It’s pretty common to see articles about “27 Ways to Make Money” all over the internet, and while these can give interesting ideas, they are often very hypothetical. Reading them kind of makes me feel like I’m scrolling through Pinterest, crushing on DIY’s I’ll never get around to actually doing.
So, today, I’m doing things differently. I’m sharing the super practical, totally realistic, TEN WAYS that I ACTUALLY make money — legit in the real world.
Let’s do this.
1 // Teaching Live Classes
While there’s tons of hype online about selling $1000+ courses with big, intense launches, lately I’ve been really enjoying taking a more casual strategy.
If I’ve got something little to teach, and a handful of people in my audience want to learn… why not just sit down with them and show them? No big, stressful, time-consuming launch required, no crazy sales pages to write. No $2000 price tags…
Just me, a few of my readers, and something to share, live for an hour or two.
Want to join the next workshop? It’s all about how to successfully self-publish your own book. It’s happening November 29th at 11:30am PST, and you can join for just $29. Here’s the link.
2 // Business Sale Payments
About 11 years ago, back while I was still in high school, I started a little, local business, teaching piano lessons. Over time I grew it more and more, eventually hiring other musicians to teach the classes, and fading into the background myself.
After ten years of operating the music school, I finally sold it this past summer. Now I enjoy passive income in the form of monthly payments from the new owner.
This way of making money might seem… unfeasible. But, remember, I started this little company back in high school — with less than $100 — and it definitely wasn’t anything unique or innovative.
3 // Affiliate Marketing
Sometimes I enjoy creating products myself, but there are plenty of other times when I don’t have the knowledge or time to create something that my audience could really benefit from. Fortunately, someone else has probably already taken care of creating it! Enter: affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is just selling something that someone else made, and then getting paid a commission. For digital and information products, the commission is typically 50% — which means that this can be a great opportunity!
4 // Amazon Affiliates
Another breed of affiliate marketing — but so different that it deserves its own category.
Amazon pays their affiliates for referring buyers to their site, regardless of what they buy. So, if I link to a great deal for this awesome lavalier mic and you click… then I get a small cut of anything you buy for a full 24 hours afterward — even if you don’t buy the microphone at all.
Now, the catch is that the commission Amazon pays is small: 4% – 8% to be exact. (The more you sell, the higher a percentage you get.) But, if you have a reason to be sending people to Amazon on the regular, then this can certainly add up.
5 // Book Sales
Two years ago, I wrote and self-published my first book. After a pretty exciting (and profitable) launch, I continue to sell several dozen copies every month. I earn about $5 per eBook that Amazon sells, and about $6 for every paperback sale.
(Also, funny story, the #1 reason I send people to Amazon and get affiliate commissions is when I’m linking them to my own book.)
6 // Course Sales
Over the past year I’ve created a couple different courses, which I now periodically launch. Launching takes a LOT of time, though, so I tend to only do this when everything else is pretty calm.
I generally sell my courses for between $249 and $997, and typically make around a dozen sales during any given launch.
Course sales don’t comprise the bulk of my income, but they do provide a nice bonus when I have the time to devote to marketing them.
7 // Youtube
About six months ago I started regularly making videos for my Youtube channel. Of course, not much happened for the first couple months — but then things started to get interesting. In months 2 – 6 of being on Youtube, my subscriber base has nearly doubled every month (from 1,000 a few months ago to almost 16,000 today).
And… along with those subscribers and views I’ve gained, I’ve also started making a notable amount of money from ads on the platform. For a few months I earned a few hundred dollars, but then more of my videos became more popular, and since then I’ve been earning about $2,000/month.
Considering how much FUN I find creating video content and interacting on the platform to be, I’m definitely not going to say no to earning some decent money as well.
(Just for reference, I’m currently putting about 40 hours/month into my Youtube channel.)
8 // Rentals
Two years ago,
I was really busy I bought three town houses (a “triplex”). Currently, we rent out two of the units and live in the third. The payments from the renters completely cover the mortgage, plus a little to spare. This has three benefits:
- We don’t have to pay for housing.
- Our equity is growing without us having to finance it. (i.e. automatic savings)
- We get a little bit of extra cash each month.
And, just in case you're curious, when we bought this property we were both working part-time, and I was self-employed and my husband was earning $12 per hour. We didn't have any outside help, either. We just saved about $15,000 over a period of a couple years, and then used that as the down payment on a good deal that we purchased and put some sweat equity into.
9 // Consulting and Coaching
Each month, I work with a few clients one-on-one, teaching them how to start their own business, helping them come up with strategic marketing plans to grow, and providing a sounding board and accountability along the way.
I currently charge $199/hr for individual sessions, or $650/month (for sessions every week). You can find out more details on my services page.
10 // Advertising Services
Over the past ten+ years I’ve started a lot of different businesses, but in order to make them successful, I had to learn how to effectively market them so that I could actually attract customers.
This definitely wasn’t something I learned overnight.
Through the process, I taught myself how to run Facebook ads, Google ads, and market on Pinterest. These days, my primary “occupation” is providing these services to other online businesses.
I try to keep my services pretty affordable, since I work with a lot of small businesses that don’t have big marketing budgets, but I still make a great hourly rate, since I have enough experience with running the ads to be able to get great results fairly quickly.
Want to start something of your own?
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