A few years ago I can recall spending hours on end trying to find ways of making money online in Kenya. Years and thousands of attempts down the line and I believe I have now tried, or at least had some experience with almost all possible methods of earning money online. In fact most of these methods are applicable in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, US, India, and everywhere across the world. Online jobs are a great way to supplement the income from your day job, or even a way of making a living.
This list is in terms of preference, based on the earning potential from each method – beginning with the methods with the highest income potential where you can earn up to thousands of dollars and concluding with the online scams where you stand to make $0.
I have written and researched this article for close to a year in an attempt to cover every possible method of making money online. During this period I experimented with various methods of presenting whatever information I gathered. Following the immense popularity of my other list articles online I decided to follow the same format on this piece. This is one invaluable list. Bookmark it, Pocket it, Print it, Pin it, Tweet it, try everything out, and keep visiting often for updates.
Ps: It is a long read.
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- An Introduction To Academic Writing
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Working on Freelancing Sites
Freelance sites are not a method of making money online; they are actually a platform where you can get all kinds of freelance jobs. Work on freelancing sites is not limited to writing jobs. In effect, the most popular jobs apart from writing include graphic design – designing logos, headers etc., video editing using camtasia, software development, programming, translation, and customer service. It is never too late to learn a new skill or use a hobby to make a living.
- Fiverr – I believe that Fiverr is the best online freelancing site at the moment.
- Upwork – Formed by the merger of two previous freelancing giants i.e. Odesk and Elance.
- Freelancer – Average at best. Too many freelancers competing for few jobs.
- Peopleperhour – hard to get jobs.
- Guru.com – very few jobs.
- 99designs – As the name suggests, the site is a great place to sell logos, banners etc.
Start an Online Store
I strongly believe that e-commerce is the most untapped local industry. Jumia along with other online based stores such as Kilimall are experiencing phenomenal growth. However, none is showing market dominance and there are numerous opportunities for new players. This is especially true for niche markets. A niche market means focusing on a specific product and creating a market and e-commerce site for it.
A good example is Byhand Products that sells art pieces online, which i first heard of on CNN! Areas where I believe are still untapped include electronic devices especially mobile phones, clothing, accesories, shoes, luxury goods etc. It is very easy to build an ecommerce without any knowledge of running a website or web development using e-Commerce Content Management Systems such as:
- Magento – The most popular, but meant for larger websites.
- Woocomerce – Highly recommended
This posts will show you how to build an online shop in Kenya.
What is Academic Writing?
Simply put, academic writing involves completing, mostly foreign college/university students’ written take-away assignments for profit. In layman’s terms: you are doing some lazy student’s homework for a small fee. One thing you have to know is that no type of academic work is simple; these essays are way different from what you encountered in the Kenyan education system. Nonetheless, the essays vary from somewhat simple high-school 200-word discussions to very complex 10000 words+ PHD dissertations. I have written about academic writing in detail on this post.
Every academic essay comes bundled with very strict grammar, punctuation, and referencing instructions. Additionally, you will have to do a lot of research before and during the course of writing. Academic questions tend to involve all sorts of topics: If anything is taught in an educational institution then you will certainly find its questions. The most common questions come from these disciplines.
- Health courses e.g. Nursing
- Business and marketing
- English and literature
Where to find Academic Writing Jobs
- Uvocorp – One of the best academic writing websites around. They pay up to $20 per page (~275 words)
- Essaywriters – The academic site with the highest amount of work at any time. Has some of the lowest rates, but I know a number of writers making a killing from this site.
- Brainywriters – The only Kenyan-owned site that I included in this list. They are Ok, well there are enough orders, and the CPP is average at best. You can make a decent income from this site, that is, if they don’t scam you first.
Here is a more detailed list of up to 50 academic sites you can sign up to.
The main gripe involved with academic writing is the seasonal nature of the job. Students in most countries go for their summer holidays, and thus the academic writing industry is affected. During the low season there are very few jobs, and the few that are available pay very little.
