How to Make Money Online with eBooks

eBooks weren’t as widely received as smartphones, but as libraries began offering free books with more formats and electronics becoming available in the market, people started warming up. By the time dedicated eBook readers like Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle were released in 2006, eBook appreciation reached an all-time high. Of course, it helped too that these eBook reader manufacturers partnered with publishers to release digital versions of their books.

Today, eBooks have their own special place online. By 2018, e-book sales are forecast to account for about a quarter of global book sales. Bookworms either love it, or hate it. But one thing’s for sure – you can make money online by selling eBooks.

Make Money with eBooks in 2 Ways

You have two options when it comes to selling eBooks. You either:

Become a self-published author and sell your own book

Amanda Hocking has tried and failed to get traditional publishers to pick up her paranormal fiction books. In 2010, she decided to self-publish “My Blood Approves” via Amazon to raise extra cash. Within six months, she sold 150k copies of her first book and earned $20,000. Two years later, this book has sold 1.5 million copies and raked in $2.5 million. As of 2017, Hocking has published five different series, with a total of 22 titles.

Or become an affiliate

Marketing plays a huge part in determining the success of an eBook. One of the best ways to advertise your eBook is by creating your own affiliate program, which gives you a chance to earn more royalties from the eBook due to more publicity. Non-authors can also earn money by becoming an affiliate (More on this later).

This guide will show you how selling eBooks is feasible, and which method earns you the bigger cash.

Self-Publish Your Book

Let’s assume that you’ve already finished writing a fiction or non-fiction eBook, chose a head-turning title, designed a visually-appealing cover, and formatted the eBook via different digital formats. When you’re ready to share your work to the world, how do you proceed? You can either offer your work directly to eBook retailers or distributors, self-publish by hiring an assisted-publishing service, or working with a hybrid publisher.

Assisted-publishing service

This type of service bundles up every task needed for publishing properly, such as design, PR and marketing. You pay a fee upfront, but keep 100% of the profits from your eBook. The best thing about services like Matador and Scribe Writing is that authors keep rights to their work. Be wary of companies known to take advantage of newbie self-publishing authors and always check their reputation at Mick Rooney’s Independent Publishing Magazine before signing the dotted line.

Hybrid publisher

This type of service combines aspects of a traditional publishing house, and an assisted-publishing service company. Deals differ significantly. Some charge authors to publish with an upfront fee, others may hold off with payment but take a bigger cut on royalties (higher than the industry-standard 50% commission) instead.

If you chose to self-publish without the help of a publishing service, one of the major decisions you’ll face is if you want to publish exclusively on Amazon KDP or go wide with all platforms. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the most popular platform for self-published eBooks and offers the best value to authors (in terms of free promotion) thanks to Amazon-exclusive programs like Kindle Book Lending and KDP Select. You can also check out other platforms, such as Kobo Writing Life, NookPress, and iTunes Producer for iBooks. Authors can also upload their eBooks once, and let modern distributors like Smashwords and Draft2Digital distribute the eBooks to all other platforms.

As an author, you have total control on pricing (preferably somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99). Most eBook stores give authors 35 to 70% royalty, which means you get around $2.09 royalty for every sale of a $2.99 eBook. Authors are also free to create discounted offers and other promotions. Note that most of these stores have country-specific pricing, so it’s best to decide on a fixed price for every major currency, instead of relying on the store’s auto-exchange rate.

Become an eBook Affiliate

Affiliate marketing is an old and simple type of marketing wherein you refer another person to any online product. When that person buys the product as a result of your recommendation, you earn a commission.

When it comes to eBook affiliate marketing, there are three important players – the vendor (the person selling the eBook), the retailer (a platform such as ClickBank, e-junkie, JVZoo, and Gumroad that carries the eBook within its catalog of digital products), and the affiliate (the person promoting the eBook).

The retailer creates a unique affiliate link for promoters in order to track referrals, even if eBook buyers came from Facebook, websites, and other means. Every month, the vendor receives a report of sales generated by affiliates. Either the vendor or the retailer then pays affiliates the commissions based on a particular month’s sales.

  • Create an affiliate program – If you’re an eBook author, creating an affiliate program doubles the marketing efforts without spending thousands of dollars. Affiliates do the extra legwork you wouldn’t have the time or money to do, so giving them a cut of your eBook sales is worth it.
  • Promote other authors’ eBooks – For those who don’t have eBooks, but want to cash in from the ever-growing eBook industry, you don’t have to write your own eBook to make money. Just sign up to Clickbank or other platforms, find eBooks you’ve want to promote, and share the eBook everywhere.

The Bottom Line

Selling eBooks can be a lucrative way to earn money online. Some people even turn them into full-time careers. And if you’re lucky, you can even be the next success-story after “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L James. Mother-of-two and London-based James was 46 years old when she got obsessed with the “Twilight” novels, discovered fan fiction, wrote her very first novel, and released it as a Kindle book under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon.” Her success in eBook led to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a publishing deal, movie deal and about $80 million net worth.

