23 December 2021

8 Real Ways to Make Money Online in 2022

8 Real Ways to Make Money Online in 2022
To make choosing the best ways to make money online easier, we’ll look at several key factors:

Business type: whether the idea is product based, service based or driven by an audience.

Effort: how much time, skill, or experience you’ll need to put into the idea. 

Leverage: how well positioned you are to turn the idea into a money-making one that increases in value without needing your direct attention. A high-leverage idea isn’t a 1:1 trade of time for money. 

1. Print on demand

Business type: Product based

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Medium

Print on demand allows sellers to customize white label products with their own designs and sell them only after a customer buys, eliminating the need to hold inventory (which is what makes it a subset of dropshipping). When a customer views the t shirt mockup, places an order, a print-on-demand company will add your design to the product, fulfill the order, and ship it to the customer.

The most significant advantage print on demand offers over dropshipping is that you have control over the aesthetic of your products—a key differentiator for product categories where the design is the distinguisher, like t-shirts or fan merch.

When it comes to making money online, you can also use print-on-demand services to:

Test online business ideas or new products lines without the risk of buying inventory

Monetize an audience you’ve already built, whether it’s on YouTube, social media, or a personal blog

Offer diverse products by selling t-shirts, books, shoes, bags, mugs, phone cases, laptop skins, wall art, and more 

Sell photos online by placing your images on physical products to sell to your fans

Overall, print on demand lets you create customized products quickly. You don’t have to worry about shipping or fulfillment—it’s taken care of by your suppliers. And since you have no inventory to worry about, it’s a low risk, low investment way to make money online. 

2. Custom products

Business type: Product based

Effort: High

Leverage: Medium

While the options above come bundled with the convenience of not holding on to expensive inventory, they do come with some limitations—mainly that you don’t have full control over the product you’re selling.

And when you think of most direct-to-consumer brands, this is what comes to mind: original products that make meaningful improvements or add interesting details to well-known items.

 Personally, I’ve purchased many messenger bags, but I’d never seen anything like the one made by Vermilyea Pelle until it reached my doorstep.

Making products by hand is popular amongst jewelry brands, fashion brands, and home decor brands. It gives you full control over the product development and quality of your items. The only drawbacks are: 

(1) it can be time consuming.

(2) it’s difficult to scale. 

The costs associated with making products by hand are the cost of materials, storing your finished products, and labor. 

That said, a custom product doesn’t have to be completely handmade. There are many ways to find a manufacturer or supplier to help bring your product to life. For example, you could:

Use domestic or overseas manufacturers: If you have a unique product that you don’t want to make by hand, you could find a manufacturer to make your products.

The Alibaba route is a common way to do this. You can use the marketplace to find potential manufacturers, communicate your vision to them, and get your products made. 

This will require some upfront investment because of minimum order quantities and storage, but it’s a good way to maintain control of your products while keeping cost per unit low. 

Resell wholesale items: Buying and reselling wholesale items is a straightforward, low-risk way to make money online. You buy products you want direct from manufacturers, usually brands that are already credible on the market, at a discounted rate, then sell them in your online store at a higher price. 

3. Dropshipping

Business type: Product based

Effort: Medium

Leverage: High

Last year, many worldwide trends experienced a decades’ worth of acceleration. One such trend was the rise of ecommerce. There are a number of ways to run an ecommerce business, some of which allow for minimal need to carry and hold lots of inventory.

Dropshipping is a business model where you don’t keep the products you sell in stock. Instead, when a customer buys something from your store, a third party fulfills and ships the order for you. Because low startup costs are low, it’s an increasingly popular way to make money online for beginners and pros alike. 

Dropshippers have a habit of chasing the latest trends. And while there’s nothing wrong with catching a trending product wave, know that there also are many product categories that are steady and offer similar opportunities to do well. At Shopify, we regularly see these categories in our list top performers:

Women’s clothing and accessories: Far and away the most popular category of products on Oberlo. There are a variety of interesting niches within this category, too, including dresses, accessories, intimates, hoodies, socks and hoseries, and rompers. Since these products have a large market, are purchased relatively frequently, and are successfully sold through great marketing, they’re consistently a top performer for dropshipping.

Jewelry: If you want to turn jewelry into a profitable small business, dropshipping is a good model to try. You can sell in a variety of categories, including fine jewelry, fashion or costume, and collectibles. Or sell jewelry made from different materials, like gems, wood, textile, or metals. 

Beauty: The beauty and personal care market is projected to be worth $511.4 billion by the end of 2021. Beauty is a thriving industry fueled by younger generations entering the market and is strengthened by social media and ecommerce.

You also have options in the beauty niche: you can sell cosmetics, skin care, personal care, hair care, fragrances, and more.

4. Blogging

Business type: Audience monetization

Effort: High

Leverage: Medium

You’ve probably read a business blog at some point in your life. Businesses use blogging to share knowledge and insights, build an audience, and get more leads and sales.

Blogging has endless benefits, such as building thought leadership in an industry and improving search engine visibility for a brand.

Blogging to make money online has grown beyond big businesses and side hustles. Anyone can now build an audience by putting out great content and make a lot of money from their blog.

Bloggers also tend to take a personal approach that resonates with an intended audience versus getting information from a company blog. 

People start blogs for many different reasons, some being:

  1. Sharing their thoughts, passions, or life experiences
  2. Educating readers on a topic they know about 
  3. Selling products or services
  4. Building a personal brand

The key to running a successful blog is choosing a niche. There’s really no shortage of them on the internet. You could be the expert on topics in a specific location (for example, restaurants in New York) or for a specific segment in certain categories (like vegan keto recipes and lifestyle). 

