5 Ways I Tried & Made Money Online - $196,394.14 specifically

5 Ways I Tried & Made Money Online - $196,394.14 specifically

May 11, 2023

If you prefer to watch instead:

Are you sick and tired of Dropshipping and Airbnb?

I am most tired of surveys that pay you pennies.

In this week's newsletter, I'm going to share with you all the ways that I have made money online in the past decade.

$196,394.14 to be exact.

This will be realistic. I'm not an edge case that made $200,000 in my sleep.

Also, the methods I used require almost no upfront cash investment.

Let's get right into it.

1. Flipping

This side hustle is the one that GaryVee says "can end debt". And it works.

I used to flip streetwear including sneakers and T-shirts.

Take a look at this equation.

The equation of flipping
The equation of flipping

Your profit is equivalent to the selling price minus the purchase price and any wear and tear.

So, the goal is to have the highest selling price possible and the lowest purchase price and wear and tear costs possible.

Normally what people do is go to thrift stores or garage sales looking for items that people are trying to get rid of at extremely cheap prices..

For example, getting 10 cups for $1, which you can sell for $5 each on a platform like eBay.

But you have to purchase the cups for $1 first.

I like to do things a little bit differently...

I didn't want to spend money on buying things that might not get sold.

Here are the steps that I took instead:

  1. Look for items anywhere on the internet that was available for me to purchase
  2. Compare the total purchase price to my local options and competitors
  3. If the purchase price I found is lower, put the item up for sale (even though technically I do not own the item yet) FYI, I did not start an ecom store. I just used marketplace platforms like eBay, Amazon, and Carousel which is a platform that is used by the locals.
  4. When a customer purchases at my selling price, purchase it and ship it to them

I had no stress when it came to the selling price.

The purchase price is not locked in because I've yet to purchase the item.

Plus, the wear and tear is zero.

There were 2 situations that made me the most money:

  1. when I'd successfully purchased an item that is in high demand
  2. when I found an item that is inflated by middlemen costs locally (costs such as shipping, rental, employees, and any other business overhead)

Just take a look at this example:

Nike Vapormax (Black) - The Ten
Nike Vapormax (Black) - The Ten

I purchased these shoes at $375 which is the retail price. Huge win.

When I did my research, local resellers were selling them at ridiculous prices. I’m talking about $900 or even $1,000+.

I sold the shoes at $800, getting me more than 100% in profit margins.

It was super easy to sell because it was in high demand and I could afford to sell it at a price lesser than what others were selling them for.

Nike x Off-White Mercurial T-shirt

Check out this other example where I purchased this T-shirt for $250 from a reseller in the U.S.

Local resellers were selling it for $330. So I sold it at $300 to someone local.

I made $50. They saved $30. win-win.

I personally am very into streetwear. I can spend hours and hours just reading articles and doing research on them.

But obviously, this might not be the case for you.

If you have a specific interest, say in musical instruments like the guitar or maybe literature, you can potentially make a lot of money by flipping.

But if you do not have any specific interests, you can do what GaryVee does. Just go to thrift stores and garage sales, look for items for cheap, and sell them for a profit.

Flipping is relatively beginner friendly. But just to make sure that you are well informed, here are the cons of flipping:

  • Requires a huge time investment to find items online or in stores or garage sales
  • Requires full trust in your seller to deliver as they promised
  • You are fully responsible for customer service even if your seller was the one who messed up
  • The margins are usually incredibly low so you have to play the volume game

If I could make $6,680 when I was 18 as a full-time student, you can make $6,680 in a month if you take this seriously.

2. Freelancing

This is probably something that hits home for a lot of you.

I freelanced as a private tutor. I started 9 years ago and stopped after 6 years.

It was a mixture of both online and offline tutoring. But online tutoring is much more accepted today than it was years ago.

I charged between $35 and $50 an hour. And I had at least 2 students every month.

Say one of them is charged $35 an hour and the other is charged $50 an hour, I would make at least $680 a month. That's $48,960 over 6 years. But I definitely made more than that.

Here are the things that I focused on as a freelancer:

  • Building a relationship with the key decision maker (in my case were the parents)
  • Helping my clients get small wins early at the start (helping my students score well for an upcoming quiz)
  • Continuously try to find ways to differentiate myself from others in my field (asking myself "How would my competitors conduct their lessons?")
  • Showing up on every platform or directory out there

That was it.

Here are the downsides of freelancing:

  • you will only get paid for your time (you are not only limited by time, you are also restricted by market hourly rates)
  • it can be feast or famine
  • it might require some small upfront investments (in my case it was books and a premium Zoom account)
  • travelling time is brutal (if you are required to show up physically)

I'm pretty sure you have at least one other skill that can be offered as a service. Why not offer it as a freelancer?

FYI, freelancing is the best way to transition into starting your own business.

Once you're ready to stop exchanging your time for money, you can then exchange value for money as a business owner.

This is something that I help my clients do.

3. Print-on-demand

Whether it's on TikTok or YouTube, you've probably heard of print-on-demand.

People are making thousands or even millions every single year. Of course I had to give it a try.

