Earn Money Online: 7 Exciting Businesses For Students, Career-Changers, & Nomads 

Last updated February 25, 2023

By  Guest Author

Do you want to live a free life, travel, and work from anywhere? Maybe you just want to enjoy your job and go on more vacations or spend more time with friends and loved ones. Maybe your job just isn’t enough to make ends meet. Or you might just want the flexibility and freedom that comes with being your own boss. Earning money online can help you achieve these goals. Here are 7 ways you can get started on that today.


laptop screen on a beach, with sand and waves behind it.

Catching up on some work from the beach in Puerto Rico in November. Terrible 😉

Earn Money Online For Students

Earning money online as a student is one of the best ways to get started. But everything here will work for those looking to change careers or support a nomadic lifestyle, too.

This guide should help you decide online money-making venture you want to pursue. Then, you just have to get started and stick with it.

For students who put in the effort, you could have a thriving business that supports your lifestyle before you even graduate. If you're looking to leave your job, you can work on one of these until it takes off and can be your full-time passion.

1. Create an Online Store

Online commerce is huge. Whether you make your own products, contract with a third-party manufacturer, or upcycle existing items (everything from appliances to computers to antiques), there’s a great market out there.

Selling stuff online is one of the most exciting ways people are working from home (or wherever they want) nowadays.

You can use a marketplace like Amazon, Etsy or eBay to sell your goods.

The advantage of using these existing websites is that all you need to do is upload your product photos and descriptions and the website will handle your transactions and shipping fees, and then you send your goods to the customer. 

The advantage of using these existing websites is that all you need to do is upload your product photos and descriptions and the website will handle your transactions and shipping fees, and then you send your goods to the customer. 

When you use Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, you also benefit from built-in search engines. So that person wanting a 2013 refurbished MacBook Pro might find your listing easily. However, with your own store and your own products, there are advantages to using something like Shopify instead.

These marketplaces do remove a lot of your control, which may not be what you want. You must consider this when choosing between your own store and Amazon.

For some business models, you’ll need a more robust online store.

This is particularly true if you’re selling a variety of related products and services and need your own online shopping cart, or if you want to build your own branded storefront. 

In these cases, you’ll need to create your own website with an e-commerce back end, and handle all customer purchases directly. 

Depending on the size of your business and the features you’ll need, you can set up your e-commerce through a third-party system like Shopify or build it right into your website with a solution like WooCommerce. For more tips on how to turn your online shop into reality, check out these articles from BigCommerce and Style Factory.

2. Prop Trading

Prop trading can be a rewarding pursuit if you're interested in financial markets, problem solving, quantitative analysis, or even gaming.

Prop trading involves trading stocks, futures, or forex with a prop firm. Prop firms provide traders with capital to trade, in exchange for a share of the trader's profits. 

Trading involves risk, but these programs give you the possibility of trading someone else's capital instead of risking your own. You pay a small fee for the evaluation, which works like a tryout. 

If you follow the rules and meet the goals, you qualify for a prop firm account where you can withdraw up to 90% of your profits.

You should learn the basics of trading before risking money in trading. You can use a free trading simulator to practice and use resources on youtube to learn the basics of trading.

3.Make Money with a Mobile App

Today everyone has a smartphone, and mobile apps can be wildly successful.

There's an easy way, and I'll get to that. But, one way is to teach yourself how to code. This is the least costly approach if you need a robust app with many custom features.

Apple offers everyone the opportunity to learn Swift, the iOS app language. And over on Android, there’s SoloLearn, an app that teaches you how to code. The Mac Observer has a nice list of other apps you can use to teach yourself how to build your own app.

Build a Mobile App Without Coding

It used to be difficult to build apps for iPhone and Android devices, but no more. These days it’s entirely possible to build your own app without knowing a programming language. To get started, Mashable offers a rundown of app builders that you can check out. 

The owner of this agency has personally had two apps built by TOAD (Takout App Development). Like others, he found that focusing on the marketing and having someone else build the apps was best.

Getting Downloads For Your App

Keep in mind that building your app is just the first step in the journey. You’ll also have to make sure the app meets the requirements for each mobile platform, you’ll need to build a basic website with your privacy policy, support form, FAQs, and installation instructions. For an easy site build, I recommend Thrive Themes.

You’ll need to market and advertise the app to make sure it stands out in the crowd. You might also need to provide customer support, particularly if there are subscriptions or purchases enabled within your app.

In the end, if your app takes off, you can make considerable money in a short amount of time, and if it’s successful enough, a company might offer to buy the app from you. 

4. Start a Freelance Business

Freelancing is one of the classic ways people work from home. Depending on your professional skills and training, you might be able to make a go of working for yourself. You can become a freelance Website Developer, or earn money running Facebook ads for businesses. You can be a  Photographer, Artist/Graphic Designer, Copywriter, or similar profession. Enter your text here...

Getting Started As a Freelancer

You can start by figuring out what you're good at and what you want to offer. If you already have the skills and experience, you can move on to helping clients. If not, you'll want to learn a marketable skill, first.

If you have a service to offer, you can start by easily building a great-looking WordPress site that features a portfolio of work and a description of your services. This allows potential clients to assess your talents and the kinds of work you do. You’ll also want to include a section that highlights your relevant skills and experience, as well as software you know. 

The quickest way to do that is to use a builder like Thrive Themes with Thrive Architect.