Focusing on a niche helps you speak to an audience and create high quality content for them, which in turn can result in leads and sales for your blogging business.

how do you make money from blogging? Well, once you learn how to start a blog, you can monetize it a few different ways: 

>  Selling physical products that your readers would enjoy, like pillows or t-shirts

>  Offering digital products such as designs, digital art, courses, templates, or photography that you can make once and sell repeatedly

>  Selling freelance services such as consulting, writing, bookkeeping, or other hobbies that make money

>  Becoming an influencer and doing paid promotions for brands

>  Selling subscriptions or memberships to exclusive content on platforms such as Patreon

5. Freelance services

Business type: Service based

Effort: High

Leverage: Low

An increasingly popular home business idea is offering freelance services to clients online. Freelance writing, graphic design, data entry, digital marketing almost every role an online business would hire for is viable as a freelance service.

I myself have worked with writers, illustrators, and designers for years at Shopify, most of whom make their full-time living freelancing, not just doing it in their spare time.

Almost all of these services are best positioned toward business clients, for reasons similar to why business software is an attractive product: business clients are willing to spend. 

What most freelancers are quick to learn is that they have more leverage over the price they can charge when they position their work as outcomes instead of deliverables. 

Businesses hire freelance writers to create content that drives traffic and leads, not for wordsmithing. Sell clients on the outcome and prove it, where possible, through customer evidence like case studies and testimonials.

6. Sell on Amazon

Business type: Product based

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Medium

Amazon has become a marketplace that welcomes new ecommerce entrepreneurs. It takes a few minutes to sign up for an account and a few more minutes to get a product listing live. 

The platform has a massive audience, it’s a global marketplace, and it’s a go-to destination for product discovery and research. Listing optimization can help your products get found and unlock new opportunities.

Amazon’s in-app promotions can increase your brand's visibility for highly targeted audiences. 

Some ecommerce entrepreneurs question the long-term sustainability of selling on Amazon. While the marketplace is great for helping shoppers surface desired products, it’s challenging for sellers to get their business noticed. 

Amazon attracts many resellers of the same products you may offer. Tack on fees and trying to differentiate your brand and you may end up working harder to generate sales but not grow your bottom line revenue. 

While selling on Amazon is a good way to make money from home, there are some caveats to consider:

Amazon sets the rules for its marketplace: We know Amazon is a leader in collecting and using customer data to create better shopping experiences, but that information doesn’t get shared with you. If you compete head to head with a product owned by Amazon, it’ll be hard to make sales. Amazon Retail tends to get the Buy Box advantage.

Amazon prefers sellers to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): FBA is Amazon’s fulfillment program offered to sellers. Once you put a product in its fulfillment centers and a customer orders it, Amazon will fulfill the order. You must use FBA to be eligible for Amazon Prime and Amazon Super Saver Shipping, two ways to help retailers improve conversion rates and earn extra money. 

Amazon owns the customer relationship: Sellers cannot add Amazon customers to a CRM or re-market to them after the sale. 

Amazon is a great additional sales channel for your Shopify business. Similar to Etsy, you can use Amazon to get your products in front of a built-in audience, get discovered, and use your ecommerce website as the main sales channel. 

You can even integrate Shopify with Amazon to manage listings and sync inventory faster and easier.

7. Affiliate marketing

Business type: Audience monetization

Effort: Medium

Leverage: High

There seems to be a trend with online-only business models still being relatively misunderstood. Well, add affiliate marketing to that pile. There’s no snake oil to be found here.

So, how does monetization work through this model? Essentially, publishers or individuals can apply for affiliate programs, wherever they’re available, in order to be added as an official affiliate.

Once you’re accepted (or simply approved), you’ll receive a way to share an affiliate link to the product or service you’re interested in promoting. 

When someone buys the product after clicking your link, you’ll receive credit for the referral, along with a commission. 

The commission amount depends on the affiliate program and the product being sold commodity items on Amazon.com won’t pay out much, but referring a high-ticket account may pay out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Because affiliate marketing works best when you help a visitor understand why a certain product may be the right one for them, you’ll typically see it deployed on content-focused websites.

Search engine optimization also plays an important role here and you’ll see everyone from homegrown sites to massive, globally known publications competing for terms like “best gaming laptops 2021.”

Niche-to-win applies here, too. Since you don’t have a masthead of 50 writers, you won’t outcompete with professional publications like Wirecutter as a general review site.

You may, however, be able to write, rank, and differentiate yourself by covering all things terrariums or high-intensity interval training. Point being, it’s typically easier to land (pick a distinct niche) and expand (grow into new areas) than it is to compete with a general interest site, especially when you’re getting started.

The best affiliate content helps the reader both solve a problem or make a decision and showcases the right products as part of that solution.

8. Digital products

Business type: Product based

Effort: High

Leverage: High

Digital products carry some of the best margins of any product you can sell. The upfront costs of development can be high, but the variable costs of selling digital products is comparatively low. Once media or software is made, it isn’t very expensive to deliver to customers.

At its core, a digital product is an intangible asset you can sell repeatedly without restocking an inventory. They often come in downloadable files such as a PDF, plug-in, or interactive document. 

These products have become such a good source of passive income that many top professional influencers, bloggers, or public icons release digital products such as guides, ebooks, templates, research findings, plans, and tutorials. 

Some key benefits of selling digital products are:

They’re scalable: There’s no limit to how many products you can sell. No inventory. No manufacturers. No shipping or logistics. Just market the products. When a customer purchases a digital product, it’s delivered instantly without your help.

Low overhead costs: high profit margins. Since there’s no recurring cost of goods or shipping charges, you keep a majority of the profit for each sale. 

E-learning is becoming more popular: The e-learning industry is expected to reach $325 billion by 2025. Digital products are a smart way to take advantage of this trend and expand your business.

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