xenmaster's online business platforms

The purpose of this list is to provide a list of creator-based platforms you can use to make money. The idea here is to satisfy the three step process to becoming a potentially successful creator:

1). Come up with a great value proposal. What can you build that other people will pay money for?
2). Find a way to deliver your value to your customers. This is where the platform comes in.
3). Find a way to get paid.

Having a platform that takes away all the major issues that come with delivering content and getting paid is the purpose of the items on this list. They've been categorised based on the type of side business (and possibly fulltime business) you are trying to build!


  • Category 0: Digital Content

    Content creators are people who create educational or entertainment content that builds an audience. This audience could be monetized so the artist is compensated appropriately.

    • setup: you will need equipment, whether that is a good webcam, microphone, or recording tools to make audio/visual content.
    • level of effort: ongoing, people won't some to your site unless you create content regularly.
    • how do I get paid: pay typically isn't directly influenced by your production. A site that creates ten posts a day can end up making very little for each of them if there's no audience, whereas a site posting only a couple times a week with a big audience could make serious money. So the key is building that audience.

  • WordPress

    Freemium Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... iPhone Android Tablet iPad Self-Hosted PHP Cloudron Website

    Category: Blogs

    If you have something interesting to say and people want to hear about it, this is the best way to go. Blogging is one of the least difficult to enter since it doesn't require expensive setups like audio/visual equipment, lighting, etc or a crew. The only bad news is that it's probably the most challenging to get noticed and make money since people don't really go searching for blogs they way they do for other entertainment content - you will need to do a lot of outside marketing.

    How do I get paid: There really are no native options for blog monetization, you will have to make deals with outside companies that wordpress supports. For example, you can sign up for a Patreon so you are paid by your supporters per post, sign up for an advertising network to display ads on your blog, post affiliate links from an affiliate network, get sponsorships for your posts, or use cryptomining tools to have your visitors support you by mining for coin while they view your site. All of these are covered in great detail in Category 6 below. Finally, you can use your blog as a springboard for other sites, including a youtube channel, merchandising, or a podcast.

     

    WordPress icon
  • YouTube

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Blackberry Chrome OS ... Android Tablet iPad Apple TV KaiOS Fire TV Nintendo Switch Xbox Website

    Category: Videos

    If you have good stage presence and want to make videos and are good at editing as well, this is a great place to develop an audience. As long as you follow the rules, you can post anything here from cat videos, music channels (with your own music, of course), short films, sketch comedy, game play, tutorials, advice, stupid unboxing videos, educational material/tutorials, and commentary and analysis. All your content is immediately available to the audience unless you have exclusive content available only to subscribers.

    How you get paid: Built in monetization tools allow you to be eligible for monetizing - you have to be a regular creator and not just posting on an occasional basis. Also you will need to have to meet subscription minimums to be eligbible.
    1). advertising revenue is available, you get a portion of what youtube earns off the ads
    2). channel membership subscriptions, you get a portion of the payment
    3). superchats, viewers can pay to have their comments highlighted during steaming sessions
    4). premium revshare, when youtube premium subscribers watch your content, you get a cut of their subscription paid to Youtube.
    You can also tack on affilate links to your descriptions, get sponsorships from various companies to announce in your videos, or sign up for patreon. More on these options are listed in Category 6 below.

     

    YouTube icon
  • Twitch

    Freemium Mac Windows Web Android iPhone ... Windows Phone iPad Kindle Fire Playstation Fire TV Chromecast Xbox Website

    Category: Streaming

    Similar to youtube, but with a focus on livestreaming as opposed to straight video. Twitch is primarily gaming focused, but some people 'just chat' and can still get donations. Similar to Youtube, your content is immediately available (except for subscriber-only material), the platform takes care of all the hosting and streaming requirements so you don't have to.

