How to Make Money Online Explained From A-Z

Are you looking for how to make money online? Are you wondering about how you can start getting paid with just an internet connection?

The beauty about making money online is that this now covers a wide spectrum from becoming an “influencer” on Instagram who promotes products to writing your own book all the way to selling advertising space on a personal finance blog.

Let’s look at how to make money online…

How to make money online

“How do you make money online?”

This is one of the most common questions that I get asked because the topic of work always comes up in real life. I’m pretty flexible and I get to train during the day. So naturally people wonder as to how I have all of this free time.

I’ve been making money online (from side hustle to full-time income) since 2008.

How’s this even possible? How does one start to make money online?

We’re going to break down every realistic way to make money online in this article.

What are the different ways for how to make money online at a glance?

  1. Blogging.
  2. Freelancing.
  3. Social media.

We’re going to break each of these down. These aren’t just my experiences. I’ve had entrepreneurs come on my podcast, my YouTube show, and on here in interviews to share their stories. This article is going to link to people making money from activities like posting food pictures on Instagram to offering tutoring services.

How to make money online strategy #1: Blogging.

This is the most common way to get started because most bloggers write articles about how to start blogging to promote a hosting company for a referral fee.

This is why you see all kinds of articles promoting the idea of starting a blog. Some of these companies pay up to $100 for every referral. So naturally, bloggers promote blogging so that they make money from you starting a blog.

Does that make sense?

I’m not trying to be a hater. One of the best ways to make money is through affiliate marketing. What’s the best affiliate? Selling the dream.

With that being said, blogging is still a great way to make money online! I started this blog in 2008 because I wanted to give out financial advice but I wasn’t sure how to start (there was no Instagram yet). I noticed that blogs were exploding so I jumped in. I haven’t been able to stop blogging for almost 11 years now.

How do you make money from blogging?

  • Affiliates. This is where you promote other products. You promote a product in exchange for a commission typically. The type of products that you promote will depend on your niche. For example, you can start a fitness blog where you occasional review supplements and training programs (the most vague example that I could think of). You make a deal with the company. You get paid whenever a reader signs up or whatever the terms are.
  • Using your blog as a platform. You can use your blog to launch your own services or to promote whatever you have to offer. Some bloggers have gotten into public speaking, consulting, coaching, and freelance writing. I personally got into freelance writing through Studenomics. My writing on here got me noticed. I got hired to write for other sites.
  • Selling advertising. You can sell direct advertising space by working with advertisers. The rates depend on how popular your blog is. For the first few months you likely won’t have any interest, but I assure you that it feels euphoric to finally close that first ad deal (usually $20).
  • Selling your own products. You can create your own products. I’ve written books and created courses. You can check out my Amazon author page or my $10K Club course page for my examples. This will obviously take time, but I prefer to be in control.

Before you start a blog and try to get rich, I want you to know one thing…

You have to build a decent audience!

You can create all of the products in the world, but if there’s no audience, you won’t make any money because you won’t have anybody to buy your stuff. This means that you have to get pretty decent at marketing, SEO, and getting the word out about your blog.

Here’s the final thing that I’ll stress about blogging: you owe it to yourself to at least purchase and share some of your ideas with the world.

It will only cost you a few bucks and it’s good to have domain name. I link to my best material on the topic later on. You can sign up with SiteGround for a few bucks right now. It’s easier than ever to start making money blogging.

How to make money online strategy #2: Freelancing.

Have you heard of freelancing? This is usually the best way to start making money online.

What’s freelancing all about?

You perform a service for money over the web. You get paid to complete a specific task. 

What are the benefits of freelancing?

  • You get paid for the work that you do. With blogging you have to hustle and hope that something takes off.
  • It’s super easy to get started. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars or hours of time to get started with an initial offering.
  • You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to be a good coach or good at what you do.
  • Everyone has something in them that they can perform as a freelancing service.
  • All sorts of services have a market online (I’ve seen everything from graphic design to dating tips take off as a freelancing service).

With that being said, you have to be really good to get noticed. You can’t turn in crappy products and expect to get return customers.

I’ll show you how to start freelancing soon. I want you to think about what type of service you can perform for a fee as you scroll.

Check out my ultimate showdown between blogging and freelancing. Then read up on how to get freelancing experience.

Freelancing-ish 2.0.

You don’t have to offer your freelancing service online. Some jobs will always be better done in person (getting a haircut, yard landscaping, personal training, and so on). You can use the web/social media/blogging to promote your real life service. Everyone uses social media in some form. Go where your audience is.

Here are some examples from people that we’ve covered:

  • My brother Adrian promotes his barber shop online. He started an Instagram page to promote his services.
  • Farhan start selling shirts online and offline from the trunk of his car. This led to him helping produce the shirts for others.
  • Theo started tutoring in person which he promoted through Kijiji. He built a website to promote his in-person tutoring.

