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Technology’s ever-pervading permeation into every last fiber and morsel of society has caused a dramatic upheaval in the way we live, work and entertain ourselves. Thanks to the disruptive nature of the internet, the rate of change has only increased exponentially in recent years.
Yet, with so much change in the world today, and a nearly-instantaneous access to the globe’s population through mediums such as social media and online search, many people are still left perplexed by how they can utilize the powerful technology inherently available through the internet, to actually make money online.
The truth? It’s not easy making money online today. With so much competition and so many people and headlines vying for our attention, sifting through and finding reputable sources to generate any respectable amount of income through the web has become an ever-increasing challenge.
Often, what happens is that we run into unscrupulous Internet Marketers (IMs) who have less-than altruistic intentions of extracting money from you rather than helping you to make it. However, this isn’t something new. People have been falling for networking marketing, pyramid schemes, and affiliate marketing scams since before the start of the net.
So, where are we supposed to turn to make money the legitimate way online? This isn’t just about generating passive income; this is also about finding ways and means to create an active income through the conveniences afforded to us by the internet that will not only help us with our debt obligations, but also empower us to save, invest and get really rich in the future.
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It’s not easy by any means. Anyone that tells you otherwise isn’t being transparent with you. It takes an enormous amount of effort and authority-building before you can really start getting rich through your online income-producing activities. However, there are some basic methods for making a respectable amount of cash in the short term.
Pain Versus Pleasure
Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
Let me explain…
Now, making money online should seem like a pleasurable activity. Why wouldn’t we do just about anything to see things through, since it would be a major source of pleasure, right? Wrong. In the beginning, like anything else, we might get really excited about it. We might also set our hopes very high. But that all comes crashing down when we begin to fail.
The problem? In order to make serious amounts of money online, you need to the most amount of work for the least initial return, not the least amount of work for the greatest return. Translation — major amounts of pain. That’s also the problem with how affiliate marketers, network marketers, and IMs attempt to sell you the “dream,” so to speak.
When people buy into the hype, they set their expectations extremely high. All they need to do is send a few emails out, and voila, instant millions overnight. Well, clearly it doesn’t quite work like that. The issue at heart is that we will always do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure in the short term, not in the long term.
That’s why it’s so hard to quit bad habits or do anything else that requires any semblance of struggle. The human mind is hardwired to avoid pain in the short term, not in the long term. It’s part of our survival instinct. However, you can easily overcome this in the long term as long as you set your expectations the right way.
What Are The Best Ways To Make Money Online?
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.
Today, if you’re at all serious about succeeding in any endeavor, whether online or offline, you have to deliver enormous amounts of value. Yes, you have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return. This is especially true online. Why? Because it takes time to build authority and create an audience, two primary ingredients necessary to succeed in the wonderful world of commerce on the web.
Every successful business and person has delivered a tremendous amount of value at the outset. They did the most amount of work, and they inspected every detail meticulously, to ensure that they were doing right by their customers. As long as you keep that in mind, and you don’t look for a quick buck, you’ll succeed in the long term.
- Find your niche — Figure out what you’re good at or what you want to be good at. You don’t need to be an expert right now, but you do need to decide where you’re going to fit in if you’re at all serious about making serious cash in the long term.
- Build a blog on a custom domain — Your blog is your virtual home. Without it, you’ve no place to filter all that traffic and people interested in what you have to say. But don’t build a blog on a subdomain like yoursite.wordpress.com, create a blog with a custom domain like www.yoursite.com.
- Always add value — Adding value over time creates authority, and authority breeds trust, which in turn helps to grow your audience and readership. Without a significant following, you’ll find it hard to gain any traction online. It simply takes time.
- Create an email list and treat them right — One of the best ways to make money online is by marketing to an actively-interested group of email subscribers. While most people think that email marketing is dead, that’s far from the truth. This is your greatest potential source of income online. Think of it as your money tree.
- Don’t sacrifice morals for a quick buck — At the outset, you’ll want to do all sorts of things to make money online, but don’t sacrifice your morals for a quick buck. Not only will you put people off, but you’ll lose Google’s trust. You also shouldn’t concern yourself with things like Adsense or other ads on a blog before you have around 100,000 visitors per day. Yes, per day.
