How to make money online

There are tons of completely legitimate ways to make money online and find online work these days. If it’s something you’ve never done before, though, you may not know how to go about making money online. Here are seven easy steps to successfully finding online employment:

List your skills.

More specifically, though, think about what specific skills you want to market. Maybe you are really good at design, but don’t like working on projects where you cannot communicate with the client face to face. In that case, you would instead want to market another skill. Alternatively, if you can’t think of any easily marketable skills online, get creative. People will buy some of the strangest things – and if you need proof of that, go check out the jobs under the “Bizarre” label on Fiverr.com. There are some really strange gigs that have gotten tens or even hundreds of orders, so even if you don’t have a specific skill you can cash in on your creativity by coming up with strangely amusing tasks to perform.

Search the internet for income opportunities that match your skills.

If you’re looking to sell stuff, check out Amazon, EBay, Etsy, and Threadflip. If you do design, there are design-specific sites like 99 Designs but also more general online work sites like Elance. If you’re a programmer there’s Scriptlance and GetACoder. If you just like doing small “micro-jobs” there are sites like Microworkers and Amazon Mechanical Turk. If you do administrative work or want to be an online personal assistant, ODesk, Elance, and Guru offer an array of job listing types. If you’re a writer, there’s Elance, Writer’s Access, Problogger, Constant-Content, Textbroker, and tons more.

Check the site’s reviews.

Before you put in the time and effort to create an account, make a profile, and list jobs or products, take a few minutes to see what people are saying about the site you’ve chosen. You may find out something about a given site that doesn’t work for. Some sites have rather rigorous identification processes and, although it’s very rare, some sites require background checks. When you’re looking into user comments about one site, you may end up stumbling across recommendations for another site that will be able to meet your needs better.

Read the fine print.

Before starting any new job option make sure that you have actually read the fine print. Most sites that connect workers and clients, for instance, will ban you permanently if you arrange to be paid outside the site or if you arrange to communicate outside the site. Some sites are very particular about the types of jobs you can list. Some sites have different rules depending on where you live. Make sure you understand the standard timeline and requirements before listing your first gig or product.

Make sure you have established a payment method.

Before you go to the trouble of making a profile, make sure that you will actually be able to get paid. Some sites will only pay by PayPal, some only by check, and some only by bank deposits. You need to make sure that you have a method of getting paid before you begin working. Also, make sure you’re aware of the rules regarding escrow and refunds. Some sites – such as Fiverr – might hold your money in escrow for a certain amount of time before you can access it.

Create your profile.

For some sites, it’s a quick matter to create a profile, but for other sites you will need to compile something more like a resume with samples. Usually, it will behoove you to create a more thorough profile – on some sites, like Writer’s Access, the amount or level of work that you qualify for is tied to how the site rates your profile, so having a better profile can actually qualify you for better paying jobs.

Bid for jobs.

Not all online money-making methods require that you bid for jobs, but even if you don’t have to bid there are often forums or boards where you can find people who are looking for workers instead of waiting for them to find you. On Fiverr, for instance, there is a Buyer Request section where you can submit your gig listing in response to specific requests.

Some sites, like WritersAccess, standardly list all available jobs in a forum and you select whichever job you’d like to pick up.

Create listings.

If the online gig you have found is selling items, then obviously you won’t be bidding for jobs; you’ll be creating product listings. For EBay sellers, creating good product listing is one of the things that can have the most impact – other than your seller rating – on your ability to sell products online. Detail is extremely important. Make sure that you list every detail about the item that you could possibly be expected to share so that the buyer doesn’t give you a poor rating or demand a refund because you neglected to tell them something.