The digital revolution has transformed the way we work, offering unparalleled opportunities to earn a living online. Whether you’re seeking a full-time career change, a side hustle to supplement your income or a flexible way to work from anywhere, the online world has a wealth of possibilities. In this extensive guide, we’ll explore the myriad ways to make a living online, providing insights, strategies, and real-life success stories to help you navigate this exciting frontier.
Table of Contents
- Understanding the Online Landscape
- Freelancing and Gig Economy Jobs
- Blogging and Content Creation
- Affiliate Marketing and Online Sales
- Online Courses and E-Learning
- Remote Work and Telecommuting Jobs
- Passive Income Streams
- Becoming a Digital Nomad
- Online Business and Entrepreneurship
- Financial Planning and Managing Online Income
- Profiles of Successful Online Earners
Understanding the Online Landscape
Navigating the digital landscape is critical to success in today’s interconnected world, where digital technology is the driving force behind corporate innovation and growth. Strategic navigation, like a well-executed project, involves a thorough awareness of the terrain, a clear goal, and good management. It’s no surprise that professionals are increasingly seeking additional education, such as an MBA, to equip themselves with the necessary abilities for crafting their online success story.
The term “digital landscape” refers to the whole environment and ecosystem formed by the digital world, which includes diverse aspects of technology, communication, information, and online interactions. It encompasses a diverse set of digital technologies, platforms, devices, and services that impact how people, businesses, and societies function in the modern era. Here are some crucial aspects to consider when attempting to comprehend the evolution and current trends in the digital landscape:
Evolution of Digital Transformation: The digital landscape has evolved significantly over the years. It began with the proliferation of personal computers in the 1980s, followed by the internet boom in the 1990s, and the rise of smartphones and mobile apps in the 2000s.
● As technology has advanced and the digital environment has become more complex, project management systems have adapted to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and facilitate the successful execution of projects.
● Connectivity: The growth of the digital landscape is fueled by increasing connectivity. The transition from dial-up internet to high-speed broadband and the widespread availability of wireless networks have transformed the way people access information, communicate, and conduct business.
● Data Explosion: The amount of data generated daily is staggering, and organizations are leveraging this data for insights, personalization, and decision-making. Big data analytics and machine learning are key drivers in extracting value from this data.
● Mobile Revolution: The proliferation of smartphones has changed how people interact with digital content. Mobile devices have become the primary gateway to the digital world, leading to the rise of mobile apps, mobile-friendly websites, and location-based services.
● Social Media Impact: Social media platforms have transformed communication and marketing. They’ve created new ways for businesses to engage with their audience.
● E-Commerce and Online Marketplaces: The digital landscape has revolutionized the way people shop. E-commerce platforms and online marketplaces have disrupted traditional retail, enabling consumers to browse and purchase products and services from anywhere.
Freelancing and Gig Economy Jobs
The gig economy is becoming an increasingly important force in the national and global labor market. The 60 million Americans in the gig category involve independent workers and freelancers performing temporary, part-time, and contract work rather than the full-time work done by permanent employees.
This type of work arrangement suits many different organizations and the temporary workers offering their specialized services. Employers can realize greater flexibility and savings in their hiring practices, while gig workers can enjoy the freedom of this arrangement by working when and where they want to, often for different clients.
Gig/side hustle/freelance are all a type of self-employment – a work environment consisting of short-term jobs for a variety of customers. Some people do it on a full-time basis, others have a ‘side hustle’ to supplement working for an employer.
Side hustle work tends to be doing things you’re passionate about or have specific skills, rather than your day job to pay the bills. Do you work in an office? Your ‘side hustle’ could be writing a vegan cooking blog since that’s the world you live day to day! Your experience working with dogs could turn into your side hustle of puppy training classes nights and weekends. Design custom clothing? Your Etsy shop is your way to sell them. The opportunities are endless. ‘Freelancers’ often work on contract, on-call, or on a part-time basis for one or more companies. Doing part-time bookkeeping or creating web content for a few small businesses could generate that extra income you need.
Social media and online web communities are a great way to find gigs and promote your services or products. Some digital applications have created entire industries of service gig work that rely on the apps. Use a ride-sharing app? Get food delivered? These are perfect examples of app-based gigs. These types of gig workers operate as independent contractors and can set their own rates and hours.
Individuals in the gig economy work as independent contractors, rather than as full-time employees of any one employer. They set their own rates for the services that they provide and handle their own benefits and taxes. Remember, you need to keep track of all that extra income and all invoices and receipts from gigs to accurately represent your business spending and earnings on your taxes.
By now, you’re probably ready to learn about specific gig economy jobs that you can take on to earn more money or build your own business. Here are our favorites.
- 1. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing covers a ton of different tasks like email newsletters, SEO, content marketing, and more. If you have a background in marketing or copywriting, digital marketing is a great gig economy job to consider. You can find clients online through sites like Upwork and work remotely from the comfort of your own home.
- 2. Graphic Design
Graphic designers create the stunning images that businesses need to keep their leads and customers engaged and delighted. This could include graphics for social media platforms, logos, book covers, website design, or anything else that you’re passionate about creating.
- 3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing can include copywriting, content writing, and even journalism. If you’re a strong writer who has never met a deadline you didn’t love and you have expertise that you can leverage to find customers you actually want to work with, freelance writing is one of the most flexible gig economy jobs around.
- 4. Facebook Ad Management
Facebook Ads and ads for any social media platform are a fun way to break into digital marketing. Creating ads doesn’t require any special skills—just a keen eye and some copywriting skill. You can find clients online through sites like Upwork and Fiverr as well as reaching out to local businesses to sell them on the importance of running ads and your ability to create them.
- 5. Handyman Services
If you’re interested in providing muscle or have some handyman skills, become a Tasker on TaskRabbit or check out Amazon Home Services to find jobs like moving or assembling furniture, fixing loose stairs, installing home entertainment centers, and more.
- 6. Deliver Packages, Food, Groceries, or People
There are tons of delivery services and ride-sharing businesses that are always looking for drivers. If you enjoy driving around but don’t want to drive people around, consider delivering food for Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash, or another food delivery service. There are also grocery delivery services like Instacart if shopping and driving are your thing. And, we’ve already mentioned Amazon Flex but it bears repeating here if you’re interested in delivering packages.
- 7. Instagram Marketer
If you love Instagram, we’ve got great news for you. Instagram is a great place for influencer marketing and becoming an Instagram influencer is easier than you probably think. If you’re serious about Instagram marketing, we recommend working on growing your Instagram following and engaging with your audience. As your number of followers increases, you’ll become more attractive to brands as an influencer. As soon as you’re able, you might want to consider joining an influencer marketing network to help you get connected with brands looking for influencers.
A quick note: just because it’s relatively easy to become an Instagram influencer, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job. It requires dedication, consistency, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- 8. Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, or Babysitting
Babysitting is pretty much the original gig economy job and it’s still popular. If you love animals or children, this could be a great gig economy job for you! There are sites like Rover that connect pet owners with people willing to walk their dogs or take care of their other pets while they’re not home. If human pets are more your speed, check out Care.com (they also have pet-sitting gigs).
- 9. Airbnb Host
We’ve already talked about renting out space as an Airbnb host, but it’s really one of the easiest gig economy jobs. If you want to get creative and add value for renters, you can set up local experiences like brewery tours, hikes, bar hops, and more.
- 10. Coding
Do you know how to code? Use those skills to build plugins, apps, and create websites. You can find coding jobs on Toptal, Upwork, Fiverr, and several other freelancing sites.