    How you get paid: You need to make 'affiliate level' on Twitch before you start getting paid, similar to youtube, there are requirements involved. The following payment methods are supported.
    1). paid subscriptions for exclusive content (you get half the paid fee)
    2). twitch bits, which are prepaid tokens a customer gets from twitch and can donate to you on the platform. It's like a giftcard that you get from the customer.
    3). tips or donations are either done on the channel or through a third party
    4). advertisements can be monetized if you are part of the partner program. This involves additional requirements as well, including regular broadcasts and having a concurrent viewer minimum during the shows.
    You can also tack on affilate links to your descriptions, get sponsorships from various companies to announce in your streams, or sign up for patreon. More on these options are listed in Category 6 below.

     

    Twitch icon
  • Substack

    Freemium Web Website

    Category: Newsletter

    If you have interesting things to say in either newsletter or podcast form that people would be willing to pay for to hear. The content can be diverse, anything from DIY, analysis, to fiction, similar to Youtube but in a written format. It is particularly growing for journalists so if that is something you are good at, it will fit in here nicely. Your subscriber-only content will be released to subscribers upon subscription, everything else is hosted and served by the platform.

    How you get paid: You get the value of subscriptions paid for your content, less a commission to the site per month. You can also sign up for a patreon if you want, more on that in Category 6.

     

    Substack icon
  • OnlyFans

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: Spicy videos.

    If you are more content is more on the risque side, you should consider using this platform. It doesn't exclusively require you to post NSFW content, but that is the reason people show up to this platform. Your content is released to customers once they subscribe. Hosting and streaming bandwidth is handled by the platform. The only major downside is to your reputation if you end up getting recognized in your day job.

    How you get paid: You get the subscription price less a commission for the platform. It's a pretty heavy commission, but if you are on this platform, you will probably make up for it in volume. You can also sign up for a Patreon if you want (they do allow for risque content), more on that in Category 6.

     

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  • Anchor

    Free Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Category: podcasts

    Anchor, a company owned by Spotify, is one of the easiest ways to get started in podcasting. It is set up so that even just having a phone with a mic is good enough to start recording content.

    • How you get paid: Anchor.fm has 'listener support' which allows supporters to provide you with periodic monthly donations when they support your channel as a subscription service. This service is only available in the US though, and you will need a SSN or Tax ID to collect your donations. The fee charged by Anchor is also relatively high as well at 30%.
      Aside from this option, you can also go to Patreon to set up an account with them so you are paid per post and/or get outside sponsorships who will pay you for sponsored posts. More on that in Category 6.

     

    Anchor icon
  • Category 1: Digital Products

    Digital products are exactly what they sound like - you can create videos, music, eBooks, or software that you can sell again and again for little incremental cost.

    • Setup: Depending on what you are building, you will need different tools. For example, Reaper makes excellent music while Unity is a great platform for making games.
    • level of effort: It depends on how much you want to create. The good news is that after you aren't paying a cost per sale after you create your digital product. You build, and any sale after doesn't require incremental effort. Obviously, if you want to create a new ebook/game/album, then your costs go up, but there is no cost-per-sale, aside from your payment processor transaction fees.
    • how do I get paid: Nearly all of these have a payment mechanism that allows you to get paid per sale for what you create.

  • Gumroad

    Commercial Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad ... Software as a Service (SaaS) Website

    Category: Digital Goods

    If you are good at creating digital products, this is a great platform to host and sell them. eBooks (books and graphic novels/comics), visual art, videos, music, software, and games can be sold via Gumroad. Gumroad has a shopping cart function and releases your digital assets upon payment by the customer.

    How you get paid: You make a profit on what you sell less a monthly hosting fee and a transaction fee for each sale.

    The only downside for this platform is that people will need to come here to buy your product and it's not that well known. The good news is that you can offer pretty much anything here.

     

    Gumroad icon
  • itch.io

    Free Mac Windows Linux Web Android ... Android Tablet Website

    Category: Games

    This is one of the best platforms for indie games to be listed and sold for the budding creator. The platform takes care of hosting and releases the software upon purchase so no need to worry about complicated eCommerce setups.