Everything can be promoted online. Even if your service isn’t even remotely offered online, you can promote it across social media platforms to increase your business.

Option #3 for how to make money online: Social media.

We did a post on how social media can make you money. I just started dabbling in this to be transparent so I’ll be updating you as I make more money through social media.

How do you make money from social media?

  1. Promote your blogging/freelancing services on popular social media platforms. You can build up an Instagram/YouTube/Facebook/Twitter page that you use to promote your other offers. Social media makes it ridiculously easy to reach the world. Talia shared with us how she makes a killing through her food page when we looked at unique freelancers.
  2. Become an “influencer.” If you become famous on social media, you can get paid to be an influencer. I know that you’re tempted to laugh at this one, but it’s real money. I’ve only been able to get free access to events and the occasional sponsored post from social media thus far.
  3. Work directly in social media. Social media has created full-time and location independent jobs. You can manage an account for someone or work in advertising.
  4. Get popular on a platform or multiple platforms. If you get popular on a platform, you can sell advertising space. If your YouTube show, podcast, or Instagram page takes off, you could make really good money from directly selling advertising or promoting your own products.

There’s a lot more that goes in to all of these. This is a quick overview so that you know where the money will come from.

What’s the easiest way to make money online?

The good news is that you can tie all of these three in together. You can start a blog as a home base and use social media to promote your freelancing/blogging ventures.

How you can make money online

Not one way is the easiest.

I would start by trying to get into freelancing.

The goal should be to see if have a marketable skill that can translate to dollars.

How do you start freelancing? Here are the exact steps to follow…

  1. Think of what service you can offer.
  2. Think of people that you can offer this service to.
  3. Find out where these people are.
  4. Find way to offer them your service.
  5. Perform the task.
  6. Get paid.

Here are a few quick ways to test the waters with freelancing:

  • Post an ad on Kijiji. The quickest way to try gauge interest is to throw an ad up. See if anyone bites.
  • Sign up with Fiverr. Offer your service on Fiverr to get some experience and to test the waters.
  • People Per Hour.
  • Throw out a message on Facebook. Use your social media to let people know about the service that you’re offering.

You don’t have to complicate freelancing. Think of a service and offer it. If nobody bites, change your offer or try a different service. The goal here is to find what works and to eliminate what doesn’t work.

Check out the video with my friend Eric Rosenberg who started writing personal finance articles on the side until he earned enough money to quit his day job…

How can I start making money online?

How to make money online

“Can I do something like that?”

I often get this question from friends. I try to be helpful.

Here’s what usually happens: Many people will read articles about making money online for years without taking any action.

Here are things that you absolutely shouldn’t do if you want to make money online:

  • Share corny motivational quotes.
  • Sell shirts.
  • Talk about making money online. It’s so played out.
  • Watch Gary Vee videos for 8 hours straight.
  • Tell everyone about how passionate you are.

Check out my best articles on the topic:

  1. How to start a blog in 20 minutes.
  2. The exact steps to getting paid to be a writer online.
  3. See how 9 famous bloggers made their first dollar online.
  4. Rent a room on Airbnb.
  5. The article about starting an online business that I wish someone wrote a decade ago.

Here’s exactly how to get started with making money online…

This is exactly what I would do if you told me to start from scratch today.

Step 1: Think about which strategy you’re going to use to make money.

Choose one platform and one strategy. Don’t try to be everywhere (my biggest mistake). Focus in on one thing. You have to decide on this before you can move forward. You can combine two strategies, but too spread yourself too thing by trying to be everywhere at once.

Step 2: Create a “home base.”

Where will people find you? What’s your home base going to be?

I use Studenomics as my home. I’ve sold courses and books through here. I can be contacted through here.

I’ve recently started a separate Instagram account for my unique style of eating. The home base there is the Instagram profile. I have the profile connected to a blog and a Facebook business page. I have story highlights, a link to my writing in the profile, and videos/posts to consume for hours.

Create a base where people can find you and what you have to offer. All social media platforms allow you to link to your page or wherever you would like to send interested people.

Step 3: Find an audience.

Who’s your target market? Who’s your exact customer/viewer/fan?

99% of people get lost on this for some reason. They create general content with no end user in mind. I’m not sure who they’re trying to target.

You have to know your audience and where they are.

Step 4: Create a product or service for your audience.

What will you sell to this audience? What will you offer?

It’s fun to promote and to create content, but you have to ensure that you have something to sell if you want to make money from this.

[Note: you can get away without selling directly to people. You can sell advertising space.]

Step 5: Promote your product to your audience.

Promote. Get the word out. Work on your marketing and copywriting. I could go on for hours with this one so I’ll stop here before this material gets to 10,000 words.

