20 Future Ways How to Make Money Online (Best for 2020)

At this stage, in 2021, it’s pretty common knowledge that you can make money online. Or, I should rather say, it’s common knowledge that some people make money online, but how do you get a piece of this pie for yourself?

The following list highlights 20 future-proof strategies on how to make money online in 2021 and going forward.

To help you identify the right strategy for you, we’ve rated each one by the following factors:

  • Investment needed (rated low 🟢 – medium 🟡 – high 🟠)
  • Skill to enter (rated low 🟢 – medium 🟡 – high 🟠)
  • Income type (active ⚡ or passive ⌛)

Read on to find your perfect strategy to make money online in 2021.

How to make money online: 20 ideas to get you started

How to Make Money Online

Now that we’ve introduced the idea of future-proof money making opportunities, let’s look at twenty excellent alternatives. The one that’s the best fit for you will depend on the time you have to invest and the skills you have to offer, but they all present excellent opportunities to make extra income.

1. Edit people’s podcasts

Podcasts have gone from a quirky thing for the tech-savvy to a mainstream thing worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Literally! Spotify spent over $100 million just to get the Joe Rogan Experience and they also acquired Gimlet, a popular podcast studio, for over $200 million.

That money has led to a lot of people wanting to launch their own podcasts. However, most people don’t have the skills to edit their own audio, which is where you come in. You can take people’s audio and turn it into a polished product that won’t get them angry comments from their listeners. It’s a pretty common thing for podcast listeners to complain about the sound quality, which is why your job will always be in demand.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: People who know basic sound editing or have the time to learn a tool like Audacity.

2. Become a virtual assistant

People are always looking for a little help. And since the world’s gone global, you can be that helper no matter where in the world your clients are. As a virtual assistant, you can help out with pretty much…anything.

You could help them find guest post opportunities, organize their schedule, perform some occasional data entry…really anything. You can use platforms like Upwork to find clients. Or, you can create your own website and market your services.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Pretty much anyone, though having some knowledge might help you command a higher rate. For example, learning some SEO can help if you’re working with website owners.

3. Start your own blog

Blogging ain’t exactly a unique idea to make money online in 2021. But it’s something that has worked in the past, works in the present, and will keep working in the future.

You can blog about almost anything you’re passionate about (as long as there are other people who are passionate about it, too). There are also tons of ways to make money blogging. For example, you can use affiliate marketing, partner with brands, display ads, and lots more.

Starting a blog that makes real money takes a lot of time and effort. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it’s still one of the best ways to make money on the internet in 2021 and beyond.

👉 How to start a blog site with WordPress

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: Pretty much anyone!

4. Offer on-demand, one-on-one courses

Online courses are all the rage, but what about an organized website where merchants (or teachers) sell their services to explain tasks. This could be as in-depth as a developer teaching one or two, or dozens of students about a coding language, or something as quick and simple as repairing a leaky faucet. YouTube and online courses already exist, but we’re picturing a marketplace where users schedule or lock-in instant video training. The instructor would receive a notification at any time and log in to start solving the problem or sharing their knowledge.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Those with flexible schedules and a skill that they’re confident teaching, like students, stay-at-home parents, self-employed workers, and people free on the weekends. Professionals in all trades could do this if they find enough time.

5. Rent yourself out as “the-face-of-the-firm”

From voiceover actors to SEO experts, talent and business expertise are for sale all over the internet. Yet, there could be a market for small and medium-sized businesses that need a “face for their company.” This would primarily involve tech-savvy, actor-like people who overtake every aspect of a brand’s customer-facing communications. They would make blog content, YouTube videos, promotional videos, and more, maintaining continuity and building a brand with one voice and face and style, instead of companies hiring multiple freelancers over and over.

Investment: Medium 🟡 to High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Actors, voiceover artists, marketers, video and audio professionals, and anyone willing to purchase the required equipment, show their face, and use their voice.

6. Dropship products from local stores

The dropshipping game involves questionable shipping times and quality, and most of the products come from China or India. Eventually, we’ll see a marketplace or online hub for local businesses to link up with dropshippers – or essentially middle-men online retailers – who’re willing to work on marketing and distribution while the retail store ships any sales from those stores directly to customers.

Investment: Medium 🟡
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Mostly active ⚡
Good for: At-home workers and those trying to start a business or side-gig, along with students, stay-at-home parents, and eCommerce professionals.

7. Create your own membership site

A membership site can be anything from a private online course to a premium forum community or members-only store. Basically, it’s anything where people are willing to sign up and pay for access to content that regular people don’t get.

