Earning money online is possible, even seriously, sustainably and without business models that operate in the gray area. Because they exist, the normal online jobs and business models that many entrepreneurs have been successfully implementing for years and thus finance a life by the sea, in the mountains, or elsewhere. From my point of view, the best business models to earn sustainable online money (a salary) in these times, I will tell you in this article.Is it even possible to earn money seriously online?
Yes, you can! I myself have been working exclusively online since 2011 and since then I no longer need a permanent office for my job. For example, I am co-founder of an accounting software, sell coffee online and am active as an Amazon affiliate – all together with my wife. We always have the computer with us, whether we are currently in Germany, on a trip around the world or just where we want to be.
One of the most common questions you hear on the go:
How can you make money online while living by the sea all year round?
My Answer: I earn my money online and have implemented several sustainable business models, which I continue to expand exclusively online and regardless of my time. The exciting thing about it is that anyone who has some time and, above all, discipline can do that. Because the path to digital independence works roughly again and again according to the same pattern:Reach people online,to whom you can offer added value (e.g. in the form of a product or service) for which they are willing to pay.Lifestyle Business vs. Time for Money
If you want to earn money online, you basically have two options:services, i.e. exchanging time for money, orSystems that make money regardless of time.
Both models are legitimate and have their advantages and disadvantages. Earn money online with services
Services are usually the faster way to self-employment. Already from the first customer and the first billed hour, the first sales come in.
On the downside are customer acquisition and poor scalability. Because the day of a service provider has only 24 hours. So if you want to earn more money as a service provider, you either have to sell your hours more expensively or develop a structure of employees who can serve more customers.
However, managing employees again costs time, so that the days as a service provider tend to be longer than shorter.
By the way, according to my definition, service providers are also e.g. people who test games for money or participate in surveys. At some point, time is the natural limit. And the model is not sustainable either. Much more attractive for me is therefore… Earn money online with a time-independent “system”
This is the variant that I personally would always prefer. I always speak of a “system” when money can be earned online without your directly required time. A simple example is a product sale, as it is known from e-commerce: A T-shirt in an online shop can be bought by a customer at any time, even if you are not sitting at the computer or on site.
However, the system is only a system when everything is right from front to back. After all, the customer must be able to find the shop, be able to pay for the product and also receive it. This all also takes time. Therefore, I am always not a big fan of the term “passive income”. Time is definitely required, but the sale in this case can also take place regardless of your time. 12 business models with which serious online money can be earned
Here are my recommendations for business models that can be used to earn money online (even in a German-speaking environment). This list does not claim to be exhaustive, but they are all models that I have either implemented myself or know someone in my environment who has done this.1. Affiliate Marketing
For me, one of the most attractive models to make money online. Because affiliate marketing does not require your own product. Instead, products are recommended by third parties. If the customer buys, you get a commission. The risk for the manufacturer is close to zero, as he only pays when the turnover has been made.
The challenge with affiliate marketing is to reach a specific audience online, introduce, test or evaluate selected products (this is the added value that the affiliate marketer provides), and then provide the appropriate purchase link. In my experience, these four product segments work particularly wellProducts on AmazonTravelSoftware ProductsOnline Courses and Digital Info ProductsAmazon Products
Amazon won’t win a design award, but hardly any other shop sells as well as Amazon. In an Amazon affiliate case study, I found that an average click conversion of around 5% or more is normal. This means that 5 out of 100 visitors you send to Amazon buy something there. For every sale that the customer then makes within the session, you get a commission between 1% and 12% (12% is only available for fashion at the moment).
For comparison: Typical online shops have an average conversion rate of about 2.5%. This corresponds to half, or requires double marketing effort. For this, you usually dust off higher commissions. Alternatively, take a look at affiliate networks such as Adcell.de or Awin.com to find suitable products.
I use affiliate marketing myself e.g. extensively as an additional business model on happycoffee.org, e.g. here using the example of milk frothers.
The special thing about travel is that people research very intensively for e.g. their holidays and then spend a lot of money on it. The best platforms for affiliate earnings are Booking.com in Germany and getyourguide.com for local tours worldwide.Unfortunately, Airbnb does not yet offer an affiliate program for small bloggers and the 35€ credit for a friend’s recommendation is not a sustainable model. Booking.com currently offers 25% commission from the booking commission (which is between 15 and 18%) from each booking (effectively this is about 4-6% commission of the total turnover), GetYourGuide pays at least 8%. Software Products
Whether accounting software, website builders, marketplace software, or online shop software – they all offer attractive affiliate commissions. The reason for this is that online software products typically have a continuous payment model, i.e. the user pays every month in which he uses the software. The useful life is sometimes a few years, which is why the value of a customer for the software for the provider is correspondingly high. That’s why these companies are usually willing to pay well for every new customer. Depending on the offer, the income is between 30 and 150 euros commission per sale. These figures show that money can be earned well online here. Online Courses and Digital Info Products
Digital products usually have no real value, or in the vast majority of cases the price is only invented. The margins are correspondingly high. The affiliate commissions are well and gladly between 30% and 60%. Especially popular in Germany is Digistore24.de, where you can sell products, but also simply register as an affiliate and market other products from the marketplace. Other popular marketplaces are udemy.com (15% commission on all products) and elopage.com (30% commission on monthly plans) from Germany. SEO and traffic are the basis for successful affiliate marketing
If the above models sound exciting, then here comes the damper. As attractive as that sounds, it is difficult to build a relevant target group.
The calculation example makes it clear:Target income: 2000€ (before taxes, equivalent to a starting salary in Germany)Click conversion website to Amazon = 5.5%Traffic conversion = about 20% (I’ve already seen 35%). This means that 20% of all your visitors click on an Amazon linkAverage commission per customer = 7% with an Amazon shopping cart value of an average of 20 euros = 1.40 € per referred customer