The point? Think about the long-term results of your activities. It will seem frustrating in the beginning. Then again, everything worthwhile is going to be difficult. It will take time. Stick it out and don’t give up. In the meanwhile, here are some of the best and most legitimate ways you can make money online in the short and long term.
#1 — Write And Sell An Ebook
If you have a propensity for writing and you can slay with your prose, consider writing an ebook. While the market has certainly become saturated as of late, books that help teach people about a technical topic still sell extremely well. This is a great source of passive income but does require a large amount of effort at the outset before any money is generated.
You can sell your ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle program or Apple’s iTunes Connect, which gives you access to a large majority of the digital-book reading market and the barriers for entry are incredibly low. You don’t need to invest lots of money to make this happen, but you do need to invest lots of time, not only in writing the ebooks, but in marketing them as well.
#2 — Sell Audiobooks With Audible
I’ve been in the audiobook-selling business for some time now and have over 3 dozen titles to my name. I know a thing or two about audiobooks. And, what I’ve noticed recently is that audiobooks are growing in popularity as their digital-ebook counterparts are becoming less and less popular.
People are turning to audio and visuals when it comes to technical subjects. However, you should consider doing an ebook first and turning it into an audiobook through a resource like Audible’s ACX platform. You can hire a producer either through a royalty share program, so you don’t have to shell out upfront cash, or you can do a pay-per-hour hire as well.
#3 — Create An App
Yes, this is far more technical. Unless you have the right app-development skills, doing this is going to be a significant undertaking. But, apps are also a great source of passive incomewhen done the right way. You can reach a massive audience of smartphone users by building a great app.
However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don’t have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
#4 — Use Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is Amazon’s take on micro-jobs. These are small miniscule-jobs that you can do for other people, which they call HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. These are super simple tasks that anyone can do. Some examples are listing off some URLs with certain kinds of images for one cent, or recording a few phrases with a microphone for 6 cents.
Yes, they don’t pay much, but if you string together hundreds of well-paying HITs, you can make a bit of money quickly online if you’re in a crunch for cash. Also, it’s important to note that you can also employ people with HITs to help you with whatever micro-tasks you might have.
#5 — Offer Gigs On Fiverr
If you have some professional experience in graphic design, accounting, social media marketing, web development or SEO training, for example, you could offer gigs on Fiverr starting at $5 per job. You could perform a valuable service that you could also up-sell to make more money per gig.
Fiverr is one of the biggest providers in the gig economy on the web and you can sell a wide variety of services and products through this medium. Do the research and find out what you can offer. However, keep in mind that like any other money-making task, it takes time to succeed here. And stellar reviews will help you generate more and more income over time.
#6 — Sell Professional Services On Upwork or 99Designs
Upwork and 99Designs are two of the biggest resources for selling just about any professional service under the sun. If you have extensive experience in a field, you might want to consider selling your services through one of these sites. 99Designs only applies to graphic design while Upwork applies to nearly every other professional service.
However, like anything else, the beginning will be difficult. Before you have a significant track record and extensive reviews, sourcing work in one of these highly-competitive platforms will be difficult. Find the most successful people in your niche and try to model your approach and online profile after theirs.
#7 — Build A Blog
One of the most exhaustive endeavors when it comes to making money online is to build a blog. But we all know that building a blog with real readership is difficult. It takes a lot of work. And I’m speaking from experience. However, once you reach a certain point, the progress and momentum sways in your favor and it becomes far easier.
Blogs can easily generate tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month when done right. Yes, that much. But it won’t be easy to get there. However, looking back on it, a year from now you’ll wish you started today. So why wait another moment?
#8 — Email Marketing
Email marketing is at the heart of every successful endeavor on the web. For those serious about making money online, email marketing is certainly where it’s at. But it has to be done the right way. Before you even try to market anything to anyone via an email list, be sure that they’re people that subscribed and opted in directly to you.
When you try to market to people via email out of the blue, you won’t find as much success. But, if those email subscribers are actively and keenly interested in what you have to say, and they signed up directly through your blog or site, your success rates will be much higher.
When the customer goes back to your profile to send payment, you can also (nicely) ask them to:
- Click the link to “Tell a Friend about this helper” and spread the word about you.
- Bookmark your profile using the convenient “Bookmark This Profile” link, which uses AddThis! so that you can easily bookmark using various social bookmark services.
