Online businesses are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. With the advanced digital technology we have available, online businesses are not only possible, but they are also the preferred option in many cases. For example, the International Trade Administration indicated that the UK has the highest rate of internet shopping among major countries. With over $3 billion (approx £2.24 billion) spent weekly online in the UK, eCommerce now accounts for more than 36% of the total retail market in the UK. While online stores and eCommerce are great options, there are many more ways to make money online.
1) Start a blog and join an affiliate program
When looking for ways to make money online, starting a blog is one of the most common pieces of advice given. But a blog alone will not generate much of an income; you need to do it in the right way. Usually, tips on making money from a blog include optimising your blog to attract more traffic and adding Google AdSense ads to generate an income. The problem with this is that users are often annoyed by frequent ads and use ad-blockers to avoid them. Rather than relying on ads (and losing money for each ad-block user), consider affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs, in simple terms, are programs in which websites receive commissions for sending traffic to a merchant website. Affiliate sites post links to the merchant site and are remunerated according to a specific agreement. For instance, someone with a particular interest in fashion could start a blog speaking about and reviewing trends, outfits and clothing pieces and include links (that are part of an affiliate program) to where readers can purchase the pieces discussed in the blog posts. The options are limited only to your interests and creative thinking.
2) Join a social trading network
A social trading network is very similar to social media platforms such as Facebook. They allow you to connect with and communicate with other investors, enabling you to collaborate, discuss potential investment opportunities and make more informed trades. Additionally, they typically have easy-to-use online tools that will help you track all of your stocks, cryptocurrency and index funds. There are many networks and platforms to choose from, including eToro, NAGA, FXTM and Robinhood. Each platform offers unique benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to do a considerable amount of your own research before getting started with any one trading network. Some variable features include:
- Social features (how much you can interact with other traders)
- Trading fees
- Commission fees
- Legal regulations and compliance
- Copy-trading (a process of mimicking a trading expert’s trade behaviours)
- Minimum investment
- Demo account available
When starting your trading and investing journey, a common piece of advice that you will hear is, “Don’t invest money you cannot afford to lose in the short-term.” Understand that trading can be risky but lucrative when it pays off.
3) Rent out your belongings
If you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to working online, there is always the option of renting out your belongings. There is definitely a market to rent out just about anything, from a spare bedroom on Airbnb to that drone you’ve had sitting in the corner gathering dust. The options for renting out your things are endless. Some options include:
- Car – If you have a car you rarely use, there are platforms available that allow you to rent your car out. By using platforms such as easyCar and HiyaCar, you can simply list your vehicle and enjoy the extra income.
- Space – If you have a spare bedroom, apartment or even a sleeper couch available, you can rent that out to people who need a place to sleep. Airbnb is a popular platform that allows you to rent out your space.
- Items – Platforms such as Fat Llama enable you to list just about anything for rent for a daily fee. From cameras to birthing pools, if you have it around the house, chances are someone will pay to borrow it.
One point to note about renting out your possessions or property is to do some research and understand how to go about doing so safely. Each platform has its own terms and conditions and safety recommendations, so it’s best to familiarise yourself with them before you get started.
Dropshipping is an eCommerce fulfilment option that is unconventional in the sense that a store never actually keeps its products in stock. Rather, the seller makes purchases from a third party as needed to fulfil orders. That third party is typically a wholesaler or manufacturer. As there is no need for employees, a store, storage space or even inventory, dropshipping requires very little in terms of upfront capital. According to Amazon, the typical dropshipping process is as follows:
- Products are sourced or produced by the dropshipping supplier
- There is an agreement made between the seller and the dropshipping supplier
- The dropshipping supplier stores inventory
- An eCommerce storefront or webstore is hosted by the seller
- A customer places an order
- The seller processes payments
- As soon as the seller receives an order, it is forwarded to the dropshipping service
- The dropshipping service prepares orders
- The dropshipping service ships products
Dropshipping is a great option for anyone who is looking to make money online without needing a lot of startup costs or continued operating costs. Additionally, since the entire process happens online, you can work from anywhere in the world. It’s worth noting that since you never have contact with the product, you have very little control over the product quality and shipping speed, and you will have a lower profit margin due to the absence of bulk pricing.
