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5 Ways to Make Money Online, Even If You’re Just Starting Out

By:     Topics: Make Money Online

When you start out working for yourself, you need financing. You have bills like anyone else, plus the costs associated with running a business.

Even if your business only requires a computer and an internet connection, you’ll need to know how to get the ball rolling and start generating income.

Here are five tips on where to start making money, plus a word of warning from someone who has experienced the battle of starting a business with an empty wallet. The best place to start is everyone’s least favorite, but ultimately the most effective opportunity:

1. Freelance job boards

Any Google search related to “starting a business” or “freelancing” and “financing” will turn up a plethora of freelance job boards.

Get started signing up for them, and be sure you complete your profile on each one.

Before you start building profiles, you should have a few things ready to go:

-Your business name and online/offline contact information
-A brief description of your business and the services offered
-Either a portfolio or a convincingly-worded description of your skills acquired elsewhere

You should know exactly what you’re offering and be able to convey it concisely. There are plenty of transferable skills learned through school, hobbies, and work that can be applied to satisfying a client’s needs – you just need to make them aware that you’re competent, regardless of whether or not you have a portfolio.

Apply everywhere, and apply for gigs or projects where you can be even remotely helpful.

Until you have a job, this is your job. Be religious about looking for updated project listings and following up on bids you’ve placed.

Remember: pricing doesn’t matter as much as the ability to say you have a client. Don’t lose that chance by getting hung up on the idea that your time is “worth” a certain amount of money.

So, know what you need, and aim for that, only go for more if your pricing can remain competitive.

Odd jobs/ Part time work

Sounds counter-intuitive, right? You’re trying to start your own business, not work for someone else.

But how badly do you want money? How badly does your business need financing?

If money isn’t coming to you easily, you scrape it together.

Look at it this way: if you were told you had six months to live and needed $10,000 for a life-saving operation, what jobs would you take and how many hours would you dedicate to getting that money?

That same urgency can be applied to your business, if you take your goals seriously.

$7 an hour is more than the zero you’re making sitting at home, reading business blogs. Get out and do something, then roll that tiny paycheck into ads, or buying leads, or creating your product.

Spend carefully, take on bit projects or odd jobs, save your change and have a clearly defined goal so that when you’ve done enough, you know it.

Family and Friends

For some businesspeople, this is the first line of defense, but I only recommend asking people you know for money as a next-to-last resort.

Put the time in elsewhere so that they can see your passion, dedication, and level of responsibility.

Talk about your work with your family and friends, share more if they seem interested. In order for someone close to you to feel comfortable investing in you, they’ll need to have a clear understanding of what kind of business person you are.

If they can tell you’re willing to do whatever it takes to become a success, they’re far more likely to help out than if they think you’re a financial gamble.

Creative Networking


I got my break in the business by chatting about work at a Superbowl Party a few years ago. All it takes is one client, one chance, one paycheck to give you an opportunity to get your business underway.

Be knowledgable, be confident, and be curious about other peoples’ lives and work.

Get out into the world, both the real world and the virtual world, and experiment with talking to strangers. The more connections you make, the more likely you are that someone will either a.) want your services for their business or b.) have you in mind for a recommendation when a colleague needs the services you offer.

Know the difference between friendship and a business relationship, and work to cultivate both via social engagements, webinars, meetups, tweetups, and other local business networking events.

VC’s, banks, etc.

I don’t have a lot of experience with these yet, because I was able to grow my business organically via odd jobs and creative networking.

I have researched the options and learned that it’s important for anyone relying on a VC to do their research. Not all loans, and not all financial institutions are created equal.

Just like getting started on freelancer boards, you’ll need to know how to convey your skills and abilities confidently. If you have a portfolio, make sure the information is organized, thorough, and demonstrates your capacity as a businessperson.

Again, you’ll need a presentation of sorts available. It’s better to have some basic financial projections and a business plan on file at all times, whether they’re needed in early phases or not. It would be terrible to get a shot at a short-notice meeting and not have the required documents handy.

Get a clear understanding of what their investment means for you in the long term. If they own a portion of your business, or your profits, determine how long that ownership lasts and whether you’ll be able to work with that down the line.

Word of Warning: Have a Plan

Money may be tight for awhile even after your business finds clients. Have a plan in mind (or written down) for where that money will go once it comes in. You should know the answers to these questions:

-Which financial obligations are the top priorities for your business?
-What specifically does your company need in order to have opportunity for growth?
-What are the minimum and maximum amount of income you will dedicate toward growing your business? (Percentages are easier to guarantee than actual dollar amounts.)

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, so please add any other thoughts on how you can make money right away to the comments below.

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