It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
I make a list of some of the most amazing products on Amazon and eBay (which I have joined as affiliate associate) and write articles to market them in subtle ways. My trick is to choose products around a topic ’10 Hair Styling Tools for Lazy Dancers’ or ’14 Trendy Shirts for Smart Professionals’. It is easier to attract traffic to such quick lists – and sell the products. ;)
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In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
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Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
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One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.
If you design a wildly popular app (which is harder than it sounds), you might be pleasantly surprised with the income they generate. Offering one or more apps at the iTunes or Android app store gives your creations wide exposure to prospects. And income can be generated by charging for the app, displaying in-app ads, or charging for in-app features and upgrades.
Many work-from-home jobs that you find will require you to sit at your computer for long periods each day. So it’s super important that you have a comfortable space to work! Even if it’s just a comfortable chair pulled up to an old table that’s the right height, or a spot on your couch, put some thoughtfulness for your future self into your home office. Your body will thank you. (Oh, and make sure it’s in a quiet spot!)
Create a killer course experience: With your course validated and in the works, you need to figure out how people will take it. Most course creators choose to host their courses from their own websites. This way, they get all the value of bringing customers back to their site on a regular basis. I host my own courses from a subdomain on my own site so I can easily add more. The course experience is incredibly important as well. And after trying most of the solutions, I highly recommend Teachable—an online platform designed specifically for courses.
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Creating a jobs board website can be another profitable venture. The ‘jobs’ field can be quite saturated, so it is important to find a niche that is still crying out for a jobs board website. Monetize this type of site by charging businesses to list their jobs on your site. Those searching for jobs could also be charged a fee to access the higher paying job adverts.
Working as a freelancer is a great way to make money online from the comfort of your own home. The beauty of freelancing is that you can tailor it to suit your needs. You can freelance for a couple of hours a week in the evenings to help save up for a holiday or some much-needed home improvements. Or carve out a full-time job for yourself, giving you a more satisfying work-life balance and enabling you to do the simpler things in life like taking the kids to school. With so many jobs available online, freelancing is becoming more and more popular.