If you’ve ever thought that working online would be nice, but didn’t believe you had the skills required to do so, the following 30 ideas for web work might just change that.
Can you see yourself working in one of these ways? (Or maybe you already are.)
1. Become a freelance web writer. If you start a blog on the topics you’d like to write on and offer your services through the blog, you can create a relatively steady flow of job offers.
Of course, your blog will function as your portfolio, so your content has got to be good. You can also search job boards for paid blogging gigs.
2. Start telecommuting. If you find yourself spending several hours a day working online at the office, ask your boss if you can do the same work from home.
If you’re not currently doing web-based work, brainstorm ways you could process your tasks online and then ask your boss if you can do them from home. If part-time isn’t enough, some jobs can be done entirely through telecommuting.
3. Become a freelance SEO consultant. Search engine optimization is a booming industry which has given rise to a new kind of web freelancer: the SEO consultant.
If you’ve learned a thing or two about SEO, why not sell your services?
4. Offer web-based consulting in your area of expertise. An off-shoot of the previous suggestion, there’s really no limit to the topics you can offer consulting on.
Take your expertise and market it. Just because no-one else is consulting on a particular topic doesn’t mean there isn’t an unspoken demand for help (though, as always, research is essential).
5. Start a website or blog offering premium content. Use great free content to create demand for exclusive, paid only content.
6. Become a blog consultant. You’d be surprised at the number of bloggers willing to play for one-on-one advice to help build a better (or more profitable blog).
The number of clients you receive and how much they’re willing to pay will depend on your own profile as a blogger.
7. Become a freelance web designer. There are plenty of web designers working and finding clients entirely online. The portable nature of web design tools makes this profession wholly compatible with a digital office.
The work is unlikely to be highly paid, but could be a sound option for anyone looking for some extra income.
9. Become a freelance web developer. Web development (unsurprisingly) is a perfect match for web work.
10. Become an eBay power-seller. Buy items cheaply and sell them for profit on eBay — that’s the crux of what a power-seller does, though thousands of eBay users have managed to create booming small-businesses online.
One thing to consider: because you’re dealing with physical items, this option doesn’t come with the mobility of other forms of web work.
11. Become a freelance illustrator. While it’s very possible to find and liaise with clients online, the illustration and delivery of your work will generally be done offline (unless you illustrate digitally).
Even so, the web component to your work will allow you to work wherever your tools are, rather than be tied to one location.
12. Sell your crafts through a blog or website. Thousands of craft enthusiasts are setting up shop on sites like Etsy in order to sell their wares. If you handle your business online, you can live and work anywhere.
13. Buy and sell websites and blogs. Call it digital real-estate development: this form of web work involves acquiring existing blogs and websites, then profiting from the ad revenue or selling them for more than you paid.
14. Start a paid-membership only forum. Instead of consulting, why not offer membership to an exclusive forum where you discuss your best-kept secrets, tips and advice?
15. Become a freelance programmer. Freelance programming and web work go together like bread and butter.
16. Become a freelance photographer. Even if you’re a location-based photographer you can find and liaise with clients online.
If you’re commissioned to take photographs of things rather than clients, your location is no longer an anchor.
17. Write and sell an eBook or self-published book. Build a following, write a book, sell it. While this method requires some work, a good affiliate program can see the eBook spread and make a profit far outside your reach.
18. Sell paid content like newsletters, tutorials and videos. An alternative to consulting (and one that’s possibly more lucrative), you produce paid content for a group audience rather than providing one-on-one feedback.
You can download Brian Clark’s free Teaching Sells eBook for more information on the paid content model.
19. Monetize a blog or website. The first thing people often think of when they hear about making money online.
There are thousands of people making money through blogs and websites (though only some make a lot of money). If you enjoy working with blogs or websites, monetizing is a fun way to turn a hobby into a potential source of income.
20. Sell your products through a website. With the amount of traffic available online and the relatively cheap cost of international postage, it’s possible to operate your own store entirely online.
Once again, physical stock will keep you tied to one place (unless you outsource).
21. Become a freelance job-hunter. Yep — it’s now possible to work as someone who finds other people work.
22. Become a freelance technical support person. Have you mastered a particular type of software, hardware or an operating system?
Market yourself as the friendly go-to guy/girl for problems relating to your area of expertise.
23. Begin writing a novel, or short stories, and manage your work online. With a popular blog or website, you can build up your profile as a writer and increase the likelihood of being published.
Even if you don’t want to go this route, you can manage your writing work online. Going paperless will help you write anywhere in the world.
24. Become a freelance graphic designer. If you work with design software, the web worker lifestyle is perfectly suited to you.
Even if you design through traditional mediums, you can find work and liaise with clients online.
25. Communicate with colleagues online. While not a source of income in and of itself, communicating with colleagues online (particularly via email) is one type of web work you can find taking place in offices everywhere — though you might not have thought of it as web work until now.
26. Become a freelance copywriter. Sales pages and advertising copy are in high demand online. You can liaise with clients, write copy and find work through the web.
27. Create T-shirt designs and sell them online. Websites like cafepress allow you to sell your own T-shirt designs through online stores you build.
28. Maintain an online workstream, even if you don’t work online (yet). A workstream is an online record of the work you’ve accomplished, kept either for your own benefit or to help synchronize group work. You can read more about workstreaming with microblogs here.
29. Start a webcomic and self-publish a compilation. My friend is crazy about table-top gaming webcomic The Order of the Stick — so much so that he’s bought self-published book versions of the comics you can already view online!
30. Start a virtual assistant agency. Link up virtual assistants with employers and charge an agent’s fee.
This type of business is so new that there’s really no blueprint to follow, but I have no doubt that an enterprising entrepreneur could do something great with the format.