Despite reports that eBook sales continue to fall in 2017, eBooks continue to be a money-making machine no one can stop. Many self-published authors explain that the case study only reported books with ISBNs, and since majority of indie eBook publishers don’t use ISBNs, the data is highly inaccurate.

Still, eBooks have lower risks, smaller investment, and minimal requirements to start. You don’t even need a book deal to succeed in this industry. These reasons make eBook production, selling or marketing a doable option to make money online.

Domain Flipping in 2020: Is it still a Lucrative Online Business Today?

Flipping domains are similar to flipping houses in real estate: You buy a property with potential, improve it, and then sell quickly for twice the profit (or more). Between 2005 and 2012, internet marketers had been obsessed with flipping domains… and for good reason. Many were successful at buying plain old domain names, spicing them up with keyword-stuffed content, giving them much-needed traffic, and then selling them off to the highest bidder. But in 2019, can this still be a viable online business?

Concerns with Domain Flipping in 2019

Domain flipping in 2019 can be risky due to several reasons:

• The world is running out of good .com domain names.
• Google algorithm updates make it hard to rank new websites quickly
• The secret is out on how to succeed in flipping domains. Anyone can flip domain names with a bit of investment, a good copywriter, and proper tools for traffic-building
• Scalability is an important element to succeed in this business, which means you’d need more money, time, and effort to buy and sell as many domains as you can.

However, as website broker EmpireFlippers has proven, domain flipping can still be a lucrative online biz, even for newbies. To date, EmpireFlippers has sold over $26 million worth of websites in their marketplace. But before your eyes get twinkly with ideas, know that these success stories aren’t easy to replicate.

5 Elements of a Successful Domain Flipping Business

In the domain flipping business, you have two options:

METHOD 1: Find a domain name with huge potential and sell it as is – This option is tricky since many good domain names have already been bought, so your chance of being the next Mike Mann is highly unlikely. Understand that unless you have a single, generic word as domain name like these world’s highest-selling domains, it could take months or years to for your domains to sell.

METHOD 2: Find a domain name with huge potential, turn it into a website, and sell it – The second route is more doable, since established websites that already generate some kind of income are more attractive to buyers.

If you’re really interested in this business, only move forward if you have these 5 things:

1. Money

To make money, you’ll need to invest a huge chunk of money in building a buy-and-sell domain biz. Domain names don’t come cheap, and to increase your luck in selling these domains, you’ll need to acquire a portfolio of domains.

If you’re planning to develop these domain names into income-generating websites, you’ll need to hire someone to write texts (a web content writer), someone to build links (a SEO expert), and someone to keep track of all your projects (an assistant) if your goal is to build a large-scale domain-flipping business.

2. Solid Plan

Just like launching any kind of business, you’d have to perform a lot of market research and planning. If you’re going with method 1, learn everything you can about parked domain names, finding potential buyers, and the auction process.

Method 2 requires a lot more work, so it is always best to plan your attack. The upside of starting a business like this now is that many people have shared their experiences from domain flipping. No matter if these lessons are good or bad; reading up on these real business stories can help you build a solid plan.

3. Plenty of Time

If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in employees and you’d rather work on your domain portfolio by yourself, you’d need plenty of free time. Generally, mini sites with 5 to 10 pages of content can be built within 5 days, while authority sites with over 10 pages could take up to two weeks. This amount of time would depend on your writing skills and knowledge of SEO techniques.

4. Openness to Diversify Your Business

Before EmpireFlippers became a website broker, the internet marketing duo Joe Magnotti and Justin Cooke had been sharing how they flip sites for cash on their widely-popular blog and podcasts. They relocated to the Philippines, hired locals to create content and build traffic, and then literally built hundreds of niche sites that earn from either AdSense ads or Amazon affiliate commissions. Every month, they chose low-earners and sold these ready-made sites on their marketplace.

Today, third-party sellers can add their sites to the marketplace, auction them off, and EmpireFlippers earn a commission from every sale.

5. Business-savvy skills

Flipping domains may be a web-based product, but it is still a product. To succeed in this field, you need to determine when you’re at a loss for a particular domain and decide when to call it quits. For large-scale operations, you should have advanced bookkeeping skills to keep your business afloat.

It’s not too late to flip domains for profit, but this kind of business isn’t for everyone. You need a workable plan, business-savvy skills and willingness to invest money, time, and effort to make it big in domain flipping.

5 Ways to Become the Jack-of-all-Trades Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are the modern-day equivalent of an executive secretary. They should be the jack of all trades, helping their bosses reach important goals, while fulfilling all 101 small, daily tasks that keep most businesses afloat. The VA industry is a competitive work-at-home niche, particularly since most employers are only looking for a single person to fill in the position.

