Wondering how to make money online in India with very little investment?
This blog post will answer your question, and will be very helpful for those who are in their job and are looking for sources to generate some side income.
Let’s start with a hard fact – Making money online is not an easy task.
And it may take months, if not years, of consistent effort before you earn your first buck.
However, the good news is that it is very much possible.
All you need is an attitude to keep learning new things.
But most importantly, you need bare minimum aptitude (and lots of courage) to put your learning into practice.
Remember, it’s all about execution.
Before I hop into 5 instances explaining how I made money while keeping my full time job, let me talk a little about my journey.
I started my first online project in the year 2014 where I used to sell women fashion accessories online.
I then transitioned to teaching English speaking classes (both offline and online).
This was followed by GD/PI preparation classes for admission to top 20 B Schools in India (which was 100% online).
In my next stint, I ventured into online RBI Grade B exam coaching (a test for entry into Reserve Bank of India as a manager).
Come 2019, I am back to trying my hands once again with e-commerce.
This blog post is about my journey through these different projects over the years and the learnings I attained.
I could have written 100 random ways to earn money online but that’s of no use to you.
Instead, I am presenting you with 5 pointed case studies from my stints so that you can derive your learnings and take action, in case you align with any of these scenarios.
After reading these 5 case studies, the key takeaway for you should be:-
- You don’t need a unique idea to earn money online.
- A very good understanding of your target audience (and their pain points) is a must have.
- You need to have a solution that solves the pain point.
- You need to act. Execution is the key.
- The only thing that matters is your courage. You will find a way if you are courageous enough to take action.
- There is no such thing as overnight success. You have to work hard for it.
5 Proven Ways to Make Money Online in India
#1 Online coaching classes
Identify one field where you have deep and rock solid knowledge.
It can be any damn field.
Believe me, if you have the knowledge, there will always be someone in this world who will be ready to pay you for it.
If you can identify one such field, your next task is to identify a target audience who can benefit from your knowledge.
Needless to say, you will succeed only if you have passion to teach and have empathy for your students. That’s the only way you can understand their pain point and offer them a solution.
The gist here is that you make your knowledge useful for others and in turn, make them pay for it.
My experience with online coaching
I did my MBA from one of the top 20 B-schools in India.
During my preparation days, I used to pity the way big MBA preparation institutes used to ignore the entire GD PI preparation process. Their main focus is always to sell classroom courses for written test preparation because that’s where the big buck lies.
Contrary, I considered GDPI preparation as the most crucial aspect of the entire MBA entrance examination.
I always had my own unique ways of preparing for interviews which worked surprisingly well for me.
I also tried these methods during my B-school summer internship and campus placements and tasted success with these.
That’s how I started ‘The Interview Brigade’ in 2016 for one to one online coaching for b-school GD/PI preparation. At that time I priced my course at 2,999 each (see the payment proof below).
Right now, the big institutes like TIME, IMS, CL etc. sell their GD/PI course for free while I sell the same GD/PI course for INR 5,999 each (screenshot below).
Students pay me because they see my ways working better than what the big institutes offer.
That’s how you can leverage your knowledge if you know the pain points of your audience.
A piece of advice
While you can earn decent sum of money through this method, live online coaching can never be a scalable business.
It’s because your availability and your time defines the amount of money you can make. If you are into a full time job, there is only a limited upside to it.
And it drains your energy over time because your availability defines the success of this method (I used to guide students after my full time job. You can very well visualize how hectic it became as I added more students).
Nevertheless it’s a great way to make some extra money, especially for people who are in their job and are just exploring options.
#2 Sell recorded courses
What if you can productize your knowledge and put that in a PDF/video course for others to read/watch.
This is nothing but an extension of point #1.
Here are few example where people are leveraging their strong knowledge and selling online courses.
- Microsoft excel (e.g. chandoo.org)
- Strong aptitude (e.g. handakafunda)
- Microsoft Powerpoint (e.g. Taylor Croonquist)
- Digital marketing (e.g. Deepak Kanakraju)
This list is endless.
My experience with recorded courses
I have been a co-founder in a startup (by name of Preper) where we used to sell online courses for RBI Grade B exam. Again this was my after office stint.
The course consisted of pre recorded video lessons covering the concepts of economics, management and English language.
We spent lot of effort in building quality content and each of our course used to sell anywhere between INR. 9,000 to INR. 12,000.
The best part was that we were in the market with not much competition. This was a recent exam (I am talking of years 2016 to 2018) with not many institutes/online website offering preparation courses.
We ran this business for 3 years and made an exit once competition increased (and price war got triggered).
A piece of advice
If you can find your niche, can productize your knowledge and stay firm in the market , then this is probably the best way to make income through the internet.
The best part is that this model is highly scalable and your time investment is not directly proportional to the number of courses you sell, which makes it more sustainable and lucrative from the long run.
Let me clarify – this is not a pure play online way to make a side income.
