One question I am usually asked 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 at the end of the third quarter of 2018, the unemployment figure in Nigeria stood at 23.13 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This is pretty alarming, when compared with countries like the United States that stands at less than four per cent and this is a country with some level of social buffers.
That said, the issue of unemployment is a scary one for me. The same labour statistics report showed that at the end of the third quarter of 2018, 55.4 per cent of young people (aged 15 to 34) were either underemployed or unemployed (doing nothing), compared to 52.6 per cent in the same period the previous year. This is why I have taken it upon myself to become a staunch supporter of both start-ups and hubs across the country because as far as I am concerned, entrepreneurial ventures that seek to actively leverage technology will help to get more young people off the streets.
Today’s piece is dedicated to sharing a number of ways that I believe anyone can earn money online. The reality is that there is no magic formula; it is simply plain, hard and rugged work, based on my experience. Even those who do ‘419’ as a business model 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 a few money making opportunities available to anyone:
1. Start a technology-enabled business
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 an 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.
2. Sell a product or offer a service
This is closely related to the first point above. It’ll be difficult to make money online, if you do not have a product or 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 on your website, so that you can attract Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, which 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’s 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, 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 India and Philippines are testimony 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.
4. Forex trading
A few people have got their fingers burnt in forex trading, including yours truly, but this is not to say that it is not viable. I believe what has happened to the majority of people who must have had some sort of negative experiences is that we allowed ‘fake promises’ to becloud our sense of reasoning. I have a highly 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.
Let me state that it is advisable to attend forex trading classes first or find a coach before starting off as a forex trader. The chances of losing your entire investment are pretty high.
5. Become an affiliate
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, who sells e-books, then you are given a special URL that makes the tracking of each sale seamless. You take that code and share 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.
Finally, I’d stress that the buck stops on the table of the Nigerian government to create an enabling environment for the creation of more jobs for the rapidly growing population. A PUNCH report of December 5, 2018 monitored online could not have emphasised this any better when it quoted the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, as saying that “the main responsibility should always be with the authorities (government) of Nigeria; and frankly, it should be like that.” He was speaking on why the EU initiated a skills acquisition programme for 17,000 adolescent Nigerian boys and girls and cautioning the Nigerian authorities not to be deluded into thinking that development partners alone will reverse the unemployment scourge in the country.
Need I say more? There is fire on the mountain and all hands must be on deck to get Nigerians working both online and offline.