If you’re a virtual assistant and want to get an edge over your competition, here are 5 ways to make your profile irresistible to employers:

1. Be Different, but Learn Everything

The most common tip to stand out from the hundreds of people offering virtual assistance online is to pick a specific skill set, such as SEO. While this is true and an effective technique even today, it shouldn’t keep you from learning new things.

Generally, virtual assistants usually perform duties within a specific category, such as content writing, SEO, digital marketing, social media, audio/video editing, web development, and general assistant tasks that fall under what bosses 1) hate doing, 2) can’t do, and 3) shouldn’t be doing.

If you’re a content writer VA, it’s easy to jump to other categories like social media, admin tasks, SEO, and marketing. After all, most of these categories include some type of research and writing, such as publishing posts on Facebook, hashtag analysis, and off-page SEO (blog commenting, forum posting, responding to posts).

Web developer VAs are a highly tech-savvy bunch. They would be perfect for on-page SEO tasks, graphic design, video/audio editing, e-mail marketing campaigns using advanced tools like Infusionsoft and more.

The best thing about learning new skills as a virtual assistant? With the number of free courses available online, the areas you can specialize in are endless.

2. Portfolio-Building: Document Your Skills

Every work-from-home employee dreams of a stable, long-term employment. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm for many virtual assistants. As such, you should be prepared to seek another job if and when your current employer decides to let you go. The upside to working with different bosses is that you’ll learn something new, regardless if you had a good experience or not.

Building your portfolio should always be on your mind. It’s best to create a free website from hosts like WordPress.com and turn it into a professional calling card online. Aside from a snippet of your CV, skills offered, and rates, you should also create a portfolio page where you could show off your skills.

For example:

• Web design – logos, avatars, graphics, etc.
• Web content – sample articles, links to published work
• SEO – case studies on link building campaigns, etc.
• E-mail campaigns – A snippet of the campaign made
• Video creation – Embedded video of your work

Some employers include a clause on employment contracts that they own rights to all projects you’ve participated on. Honor this clause. You can still show off the skills you’ve learned by creating your own project.

3. Work On Your Personality

No one is a perfect VA. The earlier you acknowledge that there could be something about your personality or work ethic that you can improve on, the better.

One of the most common problems of working from home is that you literally work alone. If a job requires you to be a team player and work with other VAs and employees, find a way to push forward and learn to provide value as a team member.

Ask yourself these questions as honestly as you can:

• How do you handle criticisms?
• Do you feel threatened with co-employees that do better than you?
• How do you deal with failure?
• Are you willing to leave your comfort zone?
• Can you spot and solve problems without supervision?
• Do you take pride in your work?
• How self-motivated are you?
• Can you easily communicate with people you’ve just met?

Did you discover something about yourself? Don’t worry much about these weaknesses, but give extra effort to improve them from here on out:

4. Learn How to Market Yourself

Marketing yourself doesn’t just involve showing off relevant work samples and your portfolio. You’ll need a bit of planning if you want to get the attention of the right employers. Here’s what you’d need:

Target market – Find job boards and forums that would showcase your work to interested employers. For example: web designer virtual assistants can go to the Smashing Magazine job board, writer VAs can lurk at the ProBlogger Job Board, and more.
Unique Selling Point – Determine your USP and take advantage of it. If you’re offering a very specific skillset, such as creating augmented reality Android app, then focus on this USP when marketing yourself.
Master the art of copywriting – The best way to show your personality, writing capability and marketing skills in one go is to practice writing copy.
Be up-to-date with trends – When writing a profile, cover letter, or other methods of marketing yourself to potential employers, drop some bits of knowledge that would show how well you are up-to-date with developments in your industry.

5. Be Loyal

Once you land a job you like, be loyal. The wide range of opportunities available for virtual assistants makes it easy for workers to hop from one company to the next. Even if employers don’t say it, loyalty is a highly-regarded trait. If you go well and beyond what is required of your job as a virtual assistant, your loyalty can be rewarded tenfold.

The Bottom Line

Virtual assistants can provide value to a business without the big investment required in hiring traditional employees. VAs know this. Employers are aware of this. But as a virtual assistant, this shouldn’t stop you from reaching new heights, upgrading your skill set, and improving your weaknesses to be the jack-of-all-trade VA no employer could resist.

Pros and Cons of Using Shopify for Your Dropshipping Store

A dropshipping store is like any other ecommerce store, except the business owner doesn’t have to rent a warehouse, pay for lease on a physical store, or stock the products. This means before you could “sell” products, you have to build an online store using one of the many ecommerce platforms available in the market today.

If you’re comparing ecommerce platforms for your dropshipping store, your options may include Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, YoKart, Shopify, Big Cartel, Open Cart, Zen Cart, Symphony Commerce, Drupal Commerce and a whole lot more. But if this is your first foray into the world of dropshipping and ecommerce, here’s why Shopify should be your top choice…

Why Choose Shopify?

The number one reason why over 350,000 online shops have chosen Shopify as their ecommerce platform is because there’s no need for programming, or web design knowledge to set-up a Shopify store. You can basically launch a new store in minutes.