    How you get paid: The company takes a percentage of sales fee for each sale you make.

    Alternative Payment Options: advertisements and in-app purchases are also available for payment, but you have to set these up yourself. Freemium isn't free.

     

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  • Bandcamp

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Website

    Category: Music, Concert-Tickets

    If you are good at creating digital music, you should be using Bandcamp to promote and sell your work. As of 2020, they also do ticketed livestreams for musical performance as well. Merchandise can also be offered for sale on their platform. The platform takes care of hosting and releases the music/performance upon purchase, including single plays, unlimited play, and downloadable content. They will also do vinyl/CD pressing for you as well and ship that to customers without you having to worry about manufacture or fulfillment, so not just digital goods can be sold here!

    How you get paid: You keep the value of your sale, less a payment processing fee and commission due to the business.

     

    Bandcamp icon
  • SkillShare

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Apple TV Website

    Category: Tutorials

    If you want to teach other people how to do something cool and get paid for it, this is the platform for you. Check out Skillshare to see what other people are teaching and come up with a course that is both well done and adds value to your customer - make sure it is something you are good at and can present well! Skillshare handles order fulfillment, once the customer pays, they view the course on their platform!

    How you get paid: Skillshare has a built in shopping cart that will allow customers to purchase your course. The platform takes a cut of your pay as a commission.

     

    SkillShare icon
  • Apple App Store

    Free Mac Web iPhone iPad Chrome ... Safari Website

    Category: Mobile apps

    If you have the next killer app and can write/program apps, this is the market place to put out your finest works. The appstore takes care of hosting and delivery of your app upon purchase to the customer

    • How you get paid: You keep the purchase price for each sale, less a huge fee (up to 30%) and an annual developer fee due each year. In addition to one time purchases, subscriptions are also available for recurring revenue (popular with news apps) as well as in-app purchases and advertising. All of these require the remittance to the AppStore before you can claim what is left.

    One major drawback here is that the appmarket is pretty mature. Flappybird not withstanding, it is rare for people who are working on their own to make serious money when the biggest apps are from big companies.

    • Alternative Payment Options: advertisements and in-app purchases are also available for payment options.

     

    Apple App Store icon
  • Category 2: Physical Product Design

    This category is for anywhere that will print or manufacture on demand products designed by you. The platform takes care of the raw materials and uses your design to customize the product, which is then sold and shipped to the customer without you being involved.

    • setup: relatively minor, you use software to create the designs you want.
    • level of effort: Similar to digital products, it's based on individual design. Make your design and then you get a return every time someone buys your product, no incremental effort required.
    • how do I get paid: Payment is typically done in one of two ways - you either get a portion of what you sell and have to pay for the cost of goods sold to the platform or you get paid a royalty based on the use of your art. Redbubble is an example of the former while Spoonflower is an example of the latter.

  • RedBubble

    Free Web iPhone iPad Website

    Category: print-on-demand

    This company creates apparel, posters, and other print goods based on your design. Unlike other companies, you set the price, but you also have to pay the underlying cost of goods sold. Any discounts you offer will come out of your profit margin, so price wisely!

     

    RedBubble icon
  • Lulu

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: printshop

    This outfit primarily creates print books, photo books, comic books, calendars, magazines, and yearbooks. The cost per book depends on the materials and format and you pay for that before collecting any profits from what you get in sales.

     

    Lulu icon
  • Category 3: Physical Goods

    If you prefer to sell what you make or buy, this is a good option for you. These are good for smaller operations - you probably aren't trying to become the next Walmart or Costco.

    • setup: setup is pretty extensive since you are going to be building/sourcing products you will want to sell. All that usually has to be taken care of on its own unless you want to do it yourself (see the below titled column).
    • level of effort: significant per sale. Since you are crafting or purchasing each good for resale, you will need to put effort behind each sale.
    • how do I get paid: You typically get paid per creation, less a listing fee and the cost of goods. Usually you will be expected to pay the transaction fee too per your method of payment.

