Before I get into the mechanics of how to earn money online in India, let me make it clear – there are no get rich quick schemes.
Maybe someone you know was able to make a quick buck online, but in all possibilities, it isn’t going to happen with you.
But with the right approach and consistent work, earning money online can be easier than other conventional methods.
I have been making money through online channels for more than four years now, and over the years I have experimented with different techniques. Some have worked great for me and some haven’t.
In this article, I will only talk about different ways to earn money online that I have personally used (or have personally witnessed being used effectively).
So let’s get started!
Take Up Online Freelance Work
When you’re starting out afresh, you have no clients, no credibility, and no authority in your chosen niche.
At this point in time, you need to earn money as well as build credibility so that you get more clients in the future.
Taking up freelance work is a good and easy way to earn money online in your initial days.
Imagine if you have to hire a freelance content writer and the options are:
- A person who is absolutely new to this field is just getting started.
- A person who has already completed 25 writing tasks and has samples and testimonials.
In all likelihood, you’re going to choose the second one (right?).
At least I would, even if it meant paying a little bit higher.
To make sure you get into the second category of freelancers, you need to complete some tasks and build some credibility in the space (even if it means doing it for less money).
Once you have some experience under your belt, you can start charing more.
How to Get Freelance Work?
There are various ways to get started with freelancing work:
- Reach out to friends/acquaintances and ask if they have any relevant work for you.
- Join relevant Facebook groups and pitch your services when someone is looking for it.
- Join platforms such as Fiverr or Upwork and bid on projects. If you’re a newbie, the only leverage you have is pricing. You may have to price your services lower, to begin with.
I am not saying you’re going to get the work instantly. But this can be a good starting point.
One of the benefits of using platforms such as Upwork is that you don’t have to worry about finding clients. All you need to do is identify projects and bid on these. And when you get these, deliver it on time and meet clients’ expectations.
Some of the areas where you can find a lot of job posting include data entry, WordPress development, content writing, graphic designing, etc.
Tips To Earn Money Online on Upwork
Here are some useful Pro Tips when using platforms such as Upwork:
- Bid on the projects aggressively. When starting out, you’re less likely to bag projects, so the more you bid, the higher your chance of getting a few. So if you’re looking for a data entry job, make it a point to bid on 10-20 projects daily to increase your chances of getting the few initial ones.
- Try to bid on one kind of project. This will help you build a niche for yourself. For example, if you are someone who can help people with WordPress speed optimization, focus on these projects only. Below is a snapshot of a friend (someone I know from my co-working space) who is a specialist and commands $100 per hour on Upwork.
- A few days ago, I learned an amazing technique from a friend who recently started with Upwork. He bids on a project and then sends the client a snapshot of some work that he has done for them. For example, if you’re a PHP developer, and the client has an issue, bid on the project and then send a snapshot of 5-10 minutes of your work. This will show the client that you know your stuff and understand his problem as well. My friend used this technique to earn $800 (~INR 54,000) in the first month on Upwork.
Give Online Consultation
If you’re already an authority in your space, you can provide online consultation and charge on an hourly basis or on a per-project basis.
After a few years of starting my Excel spreadsheets blog, I had a good following and I was also seen as an expert. I also started getting consulting assignments where people wanted to get into a call with me and show me their work. Or they wanted me to help them with their Excel work and pay me for my time.
I did it only for a couple of clients, but it was good money.
I used to charge $100 per hour (in 2015-16).
To be able to provide your consulting services, you need to have a base already. There need to be people who know you and see you as an expert.
In my case, it was because of my blog.
You can build a following in many different ways:
- Join relevant Facebook/Linkedin groups and be active in these groups. Try to genuinely help people.
- Be active on Quora and answer queries.
- Have a blog and share it on social media. It’s an added plus if you get to rank on search engines.
- Write articles on Linkedin/Medium (if you think it is where your audience would be).
Sell Advertising Space on Your Blog
If you start a blog, there are many different ways you can use it to earn money online.
If your blog gets a lot of traffic, you can earn money by placing display ads on it.
There are different ways to sell the space on your high traffic blog:
- Show Google Adsense Ads (or other networks such as Media.net, Ad Thrive, Propeller Ads, etc.)
- Show Amazon ads and earn when anyone clicks on it and buys a product on Amazon (you need to sign up for their Amazon Associate program first).
- Directly sell the ad space to a company and charge on a monthly or per-click basis.
If you’re using Google Adsense (which many of the blogs do), the money you make from it would depend on a few factors:
- The countries from which you’re getting the traffic. If you have visitors from countries such as the US, UK, Australia, etc., you’re likely to earn higher.
