You can make money online while working your 9-5. This is a great way to make extra money to put towards debt, savings goals, or even just to have extra spending money. Make sure you decide exactly what you will do with the money you make right from the comfort of your own home.
Whether you are looking to make some extra spending money, contribute more money to your budgeting and savings goals, or just wanting to start a part-time side hustle, making money online is not as hard as you think.
There are so many opportunities to earn money online so I wanted to give you a step-by-step guide to figure out what is best for you and some examples.
I recommend setting a goal each month for how much extra money you want to make. You can track this in Excel, on your phone, or on a piece of paper.
Follow these steps and you will be on your way to making real money online.
1. Decide how much time you can commit
When deciding how to make money online, first you need to decide how much time you can commit. Do you want to do this while watching TV? Can you spend 10 hours a week? 20 hours a week?
Before you can choose a method for making extra money online, you need to know how much time you have to commit to this earning and what your availability is.
If you work a 9-5, you might only have time on weekends or during the evening.
A few ways to make money online that don’t take a lot of time are:
- Completing surveys
- Shopping with cashback websites
- Sharing affiliate links or referral links
- Selling items via Mercari or OfferUp
A few ways to make money online that take more time are:
- Publish an ebook
- Freelance writing
- Online tutoring
- Start a blog
- Start a YouTube Channel
Once you know how much time you have to dedicate to earning money online, next you should write down your skills, qualifications, and interests.
2. Write down your skills and interests
Before you commit to online earning, you need to write down your skills and interests. This will help you determine the best ways to make money online.
For example, if you enjoy writing or you write for your full-time job, maybe you start freelance writing or write an ebook.
If you enjoy being in front of the camera and have opinions about a specific topic, maybe you start a YouTube channel.
If you are a teacher or love to teach others, maybe you start online tutoring as your side hustle.
Even if you don’t have any formal training or background in a certain area, you can still earn money from home.
If you enjoy creating graphics or logos, you can create and sell designs through websites like Upwork or Fiverr.
I want you to examine the problems that you enjoy solving. Are there topics or situations friends/family come to you for answers on? Do you have any tools or processes you created that you could sell?
Bonus tip #1: Take the time to find a real passion
Take time to write down what you enjoy, what your skills are, and your personal experiences that relate to these interests. See where there are overlaps between the three lists so you can determine the best option for you to earn some extra money on what you truly are interested in and good at.
If you choose something you are passionate about, you will be more motivated to put in the time and effort which could lead to making more money.
Bonus tip #2: Get specific and find your niche
You also want to make sure you choose a specific niche. A niche is a segment that is defined by its own unique characteristics. For example, instead of saying I want to tutor you could say I want to teach 4th graders algebra.
Once you determine your niche, it will be much easier to decide what services you will offer and how you can specifically make money.
You don’t have to commit to just one way to make money online but this will give you an idea of how to start.
3. Make a list of options and the potential income
Now that you know your availability and your skills, you can make a list of your options to make money online. For each option, I want you to write down your potential income and how many hours you have to commit to reach that income goal.
For example, maybe you decide to start a blog and add affiliate links and ads to your website. How long will that take you to set up and start seeing that income? How much could you potentially make? What are the startup costs?
If you decide to start freelance writing, how will you find clients? Will you work for yourself or a company? How much will you charge per hour or per article? How much time does it take you to write each article?
I recommend creating a list of 3-5 ways you are willing to earn money online so you can compare the cost to start, your potential income, and how much time you have to commit a week.
Once you have this list, you can determine which option you want to start now and which options you want to start in the future.
Potential income is important but don’t just choose something because you can make the most money. You want to find a balance between your interests, skills, and potential income.
If you are a freelancer or contractor, you will need to complete a W9 for whatever company or individual you do work for. If you receive more than $600 from any side job during the tax year they will supply you with Form 109-MISC and report that income to the IRS.
4. Create a plan
Making money online does not have to be hard but you do need a plan. This plan can be really simple and you can see some examples at the bottom of this article. You need to write down the starting steps, how much time you will commit each week, and how you will track your hours.
Keep this plan somewhere you will actually review it. Make a checklist so you can see what your next step is and assign a due date for each action step.
If you plan on trying multiple online jobs out, make sure you create a plan for each and set aside time for each plan.
Set income goals each month to stay motivated. Include these income goals in your plan.
5. Execute on your plan
The final step to making money online is to execute your plan. Set calendar reminders in your phone or add it to your planner.
If you are serious about making money online, you need to dedicate time to it. If you want to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars online, you need to make it a priority. This means you might have to set aside time on the weekends to execute your plan.
Finally, I wanted to show you three examples of plans to make money online.
3. Example plan outlines
- Research survey websites to make money online
- Review how much they pay and how long it takes to complete surveys
- Review how often you will get paid and how you get paid
- Commit to completing X surveys a week
- Set reminders in your calendar to make sure you meet your goal
- Track how much money you make each week
- Decide what subjects you want to tutor and what age groups
- Decide if you want to work with a company or if you want to find clients on your own
- Determine your hourly rate (or what the company will be paying you)
- Decide how many students you can tutor each week or month
- Commit to tutoring X hours a week or month
- Track how much money you make and set aside money for taxes
Starting a blog:
- Decide what you want your blog to be about and what name
- Purchase website domain and hosting
- Purchase template or design your own website pages
- Commit to spending X hours a week writing blog posts and setting up your blog
- Review programs you can be an affiliate for to make money and add those links to your blog posts
- Add advertisements to your blog (if you want) to make additional money each month
- Create a plan to promote your blog posts
- Commit to X hours a week or month to grow your blog and audience
- Track how much money you make and set aside money for taxes
I hope you now have some ideas on how you can legitimately make money online. Remember to create a plan and get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you can make money!
Alli Williams is a money coach and the founder of FinanciALLI Focused LLC. Her FinanciALLI Focused Framework helps women transform their money mindset and develop a flexible plan to spend, save, and pay off debt all at the same time (yes, it is possible). She does not believe in deprivation or barebones budgeting but spending intentionally and making your money work for you (no need to cut Starbucks lattes). Alli and her husband paid off over $50k of debt while saving $40k for a down payment, saving for retirement, cash flowing their wedding, and still spent money on the things they value (which for her is college football season tickets). She currently lives in South Carolina but was born and raised in NY. She has her MBA in Finance from the University of South Carolina. Her signature program, Flourish FinanciALLI, has helped dozens of women pay off thousands of debt and save for their big money goals in 12 weeks (or less). You can find her on Instagram @financiallifocused or her website www.financiallifocused.com.