The Global Economy & Online Income Opportunities

“Top 10 ways to make money on the internet” 

“5 legit ways to make money online”

If  you weren’t born yesterday, you’ve probably already seen web pages with titles like those.

Maybe you read through the page, or maybe you saw something that looked a little sketchy to you, so you moved on.  Making money online isn’t such a new idea anymore.  You might be asking yourself, “The online market is too crowded.  How can I compete with the big boys like Amazon?”  or “Why bother?  All good ideas have been taken.” or “I’m no techie, I don’t have the skills needed to make money online.”The Global Economy & Online Income Opportunities


Let me take on each of these concerns.  First:

“The online market is too crowded.  How can I compete with the big boys like Amazon?”

There are about 7.5 billion people in the world today.  Of these, two thirds of us have at least some access to the internet.   That’s a market of 5 billion potential customers that you can reach from your connected computer!   In 2016, the internet contributed to $2.2 trillion in retail sales in 2016 alone. (yes, trillion with a “T”) .  That’s a staggering amount,  and this number keeps growing and growing.

Think about it; 5 billion potential customers, $2.2 trillion in sales!   I want a piece of that pie!  What if you could manage to cut yourself off just a very small fraction of that $2.2 trillion dollar pie.   In 2016, if you were able to capture just 0.000001 (one one millionth) of internet sales, you would have had $2,200,000 in revenue!

“Sure,” you say, “but you still haven’t addressed those big boys.  How do I compete with them.”  The short answer is, “You don’t”.

There’s no need to compete against the likes of Amazon, eBay, Airbnb, or any of the big online giants.  Instead, you can partner with them, use them to help to promote and grow your business.  More about this later.

“Why bother?  All good ideas have been taken.”

This reminds me of a famous quote, commonly (mis)attributed to the man who was commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1898 to 1901, Charles Holland Duell:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Poor Mr Duell never actually said these words. In fact he believed great things were to come in the 20th century.  It turns out he was right to be optimistic.  Before his death in 1920, he saw the invention of the airplane, , the flashlight, the vacuum tube, Bakelite (the first synthetic plastic), and the ice-cream cone, just to name a few.

I’m not suggesting that anyone needs to invent something completely new in order to succeed online.  What I am saying is that, there are new products, new services, and new ideas popping up all the time.  Each of these new things creates new opportunities for making money on and off line.

Here’s the point I really want to make:

You don’t need to have your own ideas and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  With a market of over 5 billion people, you can find your niche, and with some work (probably A LOT of work)  you can get your piece of the $2.2 trillion pie.

“I’m no techie, I don’t have the skills needed to make money online.”

This is what I thought.  I had this idea in my head that building a website requires a lot of very technical skills.  To be sure, this used to be the case.  But I’ve found that the building of the site is actually the easy part. With simple website builders like those provided by Wix and Wealthy Affiliate, truly anyone can build a very professional looking website.

Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty to learn when I first started; I still do.   But, if you are capable of doing simple things online like, searching for information and setting up online accounts, like email and Facebook account, then you can build a site and start earning money.

I don’t mean make it sound like it’s super easy to make money online; it’s not.  In fact it’s a lot of hard work.

Here are the three things that give people the most trouble starting out:

  1. Choosing a Niche – Who’s your audience?  What’s your product or service?  More about this below.
  2. Driving Traffic – If no one sees your site, no matter how beautiful it is, you won’t make any money.  It’s as simple as that.  Check out this lesson about different ways of getting traffic to your website.
  3.  Sticking with it – Lot’s of folks start out with online marketing, thinking they will make tons of money overnight.  There are a lot of get rich quick schemes online that will tell you they can show you how to make a boatload of money on no time.   As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  It took me a couple of months before I made my first dollar.  I know guys who worked at it for a couple of years before they saw any meaningful money online, but now they are living comfortably with what they generate from two or three websites.

So, what’s the best way to make money online?

There are so, many ways.  It really depends on your personal preferences and skills.  I’ve listed seven general categories below.  You’ll notice that there’s some overlap between some of them.

Selling – You might have your own product, but not necessarily.  There are many websites devoted to online sales.  The biggest ones being sites like Amazon and eBay.   To sell your own items, you don’t need to build your own website, you can simply create a seller account on one of  these sites and list your items.  If you are crafty or artistic, Etsy is great a site for selling hand-made, vintage, and one of a kind goods.  There are also sites for selling digital content, like photos, ebooks, and digital music.