Freelance content writing is one of the most common online jobs. There are thousands of blogs and websites out there that need content. As a content writer you will be providing clients with content in form of articles to be used either online on their websites, blogs, newsletters, e-books, mailing lists or in some cases as offline newsletters, books etc. Unlike academic writing, there is no low season, and there is a constant flow of jobs throughout the year. The best part is that you don’t have to learn much, just a little on keyword density, some basic SEO, and you are good to go – it takes less than a day.
In content writing, only native writers get the best income (I have no idea why), but you can still get some pretty decent paying content writing sites. In some cases you have to pretend to be a native English speaker, but don’t worry, they can never tell the difference :).
- iWriter – I chose to list iwriter as the best content writing site, not because it offers the highest rates or it has the best jobs, but simply because it is the best place for any new freelance writer to start off. That is where I made my first $100 online. You should definitely give iwriter a try.
- Demand Media – Only big boys get to play here. If you are a fantastic writer, you can make some good cash on Demand Media.
In spite of its various perks, content writing is still plagued by poor rates. Most of the sites pay very little, and on bidding sites clients ever so often offer as little as $1 for 500 words! Nevertheless, quality work will open up better opportunities for you, and there are instances where content writers earn up to $100 for the 500 words. On average, a content writer can make around $25 in a day throughout the year.
Here is more detailed list of article writing sites that you can sign up to.
Top Make Money Online Blogs
All that I have learnt about making money online has come from these blogs that I will list below. A few years ago I was a novice and I hardly knew anything about making money online. Now I spend most of my time learning from these internet gurus, now you too can learn from them.
- FreelancerKenya – Walter Akolo’s blog is among the best in the country, and it shares invaluable insights especially on content writing, although there are also a few good articles on blogging, academic writing, and freelancing sites.
- Makealivingfreelancing – Eva Lois makes a large chunk of her online income from Odesk where she works as a business plan writer. She offers advice on how to get jobs on the treacherous bidding sites. Personally I haven’t experienced much success there, but if you are trying out freelancing sites for the first time, this blog will be helpful.
- TranscriptionHubPros – Mainly shares information on transcription. You can a free ebook on transcription there.
- WorkonlineKenya -Another great blog on how to make money online.
- Freelanswered – A lot of invaluable posts on academic writing, freelancing and blogging by iKaris.
- JohnChow – Passive online income.
- Kikolani – Mainly about blogging and freelance writing.
- Problogger – About blogging.
- SmartPassiveIncome – Passive Online Income.
- Quick Sprout
Transcription is a very common online job, that is very newbie-friendly and pays “well-enough”. Transcription involves the manual conversion of audio files into electronic text files. To avoid sounding too technical – transcription involves listening to audios (speech, interview, voicemail, discussion, meeting) that were recorded earlier and typing them out in Microsoft word (or any similar software). You are paid depending on the length of the audio file.
The average payment is between $25 and $50 per audio hour. However, don’t let the numbers fool you into imagining that you can complete 8 – 12 audio hours in a day. It takes hours – up to 10 hours – to complete a single audio hour. You will be surprised to find out that people pronounce hundreds of words in less than 10 minutes. The US National Center for Voice and speech pegs the average number of words per minute spoken by a US speaker at 150 wpm. Assuming that a speaker spends only about 40 minutes for each audio hour actually engaged in speaking. The 20 minutes will be spent on the usual breaks and distractions.
This translates to writing about 6, 000 words for each audio hour. Academic writers should view this as writing a 21-page paper, and content writers as 12 blog posts of 500 words each. These figures might make transcription to seem like the least rewarding venture, but it is important to note that you don’t have to do a lot of research during transcription. The quality (clarity) of the audio can be a determinant when setting the fees. The best part is that most transcription websites train you for free once you sign up before you can start working. Sign up at any of the websites listed below and start earning as a transcriptionist.
According to most internet marketing gurus, affiliate marketing is the most rewarding method of making money online. Affiliate marketing is simple – you advertise and convince people to buy a good/service offered by a certain company for a share of the total cost. The share/ amount that you receive from such a sale can go from between 5% to up to 50% of the total price of the product. There are fantastic affiliate programs out there. I can only feature my favorites along with those that I have tried out and they worked for me. However, you have to have a platform such as a blog, website, mailing list, Facebook page etc.
