How to Make Money $ on the Internet: A Guide to Becoming a Digital Nomad


Hey, what’s up? In this video I’m gonna talk about how to make a living on the Internet. This is a topic that I get asked about all the time and while I’m not an expert, I do make a full-time living at this point using the Internet, and so at the very least I feel like I could talk about my own experiences. My idea here is to provide a fairly thorough beginner’s guide on the different ways you could potentially make a living online. This is in no way exhaustive and that’s because this is a massive topic and the internet continues to grow and evolve everyday. Making a living online has some major benefits including, especially for me, the fact that I’m now location independent, which theoretically means I could travel or live wherever I want in the world. This has massive appeal for me personally, but it obviously depends on how much money you make. Also, depending on what path you take it can mean you don’t have to answer to anybody and you can do your own thing. Plus I think that the internet is where everything is gonna happen in the future, so might as well get as savvy as possible, right? I knew the internet was going to play a big role in my career, but it’s been kind of a bumpy process figuring things out for myself. I would have really appreciated somebody sitting down with me, and just explaining things in a clean and concise way. I split things into three categories, so it’s a little bit easier to understand. And, I’m an open book, so I’m going to be sharing exactly how much money I’m making on AdSense on YouTube as a little bit of an update from a video I made a few months ago. I’m going to cover a ton of information in this video, but it is impossible to cover it all. If I tried I’d be here all day. In the description you will find links to additional resources, and the things that I mentioned in this video, and any further additions that I might come up with down the road if I missed anything. Some things to keep in mind, while more and more people are making either a full or part-time income on the internet, it’s still not a super typical path to take, and it’s definitely still less straightforward than applying to a job and working in an office somewhere. It can be very stressful and also unclear how to navigate things. Plus, the internet is littered with all kinds of fake or clickbaity content that promises outlandish amounts of money for little to no effort. All I’m saying is don’t believe everything you see, that has just not been my experience. You have to keep in mind that the Internet does not work in a linear or straightforward way. I’ve spoken about this before, things might not work out for a long time and then they might explode to life. I mean, that’s exactly what happened with my channel on YouTube. I truly believe that if you focus on creating something that is super high quality, you know, being so good that people can not ignore you, the people will eventually come. The takeaway here is that I think it’s essential to adopt a long term mindset to weather the volatility of things. This kind of mindset probably needs to be reflected with money management as well. I can only speak about my own personal approach, but I believe that having an emergency fund of savings is borderline a must. You cannot expect things to work out right away. This isn’t just to give yourself a runway to try and make things happen, but it’s also for stress management. I can’t emphasize this enough, things can be very unpredictable. Now, regarding mentality I do think that you need some level of hustle to make things work out for yourself. If you want it, you have got to fight for it. The Internet is funny in how it works because you can actually be competing with people all around the world, and you know, that can be a challenge. Picking a particular focus or niche and getting really good at it is key. In fact, even better than that would be if you could create your own niche, and also patience. Everybody’s journey on the internet looks a little bit different, so don’t get caught up on other people’s success stories. Just like with anything else I believe that what you get out of something depends on how much you put into it. Anything you can do to go above and beyond will help, and finally do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, even in the age of the internet. Okay So let’s dive into the different methods of making money online. One, selling products. To start you can sell products online. You probably already know this already and thanks to globalization there’s a global market for most things now. We’re gonna break this first category into two parts. The first is creating and selling and the second is buying and reselling. As an artist myself I think the first option is considerably better. Creating and selling something online is pretty straightforward. You can make jewelry, design t-shirts, you know, write your own poetry. It can be anything. You can very easily create an online store on a website like Etsy, Shopify or Squarespace. There’s loads of tutorials out there already. So I’m not gonna go into that. Of course this requires a skill in some kind of craft, and you’re gonna notice this as a pattern with regards to all the different ways to make money online. It’s just better if you have something of value to offer the world. The good news is that it’s never been easier to learn a craft online. Get creative. If you’re a photographer, sell your presets or a zine. If you have pretty handwriting, sell posters or postcards. Reaching people seems to be one of the hardest parts of this whole process. Since social media is saturated at this point, it can be a real challenge, but it’s definitely not impossible. The way I see things you have two choices, you can either figure out a way to organically get discovered, or you can pay for marketing on social media platforms. I personally could never crack the code on Instagram