Shopify is best for beginners because of these reasons:

1. Template availabilityShopify has a ton of free, ready-to-use themes to choose from. These themes are professionally made, mobile-ready, highly responsive, and designed with the customer in mind. There’s also option for paid templates, if you want better customization and more features.

2. Massive app store – Shopify has its own collection of extensions and plugins, which help expand the functionality of an online store. Example of tools available at the Shopify app store include tools on stock and inventory, reporting, shipping, customer service, store analytics, and social media, among others.

There are over 1,500 free and paid apps available, all of which are already compatible with Shopify and are easy to install. You can cherry-pick only those that would best fit your business, or experiment on new tools that could skyrocket your sales to newer heights.

Shopify even gives its members a way to connect to mobile app developers, who can customize their apps for you (for a fee, of course).

3. Quick-connect to Facebook and other Cross-Channel Selling Capability – One of the best things about Shopify is that it allows you to connect your store with a Facebook page, and sell directly from the largest social media network today via the Shopify Facebook App. You can also sell in other platforms like Pinterest, Houze, Twitter, and Wanelo for a wider reach of your target market.

4. Huge Community to Help – Even if Shopify is aimed at beginners and designed to set-up a store quickly, problems could still arise. What’s great with Shopify is that aside from its 24/7 livechat and phone support, the community forum is also home to many friendly and helpful people who are (or have been) on the same boat as you and are ready to guide you with Shopify questions you may have.

Shopify also publishes tutorial posts, case studies, and success stories regularly.

5. Built-in SEO Functions – Competition is fierce in ecommerce, which is why it’s a big plus that Shopify has SEO functionalities available. By taking advantage of these features, such as adding tags, editing meta tags, adding product descriptions, arranging collections, etc., your Shopify online store would be “seen” by search engine crawlers and indexed. This means that when someone searches the tags you used on search engine, your store could be one of the results listed.

Shopify Isn’t for Everyone

The benefits of using Shopify for your dropshipping store are numerous, but not everyone could succeed with this platform. Here’s why:

1. Shopify Payment – Members are basically forced to use Shopify Payment since every transaction made from your store would incur 2% transaction fees if you choose another payment gateway like PayPal. This is on top of the 5% transaction fee PayPal deducts from every payment you receive.

Unfortunately, you can’t just skip PayPal. It has been proven by multiple testing and testimonies that adding PayPal to an online store increases conversion rates for up to 30%. That’s a huge percentage to ignore.

2. Expenses Add Up – Shopify lets you try the platform for 14 days without charge, but if you decide to subscribe, you’ll have to pay monthly charges of $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Shopify Plan), $299/month (Advanced Shopify), or $2,000+/month (Shopify Plus). Other expenses could also add up, such as customization of themes and apps, and turnover fees (from between 0.5% and 2.0% of the product amount).

In addition, if Shopify decides to up their subscription plans in the future, you’ll have no choice but to continue, or move to another platform completely.

3. Limited CMS Capability – Shopify may seem like WordPress with its availability of themes and plugins, but the limits begin to show once you’re inside the Shopify platform. Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress are popular for a reason – the potential for development and customization are endless.

4. Shopify only lets you create two types of content – a blog post, or a page. It can be hard to create additional text fields for products, or link posts to products. The cheapest Shopify plan also doesn’t have the best search mechanism, and no advanced filtering for product searching available.

5. Scalability isn’t an Option – It’s good to start small, but if you plan to expand your dropshipping store in the future, it would be a pain financially and emotionally because:

  • Everything is hosted on Shopify. All customizations, uploads, and other content will be hard to export to a new host.
  • You’ll lose Google rankings. If you started with Shopify, but want to move to your own hosted site, the search engine rankings your Shopify store has earned will be all for nothing. Your new site would have to be re-indexed, causing your original site to lose traffic.
  • Exporting data is hard work. All customer data and order details are stored on Shopify. You’re able to export this data, but it is a lot of hassle to do so.

The Bottom Line

Shopify is a great choice for company online stores that house only limited items. If you’re planning to build a dropshipping business, you’d find more success buying a domain name, using a full-featured CMS like WordPress, and be in full control of your website.

Plus, since scalability is key to dominate the dropshipping model, your best bet is to learn how to build a store from scratch, and not be tempted with Shopify’s plug-and-play solution.

4 Ways to Make Money Online Creating Memes

I think it’s safe to say that memes are now part of our collective Internet culture.

A meme is a catchphrase, idea, hashtag, and any form of media (image, video, songs, etc.) that reflects the current culture that spreads quickly from person to person via the internet.

While the popularity of memes exploded with the rise of forums and social media, the word “meme” was coined in 1976 in the book “The Selfish Gene” by author/biologist Richard Dawkins, as he explained how cultural ideas and memories spread.

By the late 90s, with the help of online forum members of 4chan and Reddit, memes have become part of the internet culture.

