Three years ago I quit my day job. I didn’t want to be chained to a desk any longer, living that horrible 9-5 grind. I told myself that I was going to work from home and become an entrepreneur. Only problem was, back then, I had zero idea how to make money from home.
Okay, I had one idea how to make money from home: retail and online arbitrage. But as I quickly learned my first month “in the wilderness“, those particular money-making methods weren’t exactly scalable (more on that below).
How I Learned How to Make Money from Home
In that first painful year, I learned a lot of ways on how to make money from home. First, I pivoted my arbitrage business into private label. From there, I raised capital and created startups. Later, I learned how to market on social media and eventually wrote blogs for money.
Now it’s 2018. And I can honestly say that I’ve learned and tried at least nine ways how to make money from home. Those methods are online arbitrage, retail arbitrage, blogging, drop shipping, domain flipping, cryptocurrencies, freelancing, day trading, and (my favorite) Amazon private label.
Of course, not all of the methods on how to make money from home are created equal. Some are very profitable. Others come with a ton of risk. Many are a waste of time. And then there’s those that take a lot of special skills and knowledge.
How to Make Money from Home in 2018
Of course, there’s probably more than just nine ways to make money from home. However, these are some of the more popular that you will run across. Here’s a synopsis of each method:
- Drop Shipping. First, this is a popular method of advertising another business’s products as if they were your own. Typically, the other business is a manufacturer, supplier, or wholesaler. Once a sale is made, the seller contacts the product’s source. From there, the seller purchased the product from the source and then the source ships it on behalf of the seller. The profit the seller earns is the difference between what they sold the product for and what the source charged the seller.
- Freelancing. More like having a job than an online business, freelancing is when a person with specialized skills offers their time and knowledge for pay. Generally, freelancing works best with digital skills since a freelancer can sell their skills to a much broader audience.
- Retail Arbitrage. When someone purchases under priced or wholesale products from a retail store with the intent of selling online at a higher price, this is called retail arbitrage (RA). This is a very popular method for selling products on Amazon.
- Online Arbitrage. OA is similar to retail arbitrage, except the person purchases under priced or wholesale products from an online platform. Like retail arbitrage, they sell those products online.
- Domain Flipping. This is a method of purchasing high-value domain names with the intent to sell the names at a higher price. Additionally, flippers can build content-heavy sites as prepackaged deals at a higher price, or purchase existing websites to improve and resell.
- Day Trading. This is the highly technical process of tracking stocks, bonds, options, Forex markets, etc to purchase at daily low points to resell on margin. It requires a ton of expertise, knowledge, and complicated software to perform.
- Amazon Private Label. Also called PL, this is a method of researching and manufacturing niche product opportunities on Amazon. Then, they manufacture those products themselves and sell them on Amazon. This is the method and online money-making strategy this site covers the most.
- Blogging. Also known as content marketing, blogging employs a wide variety of money making strategies (which is why it’s one of the more complicated methods how to make money from home). Bloggers can earn money through affiliate marketing, selling digital products, or even selling services.
- Cryptocurrency trading is similar to day trading. The big difference is that instead of focusing on traditional “fiat” currency markets, its geared towards cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc.
Sure, many of these methods outlining how to make money from home are based on my own experiences. But at the same time, I’ve followed a lot of “gurus” and blogs and can reasonably say that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
While risk and reward can be fun, let me take a note from Sergio Leone’s playbook and lump these money-making methods into three categories: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Cryptocurrencies, Freelancing, and Online Arbitrage
Bad’s a tough word to use and a little inaccurate. The methods I consider “bad” are perfectly good ways to make money. It’s just that when compared with the other ways I want to teach you how to make money from home, they don’t stand up.
Here’s three reasons why these are bad:
Reason #1 – The Risks are Extreme (Looking at you, Cryptos!)
Little controversy here. But the crypto markets are extremely dangerous. Full disclosure: I’m invested in them. But keep in mind that they make up a very small portion of my overall entrepreneurial and investment portfolio. Why? History, of course.
Whether it’s tulips, late ’90s dotcom businesses, or real estate, economic bubbles have devastated many a bright eyed amateur investor’s portfolio and often livelihood. Yes, the returns are amazing. But like any good investment advice will tell you (and we will, too):
Past returns are not indicative of future results.
That’s a fancy legal way of saying, “Hey, this is pretty cool what happened to all these folks, but chances are they won’t happen to you, too.”
Remember: the goal here is to make money from home. And that method should be evergreen, meaning you can do it for a long, long time.
Reason #2 – You Will Hustle Way More Than You Should (Freelancing)
I love doing freelance work. It’s a great way to earn some cash. But guess what? It’s incredibly competitive! You can be the best graphic designer in the world. You can be the most awesome spreadsheet creator since the inventor of Excel. Or you can even be the greatest content writer that ever lived.
None of that matters when you’re competiting with folks in other countries who are okay with making $10 per day doing the same work. Is it better work? Probably not. But a deal is a deal.
