8 Skills You Can Learn to Earn Money Online

Melissa Presti
April 1, 2020

Working online looks like it’s going to become the new normal, and it’s only been accelerated by COVID-19. In fact, it’s the only choice we have right now during the height of the pandemic.

If you’ve lost your job as a result of the lockdown, and you don’t have any skills that you can use to earn money online, then the next few months are going to be tough. The skills listed below can all be easily learned online and if you’re good enough, can have you earning an income online very quickly. Right now is a great opportunity to acquire these skills. You’ve probably got the free time to learn, and if the current situation with quarantine continues, you’ll have a skill that you can sell online so you don’t rely on jobs that require you to be physically present.

1. Graphic Design

If you’re a creative person and an artist at heart, then learning graphic design is a great way to monetize your natural talent. Graphic designers are responsible for creating everything in the aesthetic realm of the digital world, whether that be a captivating company logo, or a beautifully designed website. To make it as a freelance designer, you’ll need to be familiar with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. And if you want to design websites, you’ll also need to learn at least the basics of HTML & CSS.

There are many types of graphic design including -

Website and App design

Creating the aesthetic factors for a website or app. This means the visual layout, but also the user experience, commonly referred to as user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design.

Brand design

Creating the identity and front-facing images for a business in the form of logos, promotional materials, websites, merchandise, business cards, and more.

Art & Illustration

Think of this as digital drawings, anything from gift cards to tattoos to book covers and interior illustrations.

If you're totally new to graphic design, it’s a good idea to broadly understand all the aspects of graphic design and then choose a niche to specialize in. It's a perfect skill to learn if you want to work from home because your value is in the designs you create - which can be done from anywhere!

Skillshare is a great resource to learn both the basics of graphic design and the expert level knowledge. They have over 3,700 classes in the graphic design category.

2. Proofreading

If you’re a natural grammar nerd who can spot a spelling mistake from a mile away, your services are more in demand than you might think. 

Proofreading is the final step before a piece of content is printed or published. Whether it’s a document, blog post, book manuscript, or legal contract. Proofreaders carefully read (and reread!) to detect any errors and ensure the consistency and accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. 

This may be hard to believe, but there are many people making a significant income online as a proofreader. You can learn the skills you need as a proofreader, and how to find clients through the Proofread Anywhere course.

3. Virtual Assistance

Virtual assisting is an amazing way to kick start an online career and income without a ton of experience or tech skills. It's essentially the same as an executive assistant/secretary, but online. Virtual assistants complete all manner of administrative tasks for business like data entry, bookkeeping, social media management, customer service support, light graphic design work, and more.

If you're a multi-tasker who can tackle all kinds of office support, this is a great place to start. In order to stand out from the crowd, we highly recommend investing in a quick course to level up your general computer skills. The 90 Day VA course is an affordable and effective option to learn all the skills required to start as a virtual assistant, as well as how to find your first clients. You’ll also get access to an incredibly supportive community of other virtual assistants!

4. Software Development

Software developers, (also known as software engineers, coders, or programmers), are responsible for designing the computer programs and operating systems that we use in everyday life. It's a fantastic career to get into at the moment as demand for developers far outweighs supply and will continue for many years to come. It's also a very well paid career, with median incomes around $100,000 per year.

There's a lot to learn in this domain, and it's not for everyone. There are more than a dozen different types of software developers, from web to iOS. 

A great place to get your foundational education in software development is Treehouse. It’s an online technology school that offers beginner to advanced courses in web design, web development, mobile development and game development taught by team of expert teachers. Its courses are aimed at beginners looking to learn coding skills for a career in the tech industry. Their aim is for you to be "job ready" upon completion of their courses.

5. Teaching English Online

For a native English speaker, teaching English online is probably the easiest way to earn an income from home. The barriers to entry are very low. You usually need an Associate’s or Bachelor's Degree (the subject is unimportant) and a TEFL, and that's it!

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It's a standard course that teaches you the fundamentals of teaching English to non-native speakers. There are many different levels of certification, usually categorized by hours of study required to complete. Employers often don't specify which one is preferred, so the cheapest and shortest course will work! You can find extremely cheap TEFL courses on groupon.

There are many companies that hire teachers, but the majority can expect to be teaching Chinese students (both adults and children) through an online video connection. Don't worry, you don't need to know their language! The best employers even provide you with lesson plans, so you don't even have to prepare for each class. One of the biggest employers is VIP Kid.

6. Social Media Management

If you consider yourself to be a pro on social media, why not turn your personal interests into a professional business? Almost every company in the world needs a social media manager to handle posting to their platforms, engaging with their community, drive traffic to their site, and convert followers into customers.

A social media manager often works with scheduling software to plan and execute a calendar of social posts across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more. They’ll also execute strategies to increase engagement for a brand, with the intention of growing awareness and ultimately, sales.

For most young people, social media management is a profession that will come very easily, as you were born as digital natives. Taking a quick course in how to formalise you social media skills into a sellable package is all you'll need to starting this career. There are many courses in social media to choose from on Udemy.

7. Paid Advertising

This specific area of digital marketing deals with internet ads where the main goal is to drive paid traffic to a website and increase sales. Predominantly we’re talking about Google Ads, and social advertising on Facebook and Instagram, but there are other platforms you can advertise on such as Pinterest and Snapchat. The ads you see as you scroll through your feed are there because of professionals with this skill set!

The delivery of these ads can become extremely technical, utilizing all of the information that social media platforms and advertisers have at their disposal such as website traffic, user demographics, interests, and behaviors. Using this available information to target the right people who would be most interested in a business's value proposition, and then optimizing those ads over time is a priceless skill.

The most common (and therefore in demand) type of paid ads are those run through Facebook and Instagram. This course will teach you everything you need to know about these types of ads and how to maximize their ROI.

8. Search Engine Optimization

Known informally as SEO, this is the process of increasing unpaid or organic traffic to a website by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page on the search results page of a search engine like Google. 

The trick to SEO is learning how to utilize the right keywords across a website and blog so that Google recognizes a website/company as an expert on that subject and displays their content at the top of the search results page. The higher up the results page, the likelier someone is to click on your site.

The “rules” of SEO are constantly changing and staying on top of new practices will be beneficial to any prospective employer looking to improve their domain authority.

Beginners can get started with this free SEO guide from Moz, and move on to the Moz Academy courses if you choose this as your area of expertise.

As you can see, none of these skills require years of education to get started. The key with turning them into professions is learning enough to add value to a business. Once you know enough to sell your skills, you can slowly develop into an expert in your field, increasing your hourly rate as you go. It all starts with an introductory online course!

Have more suggestions for skills or online courses? Let us know!