The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies. This means that more and more individuals and organisations now rely on technology for a number of activities that were hitherto done manually or physically. The situation is radically different even with those looking to start a business because they want it to be digital.
One question I get asked often is this: ‘CFA, how can I make money online?’ If I have to rank the questions as asked either through SMS, email or physical events, I will rank this as the mother of all. In any case, this is a very fair question because as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, the unemployment figures in Nigeria stood at above 30 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This is pretty alarming when compared with countries across the world.
Nigeria’s high unemployment rate calls for concern and it remains a scary issue for me personally. One of the reports revealed that 55.4 per cent of young people (15-34) were either underemployed or unemployed (doing nothing), compared to 52.6 per cent in the same period the previous year.
Quite frankly, the unemployment quagmire is why I have championed the cause of supporting entrepreneurs and innovation hubs across the country because as far as I am concerned, entrepreneurial ventures that seek to actively leverage technology are one sure way to get more young people off the streets.
Today’s piece is dedicated to sharing a number of ways that I believe anyone can possibly earn an income online. Let me also state that there is no magic formula; it is simply plain, hard and rugged work, based on my experience. Even those who engage in advance fee fraud, otherwise known as ‘419’, also put in so much time and energy, but sadly, on negative activities. I encourage you not to go that route, but rather engage in activities that would not only put you on the right side of the law but may ultimately give you opportunities beyond your wildest imagination.
Here are possible ways you can try out to earn money online:
Become an affiliate marketer
This is how I started my journey into the online world a little over a decade ago. Affiliate marketing is simply helping other people to sell stuff and earn money doing so. Let me explain the process. You sign up to be an affiliate for website A, which sells ebooks, then you are given a special URL that makes the tracking of each sale seamless. You take that code and share it online, some of your friends might see the links and visit the site; once they make a purchase, the site’s affiliate marketing software informs you about the sale and your commission. There are a number of websites that you can affiliate with right away. If you are a web owner, then this is one business model that you should integrate going forward.
Start a technology-enabled company
I am a witness to the amazing job that has been done by young people all across the country in the last decade. Yes, many of them have failed, but some are still alive and growing gradually. My first advice to anyone seeking to earn extra income online is to launch his/her own enterprise that seeks to solve a problem. A few tips I will share towards achieving this include that you find a problem, carry out some form of basic research, develop a minimum value product and find a mentor before going all out. Start small and scale gradually.
Offer a service or create a product
This is closely related to the first point above. It’ll be difficult to make money online, if you do not have a service that someone, somewhere is willing to pay for; so, create a new product and take it online. How about your services? That too can be unbundled and offered cheaply online, e.g., as a legal practitioner, it may be wise to break down the services you offer and put them on your website so that you can attract small and medium enterprises, who usually regard legal services as something only big businesses can afford. Accounting, coaching, legal and many other services can be provided online, and the beauty of it is that depending on the nature of the client needs, certain services can be provided completely electronically, either through email or video services, like Skype, and the agreed fees paid online.
An increasing number of Nigerians earn more working as freelancers than some corporate executives earn in a month and this makes it a rather interesting industry for anyone who has the time, skill and discipline to deliver jobs of the highest international standards.
Freelancing is huge at the moment, and countries like the Philippines, India and Bangladesh are testimonials to that fact. It is possible to make money online by providing services online – a number of service-based professionals would readily find someone online willing to pay for their services once they are convinced of the value.
Online currency trading
I remember back in the days a number of people I know (including yours truly) got their fingers burnt in forex trading, but this is not to say that it was a terrible online earning option. I believe what happened to the majority of people who must have had some sort of negative experience is that we allowed ‘fake promises’ to becloud our sense of reasoning. I have a contented friend who still makes money from forex, but some forex gurus will consider him a “mugu” if they hear he is satisfied with the little he makes.
Well, the good news today is that online currency trading now includes the possibility of buying and selling crypto assets as well. However, remember to put your greed in check if you decide to jump into currency trading because you can easily get your fingers burnt. It is advisable to attend some sort of training first or find a coach before getting started.
In conclusion, the more Nigerians we can get engaged in one form of legal and profitable online/digital-related business, the better for the future of the country, as this will help drive down unemployment and get young minds busy. All hands must be on deck to save the country from an unavoidable disaster that might be fuelled by unemployment and poverty.
ICT Clinic by CFA is published weekly in the Sunday Punch