When I did freelancing on Upwork, I think I spent 20% of my time doing gigs and the other 80% hustling for jobs. Not worth it.
Reason #3 – It’s Not Scalable (All 3)
Back when I started working, I only knew how to make money from home a couple different ways. One of my favorite was online arbitrage. To this day, I still do a little on the side. But the big problem I discovered with this method (and later freelancing and cryptos) is that there’s a ceiling to it all.
For freelancing and online arbitrage that ceiling was time. I only had so many hours in a week that I could work freelancing gigs (or hustle for them, I should say). Online arbitrage had a similar issues. Not only did it take a ton of time to find under priced products to sell online, but after a while inventory dried up.
For cryptos, you’re limited by the amount of cash you have to spend. Most crypto strategies revolve around “HODLING” or holding, where you just buy and wait. You can day trade (I do NOT recommend that at all, see below), but even then there’s only so much you can do.
Drop Shipping, Domain Flipping, Day Trading, and Retail Arbitrage
On my quest to find cool ways how to make money from home, I ran into some real stinkers. These are methods I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Of course, there’s always going to be exceptions. After all, you’ll find plenty people bragging about how they made 6, 7, 8 figure incomes using these ugly methods. Of course, they’re also selling overpriced training programs to teach you how to do it, too, but I digress (see “selling shovels” below).
Here’s 3 reasons why these are ugly:
Reason #1 – Tons of Risk, Little Reward (Day Trading)
I blame Leonardo diCaprio for this one. He made being a stock trader look so darn cool, didn’t he? Problem is, the Real Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort made (and subsequently lost) all his money in the 1980s. That was 30 years ago. Technology changed quite a bit in that time. So, the markets don’t work like that any more. Big time banks use super high tech computers to do all their trading now.
If you ever get a bug to day trade, read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis some time. You’ll quickly change your mind.
Reason #3 – A Lot of Work for Little Reward (Retail Arbitrage)
Remember that episode of The Office where Dwight bought up every Princess Unicorn doll in the tri-state area to flip for a profit? You probably thought either 1) “boy, Dwight sure is a goober” or 2) “Dwight sure is shrewd to rip off all those desperate parents.” Or probably a little of both.
Welcome to the world of retail arbitrage.
Now I understand that a lot of folks reading this have probably tried their hand (or still do) a little RA. And that’s fine. I’m not here to make fun of you.
But it’s a ton of work, isn’t it? Going from store to store to store, scanning every product in sight looking for that perfect item you can flip on Amazon for (marginal) profit. Not to mention that Amazon’s really cracked down on the practice within the last couple of years. So, now it’s really hard to do.
Plus, this is about how to make money from home. Driving around to every Walmart in a 50 mile radius to buy up all their sticks of wholesale deodorant doesn’t sound like “work from home” to me.
Reason #3 – Extreme Competition (Drop Shipping and Domain Flipping)
Beware anything that has low barriers of entry. People love to talk and dream about drop shipping, but the reality is that since there’s almost no risk involved, anybody can do it. And when anybody can do something, everybody will do it. Basic economics: when demand stays the same and supply increases (ie, more competitors enter the market), prices and profits go down.
Same goes with domain flipping. Buying a domain is easy and cheap. I own like… forty of them. A domain itself has little value unless you’ve accurately predicted a new trending term (the guy who owned cofveve.com must have made a fortune) or you’ve built a site to go with it. But a site is worthless unless it’s got traffic and is making money. And doing that takes a lot of time. Not to mention, most site flip sites average less than 2 times earnings. Oh, and did I mention you’re competing with those who can build sites like those in just a few hours and are totally okay only earning $20-$30 in profit doing it? Pass.
Amazon Private Label and Blogging
Finally, there are two methods of making money that I’ve found to consistently bring me amazing returns: Amazon private label and blogging.
Here’s three reasons why these are good:
Reason #1 – They’re Not Incredibly Risky
Both methods are pretty easy to get into. Sure, there’s some startup costs with Amazon private label, but those costs are easily covered with crowdfunding (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo). Additionally, your products will always be worth at least what you paid for them. Even if a product totally fails, you still have the product itself. You can wholesale it, reposition it, or even use it as a promotional item/marketing tool. If a cryptocurrency loses half its value overnight, that’s it. Your earnings are gone. Poof!
And blogging, of course, just requires that you write a lot (and know how to monetize, of course).
Reason #2 – They’re Scalable
The average Amazon private label product earns $1,000 – $2,500 from a small product investment. And it’s pretty evergreen, too. Thanks to Amazon’s incredible brand trust that its built up over the last 24+ years, properly researched and sourced products will turn a profit pretty much forever. From there, you can roll profits into new products and continue to build. Since Amazon does most of the work for you, you’re not taking up any more of your free time by adding products.
While blogging will always take a ton of your time (its biggest downside), content doesn’t vanish once it’s created. Therefore, it’s evergreen, too.
