So you’re trying to get that paper. You don’t want to be a businessman, you want to be a business, man. I don’t hate it.
You’re gonna need some mad skills though, or at least a lot of patience. Don’t think anything worthwhile comes easy.
Luckily, thanks to the world wide web, you can learn just about anything from your home.
But I won’t make you wait any longer… here are the best ways to stack that paper in 2019.
32. Network marketing
I live to knock it, lol, but even I was raking in 5-figure paychecks through MLM before I gave in to my own sense of self-respect.
If you’re crazy enough to think you could somehow make it into the top .0001% as I did, network marketing could work for you. The first step is to lose your shame. The second step is to lose your friends and family.
Still want to do network marketing? You’ll want to make sure you aren’t joining an actual pyramid scheme.
Pyramid schemes are illegal basically everywhere, but that doesn’t stop people from starting one and hiding behind an MLM label.
Here are a few ways you can distinguish between the two:
- Primary earning method – Is the compensation plan set up in a way where you earn more from selling products or recruiting new members? Pyramid schemes tend to do the latter.
- Emphasis – Aside from the compensation plan, does the company make a huge deal out of recruiting without caring much about their products? Could be a pyramid scheme.
- Do they pay attention to their market? If there’s no interest in consumer demand, that’s a sign they care only about adding new members to the pyramid.
- Upfront investment size – Pyramid schemes usually require a large upfront “investment”, which just gets you your items. MLM’s sometimes charge upfront, but the fee tends to be pretty small.
None of those bullet points will 100% tell you if a company’s legit or not, but they do point you in the right direction.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to research the network marketing company further.
31. Real estate
Barbara Corcoran did it, and you can too.
While the average real estate agent banks about $54,000/year, there’s no limit to the amount you can earn in this job.
The Wall Street Journal recently published the salaries of the top 1,000 real estate agents, and the #1 head honcho grossed a whopping 1.4 billion, with a B. Even #250 made $60 million in annual sales. (1)
Normally, I’d say start investing in real estate yourself.
But not everyone has the money to buy up rental properties, nor do they always know what they’re doing.
Starting as a real estate agent is a great way to earn a nice paycheck while you’re learning the ins and outs of real estate.
Then you can jump ship and start your own little real estate empire.
30. Index funds
When Warren Buffet hits you up with investment advice, you listen: index funds.
This is the slow way to riches, but it’s almost certain. You can average a solid 8.5% return on index funds, which means that you’d be a millionaire in 20 years if you start investing $1,587/month now. (2)
29. Virtual reality
So, a couple years ago I blogged about how the VR industry was expected to blow up. Over 12 million in headset sales predicted for 2016. (3)
A funny thing happened in 2016: almost 100 million were sold. (4)
The best part? 96% of these were low-cost, partial VR headsets, and the market for those in China is expected to hit $8.5 billion.
You don’t have to invest in crazy tech and clunky, futuristic headsets. Plastic and cardboard units that cost $30 and attach to your smartphone will do just fine.
Start up an SEO heavy e-commerce store if you’ve got the digital marketing skills, or start a highly targetted niche business, like selling VR headsets to the wedding market (except don’t, because that niche is taken by LiveKnot). (5)
There’s this legend of an Italian billionaire who was asked, “If you had to start all over again, from zero, what would you do?”
He said he’d take any job he could get that paid $500, buy a nice suit, and go to a party filled with successful people. If you’re not a people person, learn to be one.
Because it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Dale Carnegie (yep, the dude from How to Win Friends and Influence People) once taught public speaking to Warren Buffett. His advice? Smile, listen, be genuinely interested in other people, remember their names, and offer lots of praise.
You can start off at a big 5 consulting firm (think PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Accenture) and make over $70,000 as an entry-level consultant, easily hitting 6-figs when you go Senior. (6)
Then go freelance for more freedom and more money.
Alternatively, if you don’t have consulting experience but can get a very specialized skillset, go into freelance niche consulting (financial consulting, marketing consulting, etc). Without decades of consulting experience, you’ll have to charge based on your performance – in other words, your rate will be based on the results you deliver. If you’re good, this just means more money.
26. Investment banker
Think Wall Street. Think Goldman Sachs. Think J.P. Morgan.
Banking has produced some of the world’s richest people…. if you can avoid getting thrown in Martha Stewart prison, that is.
