8 Ways to Make Money from an Online Side Business | Introduction

There are really only 8 different ways to make money from an online side business, and I have summarized them all for you in this post.

If you are planning on starting an online side business someday (which is really something you should be doing – that’s the whole purpose of reading this blog :) ), then your business idea will almost definitely fit under one of those areas.

Just as a side note, this is going to be a part of a series of 8 posts that I will be writing in the future. This first post is an introduction that gives an overview about all the 8 different side business ideas you can pursue.

In my upcoming posts, I will go into more detail about each one of those ways to make money, and include specific examples of how to get started. I will also share how some individuals are currently running their businesses, and how much money they’re making.

Here are 8 ways to make money on the side:


1) Information Products

Sell digital information products that can be downloaded, such as an ebook or a video course.

Example: Sell an ebook for $19 on how to lose weight without exercising 


2) Physical Products

Sell physical products that can be easily sold online.

Example: Sell custom-made t-shirts for $10 that you personally design 


3) Affiliate Marketing

Sell someone else’s products (or services) by directing people to their website. You get paid a commission when people purchase the products.

Example: Post links to products on Amazon.com and make a 4.00% commission when someone clicks on the links and buys


4) Advertising

Sell ad space on your website or newsletter. You get paid when people click on the ads (regardless whether they purchase or not).

Example: Embed Google advertisement banners in the side bar of your website, and make around $1.00 every time someone clicks on the links


5) Services

Sell your own time in exchange for money. This includes consulting, coaching, speaking, and/ or freelancing.

Example: Sell an hour of your time for $47  per hour to help college students apply to graduate school 


6) Mobile Phone Applications

Sell phone applications that you create. You get paid when someone buys the application or when someone clicks on advertisements in the application.

Example: Sell an iPhone application for $0.99 that helps moms keep track of their children’s medication 


7) Software Applications

Sell standalone software or software as a service (web applications) that users can download or subscribe to.

Example: Sell a web application for $75 per month that helps doctors easily schedule their patients’ appointments


8) Membership Sites

Sell access to member-only websites that include premium information and/or discussion forums for individuals with specific interests.

Example: Sell a membership for $10 a month where marketers log in to a website and learn the latest “insider” marketing strategies & trends

That’s it!

Every single person making money online (that I know of) is using one of those methods, so your million dollar side business idea will fit into one of those buckets.

As I mentioned, I’ll get into more detail about each one of those ways in my upcoming posts, so make sure you subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already.

Until then, here are some common questions & answers.

Common Questions


Which one of those ways should I start with?

That depends on your background, experience and interests.

However, my personal favorite is the first one: selling information products. That’s because information products 1) are relatively easy to create 2) have profit margins are huge and 3) don’t require your presence to make money (i.e., unlike selling services, you can sell information products while you’re asleep).


I’m not a writer, coder or product creator – can I still make money?

Of course you can. You don’t need to be experienced in any of those areas to make money online.

Creating products doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do the creation yourself. You can hire someone to create anything for you: information products, physical products, and mobile & software apps. In fact, some people have become millionaires with zero knowledge about anything to do with writing or application development. They just came up with the ideas and someone else executed the idea for them.


What about Blogging? I don’t see that on the list.

You don’t make money from blogs, you make money because of blogs.

A blog is just a marketing tool that helps you make money using one or more of the above methods.

For example, I run a blog called “The Couch Manager,” which is about working productively from home. On my blog, I sell an ebook about how to design the ultimate home office. I also have a side bar Google ad and affiliate links within my posts about specific products that I like. So I make money from publishing ads, promoting affiliate links and selling an information product – not from the blog itself.


Do I need to have a blog to sell anything?

No you don’t.

You can technically sell your services and products on other established marketplaces, and I’ll get into those later. However, having a blog will make it much, much easier for you to sell and to get feedback about what people really need.

Plus, if you’re an employee, there are a lot more benefits you will gain from blogging than just making money (read my guest post on ProBlogger about Why Every Employee Should Start a Blog to learn what those benefits are).

I will be getting into the basics of how to set up your own blog to maximize your chances of making money from them in future posts as well, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions, let me know in the comments below!



  1. Ed MacDonald says:

    A great intro post. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Live ultimately,