Only difference is, it takes a long, long time to see the same sort of profits blogging that you will with an Amazon private label business.
Reason #3 – It’s Easy to Learn (Amazon Private Label)
Sure, Amazon PL isn’t as easy to learn as, say Retail Arbitrage. But with the right strategy and resources, you can learn Amazon Private Label in just a day or two. Surely a day or two of learning is worth the 6-figure income that many Amazon sellers experience over the $10-$20 retail arb folks make flipping wholesale gym socks, wouldn’t you agree?
Blogging is easy to learn, too, of course, but the big difference is that you have to somewhat be an expert in a particular topic in order to blog successful. Even then, there’s probably a whole slew of competitors writing on the same topic.
That’s another way that Amazon edges out blogging when it comes to ways how to make money from home.
Of Course, Who Says You Can’t Do Both?
After all, blogging works great when it’s got a product that your content is selling. And if you’re already selling your own product on Amazon, what better way to build interest than blogging about it? While I’d argue that Amazon beats blogging in a few categories, blogging’s strengths (low cost to start and evergreen marketing methods) help Amazon private label make up for some of its common, albeit minor, shortcomings.
The Clear Winner: Amazon Private Label
My #1 Favorite Method How to Make Money From Home in 2018
I’ve been an Amazon seller since 2015. I started with the ugly (retail arbitrage), made my way through the bad (online arbitrage), and ended up with the good (private label).
My first product, a drinking flask, made back my original investment in just six short weeks. Since then, I’ve earned close to $36,000 with just that product alone.
The craziest part? It’s not even my top seller!
Brass Tacks: What Can You Make Selling on Amazon?
Amazon has a ton of market trust. So it’s pretty easy to list and sell a product that will move 300+ units per month. In fact, we encourage that you look for products exactly like that (more details on that below).
We also encourage that you find a product that you can sell for at least $25. From that $25, Amazon will take roughly $3.75 as a referral fee and another $3 to ship it. The product itself should cost between $3-$5. Finally, you will want to spend a little in advertising, about $4 per sale. That leaves you with roughly $10 in gross profit.
So you’re selling 300 units per month at $10 in gross profit per unit.
That’s $3,000 per month from just one product.
After that, all you really need to do is pick out a hammock for all the relaxing you’re going to be doing.
How to Make Money from Home with Amazon Private Label
I won’t go into too much detail here as we’ve got plenty of content here on the site that can you teach you how to make money from home with Amazon private label, but here’s the basics in 4 easy steps:
Research a high-volume sales product with limited competition.
Amazon organizes all of its products with a ranking system called BSR. Clever apps–like our very own Jungle Scout Chrome Extension and Web App–extrapolates sales data from this best-seller rankings. That means you can more-or-less predict how well a product is going to sell on Amazon. We suggest looking for products that will sell roughly 10 units per day or 300 per month.
Source your product with a manufacturer.
Once you’ve discovered a cool product with the Jungle Scout applications, you can find a manufacturer using Alibaba to create that product for you. Alibaba is pretty much the Amazon seller’s third best friend (behind Amazon and Jungle Scout, of course) and has plenty of cool features in place to protect your investments when dealing with overseas manufacturers. Try to keep costs around 1/5 (or better) of the price you intend to sell for.
Launch the product on Amazon using FBA.
One of the coolest things about selling stuff on Amazon is that Amazon offers its very own in-house fulfillment service called Fulfilled-by-Amazon (FBA). Once your products arrive, you can ship them directly to Amazon where they’ll store your inventory for you. Once a sale is made, Amazon will pick, pack, ship, and handle customer service on your behalf. How cool is that? Amazon usually takes 15% off the top plus $3.00 to ship it (if it’s under a pound).
Market your product and make money.
Finally, it’s your job to make sure people know your product is on Amazon. Of course, Amazon gets nearly 3 billion visitors to its site each month, so you’re going to have a lot of sales just by being on the platform. If that wasn’t enough, Amazon also has its own advertising service called Amazon PPC that makes getting your product to the front of the search page mega-easy.
You Don’t Have to be a Genius to Make Money with Amazon Private Label
If this is your first exposure to Amazon private label, it might sound complicated. I totally understand. Heck, I felt the same way, too, back in 2015. But I found that it’s actually all pretty easy.
You might have noticed on on the “How to Make Money from Home in 2018” risk/reward matrix, that Amazon Private Label ranked as only needing some specialized knowledge. What’s great is that we actually offer all of that knowledge totally for free, using some of the top sellers in the industry (myself included, #humblebrag).
If you’re interest in learning more about Amazon private label, join our Genius Series where we’ll go step-by-step through each of the aforementioned steps including:
- How to find a profitable product to sell on Amazon.
- Sourcing and importing products without spending more money than you should.
- Our best-kept marketing secrets to ensure your product launch is a homerun.
This course is totally free.
Sign up today and become an Amazon selling genius and learn how to make money from home!