Posted by Allison on 5 April 2009, 10:47
It's a nice idea to think that you could hop on the internet for an hour or so, visit a few websites and make some money as a result. But is making money online really that easy?
There is certainly money to be made, but there are several things you need to watch for in order to make sure you don't end up losing money instead of making it.
Firstly you need to think about what kind of opportunity you want to get involved in. There are lots of ways to make money online including paid surveys, paid to read emails, writing articles and much more besides. You should choose something that will fit into your current schedule and also something that you are likely to enjoy. You will also want to make a reasonable amount of money to make the time you put in worthwhile.
If you end up getting involved with a particular website you will need to think about what country that site is based in. Some will only accept people who are in the same country, while others will only issue payouts in their own currency. If this is the case it pays to go onto a currency conversion site to work out how much the amount you would be earning works out to be in your own currency.
The next thing to think about before you decide on any opportunity in particular is how you will get paid. While the speed of email and the internet makes it quick and easy to contact websites and webmasters in all countries, getting your payment isn't always so easy. If it turns out that you will be paid by cheque you need to find out whether cashing a cheque in a foreign currency is going to be a big problem.
Most banks will charge a fee for doing this, so what you need to know is whether or not that fee is going to wipe out most of your earnings. On the other hand if they can pay you via an online payment processing site such as PayPal then there is no problem.
Some online work opportunities require you to set your own fees, and in this case you might not be setting them in your own currency. For example, the dominant currency online tends to be in dollars. So if you are selling something such as photographs to download or articles to clients or websites, then you will need to consider the currency conversion that applies.
If this is the case you also need to think about the market rates that apply to whatever it is you are selling. For example, let's say you have taken a number of photos that you are going to sell on a professional stock photo website. Most of these websites are priced in dollars and cents. Now you might find that normally you would charge, say, £1 per download as a minimum, but when you go onto the website and see what the American photographers are charging you find they are mostly charging around $1.
That equates to 50p – around half the amount you really want for it. But if you charge the equivalent of £1, which is about $2, you would be pricing yourself out of the market. So you see it's not just a case of finding opportunities for earning money online, it's also a case of making sure you know what kind of money to expect from them.
One word of warning about these kinds of opportunity though – some of them will purport to open the door to massive earnings for you, but they will ask for some kind of registration fee in order for you to get involved. Always give these sites a miss, since you should never have to part with any cash up front to start earning money online.
There are some exceptions to fees though. For example, there are a lot of websites which invite you to bid on various kinds of jobs, such as data entry, computer work, virtual assisting jobs, web designer jobs and so on. Most of these are free to join with a basic account, and you pay a percentage of the fee you earn for each successful job you complete.
These are perfectly fine to use, since your fee will be deducted from each job – you don't pay anything until you have earned the money. You will still often be paid in a different currency though, since most European based websites and others in different locations will always display their rates in dollars rather than their own home currency.
The key to successfully bringing in cash from the internet is to do your homework before you begin. Just as there are a lot of genuine opportunities to earn money out there, there are also a lot of scams and it's easy to get caught up in the hype and sales talk if you aren't careful.
But for all the problems that can occur and all the converting of currencies that you may have to do to begin with (just until you get used to it), you can earn a lot of money if you persevere and don't try to go for big money right from the word go. A lot of people earn only a small amount from anything they do online; it takes dedication, perseverance and knowledge to make any real money.
With that said there are a lot of people who have given up their day jobs after starting some kind of part time online based earnings stream. Once it starts flowing it can keep on doing so regardless of what else you are doing. Just think of those photos we mentioned earlier – once you have a few hundred ready for sale they can keep on selling whether you're asleep or awake.
So why not consider the possibilities of increasing your income with the help of the internet? You might be pleasantly surprised.