The 17 BEST Online Skills to Learn to Make Money in 2024


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Want to know the best online skills to learn to make money?

Well, in this article I’m sharing the best high-income skills for entrepreneurs, freelancers, or virtual assistants.

Master any of these learnable skills to make money online, and you will have a prosperous career ahead of you.

I will also point you in the right direction to learn some of these skills so that you can get started right away.

Let’s dive in.

In a hurry?

It’s probably not much of a surprise to say this in a blog about SEO and online business, but it’s hard to think of a better skill to learn to make money than building niche sites.

It’s more of a long-term investment, but the skillset you learn in the process translates to all kinds of tasks.

You’ll learn web development, copywriting, SEO, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and more.

And the incredible thing is that you can learn all of this with The Affiliate Lab.

It’s an online course that teaches you step-by-step how to build and grow an affiliate site – and, in doing so – teaches many of the best skills to make money online.

If you want to increase your salary or become your own boss, then these contenders for the best skills to learn to make money should help.

Learning any of these high-income skills to make money online will get you on track to a higher earning potential.

Digital Marketing Skills

Each of the skills in this section plays a vital role in the digital marketing ecosystem, driving the digital economy forward by connecting businesses with consumers.

1. Copywriting

First on our list of online skills to make money from home, copywriting is the art of sales and persuasion using the written word. It’s an essential component of any successful business.

This high-demand skill is required for businesses to communicate the value of their products and services.

Without it, selling can only be done verbally, which isn’t ideal in today’s economy.

Making money as a copywriter can be achieved in several ways.

  • As a freelancer
  • Within a marketing team for a company
  • Or with your own business

The average copywriter’s salary in the US is around $69,000 annually.

best skill to learn to make money

And freelancers can make anything from $15 to $160 per hour.

best skills to learn to make moneybest skills to learn to make money

If you want to make money as a copywriter, first, you’ll need to learn the basics, which can be found on YouTube or through reading the best copywriting books.

You could also learn everything you need to know through an online course.

Udemy has some excellent courses on copywriting.

Then you’ll want to offer your services to business owners and get some testimonials.

A good place to find work is Upwork or Fiverr, but you’ll be starting with a blank profile, so start with lower prices and increase your rates as you gain experience.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is one of the best digital marketing skills to learn to make money online.

Thanks to the nature of search engines, once a website is optimized well using blog content, traffic will grow organically.

Businesses recognize the value of optimizing content for search engine marketing more than ever.

So, whether you’re working within a marketing team, freelancing, or starting your own niche site, SEO is one of the best skills to learn to make money.

An SEO specialist has an average salary of $78,411.

And freelance SEO experts on Upwork are charging up to $150.

People can make money with SEO in several ways:

  • A freelance specialist
  • A consultant
  • Part of a digital marketing team
  • By starting your own blog

Learning about SEO isn’t as hard as it might seem. The best SEO blogs will be a great starting point.

And if you’re serious about taking your SEO skills to the next level, The Authority Site System course is one of the best courses available.

3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a crucial digital marketing strategy that aims to boost a website’s visibility via paid ads on search engines. This skill blends analytics, strategic bidding, and ad expertise to bring targeted traffic to websites efficiently.

Job Role and Responsibilities

  • SEM Specialist: Handles PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns, covering keyword research, ad copywriting, bid management, and analytics.
  • Roles include: Ad creation and optimization, budget management, and data analysis to enhance campaign results.

Earning Potential

  • Average Salary: In the U.S., SEM specialists earn about $70,000 a year on average. This can vary with experience, location, and company size.
  • Freelance Opportunities: Freelancers can make $20 to $100 an hour, based on their profitable skills and the campaign’s complexity.

Where to Find Jobs

  • Platforms: Look for job openings on job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor, and on sites focused on digital marketing, such as MarketingHire.
  • Freelance Websites: Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr list many opportunities for SEM professionals to work with various clients.

Learning and Development

  • Courses and Certifications: Google offers Google Ads certifications, essential for SEM specialists. Also, online platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer courses from basic to advanced SEM techniques.

