The internet is continually transforming our world, and new opportunities for creating wealth are emerging alongside this transformation.
What's exciting about these opportunities is that many of them are available to everyone. Costs are limited. Technology is accessible. Knowledge is everywhere. In other words, there's no excuses anymore.
If you've always dreamed of making extra money on the side of your job, or quitting your job and working for yourself, there's never been a better time to make that dream a reality.
So, here are my top 10 ways to digitally grow your fortune.
1. Become an Influencer
What is it? Influencers are people who build an audience around one or several of their interests by sharing content across their social media platform(s).
The most popular categories include food, travel, fashion, fitness, animals, gaming, business, politics, modelling, luxury and motivation, but the possibilities are endless.
Even if you're interested in something as specific as photoshopping yourself into photos with celebrities, or as random as being a sassy grandma, it's very likely that there are others around the world who would be interested in that too. Just to prove a point, for those two examples I gave, the first influencer has over 200,000 followers on Instagram, and the second has over 3.8 million.
How do I generate income? Once you've started to build an audience, you've now got access to people who like you, trust you and have similar interests to you.
Brands would love to get access to an audience like that, so the easiest (and most common) way to generate income as an influencer is to do paid promotions with brands.
They'll pay you for posting content that promotes them and what they're offering to your audience. If you're just starting out, I'd recommend offering these promotions for free so that you can build up a portfolio of work.
Once you've built an audience, you can also diversify your income streams as an influencer in several other ways, which are listed below.
2. Become an Affiliate
What is it? Affiliates are people who promote other brands' products or services, and get a commission for every sale they refer.
The difference between an affiliate and an influencer is that an affiliate only gets paid after they refer a sale, whereas an influencer can get paid upfront just for doing a promotion.
Of course, influencers very often do both paid promotions and affiliate promotions because they're both great ways to generate income. Although paid promotions are a safer bet, selling affiliate products and services can actually generate significantly more income if you sell enough of them.
Unlike influencers, affiliates don't have to be the 'face' of their content - Forbes, GQ and Huffington Post are all examples of 'faceless' affiliates.
How do I generate income? Affiliates are given a unique link or discount code by a brand, which they can then promote to their audience (e.g. in an Instagram post, a YouTube video or a blog article). Every time someone clicks on their link or uses their discount code to buy something from that brand, the affiliate will earn a commission from the total value of the sale.
You can either go directly to a brand's website and see if they have an affiliate programme, or there are also affiliate marketplaces like ClickBank where you can access a variety of them. If you're just starting out, I'd definitely recommend Amazon as it's very well known and offers a wide selection of products.
3. Become an Advertising Partner
What is it? Advertising partners are people who publish content across their social media platforms or other digital assets (e.g. their blog or website), and display adverts alongside their content.
Every time someone views, clicks or takes another action (e.g. buys something) through an advert, the advertising partner gets paid.
The amount is normally very small (cents, not dollars), but if you attract enough people through great content, those very small amounts can quickly add up to big numbers.
How do I generate income? The way the advertising is hosted depends on the platform.
If you own a website or a blog, you can simply add a few lines of code into the pages where you want the adverts to appear. This code is provided by the advertiser or advertising network, the most well known being the Google Display Network.
You can also go directly to brands you like and offer to sell them specific spaces on your website (e.g. a banner that runs along the top of your homepage). You then just need to add the brand's advert as an image to their chosen space, and finally add your affiliate link to the image. This option works well for those who aren't tech-savvy as it doesn't require any code.
On social media platforms like YouTube, there's also no code involved and you can simply choose an option that enables adverts to be shown before or during your videos.
4. Sell Dropshipping Products
What is it? Dropshipping allows you to sell products that aren't yours, but you don't have to buy or hold any stock before making a sale.
The way it works is that you find dropshipping suppliers who don't sell their products directly to customers. Instead, you sell their products as if they were your own (you can name the products anything you want and set whatever price you think you can sell them for).
Every time a customer places an order, you simply buy the products from your dropshipping supplier and provide the customer's delivery address instead of your own. Your supplier will then package and send the order directly to your customer.
In other words, you do the online marketing, sales and customer service online, and your suppliers do the hard physical work of manufacturing the products, storing them and sending them to your customers.
You only buy the product from the supplier after the customer has bought it from you, so your risk and upfront costs are minimal.
How do I generate income? Your profit is the difference between the price you charge your customers for a product, and the actual cost of the product that the supplier charges you, along with any delivery fees.
The biggest and most popular place to find dropshipping products is AliExpress due to their incredibly low prices and wide variety of products. It's basically a Chinese version of Amazon that's designed for dropshipping. The delivery time can be 1-3 weeks as most of its suppliers are based in China, or if you don't want to use AliExpress, you can also find smaller dropshipping suppliers in most developed countries through a search on Google.
If you need help building a website, I'd highly recommend Shopify. In my experience, they're the best for simplicity, customer service and selling things online.
Shopify also has a great app store, which includes dropshipping apps that integrate with AliExpress and automate most of the work for you. The two biggest dropshipping apps are Oberlo (owned by Shopify) and Dropified.
5. Sell Print On Demand (POD) Products
What is it? POD is a very similar model to dropshipping. You market and sell products as if they were your own, and after a customer places an order, your POD supplier will manufacture the product, package it and send it directly to your customer.