- 11. Create and Sell Online Courses
Online courses are a great way to leverage your experience and expertise to earn some extra money. In fact, some online course creators have replaced the income from their full-time jobs and then some with online courses. The beauty of an online course is that you can put in the work once and earn recurring income (unless your course is live, of course).
Platforms and Marketplaces
The work can be short-term and task-based or may involve long-term, ongoing relationships between the gig worker and their clients. Some well-known gig economy apps and online platforms include ride-hailing apps like Uber or Lyft, food delivery apps like DoorDash or Instacart, home-sharing apps like Airbnb and Vrbo, miscellaneous job and product connections like TaskRabbit and Etsy, and freelance work hiring services platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
Technology and digital platforms have played a pivotal role in facilitating these interactions, making it easier for individuals to find work opportunities tailored to their skills and interests.
The importance and necessity of independent talent and gig workers was driven home when 47.8 million workers left their jobs in 2021, spurred by the difficult conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This left many employers looking for workers and many independent contractors looking for non-traditional job arrangements.
Platforms like Upwork bridge the gap between employers and independent talent—and it pays off for both parties.
One projection indicates that gig work may more than double its market size from 2018 and grow to $455 billion in 2023. And this number may continue to grow, as will opportunities for gig workers looking for a flexible career, extra income, or additional experience.
Building a Freelance Career
Finding opportunities as a gig economy worker or employer starts with identifying the type of work you want to do and are qualified for or the kind of work you need done. Then find the right platform to make connections.
- 1. Define your value proposition
If you’re looking to become a freelancer and land your first job, start by defining your value proposition—what unique qualities you bring to the table for prospective clients as far as skills, experience, and past achievements.
- 2. Create a portfolio
Then, put together a portfolio, which might include work samples, client testimonials, and case studies. You should also set your hourly rate and stick to it. Don’t underestimate the value of your skills. If you offer quality services, there are clients willing to pay reasonable rates.
- 3. Find the right platform
The search for the kind of work you want to do is expedited by using platforms like Upwork, making it easy to search for and find the kind of hourly or fixed-price work you’re seeking. Simply look for a job, submit a proposal, land a contract, complete the project, and then get paid securely.
Clients looking for the right freelance help can post jobs in the Talent Marketplace. Hundreds of thousands of large, medium, and small businesses turn to the resources of Upwork to get the talent they need. Businesses can also browse and buy ready-made projects from the Project Catalog.
Blogging and Content Creation
The process of creating content is precisely what it sounds like. It refers to the process of making (or producing, drumming up, or whipping up) content. What is the goal? Content can be created to inspire, educate, persuade, convince, argue, support, convey, and so on. What kind of material are you looking for? That list could go on and on. Content can be any type of media that your audience can consume—written, spoken, video, audio, and so on.
Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.
You’re also generating some major value for your company, as these content marketing stats show: Almost 40% of marketers say content marketing is an essential part of their marketing strategy. 81% say their company sees content as a business strategy. B2B marketers have data that says content marketing is a successful tool for nurturing leads (60%), generating revenue (51%), and building an audience of subscribers (47%). And 10% of marketers who blog say it generates the biggest return on investment.
Content Creation Process
So how do you go about creating great content? Every content marketer is going to have different methods depending on their personal preferences, their business, target audience, their content team size, and the resources available to them. But these methods all follow a pretty general process. Let’s take a look:
- 1. Ideation
There are a number of ways to come up with topic ideas for your content. That includes keyword research, diving into your own website and social media analytics, consulting sales and support teams to learn FAQs, competitive research, and feedback surveys. It’s a good idea to have a place where you keep ideas.
- 2. Planning
Content creation should not happen in just one session. There should always be some planning and preparation involved. Outline the key parts of the content so you can make sure it stays on track with the title and its purpose.
You may also want to establish timelines to keep yourself and others accountable.
- 3. Creation
Now is when you start populating your outlines and lists with, well, content! The meat and potatoes. My suggestion is to go freely here. You can always pare down later. With blog posts especially, you may even end up writing enough to produce a few different posts within a topic cluster.
- 4. Editing
This is when you go back through and make sure the piece of content is:
- Clear and concise
- Grammatically correct
- In the right voice
- Stays on track with the topic and goal
- Makes sense and is intuitive
Depending on your team size and methods, there may be a few phases within the editing stage. Just remember: done is better than perfect. With web content, you can always go back in and make updates or improvements. Don’t get caught up in getting it just right or you’ll never hit publish!
- 5. Promoting
Now it’s time to distribute your content. Use multiple channels to reach the largest possible audience and make the most of your efforts. This includes your website, emails, and social media platforms. And don’t be afraid to resurface the same content periodically. Your audience is always growing. Share your content internally as well, since your team members—especially for B2B teams—can amplify your reach.
YouTube is an extremely popular video hosting platform for professionals and amateurs alike. It’s also a fantastic way of creating income if you know your way around it. If you’ve ever wondered how you can monetize YouTube for your own needs, then you’ve come to the right place!
YouTube monetization is defined as your ability to derive income from your videos. If you’re interested in qualifying for YouTube’s monetization program, you might need to fulfill a few criteria, such as 1,000 subscribers to your channel and 4,000 watch hours over the past 12 months. We’ll explore the requirements at length later.
Here, at last, are the major ways to conduct YouTube monetization:
- 1. YouTube Ads
This way is the simplest, most basic, and most accepted means of monetization. These ads appear before or during a video, and you can control their placement via several YouTube ad formats.
- 2. Affiliates
Have you ever seen a video where the host provides you with a link to visit a company’s site and consider purchasing their goods and services? That’s an affiliate program. You earn a commission for each successful purchase.
- 3. YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium is a subscription service where members can download videos and watch ad-free content. Luckily, you still get money for your videos under this service because subscription revenue payments get distributed to video creators like ad revenue payments. The amount is dictated by how often Premium members watch your videos.
- 4. Channel Membership
Channel memberships involve a monthly subscription in exchange for exclusive benefits like exclusive videos, one-on-one live chats, and product discounts.
- 5. Patronage
We talked about this tip earlier. Consider a third-party platform such as Patreon to let customers support your channel in exchange for exclusive goodies. And speaking of goodies:
- 6. Merchandise
Here’s another tactic we’ve already discussed. There are dozens of supported merchant platforms available today, ready to help you sell your branded goods to your fans.
- 7. Paid Sponsorships
This tactic involves getting a company or brand to sponsor your content in exchange for using, demonstrating, or discussing their products or services in your video.
- 8. Super Features (Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks)
These “super” features come in three forms, all of them appearing in chat messages shown during YouTube live streams:
- Super Chat: This function highlights your chat messages over everyone else’s.
- Super Stickers: This function is like Super Chat, except fans buy and share eye-catching, appealing stickers to pin at the top of a chat stream.
- Super Thanks: This feature allows users to give some love to their favorite creators. Users get a featured comment in the chat, plus an animated GIF for a small fee.
- 9. YouTube Shorts Fund
This $100 million fund is designated for Shorts creators, assuming they meet the criteria.
- 10. YouTube BrandConnect
This service, currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, connects brands with YouTube creators for content marketing campaigns.
Affiliate Marketing and Online Sales
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to drive sales and generate significant online revenue. Extremely beneficial to both brands and affiliate marketers, the new push toward less traditional marketing tactics has certainly paid off.
In fact, affiliate marketing spend in the United States increased from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion in 2022 — which means there’s plenty of room for those looking to get a piece of the pie.
