This is a topic we’ve seen flying around the internet for years. And now, with the pandemic, more people are trying to find more ways to make money online than ever before.
It’s sad to say that in a number of attempts to answer these questions the articles, videos, podcasts and events I’ve seen have been terribly lacking. They’re either not detailed enough, or taking too long to get to the point.
So, we decided to do a list of our own. Not necessarily a definitive guide to making money online – more like a starting point to help you understand the different career paths you can take to successfully make cash online.
Fair warning, this article is hefty. Feel free to use the contents above to skim the whole thing or jump to a section that looks most interesting to you. Of course, you can go ahead and read through the entire article, we won’t mind.
Understand that to make any kind of money online it’s going to take some work
We’re not talking about get rich quick schemes here. If you’re serious about taking this route of using the internet to having even a little more financial freedom, you’ll need to commit to putting in some work. You’ll need to commit to learning a lot about these different areas.
If you’re thinking about making some extra money, or even starting a new career online, the methods I’ll list below are for you. You’ll have to put in an amount effort to get to know them and earn your way to those goals of making however much extra money that you’re thinking of.
This isn’t a lazy person’s way out – it’s quite the opposite.
In this guide I’m going to give you practical tips and examples on how you can make money online from Jamaica – not from the US, the UK, Canada, or some other country, but Jamaica.
Note: What we won’t be going into detail in this article is exactly how to get paid – meaning, having the money in your bank account – when you do make money online.
I know, bummer. But keep your eyes on this space, because that’s coming up soon.
Start an online store
This method is one you’ve seen pop up even more now.
Since 2020, with the rise of social distancing and less contact, people have been forced to take their spending online as a way to be safer and healthier. If you know a little about business, the customer is where the money resides, so where they go you should go too.
This global situation pushed businesses that weren’t thinking about online options before to put plans into high gear and get more visible, accessible and convenient. It’s no different in Jamaica. Businesses that refuse to change with the times and get online are suffering, while those that have adapted to the digital space have watched their sales at least stay the same.
If you produce physical products you have a wide variety of options for getting a store up in the digital space and raking in some dollars. If you decide to go this route, think Shopify, Etsy, Wix, WordPress, Ebay, Amazon and Teespring.
Even if you don’t have physical products, digital items work just as well. Ebooks, website themes, music, icons, photos, and the like are good ways to generate income online. Think about platforms like Shutterstock and iStock.
These platforms are just the tip of the iceberg and we fully intend to expand this list with even more options once we get wind of new ones that become available.
If you need some local examples for inspiration and motivation, think about Jamaican Care Packages and Morgan’s Creek. Jamaican Care Packages puts boxes of local treats together for Jamaicans living overseas who want a taste of home. And Morgan’s Creek sells luxury, handmade skincare products. Both of these companies leverage the power of their online stores and delivery services to give their old and new customers convenience and safety during this time.
Become a content creator
Being one of the most popular avenues for Jamaicans, next up we have becoming a content creator.
If you like to make art, music, videos or write, or any other area of media production this avenue is worth looking into for you.
Being a content creator is still undermined here. And that’s even with all the proof that you can make a solid living from creating media based around something you’re interested in and sharing it with the world.
What you’ll need to understand is that your earnings in this arena are tied to one thing – attention. Your audience, your community, is the most important factor in determining how much you make online, and if you’ll make anything at all.
Something else that you need to understand is that, unlike with an online store, you can’t expect to start making money right out the gate. This is one area where you have to give a lot of value before you even think about getting in return. In here, you’re playing the long game. And if you can’t commit to that, it may be time to get out now.
A few examples of local content creators I’d like to mention here who are really making their marks of the world are Russhaine Berry (DuttyBerry), Rohan Perry (QuitePerry), Wayne & Tami Mitchell (Meet the Mitchells), Randall Richards (RandyRandeh), Kadia Francis (Digital Jamaica).
I could have gone the route of mentioning musical artists and painters and poets, but those fields are more commonplace now than our YouTubers, filmmakers and bloggers.