That being said, the median salary for investment bankers is $100,000. (7)
However, you’ve gotta hustle if you want to get to that 7-figure salary. It’s not just 40 hours a week.
It’s more like 90-100 hours most weeks for your typical analyst/associate, according to a former investment banker and author named Andrew Gutmann. (8)
To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to a little over 16 hours a day, 5 days a week, but usually that involves coming in on the weekend as well.
Not everyone will succeed in a job with those hours.
But those that make it to a VP position can easily pull 7 figures a year.
25. Public speaker
Build a brand for yourself and a recognizable name, and you could be snagging 6-figure speaking engagements presidential-style. PublicPaidSpeaking.com is a good place to start…some of their “non celebrity professional speakers” are banking “individual profits of over $800,000 a year.” (9)
Yeah, you read that right.
24. Life coaching
If you’re that friend that everyone goes to for advice, life coaching could potentially bank you a multi-million dollar practice on the internet. The industry has been booming ever since the economic crash in 2008. (10) People in hard times will spend every last cent they have for someone who can fix their problems.
Becoming a thought leader by starting your own blog, guest blogging, writing on LinkedIn, and self-publishing on Amazon. As soon as you score your first high-profile client you can start name-dropping, and the requests will fall into your lap from there.
23. Kid-Friendly YouTube videos
How many times have you gone to dinner and seen a kid glued to their iPad watching YouTube while Mommy and Daddy get some private time?
There’s an entire app called YouTube Kids, and it gets 8 million weekly users. (11) The best part? The quality of your vids can be absolute garbage, because kids don’t care either way as long as you keep them mesmerized. One of the richest YouTube millionaires is a 5-year old who makes videos of him opening toys. Literally, that’s it. (12)
Bitcoin skyrocketed in 2017, reaching almost $20,000, but has since fallen to hovering around $8,000-$10,000.
While not as big of a moneymaker as it used to be, cryptocurrency is still a promising way to make money.
There are two routes you can take depending on how tech savvy you are. If you’re less tech savvy, invest. It’s a gamble but one with potentially huge returns. If you’re more tech savvy, launch a crypto ICO. Basically, you start your own cryptocurrency and hack it via a crowdfunding technique called “Initial Coin Offerings”.
Ethereum started as an ICO, and it was priced at only $12. Nowadays, it hovers around $180 depending on the day.
Keep in mind that your coin has to have a unique, useful idea behind it. Pumping and dumping coins might’ve worked years ago, but people aren’t going to invest in random coins anymore unless there’s a compelling reason.
Blockchain is the technology that cryptocurrency uses to record transactions. It’s basically a decentralized, encrypted way of recording transactions digitally so they can’t be hacked or altered (or at least without a genius hacker).
Companies are currently developing blockchain solutions for nearly every field, meaning plenty of lucrative investing opportunities await.
If you’ve got a blockchain solution idea and you can sell yourself to angel investors, you could start your own company instead.
Everybody would’ve laughed in your face if you said you were going to become a multi-millionaire by playing Doom back in the 1990s.
Fast forward a couple decades, and you now have people like Ninja making half a million for live-streaming his Fortnite sessions. (13)
You wanna make money playing video games? Playing in tournaments and being an e-sports athlete is one way, but the big money’s in streaming on platforms like Twitch and making YouTube videos because the income is much more passive.
Granted, it takes a long time to build an audience, but I mean you’re playing video games while you’re doing it, not running a blog or anything.
It’s a brave new world.
Everyone’s favorite podcaster Joe Rogan was allegedly earning $75,000 per episode of his Joe Rogan Experience podcast back in 2016. (14) That number’s gotta be much higher now.
To start a podcast, you’ll first need a topic, preferably something interesting. You’ll also want to decide on a name as well as the length you want each episode to be.
Aside from that, the rest of it comes down to creating your brand and planning/recording your episodes.
18. Dating apps
Almost half the population of the U.S. uses online dating now, and a third of new marriages start online. (15)
This is a huge market to capitalize on. Sure, you’ve already got your Tinders and Grindrs and eHarmonies, but there’s plenty of space left for the niche dating market.
Just look at Spark Networks, owner of Christian Mingle and Jdate (a Jewish dating site). They consistently gross over $100 million a year for matching up religious singles with other singles of the same religion.
