Creating multiple sources of income is essential if you want to achieve financial freedom. So we’ve compiled this list of 50 ideas for building online income streams to make real money online right now.
This list will include a variety of different methods for building online income streams that are both active and passive sources of income. From simple ways to earn extra money in your spare time to fully fledged businesses. Most of these are free to start but some may require an initial capital investment. So you can be sure to find something suited to you.
Learn more in this post about the different types of income streams and why you need multiple sources of income.
50 Ideas For Building Online Income Streams
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is among the most popular methods for building online income streams. It is basically promoting a product or service from another company. A commission payment is usually earned once a sale has taken place.
It is a very simple model as you do not actually sell anything directly, your main task is to drive traffic to the sales pages. And the great thing is it is completely free to start.
This is the basic premise of affiliate marketing but there is a little more detail to know. Read our blog post to learn more about making passive income with affiliate marketing.
Surveys are a free and simple way to earn extra income in your spare time. There are many survey and rewards sites that pay users for taking surveys, playing games, watching videos and completing simple tasks.
Depending on the sites you can often earn a mixture of cash, cryptocurrency and shopping vouchers. These types of sites and apps aren’t going to make you rich. But they are an easy way to make a few extra dollars for a few minutes of your time every now and then. Discover some of the best survey and rewards sites.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is not just for professional writers, anybody with at least basic literacy skills can find freelancing writing roles suited to all levels of ability. Online writing projects can include; blog posts, articles, whitepapers, eBooks, proofreading and more.
Experienced writers may be well placed to sell their services through freelancing sites. Where they can set their own rates. But these are very competitive.
There are also many online writing sites that can match you with work. We’d recommend these websites to those with less experience. There is a greater likelihood of being matched to projects. Whereas freelancing sites have a lot of competition between skilled professionals.
Earnings can depend on the site, project detail and complexity and the writers experience and ability. Simple projects could start from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars for long form or technical content. View some of the top freelance writing sites to earn extra money online.
Sticking with the writing theme, another good option for building online income streams is blogging. Unlike freelance writing where you are actively writing for somebody else, with a blog you can write about any topic you like.
Blogs are a fantastic way of building online income streams. They allow for plenty of monetization options such as affiliate marketing. Blog posts make for easy integration of affiliate links.
Blogging requires considerable time and effort to research, write and optimize your posts for search engines. But once posted they allow for a passive source of income. Read about the benefits of making passive income blogging.
WordPress is the recommended platform to begin blogging. Click here to get $25 off your first WordPress purchase.
Dropshipping is a form of eCommerce that has several advantages over other types of stores. With dropshipping, a third party supplier handles the shipping of products to the customer.
This cuts out a lot of work and costs as no stock is ordered upfront and there is no requirement to store, handle or ship products. You only order from a supplier once you have received an order from a customer.
This can lead to higher profit margins and a more automated process. See our post for more detail on how dropshipping works.
6. High Yield Cash Savings
Do you have a lot of spare cash lying around? Then you’re probably better placed to invest it for better returns. However, holding some cash has it’s advantages – it is there in case of emergencies or to invest when a good opportunity arises. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to create an emergency fund.
Rising inflation reduces the spending power of cash. So it’s important to put your cash in a high yield savings account to get the best returns. Learn about the different types of savings accounts.
7. Create Courses
Do you have knowledge to share with others? Why not monetize it by creating an online course. That way you get to help others whilst building another online income stream.
You don’t have to be a teacher to create a course. Online platforms such as Teachable provide a simple intuitive process for any individual to create an online course. No matter what skills you have, there is likely somebody that can learn from you.
Courses don’t have to be live – record and publish them to be accessed at any time. This can provide a good passive income source long into the future.
8. Credit Card Stoozing
What’s stoozing you might ask? Well it’s a way of making free money from credit cards, but it does require some skill and effort. It might not be a suitable option for everybody. It involves using interest free credit card borrowing and then investing the money into high interest savings to make more money. You can see the process in more detail in our post covering how to make money with credit cards.
9. Test Software
Software testing isn’t just reserved for developers and programmers. In fact you aren’t required to be very technically minded at all. As long as you have a basic understanding of how to use apps, software and websites you may be able to earn money testing them.
There are online testing platforms that pay you for trying out new software products to find bugs. uTest for instance is one of the world’s largest communities of testers that is open to everybody.
