Earn money online, work location-independent – this is how it works!

Earn money online – many want to, but only the fewest manage it. Sure, it’s pretty cool to be able to work anywhere, anytime. But what different income opportunities are there online at all? In this article, I explain the six most important sources of income on the Internet and what requirements you have to meet in each case. Let’s start!

Earn money online – These income opportunities exist

#1 Services

If you want to build a location-independent business and earn money online you can’t avoid trading time for money, at least in the beginning. Offering services is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money on the internet.

Now comes the kicker:

For that you should also be able to do something ;-)

Online, by the way, anything that has to do with the Internet works well. Who would have thought it?! By this I mean for example services like

  • Writing web texts
  • Designing graphics
  • Producing and editing audios
  • Produce and edit videos
  • Install and maintain websites
  • Set up and maintain social media channels
  • Office services (research, proofreading etc).)

In addition to my online marketing coaching, for example, for a while I also created WordPress websites for my clients on request, and set them up "turnkey", so to speak. My customers just needed to get started and fill their websites with content. In the meantime, I no longer offer "Done For You" services, as I want to focus on other sources of income.

Personally, I think you should rather be good at something and charge reasonable prices for it – than not being really good at something and then making it super cheap. Because then your customers are disappointed and won’t recommend you to others, and you have to keep looking for new customers. You also make business harder for those who know what they are doing. You wouldn’t want that the other way around.

Just think about what services you could offer until your first passive income streams are in place. Of course it doesn’t have to be anything with internet or technology! You can also put together outfits for your customers or offer all sorts of office services as a virtual personal assistant.

You don’t need a huge reach for this, but you need customers who pay and who recommend you to others. If you have a community for which your services are relevant, it certainly can’t hurt.

Urgently needed: Few, but high-paying customers; referrals

#2 Banner advertising

Banner advertising is a still existing, but dying form to earn money online. Here you include advertising space on your website. If someone clicks on it, you will either be paid for the click – but mostly only if the clicker also buys something.

Here, admittedly, I see few advantages. To really make significant revenue with banner ads, you need a lot of website visitors. Really teach a lot of! Because most of us use an ad blocker these days anyway. So of those who get the banners displayed at all, only a few click. If you get paid per sale and the clickers don’t buy anything, you don’t get anything out of it.

Instead of a very large site with heaps of traffic, you can also build what are called niche sites. Most people who make money online with niche sites have many niche sites and not just one or two. Usually it also takes time and needs some experience and testing to build a niche website that really makes money on a regular basis. Projects are often created on topics that are in high demand seasonally, but less so at other times of the year. Depending on which keywords you build your niche site(s) on, you will earn more or less regular income.

Banner ads on websites with targeted traffic is probably the closest thing to "passive income" that you can get. But in the worst case you destroy your credibility with banner ads. I recommend banner advertising only for your own offers or for good affiliate partners, for example by presenting them in the sidebar of your website with a banner.

Urgently needed: Many website visitors; Extremely sound SEO knowledge; A lot of patience

#3 Cooperations with companies

As people are bombarded with advertising messages from all sides these days, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to reach their customers even with well-crafted marketing campaigns. That’s why smart brands are now looking for bloggers and Youtubers who have built an active community and have great credibility.

The tasks of the blogger or Youtuber can vary. Often it’s just smaller sponsored posts or even introductions of products via blogpost or video. Recently, I saw a very tasty collaboration – in the truest sense of the word – when I found this recipe for spaghetti: At Sia’s Soulfood you can have a look at how it looks like. And before you ask, yes, collaborations always need to be labeled.

The payment can look very different. Often these are "just" free products, but payment in the form of money or even travel or events is also possible.

Admittedly: Here you do not get rich quickly. But you don’t want that either! You want to work hard, follow your passion, have fun – and then reap the rewards. Just like me :-)

As I said before, to make money online by collaborating with companies, you don’t necessarily need a big community, but you do need a dedicated community and, above all, a high level of credibility. Your community needs to trust your judgment! The difficulty, however, is finding companies that actually offer appropriate (!) Reward you for the work you put into sponsored posts. Because most people in Germany haven’t understood yet that it’s not about a big community, but about the lowest possible spreading loss.

Urgent Need: Engaged community; High credibility; Good contacts to companies

#4 Own products

My favorite topic! Especially digital products are for me one of the most interesting internet income sources!

Advantages of digital products

Own digital products have first of all the advantage that they are 100% yours. You can decide 100% what you want to do with it. This sounds totally logical now, but is not possible with affiliate marketing for example. You sell other people’s products and earn money, but I’ll come to that in a moment.

Another advantage of having your own digital products is that it is relatively cheap to create them. Even if you add editors, proofreaders, graphic designers and so on, you still only pay a fraction of what it would cost to develop a physical product and put it in a store.