  • Etsy

    Commercial Web Android iPhone Apple Watch Kindle Fire Website

    Category: Craft Goods

    The platform will take care of your storefront and will allow you to sell there, but you do have to pay for listings and for a percentage of the sales you make as commisions to the site. Also, you will be responsible for creating the actual goods. Unique handcrafted goods are preferred, but some people have designed good and outsourced to their list of official manufacturers, although this process is somewhat discouraged in the community.

     

    Etsy icon
  • eBay

    Freemium Windows Web Android iPhone Windows S ... Android Tablet iPad Apple Watch Kindle Fire Website

    Category: Resell / Retail Arbitrage

    This is a good platform for small-time resales, but also for retail arbitrage, where you buy something for a small dollar value and mark it up and resell on the platform. People acquire everything from vintage goods, to LEGO toys to unique products and put them at auction or sell them outright for a fixed price. A good way to make quick cash on items you already own. Only downside is you will have to acquire and warehouse your own wares, pay a fee for the listing and for any sales. The good news is that there is a lot of money to be made when you buy product at a time/place with weak demand and sell it somewhere else where demand is strong (especially around the holidays, limited edition/collectors items or for discontinued products still in demand).

     

    eBay icon
  • Category 4: Sidegigs

    These are basically microjobs where you get paid per services rendered.

    • setup: It depends. If you already have a car, the set up cost for ridesharing is minimal. Not so if you aren't. But overall, these tasks can be done by anyone.
    • level of effort: It depends, your income is directly tied to your effort. If you do a lot of freelancing, you will get paid accordingly. But there are only so many hours in the day so scaling up is hard in this business - there is a direct incremental cost to each time you get paid. In many ways it's a job rather than owning a business, except that you get paid per completed project rather than per hour.
    • how do I get paid: the platform usually takes care of this, but the rate will depend on whom you are working.

  • Fiverr

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: freelancing

    Despite the name, a person can make more than five dollars a task here now. Similar to Gumroad for digital products, Fiverr is a good place to basically do anything and get paid for it in small gigs. The downside is similar to Gumroad - not everyone knows about this site and people looking specifically for a grocery deliverer will be more likely to go to Instacart than here.

     

    Fiverr icon
  • Gengo

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: translation

    This site specializes in translation works. If you know more than one language, working as a translator for this site is a great way to earn money with a skill you already have.

     

    Gengo icon
  • Lyft

    Free Web Android iPhone Android Wear Website

    Category: Ridesharing

    If you have a car and some spare time, you can make money driving people around. The rates, fares, and customers are handled by the platform, all you have to do is drive from place to place.

    Caveat: the only major concern I would have with this service is that during the age of CORONAVIRUS, it is a lot more risky than it used to be. You may not be happy to be getting the relatively low amount of pay as a driver. And this is even after considering how passengers can be pretty rude.

     

    Lyft icon
  • TaskRabbit

    Commercial Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Category: handyman, moving, and delivery

    Currently owned by Ikea, they still operate independently and their rabbit primarily deliveries, moving and Ikea furniture assembly. If you can do any of these things, you may have what it takes to be a rabbit.

     

    TaskRabbit icon
  • UserTesting.com

    Commercial Web iPhone Website

    Category: Reviews

    Usertesting allows regular people to test sites, games, and other user experiences and get paid to do so after offering feedback to the authors of the tested work. You won't get rich doing this, but it's a good sidegig.

     

    UserTesting.com icon
  • TutorMe

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: Tutoring

    More hands on than the tutorials noted earlier, this is more one-on-one interactions with people who need tutoring services. If you have experience in a particular area, this is a good way to get paid to explain it to other people.

     

    TutorMe icon
  • Category 5: Investment Platforms

    Investments basically involves you buying something that appreciates in value before you resell your ownership of that asset to buyers on the open market.