There are a wide variety of testing project types including apps, games, streaming services, banking apps, security and more. It is free to join.
After registration you receive project invites which you can pick and choose to apply for. A short testing report must be submitted after testing.
Each project is different and pays accordingly. They can range from as little as $10 to hundreds of dollars for more complex tasks. Learn more about making money online by testing software.
10. Sell Chatbots
Chatbots are becoming more and more popular with online businesses as they offer many advantages over employing humans. This includes reduced costs and being able to run continuously around the clock.
Bots are becoming an essential business tool and the growth in this industry provides good sales opportunities. There is no need to be a coder or create your own bots from scratch.
There are now easy to use drag and drop no code builders like Conversiobot. These have licenses that allow you to customize and re-sell as your own product to other businesses. Find more information in this post on making money from chatbots.
11. Create An App
Apps are software applications designed for use on mobile devices such as smartphones. Just like chatbots, apps are also growing in popularity and are becoming an important business tool.
Apps are extremely versatile when it comes to monetizing them. From in app purchases to ads and subscriptions, you can even make an app itself a paid for app.
12. Sell Photos
Individuals and businesses purchase stock photography for use on websites, blogs and marketing materials. There are many stock photography websites that pay for your photos. Some sites offer commission payments but others may pay a one off fee. A good example worth checking out is Shutterstock.
It is also possible to create your own stock photography website and sell directly. This could be more profitable but would require more work and marketing efforts.
13. Sell On Online Marketplaces
They usually have a large worldwide user base that is easy to reach compared to other channels. Costs are one thing to watch out for – commission fees can soon start to eat into profits.
14. Solve Problems
Are you good at solving problems and like a challenge? A more unique way of making an income online is by becoming a problem solver. Every day businesses encounter issues that they cannot resolve themselves. So they turn them over to the public for help, paying handsomely for successful outcomes.
Examples of problems could include technological integration, carbon reduction, artificial intelligence etc.
One of the leading problem solver networks to start with is called Idea Connection. Solvers receive payment upon acceptation of successful solutions. The average pay out is $5000.
Learn more about solving problems for money.
15. Stock Trading Apps
Stocks offer different ways of building online income streams – capital gains and dividends. A capital gain is the difference in price between what you bought an asset for and what you sold it for.
Payments made to shareholders from a company’s earnings are called dividends. They are a great way of creating a regular source of income. Reinvesting dividends can in turn earn more dividends in future. This is a method of generating long term wealth through the power of compounding.
Although not all companies pay dividends and some reward shareholders in different ways. Learn more about the different types of dividends.
There are many methods and strategies when trading stocks. Day traders actively trade stocks in order to capitalise on short term price movements to make a profit. Investors take a longer term view, preferring to buy and hold to grow their wealth over time.
Whichever method or strategy you prefer it is important to pay attention to trading costs. Large fees can easily accumulate with regular trading. So it’s important to use commission free trading apps like Public and eToro.
16. Share Your Internet Connection
Do you have unlimited data or unused data allowance left over each month that you pay for? Why not earn some of that money back by sharing your unused internet connection? There are passive apps like Honeygain that once installed, simply run in the background without any technical set up.
Researchers and web intelligence companies use the data to monitor and extract insights into market research, ad-fraud prevention, brand protection, pricing intelligence and more.
How much you can earn depends on a number of factors including location and technical specifications. Using the default network sharing feature, you will earn approximately $1 per 10GB of data shared.
17. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) is a type of alternative investment providing interest income. Financial capital is required to invest. This capital is to fund small loans.
Other individuals and businesses can access these loans. Borrowers and lenders connect through a secure online P2P lending platform. The borrower pays back the money with interest. There are two options for the interest payment; used as a regular source of income, or invested back into more loans to grow your capital.
Peer-to-peer lending can offer higher rates of interest income than cash savings and help diversify an investment profile. But it does come with an element of risk that the borrower may default on a loan. Read about the advantages and disadvantages of P2P lending.
18. Print On Demand
A print on demand store is a form of eCommerce that works quite similarly to dropshipping. Print on demand platforms allow you to create an online store for free using pre-selected products. You can add your own branding and designs to these products.