I know that I’m simplifying the steps. I don’t want to stress you out. The key is to test your ideas out and to try to get paid. You can’t be stuck at day one for the next five years.

This leads to an interesting question…

Can you live the good life by making money online?

I’m not here to sell you the dream. I’m not promising passive income or an easy life.

The best part of making money online is that you can work from anywhere at any time. The worst part of making money online is that you can work from anywhere at any time. It never ends.

There are people who make a killing from very little effort. I can’t say that this has ever happened to me. I’ve never had it easy. I’ve made decent money though.

Here’s what can happen for you if you decide to try to make money online:

  • You’ll have a new source of income.
  • You can have more money for fun with a side hustle.
  • You can eventually quit your job if you save up enough and start making good money.
  • You can work in bed.
  • You’ll annoy your partners by working on vacation.

Here’s what won’t happen to you if you want to get rich quick from the web: 

  • You won’t live on the beach while millions roll in.
  • You won’t become an instant celebrity.

I can’t concluded this article without a warning.

Warning: Be careful with this whole making money online thing. This topic attracts all kinds of charlatans.

It’s easy to spend money on schemes that get you nowhere. It’s common to work on five different thing at once without ever fully committing to one thing. Try not to let these things happen to you.

I wouldn’t worry about getting too fancy when you’re first starting out. I would focus on creating a product or business that people care about. You can worry about business cards, funnels, and all of that stuff when you have money coming in and actual proof that what you’re doing has potential.

That’s how you can make money online. I can’t tell you what’s the best way to get started because I don’t know what skills you have.

How do the experts make money online?

I turned to Twitter to ask my friends who are much richer than me to see how they were making money online. Here’s what they had to say…

Bridget Casey @moneyaftergrad:

– brand partnerships (sponsored content)
– affiliate income
– advertising revenue
– product sales
– speaking engagements

unsolicited extra advice:

– Identify your 2-3 most profitable avenues and focus on doubling revenues, then double again.
– Double-dip whenever possible. ie. insert your affiliate links into a sponsored post or promote your own product at a speaking event (just ask first).

If you get 3 different revenue streams producing $1,000/mo, you can quit your job.

If you get the same 3 producing $5,000/mo, you can hire people and quit your business.

Then you can spend all day on Twitter.

Josh Overmyer @Jovermyer1:

In short: I don’t. But I’ve leveraged my excitement about this content and love of the community/connections into a paid position with FinCon this year. I’m going to get paid to hang out with my favorite people and put on a great event. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Daniella @iliketodabble:

Affiliate marketing, sponsored partnerships, serving ads on my blog, etsy store, freelance design + dev, flipping guitars + collectibles on Ebay and apps like Reverb, resell designer brands on Poshmark and Mercari, & online research studies/product testing.

Laura @EverydayLake:

Started the blog in early 2018. My writing there & social media interaction helped me land my 1st client that summer. Over the last 8-9 months, I’ve gone from making $50-200 per mo. to $3.5-5k per mo. I’m still actively growing & hope to hit 5 figures per month by year end.


– Sponsored posts on Twitter, IG, Facebook
– Advertising events
– Brand partnerships
– Blog ads
– Affiliate income
– Consulting about social media, blogging
– Running accounts for people/businesses
– Merchandise
– From donations
– Participating in focus groups
– Running contests

Amanda @mylifeiguess:

Affiliate marketing, ads, branded partnerships, a little freelance writing, a little virtual assisting.


I teach. I create ebooks, websites, and video courses to bring certain technologies to non-engineers, and make some extra pennies.

Alyssa @MixedUpMoney:

Freelance, sponsorships, and networking to earn positions as a Marketing contractor. Someone also once offered to buy my site. There are tons of ways to make $ online! But it takes a few years to build momentum.

You have more than enough in here to get started. How are you going to make money online? Stop sharing motivational quotes and find a way to get paid.

3 thoughts on “How to Make Money Online Explained From A-Z”

  1. Very good post. You really hit the target on how people can start out making money online. I personally started off not to long ago, and I can honestly say that is definitely a learning process. The steps you have explained are vey accurate. The sad part is that most people starting off will try to find that magic system that will just sky rocket them to success. They try to skip these steps without realizing that they must lay a foundation in order to start earning anything. I guess the bottom line is, You gotta do the work.

  2. This is an excellent article. You truly hit the nail on the head when it came to how people may get started making money online. I only started a few months ago, and I can honestly tell that it is still a learning process for me. The steps you’ve outlined are really precise. The terrible issue is that most people who are just starting out will look for that magical system that will instantly propel them to success. They try to skip these processes, oblivious to the fact that they need to create a foundation before they can earn anything. I suppose the basic line is that you have to put in the effort.

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