Find a niche that’s not taken, turn it into a mobile app, and pair it with the addictive gameified interface of Tinder. You’re welcome.
17. Niche Sites
You can get rich selling products without having to manufacture them or even set up a store with affiliate marketing.
Once your niche site pulls a decent income, you can scale by hiring writers or VAs to manage your site and pump out posts, then you can start another site and repeat the process.
You won’t get rich overnight, but as your site reaches more people thanks to your SEO efforts, more people will buy through your affiliate links, growing your income.
If you ever get sick of running your niche sites, you can always sell them for a nice profit.
Large-scale legalization of weed in the US started with Colorado and Washington in 2012, but it’s slowly spreading all over the states.
And in Canada, it’s been legalized federally.
If you have no moral qualms with your money flowing into the marijuana industry, you can capitalize on the legal acceptance of pot in two ways.
The first would be investing in marijuana stocks. As you’d expect, these are quite volatile what with all the political battles over the little green plant. Don’t worry, though, as the industry is expected to reach over $23 billion by 2022. (16)
Or, if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you could start your own marijuana business in the form of either a dispensary or a grow operation.
Neither are cheap, and starting either one requires jumping through a ton of legal hoops for obvious reasons. Plus, you gotta operate your business on an all-cash basis since it’s still banned federally.
But nearly 90% of dispensaries, wholesale cultivators (grow operations), and even companies making weed-infused products were profitable in 2016. (17)
What better way to make some green than with some green?
15. Flip websites
Imagine making $58,000 in profit over the course of 2 months just by buying and selling domain names. Well, it’s been done. (18)
Domains are basically digital real estate. Domain flipping sites like Flippa make it easy to try your luck, but if you really want to make good money, do your research and base your domain purchases on knowledge and skill. (19)
14. Amazon self-publishing
Thanks to the internet, anyone can publish a book now for free. But you have to put in solid marketing effort to make sales.
You don’t have a publishing house doing all the work for you, but you’re also raking in most of the profits. Self-publish on Amazon and sell your book for $2.99 or less, and you get to keep 70% of the royalties. (20) If you can sell 477,783 copies (indie self-publishing star Amanda Hocking was doing 100,000/month in sales in her prime), you’ll make your first million. (21)
Then if you want, start your own website and sell your books on there at whatever price you want. You’ll get to keep all your profits.
Just make sure you can handle all the admin and marketing stuff, or better, hire someone else to do it.
13. Content farm
If you’re looking for the next big thing, content marketing is already it. The industry is on track to rake in $313 billion by 2019, so get on it now. (22)
If you can learn how to write epic content that drives sales (and get your name in Forbes and HuffPo), you can charge hundreds per article.
Even better, start a content farm, hire writers off of freelancing websites, and skim passive profit off the top.
Starting a content farm will require you have the cash to pay your writers. Without it, your best bet is to do the writing yourself until you’ve got some money.
12. Instagram influencer
Grab that iPhone, download some photo editing apps, slap a filter on your selfie and post. Simple.
Instagram “micro-influencers” (10k-50k following) don’t make huge bucks…more like $50-$100 per post. But if you can grow your following up to 6-figures, you could rake in thousands for posting one sponsored photo. (23) Making a paycheck has never been easier.
11. Software development
Unlike web development, this is learning coding and development that’s focused on building software. It has a lower ceiling but a higher average income.
Learn some of the more lucrative frameworks and systems (like Spark and Cassandra) and some of the highest paying programming languages (like Scala and F#), and you’ll hit an average salary of $125,000. (24)
With enough experience, capital, and entrepreneurial skills, you could launch your own software company and maybe even become the next Silicon Valley success story too.
10. Video post-production
Video is IT. By 2020, video is expected to make up a whopping 90% of all internet traffic. It’s already on a huge upswing, having grown 71% year-over-year in 2016. (25)
You could go through the trouble of writing scripts, hiring actors, directing, and getting expensive filming equipment, or you could just start your own company that offers post-production video services (editing, adding in music, credits, etc).
That’s the part that most people outsource anyway. Once you build your name, start your own video editing training school to really bring in the passive income.
