Hi Danielle – I presume you have a website or blog? If so, the easiest way to start is by signing up for an affiliate site, like Commission Junction. They represent hundreds of companies offering affiliate programs. But you can also contact companies directly, preferably those who’s products and services you actually use. Most company’s have affiliate programs now, so you can try signing up that way. They’ll give you a coded link to place on your site that will credit you for the sale when a reader clicks through to their site and makes a purchase.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
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Earnest (refinance your student loans): Same idea as above but on your student loans. There is $1.4 trillion in student loan debt outstanding. When you have student loan debt, it can make it hard to get ahead, invest, or to buy a home. If this sounds familiar, refinancing the debt can not only help you pay it off more quickly, but it can save you money on interest too.
I’m really torn here. As a writer, I sympathize with you. I’ve looked again and again into freelancing, and consistently find that the rates other people are willing to work for make it an insulting waste of my time. (Like, $10/hour is what a 15-year-old babysitter makes, not a professional writer.) On the other hand, you really can’t ask others to not compete with you. On the plus side, in my (limited) experience, you do get what you pay for most of the time. My sister had a less-expensive wedding photographer, and she was definitely less than happy with the results. So …
Some of these platforms not only allow creators to upload and share all types of video with the goal of monetizing it, but go a step further than YouTube by actively helping creators get their content in front of an audience that is most likely to be interested in it. As an illustration of this, imagine you just returned home from your two-week getaway to Bali, where you captured stunning drone footage of the beautiful scenery on the island. If you shared that content on YouTube, it's highly unlikely that you would make money on it. However, by sharing that content on distribution platforms that work to find your audience, that video is made available to website publishing partners (like travel bloggers, for instance) who may want to post your videos on their websites, thereby generating views of your video, and revenue for you. There's no need to be an online celebrity to make money online; you just need to upload videos that have a reasonable threshold of production quality and some degree of subjective value to a website publisher, and if you do, it's highly likely that you'll be able to make money from your videos.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Savvy.is, Clarity.fm, and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.