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How to Make Money Online: 30 Proven Strategies (2023)

Are you dreaming of building your own business or simply looking for ways to make extra money on the side? 

With modern technology advancing before our eyes, there are more ways than ever before to make money on the web. Whether you’re selling your used clothes on a local marketplace site, creating merch to sell to your TikTok fans, or starting a business from a place of passion, there are tools to help.

And if you don’t have an idea in mind yet, this list will show you ideas for making money online—no matter your skill level. Ahead, explore 30 creative money-making ideas, including everything from beginner side hustles to advanced business models.

How to make money online

Man counts money sitting at a deskThe ideas within this section are for those looking to make money in a long term, sustainable way. These businesses will require effort and passion to pay off, but they are also some of the most rewarding and fulfilling ways to start making extra money online. 

 Develop and sell a unique product

When you think of most direct-to-consumer brands, this is what comes to mind: original products that make meaningful improvements to well-known items. You too can develop and manufacture a unique product to sell. Consider designing a prototype for a product that solves a common problem then finding a manufacturer to create it.

Startup time: Several months from design to prototype to manufacturing.

Effort level: High to start. Medium ongoing effort to maintain.

Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds in your bank account on most platforms. 

What to know:

  • Manufacturing domestically means you have more control over quality and sustainability, but your costs may be higher.
  • Research manufacturers carefully to find the right fit for your product and brand.
  • Be sure to consider labeling laws in every region where you plan to sell.


  • Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.

2. Create and sell handmade or custom products

Woman sits at sewing machine making a garmentMaking products by hand is a great way to turn a hobby or passion into a business. You are already an expert at your craft—why not sell your work? Or, explore a new hobby and learn a hands-on skill that you can monetize. Hand-making goods gives you full control over product development and quality, but can be time consuming. Also consider allowing customers to customize each order to their specifications. This is called bespoke, or one of a kind (OOAK).

Startup time: It will take just an hour or two to set up your ecommerce store

Effort level: Depends on whether you already produce goods. High effort to maintain.

Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms. 

What to know:

  • While this is a rewarding small business idea, scaling this model is challenging. To grow, consider bringing on other artists you can train.


  • Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.

3. Sell digital products

Selling digital products is a great way to earn cash with low ongoing effort and cost. These products include guides, ebooks, templates, music samples, plans, printables, and tutorials that can be delivered digitally, in formats like PDF or via log-in access to a portal. This is a great option for creatives looking to sell music or sell art online

Another example of digital content is recipes and meal plans. Food blogger Lauren Fit Foodie sells this content to her audience through Instagram.

Startup time: Once the asset is created, it takes a couple hours to get up and running online.

Effort level: Medium to high, depending on product and ability to grow a customer base. Low effort to maintain.

Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms. 

What to know:

  • Digital goods are scalable, with no limit to the number of times you can sell the same asset.
  • If you want to license your product or use licensed materials, be sure to consult with a lawyer or research licencing laws.


4. Become a reseller 

Reselling existing products can take a number of forms. Whether you buy and resell vintage or collectible items or become a certified distributor of a brand in a specific region, you can start selling products without making any of your own. Another option is to curate products from other brands through your own ecommerce store—say your favorite skin care products for problem skin.

💡 Tip: This model assumes you will be carrying and managing inventory. For a lower-investment option, jump ahead to dropshipping.

Startup time: Varies depending on what you plan to resell. 

Effort to start: Low to medium, as you don’t need to create your own products

Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms. 

What to know:

  • You can find brands to resell by consulting wholesale directories or simply reaching out.
  • AliExpress is another option for finding generic trending products to sell under your own brand. These can even sometimes be customized and considered white label products.


  • An online platform to sell your products.
  • In some cases, you may sign contracts with brands in order to resell. 

5. Monetize a blog

While many businesses use blogs to help drive traffic to their products, did you know that you can make money online with a blog alone? You can monetize a blog in a number of ways, including selling ads, using affiliate links, writing sponsored posts in partnership with a brand, or selling merch or custom products to an audience. 

Startup time: A few hours.

Effort to start: Medium to start, but it will take a lot of effort to maintain.

Time to first payment: Varies depending on how you are monetizing your blog.

What to know:

  • While blogging can be a low-investment business idea, it can take time to pay off.
  • Use SEO practices to drive organic traffic and read about more ways to monetize a blog.


  • A blogging platform.
  • An interest or skill you want to write about—consider a topic where you can bring a unique perspective and offer value to readers.