Because affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibilities of product marketing and creation across parties, it leverages the abilities of a variety of individuals for a more effective marketing strategy while providing contributors with a share of the profit. To make this work, three different parties must be involved:
- Seller and product creators.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials.
Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
For example, the seller could be an ecommerce merchant that started a dropshipping business and wants to reach a new audience by paying affiliate sites to promote their products. Or the seller could be a SaaS company that leverages affiliates to help sell their marketing software.
- The affiliate or publisher.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
Affiliates often have a very specific audience to whom they market, generally adhering to that audience’s interests. This creates a defined niche or personal brand that helps the affiliate attract consumers who will be most likely to act on the promotion.
- The consumer.
Of course, for the affiliate system to work, there needs to be sales — and the consumer or customer is the one who makes them happen.
The affiliate will market the product/service to consumers through the necessary channel(s), whether it be social media, a blog or a YouTube video, and if the consumer deems the product as valuable or beneficial to them, then they can follow the affiliate link and checkout on the merchant’s website. If the customer does purchase the item, then the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
However, keep in mind that the customer must be aware that you, the affiliate, are receiving a commission off the product.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, an affiliate marketer must clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationship to the retailer, thus allowing the consumer to decide how much weight to give your endorsement.
A disclaimer such as “The products I’m going to use in this video were given to me by Company X” gives your viewers the information they need and allows them to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy the affiliate product.
Most affiliates share common practices to ensure that their target audience is engaged and receptive to purchasing promoted products. However, not all affiliates advertise the products in the same way. Below are some benefits.
- Industry-leading commissions.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program for example, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go.
Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.
- Strategic growth.
They provide unique strategies to help you grow, increase your website’s visibility and drive more sales. You’ll be able to save time and money on content creation by linking to WordPress blogs, webinars and more with quality content developed by BigCommerce for your audience.
- Powerful tracking.
The affiliate dashboard offers a comprehensive look at your clicks, trials, sales and commissions. You can view your earnings, track metrics and performance and get paid at the same time every month.
- A dedicated account manager.
You will have direct access to an affiliate manager who understands your business and your goals. BigCommerce will work with your team and our conversion rate experts to maximize your commissions and earnings per click.
- Promotion made easy.
In your dashboard, you will have easy access to our pre-made text links, banners and content. Promote BigCommerce anywhere on your site by simply inserting our affiliate links on your pages.
E-commerce and Dropshipping
You might be evaluating different order fulfillment methods as the success of your online business depends a lot on how efficiently you deliver products. The online business ecosystem offers several methods for order fulfillment. Ecommerce fulfillment and dropshipping are two major models.
Statista reports dropshipping had a $128.6 billion market value in 2020. It’s expected to grow a whopping 370% by 2026.
Let’s have a quick look at how an ecommerce store works.
Here’s the end-to-end workflow from purchase to delivery.
1. A customer visits the online store and selects a product.
2. The customer checks out the product by paying online.
3. The product is picked up from a warehouse.
4. The order is packed and labeled with the customer’s shipping address.
5. A shipping company delivers the product to the customer.
The last three steps constitute the order fulfillment process. Businesses use ecommerce and dropshipping models for this.
Dropshipping is not an ecommerce alternative. It’s just another ecommerce business model.
Online stores that use dropshipping have no inventory of their own. Instead, they partner with an order fulfillment vendor, also known as a dropshipper.
Here are the basic steps for running a dropshipping store:
- You own the store and list products, but you don’t own inventory.
- A customer places an order and pays online.
- You put a duplicate order with your dropshipper.
- The dropshipper picks the product from their fulfillment center.
- The dropshipper packs the customer order and ships it to your customers.
Please note that dropshipping is different from 3rd party logistics (3PL). In 3PL, you own the inventory, but a third party does the warehousing. You only outsource the storage, packing, and shipping. But in dropshipping, the dropshipper owns the inventory.
In a nutshell, you can start a dropshipping store without even having a single product in your stock. You procure the product from your dropshipper only when a customer places an order.
We’ll go over the process of getting started with e-commerce dropshipping, step by step.
- Step 1: Pick Your Niche
The more dropshipping stores open on the web, the more competition you’re going to have. That’s why picking the right niche is crucial.
Naturally, you should pick a market you’d like to operate in, based on your experience and expertise. However, make sure that your niche also makes business sense. Otherwise, your business will remain a hobby and not turn into a real venture.
There are a number of ways to research the market, check demand, and analyze if your products will bring in profit. For instance, you can search your product’s name in AliExpress to see how many results show up, how much they sell, the type of reviews they get.
Another way is to analyze search volumes with Google Trends. It will show you how the interest in your product has changed over time, as well as related queries and products.
- Step 2: Build Your Dropshipping Website
Building even a simple website for the first time can be complicated, let alone designing a full-fledged e-commerce store. Luckily, there are a number of e-commerce solutions to power your store. Most of these solutions allow you to build an e-commerce website without having to worry about technical aspects like web hosting or coding in exchange for a fixed monthly fee.
Next, you’ll need a professional domain name to get started. Come up with a name that would fit your brand and check its availability with a reputable domain name registrar, like NameCheap.
Once you purchase a domain name, you can easily get started with an e-commerce platform like Shopify. Shopify’s basic plan, for instance, costs $29 per month.
As your e-commerce dropshipping store grows and requires more bells and whistles, you can upgrade to an advanced plan ($299 per month), and eventually, the plus plan ($2000/month).
Shopify doesn’t just help you host and build your website but also makes it easy to connect with dropshipping platforms (like Oberlo) and add products to display on your website. On that note, let’s see the next step.
- Step 3: Source Products From Suppliers
Managing your dropshipping business becomes really easy when your e-commerce platform can seamlessly integrate with your dropshipping solution. If you are using Shopify as your e-commerce platform, for instance, sourcing products is a breeze with the Oberlo app.
Oberlo provides you with a range of products from vetted, trustworthy suppliers. All you need to do is select the products you want to sell and set your prices. Plus, you can also import products from AliExpress.
Another great feature you get with Oberlo is bulk ordering, which means you can place up to 1000 orders in one go, along with fast shipping.
Oberlo’s pricing ranges from $29.90 to $79.90 a month.
- Step 4: Promote Your Dropshipping Store
If all the business activities involved in your dropshipping store were boiled down to one job description, it would be selling. As a dropshipper, your primary function is to excel at sales and marketing. And if you can’t do that right, your business is likely to fail.
The most common channels dropshipping store owners use to drive traffic are Google and Facebook ads.
However, advertising is expensive. For example, DemandJump found the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) for display advertising to be $65.80, and for paid search to be $45.27.
Not only you need to factor these numbers into your budget, but also have a long-term content marketing and SEO plan in place.
Online Courses and E-Learning
E-learning (sometimes called web-based training) is anywhere, any-time instruction delivered over the internet or a corporate Intranet to browser-equipped learners. Contrary to traditional learning methods, e-learning allows students, employees in training, and casual learners to participate in an organized learning experience regardless of their physical location.
E-learning methods and technology are important both for educating students and for the professional development of employees in the workforce.
In the mid-2000s, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) estimated that 75% of the U.S. workforce would need retraining within the coming five years in order to keep pace with industry needs and increasing global competition. Hewlett-Packard estimated that the half-life of a bachelor’s degree in engineering could be as short as 18 months.
Today, the need for employees to keep pace with an increasingly rapid evolution of technology has only grown. For example, expert coders, hardware developers, and online security professionals alike anticipate the advent of quantum computing to create a massive shift in the way modern businesses operate. This strongly necessitates new workforce training and education as well as new methods of delivering it that allow increased adaptability in the rapidly changing environment.