- The Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Mile (CPM) of your ads. Some keywords have higher CPC and CPM, and if you get traffic on pages ranking for these keywords, you’ll likely make more money.
- The number of ads showing on your pages/posts. While you can earn more by showing more ads, do not compromise on the user experience. Personally, I prefer using the Google Auto Ad feature.
Affiliate Marketing – Recommend Products/Tools
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online.
There are multiple ways you use to do affiliate marketing. If you have a blog, you can review and recommend tools and products, or you can recommend products through other channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel, or Email.
Note: For this to work, you need to have a pre-existing audience. It could be traffic on a blog or social media following (Facebook, Linkedin, etc.)
Now when it comes to affiliate marketing, there are a couple of different ways to approach this:
- Recommend products from Amazon or Flipkart. This works well if you have a blog that is getting some traffic already. You can use it to recommend related products, and when someone buys using your link, you get some commission. Below is a snapshot of one of my 6-month-old Amazon affiliate sites. Its traffic is increasing consistently and is expected to grow further in the coming months.
- Recommend relevant tools or courses. A lot of popular tools/courses also have affiliate programs. You can easily earn 20-50% of each sale when someone buys using your affiliate link. All you need to do is find such affiliate programs and recommend these. Below is a snapshot of the earnings I made in a day by recommending a course:
Affiliate marketing has become really big in the past few years and is a major channel to make money online. You can join networks such as ShareASale or Commission Junction and find hundreds of companies that will pay you each sale you make for them.
Pro Tip: If you’re recommending a tool or course, make sure you have used it and benefitted from it. Only recommend products that you truly believe in. This will help you in the long run. People buy based on your recommendation as they trust you.
Sell Info Products (Ebooks/Courses)
As we are getting used to buying stuff online, I have seen an increase in the sales of info products.
This is also one of the most profitable ways of making money. Since it’s a one-time effort you can sell multiple copies of it without any additional cost. And you get to keep 100% of what you earn.
If you can create an ebook on an online course, there are many ways you can sell these:
- Pitching these to your own audience. If you have an email list or a blog that gets traffic, you can pitch your own info products. In my experience, selling info products through to your email list has a very high conversion rate.
- Partnering with influencers in your niche. If you’re starting out and don’t have an email list or a high traffic blog, you can partner with influencers in your space and offer them a commission. These influencers can then pitch your courses to their audience and you can make money without any email list. A side benefit of this is that it also helps you build an email list, to which you can sell more info products in the future.
- Sell it to your Facebook Groups or Linkedin Groups. Facebook groups can be a great way to have an engaged audience. Once you have a sizeable group, you can also pitch your products in the groups.
Although selling courses/ebook is highly profitable, it will take a lot of pre-work.
To begin with, you need to have an ebook/course. Then you need to have a system to manage the sales and after service. For example, if you’re selling a course, you need to have the infrastructure to deliver the course and allow students to ask questions or clear doubts.
Pro Tip: It’s best to take feedback from your audience (potential students) and let that shape your course. You may think that you know what your students want, but in reality, you may be missing out on many important things. Before creating a course, it’s best to speak with a few potential students or make them take a survey. You can also give away a few copies of your course/ebook to some students in exchange for in-depth feedback.
Earn Money from a YouTube Channel
YouTube is a different beast altogether when it comes to earning money.
However, the basic underlying is the same – create useful content (videos) for your audience.
There are different ways you can make money from YouTube Channel:
- Google Adsense: If you have a channel that gets a lot of views, you can monetize the channel by enabling it. Once enabled, you can watch your earnings grow while you can focus on creating valuable content.
- Selling Affiliate Products: If you can create videos where you recommend products or tools, you can monetize it by placing your affiliate link at the bottom. Videos work really great as the viewer gets to experience the product or the tool and see how it works.
- Brand Partnerships: Once you have sizeable followership on YouTube, you can reach out to brands and partner with them. As a part of the partnership, you can ask for a one-time fee to create and promote their videos, or join their affiliate program (if they have one or can create one for you).
I recently experimented with a partnership where I reached out to a company and offered to create a video and promote it to my subscribers. Instead of a one-time fee, I asked to join their affiliate program and also negotiated a better deal for my subscribers. In the past 3 months, I have made more than INR 75,000 with that one video.
Below is a snapshot of the money I earned on the first day I created the video (this was on a channel that already had 20K+ subscribers).
Create a Course on Udemy or Curious
While you can sell your own video course, you need to have an existing base of audience. If you don’t have it already, selling your course can be a challenge.
Enter platforms such as Udemy or Curious.