Memes mostly include an element of humor, but it can also have shock value or have themes like drama, urban myths, psychological/philosophical ideas, and more.

The most popular examples of memes include:

  • Photos – Photos of passive-aggressive stick figure “Be Like Bill” and Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) have been around for several years and continue to be some of the most-shared photo memes.
  • Videos – Absurd songs like “What Does the Fox Say” about what a fox’s animal sound should be and the charmingly dorky “Gangnam Style” are great examples of video memes.
  • Animated GIFs – If you’ve been active on the web around the late 90s, you’ve probably seen the dancing baby gif called “baby cha-cha.” This is the first viral internet meme in recent history.
  • Websites – The earliest example of a meme site is the Geocities site filled with dancing hamster GIFs, which launched in late 1997 as a homage to creator Deidre LaCarte’s hamster named Hampton. The site and the dancing hamsters are live on in a copy of the original site: Hamster Dance.
  • Songs – The annoying earworm “Friday” by then-teen YouTuber Rebecca Black was hated by many people in 2011, but Black earned $1.4 million from it.
  • Expressions – Statements like Paris Hilton’s “That’s hot” or “OK Boomer” can also be considered memes.

And as with probably anything on the internet, people have found ways to cash in on memes.

If you think you’d be an awesome meme-maker, but don’t know where to start in monetizing this modern skill, read on for some of the most common methods of cashing in.

4 Ways You Can Make Money with Memes

Get ready to start amassing a following.

Here are the best ways you can turn your memes into cash.

1. Build an Instagram Meme Page

This is the easiest starting route out of the other items on this post, but this has also been done to death and is thus insanely competitive.

You can create a meme account to quickly gain followers and fans. Then, when you have enough followers to be considered an influencer, reach out to brands so that you can get paid to promote their brands through memes.

If you’re lucky, they might be the ones to reach out to you.

The way to stand out from your competitors is to have an Instagram page with a distinct personality and not just another page of random memes just to be hilarious.

Brands and companies are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of social media to reach a wider audience, and if your Instagram meme page attracts a certain type of demographic that they’re looking to attract as well, then your chances of being sponsored by that brand increases.

The good thing about it is that you don’t even have to be a creative genius to run an Instagram meme page. You can create your own memes, sure, but don’t knock curating other people’s memes.

You can take memes created by other people and still show off your own personality on your Instagram meme page. It can be difficult and challenging, but it’s certainly worth the effort.

An example of a success story that started with an Instagram meme page is Claudia Oshry, who started with her Instagram @girlwithnojob that was a hit with female millennials and is now a podcast host, stand-up comedian, and has even released a single.

2. Craft Corporate Memes or Get an 8-to-5 New Media Job

There are a few ways to make money with a meme-making career: you can either wait for a company to commission you for a meme-making project, find a new media job and work at an office from 8 to 5, or offer your services as a freelance meme-maker.

In some cases, companies opt for authenticity and hire professional meme-makers for the job. Such is the case for Gucci’s highly successful Instagram-based campaign titled #TFWGucci (“That Feel When Gucci”). This collaborative project was commissioned to multiple Instagram influencers, including @decorhardcore, @rozalinaburkova, and @youvegotnomale (real name Sebastian Tribbie Matheson), who said he got paid $2,000 for the starter meme pack he created for Gucci.

Many companies are hiring skilled people with a healthy dose of humor, pop culture knowledge, and advanced internet skills to handle new media marketing. In fact, dank meme-making is often listed as one of the responsibilities of a new media professional.

It may be difficult to get noticed by big companies to work on their projects. Similarly, it may be a struggle to get a day job as a new media professional.

Fortunately, in today’s gig economy, it’s possible to offer your services as a freelance meme-maker whom companies can hire for small projects, maybe even for only one to two memes. Check on Fiverr and other freelancer job boards to find small meme-making projects.

3. Open a Meme Compilation Channel on YouTube

YouTube may seem like a strange place to make money with memes, but actually, video memes work so much better with YouTube. Like other social media networks, YouTube videos are easy to share and spread like wildfire.

If you have a keen sense of humor, a spider-sense of what will become viral, and a knack for video editing, you can go into compiling video memes and posting them on your YouTube meme channel.

Of course, creating your own video memes will work even better, if you manage to make it viral. Original memes have more potential to be monetized.

Promote your content as much as you can to your followers on social media or through your blog, if you have one. Once you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within 12 months, you can link an Adsense account with your YouTube channel and apply to join the YouTube Partner Program so you can start cashing in.

A popular YouTube success story is Grumpy Cat. Before Grumpy Cat died in May 2019, she earned somewhere from $2k to $20k from YouTube alone. What’s interesting is that this amount wasn’t even half of what this feline and her owner Tabatha Bundesen actually made.

The Washington Post estimates that Grumpy Cat earned six-figure sums from her Friskies sponsorship, a book deal, Lifetime movie “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” and a widely successful merchandising business.