SEM is an essential skill for a career in digital marketing, offering stable jobs and freelance chances in many industries wanting to enhance their online presence through effective ads.

4. Email Marketing

An email marketer is someone who helps businesses build and grow email subscribers and nurture leads.

They will create email campaigns, send newsletters, and work with marketing automation software.

This high valued skill is said to bring in the most ROI in any business. The common phrase in the marketing industry is that “the money is in the list.” In fact, the average ROI with email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing specialists make an average of $76,734 annually.

And freelancers are making anything from $45 to $125 per hour.

Want to become an email marketing specialist?

Many companies will prefer a Bachelor’s degree, but experience and a deep understanding of the technology involved will go a long way.

There are tons of blogs and YouTube channels teaching this online marketing skill. For those who want to study one of the best skills to learn to make money, then check out Terry Dean’s course of online classes.

Another great way to learn email marketing is to create your own affiliate marketing funnel. This type of business will give you firsthand experience in growing your own email list.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is where a company pays affiliates a commission when they promote the company’s products or services.

Anyone can become an affiliate marketer and start promoting products.

Affiliate programs such as Amazon offer pretty low commission rates at around 3%, whereas Clickbank product commission rates average around 75%.

Another way of making money online in this industry is by becoming an affiliate marketing manager.

This is where a person within a company manages the relationship between the company and the affiliates who are members of their affiliate marketing program.

An affiliate marketing manager makes an average salary of $68,942, according to

And these freelance affiliates on Upwork are making an average of $91 hourly.

Like other profitable skills on this list, affiliate marketing can be learned online through blogs (like Niche Pursuits), YouTube tutorials, and courses.

Other than the Authority Site System I mentioned above, there are courses on Udemy that will teach you how to get started so you can start making your own commissions.

6. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is just one of many effective ways to market a business.

Many business owners lack the time or social media marketing skills to update their social media account themselves, so they hire social media marketers to manage everything for them.

Social Media Tasks Include

  • Posting valuable content on social channels
  • Interacting with the audience and other accounts
  • Defining and hitting engagement goals
  • Running ads
  • Social video marketing (check out video marketing tools)
  • Driving traffic to a website, blog, or products

A social media marketing manager’s salary pays an average of $71,177 in the US, according to

And some freelancers on Upwork charge from $11 to $73 per hour.

This is one of those skills you can learn quickly by helping a business grow its social media account.

Then, you can leverage the experience to sell your services to other businesses.

Of course, you have to start somewhere to earn money online as a social media marketer and YouTube has a lot of useful free resources.

Take a Course

To get the most amount of knowledge in one place, an online course is a great option. For example, this Skillshare course has over 8 hours’ worth of lessons on mastering social media marketing.

Technology and Development

This category encompasses essential abilities that fuel the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of digital platforms and applications. 

7. Web Development and Web Design

Building websites for businesses is a common way for people to make money online through remote work.

It’s also one of the easier skills to learn to start an online business. That’s because technology has come a long way in this industry.

Many people get into this field by watching tutorials on YouTube, then building sites for their friends or relatives.

Other ways to make money as a web designer and developer are through freelancing sites such as Upwork or Fiverr.

If you want to work for a company, you might need formal training or a certification, depending on where you live. Otherwise, you’ll need a decent portfolio and experience to land a high-paying job.

Web developers can expect to make around $77,200 on average working within an agency.

And freelance web developers are making anywhere between $45 to $120+, so its definitely one of the higher-paying skills on this list.

To get started in this field, watch some tutorials or take an online course. The best way to learn web design and development is through practice.

To become established as a web designer, build your own sites or build up a portfolio for local businesses.

8. App Development

Mobile app development (or software engineering) is a great candidate for the best skills to learn to make money. It has only grown in demand since the evolution of mobile devices.

People in this role help companies develop apps for their users. Some apps supplement the company’s products or services, whereas others are the product itself.