How the Marketplace Helps You
CrossLoop will send customers to you… as long as you have not opted out of the Marketplace, your profile will appear in the CrossLoop marketplace for potential customers to find when they do a search for help. For instance, when I clicked on the Windows Vista category in the “I Need Help” section, there’s a big list of helpers.
Note: If you aren’t in the Marketplace, look under settings and click the link for “Upgrade to a helper account”.
I recommend staying signed in to your CrossLoop client, since the default search results show people that are “Available Now” first in the list.
In order to make sure that people are going to find you in the list, you should make sure to fill out your profile with a comma-separated list of the things you can help with in the Expertise section. If you aren’t sure what to use, then browse around and look at some of the other top profiles and see what they are using. Be sure to be accurate here… don’t put “Photoshop” if you aren’t actually ready to help with that topic.
You’ll notice the “Your Rates” section, which is very important to fill out with useful information. You can set a pre-determined price for your services here, or you could even put “Contact Me” for the rate. You could also create some simple “bundles” like “Computer Cleanup and Spyware Removal”, which will help people understand some of the more common services you provide.
Since CrossLoop is actively promoting this marketplace, you just need to make sure that you have good ratings from satisfied customers, and are signed in… the marketplace will do the rest.
Because the vast majority of people look at ratings and reviews before they buy anything online, I can’t emphasize enough that you ask your customers to leave you a good rating and a comment, since those show up on your profile. A large number of happy customers will help you immensely in attracting future customers to give you their business.
You can also fill out a form on your end explaining what you helped with in a particular session. This helps you be found more easily in the search engine on CrossLoop, but since Google will also eventually index your CrossLoop profile page, it can help you attract search results from people looking up their problem on Google as well.
Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just the marketplace, so we’ll explore other methods for promoting yourself.
How to Market Yourself Outside the Marketplace
Now that we understand how the system works, how do we bring new customers in on our own? We know there are people out there that need help… every forum is overflowing with them, so we just need to let them know that we provide remote help through CrossLoop.
Note: There’s a fine line between promoting yourself and spamming… I’ll try to guide you through it, but sometimes it’s a judgement call. When in doubt, try to be helpful first and your reputation will grow. Word of Mouth is the best way to get sales in any business.
CrossLoop provides a ton of widgets that you can embed on your blog, MySpace or Facebook profile, or dozens of other places. This widget will show what you can help with, your ratings, and has a contact button so that people can directly get in touch with you.
You can find the widgets by clicking on the Promote item on the top menu:
There are a bunch of widgets to choose from, and as you can see they support a ton of services like MySpace, Blogger, and Facebook.
One of the cool things about these badges is that they automatically update with your session count and ratings, so you can continue to grow your personal reputation anywhere you’ve put the widget, without having to do anything else on your end.
For this widget to work, of course, you need to be active online… starting up a blog and writing helpful articles is one good way to start getting people in, or you can simply promote yourself through your MySpace/Facebook profiles to your list of friends.
Forum / NewsGroup Signature
If you participate in an online forum, you can often create a signature line where you can add your CrossLoop URL. I’d suggest something very simple like “I’m a CrossLoop Helper”, with the link. Be very sure to check the rules of the forum before you do this, because many might consider it a spamming tactic. You can also see what other forum members are using their signatures for, and adjust accordingly.
If you send a lot of email, you should absolutely include your CrossLoop URL and the CrossLoop button. Some email software will let you create HTML signatures, so you can also link the button to your profile as well.
There are more details on how to do that here.
You can post a free ad on Craigslist promoting your helper status and offering your rates. One of the great things about this solution is that you can market yourself in any city listed on Craigslist, not just the city you live in, since this is a remote service. You’d do well to list yourself in some of the more popular cities, for instance New York would be a good place to start.
Buying Ads (Do with Caution)
You can even buy an ad through one of the many online advertisers to promote your services. You should be careful, of course, because you don’t want to dump a ton of money into something until you are sure it will work.
Word of Mouth
Getting People to recommend you to their friends is one of the best ways to get people to come to you for help. You’ll notice that on the top of your profile is a link to help others refer you. Be sure to mention this whenever you have a thankful customer.
You can also use this yourself to tell your own friends. You’ll notice that CrossLoop can import your address books so that you can send out a message to your friends telling them about your new business.