so I’ve never received any organic growth on there, but I’ve had considerably more luck on YouTube, and so that’s where I place most of my focus now. My approach has always been to experiment. I don’t have all the answers, unfortunately. I’m just a kid on the internet. I will say Seth Godin recently wrote a book called “This is Marketing”, which is fabulous. It helped me develop my own mindset with regards to all of this. I recommend it. Next, if you don’t have a skill, the desire, or a desire to learn a skill, but you do enjoy selling, you can buy and resell. This is also known as arbitrage. I’m only going to briefly cover this one because I personally would never do this. I’m just not built for this kind of thing. The concept is incredibly simple, you know you buy something somewhere and then you sell it somewhere else for more. In theory, you could do this from the comfort of your home buying stuff from Alibaba or Aliexpress and then selling it on Amazon, for example. Amazon has a program for this, it’s called Amazon FBA. However, I did do a lot of research on this and it quickly became apparent to me that this has become very competitive and it can require a significant personal investment. Furthermore, there are a lot of ways that this could go wrong. More fundamentally, however, and again, this is just my own personal opinion, but I find that this kind of work is very uncreative. You could make the argument that you are not really adding any real value to the world. You’re just making yourself a middleman, which can ultimately be unfulfilling. Conversely, you could say that middlemen play an important role in distribution. All that being said, some people seem to be made for this, enjoy the process and do successfully make a living this way. So, more power to them. And again, the sky is the limit here. You can do this with art. You can do this with shoes. You could do this with hypebeast clothing. Two. Freelancing online. Next we’re gonna talk about freelance work online, which in my experience can be very powerful. But again, there’s a lot to keep in mind. As far as I see things, there are four ways that you could go about this. One, you can provide a service on a website. This is arguably the most straightforward method. Once again, you do need a skill, but don’t let that scare you. I mean if you speak English, if you understand this video, that’s a skill right there. You can do this very easily on websites like Italkie or Verbally. When I took the leap moving to Mexico earlier this year, I gave myself 6 months of runway to try and make things work, but at that time I was definitely not making enough money to sustain this project. As a plan B, I was prepared to teach English, French, or Spanish online in case things didn’t work out. Just to keep things going. Outside of languages though, you can offer pretty much any service imaginable on websites like Fiverr. Benefits include the fact that you can pick your own hours and potentially meet people around the world. Drawbacks could be the fact that you’re not passionate about this, and therefore It’s kind of more of a temporary solution. The more advanced version of this is that if you have any kind of following on any kind of social media, you could leverage it. For example, if you’re a musician and you post your work online, people might reach out to you and commission you for work. If you’re a designer or a cartoonist, same sort of thing. I mean this this kind of thing happens surprisingly often, given that you’re accessing enough eyeballs. Two. Finding freelance work on a freelance website. This next method is different from the previous one in that these websites have employers post tasks that they need somebody to do, and potential freelancers submit themselves for the opportunity to do that work. There are plenty of websites out there that do this kind of thing including Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru. I can’t recommend any of these because I never ended up using any of them, but I did do some research on this and finding freelance work this way can be problematic. Mainly because there are challenges connecting the right freelancer with the right job. Plus, there’s a lot of competition so it can be kind of demoralizing to be in this kind of environment. I’m not saying it’s not possible, there are people out there that make a living this way, but I am suggesting caution, since there are forums that have shared very mixed reviews about taking this route. Next, you can submit your resume directly to companies with job openings. This is very similar to kind of the traditional way of doing things, except for you’re obviously looking for location independent jobs. I see this as a particularly viable option for writers, with companies like Huffington Post or Vice. I remember applying for a job to write descriptions for a company that managed vacation homes. I didn’t get it. This one’s tough because it can feel like you’re shooting your resume into the void. Again, patience and persistence and also potentially creativity and grabbing somebody’s attention is the way to go. I recommend “Indeed” as a solid resource that goes way beyond just writing positions to all kinds of different jobs, many of which are freelance positions online. Finally, you can build physical relationships that end up becoming location independent. This is the most advanced with regards to the different methods that are covered on the topic of freelancing online, but I also believe that it’s the best. I think doing things this way has the potential to offer the biggest rewards. I worked as an editor while I was living in Portland, mainly on documentary and commercial stuff. I made sure to make myself as valuable as I could by, you know, doing my best work, being timely and communicative. Employers really value that kind of thing because you would be shocked how flaky people can be. If you are valuable enough people will hire you no matter where you are. And now