If you don’t have your own items to sell, you can consider working with one of the many drop-shipping wholesalers.  With drop-shipping, the goods are sent directly from the wholesaler to the customer.  You, the retailer, would manage the sale and payments.

Writing – There are many ways to make money with writing online.  Writing eBooks, developing online courses, and blogging are some of the ways of using your writing skills to make money online.

Performing – You may remember that Justin Bieber got his big start on YouTube.  But you don’t have to be a singer or any kind of musician to make it big on YouTube.  By now you’ve probably heard of some of the folks who are making big money on YouTube.  Pew Die Pie made $15 million in 2016, by recording himself playing video games and posting it to YouTube!

Teaching – Do you have a skill to share.  Is there a subject that you’d consider yourself an expert in.  There are a lot of ways to make money teaching others.  Consider online tutoring, or staring a blog about your subject.  There are many sites that match tutors with students.  Try doing a search for the word “tutor” and whatever subject you’re interested in.  There’s a pretty good chance you can find a website looking for tutors.   Some of the areas with high demand are SAT prep, math tutoring at all levels, and ESL (English as a Second Language).

Freelancing  and  the Sharing Economy – Airbnb and Uber, may be the first things you think of when you hear that trendy new term, “the sharing economy”.  There are a bunch of examples though.  Want to rent out your bike? Check out a site called Liquid.  Have a car you’re not using much?  Rent it out on Getaround.  Do you love dogs?  Check out sites like Rover and DogVaycay for dog sitting opportunities.  The list goes on and on with service oriented sites like TaskRabbit, Zaarly, Upwork and Fiverr.

Consumer research –  At first, I wasn’t going to bother listing this one, but I decided to include them, because they are pretty easy and some people enjoy them.   When I say consumer research, I’m talking about sites that pay you to take surveys or participate in online focus groups. In this category, I also lump in sites that pay you to watch ads online.  The payout is quite small for the time you’ve got to put into it.  A few examples of these sites are Toluna, Survey Junkie, and SwagBucks.

By now, you might be thinking, “Hey Joe, How do you make money online?”

Are You Ready to Get Rich Quick? ...then you've probably come to the wron place.

If someone tells you that you can make a lot of money real fast…watch out! Getting rich online IS possible, but it takes hard work, dedication and time.

To be honest my wife and I are using several of these methods, at once.  Shirley and I started our online journey several years ago.  She’s from China, and when I met her she already had her own business sourcing products from factories there.

Once we were married, we decided to expand her business by setting up a retail website.  We set up what we thought was a pretty good site using the Wix site builder.  Unfortunately, at that time we had no idea how to bring traffic to our site, so the retail part our business didn’t really go anywhere.

In the meantime, we started a tour and vacation rental business, here in Honolulu.  We started the tour business, using our own car.  At the beginning, all of our customers were from China.  Using Chinese social media, like QQ.com and WeChat, Shirley was able to find us more customers than we could handle.

From tours, it seemed natural for us to expand into vacation rentals.   Starting with a base of potential Chinese customers that Shirley had built up, were able to able to expand our vacation rental business using Airbnb and a few other sites.

During the second half of 2015, I decided to convert our Wix website to a travel oriented website.  I put in some additional effort to bring traffic to the site, but I wasn’t very successful and, once again, the site sat dormant.

During the summer of 2016, our Wix site was about to expire in October.  Shirley and I decided that it was time to shut the site down, since we couldn’t figure out how to get traffic to our site.

Since we still had a couple of months left before our site expired, I decided to search one more time for ways to get customers to our site.  That’s when I stumbled upon a review of Wealthy Affiliate.  I was initially turned off by the name “Wealthy Affiliate”.  It sounded a little too much like a get rich quick scheme, but it came with a totally free 7 day trial.  So I decided to give it a shot.

I won’t use this space to gush about how much I really love the community at Wealthy Affiliate; you can read my review of WA here.

By using what I’ve learned about building successful websites at WA, we’ve increased our traffic at our website tremendously.  We even rank on the 1st page of Google for some search terms!  Please check us out at:  Tropicus Home!

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2 Replies to “The Global Economy & Online Income Opportunities”

  1. The online space is indeed crowded, but it is also a marketplace where billions of people shop these days, which is way more potential clientele than an offline business could hope to get in their general vicinity.

    I actually do freelance writing online (I stay away from the content mills like Upwork. they don’t pay anywhere near enough) and just seek out my own clients.

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