Higher education institutions are also implementing e-learning methods more frequently with the increased use of internet-capable electronic devices inside and outside the classroom, as well as the implementation of online classes. A 2017 report estimated that 91 percent of student enrollments and 87 percent of institutions rely on learning management systems (LMS), the specific software applications or web-based technology used for e-learning.
E-learning platforms today offer this increased adaptability for learners and teachers alike. It is estimated that by 2025, the online course and e-learning market will be worth around $325 billion.
There are a variety of e-learning platforms, both synchronous and asynchronous, that users can implement in educational, business or independent environments. One commonly known staple of web-based training is the use of PowerPoint presentations. PowerPoints are used for a large majority of business-to-business (B2B) training today.
The use of learning management systems is almost ubiquitous. These powerful software suites enable digital learning by administering e-learning courses, online examinations and analyzing student performance data. A few examples of these platforms are:
- Blackboard Learn
Learning management systems are also prevalent in the enterprise. The best corporate LMSes are scalable, customizable, goal-oriented and user-friendly. Some of the best enterprise-level LMSes are:
- Adobe Captivate Prime
- Docebo LMS
- iSpring Learn
Social media also provides widely useful avenues for e-learning. Social media has become a popular learning tool in part because services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are second nature to many users.
These platforms are suitable for bringing communities of learners together and allowing them to share e-learning content. Facebook and LinkedIn users can create groups to share information and ideas, and members of the groups can communicate freely about the shared material. Groups created on LinkedIn might be perceived to have an added level of credibility because users display their career credentials on their profiles. Twitter can be used to connect learning communities over a specific topic or event by utilizing a hashtag. YouTube users can also post and access educational content for free on YouTube, as well as comment on and rate the videos.
LinkedIn also has a paid platform for e-learning embedded within it called LinkedIn Learning which features over 1,000 business courses. The topics of these courses vary from web development to digital marketing. Business professionals can pay a monthly fee to use these courses to keep their skills up to date.
Independent learners can also take advantage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the web. MOOCs are courses of study made available to a large group of people over the internet, usually for free. Often MOOC courses are patterned after top tier universities, such as Harvard and Yale, which is great for learners who want quality training on a given topic for free. Users can log into the MOOC’s website and sign up for a given course. Certain MOOCs may charge a student looking to earn a specific certificate for the completion of their coursework. Some popular MOOC platforms include:
Other platforms, such as Udemy and Skillshare, are similar to a MOOC in that they are massively available online. However, they are different in that they charge the user and focus more on practical engagement with material as opposed to passive learning methods, such as lectures that come with more university-centric MOOCs. No matter the platform, e-learning is a flexible, adaptable way for professionals and students alike to bolster their skills.
Creating Online Courses
if you’re ready to create eLearning content for your team, there are a few basic steps any project will follow.
- Step 1: Establish the why of your project
Simply put, what’s the purpose of your training? Who’s taking it? More importantly, why are they taking it? During this step, you’ll want to define your requirements and expectations for the course.
- Step 2: Gather your current materials
Pull together all your existing source material for the project, including:
- Current training materials
Use this step to also identify what materials you’re missing and want to create.
- Step 3: Distill your topic into an eLearning script
Use those materials to create a script based on the requirements of your project, and the topics it needs to contain. Make sure it matches the expectations you set for interactions, assessments, and employee time in seat.
Before moving into development steps, ensure your SMEs or other company stakeholders have approved the content.
- Step 4: Define the visual look-and-feel of your project
This task can often take place while you have your subject matter expert (SME) or writer creating the course script.
Visual tasks include defining which images, colors, fonts, movements, or animations you’ll use to create a course that looks cohesive.
- Step 5: Develop materials for your course
At this point, you’ve gathered all of the elements you’ll need to create eLearning content for your team. Now it’s time to develop those items: the meat of your project.
Record any audio portions. Create graphics. Use screen capture software to create videos. The eLearning authoring tools we discuss below can get you there.
- Step 6: Assemble into one cohesive course
And then, bring those items together. Some free software programs can help you bring all your disparate elements into one cohesive course.
After this step, you’ll also send your new course out to SMEs or other company stakeholders to review, suggest any changes, and ultimately approve.
Teaching and Coaching
If you’re interested in training individuals and imparting knowledge, you can become a coach or a teacher. Both options provide opportunities in various fields, such as personal or career development. Understanding the differences between coaching and teaching allows you to determine which career you may find most fulfilling.
The main differences between coaching and teaching are their methodologies, learners and areas of focus. Coaching provides knowledge to a learner who already has a basic understanding of a concept. With teaching, the instructor provides knowledge to an individual without a prior understanding of the concept. For example, you teach an individual about an organization’s systems, but you coach them on how to improve the efficiency of these systems.
With coaching, the learner progresses to additional concepts once they’ve become proficient in their current learning. Teaching typically involves helping people learn new concepts within a framework, such as time. For example, someone may start learning a new concept after completing a one-month course.
Coaching methods allow you to direct others as they make decisions or complete tasks. Effective coaching inspires a trainee to grow, fosters trust between the trainee and the coach and promotes open communication. Coaching methods vary depending on your field and the learners you’re coaching. Here are some coaching methods to consider:
- Autonomous coaching
With autonomous coaching, learners make decisions and hold themselves responsible. As a coach, you might only intervene to maintain this process. Learners begin to communicate more effectively because it encourages them to express their opinions about their choices and ideas. This empowers them and provides them with a sense of control over their circumstances, aiding the development of their skills.
- Authoritarian coaching
Authoritarian coaching allows you to decide the learner’s actions. Both parties mutually consent to this form of coaching. The learners develop discipline by setting goals and working towards achieving successful outcomes to adhere to your instructions.
- Developmental coaching
With developmental coaching, you assist the learner in improving their perspective and awareness. You help them understand how people interpret feedback, develop awareness and intuition in decision-making and increase their engagement in interactions. This can contribute to an improved level of life satisfaction for the individual.
- Group Coaching
You can group coach people with similar goals either in-person or remotely. This coaching method lets learners interact with other people who share similar goals and develop connections with them. During meetings, group members can also share their expertise to benefit from one another’s knowledge.
- Transformational coaching
Transformational coaching allows you to guide people experiencing or preparing to experience major changes in their lives, such as a career transition. This method’s primary objective is to enable people to understand how their attitude can influence their behavior. It motivates them to achieve their maximum potential. Your role is to reassure learners as they make the necessary lifestyle changes to accomplish their long-term objectives.
Instructors can use various teaching methods to help students achieve their learning objectives. You can combine multiple techniques to reinforce a concept with your students. As a teacher, you may consider the following methods:
- Classroom lectures
This teaching method involves explaining learning materials while students listen. You can guide a class by discussing or demonstrating a subject. Students then observe, listen, take notes or copy your demonstrations. The following strategies may assist you in improving your lectures:
- Maintaining short lessons: Some students find it challenging to concentrate for long periods. Keeping your lectures brief helps maintain their interest.
- Providing an opportunity to ask questions: Allowing your students to ask questions helps them to understand and remember the lecture content. Feedback also lets you know whether the lesson was engaging.
- Encouraging students to write their notes by hand: Students may concentrate more when they handwrite their notes. It can also improve their memory of what they learned during your lesson.
- Autonomy-based teaching
Autonomy-based teaching ensures students complete projects, ask questions, and discover solutions. Teachers serve as resources while students learn information independently. After learning a concept, students can tell you what they’ve understood. Students actively participate in the learning process, helping to reinforce the knowledge they’ve acquired.