9. Web design
Web design is the less technical, more design-oriented side of creating websites. You get to design layouts, make sure color schemes work well, and all that fun stuff. While it doesn’t pay quite as well as web development, you don’t have to learn as much code and you can still earn $75-$100/hour. (28)
8. Social media consultant
Facebook has over 3 million companies using their ads, and over 60 million using their pages to promote their business. (29) Instagram has over 1 million advertisers, and it’s bound to keep growing. (30)
If you’re that friend who’s always scrolling social media, editing photos, hashtagging, and whipping up clever captions, you can make money doing that. Get analytics and ads on lock on your skills list, and you can make good money doing what you do best.
7. Data scraping
You can do this manually without any programming skills, it just takes a lot longer. But if you come up with a good, unique idea like
- Scraping emotional reactions to certain types of content on Facebook
- Gathering leads from online business directories for B2B service providers
- Gathering contact info for homes that were recently purchased
- Scraping for keywords in user reviews of a certain product
Businesses will pay for the data if it helps them sell their products.
Now imagine if you did know how to code and could create computer programs that scrape all this data for you in seconds. You’d be making sales faster than you could keep up with them.
Pick a niche product. I mean really niche (think “Disney coffee mugs” or “small travel backpacks”).
You don’t have to manufacture the product – you can fill orders via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), dropshipping (basically online retail without inventory), or even plain old affiliate marketing.
Kick your SEO into full gear. Once you’re #1 on Google you’ll start seeing some handsome profits with little to no effort aside from maintenance.
You can boost your sales by spending on ads (or hiring an expert to do the ads for you) once you’ve got cash rolling in. No need to if you don’t want to, but do it right and your profits will increase.
Then you can scale it by outsourcing all the menial stuff to virtual assistants. Hey, you’re creating jobs now!
5. Web Development
Again, you can learn this online, even for free.
Unlike web design, learning more advanced coding languages and becoming a web developer PAYS. One developer wrote in Business Insider of a typical job offer – $150,000 salary, $10,000 signing bonus, all kinds of freebies, from gym memberships to free meals on the daily, and flexible work hours. (31)
Of course, if you take all that coding knowledge and use it to start your own hit website (think Facebook), the sky is the limit.
Again, websites like Code Academy, Khan Academy, and Code.com (among a ton of others) are filled to the brim with coding lessons and other good stuff.
But as you know, the best way to get better is to practice. Once you’ve learned some stuff from your free online resources, you’ve got to start building websites with your skills.
Bloggers don’t actually make money, right?
Nope, not a myth. If you hit it big with your blog you can clear six figures a year EASY.
Just look at Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. I mean, he regularly clears six figures every MONTH.
Sure, he’s got like 100 income sources at this point, but according to his income reports, affiliate marketing alone earns him around $100,000 a month give or take.
For more proof, just search the web for “blog income reports” and you’ll get endless lists of, well, blog income reports.
If you get really big, think Mashable, Tech Crunch, and Endgadget status (yes, they all started as blogs), you can even score a lucrative takeover. Ariana Huffington eventually sold the Huffington Post for $315 million to AOL. (32)
3. Mobile app creator
Mobile apps routinely hit 250 billion downloads worldwide this year. (33)
Platforms often pay 70% profits on your app sales, so if you’re selling an app for $4.99, that can add up quickly. Sell half a million downloads, and you’re looking at a $1,746,500 profit.
That might sound hard, but there are actually thousands of apps that have hit over a million downloads, so hitting half that is definitely possible.
2. SEO consulting
Having a digital presence is a must for any business nowadays, and the only way to get there is through SEO. Because of that, companies will pay huge amounts to someone who can provide results…I’m talking page one Google results.
The hourly consulting rate for a legit SEO specialist is $100-$300. (34)
1. Lead generation for local businesses
If you’re looking for automated, digital, and scalable, this is it. If you’re looking for a market with low competition that is almost impossible to saturate, this is it. If you’re looking for guaranteed five-figure paychecks, this is also it.
The bottom line is that this method works better and more consistently than almost any other for generating passive income. You’re building out niche websites that focus on specific products and specific locations, so when your competition is cut down to people advertising limo services in Dayton, Ohio, hitting it big is a lot more do-able.
Use SEO to get to the top and let the leads come in overnight. Once you can offer local businesses a stack of contact info for people who have already said they’re interested in the product or service, they’ll start handing you money faster than you can count it.