10 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online

As technology improves the earning potential of individuals and companies, it’s not surprising many people are actively looking for ways to make money online.

It’s more convenient than going into the workplace and issues such as a pandemic don’t usually affect the demand for the product or service you offer online.

Working online can provide you with the ability to generate multiple income streams.

The best part is that it usually requires minimal investment to start earning cash and scale your online business.

You can earn money as long as you have a decent computer, tablet, or phone and a reliable internet connection.

However, many of the ideas you find online simply aren’t realistic.

Here are 10 that are doable and legitimate to get you started on your online journey.

1. Freelance

When most people think of freelancing, they think they must know how to write or build a website.

However, freelancing encompasses many other activities that can generate a decent income.

For instance, one of the hottest jobs on the Internet today is social media management.

Individuals that can help companies build their audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are in high demand.

If you know how to create, schedule and share posts, size images, and interact with online communities, you can earn money.

Other freelancing opportunities include doing voice-overs, data entry, translation, transcription, research, data collection, logo design, resumes, proofreading, editing, customer service, admin support, accounting, photography, video editing, sales, marketing, and more.

You can also offer your services as a consultant if you have extensive experience in a certain field.

Of course, if you are trained in data science, analytics, IT, networking, web, mobile, or software development, the opportunities are almost endless.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Create a comprehensive profile on a few of the top freelancing sites that cater to your skills such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, LinkedIn, Toptal, FlexJobs, or 99designs
  • Include your best work, training, and experience – list your native languages, even if you’re not applying for language-related work
  • Self-promote on common social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – offer incentives such as a discount or bonus
  • Ask for referrals – customers rely heavily on endorsements from their peers

2. Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) are playing an ever-increasing role within the business world.

They are especially important for solopreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses that don’t want or don’t need to hire full-time employees.

A virtual assistant can work full-time, part-time, or on-demand.

Some companies only want someone to spend an hour a day managing their emails.

Others want someone who’s available throughout their business hours.

Still others may need a virtual assistant to take over certain tasks when things get crazy or just for a specific project.

Virtual assistants are not only limited to administrative tasks.

Some companies want people that can generate leads for their business, plan events, create content, or do their marketing.

They may also want a person to conduct research, track competitors, and create reports about their findings.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Many platforms specifically cater to Canadian virtual assistants such as Virtual Gurus, VirtualAssistantCanada, and MoreTimeBack.
  • Choose VA jobs that align with your time zone, unless you like to work at 3:00 AM
  • Consider taking a few VA courses to improve your skills
  • Join a Facebook Canadian virtual assistant group
Lady holding Canadian money

3. Teach a Language

Whether you’re a native English or French speaker, someone somewhere may want to learn your language.

Some websites want a teaching degree, but others accept native conversational speakers.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Try Lingoda, Cambly, PalFish, ITalki, Preply, Lingoci, and oFrench
  • Check the time zone of your students
  • Fill out your application from a computer, not your phone – they often check whether you meet their technology requirements.

4. Test Websites and Apps

Companies spend significant sums of money creating websites and apps.

However, they only discover issues when people actually use them.

Consequently, they pay users to test their websites and surface issues or bugs.

Companies are looking for people to do user tests or bug tests for their app or website.

User tests involve recording your screen and voice as you explore the technology.

Bug tests looks for technical issues.

These aren’t full-time gigs, but they’re quick and easy to do as a side hustle.

Some jobs require a mic and headset, but not all.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

5. Fulfilment-By-Amazon (FBA) Program

If you already sell your own products, Fulfilment by Amazon could drastically increase your sales.

Amazon is Canada’s leading e-commerce marketplace and sees billions of dollars in sales annually.

Besides being able to leverage the Amazon name, FBA business owners also benefit from Amazon storing, packing, shipping, and tracking orders, as well as handling returns.

