These days, it’s never been more feasible to make money online.
After all, if recent events have shown us anything, the world of online business is more important than ever and is certainly here to stay.
Now, if you’re completely new to the world of making money online and feel nervous, I totally get where you’re coming from.
Not too long ago, I was side hustling through college and working at Starbucks to help pay for bills.
Fast forward just a few years, and I’ve quit my office job and now make all of my money from freelance writing, consulting, blogging, and YouTube.
The point is: things can change quickly, and the internet is the most powerful thing for aspiring entrepreneurs.
So, if you’re wondering how to get started, you’re in luck!
There are actually so many ways to sell your skills online. If you know how to apply yourself, it’s certainly possible to make solid money online.
Time to break down some of the top skills you can sell online to make some extra cash!
The Best Skills To Sell Online
There’s a common theme you need to remember if you want to make money online, and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.
The bottom line is: you have to provide value for people to care.
The world gets more competitive everyday, so the only way to survive is to give people a reason to part with their money and attention.
With this in mind, let’s break down some of the most common (and lucrative) ideas you can use to sell your skills online.
Out of all your options for selling your skills online, freelancing is the most straightforward.
Freelancing is also incredibly popular. In fact, there’s more than 50 million freelancers in the U.S. alone!
Some popular freelance jobs and industries that might be a great fit for you include things like:
- Freelance writing.
- Graphic design jobs.
- Making money with programming.
- Video editing.
- Being a virtual assistant.
You get the idea.
Different freelance industries pay different amounts, of course, but you’re still looking at a pretty solid hourly wage if you can find work
Finding work is really the caveat here.
I mean, everyone wants to make money selling skills online, but it takes time, dedication, and some know-how.
Now, there’s no cookie-cutter way to make money with freelancing.
However, if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that playing to your strengths and building your freelancer portfolio over time is your best bet.
In my case, I started out by writing for a few clients on the side of my 9-5 job since writing was something I was decent at.
After I got a few clients, I started branching out more and landing better gigs. After two years of blogging and writing, it made sense to quit my job.
You can make money with freelancing, and this is truly the most pure way to sell your skills online.
Just take things slow, play to your strengths, and grind out clients on the side of your full-time job!
Becoming a consultant is another lucrative way to make money selling your skills, although this is certainly more niche.
Technically, you can become a consultant in almost anything as long as you find clients who are willing to pay.
That being said, here are a few examples of consulting jobs you might consider:
- Financial consulting
- IT consulting.
- Research & development work.
- Human resource consulting
- Legal consulting, which can sometimes crossover with HR stuff.
- Risk & compliance.
- Strategy & operations.
Again, this is fairly broad, and the world is truly your oyster.
For example, I’ve been working as a consultant of sorts for one client over the past couple of months on Upwork:
I help out with a lot of market research and I lend some ideas, so it’s kinda a consulting gig I suppose.
The point is: if you’re an expert in something, you can probably sell your skills online for it.
Don’t be afraid to get creative, and be sure to reach out to your network to find opportunity. This is hands down the best way to get started if you ask me.
While this could be considered a form of freelancing, I wanted to marketing out into its own category since this is my favorite field.
Marketing work is also how I paid my tuition during school since I worked at an advertising agency during school and as my first full-time job.
The reason I think marketing is an awesome skill to sell online is because, in my experience, it’s a skill that’s in demand and that pays incredibly well.
In the past, a friend and I have had $1,000 monthly retainers for clients in exchange for running their paid advertising efforts.
Currently, I’m working once again for a digital marketing company on another retainer structure.
This whole retainer thing is why I really love this field.
Sure, there’s some weeks that are an absolute grind, and when advertising campaigns don’t go well, you don’t sleep.
But, on the flip side, when things are going well and sales are up, it can be a gravy train of sorts, and the entire roller coaster is insanely fun anyway.
So, don’t be afraid to start dabbling in paid advertising or social media management.
In my experience, these are great skills to sell online, and the ceiling for growth is immense.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is another common service people sell online.
Now, I will say that SEO has a bit of a bad reputation since so many people have sold it as a service in the past and either over-promised or under-delivered.
SEO is, in all honesty, a brutally tough industry.
However, if you know what you’re doing and can get positive word of mouth from a few clients, you’re set.
I’ve worked with some ecommerce businesses, and invariably, they end up using the same SEO agency once word gets out that they deliver results.
There are loads of SEO sellers on websites like Fiverr and Upwork, so this is a feasible, albeit competitive way to get started:
My advice here would be to network with bloggers in different Facebook groups and to then drive them to your Fiverr or UpWork page.
Also make sure you get reveiws since this is key to getting future clients!
Extra Reading – How To Make Money On Upwork For Beginners.
5. Online Courses
One of the purest ways to sell skills online is to simply condense the information into a course or ebook and to sell it.
Now, there are a few ways to go about this.
Starting a blog and selling ebooks, printables, and courses is one way to go about it.
The advantage to selling your own content through a blog is that you keep most of the revenue. Plus, you can also earn income through ads and affiliate marketing.
However, finding the right blog niche can be tough, and scaling your traffic takes time.
If you want to tap into an existing market, selling courses on websites like Udemy might make more sense:
Udemy is still competitive, but they actually do their own marketing and try to drive sales for you, so it can turn into a decent passive income stream over time.
Similarly, you can try making money on Amazon by selling ebooks on their marketplace.