You can create a course and submit it for review. Once it’s published, you can promote it to your audience. At the same time, Udemy also helps by promoting your course at their end.
I experimented for a few days with Curious.com and uploaded a few videos (that were already available for free on YouTube). So far, I have made more than INR 35,000 from it.
While I didn’t pursue it (as I already had a huge email list by then), people have made a decent amount of money from these platforms.
Also, this is a good starting point when you don’t have your own following and email list. Once you build your audience, you can create and sell your courses directly to them.
There are pros and cons of these platforms that you need to know before using these:
Pros: You don’t need to worry about the platform and student management. Udemy has a well-established platform that gives a seamless experience to your course students.
Cons: You don’t have any pricing power. Udemy may decide to sell your course for $9 during a promotional period, and you don’t have a say in it. Also, they keep 50% of the earnings if the sale doesn’t come from your promotion and 75% if the sale comes from Udemy’s promotion.
Despite all these issues, Udemy and other such platforms are a great starting point and you can end up earning a good amount of money from it.
Invest in Domain Names and Sell at a Profit
I have known for years that people buy and sell domains (just like shares or property), but I haven’t invested in domain names so far.
However, I have interacted with a lot of people who make money online by selling domains.
Now let me make it clear, investing in domain names has a science to it, and if you want to really get into this, learn from the people have been doing it consistently.
A couple of examples where domain names were sold at a high price include:
- Sumo.com was sold for USD 1.5 million in 2017.
- Vacation.Rental that was sold for USD 500,000+ in April 2018.
- Home.Loans was sold for USD 500,000 in 2017.
While I am no expert in domain selling, based on limited interaction with the experts, I can tell you that this area is about to get heat up further.
As new domain extensions (such as .info, .me, .loans) are made available, everyone would have the ability to register premium words that are in demand.
If you have a good strategy and a system, you can make a lot of money with domain selling.
Pro Tip: If you have no experience with it, I recommend you focus on other methods to make money online, and when you have a stable income, you experiment with domain investing. While it may sound amazing to sell a domain name for a huge price, it also means that you’re to hold hundreds or even thousands of domains that never get sold (but needs money for renewals).
Promote Products/Services as an Influencer
I am sure you’ve heard that celebrities charge a bomb to mention a brand name on Instagram or talk about it on Facebook.
It’s called influencer marketing.
And you don’t need to be a big celebrity to make money from this.
If you have a following of targeted audience, you can charge money to promote product or services.
For example, if you have a Facebook group that consists primarily of parents, you can charge a fixed fee to promote a product or service meant for parents/children.
Or if you have a good Instagram following of people interested in fitness, you can charge brands to promote their weight loss products/services.
Generate Leads for Your Online Business
A lot of online business (and even offline ones) generate leads using content marketing.
One of the best examples of this in India is Clear Tax.
If you search for anything related to tax, you’ll find a helpful article from ClearTax.
Note that these are genuinely helpful articles and give you the content you’re looking for.
But at the same time, ClearTax also offers a free trial of their tool (which helps them in converting some of these people into paying customers).
This same model can be replicated in many online as well as offline businesses. Once you have a list of interested people, you can pitch them the relevant products as services.
Join Content Writing Online Platforms
If writing is your thing and you can do that for a living, there are many online content writing platforms that allow you to join as a writer and be available for clients.
Some such platforms include TextBroker, WritersAccess, and Upwork. You can easily charge anywhere from 3 to 10 cents per word and get a regular flow of work from these platforms.
While a lot of clients may be looking for native English speaking writers, even as a writer from India, you can get a decent amount of work. Just make sure that your articles are high quality and grammatically correct.
One great thing about being in India and getting access to such platforms is that you have the opportunity to undercut the competition by pricing your services lower, to begin with. This can help you get those initial clients and build some credibility in the platform.
I work with multiple writers on these platforms and pay them anywhere between 500 to $1500 per month (based on the volume of work that they deliver).
There are many ways to make money online, and none of those ways is going to be easy.
It will need a lot of work and you may have to wait patiently for it to bloom.
But it is still worth it.
If you’re a beginner, I would recommend starting a niche site. It’s one of the best ways to earn money online and opens a lot of potential avenues to monetize the site.
The best part about making money online is that once you have a stable income from one method, it is easier to add a couple of other methods to it and make more money in a short time.
For example, I was using one of my blogs to make money online using display ads. But as soon as I offered my own courses, my income immediately grew by 3x.
I further added affiliate products on my site and made more money from the same audience and the same traffic.
So work hard on one of these methods, and once you have cracked it, work on stacking multiple income sources.