How to Make Money Online Without a Degree

Earning money online without having a college degree is entirely possible nowadays thanks to the internet and the multitude of opportunities it provides. With the right skills, mindset and effort, you can establish multiple income streams ranging from freelancing services to affiliate marketing and beyond.

While a degree can certainly help open more career doors in the online space, lack of one doesn’t have to stop you from unleashing your money-making potential. Plenty of people without college credentials are raking in nice incomes from the comfort of their own homes.

You just need to identify lucrative money-making avenues suited to your abilities and interests, set up everything methodically, and work hard and smart. This guide covers some fantastic, realistic ways to make money online without a degree along with tips to succeed.

Best Ways to Make Money Online Without a Degree

1. Freelancing

One of the foremost ways to utilize your skills, knowledge and experience for earning cash online is by freelance working. As a freelancer you can take up work in areas matching your expertise and deliver services to clients across the globe.

Some of the top freelancing fields include:

  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Development
  • Video/Animation
  • Bookkeeping
  • Virtual Assistance
  • and more!

Freelancing gives you extensive flexibility to choose your work types, hours, clients and rates. By gaining reviews and ratings on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork, you can also build credibility over time.

How to start:

  • Determine your marketable skills
  • Build a compelling profile/portfolio showcasing your services
  • Bid on relevant projects/gigs on freelance sites
  • Maintain excellent quality and communication
  • Slowly raise your rates as you gain 5-star reviews

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products and services on your website/blog. Over 15% of the digital marketing industry’s revenue is generated by affiliate marketing.

Whenever someone makes a purchase after clicking your promo link, you get rewarded with a payout. The more people buy through your link, the higher your passive income grows.

You can become an affiliate for brands across categories like:

  • SaaS
  • eCommerce
  • Info-products
  • Lead generations
  • and more

As an affiliate marketer, you get to enjoy location independence and unlimited scalability devoid of supply/operational hassles.

How to start:

  • Find brands offering affiliate programs
  • Apply to suitable programs
  • Get approval and affiliate links
  • Promote affiliate links through content
  • Track sales and optimize promotion

3. Dropshipping

Dropshipping provides an exciting way to sell products online without handling any inventory or shipping. It functions by dropshipping products from a wholesale supplier directly to the customer when there is an order.

You would simply set up an online store, add product listings with descriptions and images, and drive traffic to the store with ads or influencer marketing. Whenever there is a sale, you keep the profits while the supplier takes care of logistics end-to-end.

With the help of platforms like Shopify and Oberlo, launching a dropshipping business is easier than ever. You also minimize risks as you don’t have to stock inventory. Dropshipping business owners have crossed 7-figure revenue marks within months!

How to start:

  • Select a dropshipping supplier
  • Set up an online store
  • Add product listings
  • Run traffic campaigns on social media/Google
  • Deliver an excellent customer experience

4. YouTube Videos

Building a YouTube channel in your domain of interest presents a tremendously rewarding income avenue without needing any fancy degree. You can start by simply creating and uploading videos regularly around topics you enjoy.

Over time as you release more content, gain subscribers and increase viewership, you become eligible to monetize videos through Google AdSense and YouTube channel membership features. Top creators easily make 5-6 figures a month!

You can also boost income by promoting affiliate/sponsored products subtly in videos. As your following grows, you can even sell merch.

How to start

  • Have a niche/speciality
  • Set up lighting/equipment
  • Create captivating video content
  • Optimize titles, descriptions, tags
  • Engage & grow your subscriber base

5. Online Surveys

Taking online surveys in your free time can become a sizeable income source without investment or complex steps. There are sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks and Pinecone Research that reward you to share your opinion on products, services, concepts etc.

While each survey may pay less than $5, by qualifying for several surveys across multiple survey panels you can expect to earn $100-200 monthly. Some people even manage to make thousands a month in the long run by staying consistent.

How to start

  • Register on 1-2 survey panels
  • Provide accurate demographic info
  • Check new surveys daily
  • Give honest, thoughtful answers
  • Qualify for high-paying survey opportunities

6. Social Media Management

Social media managers are becoming ever-crucial for brands looking to market themselves digitally. As someone well-versed in social media best practices, you can offer your services to multiple clients without needing any fancy certification.

With tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, iconosquare and more—managing multiple accounts is seamless. Most tasks can also be handled remotely. This presents enormous flexibility for you while building your clientele.

On average, social media managers charge $500+ per client for creating/scheduling posts, monitoring engagement, running ads etc. Pro managers easily make 6 figures in revenue.

How to start

  • Build expertise on major platforms
  • Offer packages for strategy, content, ads etc.
  • Reach out to potential clients
  • Deliver results through analytics/engagement
  • Gradually increase your fees

7. Information Products

Selling information online as downloadable products like eBooks, online courses, video training series represents one of the most leveraged ways to make money without formal credentials. All it requires is creating value-driven content and marketing it correctly.

You can either create info-products on topics you possess in-depth expertise in or collaborate with experts to create authority products. By promoting your offers through educational blogging, email sequences, and social media funneling—you can build a passive revenue engine.

Several online entrepreneurs make over 7-figures yearly through info-products built around solving people’s burning problems.

How to start

  • Identify audience needs
  • Map out product outline
  • Create & package content
  • Build sales funnel
  • Promote through SEO, PPC, email
  • Focus on customer satisfaction

8. Consulting/Coaching

Imparting your hard-won personal or professional learnings to coach and mentor other people represents an impactful income avenue without being restricted by academic qualifications. Thanks to the internet you can easily conduct 1-on-1 coaching sessions via call/video conferencing tools.