Furthermore, you can open up global markets with digital products, i.e. you can also sell abroad without any complications. The sale can be automated to a large extent, which is an extremely important point if you want to work independently of location. Also, you don’t need to stock up on digital products because they never run out ;-)

What kind of digital products are there?

I would say there is three different main forms: E-books (Or any kind of electronic book), Online courses (guided or for self-learners) and member areas. Online courses and members areas can contain audios, videos or texts.

Of course you can also do consulting and coaching online, but I don’t count that as a digital product: Here you exchange time for money again, which many just don’t want (anymore). Nevertheless, you can combine different sources of income, that’s what this is all about :-)

The prerequisites for successfully selling digital products vary greatly, depending on the product and the marketing strategy. My Mailchimp course is probably very successful because of my reach. It’s quite affordable and fills a current need, which is to learn more about Mailchimp. "The Blog Workshop," a self-paced course for self-employed people who want to learn blogging, works more on building trust and reputation. Price-wise it is a small investment into your own business, so pure reach is not the main driver for product sales here.

As you can see, there is a lot of potential here for more blog articles, yay :-)

Of course you can also physical products Develop and offer online, like so many online store owners do. Especially motivating is the story of Katrin Linzbach, who created her own card game (yes, really!) has lovingly designed and developed, and is totally successful with it. Of course, different laws apply to physical products than to digital products.

Urgently needed: Varies greatly depending on the product and marketing strategy. In any case, you should have the desire to create content (audios, videos, lots of texts …) – both for your paid products and for your marketing.

#5 Affiliate Marketing& Niche websites

At Affiliate Marketing you sell the products of other online entrepreneurs. They can be physical products, of course, but for the sake of clarity let’s stick to digital products here. If someone you have recruited buys the product, you receive a commission. So that the whole thing can be technically tracked, here we work with so-called tracking links. This means you only get commission when someone clicks on your link and then buys the product.

For example, I always like to refer to tools that I use intensively myself, such as LeadPages or online courses like the Trello video course by Claudia Kauscheder.

For a long time, so-called "community marketing" was particularly popular Niche websites. (I have already written about this under the point banner advertising.) They are dedicated to a very specific topic, such as toolboxes or coffee makers, and then have suitable affiliate links distributed on the page. I must confess: This business model was never really interesting for me, even though I know people who are quite successful with it.

If you are interested in this topic, have a look at Jessica’s or Peer’s site. Peer also organizes every year the so called Niche Site Challenge.

To be successful with affiliate marketing, you need lots of website visitors. If they are also looking for a targeted product, all the better!

Urgently needed: Many website visitors; High credibility

earn money online

#6 Advice& Coaching

Consulting is a way to make money online that many solopreneurs like to use, especially in the beginning, because usually you are an expert on some topic or another. If there are people who are willing to spend money for advice on this topic, wonderful!

Consulting has one big advantage, which is that you can offer it in a totally straightforward way. You don’t need to lock yourself in your closet months in advance and produce countless tetxts and videos, just write on an offer page that you can be worked with. Then you see what happens ;-) Basically you don’t even need a website to get started.

So that the whole thing works location-independently, one advises naturally over Skype, Google Hangout or telephone. Lately I’ve been using Zoom because it’s particularly stable and I can quickly provide my clients with the records of our consulting hours.

Since time is your most precious resource, you should not dump your consulting services on us. Consider whether you prefer to create digital products in your available time, or do consulting instead. During the consultation not only your client learns a lot, but probably you do too – about the client. This then helps again in the development of digital products. Besides, it is of course also fun to work intensively with a customer on a topic.

Prerequisite here are solvent customers, because – as said – you should never offer advice at dumping prices. Time is your most precious commodity!

Range you need of course also, and as high as possible range. So people who are really extremely interested in your offer and willing to invest in it. Here it is not the mass, but the class that makes it.

However, reach for advice is not a must have, because you can also gain customers here via networking events, it does not always have to be just your website. You can also get more business through referrals.

Urgently needed: Few but solvent customers; referrals

Conclusion: earning money online is possible for everyone!

I have introduced you to various ways to make money online and work location independent: Services, banner advertising, cooperations with companies, own products, affiliate marketing and niche websites, as well as consulting. In my opinion, these are the most important and, above all, reputable sources of income on the Internet. All you have to do is figure out which income source(s) fits you best.

My recommendation is that you start with either services or consulting/coaching and then develop into your own digital products.

Since I would like to keep updating and completing this series over time, I would like to know from you:

How do YOU make money online? What other sources of income are there that I have not mentioned here?? Leave a comment, looking forward to it :-)

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