This article is spread over five pages:
How to find business ideas, domain name businesses.
Page 2: Online work, what you can do and how you can find it.
Page 3: Offbeat, unusual money-making ideas, making money just having fun.
Page 4: Unethical ways of making money
Page 5: Arbitrage, brokerage, finance businesses. Making money on eBay.
101 Adsense Alternatives
Make money having fun
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52. Affiliate programs can be great fun and very lucrative. The trick is learning to generate traffic, funnelling it to your merchant and hiring expensive accountants to handle your massive tax returns. It has made more millionaires than you'd believe and I've personally met many of them. I hope to write a lot more about making money from affiliate programs in the months to come.
53. But if fine-tuning ad CTRs and monitoring ROI is too much like hard work ... be your own affiliate customer. Credit card companies, mortgage companies etc., pay anywhere upto $100 per form filled on their site (per valid lead). Go apply for some credit cards and mortgages BUT do them through your own affiliate links and make a few hundred dollars per day. Sign up in as an affiliate in your wife/husband/dad's name to get around the occasional restriction that applications in the affiliate's own name don't generate the commission.
54. Like playing computer games? There's money in gaming. Top players get paid handsomely for participating in tournaments, attending gaming fests and endorsing products. OK, Tiger Woods does make more but does he have as much fun? I mean, have you ever seen him happy? Like deliriously happy ... and shouting for joy? No. Because his golf club don't have no buttons. But it's not just for big hitters. Anybody can make a few hundred bucks a week.
55. MMORPG, or multi-player online role playing games are virtual worlds where otherwise sane humans lose all perspective and all sense of reality. Or they pretend they do. They spend money on invisibility cloaks, virtual machine guns, characters and even virtual money! It's hard to explain how it works but Be The Seller, there's a thriving economy there worth millions of dollars every year. Whether it's WoW or SecondLife.
56. Adult entertainment: Like dressing up kinky? Do it front of a webcam and adult webcam sites will pay you. (John Prescott need not apply.) Like chatting dirty? Are you a balding man who likes pretending to be an 18 year old blond, female model? The online equivalent of the premium rate phone lines is where you can earn money all day just having fun. I won't provide links - use a search engine and find them yourself.
57. Or get paid for promoting other adult sites. This is like other affiliate programs except that you get to give away stuff on your site (usually cut-down/lower quality versions of videos and pics) for free. These entice visitors to click through for the larger resolution version which requires a small subscription. So, free content for you and - if you can get enough visitors to click through and subscribe - a healthy commission cheque at the end of the month.
58. Mystery shopping: Shopping on behalf of firms to see how staff on the floor are treating customers. Buy products, have holidays, eat at restaurants and have the tabs all picked up by your employers... as long as you provide them some feedback on what the service is like in-store. There are worse ways to earn a living. Some sceptics say they have fun but don't earn a great deal. Others disagree.
59. Spend your time entering competitions. Despite the name "competitions" rarely require skill, they are nothing but glorified lotteries/ sweepstakes. The most challenging question they are likely to ask you is, "What's 1+1?" Try searches like "competition entry" and "win a prize".
60. Or enter contests of skill. Good at SEO? There seem to be a lot of SEO competitions around. Good for nothing? I tried Google on a search for Good for nothing competitions and I get a lot of results. :-) Weed out 99% as junk and you should still have some good 'uns there. Good at taking or editing videos and have a good idea? Video sites like metacafe pay you if your video is popular enough (this guy made $100K). See, also, this NYT article for inspiration. And this is a good piece on how to make money on YouTube.
61. Good at poker? You can make a living from playing it all day long (or go broke).
Bonus method: Start a video blog.
62. Become an estate agent. Not a real one; in places like the US that's too much effort. No, you can act for buyers without all that formality by being a buying agent. Clients have a clear idea of what they want but you have the time to keep hitting rightmove -or wherever your local listings are - to find them that special property. In the UK "buying agents" charge 1-3% of the property value.
63. Concierge services: If you know the exact type of bra you want but can't find it would you pay someone a few dollars to find it for you? You'd be surprised how many busy people would. Whether it's a list for the supermarket delivery or a bathroom tap unavailable locally - for some people the hour or two hunting is not worth the $10 you'd charge. Maintain preferences for your signed up customers - so they can tell you to order "milk" without having to specify semi-skimmed, 2 litre, cardboard packing etc. - and close relationships with local businesses and even I'd sign up. Example
64. Be a researcher. At places like answers.com people pay for you to go research an answer to questions they don't have time to answer themselves. Like, "How do I choose an SLR camera?" and "What's the name of the theme song to the TV program A Bit of Fry and Laurie?" Note: Google has now closed the answers.google.com service but if you're that good at hunting things out you'll find that there are other places where people pay for answers. And, I'm not just talking paid homework help.