    • setup: The biggest set up cost is the cash you are putting up to actually get a return on the investment.
    • level of effort: Up to you. The more time and effort you put into researching the investment opportunities presented by these platforms, the more likely you are to get a good return. Some would argue that this effort is wasted and this is little more than gambling (especially the inexperienced and the lazy). In either case, don't bet more than you can afford to lose.
    • how do I get paid: You get paid out when you sell your investment.
    • CAVEAT: investing is generally a heavily regulated industry. As a result, you will likely need to give up a LOT of personal information to comply with Know Your Customer rules around this type of activity and to ensure that illegal activity, like inside trading and tax evasion, is avoided.

  • Robinhood

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Apple Watch Website

    Category: Stocks and Securities

    Robinhood is a mobile application that allows investors to buy stocks without going through complex middlemen to do so. It is one of the most local forms of retail investing, offering solutions to the common person. Useful for people both highly educated in the importance of market share, cashflow and long-term sustainability and people who get their investment advice from reddit meme boards.

     

    Robinhood icon
  • Coinbase

    Freemium Web Android iPhone Website

    Category: Cryptocoins

    Coinbase is similar to Robinhood, but for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Etherium, and Monero. You can use this software to buy and sell and it keeps a record of your transactions to ensure you are paying the proper taxes and following the required regulations. This is not a good solution if you are buying crypto for anonymous purchases, but if you are looking to flip digital currenices for cash, this is a great option.

     

    Coinbase icon
  • NameSilo

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: Domains Name Services

    Domain names are a hot commodity and this platform allows you the opportunity to register the next hot name and list it for sale on their Namesilo Marketplace for more than the annual registration cost. This isn't quite as regulated as securities and cryptocurrencies so be sure you keep a record of what you are earning for tax reasons. This is one of the easiest ways to get into investments since the cost of registering a dot.com address is relatively small.

     

    NameSilo icon
  • Category 6: Monetization Platforms

    Overall, the purpose of these platforms is to set yourself up to get paid for your work. This is especially important if you are working as one of the content creators in Step 1 since your compensation is dependent on an audience rather than per sale.

  • Ko-fi

    Freemium Web Facebook Twitter Website

    Category: Tips

    How do I get paid: Basically whenever your user sends you a tip for your hard work. This method is common for non-profit enterprises. The main barrier to this process is that the customer has to put in a lot of work to both sign in to the service and to send you a tip via payment method. This may discourage people from using this method to support your work.

     

    Ko-fi icon
  • PeachPay

    Free Software as a Service (SaaS) Website

    Category: Donations

    How do I get paid: Similar to above, but rather than have a badge on your page, this is an entire page dedicated to you as a creator. It is essentially a hub that showcases what you do and also allows people to pay you based on whatever method they want, whether it is cryptocurrencies or traditional payments.

     

    PeachPay icon
  • Patreon

    Commercial Web Android iPhone Android Tablet iPad Website

    Category: Patronage

    How do I get paid: Your audience signs into Patreon and subscribes to your profile, allowing you to get paid every time you create more content. This is the easiest way as a blogger, streamer, or video creator to have payments come in directly as a result of the output you produce. As a creator, you are expected to provide perks in accordance with how much they pay out in a tiering system, so you may want to have merchandise or behind-the-scenes VIP content for them. There are other sites that offer this, but the fact that most people already have Patreon accounts makes it less effort for them to support you on this platform if you are well known. The downside is that Patreon has a very strict code of conduct that extends beyond the site and even your created content - they've banned people from their network for things they've done in real life or on other platforms.

     

    Patreon icon
  • Google AdSense

    Free Web Website

    Category: Advertising

    How do I get paid: Payments can be either per impression (every viewer who sees your ad) or per click (every time someone clicks on your advertisement) for each ad that is posted on your page. The bad news for this is if someone is using adblockers, you may not get paid at all, but the cost is low since the campaign is being bankrolled by the advertiser. Also, if you are creating controversial content, the ads network may ban you since advertisers may not want to be associated with your content or message.

