Can You Really Make Money Online?

by Alexa Mason · 11 comments

“Can you really make money online?”

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over since quitting my day job in October 2013. When I answer yes, I’m either given a blank stare or asked about some type of program that is clearly a scam.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you really can make money online. BUT, you also have to really work for it.

Here are some of the most common ways you can make money online:

Virtual Assistant

My guess is that you shop online, read blogs, or check your social media accounts daily. Admit it: you’re online a lot. (So am I.)

Business owners know this, and they want you as a customer. But a lot of small business owners don’t know what they’re doing online. They don’t know enough about social media; they don’t know how to start a blog or run a website; and they’re overwhelmed by email and customer service requests.

This is where virtual assistants come in.

As a virtual assistant, you can manage social media, schedule blog posts, handle customer service, answer emails, and more. There are literally hundreds of different things you can do.

I got my first virtual assistant job a couple months ago, and so far, it has been my absolute favorite way to make money online. It’s a welcome break from writing — and it pays better, too!


Though it’s difficult to make money blogging, it’s not impossible. The truth is: when it comes to blogging, you’re going to have to work many hours for free before you make your first dollar.

But, if you can grow a reader base, you can make a little (and sometimes, a lot of) money.

In case you were wondering, blogs usually make money from advertising, commission-based sales, or selling products or services.

Freelance Writer

Think about how many businesses there are in the world. Millions.

And when those businesses set up their home online, they need someone to write for them. Businesses often start blogs to rank higher in search engines, and thereby draw more customers in.

Most business owners, however, don’t want to write these blog posts themselves. Instead, they want to pay someone who is familiar with their product or business model to do the writing for them.

Writing for businesses, and even other bloggers, is the main way I make money online. I simply email business owners whom I think need my help, and I ask for a job. I get told no a lot — but I also get a yes every now and then.

And when you build up enough of those, you can earn pretty decent money!

And the list goes on…

I’ve listed three ways that I personally earn money online, but there are so many more.

If you decide to try and make money online, don’t forget to be careful. There are lots of companies promising to help you earn money online, and many of them are nothing more than scams. Thoroughly research any company that promises to earn you big bucks — especially before paying for a service!

If you stick to that one rule, you should be able to find a way to make money online that suits your skills and personality.

Are you interested in making money online? Have you tried any of the methods above? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Shana says:

    What is a good website to go to for training and to find virtual assistant jobs? I recently underwent chemo and would live something that I can do from home when I am unable to work. Finances have took a dramatic dive.

  • kriss bone says:

    You can make money online if you have only the right training, and how stuff work on web its not just starting blogging then you can earn money, they are many things you can put on consederation
    2-take action

  • Simon Cave says:

    I think that people should start blogging because they love writing not because they want to make money. Too many people give up because they think that creating a blog is a fast way to make money.

  • Melanie @ My Alternate Life says:

    I have just started to make money online, and I love it! It definitely takes a while and a lot of hard work. I am currently a freelance writer, VA, and editor. I think honing in on your network really helps too. When I told my parents that I was considering online freelance work, they acted the same way they did when I told them I was going to major in Theater. It all worked out. I think some people are so used to the traditional economy, but there are so many ways to make money online these days.

    • David @ says:

      Good to hear your story Melanie. I hope one day you can mentor a few people to shed a brighter light on working online. The field can definitely be a dream come true for some!

  • Alley Kaye says:

    I am presently earning a decent living as a freelance writer, an opportunity I found on LinkedIn. I set my own hours, wear whatever I want, what’s not to like about that, eh? Before I got this particular gig (I also have a ‘sideline’ as a bass player in a classic rock/country band), I earned a nice amount of what you might call ‘walking around money’ by completing short surveys, evaluating movie trailers, ad campaigns and magazine layouts, just to name a few.

    • David @ says:

      Freelance while working at home definitely has its perks if you can make it Alley. Thanks for chiming in!

  • Timothy Dibble says:

    I have been a fan of the self help genre for decades, I love psychology, history and education. The one common theme which resounds in this blog post is: success takes work. Success also requires getting kicked down over and over again and getting up one more time. Success requires the positive mental attitude. Probably the most bandied conversation is Edison creating the light Bulb. Why do you persist when you have failed over 5000 times? His response: I have not failed at all–I have successfully shown 5000 ways that do not work, putting me 5000 ways closer to the way that will work.

    • David @ says:

      You are right. Not seeing failure as a disaster is one of the keys to success. I settled on pretty much just my site now, but I remember the beginning when I was trying all kinds of ways to make money online.

      Someone could argue that I “failed” in all the other ways, but I was merely trying things out to see what works for me.

  • John @ Wise Dollar says:

    We get those same blank stares when we tell people we make money online. Our business is largely web based as we do a ton of freelance writing for clients that aren’t local and we make money from blogging as well. Like you said though, it does take a lot of work, not to mention time to be successful at it. If all it took was throwing up a site to see money fall from the sky then everyone would be doing it and we’d all be millionaires. 😉

    • David @ says:

      Heh I used to get the blank stares too, but making money online is more common now so more people are familiar with the concept these days.

      I once had a tax driver know exactly how I made money, even citing stuff like adsense and stuff!

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