An older success story is that of LA-based deep-voiced singer Tay Zonday (real name Adam Nyerere Bahner), whose original song entitled “Chocolate Rain” went viral on YouTube in July 2007. The song, which is super-catchy, isn’t even a parody – it’s a song about racism.

He initially made money through video ads and a promo song for Dr. Pepper called “Cherry Chocolate Rain.” When the fame died down, his earnings didn’t. At some point, he earned a sizable monthly income from ringtone and music sales, although it didn’t translate to a vast fortune.

The most important takeaway you should have here is that your YouTube monthly views may peak and then die down, but being a popular YouTuber can open so many more opportunities for you than just earning a trickle of dollars from YouTube ad revenue.

4. Create Real Products Based on Memes

A great way to make money with memes is to create products or have manufacturers provide products based on popular memes.

Many crafters take inspiration from memes that have gone viral to create handmade products, which they then sell over at Etsy or any other online marketplace.

If you started with an Instagram meme page, you can sell real products based on memes on your Instagram page. You can set up your Instagram as a business account so you can use Instagram shopping to offer your products on your organic posts as well as through your Instagram stories.

Another way to sell them is to set up a separate online store or sell in a marketplace, which you can then link to on your Instagram profile.

Similarly, if you started with a YouTube channel, you can sell real products based on the video memes you’ve been posting on your channel. Link to your online store right on the video or in the video description so that your viewers can buy your merchandise right when they watch your video memes.

Start Making Money With Memes Today!

Who would’ve thought that these charming, annoying, hilarious, philosophical, passive-aggressive, and sometimes thought-provoking memes could actually lead to a career, monthly income, or huge sponsorship deals?

The rise in social media and globalization has turned memes into a massive communication tool by people of all generations and cultures from all walks of life. And brands have started to notice too. So if you feel this niche best fits your skills and personality, it’s never too late to try and cash in from the opportunities meme-making has to offer.

But before you go off creating memes and waiting for the cash to roll in, a word of caution: Making money through memes is not a guaranteed stable and reliable source of income. Competition is only increasing with each new year and each new set of memes that become popular.

If you want to be involved in something creative and earn money online, here are some of the articles we’ve written before to give you some inspiration.

Have you tried to make money with memes? Or do you plan to get into it soon? Tell us your stories in the comments below!

3 Underrated Tips to Help Double Your Dropshipping Revenue

Dropshipping can be a lucrative business due to the low investment involved, but your success in this field depends largely on how much work you put in. If you’ve set-up an online store with the idea that “if you build it, they will come,” you’re bound to fail. Because this business model has plenty of competition, what makes you different from all the rest who are doing the exact same thing is how smart you handle your business from inside and out.

For online store owners who have had mild success with dropshipping, but are experiencing roadblocks, here are 3 unpopular tips that could help double your dropshipping revenue:

1. Automate the Process, but not Customer Service

Dropshipping has been a business model for decades, even before the web existed. The difference with today’s online dropshipping version is that online store owners don’t need a warehouse to stock products because the wholesaler/manufacturer/dropshipper does everything from fulfillment to shipping for you. The downside is that you receive a smaller profit per transaction. The only way to succeed with this business model is to scale, and in order to sell as many products as possible, you have to automate operation.

Using automation software is a widely-known and extremely effective dropshipper technique. With a dropshipping automation software, you don’t have to:

  • Forward sales orders every time a customer places his/her order
  • Manage inventory by connecting to your supplier’s inventory system
  • Choose which suppliers to fulfill a product (if you’re dealing with multiple suppliers offering the same products)

Automation is the key to scaling your business to another level, but in order to double the number of return customers, you have to leave the customer service side of your business as human as possible. If your budget permits it, hire someone to handle e-mails, live chats, or other contact options. Customers feel better if they know a real person is trying to solve their concerns.

2. Offer as Many Payment Options Possible, but Skip Bank Deposits

You won’t believe how many people cancel a potential sale when they discover that their chosen mode of payment is not available.

There are plenty of payment gateways that can be used for your standalone ecommerce site, Shopify store, or other third-party hosted stores. Examples of payment gateways that accept cash, credit card payments, Bitcoin, and other currencies include Authorize.net, 2Checkout, Payza, Payever, Stripe, and PayPal, among others.

As many dropshipping businesses would point out, it is best to choose a payment gateway that offers would-be customers numerous ways to pay. However, an uncommon tip is to stay away from the bank-deposit option. Here are several reasons why:

No more impulse buys

When customers choose bank deposit, many of them don’t follow through in transferring payment. This can be due to various reasons from procrastination to buyer’s remorse. Whatever their reasons may be for not fulfilling payment, the result is the same: your business suffers from unfulfilled orders left open.

Checking bank payment is a lot of work

You may argue that online banking makes it easier to check bank deposit payments, but here’s where it gets tricky. Some customers use their spouses’ bank accounts for deposits; others don’t include notes when fulfilling a payment, which means you’d have to check with customers every time a payment arrives.

