1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to earn Remote Income online. Put simply, Affiliate marketing is an advertising partnership with a brand. It is the most effective when you partner with companies that you already use and love. That way, when you advertise their products, you are making an honest recommendation to your others.
This was the first way I started to make remote income online, and it is a great way to earn Remote income once you get everything set up.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
You apply to a company’s affiliate marketing program, and if they accept your application, you get access to a dashboard of links and banners to start marketing their products on your social media platforms, website or blog. Some companies use a third party affiliate marketing program, so that they don’t have to manage their partners internally. For example, Simplilearn uses Admitad.
The company then uses “tracking codes” in affiliate links to ensure that you get credit for your recommendations. Basically, when someone purchases an item after clicking on one of your links, you make a small commission.
I place relevant product and brand links around my website pages, in blog posts, and on my YouTube video descriptions. I also created an online Store in which I showcase products (with affiliate links) that I use and trust.
The more traffic your website or social platforms have, and how effectively you place your affiliate links will determine how much money you make.
2. YouTube Ads
For a YouTube channel to be eligible for monetization, it needs to meet the following minimum requirements:
- 1,000 subscribers
- 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months
I’m not an expert on YouTube or videography by any means, but I think I got lucky with my niche of solo female van life and van conversion videos. Before I started making videos about van life, my channel consisted of a handful of travel videos, that barely got any views. My two most popular van life videos, Van Tour: Self-Converted Ford Transit Camper Van & Van Life As A Solo Female blew up overnight and earned me the majority of my 17,500+ YouTube Channel Subscriptions, which allowed me to monetize my channel.
My best advice, is to choose a very specific niche of something you are passionate about and start making videos for fun. You don’t need to have the best camera equipment or editing skills to get started, your videos and channel can evolve as you do.
I personally started out editing on iMovie and since upgraded to Final Cut Pro, and here’s the camera equipment I use.
Sunny Lenarduzzi is a great resource for how to make YouTube videos and growing your channel!
3. Crowdfunding on Patreon
Patreon is a crowd-funding platform that allows people to directly support creators they believe in through monthly financial pledges. Whether you’re a professional content creator or an aspiring writer, a photographer, a videographer, a comedian, or a musician- Patreon is an incredible platform to build an engaged audience and make money!
I started my Patreon Page in order to help fund the production of a travel documentary I filmed last summer in Central America. I was able to pay for the majority of my camera equipment for the documentary thanks to my incredible Patrons! Some of them have even stuck around to support me while I edit and complete the documentary.
Some YouTubers that I’ve met while traveling, have switched or expanded to publishing their videos on Patreon, because it is more straight forward than the secret payment formula for YouTube ads, and it is a direct and more rewarding way to connect with your fans.
The platform allows you to build your own “tiers” with different incentives (e.g. postcards, special access to videos, Q+As, etc) for fans to choose how much they want to pledge. The Nomadic Movement and Max and Lee are great examples of people killing it on Patreon. The Nomadic Movement publishes a patron only travel documentary series that I highly recommend becoming a patron of for just $1/month, and Max and Lee simply give their patrons early access to their YouTube videos.
4. Brand Partnerships
Brand Partnerships and sponsorships can range from getting free products to getting an all-expenses-covered and paid vacation in exchange for promoting a product or place on your social media. You basically create digital content (e.g. photos, videos, and compelling captions) for direct and indirect marketing on your own social media platforms and sometimes the brand’s platforms. Here is an example of an indirect marketing campaign I did with LuminAid’s Solar Lantern.
As with affiliate marketing, I highly recommend only accepting partnerships with brands and products you like and would use yourself. Otherwise, your content will come off as spammy, and you risk losing the audience that you worked hard to build.
Most online resources told me that you can’t reach out to companies and brands for partnerships until you have over 10,000 social media followers. However, companies started to reach out to me on Instagram when I had only 2,000 followers, so I chose to ignore the 10K follower rule and began reaching out to brands I wanted to partner with early on. At the time of writing this I have about 3.3K Instragram followers, however my YouTube audience of 17.5K subscribers has helped give me leverage when I send a company a partnership proposal.
The key to making money off partnerships and sponsorships is to know your value. Remember you are creating original marketing content for a company and advertising that product to your audience (these are both separate and valuable services they would have to pay a professional for). Therefore, I recommend requesting some monetary compensation in addition to the “free” product you are going to promote (even in the beginning). Then as you gain a larger following, you can negotiate for more money.
I also recommend not accepting just anything that gets offered to you when you are first starting your blog or social media influencing career. I personally made this mistake a few times thinking it would help build my portfolio. In the end, those partnerships were more work than they were worth.
5. Freelance Webdesign, Content Creation, Communications, & Social Media Management
If you already have an online or remote skill (e.g. graphic designer, photographer, etc.) or if you are growing your audience as a social media influencer or blogger- freelance work can be a nice income when you find a client that is the right fit. Finding jobs can be tricky at first, but the flexibility and freedom that freelance work offers is unparralled.
I started out finding clients here and there for one-off photography, writing, and web design jobs. Typically my clients were people that followed my blog or one of my social media channels and reached out to me online, and others I networked with in person and handed a business card to.
Now, my main ongoing client is LeeAnni Eco. I started out as a brand ambassador for their eco-friendly skincare products, and we worked well together, so they offered me a job as the social media manager for their YouTube and Instagram. This is why it’s so important to be picky about who you work with, because a strong brand partnership can evolve into a more sustainable business relationship.
Finally, I was able to work as the Communications Director for my mom’s local political campaign in 2018 and will do that again in 2020. I designed and managed the campaign website, created content and managed campaign newsletters, social media posts, signs and media advertisements, produced and edited campaign videos, and managed communications with institutional endorsements and other stakeholders. This freelance job (which was semi-remote) afforded me the majority of the money I used for my van remodel.
While you probably don’t have a parent who is a political candidate who can hire you for a remote job, my freelance communication role illustrates how you can use your newfound content creation and social media skills that you’ll hone while blogging to market yourself for other freelance jobs. These skills will be especially appealing to startups and mom and pop shops that don’t necessarily need someone with years of experience in this area and won’t require you to work in an office with regular hours.