- Amazon Associates – Amazon has a fantastic affiliate program.
- Payonner – Earn $25 for every referral.
- Clickbank – the largest affiliate network out there. You can find very many affiliate products to sell on the site.
- Shareasale – Another large affiliate network.
- Hostgator – web hosting sites have some of the best affiliate programs. They pay up to $120 per referral.
- Bluehost – same as Hostgator
Content Revenue Sharing
Some people have very interesting ideas on some matters, and they want to write about them but they don’t have a platform to do so. A blog takes a lot of time and effort to set up. There are sites out there that already have a steady flow of traffic and authority that are willing to give people the platform to post their content and make money from it. These are the content revenue sharing sites.
They give you a platform to post your content, but you have to share some of that revenue with them. You usually get to keep a larger percentage, but I often advise people against using such sites. I was once very active on Hubpages, but the whole Squidoo debacle made me to lose hope in content revenue sharing. However, if you are just starting out as a content writer – this is a great place to improve your SEO and writing skills. It is much easier to secure an AdSense account through such sites. Furthermore, it is a great place to post all your rejected articles.
- Hubpages – The largest and best revenue-sharing website. You get to keep 60% of your earnings.
- Infobarrel – Another great revenue-sharing site with the revenue share ranging from 75% to 90%.
- Bukisa – Can monetize through Chitika and AdSense.
- Best Reviewer – Write top lists (such as top 10 Android Apps) and you get to kep 100% of what you earn.
- She Told Me
Email marketing used to be popular a few years ago, but it is still relevant although less efficient. Eamil marketing involves having a list of people along with the emails of people who are interested in your brand, blog, site etc. Now, you don’t have to manually collect all these emails because we have many email marketing service providers. These providers will make it easy for you to collect these emails through a sign up form which you can share on social media and online.
I use my mailing list to keep in touch with the people interested in my blog. Professional email marketers, on the other hand, use mailing lists to promote affiliate products (discussed above), their own products etc. The list below shows the top email marketing solutions service providers. (They also have very good affiliate programs)
- Aweber – the best email marketing tool out there, although a bit expensive.
- Mailchimp – what I use to maintain my mailing list.
- Imnica mail – Also good.
The Most In-Demand Freelance Jobs
So, which are these online jobs that you will be guaranteed of work throughout the year? A few months ago I did my research and I came up with a list of the top 6 In-demand Online Freelancing jobs.
- Graphic Design
- Marketing and Advertising
- Content Writing
- Video and Animation
- Software Development
- Transcription and Translation
Online Sports Betting
A few years ago, sports’ betting was relatively unheard of in Kenya, but Sportpesa led a revolution and Football betting is now a very popular method of making an extra online income. I am a staunch football fan, and sports gambling used to be my Forté. Irrespective of what most people would want you to believe – football betting is still gambling and this involves a very high level of risk. Sports’ betting involves predicting the outcome of a sporting event –mostly a match – and each correct prediction attracts certain winnings. For example you can predict which team will win a match, whether it will end as a draw, the number of goals, whether both teams will score etc.
I know quite a number of people who get good returns from sports betting. However, I also know a large number of people who have lost a fortune. My advice – don’t depend on sports betting as your primary source of an online income. Invest only what you are willing to lose. Once in a while you will be lucky enough to get up to a 1000% return on your investment.
- Sportpesa – the most popular sports betting site in Kenya. Find out how Sportpesa makes money as reviewed on our latest post.
- Elitebet – has more options than sportpesa and you can bet as low as ksh.5.
- Gobet – The only local site with in-play betting.
- Bet365 – International, but it has all betting options.
Dropshipping is a slightly advanced method of making money online. It requires a bit of knowledge on how international e-commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay work. Dropshipping involves buying goods from a cheap online wholesale retailer and reselling them to consumers at a higher price. With dropshipping you will never have to actually handle the goods physically.