If given a choice, customers will choose bank deposit over credit card payment

Everyone knows that the bank deposit option is one of the safest ways to pay, so if you give customers this option, they are more than likely to choose this route, even if they have PayPal or an active credit card.

3. Learn all about On-Page SEO

SEO should be a part of any website, but not many dropshipping online stores implement these useful techniques to increasing traffic. If you’re trying to double sales, or increase visitors to your store, why you should be learning all about on-page SEO because:

  • Planning keywords give you an edge over your competition
  • Using a manufacturer’s product title and description not only limits your store’s potential to be seen as “different than the rest,” it can also cause Google to label your store as ‘spam’ and not include it in search results.
  • URLs, META tags, internal linking and planning site navigation based on a comprehensive keyword research can dramatically improve traffic to your store.
  • Usability is a deciding factor for most site visitors. The more user-friendly your online store is, the higher chances a customer would trust your store and make a purchase.
  • Bad links may cause customers to leave your store completely.
  • Search engines love sitemaps – build one for your store.

The Bottom Line

Follow these three underrated tips seriously and watch how your sales improve over time. What’s great about these methods is that they’re long-term: implement them on your dropshipping biz now and you’d still be reaping what you sow for months or years.

10 Characteristics of an Effective Social Media Manager

Social media is a blessing to many companies. The potential for “free” marketing on social media is limitless, which is why all companies big or small should be taking advantage of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Behind any successful social media account is a person (or sometimes, group of people) who manages the accounts in behalf of the company.

Choose the right person for this job, and your company can benefit from free press and increase in sales. If you’re looking to hire a social media manager, assign this position to an existing employee, or man the accounts yourselves, here are 10 skills, traits and characteristics you must consider:

Copywriting & Communication Skills

The web is fast-paced and people online lose interest within seconds. The right person for the job must know how to catch the people’s attention. Whether you’re assigned to manage the 140-character-restricted Twitter or Facebook pages, writing is a huge part of the job.

While automation tools like Hootsuite are available to make posting to different networks easier, every social media platform follows specific rules, which means you can’t just re-post something you published on Facebook to Twitter, or Twitter to Instagram.

A person with exceptional copywriting skills would know how to write for the 65+ year-old market (who are mostly active on Facebook), for the college kids and young professionals (LinkedIn), or for the teens to below 30s (Twitter/Instagram). On top of copywriting guidelines, the social media manager should also be familiar with social media etiquette, writing headlines for every platform, and hashtags.

Knowledge in graphic design, video creation, and Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

In 2016, Hubspot conducted a Consumer Behavior Survey and found out that posts with images are received better than text-based posts, and that 43% of consumers want to see more videos in the future. You don’t have to be the best artist in the world as a social media manager, but some skills in graphic design and video editing would give you an edge over the rest.

Outstanding Customer service skills

Sprout Social reported in mid-2016 that about 35% of people choose social media for customer care, beating out those who still prefer live chat (24%) and e-mail (19%). This means that even if your goal is to promote products and services on social media, it is inevitable that you’ll receive inquiries, complaints, and other messages from existing or potential customers.

Humor and empathy

In order to facilitate community engagement, a social media manager must be able to address a wide range of people armed with information and sometimes, empathy. The people who follow your brand’s social media must feel that the one publishing posts is human.

Social media managers with a good sense of humor would go a long way in this field. Many companies have benefited from banters between two brands (Wendy’s vs. Burger King, Taco Bell vs. Old Spice, and more) that have turned viral for days. Many people follow companies on social media for the laughs. It doesn’t mean you should throw in dadjokes every day, but be on the lookout for opportunities to join friendly banter online and enjoy a dramatic increase in followers and free press.

Multi-tasker

As you’d notice by now, a social media manager wears the hat of a writer, graphic designer, customer service rep, and even company mascot. It can be a stressful job for the wrong person, but a fun and challenging position for someone who meets all these requirements.

Meltwater published an interesting “a day in the life of a social media manager” post with an infographic listing down the numerous tasks that this job entails.

Up-to-date with trends and pop culture

Social media managers must work like a journalist – posting timely news that bring value to its audience. Not only do they have to be updated with social media policy changes and trending topics, they should also have an ever-so-growing knowledge of pop culture. People on social media absorb information and relate more to a brand when its social media posts also include what’s happening in the real world than just serious marketing-infused talk.

Detail-oriented

It’s not just fun and games for a social media manager. Time management plays a big role in this detail-oriented position. The business side of this job requires you to keep track of a content calendar, where company promotions are often included.

You have to really dig into the details because aside from creating content, you’re also scheduling pre-written posts, responding to messages, answering e-mails, engaging with the company’s audience, and more. Of course, there are office-related tasks as well (such as meetings and reports) that you have to deal with.