That’s a little vague, but that’s the point! Creating a membership site is such a flexible way to make money online. For example, Scott’s Cheap Flights sells access to alerts on cheap flight deals, Nomad List sells a premium digital nomad community, Fizzle is a community of creative entrepreneurs…it can be literally anything!

Best of all, a membership site gets you access to the holy grail of making money online – automatic recurring revenue, AKA money that comes in every month like clockwork.

Investment: Medium 🟡
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: People who are willing to invest time into learning how to make a website and grow it with marketing.

8. Sell pre-built blogs or influencer platforms

We have themes for full website infrastructures and a wide variety of other templates so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel in just about every industry. Writers start with outlines, coders rarely begin from scratch, and even painters have models and inspiration they work with. Is it possible for an agency to offer pre-built blogs for aspiring affiliate marketers and bloggers? It could include a fully functional website and a few dozen custom blog posts that focus on one topic. It’s sort of like a web designer, but putting the buyers in a position where they’d start their business about one-month into the content creation process.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: People who are comfortable developing websites and writing valuable content, such as developers, writers, or combinations of both. Social media enthusiasts fall into this category as well.

9. Create your own directory or listing site and sell premium listings

A directory or listing site is a great way to make money online because, once you get some traffic, businesses will be willing to pay you for a premium listing to get more eyes on their offer.

One of the most common examples is a job board. You can pick a specific niche and become an authority in that space. For example, the ProBlogger Job Board is a popular place to find freelance bloggers. Or, Remote OK is another popular option that focuses only on remote-friendly jobs.

You aren’t limited to jobs, either. You could list businesses, consultants, service providers, etc.

👉 How to create a directory website

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: People who are willing to invest time into learning how to make a website and grow it with marketing.

10. Get paid only to travel

I have a few travel blogging friends and they’ve mentioned many times just how hard it is to keep the content flowing. As an individual, you literally have to go to the places you’re writing about. It’s possible there’s a market for travel blogger “assistants” who complete much of the travel, snap photos, and send over some notes. Then, the real blogger compiles the information, does most of the writing and photo editing work, and publishes the content, all without having to get in a plane or car to visit the location.

Investment: Low 🟢 to Medium 🟡
Skill to enter: Low 🟢

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: Nomads, or simply people willing to travel and get paid for it. Those who have the time and a bit of money to globetrot.

11. Help people make sense of their data

Nowadays, everyone wants to collect “data”. They take all the actions that their visitors/customers perform and throw them into a big data pile that’s only going to get bigger in the future. However, there’s not as much focus on taking this huge pile of data and actually turning it into actionable insights.

That’s where you come in. You can help people turn their data into something useful. This could be anything from digging into the data yourself to setting up a custom Google Analytics dashboard or eCommerce reporting tool. Basically, find a way to make data useful so that people can call themselves “data-driven” in meetings.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: People with good analytical skills. Having some knowledge of a programming language like Python also helps.

12. Create stylistic, aerial property photos

This isn’t exactly a new way to make money but one that often gets forgotten. Not to mention, it’s much easier with drones today. When I was younger, a photographer went door-to-door in my neighborhood selling artsy photos he took of the homes from a plane. They looked almost like paintings, and many in the neighborhood bought them, since people grow to love their homes and like to memorialize them. The only problem is you’d probably have to get permission before, due to drone restrictions.

Investment: High 🟠
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Photographers, drone hobbyists, or other visual artists who can invest in a drone and make the logistics work.

13. Find used goods and sell them online to a bigger market

There’s this weird disconnect in the used goods market. The internet and cheap shipping services have made the world a global marketplace, but lots of people still only sell their used goods locally on places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. This disconnect creates an opportunity for you to find cheap goods locally and then sell them to a global audience via platforms like eBay.

Often, the local goods are way undervalued because not very many people see them. But when you sell on eBay, you can get a much higher price since you have a larger audience. Flea Market Flipper has a blog and courses that can teach you how to get started.

Investment: Medium 🟡
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Anyone who’s tech-savvy enough to sell on eBay. You will need good negotiation skills and an eye for deals, though.

14. Become a freelance video editor for YouTube channels

There are so many small businesses that either make low-quality YouTube/social media videos, or it takes them a long time – even with automated editing tools.

The idea behind this money-making idea is to work as a standard video editor who promises to take raw iPhone footage and turn it into a short, professional video. All the business owners would have to do is capture the raw footage. Everything else is left to the editor to turn it into something beautiful and make it fast.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡 to High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Video editors who have the tools and efficiency to turn out quick videos that look good.

15. Be an online tutor

Tutoring has always been a great way to make money on the side, but with the growth of the internet and globalization, it’s also become a great way to make money online both now and in the future. For example, if you’re a native English teacher, apps like VIPKid make it easy to tutor online from anywhere in the world (which is why it’s especially popular with digital nomads).

One option is to hang your own shingle and try to find students yourself. You can easily teach them through meeting tools like Zoom. Or, you can go through one of these apps. All you need is some expertise in some area…which can literally just be speaking English!

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Anyone with patience and knowledge to share, though it’s probably easier for adults.

16. Create social ad campaigns that actually work

We’re sure this is already part of someone’s job, but we’d like to see it as a more affordable, accessible option. A small business should be able to contact a Facebook ad-creator who makes dozens of targeted ads for the business and schedules them. This way, the business owner doesn’t have to spend time and money on something they know nothing about.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢 to Medium 🟡

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Social media professionals or enthusiasts, people with marketing or ad experience, or folks with enough time to learn about social ads.

17. Moderate bots from home

Robots already function on assembly lines, with propositions to introduce them into more customer-facing and “thinking” roles like cooks, retail salespeople, and restaurant servers. Yet, even with artificial intelligence, those jobs often require problem-solving, critical thinking, and a human touch. In addition, what if the software or hardware fails and needs quick maintenance? At some point, we can expect a wave of at-home workers who control, maintain, or even just moderate robots in positions that aren’t assembly line workers with repeated actions.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢 to High 🟠

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: It depends on the role. We can see some roles as requiring simple chatting or checking in on the bot. Others may require advanced technical skills for maintenance. Regardless, it would have to be someone who can sit on the computer for long periods.

18. Participate in the gig-economy for everything

A person can already rent out their car, drive neighbors around, turn their home into a vacation rental, and even post their couch as a viable option for lodging. We can imagine companies have already – and will continue to – expand this idea to smaller, mundane items such as renting power tools to people in your neighborhood or leasing out big-screen TVs for big weekend sporting events.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: Teens, students, stay-at-home parents, workers, and just about anyone with items of value and a bit of time to post listings and meet with renters.

19. Test other people’s websites

A lot of people are building websites these days and they want to make sure that other people find it easy to use and navigate those websites. That’s a problem because, when you build a website, it’s easy for you to think everything makes sense. But sometimes other people struggle with things that you didn’t even think about.

You can be one of those “other people”. That is, you can test people’s websites and offer feedback. People will literally be willing to pay you just to explore their website and share your thoughts.

One option is to use an existing marketplace like UserTesting, which pays ~$10 for just a ~20-minute interview. Or, you could also create your own website and market yourself as an expert to earn even more.

Investment: Low 🟢
Skill to enter: Low 🟢

Income type: Active ⚡
Good for: Anyone – for sites like UserTesting, they want regular people, so you don’t need any special knowledge. If you want to become an expert and earn more, you’ll want to learn some basic design and UX principles, though.

20. Create your own niche web hosting product

With the rise of cloud hosting, launching a niche web hosting operation has never been easier. The key here is picking a niche because you don’t want to go up against the big established hosts like GoDaddy and Bluehost.

For example, you could be “web hosting for busy freelancers” or “mom bloggers” or “busy podcasters” or anything else. By picking a niche, you can stand out from the crowd and also offer a more tailored product and brand.

While selling hosting is undoubtedly technical, tools like cPanel, Plesk, and WHM make it fairly easy to do on a small scale. Or, if you want to stick to WordPress, you can consider dedicated WordPress panels such as GridPane or RunCloud.

With cloud hosting, you can start small and only add resources as your service grows, which reduces the upfront cost.

Investment: Medium 🟡
Skill to enter: High 🟠

Income type: Passive ⌛
Good for: People who are tech-savvy enough to set up tools like cPanel and Plesk. Having some development/network admin skills is also a big help.

How will you make money online in 2021?

We hope we’ve given you some ideas and got you all fired up for making things happen this year! Although we know that not all ideas from this list are for everybody, we’re confident that you’ll identify at least 2-3 that sound very interesting.

The important thing here is to just get started and take the first steps as soon as possible. You don’t really have to be 100% perfect with these right from day one. Start simple. Don’t overthink it.

Here are a couple of resources that will help you out as you go along:

Do you have any questions about how to make money online in 2021? Ask us in the comments below!

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