From there, you’ll need to get the word out about your new business. Here are a few ways to get started with your freelance business:

  • Reach out to small businesses in your community
  • Update your LinkedIn profile with your new freelance business and offerings
  • Network with marketing or niche professionals online and in person. A good place to start is with Facebook groups or local meetups (check out Meetup.com) where people with similar interests gather
  • Check out sites like We Work Remotely, Authentic Jobs, or FlexJobs for gigs.
  • If you’re in a large city, check out recruiters that place creative or technical professionals. Often they will have freelance/short-term opportunities.
  • Demonstrate proficiency by blogging, creating how-to videos, or offering advice in forums or other online communities.
  • Build your social media presence (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube)

Once you start bringing in clients, be sure to let them know you value their testimonials and referrals. Once happy clients tell their friends and associates, your business will grow exponentially.

Once you start bringing in clients, be sure to let them know you value their testimonials and referrals. Once happy clients tell their friends and associates, your business will grow exponentially.
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5. Make Money with a Blog

Blogging is one of the oldest ways to build an online business, and it’s still a viable option today.

After all, whether it’s the latest news or an article on how to fix your refrigerator, most of the content we consume on social media lives on someone’s blog. And getting started with blogging is simple. There are lots of free or inexpensive blogging platforms such as WordPress.com and Medium, and most are easy to use.

To make your blog successful, you will need to produce original content on a regular basis. Most successful bloggers post new material every day and work hard at finding ways to engage their readership. Some of the most successful blogs include humor blogs, travel blogs, news, and current events blogs, recipe or how-to blogs, and those that offer product reviews and recommendations.

To figure out what to blog about, you’ll need to identify who your target audience is, and how your blog can address that group’s problem or need. Do you know a lot about cutting edge technology—or how to fix computers? Both topics might find a ready audience if you write about things people want to know. Or maybe you’re a whiz at gluten-free cooking.

And, you don’t have to be a writer to be a blogger. Many successful blogs include videos or photography to tell their stories. So the sky’s the limit!

To monetize your blog, you have a few options:

  • Direct subscriptions, usually through Patreon or PayPal
  • Affiliate links to products and services that give you a percent of sales
  • Selling ad space or sponsorships for your blog
  • Turning your blog into a book and publishing it on Amazon
  • Freelancing (as covered above) and driving business through your blog traffic.

When you create your blog, take note that you will need to produce content for a while to build up the kind of audience that you’ll need to bring in money. But stick with it, and you can reap big rewards.

To get started blogging, Making Sense of Cents has some fantastic tips. For travel bloggers, Blogging Camp has a great Free webinar. For more ideas on how to make your blog succeed, check out this article from Problogger.

6. Become a Star on YouTube

One of the latest ways people have been able to bring in big bucks online is through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram.

Consider PewDiePie, who Lifehacker estimates has made $21 million with his YouTube channel that boasts 71 million subscribers, or Dude Perfect with 36 million subscribers. If you don’t follow them, chances are you follow at least one other popular YouTube channel that posts how-to videos, movie or game reviews, or other entertaining or useful content.

Most successful YouTubers make money through ads on their channels as well as sponsorships from companies that pay to have their products featured in some way. Once you have 1000 subscribers, you can apply to the YouTube Partner Program so you can run ads on your channel.

According to data scientist Taimur, once you’re in the program you can earn about a dollar per 1000 views. He estimates that you need at least 50,000 followers on YouTube to make $2000/month, and at least 250,000 to earn the big bucks, as in $20,000 or more per month.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, Google offers tips on how to turn your YouTube channel into the next smash hit.

7. Start a Podcast

Podcasts bring together the best of blogging and YouTube, but you don’t have to be an expert with English grammar and you don’t need to be on camera.

Lots of people listen to podcasts during their daily commutes. While YouTube tends to appeal to a younger audience, research shows that article on why first-person narratives work

One of the most successful types of podcasts is the interview format. Much like talk radio, podcasts bring information and stories to their listeners, but with a more narrow and defined focus. Some popular interview-style podcasts include the business-focused podcast from Tim Ferriss (author of the 4-Hour Workweek) and the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

All you need to get started with podcasting is a decent microphone and the skills to do moderate audio editing and packaging so you can upload your podcasts to your preferred platforms. When you get successful, you can invest in soundproofing and higher-end equipment, but you don’t need any of that to get started.

To monetize a podcast, some of the same techniques that work with blogs and YouTube can be effective, such as subscriptions and sponsorships. You can also partner a podcast with your freelance business or use it to build a business as a coach or consultant.

For more tips on how to become a successful podcaster, check out these tips from Entrepreneur as well as Skyword’s article on why first-person narratives work.

Are You Ready to Make Money Online?

What do you think? Are you ready to start working on an online business for your future? You can join the ranks of millions who are making a good living working from home, from the road, or from a beach in Bali. All you need is a good idea and the willingness to work hard on your business.

Explore the links and articles where we’ll dig into more details on how you can make money online. In particular, we’ll be looking at specifics on how to make an online store succeed, and expand on the steps you’ll need if you want to make money as a social media consultant.

Reasons Earning Money Online Works Well For Students

For most online bus have a home-based business, you can set your own hours. Having this kind of flexibility means you can schedule your day around your family’s needs or your personal habits. 

Are you a night owl, do you need lots of breaks, or do you like to take a nap in the afternoon? No problem! Do you need to pick up your kids from school, or work around soccer practice? Working from home allows for that. 

And you can kiss commutes and in-office requirements goodbye. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Guest Author

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