#1: Google Adsense
When I started my blog, I faced a lot of restrictions as a financial advisor. As a result, one of the only ways I could monetize at the time was by using Google Adsense. With this income-earning strategy, you simply sign up and Google gives you a code to copy and paste onto your website. From there, Google does the rest and you get paid any time someone clicks on your ads and/or makes a purchase.
When I finally added Google Adsense to my website, I was able to earn my first $100 payout within around three months. This is pretty cool, but a lot of people have asked me how I earned so much with Adsense at first.
You have to keep in mind that, as a financial advisor, most of the ads on my website are for financial products that pay out rather well. If your blog is in a different niche like food or fashion, it may take you longer for your ads to pay off with your first $100 check.
#2: Text Links
The second way I made $100 at first was via text links. If you’re wondering what text links are, check out any article on the web and you’ll see highlighted words you can click out to take you to another web page.
While I didn’t realize it for quite a while, there are a ton of companies who are willing to pay $100, $200, and even $1,000 or more for you to link from your website to theirs. But I was pretty stoked when a few companies would pay me $100 or more just for inserting a link into one of my blog posts.
Unfortunately, I eventually learned that selling text links is against Google’s terms and conditions. If you are doing this on a consistent basis, your website is going to tank over the long-term.
For that reason, selling text links isn’t a good long-term monetization strategy. You can do it every once in a while without any negative impact, but you’ll live to regret it if you get greedy and overdo it.
#3: Sponsored Posts
With a sponsored post, a company pays you to talk about their product or service on their website. While I initially made $100 to $200 for each sponsored post I did on Good Financial Cents, I kept jacking up my rates over time.
How much can you earn? Blogger Alexis Schroeder of FITnancials says she frequently earns $3,000 per month with sponsored posts. However, some blogs with more traffic can easily earn $20,000 per sponsored post or more.
If you plan to do sponsored posts, I definitely recommend only working with companies you believe in and feel good promoting. If you promote anything and everything without making sure it aligns with your values, you probably won’t gain a lot of trust from your readers. Over time, this could hurt your efforts to grow your website more than the income from sponsored posts helps.
#4: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online. When I was able to add affiliate links to my website, I watched my income surge in a big way in a matter of weeks!
In the financial planning niche, affiliates include companies like online brokerages, online banks, and financial tools. These kinds of companies pay very good money if you’re willing to promote them.
While the type of affiliates you work with will vary depending on the niche you’re in, keep in mind that some companies will pay you up to $100 per conversion. It’s not too hard to start earning real money with that kind of return on your time.
If you don’t believe me, check out Making Sense of Cents. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the entrepreneur behind this blog, and she is also the founder of a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Through her website and course sales, Michelle consistently earns over $100,000 per month. No, that is not a typo.
#5: Display Ads
Display ads are very similar to Google Adsense except that the reader doesn’t have to click on the ad for you to make money. Think of display ads as billboards that are on your website instead of on the side of the highway.
With display ads, you get paid based on the number of times your ads are viewed no matter what. For that reason, these ads will work better for you as the traffic to your website grows over time.
#6: Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is another way to earn online income if you don’t mind earning some of your money with active work. Another benefit of freelance writing is that you can gain exposure by writing for larger websites.
One of the first websites I wrote for paid me $150 per article. This wasn’t a lot of money, but I used the opportunity to improve my writing skills and get my name out there. I don’t write as much for other people anymore, but I do know plenty of freelance writers who are earning $250, $500, and even $1,000 or more per article.
Some freelance writers I know are even earning six figures or more writing from home each year. This includes blogger Holly Johnson, who earns over $200,000 per year writing articles for other websites. Johnson also offers a course you can check out if you want to become a freelance writer but need some help getting started.
#7: Getting New Clients for Your Business
When I started my blog, I envisioned my website as a marketing tool to get new clients for my financial practice planning. This strategy worked great since my online presence helped me build authority and reach people I may not have reached otherwise.
If you have a service-based business of any kind, I would absolutely suggest starting a blog or building an online presence you can use to get new clients. This can help you build your client base just like I did, and it’s a lot more fun than cold-calling or holding boring seminars.
If you have expertise in a specific field, you can also use the internet to build up a coaching business. This is something that happened on accident for me. As I built my blog and my brand, a ton of people started reaching out to me to learn how I did it and how they could apply the same ideas to their own business. While I initially gave out advice for free because I enjoyed it, I eventually started charging a consulting fee.
How much you earn depends on the type of niche you wind up in. According to recent statistics, executive coaches make around $325 per hour while business coaches make more like $235 per hour. Life coaches, on the other hand, are able to charge approximately $160 per hour.
If you’re an expert in your field and people are constantly asking to “pick your brain,” you should start charging people . Your time is valuable and so is your advice!
#9: Selling Leads
Once I was a few years into Good Financial Cents, I started a second website called Life Insurance by Jeff. While we initially started this website to build up our own leads, we got to the point where we had so many leads we couldn’t handle them ourselves.
Eventually, I found out that a handful of insurance companies were willing to pay for leads generated through my website. These companies would pay between $35 to $100 per lead, which is insane. This was a big eye-opener for me since I had no idea this was possible.
Also note that it’s not just life insurance companies willing to pay for leads. There are a ton of different avenues and lead generation strategies out there, so make sure to consider all the possibilities.
#10: Digital Products
There are all kinds of digital products out there, but there is always room for more. I even have a few of my own!
If you sign up for my free Make 1K Challenge where I show you how to start a blog and make your first $1,000, for example, I have a $7 upgrade that includes some PDFs and behind the scenes video. While $7 doesn’t sound like a lot of money, this one product still helps me earn an additional $1,500 to $2,000 per month passively!