The most common method of dropshipping involves the dropshipper collecting a list of items sold cheaply on Amazon.com (e.g. wine glasses sold at $5 each). The dropshipper then procedes to post the same list of items on eBay (such as the $5 wine glasses at $8). Once a buyer expresses interest in the wine glasses and makes a purchase on eBay for $8. The seller will then procede to purchase the items from the seller on Amazon for $5, and give out the buyers Address as the location they would like to have the wine glasses delivered. The dropshipper then gets to keep the $3 profit.
Dropshippers often deal with larger volumes that this, but the business involves a certain level of risk. There are more advanced dropshippers who set up their own websites instead of dealing with the e-commerce sites. For example, you can set up a website that sells toys for children. However, you will never handle the goods physically. You purchase the products directly from the producer (usually in China) once a client pays for the product, and you provide their address for the delivery. Check out this guide by shopify for more details.
- Shopify – it is very easy to build an ecommerce website using shopify. No technical knowledge required.
- Amazon – You can still do dropshipping the traditional way.
Flipping websites is also a bit more advanced means of making money online. To flip a website means to buy a website for a low price, and to go ahead and sell it off at a higher price. You would be surprised at the number of people who own websites, but they don’t know how to manage it properly. The trick is to buy it, then clean up the content, improve SEO, monetize it and sell it at a much higher price. It takes a bit of patience and experience to flip websites.
- Flippa –The most popular marketplace for selling websites and domains. I visit Flippa very often, not to sell or buy websites, but to learn a few thing about how websites monetize.
- WebsiteBroker – same as Flippa.
- Sedo – mostly for selling and buying domains.
I have received numerous emails from people asking me to show them legit sites that pay you to take part in surveys. I will have to be frank with you on this one – such online jobs pay very little and it is almost impossible to make a living out of them. Furthermore, you will run into very many online scams in the process. Regardless, these are the few legitimate online survey sites. I have not tried any of them out, so let me know how it goes.
- Global TestMarket
The Top Forums and Facebook Groups for Online Jobs
Facebook groups and forums are the best ways of connecting with other people earning online. You can learn in a day what it would have taken you months to find out on your own. Also, you can find me on most of these groups and forums learning and teaching almost every day.
- Academia Research Writers – The most active facebook group for freelancers – particularly academic writers.
- Awesome transcribers – As the name suggests, it is the most active group for transcribers.
- Online writers café – a bit of everything.
- Freelance academic and article writers – less active, but still has a very good community.
Make Money Blogging
A blog is usually a great way of communicating. A blog such as Biashara Insight can end up attracting a large volume of traffic. Making money from such traffic is a bit more difficult. The most popular ways of making money from a blog is through AdSense. Popular blogs such as Ghafla, Niaje, Bikozulu can make millions in a month. We will write a more comprehensive post on this soon – keep visiting.
- Advertisements – you can use Ad networks such as Google AdSense, Chitika, and Infolinks.
- Affiliate Marketing
- Selling your own products such as eBooks.
Other Notable Mentions
- Forex Trade
- Humanatic – Get paid to review calls.
- Trading Bitcoins – Bitcoin is an online virtual currency. Just like the normal currency, the value of bitcoin fluctuates very frequently.
- P2P lending – you can get some good online returns by joining sites such as Zidisha as a lender.
- HYIPs – usually 50-50 with these. They are all scams, but you can make some cash before they decide to close office because of the enticingly high interest rates they offer.
- Q&As – Make money by giving out expert advice. Sites include Liveperson and Justanswer.
- Clixsense – Get paid just for clicking on ads. However, the pay is usually too low.
- Link shortening – Common method used by download sites. Shorten a link through Adfly, Linkbucks etc. The visitor has to view an ad for 5sec before they can view download link. Pays very little. Requires a lot of traffic.
Online Scams to Avoid
I have seen many guys fall for such online scams. Most of them are referral sites that promise to pay you for each click you generate to the site. It is never this easy to make money online, and you will likely never get paid.
- Internet Marketing Africa
The list can go on forever, but they change their names and domains often, so just avoid any site that promises to pay you just for referring people.
Making Money Online is a very extensive topic. At some point I had to shorten the post to make it simpler and easier to read. As I mentioned earlier, this is one invaluable post. Bookmark this page and keep visiting for updates. Don’t be selfish, share it with your friends on social media and even via email.