In this rat race of a world, you can be either a hard worker or a smart worker. You can either be a part of the nine-to-five grind or find ways to make money outside of the traditional workforce.
If you belong to the creative group that likes to think outside the box and doesn’t stop hustling, then this guide is for you.
There are several ways to make money without having to slave away at a job you hate. Whether you’re a creative type who wants to freelance or an aspiring entrepreneur with a great business idea, plenty of options are available.
Here’s a guide to twenty most creative ways to make money.
Start A Dropshipping Business
Dropshipping is an online business model in which you act as an ecommerce retailer but don’t keep any inventory of the products you sell. You partner with a dropship supplier who holds the inventory and ships it to your customers on your behalf.
Here’s an example –
You start an ecommerce store named “The Avengers Store”, where you sell merchandise related to the popular movie franchise. However, you don’t own a warehouse or have any products in your possession.
Instead, you simply partner with a dropship supplier on Aliexpress with the Avengers merchandise in stock.
When a customer orders in your store, you simply place an identical order on Aliexpress and have it shipped directly to your customer’s doorstep.
Unlike the typical ecommerce model, dropshipping businesses are extremely easy to set up and operate. All you need is a domain name, hosting, and some marketing skills.
Start A Print On Demand Business
Print on demand (POD) is a business process in which you don’t print a design on a product like a t-shirt until a customer places an order.
Just like dropshipping, you don’t need to pre-purchase or hold any inventory. All you need is a design and a POD platform like Printful, which will handle the printing, shipping, and customer service for you.
With POD, you can sell physical products such as t-shirts, posters, mugs, and phone cases without any upfront investment or inventory risk. The best part is that you don’t need a website to start; you can sell your products on popular platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay.
Venture Into Affiliate Marketing
People trust others more than advertisements. This is where affiliate marketing got its roots and became one of the most creative ways to make money.
It’s a business model where you promote other people’s products and earn a commission on every sale you make. For example, if you have a blog about healthy eating, you can sign up for a Food Blogger Pro affiliate program and earn a commission every time someone buys a member’s course through your link.
The most important part of affiliate marketing is choosing the right products. You want to ensure that you’re promoting something that you believe in and will actually help your audience.
It’s not just blogs that can do affiliate marketing. YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and Facebook pages all have the potential to make money through affiliate marketing.
Blogging is no more just a hobby. It has now become one of the most creative ways of making money.
Here’s how blogging as a career work –
You start with a niche, write content that readers find useful, grow an audience, and once you have a good amount of traffic coming to your blog, you start monetising it.
There are various ways to monetise your blog. The most common one is through Google Adsense, where you allow Google to place ads on your blog; in return, you earn money for every click.
Besides Google Adsense, you can also join affiliate programs and promote offerings relevant to your niche. When someone buys something from your affiliate link, you earn a commission.
Another way to make money through your blog is by selling digital or physical products. For example, you can create an eBook or an online course and sell it on your blog.
Start A Youtube Channel
With over a billion active users, YouTube is a great platform not just to consume content but also to create and upload your own videos.
The best part? You can make money as a YouTuber.
Video content monetisation on YouTube is similar to blogging. You start with creating helpful or entertaining videos that target a specific niche or audience. Once you have built an audience, you start monetising your videos with Google Adsense.
Another way to make money from Youtube is through affiliate marketing. You can include affiliate links in your video descriptions and earn a commission whenever someone buys something from your link.
Besides these techniques, you can even make money by selling products or merch related to your channel.
Flip Websites And Domains
There’s a separate (and highly profitable) market for digital assets such as domains, websites, and applications. This can be a great creative way to earn good money if you have the right skill set.
One of the most popular platforms for flipping digital assets is Flippa. People list their websites, apps, domains, etc. on the site, and buyers can bid on them. If you have a great eye for detail and know how to sell well, you can buy low and sell high on Flippa or even use arbitrage between different marketplaces.
Start An Airbnb Business
If you have some extra space in your house or apartment, you can make money by renting it out on Airbnb. You can list a room, an entire unit, or even a boat or mansion for people to rent.
All you need to do is create a listing, set your price, market it well using enticing photos and wait for guests to book. You can even offer additional services like laundry or breakfast for an extra fee.
Start A Delivery Service
Aggregators like Postmates, Instacart, and Amazon Flex always look for new couriers to add to their networks. You can sign up with one of these companies and start making money by picking up and delivering food, groceries, or other items.
Depending on the company, you may also be able to deliver items by bike or scooter. Ensure you have a clean driving record and meet the minimum age requirements.
Post Freelance Gigs On Marketplaces
If you’re skilled at writing, design, web development, marketing, sales, etc., you can easily capitalise on your skills and make money by posting freelance gigs on marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork.
These platforms allow you to offer services ranging from logo creation, copywriting, website design, SEO, and more. You can start posting gigs to start getting work for as less as $5 and earn much more depending on how great your skills are. For example, good proofreading can fetch you $20 per hour, and animating a logo can even go for a $200 fee and more.