There are applications for almost everything, and almost all businesses use them:

  • Productivity apps (ToDoist)
  • Meditation apps (Headspace)
  • Social networking apps (Twitter)
  • TV streaming services (Netflix)
  • eCommerce platforms (Amazon)

The average salary for an Android Developer is $107,421, depending on your level of experience.

App developers on Upwork charge around $20 – $50 per hour.

This is one of those skills where you either have the talent or you don’t. Obviously, we can all learn new skills, but software engineering requires a certain type of mind and thought process.

Sounds like you? Then there are tons of free tutorials online and some very extensive online courses.

For instance, this iOS & Swift course has over 290,000 enrolled students and over 60 hours’ worth of video content.

9. Blockchain

A blockchain developer is a great option and one of the higher-income skills on our list.

Thanks to the popularity of crypto, businesses, and individuals are getting more involved in this form of technology.

A blockchain is a decentralized system where a record of transactions made using cryptocurrencies is maintained in a peer-to-peer network.

It’s like the way torrents work when downloading a file. Only parts of a file are transferred between computers and are linked using peer-to-peer technology.

Blockchain systems work in a similar way and don’t store data in a centralized network, increasing its security.

Because of the complexity involved, a blockchain developer’s annual salary is $97,886 on average.

Freelance blockchain developers are charging an hourly rate of $35 to $150.

If you wanted to become a blockchain developer, your role would be to create systems that record blockchain transactions securely and to prevent hacks.

Other tasks include:

  • Developing application features
  • Designing interfaces
  • Maintaining client and server-side technologies

Thankfully, there are many ways to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

For a complete A – Z guide, this Udemy course has everything you need to get started.

There are also plenty of free tutorials and courses on YouTube.

If you are thinking of starting your own crypto business, check out our article listing 1051 crypto name ideas!

The Creative and Media category centers on the essential skills needed to craft engaging stories and visuals that capture and keep the audience’s interest.

10. Branding

Branding is the creative art of helping a business stand out from the crowd.

It involves anything from simple logo design to complete business identity, messaging, positioning, company values, and tone.

Successful brand specialists are experts at helping businesses connect with their audience on a deep level.

As a brand manager within a company, the average salary is over $100,000.

Depending on your level of experience or area of expertise, your income will vary if you pursue this best skill to learn to make money.

Upwork users are charging around $50 to $175 per hour as freelance branding specialists!

To get involved with this industry as a freelancer or entrepreneur, start by learning the fundamentals.

This Skillshare course

is a good place to start.

11. Video Production and Editing

Businesses and entrepreneurs are using the power of video to engage their audiences more than ever before.

So the need for video production and editing will only keep rising in demand.

That also means that experts in video editing can earn good money either within a company or agency or for yourself as a freelancer.

The average salary for a video editor in the US is around $53,000.

Freelancers on Upwork are making between $20 and $50 per hour.

To become a video editor, you’ll need to learn how to use software tools such as Adobe Premier Pro or Final Cut Pro on Macs.

Some editors also learn how to create special effects to make their creations really stand out.

Luckily, there are dozens of YouTubers teaching how to use these tools so that you can become an editor yourself.

To dive into this skill further, it’s highly recommended to enroll in an online course where the instructor will guide you step by step.

Learn More about Video Editing

There are courses available on Skillshare, CreativeLive, and Udemy.

This Skillshare course by Ali Abdaal covers Video Editing with Final Cut Pro X.

And Adobe Premiere users will get a lot of value out of this Udemy course by Phil Ebiner.

Check out our list of video production company name ideas for help with naming your new venture.

12. Graphic Design

Graphics are needed for everything these days, including:

  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Ads
  • Products
  • YouTube

And the list goes on.

Graphics help businesses present information, better connect with their audiences, and sell more products.

So graphic designers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

If you wanted to work for a graphic design agency as a graphic designer, you could expect to be paid an average of $51,424 as of June 28, 2022, according to

Or freelance graphic designers are fetching an hourly rate of up to $50.