Once registered, businesses can expand their reach and sell worldwide.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Amazon offers a free beginner’s guide for selling in Canada
  • Check YouTube for tutorials on the finer points of the FBA Program
  • Udemy offers at least one FBA course specifically for Canadian sellers

6. Sell Courses Online

If you’ve mastered a particular skill or know an area well, you can create a course to teach people what they need to know.

You may also want to consider coaching.

Consider repurposing material you’ve already created such as articles, blog posts, or eBooks.

You can also adapt information you use in workshops, presentations, and seminars.

If you don’t know how to put it all together, you can send a freelancer your source material and expectations.

They’ll do the preliminary work which you can later refine.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Sell your course on your own website through a plugin like LearnDash or WP Courseware
  • Alternatively, choose an online platform, but understand their requirements and their fees. You will earn far less money.
  • Skillshare, Teachable, Udemy, Kajabi, Thinkific, and Kartra are some of the most popular platforms. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so do your research.

7. Publish on Kindle Direct Publishing

There’s still room on Amazon to make some decent money.

However, you may want to go about it a little differently.

Short reads are between 65 and 100 pages, but you’ll earn more money per page.

You only need an idea and can hire a freelancer to write your eBook for you if writing isn’t your thing.

Another possible way to make good money without a ton of work is through “low content” books.

These are physical products such as colouring books, kids learning books, puzzle, activity, and game books, notebooks, appointment books, journals, guestbooks, baby books, and wedding planners.

Your design needs to be unique, but not necessarily complicated.

Buyers can purchase either soft or hard cover versions.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Amazon is free to use, but they take a cut when you sell
  • You can find hundreds of videos on YouTube that walk you through the KDP process, short reads, and low content books
  • eBooks can be converted to soft or hard cover fairly easily if your publications sell well

8. Drop Ship Products

Drop shipping is a method that allows you to sell goods directly from a manufacturer to the customer at a profit.

Its primary advantage is that you do not need to carry inventory as the manufacturer ships directly.

You can also scale up your business quickly.

Websites such as eBay.ca, Amazon.ca, and Walmart.ca are packed with drop shipped items.

This is why you often see the same item listed multiple times with various prices.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • You can drop ship from your own website through e-commerce software and a drop shipping app
  • Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform if you want to start your own store
  • Check YouTube for in-depth videos covering drop shipping in Canada

9. Design Products

If you are the imaginative type, you can design a plethora of physical products online.

These include everything from t-shirts and phone cases to stickers and backpacks.

You don’t need costly software or advanced graphic design skills to create them either.

Use free online software such as Canva and Pixlr to make unique designs.

Once you upload your design to your chosen print-on-demand websites, you choose which products they look best on.

When customers order your designs, the company prints and ships them, and you get paid.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Designs are often simple – text designs sell well
  • You can print-on-demand directly through Shopify
  • Popular print-on-demand websites include Teespring, Redbubble, CafePress, and Zazzle.

10. Share Your Car

For those of us who have vehicles, you may find that they site idle the majority of the time.

You might use it to commute to work, shop, or go to the gym or park.

What if you could put this valuable resource to work for you to earn extra money?

Peer-to-peer vehicle renting is a relatively new concept in Canada, but it is catching on quickly.

The idea is you rent your vehicle out to other drivers whenever you aren’t using it.

It’s free to list your vehicle and you can earn up to 90 percent of the fee.

Drivers are pre-qualified and the rental companies include comprehensive insurance coverage.

You also have the option to accept or reject a booking.

If you decide a booking suits your schedule, you coordinate a meetup point, check their license, fuel and mileage, and take photos or your car.

All bookings and payments are handled online.

Here’s How You Can Get Started:

  • Only two companies currently offer peer-to-peer car rentals in Canada now, but other companies are close on their heels
  • Turo is a U.S.-based company operating in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and British Columbia
  • Eligo Cars is a Canadian company operating in Ontario

Charlene Royston has written extensively for the private, public, and non-profit sectors for over ten years. Her experience working with a trust company led to a special interest in personal finance, including mortgages, investments, and retirement options. By simplifying the complex, she hopes to empower others to make more informed decisions.