Authentic

Knowing your brand’s mission, vision and “voice” is important because the social media manager will become the official representative of a company. You don’t have to use slang to sound cool. What’s great about social media is that you can use a casual tone while being professional. It’s important that the person manning a company’s social media knows exactly who the target audience is in order to make the brand’s voice as authentic as possible.

Analytical

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms provide users a comprehensive report, which includes metrics (likes, comments, shares, re-tweets, etc.), and useful metrics like traffic and revenue. A social media manager has access to all these information, which he/she can use to improve the social media account’s performance, such as discovering what topics the audience engages to the most, or what time there are more active followers. If a company is using social media to drive traffic to a website, these reports can help achieve this goal.

Budgeting skills

Sometimes, a social media manager will also handle a company’s paid advertising and other expenses (images, graphics, social media management tools, etc.) required in managing a brand’s social media effectively. If this is the case, you’d need basic spreadsheet skills to list down every cent spent on any given month/quarter.

The Bottom Line

The job of a social media manager is relatively new, but it’s becoming a highly in-demand job. For many small businesses, hiring a resourceful, multi-tasking, creative and effective social media manager could be all it takes to drive more sales. For bigger companies, an active social media presence bridges the gap between corporate and customers.

Financial Freedom Sites: A Scam to Avoid

By now I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the 1% – the supposedly small number of people in the world that own most of the money in the world.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be part of that minority of people? To have as much cash as you’ll ever need.

That’s the premise of Financial Freedom sites (AKA Cash Tracking System).

Well, sort of, they state that it’s 3% rather than 1%, but let’s not split hairs just yet.

Financial Freedom Sites 3 percent

What is Financial Freedom Sites?

The initial sales page doesn’t really tell you anything about Financial Freedom Sites barring how wonderful it is and that you can get free instant access.

This leads to a chain of web pages each showcasing a different part of the system including several videos.

It’s these pages that suddenly change from Financial Freedom Sites to Cash Tracking System.

If you manage to get through all this information it becomes clearing that Financial Freedom Sites is a recruitment pyramid scam.

Financial Freedom Sites recruitment pyramid

The idea is that after you join you can invite other people to join the system as well, and depending upon the level and the downline, you get to keep some or all of the money that the person spent in order to join.

That’s right, it isn’t actually free!

What made me laugh was the video the FAQ titles, “Is this a pyramid?”. It states that because the structure of the system is not pyramidal in shape, then it’s not a pyramid scheme.

This is utter BS, as regardless of how it is structured, the system does not have products to sell and there is an up and downline. In fact this video stated that all the money from your recruits goes to you yet in a previous video it clearly stated that because someone isn’t at the right level money is passed up the chain.

However you look at it, Financial Freedom Sites is a type of Pyramid scam: a cash gifting scam.

Levels and Lines, Oh My!

When you make money online, it’s usually a pretty simple process: you take a product or service and sell it.

Financial Freedom Sites uses various levels that you buy into that range from a few hundred dollars to $3500 and maybe more.

If the people who you recruit buy a level higher than you, you only get a fraction of the money.

Financial Freedom Sites recruitment levels

As well as that there is a complicated system which decides where your commissions go. This level of complication is unnecessary and is often seen in scams, making it sound like a really clever system when the intention is to baffle and confuse.

As well as the levels that you need to pay for, there is also a onetime fee of $25 and a monthly $39.95.

You receive nothing in return for these costs, except the privilege to try to sign up other people.

Cookie Cutter Websites

If you were to take part in Financial Freedom Sites how exactly do you get your message out there? Well, you will be provided with a website to do it!

Not only that, but the website is premade for you.

Sadly the “website” is merely an automated page on the Financial Freedom Sites website.

No matter how many people sign up, everyone gets the same page to send new recruits to.

This means you have no way to stand out except in your initial conversation, which means you will be competing with all the other suckers, erm I mean fellow members.

Not Successful?

Talking of the websites, I did a search on the Financial Freedom Sites site in Google and discovered page after page of premade websites.

Unfortunately I could not find a single one that was active.

All I saw was this (email and phone number obscured for privacy):

Financial Freedom Sites failed sites

This strongly suggests that many people have tried thus system and not one of them has continued with it for any length of time.

If all these “sites” have been closed, how do you think you will fare? Probably about the same; you’ll spend your money, alienate friends and family trying to convince them to sign up and ultimately you will lose your money, time and probably respect.

Who is Behind Financial Freedom Sites?

Your answer would be as good as mine. There is no company information on their website, nor are there any terms, privacy policies or refund information.

This is highly indicative that this is a scam.

As well as that they are definitely breaking several US laws by not including basic information.

The Bottom Line

Cash Gifting, Pyramid Scheme, or dodgy MLM system. Whatever you want to label Financial Freedom Sites with there is one underlying theme: it’s a scam!

Sure you could pay your money and if you’re wily enough you could get people in and maybe even make some money, but the reality is that this system is not a long term business. It will collapse as all of these schemes eventually do and the people at the top will get rich off the hardships of others.

Avoid Financial Freedom Sites at all costs!