Make Money

How To Make Money Online: 12 Proven Ideas for 2024

Are you dreaming of building your own business or simply looking for ideas to make extra money on the side?

With modern technology advancing before our eyes, there are more ways than ever to make money on the web. Whether you’re selling your used clothes on a local marketplace site, creating merch for your TikTok fans, or starting a business from a passion or hobby, there are tools to help.

And if you don’t yet have an idea in mind, this list will spark ideas for making money online—no matter your skill level. Ahead, explore 23 creative money-making ideas, including everything from beginner side hustles and passive income ideas to advanced business models.

How to make money online

  1. Sell print-on-demand products
  2. Monetize a blog
  3. Sell digital products
  4. Become a reseller
  5. Try affiliate marketing
  6. Become an influencer
  7. Sell photos online
  8. Create and sell handmade or custom products
  9. Write and sell books or ebooks
  10. Monetize a YouTube channel
  11. Sell products through online marketplaces
  12. Develop and sell a unique product

Many of these ideas for making money online can be executed from home, allowing you to get up and running quickly. From generating advertising revenue from your YouTube videos to setting up your own online store, you can make money online leveraging your unique skills and experience.

1. Sell print-on-demand products

A person walks away carrying a printed tote bagPrint on demand (POD) allows artists and creators to customize white label products with their own designs without the need to hold inventory. When a customer places an order, a print-on-demand company will print your design on a product, fulfill the order, and ship it to the customer.

POD options include t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, or fan merch. This model lets you create customized products quickly, making it a low-risk, low-investment way to earn extra income.

Best for: Creatives looking to make money online by monetizing their designs, influencers selling merch, those seeking passive income.
Startup time: A few hours to set up an ecommerce platform and print-on-demand integration.
Effort level: Easy to start if you already have designs to upload. Easy to medium to maintain.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know

  • After you set up a Shopify store, browse the many print-on-demand suppliers to compare pricing, quality, and product lineup.
  • Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.
  • This is an easy online business to scale once you’re set up.

2. Monetize a blog

A person types on a laptop in a home settingWhile many businesses use blogs to help drive traffic to their products, did you know that you can make money online with a blog alone? You can monetize a blog in a number of ways, including generating advertising revenue, using affiliate links, writing sponsored posts in partnership with a brand, or selling merch or custom products to an audience.

Best for: Existing bloggers and writers, those looking to make money online from home.
Startup time: A few hours.
Effort to start: Medium to start, but it will take a lot of effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: Varies depending on how you are monetizing your blog.
What to know

  • While blogging can be a low-investment, small business idea, it can take time to pay off.
  • Use SEO practices to drive organic traffic and read about more ways to monetize a blog.
  • You will require a blogging platform.
  • Choose an interest or skill you want to write about—consider a topic where you can bring a unique perspective and offer value to readers.

3. Sell digital products

Selling digital products is a great way to earn cash with low ongoing effort and cost. These products include guides, ebooks, templates, music samples, plans, printables, and tutorials that can be delivered digitally, in formats like PDF or via log-in access to a portal. This is a great option for creatives looking to make money online by selling music or selling art.

Another example of digital content is recipes and meal plans. Food blogger Lauren Fit Foodie sells this content to her audience through Instagram.

Best for: Creatives or those looking to make money fast.
Startup time: Once the asset is created, it takes a couple hours to get up and running online.
Effort level: Medium to high, depending on product and ability to grow a customer base. Low effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know

  • Digital goods are scalable, with no limit to the number of times you can sell the same asset to earn money online.
  • If you want to license your product or use licensed materials, be sure to consult with a lawyer or research licensing laws.
  • You will require an ecommerce online platform and a digital delivery app from the Shopify App Store.

4. Become a reseller

Reselling existing products is one of the easiest online money making ideas, and it can take many forms. Whether you buy and resell vintage or collectible items or become a certified distributor of a brand in a specific region, you can start selling products without making any of your own.

Another option is to curate products from other brands through your own ecommerce store—say your favorite skin care products for problem skin.

Best for: Those looking to make money fast.
Startup time: Varies depending on what you plan to resell.
Effort to start: Low to medium, as you don’t need to create your own products.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know

  • You can find brands to resell by consulting wholesale directories or simply reaching out.
  • AliExpress is another option for finding generic trending products to sell under your own brand. These can even sometimes be customized and considered white label products.
  • You will require an online platform to sell your products.
  • In some cases, you may sign contracts with brands in order to resell.

5. Try affiliate marketing

A person scrolls through instagram on a mobile deviceAffiliate marketing involves sharing affiliate links that you receive from brands to promote their products on your site or social accounts to earn money online. When someone buys the product after clicking your affiliate link, you’ll receive credit for the referral, along with a commission. A solid content marketing strategy around your affiliate links will help you drive visits, clicks, and buys.

Best for: Marketers, bloggers, and creators with an existing audience; those looking for passive income.
Startup time: A couple hours.
Effort level: Medium to start. Very low effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: Varies, depending on the success of the affiliate links and the payment terms you set with the brand.

What to know

  • Sign up for Shopify Collabs to get access to brands offering affiliate programs to creators and influencers.
  • Disclaimers are required by the Federal Trade Commission and most reputable affiliate programs. You are required to let your audience know if you are being paid to promote a product.
  • You will require a website, blog, or social media presence where you can promote products.

6. Become an influencer

Influencer marketing is popular with brands looking for clout with audiences that resemble their target customer. Brands are clamoring to sponsor content by productivity and stationery creator Amanda Rach Lee. But you don’t need to have Amanda’s two million followers to make money online as an influencer.

You will need an engaged following, but influencer marketing statistics show that influencers with as few as 1,000 followers—considered nano influencers—can get brand deals on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram. Anyone can create viral videos if you understand what your audience wants.

How to get paid as an influencer:

  • Open a store online and sell merch to your fans.
  • Sell sponsored posts to brands or become a brand ambassador or affiliate.
  • Make ad revenue.
  • Offer exclusive content through platforms like Patreon.

Best for: Aspiring creators with expertise or a unique POV on a specific topic.
Startup time: Varies, but generally, about three to four months.
Effort level: High. Popular accounts need fresh content to keep audiences constantly engaged.
Time to first payment: Varies, depending on the type of monetization you pursue.

What to know

  • The Shopify Starter Plan is perfect for creators who want to get selling fast without building a website. Or, you can also use a link-in-bio tool to superpower your social bio and push fans to your store.
  • You will need to meet minimum age requirements for each platform account to earn money online.
  • Choose this money making idea if you have a flair for content creation and being an on-camera personality (video and photo editing skills are a bonus).
  • An ecommerce platform for selling fan merch may be required.

7. Sell photos online

Whether you’re shooting on the newest iPhone or the latest Canon DSLR, you can sell photos online as a photographer. One of the best money making ideas for creatives, selling photos in your spare time is also easy to start if you already have a body of work.

Partner with a local printer to print your photos on specialty paper or other materials, or invest in a high-quality home printer. You can ship and sell numbered and signed versions of your photos directly to customers through your website.

t for: Photographers and photography enthusiasts looking to make money online from their craft.
Startup time: A few weeks or months to build your portfolio.
Effort level: High to start as you build your portfolio and website. Medium ongoing effort to maintain the business and develop new products.
Time to first payment: After you sell a photo, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know

  • Build awareness for your brand by growing your following on social media.
  • Use other methods of selling photos (like licensing to stock sites) to generate interest in your work.
  • You will require a camera, photo-editing software, and an ecommerce platform plan.

8. Create and sell handmade or custom products

Making products by hand is a great way to turn a hobby or passion into a business. You are already an expert at your craft—why not sell your work? Or, explore a new hobby and learn a hands-on skill that you can monetize.

Hand-making goods gives you full control over product development and quality, but can be time consuming. Also consider allowing customers to customize each order to their specifications. This is called bespoke, or one of a kind (OOAK).

