Mitch Alison breaks down the ways you could make money online

Is the cost of living crisis having an impact on your family finances? Are you looking to earn some additional income to support your family this year? If the answer is yes, there can be some avenues for this online. Our financial writer Mitch Alison takes us through a range of different side hustle ideas and opportunities.

Online freelancing 

Freelancing is a great (and flexible) way to utilise your skills. Here are a few options which might help you succeed when it comes to freelancing and how to make money online.

Find the right platform: Websites like Unicorn Factory and Freelancer act as intermediaries between freelancers and clients needing all kinds of services. This could be a good place to start if you want to try making money online.

Build a strong work profile: Highlight your skills, experience, and portfolio. A complete profile that showcases your freelancing experience increases trust with potential clients.

Choose the right projects: Bid on projects that align with your skill set and interests. This will help maintain motivation and ensures quality work.

Maintain good communication: Keep clients updated on progress and be responsive to their needs.

Tap your network: Don't wait for opportunities to come to you. Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, and industry contacts to let them know you're available for freelance work. 

Use social media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram can be powerful tools for networking. Share updates about your projects, insights on industry trends, and engage with content from potential clients and fellow professionals.

Attend industry events: Whether it's online webinars, workshops, or in-person conferences, participating in industry events can help you stay visible and relevant, and you might even pick up a few gigs along the way. You can find out about industry events by joining career groups online in your city!

Offer value: Networking shouldn't be all about taking; it's equally important to give back. Offer your expertise or provide useful feedback. 

Follow-up: After making a new contact, follow up with a thank you note or an email. Keeping the conversation going can turn a casual encounter into a professional opportunity.

Choice tip: By doing all of this, you can significantly enhance your visibility and attractiveness as a freelancer, leading to more opportunities and potentially higher earnings. Just ensure you’re using reputable websites to avoid being scammed when looking for income streams online.

Earning potential through digital skills 

The value of digital skills cannot be overstated. These skills serve as the backbone for driving visibility, engagement, and ultimately, conversion in the digital realm. Here’s how you can get started:      

SEO consulting: Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO) is critical for enhancing a brand's online presence. As an SEO consultant, you can offer services such as website audits, keyword research, and strategy implementation to improve a website's ranking on search engines.

Content marketing services: Content creation extends beyond writing articles; it involves crafting valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. 

Social media management: Social media managers are responsible for creating content, managing posts, engaging with followers, and analysing social media performance to enhance brand visibility and engagement.

Affiliate marketing: This involves promoting products or services through unique affiliate links and earning a commission for every sale made through your link. It could also be a great way to gain passive income.

Online course creation and coaching: With your expertise in digital marketing, you can create online courses or offer coaching services to individuals or businesses looking to enhance their digital marketing skills. 

Freelance writing and copywriting: Given the constant need for high-quality content, freelance writing and copywriting offer lucrative opportunities. 

Digital products and services: Creating and selling digital products, such as e-books, templates, or software tools, can be a direct way to monetise your digital skills. 

Choice tip: It's about finding the right platforms, understanding the needs of your target market, and delivering value that translates into sustainable income.

Starting an E-Commerce Business 

E-commerce is a booming industry with lots of different ways to make money. Here are a few options on how to get started.

Market research: Identify a niche with demand. Use tools like Google Trends to understand what products are popular.

Supplier sourcing: Find reliable suppliers if you're not making the products yourself. Websites like Alibaba can connect you with manufacturers.

Build your platform: Use platforms like Shopify to create your online store. They offer user-friendly templates and comprehensive support.

Digital marketing: Utilise SEO, social media, and email marketing to drive traffic to your store.

Content creation online 

Creating content can be both fulfilling and profitable. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok offer various ways to earn, such as ad revenue, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing. 

Tips for success could include:

Consistent content creation: Regularly posting content keeps your audience engaged and attracts new and engaged followers who will interact with your posts.

Engage with your audience: Respond to comments and messages to build a community around your content. This can also be a great opportunity to network!

Leverage online marketplaces 

Beyond traditional e-commerce, online marketplaces like Etsy offer platforms to sell unique or second-hand items. Key strategies could include:

Product photography: Focus on high quality imagery which showcases the product and is created specially for the social platform you need to use it on.      

SEO for listings: Use relevant keywords in your product titles and descriptions to improve visibility.

Customer service: Prompt responses to inquiries and positive customer interactions can boost your seller rating.

Tax considerations 

Ever thought about freelancing but hesitant to make the first step? Understanding tax obligations is something you need to research first and foremost. Freelancers are required to pay taxes on their income using an individual IRD number, and if earnings surpass NZ$60,000, GST registration becomes necessary. Fortunately, many expenses incurred during freelance work can be deducted, lowering taxable income.

Towards financial independence 

The internet can provide numerous avenues for earning extra income. By choosing the one that best aligns with your existing skills and interests, and by approaching it with dedication and a strategic mindset, you could turn your online side hustle into a significant source of income. Start small, stay committed, and your online endeavours can grow into a stable source of income, complementing your financial goals and lifestyle.

Financial security  

In the context of freelancing, it's crucial to not only focus on income generation but also on financial security. Life insurance is a key aspect of financial planning for freelancers, offering protection against unforeseen events and complementing the autonomy that freelancing provides. 

Disclaimer: This article is an opinion only, provided for general information purposes and shouldn’t be considered or relied upon as professional or personal advice. If you have legal, tax, or financial questions, you should contact an appropriate professional.