     

    Google AdSense icon
  • CoinImp

    Free Web Website

    Category: Cryptomining

    How do I get paid: Unlike traditional advertising, this site allows you to make money by having your visitors mine Monero (XMR) cryptocoins for you. This is done by Javascript code embedded in your site that users the visitor's CPU power to mine for coins while they are on your site. It is advantageous because it allows you to monetize the site without intrusive advertising but it also could be offputting for users to know that you have scripts taking their CPU power to mine for coins. You definitely want to disclose that your site is monetized this way if you want to be ethical about the set up.

     

    CoinImp icon
  • ShareASale

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: Affiliates

    How do I get paid: Affiliates are programs where you direct traffic to a seller who gives you a commission based on the sales made. This is a good way for you to monetize your site if you, for example, have a blog or site around redecorating or computer gaming setups - by posting links to where people can buy products with affiliate links, you can get a cut of the sales. An ethical advertiser always discloses this relationship so people can be aware of the fact that you're getting compensated for your recommendations.

     

    ShareASale icon
  • Category 7: eCommerce Platform

    This section is essentially how you would go about setting up a business from scratch that sells products.

    • setup: significant in that you have to set up your entire infrastructure for your business from scratch.
    • level of effort: Significant in that you are basically building an entire business yourself and will be managing things that most platforms typically take care of themselves. You will also have to keep track of what is going on so things like massive customer complaints or losing a critical supplier who goes out of business doesn't cause your store to collapse.
    • how do I get paid: Assuming you are selling products or services, you will get paid based on what you sell, less any costs incurred.

  • Shopify

    Commercial Web Website

    Category: Storefront

    Shopify is an eCommerce storefront that allows you to build an ecommerce store, create product listings, optimise SEO, set up a shopping card and manage payment options, including automatic sales tax collection, cart and fulfillment management, and allows you to perform analytics, offer discounts/sales/giftcards, and to build for mobile as well as the computer browser all in one package. But you need to decide what you want to sell (physical goods / digital goods / dropshipping / print-on-demand, and then contract with various parties to manage things like manufacturing and fulfillment (although the platform has tools to help with that second part).

     

    Shopify icon
  • Oberlo

    Commercial Software as a Service (SaaS) Website

    Category: Dropshipping

    A great way to make money is to take wholesale products that are manufactured elsewhere and open up a storefront so that you can pay for that effort to take place. A dropship is essentially when a customer places orders through you and then company that manufactures the product sends it to a fulfillment house which 'dropships' the product directly to the customer without you have to worry about warehousing, fulfillment, etc. They can also help with returns and with customer service calls.

     

    Oberlo icon
  • Stripe

    Commercial Web Software as a Service (SaaS) Website

    Category: Payment Gateway

    This is a payment gateway that allows you to accept payments for products or services rendered. They can be plugged into online store-fronts like Shopify and allow for payments to be processed in multiple currencies, in different parts of the world, support PCI compliance and invoicing, anti-fraud tools, and card network integration so you don't have to think about those things. You will have to pay a transaction fee, typically a percentage of sales plus a flat rate. Also, you don't need to set up a merchant account with a bank to use Stripe, which is advantageous if you don't have the best credit and/or don't want to have to deal with the hassle.

     

    Stripe icon

Keep in mind, result are not guaranteed when you use these platforms - tons of people don't become millionaires setting up online businesses, but people who never try don't succeed either. You should also learn the basics around sales and marketing and how to deal with good cash management and accounting or even a good idea can be torpedoed by bad management. Also, keep it legal, nobody likes a content thief, a ripoff artist, or a conman.

One final word of advice is that a lot of the service providers here are ideologically biased from a political standpoint and it today's day and age of social media, it is easy to get cancelled for missteps. You should avoid political content or merchandise if your goal is to make money rather than to be an activist (especially if you are on the American Right). There's nothing wrong with supporting a cause, but the purpose of this post is to provide options to get into business, not how to be the charge for a cause. Clean up your social media and don't do anything that could get you in trouble with HR at your day job and you probably won't have anything to worry about.



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