- Technology-based teaching
Technology-based teaching involves using technological tools to support learning. You can use computers to provide assignments or evaluate students. Cloud computing allows students to access documents and other resources remotely when not in their physical class environment.
- Group teaching
You can group students to develop their collaborative skills. Group teaching allows them to discuss topics and discover other people’s perspectives while working in their teams. Students can also create group presentations to share information with the class, interact with one another and discuss questions.
- Expeditionary teaching
Expeditionary teaching involves students acquiring knowledge through practical experiences. Students can engage in projects, case studies, laboratory exercises or field trips. This form of teaching helps reinforce theoretical concepts that you teach in the classroom.
Remote Work and Telecommuting Jobs
The advancement of technology has helped the workplace to evolve, allowing employees the opportunity to work outside the office, in locations such as their own homes or while traveling. Some employers may use the terms “telecommuting” and “remote” interchangeably, but the two ideas offer different types of working arrangements. Understanding how these two forms of employment differ from each other can help you find a role that aligns with your needs or preferences.
What is telecommuting?
Telecommuting, or telework, refers to an employee carrying out their duties from an off-site location, which can include another branch of the main office, a shared co-working space, a public place, a retail establishment or their home. Employees who engage in telecommuting, known as telecommuters, don’t always require internet access or a continuous line of communication with their employer as they work off-site. Typically, they monitor their workflow and ensure the completion of projects independently.
Telecommuters usually live geographically close to their place of employment, where they regularly go for check-ins and meetings. Sometimes, companies only offer telecommuting as an occasional perk for employees who request to attend to matters at home a few times a week. In some jobs, activities such as research make telecommuting necessary for some employees.
What is remote work?
Remote work is a type of employment that allows individuals to work from anywhere, with the terms of employment requiring no on-site presence. Remote workplaces offer a permanent understanding that the employees work away from a central location. In many remote workplaces, the employees never meet their colleagues or supervisors in person. Instead, they communicate through video-conferencing or messaging software.
The employer’s staff may work spread out across the world, as remote workers only require a stable internet connection to carry out their duties. Remote workers can include both full-time employees and freelancers. Their employer may require that they maintain a virtual presence while they’re working, such as by logging into a virtual machine or remaining signed in to an online communications platform.
Though telecommuting and remote work have many characteristics in common, several differences between them place them into separate categories of work. These differences include:
- On-site attendance
Normally, remote workers have no obligation to go into the office. They can carry out all of their duties from an off-site location of their choosing. Telecommuting policies, though, often require that the employee visit or check in regularly, often weekly. Sometimes, the employer requires employees to work on-site most of the time, with telecommuting being an occasional allowance.
Telecommuters usually live within commuting distance from their place of employment, which allows them to attend their regular meetings and check-ins. Many telecommuting positions require employees to live within the same city or state as the employer.
In the case of telecommuting policies that require majority on-site attendance, being within proximity of the office is necessary. In contrast, remote workers may live anywhere. Many of them live in different states, and some employers hire remote workers from other countries.
Remote workers experience greater flexibility because they can work from anywhere. A remote worker who needs to travel to a different city overnight can still fulfill their work responsibilities the next day as long as they have internet access.
Additionally, if an employee has to move, they’re not constrained by distance. Many remote workers also have the freedom to set their own schedules, which allows them to address other commitments as necessary during the workday. If they have an appointment or an emergency to handle, they can do so without pre-planning.
Telecommuting also allows for flexibility, but employees often experience some limitations. Requirements for occasional on-site attendance still offer significant freedom to set your own schedule and workstation on most days of the week.
With occasional telecommuting, though, you abide by the set schedule of the workplace the majority of the time. The same may be true for telecommuting positions that require in-state residence, as the employer likely wants the employees to work within the same timeframe.
Remote workers have a potentially narrower scope of responsibilities because they’re capable of completing their work without access to resources that are only available on-site. For example, if the employer doesn’t want to upload certain sensitive documents to a cloud server because of security concerns, a remote worker can’t perform work that involves those documents.
Telecommuters, though, have greater access to resources because they usually live nearby and can go to the office to access the necessary tools. As a result, they may have a larger range of duties.
Managing a Remote Career
These tips offer practical advice on how to effectively manage different aspects of remote working, including online meetings, and keeping healthy and effective habits.
- Set up a designated workspace. Wherever possible create a separate space for yourself to work in, somewhere you can focus on tasks without being distracted – also think about making sure your workspace and any furniture you use supports ergonomic health. Light and fresh air will also support productivity.
- Reflect on your workstyle. Everyone has different needs and preferences in terms of how they organize their work and what helps them to be productive. Be aware of what works for you when working remotely, and where necessary, engage in discussions with your manager about effective ways of working.
- Make sure you have all the tech you need and you know how to use it. This includes a reliable and secure internet connection, any necessary files, hardware and software, remote access to your company network and you are able to use all relevant remote collaboration technologies effectively.
- Write a daily to-do list. Set out a list of realistic, achievable tasks to keep you focused and manage any distractions that might be present in your remote working environment.
- Know when to step away from your desk. Take regular breaks to refresh. It’s easy to let yourself be “always on” when your home and office are the same place. When work is over, be sure you switch off. Think about having some personal “core hours” which people you work with are around for.
- Be an effective communicator. Contribute regularly to team chats so that you maintain your visibility. Be intentional about your communication – and use the most appropriate tool for your message.
- Foster relationships. Make time for non-work chats as you would in the workplace and use your camera in virtual meetings to maintain face-to-face contact. When you meet up with colleagues in person, prioritize relationship-building over transactional work.
- Establish personal boundaries. Consider what you need to maintain an effective work-life balance – this might be personal rules about switching off, specific start and end times and regular breaks to segment work and non-work activity. Be clear about when your working day begins and ends.
- Ask for support when needed. Speak out when you need assistance, further training or support, especially if you experience any remote work challenges.
- Make remote working work for you. Change where you sit, put on music, whatever helps you work. And enjoy the perks – no commute or uncomfortable shoes, and all your home comforts!
Passive Income Streams
Passive income is the opposite of active income. With active income, you are paid for the work you continuously do. Most careers or side hustles qualify as active income. With passive income, you do the work first, then collect payment over time—no further effort is required.
Earning passive income can be an enticing idea, but it’s important to note that it can take some time to grow your investments. If you are looking for quick cash, you may want to consider starting a side hustle or pursuing a high-paying career path.
However, if you have time to watch your investment grow—and especially if you’re willing to put a little bit of sustained effort into nurturing that growth—building a passive income stream can be lucrative.
The first step toward earning a sustained income stream is choosing the passive source of income that makes the most sense for you. Whether you want to make a financial investment or start a business, here are some ideas to consider for your passive income strategy:
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
If you want to build passive income from real estate without the fuss and bother (not to mention the hefty down payment) of buying and managing properties yourself, REITs may be the answer.
Similar to mutual funds, REITs are companies that own commercial real estate, such as office buildings, retail spaces, apartments and hotels. REITs tend to pay high dividends, but they vary in complexity and availability. Some are publicly traded on stock exchanges; others are not.
- Rental Properties
Investing in real estate to earn rental income is another way to build passive income. Long-term rentals can provide a reliable source of cash if they are located in a healthy market for renters, but they also carry long-term stressors like maintaining those properties, as well as paying multiple mortgages, property tax bills and other costs.