You can coach people on things like:

  • Health/Fitness
  • Mindset
  • Relationships
  • Career Growth
  • Personal Finance
  • and more...

By focusing on customization and outstanding results for clients, veteran coaches are able to charge premium prices up to $10,000+ for group programs.

How to start

  • Determine your niche
  • Create transformation blueprint
  • Set your fees
  • Reach out to clients
  • Structure valuable lessons
  • Measure and optimize

Tips for Making Money Online as a Beginner

  • Start with accessing your strengths: Determine your natural abilities and skills that you can offer online whether it is writing, designing, coding or coaching. Build your money-making avenue around them.

  • Pick a profitable niche: Ensure whatever services or products you decide to market caters to audiences willing to spend for solutions. Research demand and competition before finalizing your niche.

  • Create an outstanding portfolio: For freelancing services and selling products/info-content, building social proof and credibility elements like reviews, case studies, transformations is vital.

  • Leverage low-cost tools: From G Suite to Fiverr and Social Media schedulers, maximize your productivity with the smartest tools suited for your goal while starting out. Invest in pricier high-level software once you gain traction.

  • Don’t quit your job immediately: Give your side income stream 6-12 months while working your regular job to establish firm foundations before making any drastic switches.

  • Reinvest earnings smartly: Be strategic in allocating earnings from your online income stream into areas like content creation, digital ads, better tech/software to accelerate growth rather than splurging.

  • Form mutually beneficial partnerships: Strategic partnerships with non-competing influencers/experts in your space can unlock immense growth opportunities through cross-promotion.

  • Document taxes diligently: Keep an organized record of expenses and earnings from all online income channels for accurate quarterly/annual tax filing and ensuring compliance.

  • Stay persistent and patient: Consistency and determination even in face of initial hiccups ultimately paves the path for succeeding in the online entrepreneurial space within 1-2 years for most.

How Much Money Can You Make Online Without a Degree?

While individual earning potential varies greatly depending on the monetization avenue chosen, level of efforts and expertise—it is realistic to expect making $50,000-$60,000 per year within 2-3 years without needing a college degree if you start out strategically in high-income skills/niches and compound your growth.

Dedicated individuals providing freelancing services, selling info-products or running ecommerce brands ultimately stand to make $200,000+ yearly as they establish authority in their niche. With 7-figure+ yearly earnings, the monetary possibilities are truly unlimited.

Building diversified income streams across 2-3 channels (like freelancing, affiliates and digital product sales) also adds to your stability and maximizes earnings.

The key is to remain patient, focused on delivering 10x value rather than chasing quick cash and letting your skills and ambition guide you forward one step at a time.

Comparison of Top Online Income Channels Without Degree

Income ChannelProfit PotentialSkills RequiredEffort LevelUpfront CostsTime to Profit
Freelancing$50k-$300k+ yearlySpecific hard & soft skillsHighLow1-6 months
Affiliate Marketing$500-$25k+ per monthMarketing skillsMedium-highLow-medium3-12 months
Dropshipping Business$3k-$20k+ per monthBusiness & marketing skillsHighLow-medium3-9 months
YouTube Channel$1k-$15k+ per monthContent creation, video editingHighLow-medium6-18 months
Online Surveys$100-$5000 per monthSurvey participationLowZero1-2 months
Social Media Management$1k-$20k+ per monthSocial media strategy skillsMediumLow1-4 months
Info-products Creation$5k-$100k+ per monthContent creation, sales funnelHighLow-medium6-12 months
Coaching/Consulting$5k-$30k+ per clientIndustry expertise, marketingMedium-highLow3-6 months


Q: Do I need any initial investment to start earning online?

Most online money-making methods like freelancing, affiliate marketing, online coaching require just a laptop, internet connection and some baseline skills to start with. However, a small ad budget ($100-500) to amplify your offerings and adding structure through a basic LLC company registration does accelerate growth.

Q: How long does it take to start making decent money?

Depending on the monetization channel, it can range from 1-12 months to gain traction online and translate efforts into profits. However, by staying consistent and strategically reinvesting income into boosting credibility and reach—you can expect to make anywhere from $2500-$8000+ monthly within 1-2 years.

Q: Should I have a website to make money online?

Having a professional personal website or blog in your niche certainly adds tremendous credibility, allows lead generation/funneling and opens doors for additional monetization like affiliates and ads. Hence, launching one early through Squarespace, Wix or WordPress is recommended.

Q: Do I need advanced tech skills for all online money methods?

Definitely not! Options like affiliate marketing, dropshipping store, online surveys need just baseline computer literacy. Even starting a general freelancing or YouTube channel doesn’t require coding or insane tech skills—just your unique talent/knowledge and authentic sharing!

Q: Is making money online without a degree sustainable long-term?

Absolutely! Today’s $500 billion+ digital economy and rise of boundaryless remote jobs means making real money online without traditional qualifications will only get easier and more mainstream moving forward. By building authority and diversifying your income streams, you ensure thriving long-term.

The key is starting now by identifying lucrative skills you already have, honing them diligently and providing insane value to global audiences from anywhere! Consistently learning, innovating your offers and reinvesting to scale impact leads to a future-proof online career without limitations.


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