I love this question! Why? Because as someone who makes a full-time income from working at home, I think I'm a tad bit qualified to give some input.
Spoiler: I am not going to give you names of websites or affiliate links, or point you to place which most likely are scams (not saying everything is a scam). I'm instead going to focus on how you can literally discover what is the right thing for you to do and how to make money.
If you truly want to make more than just spare change, read through the answer below.
Work for Someone From Home
Working from home does not necessarily mean, freelancing. This is one of the biggest misconceptions. One can work for a company from home. There are so many companies that are okay with the concept of remote workers. Doesn't matter if you're in the US or across the world. Companies will hire anyone whom they feel are an excellent resource.
Jason Fried, Partner at 37Signals (the makers of BaseCamp), has an excellent video on this, working remotely:
Today, with the advent of all things internet, ask around for employers who are hiring remote workers. My employer CoinX took had no hesitation in hiring me. Megan Burton the CEO of CoinX was looking for someone in a particular area of interest in the world of payments, and she came across my contributions and then decided to pick up the phone and make contact. It did not matter where I was. What mattered was my ability to deliver.
To make money, either by working full-time, part-time or freelancing from home, requires that you are passionate about something. Passion trumps everything and all obstacles.
Passion is just one side of the coin, the other side is building-value. Whether you build value in your skills-set, or the content, effort, etc. you put on the web, you must build-value for to make money.
As with anything else, there needs to be a demand for something. This something is what you have to be passionate about. If you have something that has a demand, and you build value, you can bet your bottom dollar, that someone will be willing to pay you for your time or effort (contribution).
Work finds talent. Talent finds work.
Find Your Micro-Niche
Finding your niche is what it is all about. Your talent is your niche. If you're good in article writing, thats a starting point. What type of articles you are good at writing, is your micro-niche. If you like photography, what type of photography do you like? Can you do stock photography? Are you good with portraits? You may love photography, but perhaps you're even better in doing post-production work on them. That just may be your micro-niche.
You have to focus. You must learn to say no, to things outside your domain of expertise. If you are a subject-matter expert in a particular area, say no to work outside this area. Taking working outside this area is the classical case of losing focus and being distracted.
Finding your niche and micro-niche is easier said than done. Ask your family, what they think you are good at? Ask your friends, your colleagues, people who have interacted with you. Make a list of things you are passionate about and then slowly shorten the list, with realistic goals like:
- How much money will I make from this?
- Is this a hobby or a passion of mine?
- Will I still be interested in this after 6 weeks? after 6 months?
Many times, people already know what they are passionate about. What your micro-niche is. Now you just need to get started.
I personally know so many qualified people, folks with masters degrees and double-masters, etc. yet they are wasting their life, day-dreaming, promising themselves they will do it one day. They never do.
There is a difference between a wish and actually-doing-it. Only you can make a difference. No one else can. If you truly want to make money on the Internet (whether working for someone, or doing something of your own), you have to get up and do something about it.
The old saying, there is no free meal is so very true. You have to work for your money. I know of two people personally who have believed in what they did and literally made it, against all odds. Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali built a very successful business, online, from a very old, rundown, going-out-of business cobbler in a remote village in Pakistan (You can read their story here: Press)
As I said, passion will trump all hurdles. If you genuinely love what you do, then do it. Become the best at it, and work will find a way to you.
There are 100,000s of people perhaps who are trying to compete for work everyday…
- What makes you different?
- Why should work find its way to you?
- What makes you better than anyone else?
- How can one find you on the web?
- How committed are you to the work you are assigned?
- How committed are you otherwise?
- Why you?
All these questions are easy to ask, but they don't have an easy answer. If you're content with making a few cents doing repetitive / mundane tasks, Amazon Mechanical Turk might be your thing. If you have the ability to deliver quality work fast, not spend too much time on it, for a specific talent, Fiverr might just have a gig for you.
Don't Give Up. Persistence is the Key
"A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence."
You may not get business on day 1. Not even on day 2, but if that is going to be your criteria of making money, from the word go then I have bad news to tell. Its never easy.
You will get better with each try! I can guarantee you that. I know freelancers who had sent over 200+ proposals (bids) to potential clients, before they got their first break.
I know of a blogger who blogged for months, before he found his first paying gig and now lives comfortably of it.
I know a logo designer who refused to compete with the lower pricing in various marketplaces and held steadfast to her pricing menu. She did not get business for a good year. Today, she cannot keep pace with work.
Some just have sheer bad luck. They keep changing their plans, just when business would have steered their way. They keep doing this way too often and then get frustrated and quit all together.
Get help. Find a mentor. When in doubt – Ask away!
Sometimes complacency will not make you think straight. Its good to get an external view on such matters.
Make Money using Quora
It would only be fair, that I do answer your question as to how do you make money online. Quora (for me at least) is a brilliant place to market oneself.
Shameless plug here: I've answered nearly 3,900+ answers and most of them are focused on the banking and payments world. To the best of my knowledge, I have never advocated or promoted myself to solicit business in my answers. I've established myself as a subject matter expert, and people who wish to do business with me, will find a way to connect with me.
Remember, Talent finds Work. Work finds Talent.
In the For Further Reading section below, you can read what Quora has done for me and how I have used it to make money.
One of the most common approach for people looking for solutions, is to Google. With the excellent search-engine results that Quora has on Google, my answers make it to the top for many many topics related to payments.
People click, people read, people click on my profile, and many people connect. Some become customers.
Can you become a subject matter expert on Quora and cash-in on it? Are you willing to spend countless hours contributing your knowledge and not holding back (a lot of people hold back for the explicit purpose of soliciting you in for business, for example, take a look at a many immigration lawyers who answer here on Quora).
Knowledge is meant to flow. Share it responsibly and you will be rewarded. Again, persistence is the key.
I for one, hope you get inspired by all this, and really put your mind to it. You can make money. It just takes a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment. If you're willing to chip in all three, there is no reason why you cannot make money online.
For further reading: