The entrepreneurial promise of the web rarely lies in one big, undiscovered secret, which, when discovered, will re-invent your income and set you up for life.
Instead, it’s located in the plethora of modest opportunities available — and your ability to combine them into a larger whole.
If I tried to make a living with the revenue generated by Anywired alone, I’d be seeking out an existence on around $125 a week.
It’s only because I’ve tapped into four addition sources of income (editing Freelance Switch, freelancing, blog consulting and selling on eBay) that I’m able to earn a modest full-time income online while working significantly less than full-time hours.
One of the primary mistakes I see made by those hoping to earn a living online is that they focus all their efforts into one source of income, only to find that it yields modest results — results that are certainly not enough to live on.
They assume this is because they’re doing something wrong, when in fact, most online income generation methods are very deliberately designed to yield modest results.
The companies behind them want to get a lot of value for little pay-out. In other cases, results are suppressed because they have to be shared between a thousand other entrepreneurs trying to make money in the same way.
I’d suggest you reconsider pouring hours of work into making a single income stream perform better.
Instead, think about how you could diversify and combine multiple income streams into an income river.
If you run a website or blog, you’ve probably already got the advertising part covered.
But what about using affiliate links in your content, offering consulting or other services, selling an eBook or products you recommend, working as a freelance blogger or website copywriter, running a membership only newsletter, holding a once-yearly donation drive, selling items you’ve made, reviewing products and including affiliate links, or adding a special ‘members only’ area to your blog?
While not all these ideas will appeal to you, thinking about them is a strong step-forward.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to increase your website or blog’s revenue is to start another one with appeal to a majority of your existing audience.
If they like your first project, they’re probably going to follow the second. This method can help you increase your website or blog income by upwards of 50% almost instantly, though you must take the time to prepare your second site for launch and leverage your first.
If you find site #2 too much work, or if you find it doesn’t yield the rewards you were hoping for, you can flip it (sell it), retain the profits, and try something else.
Bright idea: casual freelancing
Freelancing is a fantastic route to creating supplementary income. Industry standard hourly rates are impressive and, best of all, freelancing is highly scalable.
You can work anywhere from 1 to 100 hours a week (though, admittedly, the latter is not advised!)
I also want to argue that you are perfectly equipped to freelance, either now or with some self-education.
Plenty of freelancers are self-taught in their fields — myself included. If you can write reasonably well, you could work as a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter, editor or proofreader.
If you know your way around a stylesheet, you could experiment with web design, or the more basic tasks of customizing a blog or making changes to a website template.
If you’re comfortable with Photoshop, you can start with some basic graphic design — like logo design, ad/banner design, website graphic design, and so on.
If you’re good with SEO, you could work as a freelance SEO consultant. You might even find that your existing job has a freelance equivalent! Book-keeping, accounting, admin, marketing, sales and research can all be done over the web.
A bit of searching will reveal some great resources to build your skills and get you started on a particular path, but perhaps the best freelance resource of them all is Collis and Cyan Ta’eed’s Rockstar Freelancing.
Both the book and eBook will guide you through every single aspect of becoming a casual or full-time freelancer, and it’s created by two people with a deep understanding of the freelancing industry and how it weaves into online entrepreneurship (they own Freelance Switch, PSD Tuts and more). I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Bright idea: isolated sales pages
A domain name should cost around $10 a year. Once you have hosting space, you can host an almost unlimited amount of isolated sales pages for the cost of a domain.
You can use each one to sell an eBook or create a sales page for an affiliate product, then drive traffic to your pages from your own sites or through PPC campaigns.
Once again, this is a high-competition method and each page will probably only yield one or two figures a week — unless you’re very lucky, or brilliant.
On the positive side, it’s not hard to create a whole heap of these pages, and the combined total revenue can add up to something far more impressive.
There are thousands of ways to earn an income online — the examples here are just a tiny slice of what’s possible.
My argument is this:
- Anyone can diversify their sources of income.
- You could add a new income stream to your river, starting today.
- Single income streams are usually modest. Very rarely do they earn a heap of money.
- Most of those who earn a living online have a diverse array of modest income streams, combining into a much larger whole.
- Time-minimal income streams work best. If you can set it and forget it, it really doesn’t matter whether the income stream makes good money or not. It’s has no cost in time.