The Truth About Making Money Online
Updated: Feb 20
We’ve all come across content regarding “How to make money online”. As much as this topic is not new, it is relatively new to South Africans. We are often faced with tough decisions as to whether it is something suitable for us, or should we avoid it altogether?
If you have ever wondered about the above, this article will provide great insights that will help you understand what making money online really means and if it is for you!
Making money online is multifaceted, there’s no one answer to encompass the true essence of what it means to make money online but here is how I have experienced it:
These are usually the misconceptions surrounding making money online:
Free money - there's no such a thing as free money and making money online is no exception. Micro jobs or jobs in the gig economy can be as taxing as traditional jobs and the reward might match or be less than the work/effort you put in.
Easy money - Due to the sensationalised nature of making money online platforms, it is sometimes not apparent that the money you make is proportional to the value you add just like in any marketplace. Your skills and knowledge are a far more valuable commodity when compared to a traditional job. You are faced with many self-taught moments as most creators usually speak about topics on the surface. This can be a challenge for most people that are trying to easily make a quick buck.
Passiveness - Several people start the journey of making money online in the hopes that they will earn "$100~ R1600" from playing a game for a couple of hours. This misconception is a result of thinking money-making rules don't apply when it comes to online methodologies. The exchange of money is usually proportional to the tasks/value added. Playing a normal game does not necessarily add "value" unless you are a professional gamer who plays at a competitive level. The same money rules still apply to online platforms.
Get rich quick - Platforms (apps & websites) are plagued by Fraudsters that promote nonsensical scams or drive traffic to websites (for affiliate marketing and ad sense revenue purposes) and YouTube channels (Ad sense revenue) for personal gain while robbing others of their time and effort.
Less time - This is the typical process of any site that is promoted to help you make money online.
Determine if a platform is legit (I recommend these 3 ways, 1. Find a reputable content creator who is based in your country of residence, it could be a YouTuber or Blogger, 2. Search for the site on Trustpilot N.B if it's not a global platform it might not feature on Trustpilot, 3. Find other reputable review sites that are not primarily focused on making money from affiliate marketing.
Learn how the platform works, what you are expected to do to make money online, and when and how you are paid.
Take an assessment/ complete training. For some platforms, this is part of the signing up process.
Finally, perform the expected task.
The task will then be graded. If rejected you either have to re-do the task, or in some instances, such as Rev.com, you might be permanently removed from earning on the platform.
This list does not take into account all the little nuances and I am sure by now you get the picture. There's no glitz and glamour when it comes to the time spent trying to make money online. The admin is a killer, the tasks can be tedious, and the rejection rate can be as tall as a skyscraper.
More enjoyable- With methods such as playing games it is easy to assume that all the methods are more enjoyable than traditional methods of making an income. This is far from the truth. Some methods such as completing surveys are usually met with "screening surveys". These are short surveys you are required to take before you are allowed to participate in the main survey.
Most survey platforms do not pay for the questions you answer for the screening survey and this can leave a sour taste in your mouth as you realise that the only way to complete a survey is through being screened and this can take +/-1 minute per survey. If you attempt to do 10 surveys a day you might waste up to 20 minutes just attempting to take a survey and not get compensated for your efforts.
therefore the experience is not always enjoyable or even logical in some instances but you learn the nuances of the various methods and either accept them and carry on making money in that way or you have the option to find other methods that are more suited to your personality, liking and so forth,
As a making money online content creator here's how I have experienced making money online:
Freedom: Most sites treat the relationship between the participant (you) and them (Making money online platform) like that of a company and an independent contractor. Meaning you can accept/decline jobs as per your needs/requirements. Their only role is to make the job available. You then get to choose whether or not you want to complete the task unless it is stated otherwise.
Flexible schedule: Most sites post jobs throughout the day and depending on where the site is based and what type of task you are completing you might have access to tasks throughout the day.
For customer-centric sites i.e teaching English online platforms, you can indicate your availability, and clients will only be able to book the slot whereby you are free.
More opportunities: Unlike traditional opportunities where you are limited to one or two things, there are various sites and opportunities online that can be used to complement one another.
I have come to learn of 6 main methods which are cash coupons (groceries), playing games, filling surveys, Completing missions, Completing tasks, and creating and running online businesses,
Additional income: A number of individuals are always looking for multiple income streams. Due to the flexible nature of most online methods, it is sometimes easier to incorporate this way of earning an income. With advantages such as the ability to earn money while in the comfort of one's home or even while in a queue and using the dead time to make a bit of money.
Can be fun: So far it might look like everything related to making money online sounds like a chapter from a doomsday episode but fear not. Some methods and platforms are quite enjoyable. Please don't quote me on this but I would complete most Prolific studies for free. I happen to enjoy taking their studies and often wonder what the outcome of the study will be. Yes, I am that curious and invested to find out what behavioural conclusions can be drawn from the silly yet fun questions we are often asked. This might not be the norm when it comes to making money online but it definitely provides a ray of sunshine. Hopefully, in the future, we will see more platforms like Prolific dedicated to ensuring that the participants are reasonably compensated for their time and effort while having fun!
Having learned the truth about making money online can be somewhat of a deterrent for those that haven't started or even a form of confirmation bias for those who have started.
One thing I would leave you with is that regardless of the method; skills, expertise, research, and hard work are still the determining factors on whether or not you will succeed in the various ways of making money online.
I have made over $9500 ~ R170 000 and that is to show that there is money that can be made online. The journey might not be smooth or easy but it will definitely be worth it if you are up for the challenge.
NIche- A specialised field i.e beauty/travel mostly used in the content creation space to classify the type of content one usually produces.