The great thing about graphic design is how many choices you have to earn money with the skill.

Apart from working for an agency or as a freelance graphic designer, here are a few other ways:

  • Create and sell templates
  • Design and sell print-on-demand products, such as t-shirts or mugs
  • Sell your own design packs on marketplace websites

There are also endless tutorials on the internet for you to learn graphic design.

And this graphic design course on Udemy has over 28.5 hours of course content and over 157,000 enrolled students.

Strategic and Advisory

The Strategic and Advisory category includes essential skills for helping businesses and individuals navigate complex challenges and make decisions.

13. Consulting and Coaching

A consultant helps professionals reach success in a particular area of their business, working with them to solve problems, and providing practical solutions (and we have a whole guide on how to start a consulting business if you’re interested).

Coaches are similar, but have a more hands-off approach, asking questions that provoke an alternative perspective around their current situation.

Both are highly valuable skills to learn because most business owners struggle to see their own internal limitations.

Instead of spending years struggling through self-imposed boundaries, hiring a coach or consultant can help people make rapid breakthroughs in their careers or personal lives.

From my research from multiple sources, I found the typical salary for a consultant within a consultancy firm was anything between $79,000 and $113,000.

And freelance consultants on Upwork are charging between $50 to $235 per hour.

How you earn as a consultant or coach will depend on a variety of factors, including industry, experience, and qualifications.

To become a coach or consultant, there are online courses and training programs you can take that teach you everything you need to know in just a few weeks.

Or you could look into becoming certified with a degree if you want to work for a company.

14. Project Management

A project manager plans and manages the completion of projects inside a company.

They are skilled in pulling teams together and making use of each team member’s strengths to drive the project to the end.

It’s a highly skilled role that many companies can’t function effectively without.

The average salary for a project manager is $93,041 annually, depending on their experience and qualifications.

Upwork freelancers are charging anywhere between $15 and $75 per hour.

There are many skills involved in project management.

  • Methodologies such as Agile, Waterfall, or Scrum
  • Knowledge of project management software
  • Effective communication
  • Negotiation
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • And more

If you want to become a project manager, the fastest way to learn would be to work alongside a project manager as part of a team to gain on-the-job training.

You could also teach yourself project management skills if you want to stand out and take on more responsibility within a team.

This course would be an excellent place to start.

Specialized Technical Skills

This category is about advanced technical skills that are crucial in today’s high-tech industries.

15. Machine Learning

A machine learning engineer is one of the highest-paying jobs in today’s technology industry (and there are lots of ways to make money with machine learning). If you want to know about the most profitable skills, you should really consider this one.

It involves researching and building algorithms, self-learning AI systems, and predictive models.

The value and demand of this skill has become increasingly popular in recent years because of the creation of content-generation tools using AI.

Machine learning engineers make an average annual salary of $145,296, depending on experience and qualifications.

Freelancers on Upwork are making around $50 to $200 per hour.

Skills and technologies required to become a machine learning engineer include:

  • Python
  • Machine Learning models
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • NLP and Deep Learning

If this sounds like your kind of thing, then you’ll be glad to know there’s a wealth of knowledge available online.

YouTube has tons of tutorials, and there are courses that will teach you everything you need to know to get started.

16. Content Marketing

The purpose of content marketing is to influence the market to buy a company’s products or services through content.

While overlapping with digital marketing, it specifically focuses on using strategies like creating and sharing articles, videos, podcasts, and other media to attract and keep customers.

Where ads ask people to take immediate action, content marketing has a more subtle approach.

A content marketer will educate the market about the problems they face, usually with long-form content or blog posts. It is a high-value skill because of its effectiveness and because of the costs of advertising.

A content marketing manager makes an average of $82,691 per year.

Most content marketers on Upwork are charging between $60 and $100 plus per hour.

If you want to make money online through content marketing as an entrepreneur, the best thing to do is start your own blog.

Then, you’ll want to learn how content marketing works. These content marketing blogs will be helpful and an online course will dive in deeper.