5) Write and self publish
If you enjoy writing, there are many options for you to make money online. With the internet and the ability to sell online, the old model of needing an agent or a publisher to sell your written work is a thing of the past. There are endless opportunities for making money online if you happen to enjoy writing. The days of old when you had to become a professional journalist or rely on an agent and publisher to sell your novel are long gone. Amazon has an option for aspiring authors to write and sell their work with Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon KDP). The benefits of Amazon KDP include:
- Your book can be published in under five minutes, appearing in Kindle stores across the globe within 48 hours.
- With Amazon KDP, authors earn up to 70% royalty on sales to customers within certain regions, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia and more.
- Authors have control over how much they charge for their listings and keep control of their rights.
- With KDP, you can publish Kindle eBooks and paperbacks for free.
Self-publishing is a great opportunity that allows more writers to step into the literary world on their own terms. It’s not unheard of for self-published authors to achieve great success, topping bestseller lists and even going on to turn down regular book deals!
6) Transcribing audio and visual clips
If writing a book isn’t for you, there are still options available. One option is transcribing video and audio files. These can be done on a freelance basis, but there are also companies that hire transcribers to work remotely. These companies usually have different pay rates, requirements to work and payment methods (including PayPal and bank transfers), so it’s very likely you’ll find a good fit for you.
Furthermore, it is not typical for transcription companies to charge fees for their application process, and you should avoid any jobs that require a fee to work for them. The exception to this is in the case where the company deals with sensitive information, in which case you may be asked to pay for a background check.
Making money as a copywriter is simple enough, and you don’t even need a qualification. If you’re good at writing and have a good work ethic, you can certainly make money as a freelance copywriter. Copywriting typically involves writing promotional materials that spur readers to take action, which could be buying a product, using a service or subscribing to a mailing list. This content can be varied and can include press releases, advertisements, emails, blog posts, how-to guides and more. There are two main options to work as a copywriter: work through an agency or freelance online.
- Copywriting agencies usually hire freelance writers to provide copy and content writing as a third-party provider. Typically, writers are paid per word or by the hour. There are so many copywriting agencies to work for; each will have specific payment methods, rates and requirements.
- If you’d prefer to be pickier about the content you write, you may choose to avoid an agency and opt for a freelancing platform. Platforms exist where you can list the type of work you are willing to do and the rate you expect to be paid. Alternatively, clients can post the work they need and writers can apply for it. These platforms include Fiverr, Upwork, Guru.com, Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour and more.
Copywriting often requires you to put out a lot of content very quickly, but if you stick with it, you’ll get used to it in no time.
Robo-advisors are online platforms that offer algorithmic, automated financial planning with very little human supervision. Usually, you would sign up to the platform and give some information about your current finances and your financial goals. The robo-advisor would then use that data to advise and invest your money for you. There are many benefits to investing with a robo-advisor. They are typically more affordable than conventional advisors and focus more on diversifying your portfolio, reducing your risk. By nature, they are more accessible, no matter your current net worth or financial situation. Popular robo-advisors include Wealthfront, Betterment, M1 Finance, E*TRADE Core Portfolios and Merrill Guided Investing.
Robo-advisors offer the opportunity to invest without the hassle of doing it yourself. A good robo-advisor should be easy to set up and provide good customer service, advanced security features and reasonable fees.
9) Peer-to-peer lending
Peer-to-peer lending is an alternative to borrowing money from a bank or other traditional online lenders. Loans are made through websites that connect borrowers with lenders (investors). It is up to each website to determine the rate and terms and make the transaction possible, though some peer-to-peer platforms allow for investors to have input on those details. The best peer-to-peer lending platforms include Peerform, Upstart, Funding Circle and Payoff.
When you choose to lend money with peer-to-peer lending, you can typically choose to fund some or all of the loan. When the borrower begins to make payments, investors start to make their money from the interest. By partially funding several loans, you diversify your investment and minimise the risk of losing your money entirely if a borrower defaults on their loan. Look for peer-to-peer lending websites that offer multiple kinds of loans with reasonable fees and competitive interest rates.
10) Selling sponsored content
Selling sponsored content does require you to have some kind of online presence or following to start with, which could be a blog, popular social media profile such as Instagram or TikTok or a YouTube channel with an audience. With sponsored content, you are typically asked by a company to share their product or service with your followers, a service for which you get paid. It’s not typically required to shove sponsored content at your audience like an overworked salesman. Instead, the company is usually happy for you to simply review their product or service, thereby giving them exposure with your audience. However, they will specify their terms and expectations. Joining an influencer network is a good place to get started with selling sponsored content. They will connect you with the right companies for your brand and audience.