You could also focus on short-term rentals through a platform like Airbnb, which is dependent on a steady flow of visitors to your area. Or, start small: Rent out a room in your house to begin to bankroll your rental property empire.
- Dividend stocks
One way to build an income stream is to invest in dividend stocks, which distribute part of the company’s earnings to investors on a regular basis, such as quarterly. The best dividend stocks increase their payout over time, helping you grow future income. As a bonus, dividend stocks typically are less volatile than growth stocks, so they can help diversify and even stabilize your investment portfolio. Investors can also choose to reinvest dividends back into the stock, potentially increasing your investment if the stock does well.
- Dividend index funds and exchange-traded funds
You can also invest in index funds or exchange-traded funds that hold dividend stocks rather than picking and choosing individual stocks to buy. This is a form of passive investing for those who prefer a more hands-off approach.
Index funds hold a well-rounded selection of many stocks that aim to mirror the performance of a given index, such as the S&P 500. A dividend ETF or index fund will invest in a selection of stocks that pay dividends. Index funds can help balance portfolio risk, as market swings tend to be less volatile across an index compared with individual stocks.
Dividend ETFs offer the diversification benefits of index funds while mimicking the ease with which stocks are traded. To invest in dividend stocks, index funds, ETFs or other publicly traded assets, you’ll need to open a brokerage account if you don’t already have one.
A way to build passive income at home is through payments for the use of intellectual property that you have created yourself, or for which you’ve purchased the rights.
Creating content can be a lot of work, especially for work that is engaging and reaches a large enough audience to generate income.
But once you’ve created something that people are using, it’s possible to generate revenue through display advertising, using a program such as Google Adsense, or running sponsored content, which means companies pay you a fee to publish a post on your blog.
Another way to monetize a blog is affiliate marketing, which allows you to earn commissions if your readers purchase a product or service you’ve recommended or linked to. You may, however, find that creating content is not as hands-off as you might expect; there’s always pressure to create more content or update what you have to keep it viable.
- Create an online course.
Somewhere in between writing a book, selling worksheets and templates, and creating content, you may decide to package the resources you create as an online course. Many people create their content with platforms like Thinkific or Teachable, then host their courses on their own websites.
Becoming a Digital Nomad
Becoming a digital nomad may allow you to work a consistent and reliable job while traveling around the world. The path to becoming a digital nomad differs for each person depending on their skills, budget and preferences. A digital nomad lifestyle may not be for everyone, but it may be a good fit for you.
A digital nomad is a person who works online to travel the world and live and work in remote locations. Digital nomads spend at least a few months away from their home country each year and may change their working and living locations between every few weeks to every six months. People choose to become digital nomads to have a better work/life balance, enjoy more freedom, eliminate office distractions, explore the world or enter a better job market.
Consider these tips on your path to becoming a digital nomad:
- 1. Identify your current skills
Before you quit your job or make any big moves, consider what skills you already have through education, job training and independent study. Things like typing and computer operations can be considered basic skills across all fields, but other abilities digital nomads often rely on include:
- Graphic design
- Web design
- 2. Gain the right transferable skills
If you would like to gain additional skills that can help you become a digital nomad, consider a job that can help you learn new skills and build the savings you require to start your digital nomad lifestyle. Fields that provide transferable skills include:
- Content marketing
- Digital marketing
- Information technology
- Web design
- 3. Consider freelancing
You may also choose to start a freelance career to build additional digital skills and earn extra money before joining the digital nomad collective. Freelancing is available in a variety of industries like writing, editing, publishing, photography, web design, computer programming and research. You may choose to find your own clients through networking or social media. You may also consider using gig economy websites to search for projects and customers.
- 4. Consider taking classes online
Taking online classes or courses may help you develop strategies for time management and work/life balance before becoming a digital nomad. If you’re able, consider going on a brief trip while taking an online class to get an idea of how you may structure a future work schedule and take notes about what work environments and processes complement your lifestyle.
- 5. Reduce expenses and possessions
Make an effort to reduce your current expenses to help save money and eliminate clutter before becoming a digital nomad. You may choose to cancel gym memberships or subscription services. You may also choose to take a shorter lease or consider other housing arrangements, change your mode of transportation or sell large items you may be unable to store or bring with you. Some types of alternative housing arrangements you may consider are house-sitting, pet-sitting and long-term hotel stays.
- 6. Earn a passive income
Look for options to earn passive income or generate profits from alternate sources. Some examples of passive income generators include:
- Becoming a brand ambassador
- Building an app
- Creating an online course on a topic you have expertise in Engaging in email marketing
- Renting out your home or subletting your apartment
- Selling digital products on e-commerce websites
- Selling stock photos online
- Opening a high-interest savings account
- Writing and self-publishing an e-book or audiobook
- 7. Find a remote job or start a business
Find a job that can become your first digital nomad position. Look for jobs that are fully remote or have the option to be. Pay attention to the equipment and system requirements of these jobs to ensure you can maintain those standards while traveling. If you have the skills and experience, you may also consider starting your own online business so you know you have the flexibility to work from anywhere.
- 8. Choose your first destination
Choose your first destination and start the planning process. Make a list of potential locations that includes places you’ve always wanted to visit and ones that fit your current budget and workload needs. Research the cost of living for each destination and make rough budgets that include rent, food, entertainment and other expenses that are important to you. Additionally, ensure a stable internet connection is available. Doing this can help you make an informed decision about your first nomadic home and have details already prepared for future destinations.
- 9. Choose your lifestyle
Decide where and how you want to live when you reach your first destination as a digital nomad. When choosing a residence, consider the number of people you’d like to interact with or share resources with throughout the day. Also, consider the services you may require and how easily you expect to access them.
Co-ops and hostels may be ideal for meeting new people and sharing resources. Renting an apartment or finding a residence through an online temporary rental marketplace may be ideal for those who want to live more independently in a more traditional setting. Hotels or homestays may appeal to those who want more readily available services such as laundry or recreation.
- 10. Consider joining a digital nomad hub
Consider joining a digital nomad hub to be around others living the same lifestyle. Similar to hostels or co-ops, digital nomad hubs are unofficial communities where you can live and work among other people, specifically other digital nomads for a more affordable price. Current members at each hub share expenses and network to get professional tips and learn of potential destinations. You can find these collectives in different cities all over the world.
Joining a hub can provide advantages if you want to connect with others. You may find a friend who wants to travel with you and share the same experiences as a digital nomad.
- 11. Collect documents and open accounts
Collect the documents and account information you may require while traveling. Make copies of important documents that you keep with you at all times, such as your passport and driver’s license, birth certificate, business license, bank account information, doctor’s notes and prescription information. If you don’t want to travel with hard copies consider placing documents in a secure and safe cloud storage platform.
You might consider opening online accounts to ease transactions while traveling, such as those that offer online payment services or virtual mailbox services. Finally, you may also consider getting travel insurance to protect you and your assets when you move from place to place.
- 12. Make a plan
Set goals and develop plans for your new work environment and lifestyle. These may include prioritizing what you want to achieve through your digital nomad experience, creating a tentative multi-destination list with a timeframe for each location and a rough framework of how to achieve your goals. You may also consider making contingency plans in the event of weather, transportation, health or other problems that arise.
Online Business and Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is an appealing goal for many individuals who want to have more control over their career and enjoy more flexibility. Advances in technology have made this goal more accessible for businesses of all types through e-commerce and other digital platforms. If you’re interested in starting your own online company, you may benefit from learning about the required steps to pursue this venture.
