As the web continues to grow over the past years, it has become part of our mainstream lives as well as businesses that are powered by it. With that, this technology has not only created many new career choices, it changes and shapes the online world quite a fair bit. Web designers, developers, bloggers, and many others are all part of this new sphere of growing online industry.
While we all have our own specialty, there are several types of work one can do online related to this specialty in order to broaden our income stream, or just to try out something new. In this article we'll look into the ten niches of the web industry today and how you can work whatever your passion is into each.
This is the most obvious form of working online, and what most web workers do - freelance. Working from gig-to-gig in a one man or woman show, on a contract basis. There are freelance graphic designers, web designers, developers, marketers, writers, and just about everything else you can think of. Many work entirely online or mostly online, and many find the majority of their work online regardless. It is truly one of the best ways to earn a living on the web today.
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The main benefit of freelancing is that it helps everyone involved; much of the time the freelancer themselves can earn more per year by working on their own (at least once established), and it's cheaper for companies to outsource to freelancers too. Freelancers have far more choice over their income, the type of work they do, the type of clients they work with, and of their own schedule.
When blogging first came around, it was a side hobby for most people, and at best a marketing tactic only. Now, there is a new industry that has arisen thanks to the rise of the web — professional blogging. Many people earn a complete living from blogging alone, whether that be getting paid to write for other blogs (which could be considered a form of freelancing, basically), by maintaining their own blog(s), or a mixture of both.
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Blogging is a lot harder to become established in, but it's surely possible. It takes a lot more time, work, and dedication, and can almost be considered a full-time job! However, there are plenty of people today that have created a nice, steady, and plentiful income for themselves from blogging alone, via things like ad sales, affiliate marketing, related product sales, and more.
While fully professional bloggers who earn 100% of their income from blogging are more of a rarity, it's quite a common thing for someone who's already working in the web industry (say, a freelance web designer like many of you reading this) to have a semi-successful blog and to earn some side income from it.
If you have enough talent to create goods for your clients, then you can surely create more in your spare time and sell some stock. Like blogging, many web people will do this on the side and earn some extra dough, but others focus their business around creating stock and earn most, if not all, of their income from it.
Web designers can create templates, web developers can create scripts and apps, writers can write books, photographers can sell stock photography — you name the industry, and there's a niche in selling stock that fits it. Different web people can even work together to create bigger projects that would otherwise be beyond their own skill set scope.
Just think of all the variety Envato has created in their marketplaces: ThemeForest, AudioJungle, PhotoDune, GraphicRiver, and etc.
The Internet has really helped many people get started in the web industry in the first place because information is everywhere, often free, or at least very cheap! No matter what you're looking for, you can find it if you look hard enough. While you can find information on just about everything for free, people are still willing to pay for higher quality (yet still affordable) educational content and resources. It sure beats taking expensive offline courses or $70 textbooks!
If you're an expert in your field, or even if you just have a few years of experience under your belt, why not do the community a favor and write an eBook, create a video tutorial, or write a tutorial series? There are many other formats available too, like Podcasts, or you could even use a mixture of several media types and create a course for your followers on a site like Learnable.com.
One could use it to supplement their income from another web niche, or even gradually move their business so that all of their income is based on of this type of material!
Similar to creating resources for education, one can share their expertise with those who are not as experienced by an hourly or packaged rate as another niche for working online. Consultation businesses are common online, and many people really buy into them.
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As the web has grown, so have the possibilities in communication across the web. Face-to-face video chat used to be a Sci-fi fantasy, but now it almost seems crazy that someone would not have Skype installed on their computer, or some other type of video chatting software. Even webcams are common ground on each new computer or device that rolls out. Beyond this, services like GoToMeeting and WebEx, client management apps, and more have made communication feature-rich and easy to do fully online. Easy communication means easy online consultation.
Online consultation can reach an even wider range of professions, as you can consult someone in just about everything — design, business, health, personal growth, etc. If you have a knack for something, why not offer consultation services and help others by catering your knowledge to their specific needs?
Management in an Online Industry
If you've ever been a worker within a certain specialty, you may have dreamed about moving up the ladder to managing others doing what you do best. This has actually become quite a common trend. Like with consultation, effective means of communication are necessary with management, and it's quite easy with today's technologies and tools.
If you are a web designer, why not begin managing others in web design work under your company name while you take on more clients? Why not build your business up from a one person show to several people in order to grow? There's no need to cut out design work entirely, and no need to hire employees full-time. Essentially, you could run an entire business by just managing others in your niche best. You manage, have others do the work, and take a cut of the profits for your organizational and motivational work.
Selling Goods Online
Maybe you make your own makeup, paint on the side, or make awesome sculptures. Whether it's a side hobby or very closely tied to your career, many people make an excellent living selling physical goods online. Some even resell goods successfully, but that's much more difficult to do.
As long as you don't mind shipping costs and services, creating products on demand, and dealing with very heavy marketing strategies, this is a great way to make an income online. Unlike some of the other niches, though, there's not necessarily a low startup cost — you'll need to buy the materials for whatever you need to sell in the first place.
Selling online sure beats paying rent for a physical shop location, and you can reach a much broader audience. As long as the goods you're selling are within a very specific niche, selling online can be relatively easy.
Selling or Reselling Hosting Services
If you have a website, you have a web host. The web hosting industry has been around for decades now, because you can't have the Internet without it! Despite it being such a common and essential thing, many people have no idea where to start with web hosting, how to manage it, where to go, and how to deal with everything that may come with it - domain names, scripts, services, etc. These people likely include many of your clients.
If you have clients that need websites, which is likely the case if you're a web designer or developer, then why not offer reselling web hosting services? You can handle the management - which is probably second nature to you by now — and they can pay you for it in order to make you a profit. With access to their hosting account information too, it may also make it easier to manage their web presence.
This is most common among bloggers to use as a means of additional income, but it can work in any industry. People want you to refer them, sell their products for them, and market for them. If you have any sort of following online, you can suggest these products or services to your followers and if they use it, you get a cut of the price.
Many people, no matter what industry they’re in, will use this as their side income, and small amounts can add up fast, especially if you have a bigger following. Many though, especially bloggers, use affiliate marketing as their only means of income. The trick is to truly suggest quality products/services, have a large following, and to have a variety of products/services to market. This niche is definitely one of those niches where the small dollar amounts add up.
Finally, if you have a lot of spare time, you can use those spare hours on sites like TURK, Helium, or Cloud Crowd. You really only get pennies for the time you put in, but if you dedicate enough time to it, it can really add up. I loved using Helium, for example, to practice my writing skills, and it’s how I really learned to write for a web-based audience. In the end I made an extra $200 or so.
Can these types of sites be a waste of time? Sure they can, if you could be doing more productive things. They're definitely not get rich quick schemes or even big money makers, but they can help out if you're really in a pinch, or have nothing better to work on at the moment. Also, it's unsure of their validity, but we have all heard success stories of people using these sites, where they dedicate so much time to them that they truly do make it big and can bring in the big bucks from sites like these only.
There are many ways one can work on the web today, and in each particular niche there is a way to earn a full-time living. Whether you're a freelancer looking for additional income streams, or vice versa with any of the other niches, there are plenty of options available with today's technology and with our online society. There are also plenty of options one can try out if they're just trying to break into working online regularly for the first time.
Can you think of any other niches, or methods for earning an income online today?