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The 17 Most Common Ways People Made Their First $20 Online

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Making Money Online, Money

Making your first $20 online transforms your psychology.

I remember when I sold my first $20 eBook. That week at my banking job I didn’t have to dip into my salary to buy Friday lunch out a restaurant.

Shortly after the extra $20 deposits covered my parking. Then my internet bill. Then my phone bill. And later … my entire rent.

The narrative in your head changes from “making money online is a scam or a pyramid scheme” to “this stuff works, I wish I did this decades ago.”

It’s never too late to start.

The #1 reason most people fail to make their first $20 online

Making $20 from your internet connection is dead easy.

Why do most people fail at it then? From my own experience and teaching thousands of people to do it via my writing and academy, it’s simple:

The average person starts with the idea of making thousands or even millions of dollars online.

The goal is too big so it never happens.

The brain needs clarity for us to achieve a goal. And it needs the goal to be small enough in our heads so it doesn’t overwhelm us.

The trick is to break down an income goal into smaller parts. Making 6-figures online sounds enormous. Most people can quit their jobs with that kind of money. So break it down like this…

$100,000 a year.

$8333 a month.

$277 a day.

Making $277 is way easier to process than $100K. So if you can make $20 once then you can probably make $277. And if you can make $277 then you can make $100,000.

To inspire you to get started I asked my readers how they made their first $20 online to give you kickass ideas you can copy for free. Here they are.

  • Sell a 21-day email challenge — people love challenges as it keeps them accountable. Offer to run a challenge with a Facebook, Reddit, Slack, LinkedIn, or other online groups you’re a part of. Just like Meetup hosts charge a fee, you can do the same to run a challenge that gets people results. And they’ll bloody love you for it.
  • Offer 1–1 relationship coaching — Susie Davis did this by writing first and then slapping up a sales page offering the service.
  • Youtube videos — this has existed for years. Post videos and get paid through ads.
  • Affiliate a product you love — I have affiliate links for software I use such as ConvertKit. The person you refer gets a discount, you get a commission. Everyone wins.
  • Get a gig off Upwork — Not going to make you a millionaire, but a great place to find a client and then upsell them to a full-priced service.
  • Become a freelance copywriter — this is simply writing used to sell a product or service. You don’t need a degree. It’s a high-paying skill that is self-taught 99% of the time.
  • Sell a how-to Google Doc — Know how to use some complicated software? Write a dummies guide and sell it on Gumroad marketplace.
  • Engage with social media accounts — anyone wanting to build an online audience needs ‘likes’ and comments. People will pay you to do it. Easy money.
  • Write on writing platforms that pay — this one came up heaps in the responses to my question. A lot of people made their first $20 this way. Writing royalties probably won’t make you rich but they will get you started.
  • Google Adsense — Set up a niche website and then put Google Ads all over the site. Still a popular option despite how old it makes me feel.
  • Sell a low-priced course — Anyone can sell a course on a platform like Udemy. The reader who suggested this sold a course on how to make friends in a new city for $59. You can literally teach anything.
  • Write LinkedIn posts — professionals need LinkedIn content if they want to succeed in this cut-throat economy. Most of them are working long hours and don’t have the time or don’t know how. Offer to write good business posts about their industry. No need to be an expert. Just research their industry and record a few calls with them.
  • Live-stream on Twitch — People want to watch you play video games live. Get paid with viewer subscriptions, affiliate marketing, brand sponsorships, viewer donations, merchandise, and ad revenue.
  • Create Discord Groups — Every smart person knows that if you want to make money online you need to start a community. Many of them are created nowadays in Discord. But it’s hard to use and set up. Help dummies like me do it.
  • Edit videos — Creators need their videos edited. It’s an easy skill you can self-learn and it pays well. Master Final Cut Pro and then pitch Youtubers to begin with.
  • Sell on eBay — don’t make me explain for the love of god. Buy secondhand stuff at a low price. Sell it at a higher price (aka flipping).
  • Become a virtual assistant — Another self-taught skill anyone can learn. Help busy people manage their emails, calendar, social media accounts, and online side businesses. It’s a great way to meet people you can later copy and have all the behind the scenes knowledge of. (I’m currently looking for a VA, as an example).

Parting thought

They are the most popular ways people told me they made their first $20 online. Why can’t you? You can.

Three ideas that popped up a lot — which I recommend you avoid — are online poker, crypto and FX day trading. These are forms of gambling. You’ll lose everything if you gamble. Humans just aren’t made for it.

Stick to honest ways to make money online and keep at it for a year or more. That’s where alternative career paths come from that can change your life.

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