Students’ Guide to Making Money Online

Money, via PixabayFor the vast majority of students, there is often an element of inequality when it comes to comparing their income with their outgoings.

Many of us consider student life to be one of the best periods of our life and a time where we not only lay the foundations for a successful career, but we also want to earn enough money to enjoy an active social life and pay our way through college and university.

The traditional additional income stream for students has often been taking on part-time bar or restaurant work to supplement their income. But things have changed since the internet, and you now have the potential to earn the money you need online.

Here is a look at some of the legitimate online opportunities available and ideas to help you boost your income and ensure that your bank manager is not a regular caller on your phone or writing to you every other week.

Wealth warning

The first thing to say about making money online is this: there are a large number of sites that offer a seemingly easy way to earn cash from home, only to actually end up costing you money rather than making it. You do have to check out the claims, and talk to others about their experiences.

You definitely can earn money online, either by using and offering specific skills that you have acquired or by fulfilling relatively simple or repetitive tasks which will reward you for the hours you put in without any previous training or experience being needed. For example, you can make money just by watching videos, rating products or by putting your writing talents to good use if you prefer

Small amounts can turn into large amounts

Another point well worth mentioning before we go through some of the best opportunities available online, is to point out that many of the earning opportunities tend to offer relatively small amounts of money for each task.

The key to successfully banking a worthwhile amount of money over the year, is to look at the bigger picture and remember that when you add all those regular small sums of money together, they can quickly turn into a more significant number on an annual basis, when they are all put together.

Whilst there may be some lucrative big-money schemes that could actually work for you and help you to earn a substantial sum of money in a short space of time, there is almost certainly going to be a greater element of risk attached and the chances of the scheme turning out to be a scam, increase in line with the tempting sums of money being promised, as per the previous wealth warning section.

Beware of scams

Not every opportunity you see is genuine and you can end up out of pocket or wasting valuable time on something that turns out to be a scam. Try to research claims that are being made if you can and visit sites like http://www.scambusters.org/category/advice or http://www.wikihow.com/Spot-an-Online-Scam to spot the telltale signs that you money-making scheme you are interested in, is anything but a money maker.

Chapter 1: Earn cash from YouTube

YouTube / courtesy of PixabayYouTube is a global phenomenon and one of the most visited sites on the planet, which means that there is a chance that you could earn some cash by creating some homemade videos that become an online hit.

Many of us are aware of the videos that go viral and earn large sums of money for the owner by racking up millions of views but even if you don’t manage to hit the big time with your offerings, you can certainly create an income stream if you do it right and give people what they want to see.

Get involved with the YouTube Partner Programme, which lets you earn a percentage of cash from the adverts that run alongside your videos. The sums of money that you can earn can vary quite a bit and are reliant on the number of views you manage to achieve, but with a series of videos running, you could generate a regular income stream.

You need to apply to YouTube in order to become a partner and as long as you already regularly upload clips that attract a reasonable amount of views before you make your application, you stand a good chance of being accepted.

It will cost you about $100 to set up, but you have a reasonable chance of earning upwards of $50 per month once you get established. Some people earn a lot more than that and many of the success stories involve establishing a niche in something you are good at demonstrating or doing, so that you become the go-to person on YouTube and every new video you then post, adds more regular income.

Chapter 2: Get paid to watch videos

If you prefer to get paid to watch videos rather than make them, there are several sites who offer payments or vouchers in return for rating promotional videos and adverts.

Check out the forums for sites like Maximiles and Jingit amongst others, to see how other people find the system is working for them and to try and avoid getting involved in a scheme that is either not very lucrative or doesn’t pay out how you would expect them to.

Rate My Video should serve as a warning. It was very popular and had plenty of members signed up, but closed without warning a while ago. Always keep in contact with other on forums to keep up to date with any developments on sites you are doing work for.

Using Maximiles as an example, they upload new videos every day and you earn points for each one that you view. Watching these quick ads won’t earn you a fortune and might amount to about $250 of vouchers for the year, but getting some money in your Amazon account in the form of a gift voucher, is always a welcome bonus.

Other sites to consider include Swagbucks and Gift Hulk, which offer other ways of making money as well as by watching videos, such as searching the internet, answering online polls and other related web activities.

Chapter 3: Get paid to write

WordPress / PixabayIf you have a bit of creative talent and fancy the chance to earn some money for your literary abilities, there are a number of ways in which you can get paid to write online.

Sites like Textbroker, act as a your literary agent so to speak, which means they work as a middleman and take a cut for finding a buyer for your articles or other content. You can expect to earn somewhere between $7 and $50 for each article that gets sold and you may find yourself writing content for adverts, newsletters, website content or blogs about sporting events or topics like finance and home maintenance etc.

Sites such as Constant Content and Textbroker will ask you to submit a short piece as an example of your writing skills and in order for them to assess whether you can accurately construct sentences and use correct grammar.

It may take you a short while to establish a regular flow of writing work to begin with, but if you enjoy writing and have good grammatical standards, you can create a good regular income by being paid to write online.

Another source of income as well is written content, includes data entry, providing product reviews and carrying out web research. Take a look around to find companies such as Clickworker, who have a range of paid jobs on offer that can earn you a regular income.

Be prepared to take a test for any of these companies offering work for writing and remember that regional differences can make a difference when it comes passing the assessment and providing the writing style they are looking for, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t make the grade with first company you apply to.