with improving internet, the cloud, and better video calling services, a lot of the barriers that used to exist with regards to doing work remotely are gone. So, I’ve had clients send me hard drives and you know, I do my thing. I edit from wherever it is that I am and submit my work that way. I no longer do this because I’m no longer taking on client work, but that is something that I did for a while. Three. Create content online. Believe it or not, you can definitely still make a living creating content online in 2019. This is what I’m doing. This can come in the form of running a website or blog, a podcast, or something like a YouTube channel. People seem to make a lot of money also on Instagram, but I do not, so I’m not going to talk about it. Obviously there’s going to be differences that exist between these different methods, but there are general categories that apply to all of them. One: ads. I make ad revenue. Thanks to you guys showing up and watching my videos here on YouTube. In March I made $488.32 with ad revenue. In June I made $3466.01 on ad revenue. For the record it’s the same exact concept with a blog or website where there are ads on the web page. So what does this illustrate? It shows that ad revenue is super volatile and very unreliable. It really comes and goes. This is why I think it’s so important to diversify and figure out other ways to make money, because if you relied just on something like that, it could be very stressful and it can be very challenging to make things sustainable long term. Two. You can also sell merch. Every Youtuber and their mother has tried this, and there’s a reason for that it’s because it usually works. There are now companies like Printful, that allow you to do things on a per-order basis, which means that you don’t have to put in any of your own peronal investment. It can avoid a lot of the risk of doing this. Next you have crowdfunding. That’s exactly what Patreon is. Something that I’ve promoted extensively on this channel. I truly believe that it’s something that’s gonna play a big role in the future. You can create exclusive content, behind-the-scenes, other bonuses that you can offer to people that really believe in you, and they can access those things while also supporting you online. I’m extremely fortunate to now have 165 patrons on my Patreon page. That translates to around $850 per month and that is super cool, it’s also way more consistent than ad revenue. There’s affiliate marketing, which you can do with Amazon or any of a whole host of other companies. Let’s say you recommend a book that you really like, you can link to it, and if somebody buys that book you get a commission. You can also offer a course. You know, do a workshop. Especially if you’re like an expert on something. People love that kind of thing and I’ve heard mixed reviews. It sounds like there are amazing courses out there and there’s also low quality courses. So it obviously all depends. And finally there are sponsors and the equation here is very simple. If you have an audience of people that enjoy and believe in what you’re doing, and they reliably show up on a regular basis, that’s a very valuable thing. Now, you walk kind of a fine line here, because if you have too many sponsors, if everything I put out was sponsored, I would look like a sell-out. Now, theoretically I would make a lot more money if every single one of my videos was sponsored, but you have to balance trust that you have with your audience with income. I get requests to do product reviews, to promote apps, you know, all kinds of different stuff. I say no to like 99.9% of it. Currently I’m sticking to doing no more than one or two sponsors per month. Only promoting products that I personally use. This is allowing me to be a little bit more ambitious with my projects and to further raise my production quality. So this video is sponsored by Skillshare, which is an honest recommendation because I did use it to get to where I am now. I think that the concept of learning something online has enormous potential. I mean almost everything I know is thanks to the internet. Now, Skillshare offers over 28,000 courses on their platform. They have a pretty cool rating system to see what people think of different classes, so that you can kind of find what fits for you. Well, what I’ve gone ahead and done is I’ve created my own list of personal recommendations of classes that I like, and a lot of these have to do with the things that I talked about in this video. I particularly enjoy Skillshare originals. They’re really well made. Two classes I would personally recommend are this productivity master class and this course on starting a business online, both of which I think can be super useful if you’re interested in making a living using the internet. Skillshare is very affordable. For a yearly subscription it’s less than ten bucks a month. This is really important and I totally forgot to mention it, you can use the link down below to get a two month free trial. So, give it a shot and you know try for yourself. To close off this topic of making living through content creation online, I suggest keeping in mind these three things. These three things, by the way make up my mantra with regards to content creation. They are quality, focus, and consistency. Of course, I did not cover everything. There are so many ways that you can make money online, especially if you’re creative. I didn’t mention Medium, which is an option for bloggers. I didn’t talk about day trading, which seems to have a very large community at this point. You can create an app or upload stock footage to a stock website. Here’s what I will say, if there’s a demand for something in the world and you can find a way to offer that in a high-quality way, you can make a living. Thank you so much for watching and for supporting my own project online. I hope that you learned something from this and I’ll see you soon!

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