The print on demand platform manages all the printing, handling and shipping. You simply earn a commission payment of each item sold. Although with this model you are likely to see smaller profit margins. So the main work is in marketing your store to potential customers.
19. Create & Publish eBooks
eBooks can be a great marketing tool and are effective at building leads by using as free giveaways. Or even sold for profit. This is either through your own website or via a publishing platform.
One of the largest platforms for book publishing is Amazon’s Kindle. After publishing an eBook to Kindle, royalty payments will be received an each future sale. This provides a great source of passive income. For the easiest way to create new and unique professional eBooks to sell check out our post on Sqribble.
20. Start a YouTube channel
Most of us have social media accounts on one platform or another including YouTube. Have you considered growing and monetizing them? YouTube is a platform that can offer great earnings potential from growing a channel. This can be through sponshorships, donations, ad revenue, merchandise and more.
However not everybody wants to appear in front of the camera or is cut out for making their own videos. If this is you then check out this free Tube Mastery and Monetization webinar.
21. Narrate & Publish Audiobooks
Why not take your eBook one step further and produce it as an audiobook for further revenue generation? An audiobook is an audio version of a book.
Websites such as ACX can help you produce your audio-book. Amazon owns the ATX platform. So you can easily distribute your work to the Amazon and Audible platforms. Once published you will usually earn royalty payments on all future sales with no other active work on your part, just like with eBooks.
22. Use Passive Income Apps
When it comes to building online income streams one of the simplest options is to use passive income apps. These types of apps once downloaded will run in the background without any user intervention. Often they display ads, text messages or offers. You are paid in return for viewing these.
Quite similar to survey sites in that these apps don’t usually pay high sums of money. But for no effort it’s a nice way to earn some extra income. Find top passive income apps that pay you for using them.
23. Trade Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is among the most popular investments these days. It is a digital or virtual currency that is decentralized, meaning it is held outside of government control.
Most cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a public ledger system to confirm transactions. This makes it very secure and hence part of it’s popularity.
Many people see cryptocurrencies as the future of money. However there could still be a lot of government regulation and it’s relatively early stage means there can be volatility in prices.
Coinbase is a great way to venture into cryptocurrency trading, being one of the world’s largest exchanges. They allow you to earn some free cryptocurrency whilst learning more about it before you begin trading.
24. Cryptocurrency Mining
An alternative way to make money from cryptocurrency is through cryptocurrency mining. This is the process of making cryptocurrency through the solving of complex cryptographic codes.
This process is done by computers and requires a lot of computing power. A lot more than the average computer can provide. But there is specialist high-powered crypto mining hardware available. This equipment is designed specifically for this purpose and can be left to run around the clock. An example of this is Coinmine.
25. Website Flipping
Website flipping involves purchasing websites with potential value and then selling them on for a profit. There are lots of websites that have the potential to make money but they may require a lot of further work and optimization. These can be purchased for small sums of money, improved and then sold back on.
It’s not uncommon to return many multiples of your original investment when selling on a highly valued website. Learn more about how website flipping works.
26. Become An Influencer
Do you have a large social media following? You could turn this into a business opportunity by becoming a social media influencer. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need millions of followers. In fact there are platforms like Tribe that can connect brands with influencers with just a few thousand followers.
It is often more beneficial to have a smaller audience in a less mainstream niche that are more engaged than a large but passive audience. Amazon has an Influencer program that runs along similar lines to their Amazon Associates affiliate program which is free to join.
Royalties can be a great source of passive income. They can be earned through the licensing of an asset, product or idea to another individual or business. It is basically getting paid an income for somebody else to use something that you own.
Royalty income can commonly be found from music rights, natural resources, franchises and patents. An example is the rights to a music track. Whenever this track is played on the radio, the broadcaster pays the rights holder a fee. You can invest in Royalties through the likes of Royalty Exchange and SongVest.
When building online income streams, rental income is another good option. Rental income tends to be most often associated with real estate rents. But you don’t even have to own any physical property yourself to make passive rental income. Investing in REITs makes this simple.
REITs are real estate investment trusts. They are basically a company that invests in income producing real estate assets. Compared to purchasing your own real estate, REITs provide better diversification, high yields and greater liquidity. Rental income is paid out in the form of dividends.
Learn about making passive real estate rental income with REITs.
