How to Build a Side Income Online

businessman working with computer on the beach

The internet is a wonderful place.  It connects everybody to goods and services online.  If you are itching to build a side income online, then you will like this post!


This post will cover a few ways that you can start making extra money online, the non-scammy way of course… However, do take note that some effort or hard work is necessary in order to start raking in the cash.


1. Freelance

How to get Started

Everybody is good at something.  List out all your strengths and skills.  See which skills could be of value to others. Monetise that skill!

If you have have some useful skills like name card or poster design, web design, coding, photo shop, translation, SEO, freelance writing… Sell your services online!  There’s a big demand for such services.

To get started Freelancing you obviously need a skill first.  Then, you need to pad up your resume or portfolio.  Don’t be greedy, do a few projects at the start for a cheap price. Ask for REVIEWS.  (<<< super important!)  As there are many Freelancers from third world countries competing and undercutting you for jobs, the best way you can stand out is by quality and reputation.  And to show people that, you need reviews and testimonials.  Make sure you always ask for reviews after a job.  The more reviews you have, the better!

Which Platform to Use

Fiverr (Click on image below to go to site)

Fiverr is the easiest place to get started selling your services and expertise.  You may sell a simple service for the price of $5 then, create additional charges of $10 for extra services.  For example, you can charge a simple ebook design at $5, add on $10 for a higher quality image and then further add on $10 to send the source file over to the customer.  On Fiverr, it’s all about the upsell – selling a cheap product to gain trust before getting the customer to buy a more expensive product.  Do make sure your $5 product is one that you can automate or do fast though!


Upwork is another area where you can hawk your skills.  Think of it as a more upmarket place for freelancers compared to Fiverr.  Set up an account, do up your resume, and start applying for jobs posted by other users.  Here, you can definitely charge more than on Fiverr.  You get to set your rates and fees or take up projects that interest you.  There are jobs for designers, accountants, writers, virtual assistants, video editors or mobile app developers.

99 designs

If you got an eye for design, sell your skills on 99 designs.  99 designs will collect requests from customers and create contests where designers submit their designs to the customers.  The customers will pick the one they like best, pay you for it, and use it.  If they like your work, they can connect with you directly.  Here’s a great place for designers to get started building their portfolio.


Behance is more suitable for you if you already have a portfolio of designs ready.  Here, you have to upload your portfolio first to get exposure.  You can find out more about how to get started here.  Would-be employers will browse through all the work before deciding whether to hire you or not.


2. Blogging / Influencer Marketing

How to get Started

To build a side income online as a blogger or influencer requires a lot of effort at the start, unless you are blessed with good looks.  It requires you to consistently post content to generate traffic to your site or page.  The more followers, subscribers, or fans you get, the more valuable your site or page.  Once you gain considerable traffic and followers, you can leverage on your popularity by selling ads or promoting products.  Yes, companies may reach out to you and get you to promote products.  Companies may also sponsor you spa packages or stay-cations just to blog about them.  Once you have a considerable following or blog traffic, you are in a good position to sell goods and services to your audience.

Which Platform to Use


WordPress is a site creation and design platform that is specially made for people who want to create websites but don’t know how to code HTML. You can easily set up a wordpress site and install free themes to design your site.  If you need any special functions, simply search for “plugins”.  Note –  as the wordpress platform is open sourced, people from all over the world will develop a plug in for whatever need that arises, or problem you encounter. Find a topic or niche or your interest and start blogging about it.


So you are really really tech-handicapped huh? Sign up for blogspot and set up your website fast.  This is the most basic package so don’t expect a host of functions or services that you can use like wordpress.  Just type out words, put up pictures.


Only recommended for people who are good-looking or are able to take beautiful pictures.  If you want to be an influencer in the beauty or fashion niche, then this platform is great for you.  If you are butt ugly like me, don’t bother with it.  However, some instagram photographers have managed to build up a sizable following by taking beautiful street, travel or nature photos.  So if you aren’t blessed with looks, make use of your brains and creativity to create an account with pictures that may interest your audience.


