11 Legitimate Ways to Make Money Online

woman on a laptop

Yesterday, I spoke about how I don’t think watching ads is a worthwhile or even ethical business in answer to someone who asked about how to make money online. But what if you really do want to make money online, how can you proceed? I have been in that situation before and searched for the answer to that question. Here are ways I have personally made money online or have paid other people making money online.

  1. Buy and sell

This was basically my very first formal business back in 2011. My actual business experience goes way back when I was 8 years old participating in the family business but that’s a story for another day. After I quit my job, I started buying and selling things. I used to order maternity and baby items and resell. I would order from U.K and South Africa and China. A few times, I ordered from U.S.A and Poland.
I ordered good from several different websites but let me give you just 5 actual examples.







  1. Teach

I have paid and been on this one. I teach business growth strategies and get paid. I also have so many different things I learn online. These include business management, sales, and marketing, digital marketing etc… I will just give one example. There are several other sites but I mostly share those details with my inner circle.

Example: www.udemy.com

Other sites like coursera, EdX, I didn’t pay for learning.

  1. Be Virtual assistant

This is like being a personal assistant to a busy person but doing it through the internet. What does this involve? The same things a P.A does. It includes running errands, coordinating certain activities, finding supplies, paying suppliers, collecting and delivering certain things. The V.A I have used most is based in South Africa. She is highly professional and very competent.
Here is her website:  www.v-a.co.za Her name is Carmen Peters,

  1. Write a book and sell it

Of, course, I do a lot of this now. I sell through my website, Amazon, and Facebook. Most of it is done online. Now, I know you might not have written any book yet. I know for a fact that anyone can write a book. If you don’t agree, you might want to read this article I wrote: 10 Lies Keeping You From Writing Your First Book


  1. Create a course and sell

This is another way to make money online. I have paid for courses and I have also been paid for my course, Manage Your Business and Get More Customers. I already mentioned I learn from Udemy. These are courses. There are several other websites where you can create and sell courses. How can you create a course? Think like a business person. See yourself as providing a solution through information.

What areas can you write a course on? Here are the top 3:


We are all in one kind of relationship or another and it’s a huge area of our lives. Just look at the money forums we have online that are dealing with these. You can write on parenting relationships, relationship with God, relationships with self(personal development), dating, courtship, marriage, infidelity (avoiding it, dealing with it, or moving past it). You can also write about divorce and remarriage. I hope you see how wide this topic really is.


This is another huge area. You can write about healthy eating, weight loss(very wide market), detox, gaining weight, overcoming certain diseases using diet, natural health remedies(notice that a lot of network marketing opportunities are in this area). You can also write about food, cooking etc…so many options here.


Here, you can talk about career, business(like I do), sales, marketing, finance, financial investments, real estate, saving, business opportunities etc…We all want money because we all need to use it, manage it and grow it. This is another wide area

So these topics of relationships, health and wealth can be a subject for your blog, ebook, book or course.


  1. Start a blog, grow traffic and sell advertising

I have already mentioned the three main areas but don’t let that list restrict you. There are other niche areas you can use. Some examples could include, beauty, hunting, fishing, traveling etc…

Once you pick a topic, you can start growing traffic then let other people advertise. I have not made money on my website because I don’t do ads there but my parenting blog on Facebook called Mwanwanga, I do charge people to advertise on it. You may have noticed with other bogs doing the same. You can also start a forum like that and when it’s big enough people can pay you to advertise on it.

  1. Be a translator

One time, my husband and I did an English-to-Bemba translation of some research work for someone and got paid for it. To be honest, he did most of the work..I was just making tea. If you are fluent in some languages and can comfortably translate, you might want to look into this option. There are many translation jobs posted online. We did ours on a website that was called Elance. It has now been changed to Upwork.com

  1. Be a transcriber

Can you listen to an audio or watch a video and type what you are hearing? I haven’t done this job before but I just auditioned for one on Upwork.com and you will also find people looking for transcribers on fiverr.com and freelancer.com


  1. Summon the techy in you

With tech skills, you make money online by giving professional services to small buisness who don’t have the budget for a full time worker. When you have tech skills like graphic design, programming, video creation or editing or even other art, you can offer these skills for a fee.
For example, I pay for the graphics design for all my book covers. I found my designer through fiverr.com. I have also used Upwork.com and freelancer.com
There are several other such websites where you can register as a freelancer and offer your services.

