This piece was submitted from a member of our enthusiastic community of readers. If you’re interested in sharing your opinion on any cultural, political or personal topic, create an account here and check out our how-to post to learn more.

The internet has opened up many doors for the average person, especially in terms of maximizing one’s earning potential. There are many things you could do to bring in some extra money on the side, and many of them are easily accessible to most people. You just have to figure out what niche works well for you, and put your skills to good use. And remember, this will be a slow and tedious process at first. Get ready for some difficult times before you will see any true results.

1. Freelancer Writer

Freelancing writing is probably the easiest to get into, but also the most challenging field to stand out in. It’s open to anyone, and that’s exactly the problem. You can expect to face some serious competition in most fields, especially popular ones like writing, drawing and other creative fields. But as long as you’ve got the right skills, you should be able to slowly, but steadily, carve out a name for yourself and take the market by storm. Recently, one of my friends got a translation job, from French to English. She took help from PDF translation via Protranslate to fill the gaps of her language skills where appropriate. Make sure that you keep expanding and looking for new opportunities – it can be a very unstable market if you're not providing quality services.

2. Social Media Manager

Social media is a critical asset for many companies these days. Unfortunately, many of them don’t have a clue about how they should be managing their social media profiles and what it takes to be successful in this area. And that’s unfortunate because presenting your company inappropriately in this aspect can completely ruin that business. If you’ve got a knack for maintaining social media profiles, you should apply for a social media manager at some company. It doesn’t have to be a major one. Quite on the contrary, you should be able to do just great with a smaller company that is in dire need of an experienced specialist.

3. Programmer

Programming requires more technical aptitude to even get started, but if you’ve got a knack for it, it can definitely be worthwhile. There are many applications for this skill nowadays and some of them can be surprisingly relevant to your interests, even if you’ve never had any interest in programming in the first place. Keep in mind that the learning curve can be a bit steep though, especially if you’ve never done anything of this sort before. You should have a lot of free time set aside, and be prepared to do some serious studying to catch up to your competition.

4. Virtual Assistant

Many people are too busy to do everything on their own, especially entrepreneurs. And when someone like that has more money to spend, a common solution to the problem is to hire a virtual assistant. That’s where you come in. The job of a virtual assistant is somewhat challenging to perfectly define because it can involve a huge variety of difficult responsibilities. You may be asked to set up meetings, look up information on the internet, copy files across servers or even operate with finances. The job encompasses pretty much any activity that can be performed to assist someone in their work. 

5. Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products for a commission. It can work with anything. Many companies have their own affiliate programs that you can join and they are typically open to anyone. Keep in mind that this is a very crowded niche, so you’re going to face some serious competition in the beginning. It’s not impossible to stand out though, but you’re going to have to put a lot of effort into it and you might experience some significant setbacks along the way as well.

6. Blogger

A blogger can earn surprisingly well from just doing things like recommending products, running ads on their blog or providing special services that they use the blog to promote. It’s also a very popular activity though, so don’t expect to be able to stand out very easily. It will require you to know a thing or two about online marketing and promotion as well, because you’re going to need some extra push to gain your initial following. 

7. Dropshipping

Last but not least, dropshipping is something that has established a solid position for itself in the market for online careers, and it looks like it’s only going to keep getting more popular. Dropshipping is about running an online store without having to maintain your own inventory. As long as you have the right supplier contacts, it can be a very lucrative field with strong potential for the future. Many companies are offering specialized services for dropshippers these days, as well.

As you can see, there is no shortage of options available to you for earning money online. It’s a good idea to explore these opportunities and start doing something in this regard as soon as possible, because time is ticking and before you know it, you’ll no longer be in a position to even get started.