You might want to take a look at sites like http://www.minterest.org/how-to-make-money-writing-articles/ and http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-make-money-writing-for-the-web to get some more ideas on who to approach and how to go about writing content that will sell.

Write an e-book

If you have specialist knowledge or think that you could write a book that others might want to read, there is a chance you could earn money by self-publishing.

If you want inspiration, consider that Fifty Shades of Grey actually started out as a self-published Kindle e-book. Whilst you may not be able to emulate the amazing success enjoyed by the author E L James, it is worth remembering that every book that sells, will earn you up to 70% of the list price, which soon adds up to a tidy sum, even if you sell a few hundred copies.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing tool is very easy to use and allows you to upload your e-book instantly and without any charge. Your book can cover any subject and if you have specific knowledge about something in particular, you might find that other people will pay to read your opinions and advice on the subject or topic.

Take a look at sites like http://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/how-to-self-publish-an-ebook/ and find out how to publish without giving 30% to Amazon at http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2013/07/31/self-publishing-an-e-book-here-are-4-ways-to-leave-amazons-30-tax-behind/.

Chapter 4: Do some gigs on Fiverr

Five dollars / courtesy of PixabayIf you want to do almost anything to earn $5 each time you provide a service, then consider Fiverr, which is believed to be one of the world’s largest marketplaces for making money by selling small services.

These services, which are referred to as gigs, can be literally anything that someone wants you to do for a small fee, like creating a social media post to playing a prank on someone. Although the fee for each gig might seem quite small, there are actually a good number of people who are managing to generate a reasonable income from the site.

Another angle worth considering with Fiverr, is to advertise in other places and on other sites for work and then outsource the job to someone advertising on the site with the required skills, such as a logo designer or whatever it is you need doing. This way, you could quickly turn a $5 cost into a profit by charging your customer at a higher rate.

Become a Mechanical Turk

If you don’t mind being what amounts to a small cog in a large wheel, you could apply to become what is referred to as a Mechanical Turk for the internet behemoth Amazon.

Based on the concept of internet crowdsourcing, business advertise through Amazon for assistance with scalable tasks that require a team of people and a fast turnaround. You will probably be asked to complete some mundane chores like data entry or form filling, but your reward is cash rather than vouchers.

It seems that only U.S based people are currently eligible for sign-up at the moment, but you will probably find something similar at a site like Clickworker.

Chapter 5: Brainstorm more ideas

Still struggling for ideas or inspiration? Here is a list and a reminder of just some of the best ways to make money on the internet.

Sign up to an affiliate marketing program

There are over 1,000 to choose from and the commission can be up to 75%, but success and glory don’t come easy and some help and training is often needed to make a real success of this idea. You can get some inspiration and pointers from sites like http://www.affilorama.com/

Set up an ecommerce store

You could be up and running with an internet storefront with a relatively small investment and if you get it right, you will make good money and might even attract an acquisition offer.

Make cash from blogging

There is definitely money to be made from blogging and the trick to making large amounts of money from your online blog, is to generate a high volume of traffic, normally from a specific niche that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Become an eBay seller

Selling on eBay seems to be a feast or famine scenario for a lot of people. Selling successfully is certainly not easy, but if you manage to find the right product line where profit margins are high and competition is minimal, you could become one of those extremely large sellers on eBay. Have a look at a site like http://www.salehoo.com/ which is a great resource for suppliers and inspiration on what to sell.

Become a trainer or mentor

If you have learned a foreign language skill or maybe have a acquired some qualifications and knowledge that others will find useful, offer your services as a trainer or mentor.

Become an outsourcing resource

Consider setting up a business that offers an outsourcing service. Putting your knowledge and contacts to good use can earn you a profit by charging a margin for your services.

Trade the forex markets

Big money is made and lost with daily fluctuations in the FX markets. Trading currencies is an activity that comes with a  severe wealth warning but if you manage to grasp the analytical skills needed, you can make some serious profits. Take a look at a site like http://www.forexfactory.com/ for a grasp of the basics and to see what others are doing and talking about on the forums.

Learn to create apps

If you are prepared to invest in learning about coding languages and build apps through someone like http://www.codecademy.com/ you might be able to generate an income by selling the apps for a recurring fixed fee or by charging clients for creating bespoke apps for them.

Office / PixabayUse your writing talents

If you have a flair for creative writing and have the ability to produce compelling articles and blogs, there are many ways that you can turn your writing talents into cash.

Internet research

Another good way of building up some regular credits in your bank account is by doing some online research.

There are a number of companies around such as 63336 and The Opinion Panel, as well as American Consumer Opinion, to name a few. These companies offer you the chance to sign up and then get paid to answer questions or provide your opinion on a range of products and services.

You should not expect to pay any money to become a member of many of these companies, so definitely be wary if you find someone offering you a lucrative income stream in return for an up-front payment to become a member.

Chapter 6: Getting the most out of your online ventures

  • Make sure that you regularly withdraw any cash owed to you in online accounts rather than let it build up.
  • Set up a dedicated email address for your online earning activities, so that you have an easier way of keeping track of everything.
  • Always try to spend any gift vouchers as quickly as possible, as some of these have expiry dates.
  • Remember that the tax authorities will need to know about what you are earning, so keep a record.
  • Be patient and don’t expect the money to come rolling in from day one. It takes time to build up a regular income.

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