An online entrepreneur is a business owner that conducts their business on the internet. Like other entrepreneurs, they often take financial or other personal risks to launch their own company. Online entrepreneurs may use a variety of business models to provide products or services. Some examples of online entrepreneurs include:
- Content creators
- Owners of e-commerce sites
- Online consultants
The daily tasks of online entrepreneurs vary based on their industry and professional goals but may include:
- Writing or responding to emails
- Updating website content
- Writing articles or blogs
- Communicating with current and potential clients
- Contacting vendors such as graphic designers, wholesalers, copywriters and product photographers
- Shipping products to consumers
- Providing services to clients such as consulting, counseling or education
Starting an Online Business
Here are the steps you can take to become an online entrepreneur and start a business:
- 1. Identify a niche
New businesses typically start with identifying a problem and developing a way to address that problem. If you’re thinking about starting an online business, consider what areas align with your knowledge base, skill set and interests. Finding a business niche that uses your strengths can help you stay motivated and leverage your prior training and experience.
- 2. Conduct research
Online entrepreneurs must spend time learning about their industry and the tools available for digital businesses. This may include studying:
- Social media platforms
- Website development and management
- Digital advertising
- E-commerce software
You may also benefit from speaking to other entrepreneurs about their favorite products, preferred platforms, successes and challenges.
- 3. Take courses
Many colleges and universities offer in-person and online courses for entrepreneurs. You can also search online for entrepreneur certifications. These credentials may add validity to your proposal for potential investors.
- 4. Create a business plan
Many entrepreneurs must present their ideas to a range of audiences, which can include:
- Other business owners
- Friends and family
- Financial advisors
A sound business plan presents your research, strategies, and objectives in an organized, professional way so that readers can learn more about your long-term goals. Business plans generally have the following sections:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Organizational structure
- Description of products or services
- Marketing plan
- Sales strategy
- Funding request
- Financial projections
- 5. Network
Connecting with other professionals in your industry and throughout the digital business space can help you inform key people about your business. You can also meet people who can become strategic partners or vendors for your company. You can network by:
- Engaging with brands or individuals on social media
- Attending professional events, like conferences and workshops
- Join professional and recreational organizations
- Tell your friends and family about your endeavor
- 6. Advertise your business
Once you’re ready to launch your business, create an advertising plan to inform potential customers and clients about your company. You may consider tools like:
- Digital ads
- Social media ads
- Email campaigns
To make the most of your marketing budget, be sure to target your ads to your defined market. For instance, if you have an online boutique that only offers pick-up for orders, your ads should focus on customers in your geographic area.
Financial Planning and Managing Online Income
Prudence is needed in financial planning and decision-making to ensure that resources are used in a way that best meets the needs of the individual or organization. Different types of financial planning can help you achieve discipline and a clear action plan for your money according to your life.
Financial planning can ensure that your spending is in line with income, debts are manageable and important goals are adequately funded. It is important to be mindful of the potential risks and rewards of each decision and to make choices that are in line with one’s financial goals.
So what’s required in good personal finance management? These important steps are the building blocks to healthy money management.
1. Set Your Top Financial Goals
Identifying a strategized financial plan is key – this step helps you understand the purpose of the subsequent steps and provides you with direction when it comes to your money. Do you want to save up for a family holiday next summer? Are you hoping to get out of debt so you can focus wholeheartedly on a down payment for a house? Do you want to set aside 10% of your income starting now to work on your retirement nest egg?
These are examples of short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals. Aim to set one from each category, but if longer-term goals seem like an intimidating commitment, that’s okay too. Instead, think of the near future: My goal is to save $1,000 this year for my retirement. Breaking enormous goals into smaller chunks (and smaller amounts of money) makes them much more palatable.
With these goals in hand, you’ll be motivated to budget, automate your savings, and stay away from debt. After that, you can more easily take on bigger plans for your financial future like retirement savings, an emergency fund, and investment accounts.
2. Make Sure Your Goals are SMART
Be your own financial planner and Set SMART financial goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – to set yourself up for success. An important part of goal setting is also coming up with a list of potential obstacles and ways to overcome them. By creating your contingency plan right from the get-go, you won’t stumble and falter when life gets in the way of your plans.
3. Get Into the Habit of Budgeting
Ask any personal finance aficionado what they do to take care of their personal finances, and budgeting will be a prime example of what they do steadfastly. Your budget – designed by you – dictates how much you can spend each month based on your income. When you’re sticking to a carefully constructed budget plan, you will have what you need and won’t be tempted to use credit to spend beyond your means.
If you’re building a budget from scratch, start with all of the income you generate each month – this is how much you have to work with. On the other end of the equation are all of your expenses. Your expenses can be categorized into fixed (rent, bills, transportation) and variable expenses (groceries, eating out, shopping, entertainment). If you’re dealing with debt, you need to ensure that debt repayment is factored into your expenses. Savings, maybe your most important expense, is also considered an expense when building a budget and working toward financial stability.
4. Track Your Spending
This step of tracking your spending goes hand in hand with budgeting – if you aren’t watching where your money goes each month, you’ll have no idea if you’re adhering to your budget or blowing through it.
Most people aren’t genuinely aware of how much they spend on groceries, shopping, or other miscellaneous expenses each month. Tracking your spending could be an incredibly eye-opening experience that could shift the way you spend your money. For example, you could learn that you spend over $300 each month on meals during the workweek. The sticker shock of this may lead you to pack your lunch twice a week.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of smartphone apps and tools tied to Canadian financial institutions that remove the grunt work (just be wary of giving an app access to your bank account; it may violate your banking agreement). These apps will track, categorize, and show you precisely where your money is going each month. Some can even spit out warnings, or tell you where you need to cut back on spending. If you prefer it too, you can stick to the traditional pen and paper method or an Excel spreadsheet.
5. Get Out of Debt, and Stay Out of Debt
Don’t feel like you can’t adopt great personal finance habits simply because you’re in debt. Look at the world of personal finance bloggers and you’ll stumble upon many who have either pulled themselves out of massive amounts of debt or are currently doing so.
But a key tactic is focusing on avoiding debt. This means paying off your debts. Many people start with the account with the highest interest rate, others start with the smallest debt, however, all agree that you must stash away the credit card to avoid accumulating more.
Getting out of debt and managing debt will give you peace of mind and as you’re chipping away with debt repayment, the stress will alleviate too.
6. Automate Your Savings and Your Payments
Model students of personal finance with a well-rounded financial plan always do two things: they never miss a payment, and they always pay themselves first. They do this without even thinking each month by automating these money management activities. When possible, schedule your future bill payments so that you’re at least making the minimum payment on your accounts. This will help to protect your credit score. Also, set reminders before bills are due to ensure you’ve got the money for automatic withdrawals.
Pay yourself first by moving some cash into your savings accounts on payday. Automating this step means you won’t even notice that the money is missing, but you’ve done yourself a favor by adding to your savings pot.
7. Look for Hidden Opportunities to Lower Your Spending and Increase Monthly Cash Flow
Masters of personal finance tend to be gurus at redeeming credit card reward points for free travel, getting cash back on their gas and groceries, and other hacks that save them money in the long run and increase their cash flow.
When possible, maximize what’s available to you to keep your costs down in your financial plan. This could include flipping through flyers to take note of sales at the grocery store, or taking stock of all of your outstanding rewards points, gift cards, and other vouchers to pay for anything from hotel stays to coffees and nights out at the movie theatre.
Another creative habit of personal finance fans is setting themselves challenges, such as packing their lunches for a week, forgoing delivery and takeout for a month, to extreme challenges, like outright shopping bans for no-spend challenges. While this is drastic, you could take inventory again of what you own and decide that a wise decision would be to stop yourself from buying certain items you already have an abundance of.