In this social media era, having a Facebook account is a MUST if you wish to be a blogger on influencer. It provides your fans or audience a simple way to connect with you and engage with you.


If you don’t like to type or blog, then vlog.  Be a Vlogger.  Find a niche, produce interesting video content and upload it onto YouTube to reach out to an audience.  You can make humorous videos, educational videos, cooking videos or anything that people will find entertaining or helpful.  Use it to reach out and interact with your fans or audience.


3. Affiliate Marketing

How to get Started

Don’t have any goods or services to sell?  You can help to sell other’s stuff.  You will get a commission from each product you sell.  Commission range differs from product to product.  It could range between 4% to 50%.  However, the catch is, you would probably still need a blog or a site to promote the selling. ( See point 2.)  If you think Affiliate Marketing is easy, think again.  You need to drive traffic to a page and convert a sale.  Again, it helps if you have a fan base or a loyal audience who will buy products that you refer them to.

Which Platform to Use

Amazon Associates

There’s always something to sell in the world’s biggest market place.  But take note, Amazon pays paltry commissions of 4%.  You are better off selling high priced items.  (Think –  camera and accessories.)

CJ Affliate

An affiliate site where you can find products of every niche.  Filtering is required to sift out low quality products.


One of the more famous affiliate sites where you can find a product to sell for every niche.  However, you need to filter out the products as there are a lot of low quality ones.

Rakuten Linkshare

Rakuten Linkshare holds more reputable brands with products or services you can sell.


*If you decide to go into a niche like travelling or health, do check the suppliers websites directly to see if they offer affiliate marketing programs.  For example, AirBnB and Agoda do provide affiliate partnerships.

4. Paid Surveys or User Testing

How to get started

Sales not your thing?  Prefer something easier?  Get paid to do surveys or User Testing.  It sounds pretty boring and easy but… it is kind of tedious.  Don’t expect to earn much from this as the task is not as hard.  Suitable for really lazy people.

Which Platform to Use

Cash Crate

A survey site where you get paid to take surveys.  You can earn money by referring your friends and win prizes by playing games.  Doesn’t sound much like work, does it?

Paid Surveys

Earn points from doing surveys and voice your opinion.  Exchange the points for cash and other rewards.


Bored and have time to spare?  Go test out websites, apps or software and provide honest feedback.  Earn some spare change while doing so.


Another site where you can earn money by testing websites and apps and provide honest feedback.  Get paid to share your opinion!

5. Teaching and Courses

 How to get Started

Online education is a big, growing market that is still very young.  Get in on the game early.  Got deep knowledge of a subject you can teach? Or are you fluent in 2 languages?  Teach online live or create courses to sell.  Learning and education will always be in big demand!  Again, it pays to have a blog or a social media account to drive traffic to your course.  It also helps you to reach out to more people.  YouTube may be a good platform to market your knowledge too!

Which Platform to Use


Udemy is one of the biggest marketplaces for courses.  Record your courses and upload it to their platform.  You can also opt in to their marketing services and have Udemy drive traffic to your course.  Try to get as many reviews and testimonials as possible to build up your credibility.  The course buyers are generally young, tech-savvy adults looking to improve their workplace skills and knowledge.  Udemy will take a cut from every sale you make.


Teachable is just like Udemy.  But the difference here is that Teachable charges a monthly subscription fee and transaction fees to host your courses.  Find a plan that is suitable for you and you may end up saving more money than hosting your course on Udemy.


If you are a certified teacher or speaker of another language, teach it to a student somewhere around the world. All you need is Skype and a microphone to do conduct your conversations or lessons. Make new friends from around the world and get paid at the same time!

Does all these sound like a lot of work to you?

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1 Comment

  1. Clive


    Firstly, thank you for this informative content that you have provided us for free.

    Secondly, Can i ask if you have tried the survey and actually earn money from it??

    Hope to hear from you soon 🙂


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