How to Make Money Online Without Investment
Not a Job but a Business
Yes, you can make money online, but you will not find many jobs like that. I have not been able to find a single instance where you will actually be an employee with a steady paycheck. At best, you will be paid by the item. You will be self-employed; an independent contractor. You will be an entrepreneur working for yourself in your own business. That might sound glamorous, but glamor does not pay any bills. It also means you will be responsible for all the tools, equipment and services you will need to do the job. Making money online without investment seems like a distant dream, doesn't it?
Let us take a look at some of the challenges. These challenges will no doubt be different depending on where you, my reader, are in the world.
First, let us take a look at how to get online in the first place. Where I live, free wi-fi is available at libraries, bookstores, cafes, coffee shop, restaurants, etc., etc. Most people have a smartphone and can get online anywhere. I am one of the few who does not. Internet access is ubiquitous and inexpensive. In some locations, it is pretty much a necessity of life. For example, you need to apply in-person for special permission to access Danish public services any other way.
You can even find cell phone coverage in some very surprising places in the world. Other places have no such access at any price. In other places, access is limited not so much by physical availability but by financial availability. Common folks simply cannot afford it, so a whole Internet sharing industry has sprung up. It still costs money. You simply rent the equipment and connection for short periods of time. At a minimum you would have to invest in some kind of Internet access before you can send a single e-mail.
To make money online you have to get some kind of computer, learn how to use it and pay for the Internet connection. Soon you will outgrow what you can do at the library. In most cases, you will have to make at least some investments. You are going to want to get your own.
Two Kinds of Online Income
There are basically two ways to make money online:
You get paid by the item. Once you stop working the payment will also stop.
- Data entry
- Buying and selling
- Micro jobs
- Reading ads
- Taking surveys
- Content creation
- Mystery shopper
You invest some time up-front and wait for your effort to pay off later.
- Affiliate marketing
I recommend that you concentrate on the second group if at all possible. This is the best strategy if
- you are young and have time to build a portfolio and
- if you do not need income right away.
Of course your particular circumstances may not allow you to do that. You may need income as soon as possible, but it should always be on your mind to get to a point where you can plan for the future. Continually take steps, even tiny ones, to create content that will continue to provide income even after you stop working.
Rule number one no matter which strategy you decide on is: Do not pay any money to anyone. Beware that it could be disguised as required training material. Do not fall for that one either. There are so many other ways to get the information you need without having to pay for it. The only exception is when you have reliable evidence from a trusted friend that it will in fact pay off in the end.
Now let us take a closer look at each of these strategies.
Data entry is probably the one strategy that comes closest to a regular job. If you can demonstrate that you can enter data quickly and accurately and the client has a continuous need for your service, you could be looking at a regular paycheck on a regular basis.
Data entry typically involves harvesting information from websites for marketing purposes. It can be very time consuming. You have to decide based on your circumstances if it is worth it or not.
Buying and Selling Online
Buying and selling is also a very good way. Why? Because it is infinitely scalable. Intuitively, you would begin by selecting a product to sell that you either already own or can easily get or make. That might work, but why not begin with asking yourself this question: What do people want to buy and where are they? Then go out and find that product and sell it to them. You may not even need to take physical possession of the product, but can have it shipped directly from the manufacturer. You may not even have to pay for it until you have sold it. You might even be able to hire people to do the work for you. You just provide the plan and the leadership.
Micro Jobs and Freelancing
Not surprisingly micro jobs are simple, routine tasks. Unlike data entry, micro jobs also typically have a more creative aspect such as commenting on blogs, sharing articles, etc. They are quick to do and you get paid quickly. Like data entry, it could turn into an ongoing relationship and therefore a steady income
Freelancing implies a higher skill level and longer durations, but perhaps not at the level of a consultant. Freelancers typically get paid when the job is finished. Consultants, who may work on projects for several months at a time, may get paid at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the project.
Reading Ads and Taking Surveys
It is difficult to see what value it would have for anyone to have someone who is not interested in the service or product being advertised read the ad or take the survey. Be that as it may. Do not expect to earn a lot this way and you will most likely have to pass some kind of minimum before you will actually get paid. In most cases, it is not likely to be worth your time and effort.
If you have to say one good thing about this, it is very easy to do. It does not require a lot of skills.
Some companies have been known to hire people to click on their competitors' ads so that they would have to spend their hard earned cash without getting a benefit in return. You have to decide for yourself if you are willing to participate is a scam like that.
This could be as simple as writing a short article or it could be as elaborate as producing graphics and video as well. Typically, you get paid at the end of each project and if you are any good at it, it could lead to an ongoing relationship.
Of course you will steer clear of the ones that require you to use your own money to buy stuff and promise to reimburse you later. It is difficult to imagine there would be too many mystery shopper jobs available online.
Let us now turn to the second group of online income sources. Keep in mind that these strategies typically take a while to begin to pay off, but when they do, they will continue to do so whether you work at them or not.
There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, you can write content for other people's blogs and get paid right away, but you typically will not participate in the revenue the blog generates.
A better way, at least for a beginner, is to sign up with an article repository. They typically have relationships with advertisers and affiliates. You simply get a percentage of the revenue generated by your article. Some of the more popular ones have rather high minimums before they pay out anything, so it may take a while to get paid this way.
The third way is to start your own blog. It can be done without investment on free services, but you would give up some control. You will be responsible for signing up with affiliate and advertising networks yourself, but you get to keep all revenue generated by the blog.
Of course, you would have more control if you were to pay a hosting service to host your blog. It is surprisingly inexpensive.
The difficult part is to figure out what to blog about. Again, it is best to look at what people want to read about than what you want to write about. If you have no passion for the things people want to read, perhaps this is not for you unless you can hire someone to write content for you.
Affiliate marketing is the simplest way to sell stuff on the Internet. And for the reason outlined above, the potential is limitless. The beauty is that you never have to store anything, never have to ship anything or even buy anything. You simply find a way to get buyers to click on a web page link and you get a small cut of the sale. Of course the tricky part is to attract those buyers. It will take some learning and experimentation to do that. Lots of people have already figured this out and competition for people's attention is fierce. Luckily, some people have figured it out and are willing to share what they have learned.
Photography, Music, Film
Creative content like photographs, music and video either takes extraordinary talent or extraordinary skills most of us do not have. This is for the select few, but can be very lucrative and royalties may continue to arrive for years.
Film production for YouTube can also generate revenue from advertising.
To do this in a professional way, usually also requires some professional equipment, but simplicity might also work.
So there you have it. This is what I know about How to make money online without investment. I would like to encourage you to post your own experiences below. What worked for you and what did not?