest Small Sums of Money
Remember all those excuses we just talked about?
It’s not about investing huge sums; it’s about consistency.
- “I don’t have enough money to invest!”
- “I’ll invest later – when I earn more.”
- “I can only invest $50 per month, so what’s the point?”
All that is hogwash.
The truth is, investing small sums of money is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth. It’s not about investing huge sums; it’s about consistency. If you can make even a tiny deposit every month for decades, your portfolio will explode in a huge way!
A few years ago, I showed my cousin exactly how this works. Using historic data from a mutual fund, I explained how $500 invested in a specific mutual fund in 1970 would balloon to $520,637 if left alone for 35 years!
Keep in mind, that’s if he left the money alone for 35 years without adding a dime and the market returned a little over 11 percent. Now imagine what you could do if you invested small sums of money and stayed the course!
The best part is, there are a ton of ways to invest tiny amounts of money every month, growing your wealth dollar by dollar – stone by stone. Some of the best ways to invest just $100 include:
Idea #1: Lending Club
We already mentioned how awesome and passive Lending Club can be. Fortunately, there are no minimum account balances and you can invest as little as $25 in a fund.
Idea #2: Trade King
You can open an account and make trades for $4.95 a pop. The best part is, you can fund a traditional IRA or Roth IRA with as little as $100.
Idea #3: High-Yield Savings Account
Bonus Tip: Pay off all your debt!
While paying off debt won’t help you earn money, it’s important if you want to build wealth. Keep in mind that paying off high interest debts can help you reach huge returns. If you pay off a huge bill at 19 percent APR, for example, you basically made 19 percent on the money you invested into paying it off.
So, invest your money for the long haul for sure, but don’t forget to slay high interest debts that drain your resources. When you’re paying interest on debt, you’re losing money every month. But, when you’re debt-free, all of your gains are yours.
Passive Real Estate Investing Ideas
Back in the day, I thought real estate investing would be the jam. I watched those late-night infomercials put on by a guy named Carlton Sheets, hung on his every word, and received one of his books as a gift.
I was hooked. Unfortunately, it took too long to realize the dream he was selling was a sham.
By the time I realized I’d been duped, my father-in-law and I had already gone in together on an investment property. Unbeknownst to us, we had overpaid and were in over our heads.
The good news here is that I escaped that situation relatively unscathed. We lost our $500 earnest money deposit, but never had to go through with the sale.
Best of all, I learned a ton of important lessons:
- When it comes to real estate, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Sticking with “what you know” makes a ton of sense.
- Super real estate “deals” are extremely hard to find.
- Cash flow can make or break you.
- Don’t let greed control your actions.
With the huge mess behind me, I vowed to never get into real estate again. Of course, I lied. But not in the way you think.
Instead of becoming a landlord, I decided to invest in real estate in a passive, hands-off way. If you’re into real estate but want to earn passive income instead of active income, here are a few strategies to consider:
Strategy #1: Invest in REITs.
REITs, or real estate investment trusts, are investment products that are formed with real estate as the underlying investment. With REITs, you own an investment that is funded and predicated on the success of a real estate venture. You’ll never have to deal with tenants or make surprise repairs with a REIT, but you’ll reap the benefits as the properties you invest in earn money or increase in value.
Strategy #2: Invest in Fundrise.com.
Fundrise.com is a business that lets you invest small sums of money into corporate real estate. While it’s only been around a few years, they’ve produced absolutely crazy returns so far – with an average of 13 percent in 2015!
With Fundrise.com, you fund various real estate investments but never deal with the common pitfalls of property ownership. While returns can be great, keep in mind that the opposite is also true. Like any other investment, you have the potential to lose money.
Strategy #3: Buy real estate notes.
Here’s a strategy I’ve done successfully in the past. Instead of buying actual property, you can invest in real estate notes. I did this with a friend who is an active (and extremely successful) real estate expert. Basically, I funded part of the investment and purchased “notes,” then received a percentage of profits in the form of a return. I never had to fix a leafy roof or deal with a vacant property, but I still made money with real estate. Now, that’s a deal if I’ve ever heard one.
The Real Key to Earning Passive, Long-Term Income
Whether you choose to invest in the stock market, real estate, or something else, the key to earning the kind of income that lasts is sticking with it. You won’t get rich if you invest $50 per month for a year and quit, nor will you build passive income if you brainstorm blog ideas but never start.
To make long-term money, you must put in the work. The good news is, the bulk of passive income ideas require a ton of upfront focus and very little for the long-term. For example:
- You write a book once and sell it over and over.
- You open a Roth IRA, set up direct contributions, and let it ride.
- You create an affiliate marketing plan for your blog, get it rolling, and make money in your sleep.
- You choose an index fund you love, deposit the same $50 every month for decades, and watch the money pile up.
Notice a pattern? It all starts with that first step – with an action. But once that first step is taken, it all snowballs from there.
To build long-term wealth, you have to act. Once you do, everything else falls into place.
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