8. Work With an Advisor and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help With Debt
Whether you’re rich or poor, money isn’t easy to manage and you might need help with debt. Depending on your personal financial goals, there are a number of personal finance professionals who can help you in any number of ways, including better financial education – licensed debt counselors, certified financial planners (CFPs), accountants, insurance agents, and even some bankers.
Tax Planning for Digital Earnings
If you have an income, you have to pay taxes based on the applicable income tax slab rates. So, in simple terms, the higher your income, the greater will be your tax outgo. This is where tax planning can be an effective way for you to reduce your overall tax liability.
Tax planning can be defined as the process of analyzing your financial situation in order to figure out different legal ways in which you can reduce your net taxable income and overall tax outgo. Net taxable income is the difference between gross income during the financial year less any deductions and expenses allowed under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
Apart from reducing your tax outgo, and adequately planning for taxes, you can also help you stay on track to reach your various savings goals. As part of the tax planning process, you will need to disclose all your income and then make tax-saving investments or declare expenses that can reduce your tax burden as per applicable tax laws.
Apart from reducing your overall tax burden, proper tax planning can also help you boost your savings so that you can stay on track to meet various short and long-term financial goals. However, you do need to keep in mind that tax planning is not a one-time exercise, it is a continuous process as long as you have a steady income that is subject to income tax.
The main objective of tax planning is to use the various rules and regulations as per the Income Tax Act, 1961 to achieve a lower tax outgo. But there are a few additional objectives that planning your taxes correctly can help you achieve. Below are the key objectives of tax planning:
- 1. Reduction of Net Taxable Income
The major objective of tax planning is to reduce your tax liability by reducing your net taxable income. This can be achieved by making tax-saving investments or claiming deductions for specific expenses like Section 80D deductions as per applicable income tax laws. There are a number of such investments including government-backed schemes that can help you plan your taxes effectively.
- 2. Reduce Tax-Related Litigation
Another goal of tax planning is to reduce the possibility of litigation by tax authorities. India’s Income Tax Department has the right to issue notices in case you are allegedly evading taxes i.e. avoiding your due tax payments by illegal means. In case you are unable to provide adequate justification or proof in reply to such a notice, tax authorities can pursue court cases resulting in hefty fines and even jail time. Since tax planning is a legal way to reduce your tax outgo, it can help you minimize and even eliminate the possibility of litigation by tax authorities.
- 3. Boost Your Savings
Paying the right amount of tax means that you will have more money to achieve various financial goals. Moreover, tax planning also involves making long-term tax-saving investments such as various Section 80C investments. With such investments, you can also potentially get the dual benefit of tax saving and long-term wealth creation. So if implemented correctly, tax planning can help boost your savings in the long term.
Apart from these key objectives, a related and often unsaid benefit of planning taxes is peace of mind. If you know that you are on the right side of the law even though you have reduced your tax outgo, you will definitely be at peace knowing that you have completed your civic duty as a tax-payer and have still remained on track to achieve your savings/investment goals.
Profiles of Successful Online Earners
Making money online has become increasingly popular in recent years. The internet has opened up numerous opportunities for individuals to make money online. Many people are searching for secret ways to make money online, but they are not sure where to start. From freelancing to affiliate marketing, the possibilities are endless.
In 2023 and onwards, if you are a beginner, making money online will become an increasingly popular way to earn some extra cash or even start a full-blown business. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know the trusted sites to make money online. Here is the list of the best secret websites to make money online.
- 1. Speechify.com – Transforming Text To Audio
An excellent website for content creators is Speechify.com. Speechify.com is a platform that transforms your texts into audio. It’s a great way to produce more content for your podcast, YouTube channel, or any other audio content. You can use it to convert books, articles, and documents into audio files. To get started, sign up for a free account, copy and paste the text you want to convert into audio, and Speechify.com will do the rest.
- 2. Teachable.com – Creating Online Courses
Teachable.com is a website where you can create and sell online courses. If you have expertise in a particular area, you can create an online course and sell it on Teachable.com. You can use their drag-and-drop course builder to create your course and add your content. Once your course is ready, you can set a price and start selling it. Teachable.com takes care of everything from payment processing to course delivery.
- 3. UserTesting.com – Testing Websites and Apps
UserTesting.com is a website that pays people to test websites and apps. If you sign up for UserTesting.com, you can make money by testing websites and apps and providing feedback. Each test takes about 20 minutes, and you can make up to $10 per test. If you’re looking for an easy way to make money online, UserTesting.com is an excellent option.
- 4. Task Rabbit
Task Rabbit is a platform that connects people who need help with tasks to people who can complete those tasks. You can earn money by completing tasks such as cleaning, moving, and handyman services. You can set your own rates and choose the tasks you want to complete.
- 5. Homestyler.com – Making Money Through 3D Designs
Another website on our list is Homestyler.com. It’s a website that allows users to make 3D designs of products and homes for free. Previously, people would pay professionals to create 3D designs for them, but with Homestyler.com, you can do it for free. By signing up for a free account, you can get unlimited 1K rendering, free 2K, and video render using Home Styler points. But how does it help you make money?
You can use these designs to sell your services on websites like Fiverr.com. If you type in “3D design” on Fiverr.com, you will find thousands of people offering 3D printing designs and technical engineering drawings.
- 6. Medium.com – Selling Your Articles
Another website on our list is Medium.com. Medium.com is a platform where people can publish their articles and get more traffic. According to SimilarWeb, Medium.com has about 142 million visits every single month, with an average of almost 2% of readers. You can make money on Medium.com by writing and publishing your stories. You can earn money through reading time and referred membership. To get started, apply and get accepted, publish your stories and earn money through reading or reference, and then get paid every month.
- 7. Veed.io – Creating Great Videos
If you’re a content creator, you’ll love veed.io. It’s a website where anyone can create a great video using AI. You can create your first video for free, and you can do more than ten minutes of a project using this particular website for free. The reason why Veed.io is so great is that it has fantastic AI that helps you use another person’s voice to read your texts. You can use this feature to have a British, American, or any other accent without having to pay for it.
- 8. Gigwalk
Gigwalk is a platform that pays users to complete small tasks in their local area. These tasks may include taking photos of businesses, testing apps, or verifying addresses. The pay varies depending on the task, but it can be a good way to earn some extra cash on the side.
- 9. Sweatcoin
Sweatcoin is an app that pays you to exercise. The app tracks your steps and rewards you with Sweatcoins that can be redeemed for products, services, or cash. It’s a great way to stay motivated and earn some extra money while staying active.
- 10. Respondent
Respondent is a platform that pays users for sharing their knowledge and experience. Unlike other similar websites that pay pennies for completing tasks, Respondent pays anywhere from $100 to $750 an hour for participating in studies. Getting started is easy, just sign up using a work email on the website and personalize your skills and interests.
Making money online is the sweet spot people look for in the gig economy. Whether you aspire to be a six-figure social media influencer or are just looking to supplement your regular income with some online side jobs, we’ve discussed some viable options in this article.
The internet is full of opportunities to make money online or from home, but many are questionable if not outright scams. Be wary of any “opportunity” that asks for an upfront fee, wants you to pay for certification, or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number.
Still unsure if an opportunity is legit? Look for community forums, like those on Reddit, for unfiltered reviews and complaints. Also, check if the company has a Better Business Bureau profile. The BBB assigns ratings based on reported complaints, business transparency, and other factors.