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So, you want to make some extra money online? It’s honestly easier than you think, whether you’re looking to monetise your skills, social media, blog… or if you’re starting from scratch.
In this blog post, I’ll be going through 5 ways to make extra money online, and how much I make from each of these methods. It’s not enough to live off (yet), but I’m getting there. Besides, earning more income each month allows me to have a bit of spending money as well build an emergency fund in my savings account. Keep reading to find out the 5 ways to make extra money online every month, and my side hustle income report.
5 Ways To Make Money Online Every Month
Last updated: April 2021.
1. Sponsored Blog Posts + Guest Posts
The largest portion of my side hustle income comes from brand collaborations on my London lifestyle blog.
I have a standard rate I send to the companies that email me (usually around £200). This rate is based on my website traffic, DA (domain authority), social media reach, and skills as a blogger with 7 years of experience. Sometimes I get offered more, sometimes less. The key is to negotiate! Also, make sure to take into consideration what the brand is asking for before offering a flat rate. Anything additional, e.g. photography rights or a high word count should cost more!
Isn’t the competition to make money with sponsorships too high?
Actually, you’d be surprised! I get regular enquiries for sponsored blog work, even though I’m not a huge influencer or anything like that.
Many factors are considered when brands and PR’s reach out to bloggers, for example, the niche you write about – your blog readers might be the perfect target audience a brand is trying to reach.
If you want to start a blog in 2021, make sure to have a read of my post sharing 10 Tips for New Bloggers in 2021. It covers the basics, along with the things I wish I knew about blogging before I started. You can also find my favourite resources on my Side Hustle Resources and Blog Tools page.
Wondering where to find sponsored blog post opportunities in 2021?
- I often use GetBlogged, a website that connects brands with bloggers. They provide many opportunities to apply for.
- There are also plenty of blogging Facebook Groups – they’re worth joining!
- Browse the Twitter hashtags #bloggerswanted and #bloggerrequest.
- Make sure your blog email address is easy to find on your website, Twitter bio and Instagram bio.
- Set up a ‘work with me’ page, and create a ‘media kit’. This is a 1-2 page PDF containing all the important information that brands will want to see, e.g. your stats and audience demographics.
Your Media Kit Should Include:
- DA (Domain Authority. Check Moz to find out yours).
- Sessions + Unique Viewers per month. Always use Google Analytics for this, it’s more accurate than WordPress stats.
- Followers on your blog, email list subscribers, and social media followers.
- Engagement rates on social platforms.
- Your Niche / Audience demographics.
- Previous work examples.
Sometimes a company will be very upfront about what they would like to offer for a blog post, or a PR will send you their budget. In this case, I’ve sometimes been offered a lot more than I usually charge!
A highlight for me in 2020 was getting offered £300 for an Instagram photo. I have less than 2000 followers on Instagram. Yep, micro-influencing is a thing. Since then, I’ve been charging separately for all Instagram collaborations. I no longer automatically include Instagram promotion for every sponsored blog post.
If a brand offers significantly less than you’d expect, or they need additional work, make sure to consider if it’s worth your time. If they’re offering low (or zero) payment for high word counts, videos, or rights to reproduce your photographs for their marketing campaigns… say no, or negotiate.
In these circumstances, I’ve found that many will understand and offer more after you explain your usual rates. Sometimes, they won’t. If they won’t negotiate, I politely decline the work and let them know I’m open to future collaborations.
Remember, ‘exposure’ doesn’t pay the bills!
Google Adsense was very hit and miss for me, so I ended up removing it from my blog before I started reaching higher traffic. It wasn’t worth earning pennies each month.
This all changed when I learned how to use Pinterest to drive huge levels of traffic to my blog. This is all thanks to the brilliant Emily Dyson, who created Big Pin Energy. I studied and implemented her strategy, and have been amazed by the results.
Update: In April 2021, I am still reaching over 800,000 monthly Pinterest viewers, and over 30,000 unique blog viewers every month. My Pinterest account has also grown to 6000 followers. The Big Pin Energy Pinterest strategy still works for me, nearly a year later! My growth has been consistent, and so has my blog income!
In November 2020, I switched my ad provider to Ezoic. This made my monthly ad revenue instantly double the rate I got from Adsense, while fewer ads are shown on my site. At the moment, I earn around $60 per month from Ezoic ads. You need 10,000 monthly sessions in order to apply.
When I reach 50,000 sessions per month, I’ll be applying for Mediavine. This is another ad network known for paying well.
If you’re getting started with website monetisation, Google Adsense is very easy to set up. Their ‘auto-ads’ can place the adverts for you, in the best places to be seen.
Alternatively, you could personally sell advert space on your website. Set up a specific area, perhaps in your sidebar, then charge a specific rate per month. This will depend on your traffic and DA. If you’re considering selling ad space it’s worth doing a bit of research to see what other bloggers charge.
I used to sell small sidebar ads on Fiverr, because it’s an easy-to-use platform where customers can find you.
OK, that’s enough about blogging.
If you’re interested in more ways to earn money from a blog, you can check out my post about 27 ways to make money blogging!
For now, we’re going to move on to some other ways to make extra money online, because you might not be a blogger. If you’re looking for ways to make extra money online without needing to build a blog, try the following methods. I make extra cash every month with these:
3. Research Studies with Prolific
I don’t know if I’m strange, but I really enjoy participating in research, particularly if it helps universities!
Prolific is much better than your standard ‘survey site’, and it’s the only one I’d recommend personally. The platform is clean, easy to use, and I make decent money from it.