29. Domain Flipping
Domain flipping is purchasing domain names and selling them on for profit. A domain is the name of a website, for instance our domain is ‘allaboutthatmoney.com’.
Some domain names are more desirable than others, especially to different companies and niches. There are some names now that may be more appealing in future to capitalise off of the latest trends. The right domains can be sold for high prices.
30. Become A Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant or VA is a good way for anybody with administration skills to work remotely. Virtual assistants carry out tasks including; data entry, customer service, diary management, minute taking, reporting and other similar duties.
As it is virtual it means that physical location is no barrier, providing lots of opportunities. Virtual assistants are often employed on a freelance basis. Find VA opportunities.
31. Create Webinars
A webinar is a live online presentation where the audience can interact by submitting questions and comments. Webinars can take the form of seminars, training, events and video presentations conducted online using webinar software. They are an excellent way of generating leads.
As webinars are held online they can be presented from anywhere, so you are not tied to one location. This saves money on hiring venues. They can also be pre-recorded and played at specific schedules rather than always being held live. See how to create your own webinar.
32. Sell Handmade Goods Online
Selling unique, hand made artisinal goods online can be a great way to turn a hobby into a business. There are many varieties of hand made products to sell online such as; arts, crafts, pottery, glassware, woodworking, garden ornaments, clothing etc.
33. Sell Digital Products
Digital products offer several advantages over selling physical products online. This includes no storage of products, no shipping and instant delivery.
Once a digital product is set up for sale there is usually no further work necessary. All of these mean lower costs which usually feeds through to much higher profit margins. Learn more about the benefits of selling digital products online.
34. Create A Podcast
Everybody seems to have a podcast these days, and you can have one too. The podcasting industry is currently experiencing rapid growth, with podcast ad spend estimated to rise to $1.7 billion by 2024! That’s good enough reason to start. And it only really takes a microphone and headphones to begin.
Podcasts can take a long time to build up an audience to be able to effectively monetize it. But there are plenty of ways to make money from a podcast including donations, subscriptions and sponsorships. Learn how to make a profitable podcast.
Cashback is simply earning money back when you purchase something. There are many ways to earn cashback such as cashback websites and apps and cashback rewards credit cards. It is possible to automate the process so that you automatically earn money back on all of your spending.
Now this isn’t necessarily a way to earn extra money but it is a way of making some of your money back. Although it can be possible to get items for free such as with this Amazon rebates website.
See this post explaining how cashback works.
36. Start A Membership Site
Membership sites are websites that offer premium content to users. This premium content is ‘gated’ or hidden behind a paywall. Users must subscribe in order to access this extra content.
Many businesses offer premium memberships for extra services such as podcasts, webinars, exclusive newsletters and articles etc.
It’s easy to create a membership site on WordPress as there are many plugins making this process simple. The Digimember plugin for instance can turn an entire WordPress website into a membership site.
37. Website & App Reviewer
Quite a simple way to earn extra money online is by testing and reviewing websites and apps. These websites aren’t looking for technical people – they just need to know from an end user perspective how they perform.
In order to be paid you should always ensure you leave honest and reasonably detailed reviews. You can usually pick and choose which projects you want to test. Earn money with Write App Reviews.
38. Translation Services
If you are multilingual then there are many opportunities to offer your services as a translator. You won’t be able to just copy and paste text into Google translate, you will need to be genuinely fluent in the language you specify.
Proof of qualifications or completion of an assessment may be required before work is offered. This is a relatively under-served area, with limited talent pools which may equate to higher earnings.
Freelance translation sites like Gengo allow you to join and take on translation jobs as a freelancer. How much you can earn depends on the job and the language. There is a handy calculator guide to help you. Alternatively you could join more general freelancing websites and offer your services on those.
39. Start A Subscription Business
Subscription based business are great for providing regular recurring income. Subscription boxes are rising in popularity as they offer convenience and novelty to customers.
There are different types of subscription boxes. Some may focus on regular recurring purchases of the same products I.e. food or cleaning products. Others rely on novelty and bringing the customer new experiences.
View our complete guide to starting a subscription box business.
40. Free Online Sweepstakes
Who doesn’t like getting something for nothing? Sweepstakes obviously have no guarantee of providing you anything. But there are many that are free to enter with daily draws of cash prizes and more. They don’t cost anything so are worth trying.