No, instead I want to bring your attention to the people who are taking on the new dynamic of content creation in Jamaica. I’m talking about the people who are leading the charge on podcasting, filmmaking and social media.
Take part in online competitions and surveys
Living in the Caribbean has some major disadvantages. One such disadvantage is the fact that these online surveys that people use to win some cash or gift cards often are restricted to certain countries, and that doesn’t include Jamaica.
Because of that, we’ve been baited into signing up for many of these platforms, only to find out that we’re not eligible for any of the surveys because we’re not in the correct region. I mean, we could talk about workarounds for using an overseas address and getting the money from these surveys through other channels, but in this article I’m addressing the ways that we can make money directly and legitimately from Jamaica.
Taking all that into consideration, we do have a solution for persons who want to take surveys to make a little extra cash – Blue Dot Communa. Local company, Blue Dot Insights, is a marketing research company that saw it fit to create a local survey product that helps brands with market insights and rewards locals for their thoughts on particular topics.
Another area of online competition that’s often overlooked is video gaming. Jamaica is filled with video gamers – and I’m not talking about casual Candy Crushers. If you play hardcore video games for long periods of time and have ever thought of how you can make some money from it, this is your chance. The team at the Jamaica Esports Initiative has done a great job of starting to sensitize people locally to the economic benefits of playing and using video games. They’ve created workshops, a Discord server and a lineup of events that you can take part in to test your skills against other players and get your career in video gaming started.
You can make money online by trading stocks, foreign currencies or commodities
Before we dive into this section let me make it clear that I am not a registered financial advisor, and this does not constitute financial advice. The content below is meant to give you an idea of the options available to you as you try to make money online. If, after reading, you’re interested in using any of these methods, please reach out to a financial institution you like and trust to get more details on how you can get more involved.
Whew! That was a mouthful. Let’s continue!
If you’ve ever been interested in the economy and finance then this may be a pretty good route for you. We’ve seen a lot of news around how well the Jamaican stock market is doing and we’ve had so many people urging us to take a closer look at the stock market and get involved. If you like keeping up with companies and how well they’re performing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, you should definitely do some extra reading and talk to a registered financial advisor about how to get started.
On the other hand, if stocks aren’t your thing, then maybe you want to try trading currencies instead. There’s been a surge in the number of crypto currencies available in recent years, so it would be good to get your feet wet by doing some research to understand how they work. And be sure not to forget our traditional hard currencies – JMD, USD, CAD, GBP and Euro.
If you’d like to get a solid footing on some financial and economic terms before you try anything, then Investopedia is a good place to start. Although their site isn’t specific to Jamaica, they have a large knowledgebase of helpful information if this is the route you want to take.
Become a freelancer or consultant
Taking the route of being a freelancer is like a cross between working for yourself and working for someone else.
You can take on a number of fields, ranging from the more artistic to the more technical. But one thing is for sure: if you want the flexibility of calling your own shots and using what you’re great at to make a living, then this could be your avenue.
Prior to the pandemic, it would be much more difficult to get business from people who can’t get to see you face-to-face. Now, with most of us being comfortable with a simple phone call or video call, accessing and connecting with prospective clients is a bit less daunting.
Your options here range from digital marketing and media production, to administrative services. You can opt to handle the graphic design for companies, write copy for ad campaigns, create animations, manage social media, do web design, manage emails, and on and on. The opportunities really are endless here.
What you need to do is sit with yourself a bit, think about what you can do well – or what you can learn to do well – and how you’d like that to translate into work that you do online and get paid for.
Build a mobile app or website that solves a common problem for people
While we use apps all the time on our phones and laptops, we may never think about building one ourselves.
I mean, come on, we can complain about the fact that some features of our favourite social media apps aren’t available in our country but we can’t build our own apps and promote them?
At their core what these various apps do is solve specific problems, whether that be communication and connection, entertainment or some form of convenience. We have an incredible amount of talent in this country, and all it takes is for one of us to step up and build a tech-based solution to solve a serious problem.