The big difference between POD and dropshipping is that POD allows you to create your own designs, which can then be printed onto a range of products.
The most popular category is clothing, So for example, with dropshipping you can sell t-shirts that have already been designed for you, whereas with POD you can design your own t-shirts. Since you design them yourself, the copyright belongs to you and nobody else can sell them. That's the big advantage of POD over dropshipping.
How do I generate income? As mentioned above, POD is very similar to dropshipping. Your profit is the difference between what you charge your customers for a product, and the actual cost of the product that the supplier charges you, along with any delivery fees.
Both companies have an app that integrates with Shopify and a wide range of other website platforms, which will automate most of the work for you.
6. Buy and Flip Products Using Retail Arbitrage
What is it? Retail arbitrage is the process of buying products from 'Place A' at a lower price, and selling those products in 'Place B' at a higher price.
This process can be applied to virtually any product category, whether it's shoes, electronics or exercise equipment.
In fact, many sellers on Amazon use retail arbitrage. They buy a product in bulk at a cheap price, then send the stock to Amazon and list the product on Amazon's website at a higher price than what they initially paid for it. Every time a customer places an order, Amazon delivers it to them and pays the seller their share of the revenue.
How do I generate income? Your profit is the difference between the price you pay for a product, and the price you sell it for.
You can either find products in physical places like boutique shops, markets or auctions and then sell them online, or you can do the whole process online.
There's no particular product or price group that retail arbitrage is designed for, some people even buy and flip cars and other high-ticket products using this process.
7. Create and Sell Your Own Products
What is it? Alright, this one's pretty self explanatory.
How do I generate income? Selling products in the digital economy has never been easier (which is why so many brick-and-mortar businesses are closing).
Along with selling on your own website, many social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram now allow shoppers to buy products directly within them.
Websites and social media platforms are the most obvious choices, but there are many other places to sell. Amazon, eBay and Craigslist have already been mentioned above, but there's also Etsy, Wish and a variety of online marketplaces that are dedicated to specific niches, such as Iamfy for art.
Most of them charge small fees and / or take a commission from every sale, but it's a small price to pay for access to millions of potential customers.
8. Create and Sell Your Own Services
What is it? This one's pretty self-explanatory too!
How do I generate income? Along with products, the digital economy has also made marketing and selling services incredibly easy.
You can promote yourself through your own website and social media platforms, and you can also join apps and online marketplaces that connect people looking for services with those who can provide them.
The most popular of these include Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer. They enable you to book short-term and long-term projects with clients, which can either be part-time or full-time. If you provide a great service, you'll build up a portfolio of great reviews and testimonials that can easily skyrocket the number of people who want to use your services. Instead of you chasing people to hire you, they'll be chasing you.
9. Create and Sell Your Own Courses
What is it? Selling your own services is great, but it's also limited. You only have a set numbers of hours each day, so unless you continually increase your prices or hire additional people, your income will eventually plateau.
Creating and selling courses solves this issue by giving you much more scalability in how you distribute your valuable skills, knowledge and experience.
Simply make short video modules, organize them into sections, add any supporting documents that will help people learn what you're teaching them, and you have a course. If you'd like detailed step-by-step instructions, there are several videos on YouTube that walk you through the entire course creation process from start to finish.
Don't worry if you're camera-shy, some people make 6-figures just by screen-recording a PowerPoint presentation and narrating over it. Just ensure that the quality of your video or screen recording, audio and knowledge is high, and your course will have real potential.
How do I generate income? The great thing about courses is that they have virtually limitless scalability, but require no additional costs or effort for every one sold.
Pricing is also incredibly flexible. You can give away courses for free to build up a loyal following, or you can charge several thousand dollars for them. It all depends on what topics you're covering, how much value you're providing and what similar courses are priced at in your category.
As with selling products and services, you can host, market and sell courses through your own website and social media platforms, and you can also sell them on course marketplaces such as Udemy and Teachable in return for paying them fees and / or commissions.
10. Trade Shares, Currencies, Commodities and CFDs
What is it? Trading used to be a complex process that involved several activities, middlemen and forms of documentation. Now you can get started within minutes from your phone, tablet or laptop.
Trading successfully requires a combination of research, analysis and timing in order for you to choose the right assets, at the right time and at the right price. Many would argue that you also need luck, because nobody can accurately predict what will happen to the price of shares, currencies (especially cryptocurrencies) and commodities on a daily basis.
How do I generate income? The goal of trading is simple; buy at a low price, sell at a high price. You can either be an active trader who makes several trades per day, an investor who buys and holds for the medium to long-term, or somewhere in the middle.
I'm not a financial advisor, but I'd consider this to be the riskiest and most unpredictable option on my list. So if you're interested in trading, make sure that you're as prepared as possible.
So there you have it, those are my top 10 ways to digitally grow your fortune.
Every option is incredibly flexible, so they can either be your full-time career and main source of income, or they can also be a great side hustle.
The best thing about them is that they break all of the traditional rules of working. You can sit on the beach instead of at a desk. You can set your own hours instead of being told when to work. You can play a game instead of office politics. You can grow at your own pace instead of waiting for a promotion. You can listen to yourself instead of obeying other people.
The internet is continually transforming our world, and you can transform with it.