India is a fast-growing nation. An average of 4.75 million people are added to the workforce every year. While this offers the opportunity for improved output, the formal economy may not be able to deliver enough jobs for all of them. Not to worry. The rapid adoption of smartphones, coupled with affordable internet connectivity, presents many ways to earn money online.
Millions of young adults, students, homemakers and retirees alike are exploring digital ways to supplement their income at a time, pace and place of their convenience.
Today, people are not limited to traditional jobs as the gig economy has opened up avenues unheard of before.
If you too are looking to tread the path of self-employment or just make some extra money, here are nine online options you can place your bet on.
Got a smartphone and internet connection?
That’s all you need for most of these digital gigs.
- Become a social media influencer.
- Create learning modules.
- Take up writing gigs.
- Become a social media marketer.
- Make money using AdSense.
- Try affiliate marketing.
- Become a holiday consultant.
- Assist virtually.
- Freelance your skills.
From becoming a social media star to a holiday consultant, there are many ways to earn money online.
1. Become a social media influencer
New-age social media consumption has created a new breed of marketers known as social media influencers. They top our list of ways to earn money online.
Success is based on the influencer’s ability to choose a specific niche — astrology or new technology, for example — and provide valuable articles and videos on that topic.
You may love clicking pictures, dancing, sharing cooking recipes or grooming and lifestyle tips — use your passion to start a blog or podcast. The possibilities are endless, as long as you are able to regularly provide relevant, interesting content and interact with your followers.
Brands pay a handsome fee if they find a synergy between your topic and their product.
The key to long-term success as an influencer is to maintain your credibility. Stay true to yourself and only promote products you believe in.
Avenues: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
2. Create learning modules
Online education is a growing industry in India and it’s the right time to dip your fingers in it.
Experts predict that online education will be a US$2 billion industry in India by 2021.
If you have domain expertise — teaching a language or a graphic design, for example — you can create online learning modules that help students learn it. The idea is to make learning easy and fun with bite-sized information.
Plan and create structured course content spread over modules with audio and video support to engage students. Ensure your content is factually correct and current.
Upload the readings, exercises, and videos to your own website or share them through learning intermediaries. In the latter case, every time someone purchases the eCourse, you receive a percentage of the fee.
Avenues: Unacademy, Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare
3. Take up writing gigs
Just as digital marketers, freelance writers are in demand too. Business owners have realised nothing can beat good, relevant articles and videos to engage current and new customers. Companies are putting quite a few eggs in the content marketing basket, as it is proving to be a powerful customer acquisition tool.
Today, there are writing opportunities available across Indian regional languages, not just English.
If you have good command over a particular language, you should consider freelance writing jobs. With the diverse population that India has, businesses are constantly looking for writing that is geared to the reader’s need.
Avenues: Upwork, Freelancer, Freelance Writing Jobs
4. Become a social media marketer
Billions of people use various social media networks on a daily basis. For this reason, businesses are looking to engage with potential customers there. While they are busy with the basics of business, companies are more than happy to outsource the social media campaigns to freelance marketers.
All you need is:
- A finger on the pulse of how social media works
- The ability to analyze and understand the data metrics
- Skill with designing and executing social media plans
The price you can command as a marketer will depend on the success of your campaigns and your ability to turn the marketing plan into real sales for the business.
Avenues: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
5. Make money using AdSense
If you are willing to create a lot of content that others consider extremely valuable, then you could use it to build your own brand.
Set up your own website, blog or YouTube channel and share high-impact articles and videos based on popular keywords (learn how to find them here).
The subject could be anything you have expertise in:
- Business transformation
- Or any other field
Once you have the photos, videos or blog posts in place, you can use Google’s AdSense program to generate income. Every time a visitor to your pages clicks on one of the AdSense ads, you make a profit.
A single AdSense account can be used across platforms and can generate income for years to come.
Avenues: WordPress Websites, YouTube
6. Try affiliate marketing
Another great way to make money from your own posts and videos is by advertising for products that tie in with your topic. The easy-to-use affiliate marketing links work across digital formats — be it your website, blog or social media page.
You get a commission every time someone purchases a product through your affiliate link (exact terms vary from affiliate to affiliate).
Right from retail products on shopping sites and holiday packages to eBooks, lifestyle products and web domains, there is no dearth of products. An affiliate acts as a digital store; there is no limit to the number of affiliates you can have.
The key is to create a strong reader following first and then weave in related affiliate product mentions into your narrative.
Avenues: Amazon, Flipkart, GoDaddy Affiliate Program
7. Become a holiday consultant
This work-from-home opportunity requires you to speak with potential customers and design holiday/travel packages based on their needs.
After a brief training stint that gives you the lowdown on the business and products, you can become an affiliate of the company. You earn a commission on every sale you make.
Love for travel, a passion to customise dream holidays, good communication skills and a positive problem-solving attitude can help you make a good income from this gig.
Avenues: MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Travel of India
8. Assist virtually
A virtual assistant helps individuals and small businesses with administrative tasks such as:
- Data entry
- Online research
- Managing email
- Travel research
Businesses that do not have a large scope of secretarial work may find a full-time employee expensive. Hence, the need to outsource the work.
Many aggregating websites allow businesses to advertise their needs to possible assistants. Identify areas that you understand or have some prior experience in. This will smooth the process of getting hired and standing out from the crowd.
Virtual assistants usually get paid on an hourly basis depending on the scope of work. With experience, you can demand a higher fee.
Avenues: VirtualAssistants, Urbantimer, YourDailyTask
9. Freelance your skills
The internet is where people go to find solutions to their queries. You could make some serious dough by resolving those queries.
This work can easily fetch you a couple of hundred Rupees to a few thousand each month.
Individuals and businesses post their needs on various freelancing websites. People will pay you to:
- Write articles
- Create artwork, logos and websites
- Ghostwrite books and theses
- Do accounting work
Browse through the websites below to bid on needs that you can provide solutions for. Once you have a few projects to show and reviews from satisfied customers, you can charge a premium for your quality services.
Avenues: Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Amazon Mechanical Turk
Now you know 9 ways to earn money online
The options mentioned above require little to zero capital investment from your end, but they definitely need 100% commitment.
Most listing websites have strict rules and guidelines and non-adherence can disqualify you from being paid. Take time to understand the terms and conditions of each contract and do a little checking to ensure you are working with genuine businesses on legally permissible work.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and you will have to be patient and consistent. Look for opportunities that you would enjoy working on and the money will slowly, but surely, flow in.