An extremely common question I get from friends and family is – “How the f*ck do you make money from your laptop?”
I’ll qualify my answer with two points:
- I’m not an expert on this stuff. However, I do make enough money that I can live a decent life in the developing world and the cheaper parts of the US.
- I haven’t been doing this very long. I moved to Asia in January 2018 to teach English, but I couldn’t find a job because it was Lunar New Year. A few days doing research Google and… I was making more money online than if I was teaching English.
Now that we got that out of the way we can begin.
As mentioned earlier, I moved to Asia to teach English and failed at that. My Google search for “making money online” led me to freelancing.
I’m not exactly Mr. Qualified here, so I was kind of limited in the freelancing I could do.
However, I do have a strong work ethic, which is what you really need to make it in freelancing (and life). More importantly, English is my native language.
This means it is easy to find jobs that pay around $20 per 1,000 words. All you have to for these jobs is rewrite articles so they pass a plagiarism checker.
Easy work to do.
Easy work to find.
The pay sucks though.
Better writing jobs would be sales copywriting or anything with the word “direct sales” in it.
Those are harder to get for newbies though.
If you’re just starting out, then you can find an infinite amount of $20 per 1,000 words jobs in a short amount of time, but you will work for agencies.
Starting the agency is obviously the better option. That’s not something you just do when starting out though.
Consulting is a little bit of a step up from just freelancing.
The nice part with consulting is that you can consult on anything.
Accounting, marketing, education, IT, programming, and so on.
If there is a way to make money in the industry, then you can become an industry consultant.
In my case, I do SEO consulting and strategy type stuff. This type of work isn’t the kind of stuff you go to school to learn either. You basically learn it by doing it and watching YouTube videos.
Anyway, getting the first consulting clients is always the hardest part. However, if you do a good job on those first clients, then you can ask for referrals. You also will have a nice portfolio to show any future clients after the first two or three.
Just make sure you know what you’re doing, or can deliver on the work, before you decide to become a consultant.
Affiliate marketing is the next step up from freelancing and consulting.
Basically, affiliate marketing is getting paid a commission every time you refer someone to a website and they purchase a product.
Lots of companies offer affiliate programs. Amazon has the biggest affiliate program, but they are obviously not the only company.
In fact, this website makes 100% of its revenue from affiliate sales.
Yes, this website makes money.
I get paid very time one of you books a hotel through my link or signs up for a dating site through my link. (Vietnam Cupid does work. Check out the guide)
Yes, it does add up.
Some people even make websites that review products with the hope of ranking high on Google for certain keywords (ex. “best laptop 2018”).
They then plaster the site with affiliate links and make money anytime someone purchases a product.
I have a few affiliate sites like that.
They don’t make much money, yet. Websites like this can make a ton of money though. The Wirecutter is a famous example of an affiliate site…
The New York Times paid $30 million for the website (USD, not VND).
So yeah, affiliate marketing is another way to make money online.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that you make money 24/7. This website literally makes money while I sleep.
Hell, I didn’t update it for a month and it still made money.
eCommerce is selling physical products on the internet. You can make an absolute killing doing this.
However, there are right ways and wrong ways to do eCommerce.
The right way is to create a custom product that people actually want and build a business around that.
Think of a company like YETI that solved a huge problem (coolers that don’t keep things cold) by making a damn good product. YETI doesn’t really need to advertise since their product basically sells itself. They also do they compete on price. In fact, Yeti Coolers are the most expensive ones on the market.
The wrong way, I did this, is selling someone else’s product. You don’t own the brand and anyone can sell the product same product as you.
You aren’t offering anything unique and will just end up competing on price and/or advertising. It becomes a race to who can sell with the lowest margins.
Trust me, someone can always sell for less than you.
Not the kind of business you want to operate.
Dropshipping off Alibaba falls into the same bad idea category too. In fact, dropshipping might be worse because anyone with a credit card can do it, the shipping times are like 2 weeks, and you have no control.
Overall, eCommerce is amazing, but do it the right way and build an actual business that provides value. Don’t just do arbitrage and try to compete on price/marketing.
Another popular way to make money online is selling books and other information products.
If you know something unique, then you can write an e-book and sell it. Or you can make a video course and sell it as a webinar.
Honestly, I don’t have any experience in this. I do know that Amazon cut their commission rates for authors (again) and pissed off a lot of people.
Again, Amazon isn’t the only option, but they are the biggest player.
Personally, this isn’t something I would do because selling information is difficult and commoditized, which makes the potential payoff low.
You can find pretty much all the information you would ever need on Google or YouTube. You can also steal it from The Pirate Bay.
Those are the reasons you probably won’t see Neo the Nomad promoting any books.
This one wasn’t going to make the list, but I’ve met people that actually make a living doing this so I have to include it.
If you play videogames (I don’t) and have a charming personality, then you can do a live stream of you playing videogames and talking to the camera.
You can then plug products or ask people to sponsor you (AKA: beg for money).
Not my cup of tea and it seems like a high competition space where most people probably make zero money, but it is an option.
Another one that was not going to make the list, but I know a guy that does this.
He has a website and offers “life coaching” via email and Skype.
This dude is a raging alcoholic that teaches English in a 3rd world country and is a total dumbass.
No clue why anyone pays this loser for life coaching, but he does make money.
If you are a successful person, then you can make decent money coaching people. But if you are successful, you probably won’t want to trade time for money.
This isn’t a fully exhaustive list of making money online.
It is just a quick resource to open your eyes to the different ways to make money from your laptop.
In other words, I just want ya’ll to think outside the square a bit. You do not need to teach English or go to an office every day.
You can make money online from your laptop.
That said, not all these jobs are created equal. Affiliate marketing is good, but you lack control.
Your affiliate manager can lower your percentage at any time or even cancel your account.
The best way to make money online, in my opinion, is owning an eCommerce business that sells a proprietary product that solves a huge problem. This is something I’m working on in the long term, but it requires a lot of time to get up and running.
It can have a big payoff if you have a good product AND know how to run a business.