I have also done website design for a few select clients both within and outside Zambia. The good news is, even if you don’t know how to do such things, there are plenty of learning resources. The most important thing is to have the interest.


  1. Do social media marketing

Do you know how to effectively make use of social media for marketing? You can make money helping other businesses reach their customers on this platform. This is one of my main sources of income where I manage the online marketing strategy for clients and get paid. As technology and internet use increases, I don’t see this opportunity going away anytime soon. I predict that it will only increase.

  1. Be a coach

Under create a course, I went into some detail by mentioning different areas like health, wealth, and relationships that can be subjects for a course. Creating a course is where you ask people to read for themselves. Being a coach is where you walk them through something and help them see things more clearly, or become unstuck or achieve something faster. For example, I am a small business coach. I do this online.

Can you pick one of the several areas I mentioned? The key thing to remember is that to be a good coach, you must have two things: be an ardent student and learn as much as you can in your area(but you don’t need to become a professor first, just basic mastery is enough). Secondly, you must be patient and willing to listen because application of that knowledge by the people you coach depends on many factors such as their readiness, their willingness, their unique circumstance, skills, abilities, fears etc…

Bonus:  Be a writer or an editor

Do you find yourself getting annoyed when people don’t spell correctly? There might be an editor in you. With more people getting into writing, you can offer them your skills and improve their work. I have paid for editing both through online and offline means.

I have also been paid and still do get paid to write for publications and websites. Maybe you haven’t yet written a book but you have some writing skills. There are many websites, blogs or even social sites that can pay you to write. Vodafone is one of them (I don’t write for them though.) A few times, I have paid someone to write an article for me because I had a deadline and I was either too busy to write or I wasn’t feeling well.

So there you go, 11 ways of making money online that I have personal experience with. I would like to include some honorable mentions I have tried but they didn’t work partly because of where I live. Some opportunities are restricted to areas where e-commerce is developed such as the UK. Australia, U.K Canada etc. These include: taking surveys online, testing apps, watching test adverts(they want to see the ad effectiveness), product testing etc. There is also all the rage about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies. I have not tried these myself and it looks like an area worth investigating.

Remember, there are several other ways but I promised to share only those I have personal experience with.

After you start something, you might want to learn some basic marketing. Here is an article to get you started: Top 3 Reasons Why Your Customers Are Not Buying.

Which other legitimate make money online methods do you know about? Do you like this article, remember to share with your friends.

7 thoughts on “11 Legitimate Ways to Make Money Online

  1. Chabu says:

    Hi Susan, happy to have read the article. I am desperately trying to get me going in freelancing. For several years I’ve read people from other countries write about such but great to know we have Zambians doing it which is great encouragement that it’s possible for anyone with the passion and desire to do so.

    Once again, thanks.

    • susan mwenda says:

      Thanks Chabu,
      We really do need more Zambians to freelance. What service are you planning to offer? Or maybe you are still deciding?

  2. Mituka says:

    I freelance and I make good cash online. It is sad when I search Zambians freelancing on the freelance platform I use and you only find less than 5 good rated freelancers including myself. What is even more worrying amongst these 5, maybe 2 are based in Zambia but of a different nationality. I encourage people in Zambia to freelance and not give up. I started back in 2012 but only gained some momentum last year. Not because that’s how long it takes but that is when I took it seriously. From then onwards it has been pretty fast riding. Would love to share a blog on how you can get started and tips on how to win projects. The mindset of Zambians looking for Jobs needs to evolve.

    • susan mwenda says:

      You are right. I have both been a freelancer and also hired freelancers. I sometimes want a Zambian because of certain required local knowledge but I just can’t find them. I think we will improve with time.

      • Mituka says:

        From your statement, It wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a locally based freelancing platform for locally based needs to be met. Most companies here have these time-based projects that require motivated individuals. It would also be easier for them to pick individuals based on their rating on such platform. Great work and innovation you are doing here by the way.

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