41. Rent Out Your Property
Do you have a spare property or room? Build yourself a rental income stream by renting it out to others. This is easier than ever nowadays with rental apps such as AirBnB. Just renting out spare rooms could result in thousands of dollars each year in extra income.
42. Sell Patents
Do you have an idea, product or invention that is patented? Then why not either sell your patents or license them to others. A patent for a product idea could be licensed out to another company to produce and sell. This means no costs for manufacturing or marketing but allows you to earn a fee from each sold product. You can trade patents through IdeaConnection.
43. Alternative Investments
Investments offer one of the best ways to grow wealth. Alternative investments are those that fall outside of more traditional assets like stocks and bonds. They may be deemed a little riskier or experience more price volatility. But they also offer a way to diversify an investment portfolio and high potential returns.
There are several alternative asset types that may ordinarily be difficult for an individual to invest in. This could be due to high costs of assets or limited availability and exclusivity.
But modern technology now opens up many of these alternative assets to individual investors. With specialist platforms allowing part ownership of assets. Some examples include Scotch Whisky, luxury goods and collectables.
Discover more in our post on alternative investments.
44. Sign Up & Switching Offers
Many companies offer free sign up or switching bonuses for using their services. Sometimes these are completely free but some may require you to spend a certain amount of money or use a service to apply. Some good options include;
45. Create NFTs
NFTs are a very popular asset at the present time and are continuing to grow. An NFT is a Non-Fungible Token. This is a token stored on a blockchain that can be used to prove ownership over a file.
Anything digital can be turned into an NFT including; art, images, music, documents and more. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey even sold his first ever published tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million!
If you are a professional that has experience within a niche then you could earn great money offering consultancy services to businesses. Both business and individuals are looking for that expert advice that can help them reach the next level and grow their businesses.
Consultancy work commonly covers areas such as finance, HR, management and business strategy. Relevant qualifications and experience in your chosen industry field is required in order to provide expert advice. Advertise your services via your own website or freelancing websites.
47. Transcription Services
A transcriber creates written records from audio or video. This can include anything from writing down conversations and meeting minutes to creating transcriptions of podcasts and audio files.
Whilst it is a relatively straightforward job it does require good listening and fast, accurate typing skills. To become a successful transcriber it is recommended that you are able to accurately type around 60-80 words per minute. Improve your typing skills with an online typing course.
You may also be required to conduct extra research into topics being transcribed. Different industries will have different terminologies, abbreviations etc. So you may have to conduct research into these to ensure you understand and are recording the information correctly.
It is a good role for anybody that likes challenging but rewarding work where you will constantly be improving your skills.
48. Review Music
Get paid to listen to new music and leave reviews with websites like Slice The Pie. You can also gain first access to fashion items, accessories and commercials before they are released. The best artists and brands are put forward and promoted based on these reviews.
How much you earn varies and is partly dependent on your star rating. The better your Star rating the higher the earnings. Star ratings are increased by leaving quality, detailed reviews.
49. Web Researcher
A web researcher is employed to conduct research online around a wide range of topics. This can be wide ranging and in depth, so more than just your average Google search.
Information required could cover technical information, market research, competitor analysis and data verification. These types of roles can pay well and offer varied work but require good attention to detail, research and analytic skills and strong IT skills.
50. Freelance Services
The final idea on our building online income streams list is freelancing gigs. Being a freelancer means working in a self-employed role to sell your skills and services.
Many types of online roles can be worked on a freelance basis where you can pick and choose projects to suit. Pretty much any type of skill you have could be offered as a paid service to others.
There are many dedicated freelancing websites that cover either a narrow niche or a broad range of services. We have posts with further information on these including Latium and Insolvo or view this list of the best freelance websites.
Building Online Income Streams Conclusion
When it comes to building online income streams, as you can see there are many ways to make money online. These range from simple side hustles to passive income apps to full online businesses.
Hopefully the list above of 50 ideas for building online income streams has been useful. Whether you just want to earn a little passive income or are looking to quit your job and start a business. There should be enough variety to ensure an income stream suited to everybody.
More posts covering these income streams in more detail can be found on our blog including;
- Why you need multiple sources of income.
- Types of eCommerce businesses to start.
- 10 investment ideas to build wealth.
- How to save money at home.
Please join our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss all our latest content.