The studies are varied – some have included games, fun experiments, challenging mind puzzles, and I even took a study on hypnosis (yes, I was hypnotised by a PhD student!).
Since 2019, I’ve earned over £350 on Prolific. The money is quickly sent into my PayPal account whenever I reach a £5 balance. Plus, I have a lot of fun while doing the studies!
This is probably the quickest way to make extra money online if you’re in need of quick cash.
When I’m in need of extra funds, or I decide to clear out my wardrobe, eBay is where I go! I didn’t have a good experience using the Depop app, so I stick with eBay.
Check out local thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, or just anything you have lying around your house and list it on eBay.
Do some research to see what similar items typically sell for, and don’t forget to account for shipping costs as well as eBay / PayPal fees. I keep an Excel spreadsheet to stay organised.
The best tips for selling on eBay in 2021:
- Take clear, bright photographs! Nowadays there’s not really an excuse for bad photos. Our smartphones can take excellent photos, and edit them too. I have an android phone from several years ago: you don’t need an expensive iPhone to take decent product photos. Use natural lighting, or purchase a cheap ring light. Use free apps like Snapseed or VSCO to edit your photos. Make sure not to go too heavy on filters, especially if you’re selling clothes – your buyer wants to see the true colours.
2. Make sure your titles and descriptions are keyword rich. For example, if you’re selling clothes, include as much information as possible, e.g. material, size (in centimetres, inches and clothes size), condition of the item, time era (if vintage), style.
Recently I’ve been clearing out my wardrobe and selling some old books from my university course. I made over £250 in 2020 just from selling things I don’t need or use.
5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is where you earn a commission if someone purchases a product or signs up for a service using your specific tracking link. You don’t necessarily need a blog for this, because you can share affiliate or referral links on social media.
There are so many affiliate programs out there, probably including some of your favourite brands!
Learning how to make sales from affiliate marketing has definitely been a learning curve for me. Having lots of views or followers doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make sales! I personally have learned a lot from money blogger Neesha, and I highly recommend her affiliate marketing ebook for everything you need to know.
Here are some of the affiliate programs I frequently earn money from:
Gumroad is a platform for buying and selling digital products, for example Procreate Brushes and Ebooks. You can also earn money from Gumroad without creating your own digital products, by becoming an affiliate.
You can become an affiliate for any Gumroad product, providing the creator is happy to add you! Just send the creator of a product you love a message or email to ask.
Gumroad creators can set their own affiliate commission rates. This means you may be able to bag a much higher commission than other affiliate programs. One creator on Gumroad offered me a 60% commission rate!
You can also create your own digital products of course! I have some free printables and fonts available on my Gumroad store. Sometimes people leave tips, which is so lovely! If you want some ideas, read my post featuring 15 easy-to-make digital products.
The thing I like most about Amazon Associates is that it fits pretty much any niche. No matter what you’re reviewing or promoting on your blog, you’re likely to be able to find it on Amazon, then add an affiliate link.
Amazon Associates also have an Influencer Program, meaning you can set up your own ‘Storefront’, to send your followers or blog visitors to a specific page featuring your recommended products. Here’s my Storefront if you want inspiration! I mostly feature my favourite books, as these tend to sell well.
Amazon’s ‘Bounty Program’ is what I typically focus on, because it pays well, and often the customer doesn’t even need to buy anything. For example, you get a flat-rate commission on free 30-day trials for Amazon services, including Prime, Prime Video, Audible etc.
Note: Amazon Associates has very specific rules you must follow, make sure to read up on these if you join. If you break their rules, you’ll likely get banned.
I’m part of a similar affiliate program with Skillshare, where I earn a commission if people sign up for their free trial. I’ve written about some of my favourite Skillshare classes if you want to find out more about it! I spent a lot of time in 2020 learning new things to upskill and improve my job prospects after finishing my Master’s degree. I have Skillshare to thank for it!
Ultimate Bundles is my favourite affiliate program at the moment, I really enjoy working for them. I’ve learned a lot about affiliate marketing from the brilliant resources they make available to affiliates. These include lessons, webinars, tips and more!
Anyone can join Ultimate Bundles and get paid a 40% commission rate. Even better, they also provide free promotional graphics you can use on social media, in emails, or on your website to promote their products.
What do Ultimate Bundles sell?
Digital product bundles. These bundles include resources, courses, printables and workbooks… all based around a specific theme, often up to 98% off compared to purchasing separately.
If you’re a digital creator, you can earn a 70% commission rate if you offer to include one of your resources in a bundle.
The main tip I have for affiliate marketing is to become an affiliate for a brand or product you truly enjoy and use. Write honest reviews, and share your results! This can be from an online course you took, a skincare product, a book… provide the ‘social proof’ a customer is looking for.
There are more than 5 ways to make extra money online, but these have been the most profitable for me.
I’ve also been working on a few other side hustles recently, particularly throughout the pandemic. I even started selling illustrated greetings cards and stickers… I’ll write more blog posts about these ventures after I’ve given them a chance to succeed!
That concludes 5 ways to make extra money online every month… want some more tips?
Check out the InternetWages Library for more Side Hustle blog posts, and online money-making ideas.
I’m on Twitter @InternetWages if you have any questions.
Em from InternetWages.
P.S. Did you find my blog through Pinterest? I bet you did! Big Pin Energy is the ebook I studied to skyrocket my blog in 2020, it's the best investment I've made in my 6 years of blogging.