Teaching is another fairly direct way to sell your skills online. Plus, depending on what you teach, your hourly rate can get pretty insane.
Take teaching english online for example.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, speak fluent English, and live in North America, you can earn more than $20 per hour potentially by working for companies like VIPKid and Qkids:
And this is just one example!
Another lucrative one is teaching music lessons online. With websites like Live Music Tutor, you can make money by teaching your instrument of choice to students around the world!
There’s no cost to join, and music lessons are fairly expensive, so this is a very well compensated side job if you already play an instrument.
7. Online Coaching
Making money with online coaching is a fairly niche idea. However, the potential revenue you can generate from a handful of clients is impressive.
Now, there’s no single recipe for becoming a successful online coach. Plus, there are plenty of industries where coaching is viable, including:
- Business development.
- Life coaching.
- Career coach.
You’d also be amazed at how opportunities can fall in your lap if you’re viewed as somewhat of a subject matter expert on something.
I’ve had people ask about blog coaching or advice for college students in the past, and while it isn’t a service I offer, you can make money by selling your expertise and advice.
This money making idea is truly all about networking and refining your sales pitch.
I seriously recommend reading the guest post (linked above) about how to pitch and land your first coaching clients if this idea appeals to you.
Alright, this might be a bit of a stretch, but I’d argue that making YouTube videos is another viable way to sell different skills online.
I mean, what is YouTube?
It’s a source of entertainment, sure, but it’s also a pretty substantial source of information and expertise.
Plus, it can also turn into a very solid side hustle, and it’s possible to make money on YouTube in 2020 and beyond.
I started a YouTube channel in early 2020.
All it took was one lucky video, and this is the result for my channel:
The channel has grown to over 7,000 subscribers and earned more than $3,000, and it hasn’t even been a full year yet!
All I do is talk about personal finance topics and the same content I’m already writing on This Online World.
Yes, it takes work to edit and upload the videos, but this is basically repackaging some knowledge and putting it out there. YouTube ads and affiliate links then help me monetize it.
So, if you’re an expert in something, don’t be afraid to post a video on YouTube!
You never know what can happen, as my channel is proof of, so don’t wait!
Extra Reading – How to Get 1,000 Subscribers on YouTube.
Tips For Selling Skills Online
I think the main reason people give up on making money online is that you don’t get immediate gratification.
Unlike gig apps, you’re not always paid for the hours you put into an online venture. This makes it easy to feel like you’re wasting your time.
However, this is honestly a shame.
Making money online unlocks so many doors and helps you diversify your income. Plus, it’s fun!
So, before you call it quits, consider a few additional tips for how you can find your first clients.
1. Create A Portfolio
I’ve gotten a lot of pitches over the past two years from freelancers.
These have been pitches for writers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, and more.
I would say that more than half of these pitches just listed their services and then some pricing information, or an invitation to learn more.
However, the only ones I’ve ever seriously considered had a portfolio to back up their claims.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel either with your portfolio. Some simple SiteGround hosting and a free blog theme is all you need to get started.
That’s what I did anyway for Tom Blake Digital, my freelance writing portfolio:
This isn’t anything flashy, but the portfolio has helped me land a few thousand dollars worth of writing work in 2020 from clients.
Trust me, take an afternoon to build your portfolio before you try selling your skills. Your pitches will be much better off!
2. Go Beyond LinkedIn
I use LinkedIn as an example here since I think it’s commonly viewed as the be-all, end-all by college students.
The real point here is to go beyond a single channel for networking, especially if you’re new to freelancing.
In the beginning, you need work to continue to build your portfolio and to gain experience, so grind to find it.
Try social media groups, Reddit, your own network, local business directories…whatever you need to do, start networking!
3. Have A Value-Proposition
Once again, a lot of the pitches I’ve gotten over the past two years for This Online World have been so-so.
Additionally, many of them forget to explain why I should hire them in the first place.
If you’re selling your skills online, you’re really convincing a client that they need to choose you to improve their life in some form.
So, spend less time bragging about accolades, soft skills, or how young/smart/unique you are.
Instead, spend more time explaing the concrete value a client will see by hiring you.
- Case studies that show you know how to grow organic traffic.
- Predictions for reveue uplift they might see with your services (for copywriters, marketers, etc).
- The time you can save their organization by utilizing your technical knowledge to solve X.
You get the idea.
Spell out the value you offer in concrete terms when pitching clients.
4. Know Your Worth
The final thing to keep in mind when working online is to know your worth.
Oftentimes, I think people either massively discount themselves or inflate their hourly rate when starting out.
The thing with freelancing is that you need to decide what your absolute floor is. You also need to have realistic expectations and accept some ugly jobs at the start to get the ball rolling.
My advice is to put in the hard work upfront, get through the ugly jobs, and land better clients over time.
It might take some time and determination, but hey, nothig worth doing in life comes easy!
At the end of the day, I think the internet has opened more doors than ever before to start making extra money.
Granted, it’s a competitive world out there, so it might take some time to get the ball rolling.
However, I firmly believe that if you play to your strengths and stick with things, it’s very realistic to sell your skills online.
It can be freelancing, coaching, or some other idea: the entire point is to get started and learn as you go!
Thanks so much for reading!
If you want more help with finding online work, I also suggest reading my post on the best remote job websites.
Catch you guys in the next one.
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!