6. Create online courses and workshops

Woman does an upward dog yoga pose on a matOnline workshops and courses are another form of digital product that you can create to earn income from your expertise. This is a great idea if you are a subject matter expert on a topic people are willing to learn. Selling online courses is made easier using a course platform or your own website. A digital delivery or course app can be installed in your Shopify store to help sell courses online.

Startup time: It can take weeks or even months to write, shoot, and edit an online course.

Effort level: Very high to start. Medium effort to maintain.

Time to first payment: Varies, depending on your course and platform’s payment structure.

What to know:

  • Research your competition: What value can you create beyond what’s already available online?
  • Use free gated content to build your customer list and give potential customers a sample of your offering.
  • Live elements like instructor office hours or exclusive Q&A sessions help sell your course.


  • Audio and video equipment and editing software.
  • A platform to sell and deliver course content. 

7. Monetize a YouTube channel

Woman speaks into a camera Top YouTube influencers like Cassey HoWil Yeung, and Katie Carson all started where you are: with an idea. Each of these YouTubers built audiences through authentic content before monetizing their channels. 

Once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers, you can try YouTube ads. You can also offer a paid product placement or become a brand affiliate. Selling products like your own branded merch is a great way to build your personal brand. Create your own website and link it to your channel to sell t-shirts, hats, and other swag to your fans.

Startup time: It will take an hour or two start a YouTube channel.

Effort level: High. YouTube requires an ongoing effort to create and publish video content. 

Time to first payment: Once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers, you can start earning revenue from ads to make money on YouTube. Time to first payout via other methods varies. 

What to know:

  • Finding a niche with an underserved audience is a great option for your channel’s angle. Understand this audience and create content that adds value.
  • YouTube Shorts offer a way to keep your page fresh with shorter and more casual content.


  • Audio and video equipment and editing software.
  • Parental permission to start a YouTube channel if you are between 13 and 17.
  • A sales channel or online store platform to sell merch (must be 18 to open a store).

8. Become an influencer

Woman sits in front of a tripod and ring light, shooting a YouTube video of herselfInfluencer marketing is popular with brands looking for clout with audiences that resemble their target customer. Brands are clamoring to sponsor content by productivity and stationery creator Amanda Rach Lee. But you don’t need to have Amanda’s two million followers to get paid as an online influencer. You will need an engaged following, but influencer marketing statistics show that influencers with as few as 1,000 followers—considered nano influencers—can get brand deals on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram. 

How to get paid as an influencer:

  • Open a store online and sell merch to your fans.
  • Sell sponsored posts to brands or become a brand ambassador or affiliate.
  • Make ad revenue.
  • Offer exclusive content through platforms like Patreon.

Startup time: Varies, but generally, about three to four months.

Effort level: High. Popular accounts need fresh content to keep audiences constantly engaged.

Time to first payment: Varies, depending on the type of monetization you pursue.

What to know:

  • The Shopify Starter Plan is perfect for creators who want to get selling fast without building a website. Or, you can also use a tool like Linkpop to superpower your social bio and push fans to your store. 


  • Meet minimum age requirements for each platform account.
  • A flair for content creation and being an on-camera personality (video and photo editing skills are a bonus).
  • An ecommerce platform for selling fan merch.

9. Sell services or consulting

While it may be most common to think of selling physical products online, you can also sell non-tangible things. Consider selling a virtual service like online personal shopping, home décor consulting, or one-to-one personal training. Set up your own ecommerce store and visit the Shopify App Store to find an app that integrates to help with appointment booking and live chat.

Startup time: Several hours to set up your website.

Effort level: Hard. This will require ongoing effort to build your client list, perform services, and maintain your website.

Time to first payment: After you sell a service, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms. 

What to know:

  • Reviews and testimonials are your friend. Ask happy clients to write or record reviews and post them on your site.


  • A website or ecommerce store.
  • Expertise in a particular field.

10. Write and sell books or ebooks

Man sits at desk writing on a laptopIn the same way that you can monetize your expertise with an online course or your influence as a YouTuber, you can also earn cash selling books or ebooks online. There are a number of formats and genres, from novels to memoirs to self-help books. Try using a print-on-demand bookservice to print and sell books online on your own ecommerce store, or use a service like Amazon Direct Publishing to sell ebooks. 

Startup time: Varies by book, but could take years to write, edit, and publish.

Effort level: Hard to start. Medium ongoing effort to market and sell the book.

Time to first payment: Depends on how and where you sell your books.

What to know:

  • Grow a following for your personal brand as an author.
  • Digital delivery apps can be useful if you plan to sell ebooks directly to customers on your own website.


  • A publisher or print-on-demand service to print physical books.
  • A platform for selling your book or ebook.

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