One of the biggest — if not most important— lessons I’ve learned in 2020 is that a single source of income ain’t gonna cut it anymore. You absolutely must diversify your income streams. In this post I’ll be sharing 5 REAL ways I earn income online. I know there are plenty of people looking for this kind of content in these hard times, and I want to share how I’ve been managing my career change during the pandemic.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (to my Amazon Storefront and Rakuten ROOM. See income stream #4).
5 REAL Ways I Earn Income Online
Full disclosure: I don’t earn (much) income online directly as a blogger. What I mean by that is, I don’t have many sponsored posts on my blog that lead to direct revenue. Instead, I use my blog as a reference/portfolio to showcase my writing skills and interests to help me land the following income streams:
1. Instagram #Sponcon
Working with brands via my Instagram account @wadateni makes up a majority of my online income. Since I’m living in Japan, I rely heavily on domestic influencer marketing platforms. It’s hard to find matches with international campaigns due to shipping limitations.
Compensation all depends on the client and has an incredible range. Because it’s extremely unreliable, I have to mix #sponcon with other income sources (and also because it’s just spammy to have post after sponsored post on my feed).
2. Freelance Writing & Copywriting
I don’t freelance much because of a falling out I had with a client last year (see this post). No big worries over here because the parting turned out to be for the best. It inspired me to write better content for my lifestyle blog, The Wagamama Diaries. As a result, several of my beauty posts rank higher than content on my former client’s site, and they have a much larger readership than I do!
With that said, I genuinely enjoy writing for Japan-based sites like Japan Objects because I am not constricted to searching for clickbait-y titles. I have since shifted my focus from writing about Japan to sharing my knowledge about skincare, and in the future, I would like to write about J-Beauty and natural beauty products.
3. Managing Social Media Accounts
My latest income stream comes from an unlikely source, but if you’re social media savvy, it’s worth a try! I manage several social media accounts for a real estate agency that helps foreigners find rental properties in Japan. The position combines my previous freelance writing skills to write engaging captions with an effective Instagram hashtag strategy to build brand awareness.
Unlike my other income streams, this one comes with specific daily tasks and monthly remuneration on a specific date. It’s a great way to add some stability, especially when bills are due!
4. Affiliate Links
Affiliate links, particularly Amazon Affiliate links, are a big way for people to earn income online. If you’re not familiar with how it works, here’s a quick rundown.
You set up a website or blog and recommend certain products or services to readers. Readers then purchase the product or service via the affiliate link (with no additional cost to them), and you earn a commission on the sale. The reason why affiliate links are an effective way to earn money is because it allows you to earn a steady stream of passive income if you strategize your content to suit the needs of your audience.
I did a deep analysis of my most popular posts, some of which were initially published 1+ years ago. I did an SEO overhaul and updated them with relevant Amazon affiliate links for my audience readers. As a result, I receive traffic from those blog posts as well as revenue from affiliate sales. I also have an Amazon storefrontas an “Amazon Influencer.”
I’ve also started using Rakuten Room(楽天ROOM), which is similar to an Amazon Storefront and I use affiliate links for other online shops and services.
5. Google Adsense
Google Adsense is my newest income stream. It lets bloggers and website owners earn money on a cost-per-click by displaying ads on pages.
I just signed up in late summer after finally meeting 10,000 page views a month, two consecutive months in a row. Then, this post on Japanese whitening products and this post on Japanese “anti-aging” philosophy went viral somewhere. I went from 10,000 pave views in July to 19,106 page views in September to 39,616 page views in October!
Sounds good, right? Except Google flagged my account for having suspicious activity and ads were limited for an entire month. My very first Adsense check was a blessing, the service certainly doesn’t seem like something I can rely on. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted! (Yeah, I’m still trying not to cry thinking about all that lost revenue.)
Going from the kindergarten classroom to work-from-home hasn’t been an easy transition for me. It takes a lot of discipline and organization to manage multiple income streams and meet multiple deadlines. And, I’m still learning how to build self-confidence and get over “imposter syndrome” and trust my talents.
But, I’m so grateful that I have the resources and skills that allow me to work online and be of service to others. I didn’t expect my career to take such a sharp turn, but when one door closes, another one opens. Or, you just gotta kick down your own door!