Sell Digital Assets
It’s not just physical assets that find their way onto marketplaces. Digital assets such as design elements, music and audio effects, photos, illustrations, SVGs, vectors and more have tremendous value nowadays.
Start with marketplaces like Etsy, Envato, and Creative Market to leverage their demand and start selling. Once you have your portfolio ready, you can also look for opportunities to license your work or sell it outright on your own website too.
Become An Influencer
Probably the most creative way to make money nowadays is by becoming an opinion leader who can help shape consumer behaviour.
You don’t have to be a celebrity, although having a large, engaged following helps. You can become an influencer through your blog, YouTube channel, or other social platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter.
All you need is to create content that people find interesting, valuable or entertaining.
As an influencer, you can get paid for helping a brand fulfil its marketing and advertising goals by creating sponsored content, attending events or webinars, and engaging with followers.
Gaming isn’t just a hobby. There are legit ways to make money gaming.
If you’re good, you can make good money ($1,000 and $5,000 per month) being a professional gamer. Besides that, you can also make money by streaming gameplay on Twitch or YouTube and monetising your videos.
There are also other ways like:
- Gaming tournaments and competitions,
- Testing games
- Providing freelance gaming services like coaching, levelling up, etc.
Start Live Streaming
Live streaming is another full-fledged creative way to make money in the digital age. You can make money creatively by streaming:
- Vlogs, and more.
Twitch is the go-to platform for live streaming, but you can also use YouTube, Reddit and other sites as well. Monetising a live stream is similar to monetising a YouTube channel, through:
- Ad revenue,
- Live shopping,
- Sponsorship deals,
- Affiliate links,
- Donations, etc.
Sell A Course
If you have the skills, knowledge, and expertise in a particular field or craft, you can create an online course to help others learn it.
You don’t even require a website to sell your course. For the start, all you have to focus on is making the course as informative and valuable as possible. Marketplaces like Udemy, Skillshare, and Teachable will do the rest – market, sell and deliver your course to the right audience.
On top of that, you can also host live webinars or Q&A sessions with the people who have enrolled in your courses. This will help them gain more from their investment.
Become A Mystery Shopper
Mystery shopping refers to people getting paid to shop at a particular store or restaurant to document their experience with the company. You’re essentially getting paid to provide feedback on your overall experience and can make up to $30 per hour.
All you have to do is join one of the sites like MarketForce or BestMark and sign up for jobs in your area.
Sell Your Crafts And Art Online
People love handmade items, be it jewellery, clothes or art. They love personalised items even more.
If you’re crafty and have some artistic talents, you can make money setting up an online shop on websites such as Etsy, fashioning handmade items and selling them there. You can even start your own website to showcase your craftsmanship—there are plenty of options available if you don’t want to go through a third-party platform.
Sell Feet Pictures
No matter how strange this may sound, many people pay good money for feet pictures. Platforms like Onlyfans, Instafeet, Feet Finder, and more offer an opportunity to make money by selling images of your feet. All you need is good-looking feet, marketing skills, and creativity to get your feet noticed on these platforms.
Host An Experience On Airbnb
You don’t necessarily need to own property to be able to make money from Airbnb—you can host an experience. Do you know how to knit? Or maybe you have a great recipe for homemade cheese? Or you may know your city really well and can offer unique tours of the area. Whatever you’re good at, you can offer it as an experience on Airbnb and make some extra cash.
Experiences range from a 1-hour hangout to a day or a week-long retreat, and you can charge accordingly.
Do Tasks On Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform is an online marketplace where web developers, companies and entrepreneurs can outsource tasks to people who are willing to work for small amounts of money.
The tasks range from audio transcription to image tagging and recognition, writing and editing product descriptions, data entry and more.
You can sign up as a worker and start working immediately, with each task earning you anywhere from $0.05 to $10 or more, depending on the type of task.
Sell Stock Photos
If photography is your strong suit, you can make money by selling stock photos online. There are sites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto where you can upload your images for sale.
Your pictures will then be available to customers who need them for various web design projects, creating business cards, brochures and more.
You’ll be paid a royalty every time someone purchases a copy of your photo.
Start A Podcast
People have less time to read, so they look for alternative ways to get content. Podcasts are a great way to engage with potential customers and deliver content in an interesting format.
Consider podcasts to be a combination of radio, blogs and interviews.
The best part is that you don’t require any investment or special technology – you only need a laptop and an internet connection.
To start, choose a niche, create a brand identity, register your podcast on services like Anchor.fm or Blubrry, and then start creating great content.
Once you get good at it and your content becomes popular, you can monetise your podcast through sponsorships, ads or product reviews.
Podcasts are a great way to express yourself and make money in the process – plus, they’re fun!
Creativity lies within us, and there’s an endless list of opportunities to make money – online or offline. All you need is a curious mind and the will to put in the hard work. So, what are you waiting for?
Put your creative juices to the test and develop your creative ways to make money.
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A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.