Another example of digital products is the wide world of printables. Lots of online entrepreneurs create digital products their customers can print at home, and they often make bank doing it. While many bloggers have their own printable budget templates, meal plans, or checklists, you can also find examples on Etsy.com.
#11: Online Courses
I’ve talked about my digital products before, but keep in mind that you can make nearly digital product on your own. It could be a PDF, a video series, or a course — whatever you think fits with your business model. Just keep in mind that you have to deliver the goods and make sure your product is high quality. If you sell crap just to make a buck, you’re going to lose street cred pretty quick.
In a post I wrote on how much YouTubers really make, I shared how some YouTube stars have courses of their own. For example, famous real estate YouTuber Graham Stephan earns a ton of cash selling real estate courses through his Real Estate Agent Academy. How does he earn so much? His courses start at $497 each. That’s just one example, but there are plenty of others.
#12: Investment Gains
Like anybody out there, you can set up an online brokerage account and buy ETFs or stocks. I’ve been able to make at least $100 per day off my investments for a long time, and this income is some of my favorite since it’s entirely passive.
Keep in mind that it’s crucial to have traditional investments in addition to an online business that can help you rack up passive income. Just open an account with Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, or another online brokerage and you’re good to go.
There are so many ways to invest online these days that there is literally no excuse not to. I am tired of the excuses, so start investing your money to grow long-term wealth today. #RantOver
#13: Peer-to-Peer Lending
I’ve been making money with peer-to-peer lending for a long time. With websites like Lending Club, borrowers and investors can connect for mutually beneficial financial transactions. On the investing side, you can invest in crowdsourced loans for individuals who need to borrow money all over the United States. Returns tend to be high on these loans, and you can use these platforms to build more passive income for yourself while also helping someone out.
Which peer-to-peer lending platforms should you sign up for? David Galland of Gallan Research dove deep into every option a few years ago. Ultimately, he said that the best peer-to-peer platforms for investors were Lending Club, Prosper, Upstart, and Funding Circle.
#14: Crowdfunded Real Estate Investing
There are a lot of real estate investing websites out there, but the one I still use to this day is Fundrise.com. With Fundrise, you add money to your account and professional investors will invest your money on your behalf and pay you dividends. If you want to invest in real estate without the hands-on hassles of being a landlord, this is a great way to get started with as little as $500.
#15: Sponsored Social Shares
Like sponsored posts on a blog, sponsored social shares take place a company pays you to post about them on social media. This could be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform.
I don’t do much of this, but my wife gets paid some fat cash to post pictures and talk about things like furniture, rugs, and kid’s clothes. It’s almost funny to me how much money you can earn, and it is surprising the kinds of things people will pay for!
#16: Selling Stuff Online
Another way my wife makes money all the time is by selling stuff online. She normally sells our stuff online via different Facebook groups. For example, we just sold this wooden hutch someone gave her for free as part of a social media sponsorship.
If you have items to sell and don’t mind spending some time creating free ads on Facebook or a website like craigslist.org, selling stuff is a great way to use the internet to earn more money.
#17: Sell a Physical Product
Back in the day, my wife and one her business partners had a subscription box product called Happy Mommy Box. They had 1,000 customers that were paying $35 per month for these cute boxes full of products happy mommies love.
Eventually, she got overwhelmed by it all and she and her partner decided to shut the business down. However, this just goes to show what kind of opportunity is out there.
For example, several popular YouTubers have their own stores they use to sell physical products. Jeffree Star sells makeup, for example, and Jake Paul sells all kinds of fan gear through his online store. You can also head to to Etsy.com and find all kinds of entrepreneurs selling homemade soaps, unique home decor, T-shirts, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
The bottom line: Physical products can also help you earn real money, so make sure to explore the different products you could sell. This could mean drop shipping products you market as an affiliate, but it could also mean coming up with your own product to sell.
#18: YouTube Ads
Even though I used YouTube back in 2011, I didn’t even turn on ads until 2017. When I did finally turn ads on, I started making $5,000 per $6,000 per month!
YouTube ads are easy because all you have to do is turn on ads every time you publish a video. Obviously, you’ll earn more money with this strategy as you build your viewership.
#19: Buying and Selling Websites
People buy and sell websites all the time for a variety of reasons. And, if you know what to look for, it’s easy to buy websites that can help you earn some passive income over time.
Personally, I have bought several sites over the years including FinanceforTeachers.com. I haven’t done anything with the site since I bought it a year ago, but it still helps me earn $100 to $150 per month with no effort at all.
If you want to check out websites and URLs that are currently for sale, head to Flippa.com.
#20: Brand Sponsorships
This strategy runs alongside sponsored posts, but it’s much more involved. Many brands want more than a sponsored post when they work with you. In fact, they are often willing to pay for some sort of sponsorship package that includes written content, videos, social shares, and more.
I’ve done a few of these over the years, and they can be very lucrative but also a huge pain! But, if you’re willing to jump through some hoops and you have a sizeable following, you can absolutely consider brand sponsorships as yet another way to earn money online.
#21: Book or eBook
Finally, you can also consider writing a book. I wrote a book called Soldier of Finance several years ago, but I am still selling copies to this day. The growth of my YouTube channel has been a big part of that, which I am eternally grateful for.
The cool thing about a book or an eBook is that, once it’s out there, you can just keep selling it over and over. Plus, you can write a book about any topic you want! If you’re interested in any topic, hobby, or idea, chances are other people are as well.