How do I accept payments and make money online?

September 10, 2022

There are few questions more powerful than this one because making money online will genuinely change your life, if you let it.

Rather than working your whole career trading time for money, you can leverage the scale and power of the internet.

You could have a product listed on your website and someone from another country can buy it at 3:00am while you're in bed dreaming about your next creative endeavor.

If you don't want to sell a product, you can connect with people across the country and if you figure out a way to provide value to them, maybe they'll do business with you. I've been freelancing & making money online for the past 2 years and I haven't worked with anyone in my home state 🤷🏻‍♂️

Without the ability to accept payments & make money online, I wouldn't be writing this newsletter and I'd most likely be wrapping up a dreadful week of meaningless 9-5 work.

So here are a few ways to accept payments online, as well as a few things to think about:

Since you can't use cash online, you first need to get a tool that can process credit cards or banking info, also called a "payment processor".

Some of the most popular ones that you're probably already familiar with are PayPal and Venmo. Rather than just paying back friends for brunch, you can also use these tools to grow a business.

They both have business account options and PayPal is what I used to collect payments during my first year of freelancing.

All I had to do was enter in my client's email, the invoice amount, payment terms (Net30), and send it to them. They get the invoice email, they'll have different options to make payment, and after the payment has been processed, you'll get the money deposited in the bank account that you connected to PayPal. This can be either a personal or business bank account.

Outside of PayPal and Venmo, my favorite way to accept money online is with Stripe. It's by far the most versatile, user-friendly payment tool out there. You can send invoices, connect it to a store, send payment links, create recurring subscriptions - I use it for almost everything now.

These are a few different options:

  • If you're selling a product or packaged service, you'll typically need a storefront (such a Shopify or Gumroad) so that people can view and browse the product. Then, you'd connect your Stripe account to the store so that customers can make a payment, which then gets deposited in your bank account afterward
  • If you're selling a service or doing freelance work, you can send a direct invoice or payment link from Stripe to your client with only their name and email
  • If you're billing someone a subscription for a service, you can use Stripe to set automated recurring billing for a certain day every month. The payment will automatically be processed, your customer will be sent a receipt, and the money will get deposited in your bank
  • If you're selling paid consulting sessions, you can connect your Stripe account to your calendar tool and charge a set amount for certain appointment types

Essentially, whatever way you plan to make money online, there needs to be a payment processor behind-the-scenes routing payments to your bank account. My favorite is Stripe, but here's an in-depth guide from Hubspot breaking down other options.

Some banks (such as Novo) offer built-in invoicing & payment tools, but they generally don't have much customization or flexibility since payments aren't their main value-add.

Also, be sure to check local business laws or your internet money dreams may get shut down for operating without a license.

Source

Last thing: No matter what, even if you don't have an official business, any income you make needs to be reported when you file taxes. Even the small apps like Venmo and CashApp are now required to issue tax forms to anyone who makes more than $600 through their platforms.

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