I swear...

This is by far the easiest way for anyone to make money online especially if you are a graphic designer or a creative in general.

If you don't know what print-on-demand is, it is where you can upload your designs for people to purchase as a T-shirt, a mug, a poster, stickers, etc.

The print-on-demand platform will be responsible for putting your design on the product and ship it to the customer.

All you have to do is upload your designs.

The platform will get a fixed portion of the selling price.

So, you have to set it as high as possible, but not so high that your products seem so overpriced compared to your competitors.

A couple of years back, I had a phase where I was drawing in Photoshop. I would draw aliens travelling around the world.

4 drawings I uploaded to Redbubble - a print-on-demand platform

It was just for fun, but I thought why not just post it on a print-on-demand platform? If someone buys, great. If not, that's fine.

4 designs later, someone did purchase something. Just like that, I made $2.14.

Without any extra effort or skills, I managed to make money online.

Imagine if you take this 100% seriously... Would an extra $1,000 a month or even $3,000 a month be impossible?

It feels relatively easy enough. Does this mean that it is incredibly competitive? Yes.

You might think that you need to be a designer. This couldn't be further from the truth. The ones who made a killer income from print-on-demand, are the most strategic action-takers, not artists or designers.

As it is incredibly competitive, focus on finding trends and keywords for search engine optimization.

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4. Starting an agency

I know... Everyone from your 21-year-old neighbour to your 35-year-old friend has started an agency. It has never been easier to do so.

But have you ever wondered what an agency is? I did some research on this and found 2 types of answers.

Definition 1: An agency is a business that provides a specific set of services.

For instance, if you provide the setup and running of Facebook ads as a service, you have a Facebook advertising agency, right?

This is actually just half correct.

Definition 2: An agency is more of a middleman.

An agency is a middleman
An agency is a middleman

Say you want to sell your house but don't know how to get a buyer to come and see your house.

So you will hire a real estate agent to source for buyers and speak with them on your behalf.

But where is this real estate agent registered? A real estate agency.

This is what an agency is to me.

Of course, the business model of a real estate agency and a, say, social media marketing agency is completely different.

Clients can easily pay social media marketing agents directly, leaving the agency out in the cold.

I just thought this is something you might want to be very clear on if you want to start an agency.

I started a Webflow agency a couple of years back.

But I didn’t want to spend most of my time creating the Webflow websites.

I'd rather network and speak to prospects and clients.

I wanted to run a business, not be a freelancer anymore.

So, here’s what I did:

  1. Register the business as a company
  2. Find an army of Webflow agents who were self-employed a.k.a. freelancers (I wanted to make sure that I mimic real estate agencies as much as possible.)
  3. Agree on a rate that will go to the freelancer (about 20% - 40% of the invoice value)
My agency as a middleman
My agency as a middleman

I only had to do the work myself when the freelancers weren’t available.

Not only did I have more free time, I did not have the stress of making payroll every month. I didn’t even have an office because we’re located in different countries.

The downside of running an agency (I mean there’s only 1):

You only make money when you close a sale, so you need a safety net in case you have 0 clients for the month. This happens often, especially at the start.

It is also incredibly competitive. But I wouldn’t say that this is a downside

It means that there is demand, and the supply is high. However, you will have an advantage if you had started as a freelancer.

I made about $6,000 in my first year. I spent a lot of time doing free work and networking. I also worked with a mentor.

In the second year, I made between $8,000 and $13,000 a month, about $120,000 for the year. Now, I can afford to get appointment setters and sales reps, which means I get to do this next thing...

5. Coaching

So, I took whatever I learned from growing my online agency business and created a program.

It’s not a course because I wanted to work with people 1-on-1, at least for now.

I’ve always wanted to serve people and bring out the best in them. It gives my life meaning.

If you feel the same, then you can definitely do this too. Offer to help as a coach or create a program to sell.

I once heard this saying, "You are always one step ahead of someone. That's who you should help."

You don’t need to be the best in your field to help someone else.

Look back at your life and see what problems you have overcome or achievements you’ve accomplished. You’ll be surprised.

I am transparent about how much I charge for my program. It’s on my website.

So far this year, I’ve had 4 clients. That's an average of 1 client per month.

I've made $14,752 so far.

It’s more challenging to sell a program, coaching, or courses if you don’t have an audience or a personal brand.

And that’s what I’m doing right now. I'm documenting my journey and sharing my stories to grow my personal brand.

If you’re reading this, please start creating content to build your personal brand.

It can be writing, images, or videos. Just start.

And with that, these are the 5 ways that I made money online.

Which of these methods intrigued you the most? Are you going to try any? Let me know.

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
  1. If you want 1:1 help taking your business to 6 figures, find out more about the Like-Attract-Likes programme. Join the business owners who have figured out the systems and foundation to grow their business.
  2. If you want help with strategy, branding, and funnel building, find out more about the Done-For-You services. We'll get these out of the way so you can focus on sales and delivery.
  3. If you want coaching or consultation, drop me an email. Hourly rates and packages are available to serve your every need.
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