If you have a specialized knowledge of a business process, you can always leverage it to offer consulting services to other businesses.
Again, consulting is not scalable but it’s a very high margin business.
It’s because you charge clients for your expert knowledge and the value you can create for their business. And your charges are generally not small.
However, this option is not as simple as it may sound because the biggest challenge here is to find the paying customers.
The only solution to find clients is to network as much as possible.
Networking can happen in multiple ways: industry events, alumni meetups, business conferences, social gatherings etc. It can also happen online via LinkedIn, Facebook groups or through discussion forums.
You won’t believe how many opportunities open up when you network with the right audience.Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know. Click To Tweet
My experience with Consulting
My specialized knowledge lies in building digital marketing strategies.
I happen to network with an alumni of my alma matter and I am now consulting him for his co-working startup which is in 4 cities of India.
He further introduced me to a bunch of people who are building a Crypto Exchange and I am in talks with them to digitally market their product in the US.
I networked with another person who first offered me a digital marketing consulting exercise for his training institute and is now offering me full day training events in digital marketing.
A piece of advice
While you may not be having too many consulting assignments, the money you make from such assignments is exponentially proportional to the time you are investing.
What it means is that you make more by investing less time, and you can use the rest of the time to explore other options.
The only ask is that you should have specialized knowledge which other business are eager to pay for (and which is not too easy to source for them).
Do you have such knowledge?
#4 Sell products online
This one is a no brainer.
You need to find a product that you can sell online, either on marketplaces like Amazon or Flipkart or on your own e-commerce website.
But don’t chose random products.
You either need to have a unique product or a regular product at a unique price point.
If you hit the right cord, this can be a highly scalable business.
But it may need upfront investments in form of inventories (you can also explore drop shipping but I never tried my hand with that concept).
My experience with online selling
I started my first e-commerce venture by name of Zohra fashions where I used to sell fashion accessories, mainly earrings, on my own website. That was in year 2015 and I closed down the venture since I was losing money too fast.
Fast forward to 2019, I am back to selling stuff online, this time t-shirts with politicians/political slogans on them (under the brand name ‘Be Political‘).
The hypothesis here is that the middle class in India these days has a very clear political inclination, and I my intention is to build a brand that solely deals in merchandise related to politics (with sole focus towards 2019 General Elections).
Here are the real pics of some of the merchandise I got manufactured directly from the factory.
[I will update this section after the general elections of 2019 if I happen to make any money from this project.]
A piece of advice
Frankly, I have not tasted success here to offer you any tip.
In my earlier venture, I lost money instead of making any.
It appears easy to run an ecommerce website but it is way much difficult (and costly) to run one. It’s mainly because of the huge marketing costs involved.
Tread with extreme caution before you chose this path.
#5 Start a blog
No one can miss blogging as a medium to earn money online.
Generally, blogs are monetized in the following two ways:-
- Via affiliate marketing and referral commissions
- By building thought leadership in a topic and then selling educational courses online (remember point #2)
Needless to say, you need to have lot of passion for a topic else you will lose your motivation to write sooner than later.
[Learn How to Start Your Blog in less than 30 minutes]
My experience with blogging
I started JainTushar in April 2018 where I write about personal finance and healthy money habits.
I also review and recommend financial products on this blog..
While I receive a small percentage of commission when some one buys the products/services via my blog, I ensure I have tried and tested that service/product before I recommend it to someone else.
That ensures I am writing genuine reviews and recommending quality offering to my readers, at the same time helping them make an informed decision.
Why Personal Finance ?
It is one field which excites me a lot and many of my friends used to reach out to me for help and advise.
That gave me enough confidence to start a blog in this field despite there being so much of existing competition.
Fast forward to Dec 2018, I have more than 250 subscribers to my blog and my monthly traffic that is hovering between 1500-2000 new users.
Coming to the money part: it took me 7 months to earn my first income (I am talking about the money that actually hit my bank account).
It’s not much (INR. 3400 for the month of Oct) but this is good enough proof that blogs can make money (I always had this doubt when I started).
The challenge for me now is add more zeros behind my first income.
A piece of advice
Though blogging is a slow process, you can turn this into a real source of passive income if you hit the right nerve.
But start only if you are passionate about the subject, else you wont be able to continue and sustain for long, especially if you are taking it as a side gig.
It’s time to get started
As I mentioned in the beginning, the purpose of this blog is not to bombard you with random 100 money making ideas or to harp my own trumpet.
The objective of this post is to show you few instances which worked well for me and which can work for you too.
I have been extremely transparent in disclosing my experiments, my thought process and the success/failure I received.
I am of the strong opinion that it’s less about the idea and more about the execution. Action is what gets you going.
And while I don’t consider myself an expert, I can still offer you my 2 cents of advice based on the experience I had with my online experiments.
If you want a help, have anything to ask, need connects who can help you with tech/logistics etc. or need my consulting help, feel free to comment below or drop me an email at [email protected].