How to Create Happy Customers
Creating customers that are happy with your services is the best way to get them to tell their friends about you, so you can bring in new customers. Here are my recommendations:
- Relationships – This is a people business, built on referrals. Building those relationships is what will differentiate you from everybody else in an online world.
- Service – Be polite, prompt, and above all else Friendly with All of your communications online.
- Define the Problem – If you provide free estimates, you can figure out what the problem is, since in most cases the end user won’t have any idea what the real problem is. Being able to diagnose the problem is the critical factor in solving it.
- Solution – The most important factor is solving their problem. Combine a solved problem with friendly help and you’ve got a happy customer.
- Learning – The more experience you get at providing help, the better you will be able to provide help. If you help educate your customers on how to use their computer, they will remember you.
- Trust, Integrity, Honesty – Don’t do anything without making sure the customer knows what is going on. Ask their permission before you do something that might have consequences, like deleting files. You can’t simply be cavalier… the customer’s data is all-important to them.
- Free Stuff – It doesn’t cost you anything to give a helpful tip, or help out with something extra for free if you notice a problem you can easily fix. That type of thing will give you great feedback, and they will remember you the next time they have an issue.
- Feedback – Make sure that you get objective and honest feedback from your customers, and learn from it. Don’t get offended if somebody complains, ask them how you can better help them next time, and try and make it right.
- Know What You Are Doing – Don’t take on a job that you have no idea how to fix. The customer will notice, and you will sweat bullets hoping that they don’t leave negative feedback. You should spend time helping out your friends and family so that you feel completely comfortable with the help you can provide. If you don’t know how to fix something, you could even suggest another CrossLoop helper that does (making sure to tell the customer what your alternate expertise is)
These suggestions will take you a long way towards building up happy clients.
If you’ve got tech skills, this is an excellent way to start making some money and gaining some experience… all from the comfort of your home, and also start saving some money without paying ridiculous gas prices. (Here’s a New York Times article on how the increase in gas prices is making more people shop online).
If you become really great at it, you could even eventually do this full time… the great thing is that you can get started now, working from home at night, growing your business…
So, you’re one of the countless iPhone users who has to put up with a mere 5% battery life by the end of each work day. Most likely, your app usage is what’s draining your juice. Luckily there are plenty of ways to rectify that.
First, here’s how to find out which apps are using up your iPhone battery (for iOS 9 or later): Go to Settings > Battery and check out the Battery Usage section at the bottom. All the apps that have used power in the last day and the last week will be listed in order of their usage. If you tap each of the apps listed, you can see how much of the battery drain was through actual usage and how much was drained while in the background (for example, your text messaging is probably all manual usage; podcasts and iTunes are probably background).
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To save battery, you can:
- Disable Background App Refresh, either by individual app or overall (Background App Refresh: Settings > General > Background App Refresh).
- In your Settings tab, it’s also worth taking the time to go through each app and see which ones have location settings on (Settings > Privacy > Location Services) or are ok’d to use your Cellular Data (you can see this through each individual app listed under Settings).
- Turn off Push notifications for apps you don’t care about. Each message wakes up your phone briefly, which drains some battery.
- Avoid apps with lots of ads (meaning games).
According to reports, Facebook, arguably the biggest battery hog, uses other channels to run in the background even when you have disabled Background App Refresh. The only workaround at the moment seems to be to delete the app all together and access Facebook through one of your web browsers.
Also, according to Lifehacker and contrary to popular belief, manually closing out of your apps by double tapping the home button and swiping up on the open apps could actually kill your battery. iOS automatically closes down your apps, and you use up more battery reloading them the next time you open them up. If you’ve disabled Background App Refresh, you don’t need to manually close them, you’re good to go. Per Lifehacker:
Other Tips and Tricks
- If you’re not in an area where there’s WiFi available, turn it off on your phone. Your mobile device uses battery to search for a signal.
- If you don’t use Bluetooth (or aren’t at the moment) disable Bluetooth.
- In fact, if you’re trying to work offline for a bit, turn on Airplane mode, which disables Bluetooth and cellular data as well as WiFi.
- If you want to preserve battery but still need to be able to answer phone calls, turn off the cellular data (Settings > Cellular), assuming you have a WiFi connection.
- Lower your brightness, either through your Settings tab or by swiping up from the bottom of your phone and accessing the Control Center.
- Turn on Low Power Mode when you’re running low (Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode).