In 2017, there were 13.27 million American men and 14.82 million American women aged 18-29 earning money online. (Statista, 2020) This makes up about one-third of the total US population. In 2020 alone, there were 15.5 million online workers in the US making about $20-$30 per day. (Statista) That’s a lot of potential earnings! And it’s a trend that won’t slow down in the near future.
There are several ways to make money online. You can do this through selling your photos for stock photos, performing online tasks for companies, or by using a freelancing platform. We’ll discuss each of these options in more detail below.
Selling Your Photos Online for Stock Photos
In case you’re wondering, a stock photo is a stock photo that has been pre-made and is usually (but not always) low-priced. Companies will purchase these photos to use in their publications, websites, and social media platforms. When you have a talent for taking photos, you can use this skill to your advantage by creating and selling your own unique stock photos to companies like HubSpot, Hello Fresh, HP, and Nordstrom.com.
The best part is that you don’t need to have a huge investment to get started. You can use agencies like FotoBank to create high-quality stock photos at a reasonable cost. (FotoBank)
If you’re the analytical type, you can take advantage of online tasks that pay you to analyze data. For example, if you want to know how consumers choose their skin cleansers, you can register with Survey Junkie and start taking surveys. (Survey Junkie)
If you’re familiar with some of the more popular analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, you can use their integrated tools to get started with online tasks. For instance, with Google Analytics, you can create a new custom report and enter a few keywords to see how customers flock to your site given those keywords. (Google Analytics)
Keep in mind that not all online tasks will pay you. Some of these tasks, like watching videos and taking surveys, can be considered “digital freelancing.” If you’re unsure about whether or not you’ll be able to make money from online tasks, then it’s best to do some research before committing. However, even digital freelancing can be a profitable venture if you’re talented enough. (Statista)
While traditional freelance markets like newspapers and magazines will always be necessary, the rise of online markets mean that there are now more opportunities to make money online without having a physical product to sell. (Statista)
The most popular way to make money online is through platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Amazon Mechanical Turk. We’ll discuss each of these platforms in more detail below.
If you’ve never been paid to write online, you might wonder how Upwork makes money. They don’t sell anything. Instead, they take a cut out of the contracts their freelancers create. (Statista)
Upwork functions a little differently than other online markets. Instead of having one company take a cut and providing the platform, Upwork allows independent contractors to connect with potential customers and earn a commission when they successfully negotiate a contract. (Upwork)
Upwork is a little less transparent about how their model works than the other two platforms we’ve discussed so far. However, even with this opacity, their model makes sense. As a digital marketer, you can learn a lot from Upwork’s approach. They don’t rely on a small number of large businesses to exist, but instead strive to create a large network of independent contractors. (Statista)
Fiverr is another popular freelancing platform similar to Upwork. However, instead of having customers hire freelancers, Fiverr lets artists and creative companies hire freelancers to do freelance work for them. (Statista)
Fiverr provides a marketplace where clients can post creative jobs and freelancers can bid on those jobs. The creative company can choose from a number of freelancers to complete the task and track all payments through an online portal. (Fiverr)
Fiverr is the perfect place for creative professionals who want to get their work done quickly and without having to worry about quality. Since it’s a fast-paced world we live in, people want professional freelancers who can deliver high-quality work on time. (Statista)
Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a freelancing platform where participants (known as “Mechanical Turks”) take on small tasks for businesses and organizations across the globe. (Statista)
Mechanical Turks take on a wide variety of tasks including moderating content, taking surveys, transcribing audio, taking photos, and building websites. (Amazon Machine Turk
Although Amazon Mechanical Turk is possibly the most well-known of the four platforms we’ve discussed so far, it’s still very much in demand. The key reason for this is that it allows for semi-automated task execution. This means businesses can get the job done without having to directly engage with a human being every time an action needs to be taken. (Statista)
As a digital marketer, you can use this platform to your advantage by using the task automation features. (For example, if you want to launch a product review website but don’t have the time to do it manually. You can use automated tasks to handle the moderation of content, ordering of products, and taking of photos. From there, you can simply log into the site and start writing. (Full Story)
While all of these platforms provide ways to make extra cash, some people prefer to use their talents to make a difference. For example, if you’re a skilled copywriter, you can use your talents to make money by volunteering with a non-profit organization. (CNET)
All of these platforms offer ways for you to make money online. Which one you choose will depend on your own personal preferences. If you’re looking for the easiest way to make money, then Upwork might be the best option for you. If you want to try something new, then you can use Amazon Mechanical Turk to get your feet wet. Lastly, if you want to use your skills to make a difference in the world, then you can use Fiverr.