I have to dispel a myth first. The myth is that it’s easy to make money online. It is not. However, it is in many ways easier to do than doing it offline. The opportunities, if you’re willing to commit and work, are much more than you have offline in the physical space. There are fewer hurdles to overcome just to get started with an online revenue
I’m going to explain what you can do to earn online or to build a business on the internet. I’m also going to give examples:
1. eCommerce – Sell something physical
If you already have experience selling things then you can use the internet to sell more of that thing. This could really be anything from arts and craft pieces to selling a service that you provide physically like mowing loans and installing satellite dishes. The whole point with the internet is that it allows you to do 2 things that are otherwise difficult to do without it:
- Allows you to reach many more people across a larger area that you could reach with a physical shop. You could even reach customers in a different country
- Allows you to get paid over the internet for your product and you can send it to your customer. You could get paid via PayPal, and in particular smaller countries like Zimbabwe, there are payment processors like Paynow in Zimbabwe or even EcoCash.
- Techzim in Zimbabwe sells mobile phones
2. Create content and put adverts against the content.
If you like writing about a certain subject you could do this to create an opportunity to earn online.
You don’t have to find these adverts yourself, there are ad networks that will put ads against the content. This is admittedly the slowest way to earn money using content because adverts only start paying well (enough to sustain you the creator to do it full time) after you start getting a lot of people reading the content. This means you will need to work hard to get people to know your website or app.
We have an article that goes into detail on the career of digital marketing here.
3. Create content and ask people to pay to access it. Web or WhatsApp
Advertising is not the only business model for content. You could also ask your readers to pay you to read the content. This can be done on a website or you could do so using WhatsApp as your means to deliver your content.
I should say though that if you use WhatsApp, as the subscribers to your content increase, it will become difficult to manage everything- payments, delivering content and ensuring that your readers all get a good service. You will have to adapt and consider getting professional services to manage.
To accept payments on the web you could use payment processors like Paypal and membership management like Memberful.
Examples: ZimboKitchen (WhatsApp content distribution)
4. Make videos that people would like to watch and put them on YouTube
YouTube is increasingly the way that most people consume content, especially people below 30 years of age. Content ranges from instructional videos, media, music, short film (so-called skits) and even watching games.
The great news is that where, in the past, one had to have good professional video production equipment to get started, this is no longer the case. One can make a video using their phone to get started at least and buy equipment as they go – especially with their audience growing and money starting to come in.
One can make revenue with video in two ways:
- Get brands to pay you to feature their products in the video
- Have YouTube ads show on the content
It really doesn’t have to be YouTube, videos can be posted on other platforms too such as SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Examples: Bustop TV
5. Work for someone remotely or freelance
Another opportunity that the internet opened up is working remotely. That and freelancing, which is actually a different thing.
Now that access to the internet is global, there are companies especially in Europe and North America who are actively looking for people to work from them from wherever they are. This means that if you have the skills, you don’t really have to travel to the US anymore to work for a US company, you can work for it remotely from your home.
This is a growing phenomenon and there are now websites dedicated to listing such jobs. Here are the most popular websites:
As you can probably tell imagine, most of such jobs are technology-oriented and generally service type skilled jobs such as Web Developer, App Developer, Designer, Draftsman, Architect, Data. However, there are also Writer, Editor, Digital Marketing, Sales, Legal, and even HR and other such traditional jobs that can now be done remotely.
Some of you may be worried that you don’t have these skills. Who says they can’t be learned. There are many ways to learn a new skill online. Technology jobs especially have many platforms for learning. One such powerful platform is freeCodeCamp. Like I said above, you have to be committed to doing this so you have to be committed to learning a new skill and finding a new job which could pay upwards of US $2,000 a month and even more.
6. Create something useful
If you have some skills, you create an app or website that offers a useful service that someone is willing to pay for.
It could be an app helping people solve something in their lives like understanding better how much money they are spending on EcoCash and budgeting better. It could be an app that helps them pass their provisional driver’s license. It could be an app that helps them compare prices so that they can always buy from the lowest priced shop near them. It could one that helps them contribute to a good cause near them.
If you don’t have the skills to create the app yourself, you could learn how to (see 5 above) or you could team with someone that knows how to build apps while you focus on other aspects of the business like marketing and strategy.