Best for: Creatives looking to monetize their hobby, those looking to make money from home.
Startup time: It will take just an hour or two to set up your ecommerce store.
Effort level: Depends on whether you already produce goods. High effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.

What to know

  • While this is one of the most rewarding money making ideas, scaling this model is challenging. To grow, consider bringing on other artists you can train.
  • Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.

9. Write and sell books or ebooks

In the same way that you can monetize your expertise with an online course or your influence as a YouTuber, you can also earn cash selling books or ebooks online. There are a number of formats and genres, from novels to memoirs to self-help books.

Try using a print-on-demand book service to print and sell books online on your own ecommerce store, or use a service like Amazon Direct Publishing to sell ebooks.

Best for: Writers, journalists, and subject matter experts.
Startup time: Varies by book, but could take years to write, edit, and publish.
Effort level: Hard to start. Medium ongoing effort to market and sell the book.
Time to first payment: Depends on how and where you sell your books.

What to know

  • Grow a following for your personal brand as an author.
  • Digital delivery apps can be useful if you plan to sell ebooks directly to customers on your own website.
  • You will need to find a publisher or print-on-demand service to print physical books.
  • Choose a platform for selling your book or ebook directly to customers to cut out the middleman and make more money online.

10. Sell products through online marketplaces

Online marketplaces are often launch points for many now-successful brands, because they come with built-in audiences seeking specific products. For example, Etsy is a go-to source for buyers looking for handmade and vintage items, while Amazon is a global destination for product discovery and research.

You can get up and running quickly because there is less pressure on the seller to drive their own traffic or build a brand.

Best for: Creatives, those looking to make money from home.
Startup time: An hour or two to set up your account and add products.
Effort level: Depends on your product and business model.
Time to first payment: Anywhere from the day after to 14 days after you make a sale, depending on the marketplace.

What to know

  • Follow Etsy’s guidelines around what you can sell and acceptable use of the platform.
  • You must comply with Amazon’s seller policies to be in good standing.
  • Most marketplaces require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Sellers between 13 and 18 years of age may use Etsy with the supervision of a parent or guardian.

10. Monetize a YouTube channel

Top YouTube influencers like Cassey Ho, Wil Yeung, and Katie Carson all started where you are: with an idea. Each of these YouTubers built audiences through authentic content before monetizing their channels.

Once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers, you can try YouTube ads. You can also offer a paid product placement or become a brand affiliate. Selling products like your own branded merch is a great way to build your personal brand. Create your own website and link it to your channel to sell t-shirts, hats, and other swag to your fans.

Best for: Creators, YouTubers with an existing audience.
Startup time: It will take an hour or two to start a YouTube channel.
Effort level: High. YouTube requires an ongoing effort to create and publish video content.
Time to first payment: Once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers, you can start earning revenue from ads to make money on YouTube. Time to first payout via other methods varies.

What to know

  • Finding a niche with an underserved audience is a great option for your channel’s angle. Understand this audience and create content that adds value.
  • YouTube Shorts offer a way to keep your page fresh with shorter and more casual content.
  • You will require audio and video equipment and editing software.
  • Parental permission to start a YouTube channel will be required if you are between 13 and 17 years old.
  • Choose a sales channel or online store platform to sell merch (must be 18 to open a store).

11. Develop and sell a unique product

When you think of most direct-to-consumer brands, this is what comes to mind: original products that make meaningful improvements to well-known items. You too can develop and manufacture a unique product to sell—and make money online in the process. Consider designing a prototype for a product that solves a common problem, then finding a manufacturer to create it.

Best for: Aspiring entrepreneurs and product developers.
Startup time: Several months from design to prototype to manufacturing.
Effort level: High to start. Medium ongoing effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds in your bank account on most platforms.

What to know

  • Manufacturing domestically means you have more control over quality and sustainability, but your costs may be higher.
  • Research manufacturers carefully to find the right fit for your product and brand.
  • Be sure to consider labeling laws in every region where you plan to sell.
  • Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
  • Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.