Now, I think I should pause here to say that we do have a number of local apps that have been built that are, in fact, solving some problems for us. Some may have been too early in the game – such as the Get There App – while others are continuing to build traction as you read this article – such as QuickCart (formerly QuickPlate), Edufocal, 1SpotMedia and GetKeez.
If you’re willing to take the time to learn how to design and code, or partner with people who can, then this may be an option worth looking into.
What problems do you see in Jamaica that could be solved with a bit of technology but aren’t? You may just be the one who should step up to the plate and solve it.
Make money online by getting a remote job
This is probably the most direct option on this list.
Because of the global pandemic, many organizations across the world have shattered the limits of their physical borders by tapping into the power of the internet and digital technology. And while the concept of remote work might not be new, the pace at which people and companies are adopting the trend is definitely unprecedented.
More organizations are accepting the fact that their teams don’t have to be in the physical office space to be productive. And so they opt to allow their employees to work from home… or from wherever they’re comfortable and have a reliable internet connection.
If you take a look at LinkedIn’s job listings now, they’ve included a filtering option for remote jobs. While it’s not new to the platform, it’s clear that they’re encouraging employers to think differently about productivity, security and the individual safety of their team members.
If you’ve browsed through this list and feel like working for yourself isn’t the path you want to take, then you can continue your job hunt and look for remote jobs or positions that give you some amount of flexibility with respect to where you work.
Teach something you know a lot about
People always want more information. And not only do they want information, but they want it to be as concise and easy to understand as possible. If you enjoy sharing information with people and simplifying complex topics so that they’re easier to understand, this may be just be the area for you.
When it comes to going the route of online education, there are two huge paths you can take: you can do online tutoring, or you can publish an online course.
With the insane amount of growth of platforms like Zoom, Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams it has become so much easier to set up one-on-one or even group sessions with people who are interested in learning what you have to share. It has also become much easier and safer to connect with people amidst the pandemic, because you no longer need to go to someone’s house or meet up at school – all you need is a solid internet connection and a reliable computer on both ends and you’re golden.
In the same way that you might run a class, you can create a schedule of class times for you and the topic you’re teaching and publish them online for people to see. They can then choose their times, pay online with a payment processor like PayPal or WiPay, or transfer the funds to your bank account and confirm their spot.
The beauty of this entire setup is that you no longer need to be in the same geographic location to coordinate teaching sessions with someone. They could be halfway across the world and, thanks to technology, it’s like they’re right there in front of you.
If that kind of one-on-one or group experience isn’t your cup of tea, then you can try producing your own online course and publishing it. In this instance you would write, record and edit all of your training material beforehand, compile it and then upload it to a platform where people can access it for a fee. And the great news for you is that there are so many options to choose from in terms of where you can host your course – be it Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, Domestika or even on your own custom website.
Drive people around or deliver goods and services
Delivery has been around for a long time, but the pandemic has amplified how much people want convenience, simplicity and safety.
Because of this, there’s been a ridiculous demand for transportation and delivery services across the island. And with this demand, you can count on Jamaicans and our hustle culture to make a number of options to fit the bill.
Taxi services have been around for decades, but they’ve had to really step their game up with new players like Uber stepping into the market.
And let’s not forget that we still have bearers and general deliverymen, and deliverywomen, who can run errands for us.
But how do you fit into all this?
If you like to drive, have no problem running errands or making deliveries, have a reliable motor vehicle and have a great personality then you can try reaching out to one of these companies for work. They’re always on the lookout for new riders and drivers to expand their fleets.
Here’s the beauty about the internet and life – you can literally make it whatever you want.
I know this has been a hefty article. But I wanted to make I detailed the many ways that you can make money online right here in Jamaica.
These are 9 broad areas, each with their own nuances and specifics. I’m sure once you find the one that suits you best, you’ll add your own spin on it.
We’ll be sure to update this article as the times change and new information becomes available. We’ll also release more guides on making money online, building successful careers, and successfully navigating adult life. So keep your eyes on this space.