Here is an excellent content marketing course on Udemy. It has over 18,000 students and a 4.6 star rating.

Support and Operations

Support and Operations is a crucial category that encompasses the foundational skills necessary for the smooth running of any business.

17. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants help digital-based business owners with everything and anything from fixing WordPress issues, data entry (check out these data entry earning sites), and list building, to proofreading, coding, and social media posting.

Usually, on the lower end of earning potential, a virtual assistant is a candidate for the easiest high-income skill for beginners.

There are tons of places you can offer your services to online businesses as a virtual assistant.

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • oDesk
  • And plenty of others.

Virtual assistants with in-demand skills on Upwork are making around $11 to $75 per hour.

If you want to make money as a virtual assistant, my recommendation would be to learn the basics of web development and marketing.

Start by getting familiar with WordPress, installing plugins, and setting up the most popular WordPress themes.

Then learn what you can about blogging and niche websites, SEO, and email marketing. Check out our article on virtual assistant jobs for beginners for ways to get started.

You could start making money as a virtual assistant, then offer more specialist jobs when you gain the experience.

18. Writer and/or Blogger

Being a writer in today’s world has never provided so many opportunities.

From writing articles for a blog and creating copy for ads on social media to authoring a book and writing technical papers, there’s something for everyone.

And businesses recognize writing as a valuable skill and will pay good money for it.

The amount you get paid as a writer really depends on the type of writer you become, your level of experience, and the qualifications you have.

Overall, the average writer’s salary in the US is $61,493.

And if you want to become a freelance writer, the standard rate is between $40 and $125 per hour.

More specific pay for more specialized writers is:

  • Book writers = $65 per hour
  • SEO writers = $40 per hour
  • Technical writers = $57 per hour
  • Copywriters = $60 per hour

The easiest way to start a writing career is to start your own website and publish a batch of articles.

Find a small niche that solves a specific problem and then apply for some jobs on a jobs board, such as ProBlogger.

You can use your own blog as your portfolio. Even better, learn SEO basics.

You can learn a ton of best writing practices through freelance blogs, YouTube videos, and courses on Udemy.

Writing with Flair is one of the highest-rated on the platform.

FAQ: Online Skills to Make Money Online

So, in case you’re still not sure – here are some key answers to common questions on the topic!

Which skill is best to earn money online?

Some of the best skills to earn money online include freelance writing, web/software development, digital marketing, graphic design, virtual assistant services, online tutoring, video editing, and e-commerce/dropshipping. But the “best” skill will always depend on your own interests and talents.

Which online skill is easy?

For beginners, some relatively easy online skills to get started with are data entry, transcription, micro-tasks/freelancing on platforms like Upwork, taking online surveys, and doing basic virtual assistant duties. And then over time, depending on the menial tasks you pursue, you can level up your skills in areas like affiliate marketing, social media management, and basic graphic design using online tools and mentorship from colleagues.

How do I start earning online?

To start earning money online, you’ll want to first identify in-demand skills you already possess or are interested in developing. With this info, you can then create profiles on relevant freelancing platforms, job boards, or marketplaces. Over time you’ll want to build a portfolio showcasing your skills and start bidding on projects or offering services. Network, obtain testimonials, improve your skills, and expand your services over time.

Which online skill is in demand?

Some of the most in-demand online skills currently include digital marketing (SEO, social media, PPC, etc.), web and mobile development, UI/UX design, video editing and production, copywriting and content creation, IT and cybersecurity skills, online tutoring and e-learning development. So in short, skills tied to e-commerce, remote work solutions, and content creation are especially sought after.

The Best Online Skills to Learn to Make Money In Closing

As you can see, there’s no one best skill to learn to make money. Instead, many online skills could help improve your income.

Choosing which skill you learn will depend on which online skill is in demand that you’re interested in, your level of technical knowledge and formal training.

If you’re starting completely from scratch and have the confidence, you could decide based on how much you can make.

Make sure you check out my other article on the best Udemy courses because this might give you more ideas for increasing your earning potential.


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